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Messages - TokyoNose

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The suggestions for low(er) gearing, I think, are spot-on, unless you are comfortable doing loaded climbs with the gearing that you already have. I know that I love me some low, low gears.

I'll throw out another suggestion, which for me makes loaded climbing and almost all facets of touring more comfortable: aero bars.

It is a costly modification, as your LHT probably has a 26.0mm stem/bar clamp, and aero bars are designed to be used with 31.8mm stem/bar clamps, which means that in addition to purchasing the aero bars, you will be replacing your stem and handlebars. The possible upside to this is that if you do have any issues with your current stem/bar combo they can be rectified at this time (Shorter/longer stem? Riser stem? Wider/narrower bars? Bars with a shape different from your current bars? Different/thicker/thinner bar tape?).

Zipp Speed Weaponry (ugh…), part of the SRAM group, makes aero bars and aero bar accessories that allow for a wide range of fitting solutions. The aero bar setup on my touring bike, based upon their Vuka Alumina bars, bears little resemblance to the aero bar setup that you see on a time trial or triathlon bike. The elbow pads are much further aft, they are spread apart (Zipp sells an accessory called "Wings" to facilitate this) and the whole contraption is about 2" above the height of handlebars themselves by using what Zipp calls "Risers".

This modification, in its entirety, will cost hundreds of dollars. I don't know if you are interested in something quite so spendy. It also requires time, as there are many small adjustments to be made that can affect your level of comfort, and the only way to figure this out (at least for me) was through trial and error: having the necessary wrenches easily accessible while doing training/regular non-touring rides and making these adjustments. Once dialed in, though, the comfort offered by the aero bars is for me more than worth both the monetary investment and the weight penalty that they impose. They also provide a nice place to mount a computer or GPS (or both), as well as a place to hang a hat, helmet, or any wet clothes that need to be dried while riding.

I should also mention that adding aero bars might have you repositioning your saddle very slightly. I can't say what this repositioning process might entail, but it could mean raising or lowering the saddle, changing the tilt of the saddle, or possibly sliding the saddle either forward or rearward along its rails. Should you choose not to run aero bars, messing around with your saddle positioning might not be the worst thing to do anyway.

Best of luck, and enjoy your ride!

Routes / Re: Looking for a good Manhattan - Westchester County, NY route.
« on: September 14, 2015, 08:54:18 am »
I hope that it helps. Best wishes!

You could also check out the Salsa Vaya. The stock gearing is not as low as you will find on an LHT, which might require some part swapping, or even a frame-up build to put it in a range that is comfortable for you, should you plan to do any loaded touring in difficult terrain.

What you might like about the bike is that it has a sloping top tube and a taller head tube than a standard (by which I mean having a top tube parallel to the ground) touring frame, such as the LHT. For some, this offers a better, more comfortable fit. I don't know that you will fall into this category, but it might be worth a look. Until the 2016 model year (these bikes are just hitting the market now), the Vaya used 26" wheels on the two smallest-sized frames. For 2016, all frames will use 700c wheels.

paddleboy17 hit the most important criteria, I think: "...find a bike dealer that you can trust to properly fit you". There is definitely something out there for you, but it could take a few trips to some different shops to throw a leg over it/test ride it to find it. As he mentioned, the stem-swapping magic works only after you are on a frame of the proper size and geometry and need only to make small adjustments to fit.

Gear Talk / Re: Mavic A719 wheels or A319?
« on: September 10, 2015, 02:04:26 pm »
You'll be very well served by those components, I believe. Good luck with the build!

Gear Talk / Re: Mavic A719 wheels or A319?
« on: September 09, 2015, 09:11:25 am »
Breaking it down:

Rims: The 719 is a much more expensive rim than the 319. It is a welded rim whereas the 319 is pinned, and uses a more expensive proprietary alloy. The 719, according to Mavic, is also about 30g lighter. Deep in the Mavic tech specs (I cannot recall how I found this information or I would provide a link), Mavic claims a slightly higher load rating for the 719 vs. the 319. All of this said, though, the 319 is a really nice rim, especially for the money. It is very beefy, has double eyelets like the 719, looks great and is very nicely finished. I would use it for loaded touring without hesitation.

Hubs: I believe that the LX hubs, or at least the current generation, are non-disc only (US market LX). They are aimed at the touring market. Current production XT hubs are aimed at the MTB market, and all are now disc-brake hubs. It is possible that the hubs around which these wheels are being built are older XT or even European XT, in which case they might be non-disc. Qualitatively, the hubs are very similar, although I am not sure that the LX hubs use the same hardened-race treatment as do the XT hubs. The quality of the seals is identical, I believe. The biggest difference is in the axle (and this might be the source of the claim that the LX is a better touring hub). The LX uses a steel axle, while the XT uses an aluminum axle of a slightly larger diameter with more and smaller ball bearings. The exception to this is the XT M756 series, which still use a steel axle. What is most important for you is that you get the hub which works with your braking system, whether it is disc ISO 6 bolt, disc Shimano Centerlock, or non-disc (US market LX), and that for some reason the wheels are not built with thru-axle hubs which will (I'm guessing) not work with your touring frame. It would be odd to build a touring rim to a thru-axle hub, so I am going to assume that this is not an issue.

You haven't mentioned spokes or nipples, and the preference here would be for double-butted (or triple-butted, but they are rare) spokes as opposed to straight gauge spokes, and brass nipples rather than alloy. It is very unlikely that the nipples would be alloy, as they are usually 3x the cost of brass nipples. They weigh 1/3 of what a brass nipple weighs, and despite Sapim claiming that their alloy nipples are as durable as their brass nipples, the standard in building touring wheels, where weight savings is not a high priority, is to use brass nipples.

More important than any of this, though, is the assembly quality of the wheels. I would much rather have decent, mid-level components that were assembled into a wheel by a reputable builder than top-of-the-line components slapped together by someone not so obsessed with the nuances of building a durable wheel.

My bottom line would be this: if you are looking to save a bit of money, and they will work with your braking system and frame, assuming the same build quality, do the LX/319 combo. And just to confuse you more… it is also possible to work with a custom builder who will suggest and assemble for you any combination of components you might desire.

Routes / Re: Looking for a good Manhattan - Westchester County, NY route.
« on: September 07, 2015, 12:20:06 pm »
Hi Ben,

I might be a little bit late with this, but here goes…

Follow the WSH path to the end. You will have to walk your bike down the stairs and bear left to take you under the WSH overpass. You'll be following Riverside Drive. Use caution crossing the onramp to the WSH.

Turn left (north) onto Staff Street. Follow it downhill (steep) to Dyckman Street.

Turn right (east) onto Dyckman Street. Follow it for 3 blocks to Seaman Avenue.

Turn left (north) onto Seaman Avenue. Follow Seaman for 4 blocks to 207th Street.

Turn right (east) onto 207th. Take it to Broadway/Rte. 9 and turn left (north). This will get you over the Harlem River. Be really careful around here: the road is beneath the train tracks and the steel columns that support them line both sides of the roadway. It is noisy and there are cars and pedestrians coming from every which direction. It is not a bike-friendly place to ride, and as of a couple of weeks ago when I last rode it, the top layer of the road had been peeled off for resurfacing. I'm guessing and hoping that by now that job has been completed.

When you have had enough of this, turn right (east) onto 233rd Street. This will take you over I-87 to a T-intersection with Bailey Avenue. Take a left (north) on Bailey. It will curve right and then left as it approaches Van Cortlandt Park South. Van Cortlandt Avenue West will approach from the right. Go straight across this intersection. You will soon see the offramp from the I-87 interchange on your left. Just past this, bear left onto the road which will take you under I-87. You will then be at the north end of the pond in Van Cortlandt Park. You will pick up the path on the west side of the pond. There will be an indistinct path through the grass where other cyclists and pedestrians have cut through from the road/parking lot to the path.

The first mile or so of the path is overgrown and rather rough. You might have to pull over to pass other cyclists and runners going the opposite direction.

I hope that this doesn't seem too confusing. You are basically making your way north and east, and avoiding some of the worst of the riding where possible (although the worst is the unavoidable section on Broadway/Rte. 9. You'll be fine as long as you are very careful.)


Routes / Re: Yellowstone Camping
« on: June 17, 2014, 11:32:59 pm »
Madison, about 15-20 miles east of the West Yellowstone entrance (can't remember- sorry!), will not turn you away, at least as of last year when I passed through the park in early June. This was according to the park personnel administering the campground. It is along the Trans Am route, if that is the route that you will be taking. Grant Village is also along the route, but it was not open when I passed through, so I cannot answer for that. Also, Colter Bay in the Tetons has a cyclist/hiker-only area, so you will have a spot there if you need it. Between the two is the Flagg Ranch on the Rockefeller Parkway. Probably no guarantee of a spot, but my guess is that the crew there would do what they could to fit you in.

Gear Talk / Re: Cateye time & average speed funky readings
« on: April 17, 2014, 10:56:37 pm »
Unlikely to solve this, but just for laughs, make sure that magnet is passing close enough to the sensor to register each revolution of the wheel.

Gear Talk / Re: Which triple crankset will fit my bike?
« on: January 06, 2014, 01:36:48 pm »
Yes, swapping out the crankset is indeed your next step.  Apart from that, you could swap the cassette to a Shimano 9sp HG-61 11-36t, but non-Shadow-type Shimano rear derailleurs sometimes require B-screw modifications to clear the 36t cog.

I understand the temptation to run the 22-32-44 mountain crankset.  It definitely offers the low gear ratios that are desirable on a loaded touring bike (I am assuming that this is the issue which you are trying to address).  Unfortunately, Shimano mountain/road component incompatibility bugs could turn a seemingly simple solution down a dead-end path.

The suggested Sugino crankset is, new, quite reasonably priced, at least as cranksets go, and the Shimano bottom bracket is not a terribly expensive piece of kit either.  You might have some luck snooping around on eBay (beware of worn chainrings, the replacement of which could cost you a large percentage of the cost of a brand-new crankset), and there are any number of online retailers and local bike shops from which you can source the Sugino crankset.  Rivendell sells them for $146, and offers them in 4 different arm lengths, which is nice if you are picky about that sort of thing (I am).

FWIW, I am running a Sugino Alpina 2 (24-36-48) crankset with a Shimano Ultegra triple FD (10speed) and 105 brifters, and the front shifting is as good or better than that on any bike that I have ever owned.  YMMV, but it is at least worth taking a shot at running your current Ultegra FD with the Sugino.

Good luck!

Gear Talk / Re: Which triple crankset will fit my bike?
« on: January 06, 2014, 11:45:42 am »
Brifters? No, unfortunately, brifters will not shift a mountain front derailleur.  The levers will not pull enough cable to actuate the front derailleur across all three of the rings. 

I like the idea proposed by waynemyer and DaveB: a Sugino triple.  Something like an XD2/XD600 is available with 24/36/48 or 24/36/46 rings, is 9 speed compatible, and will run on a Shimano UN54 or UN55 bottom bracket.  It might even shift with your current front derailleur.  If not, a Tiagra triple front derailleur, which is more tolerant of smaller rings than the Ultegra, should get the job done.

If you still need lower gearing, your next stop will be the cassette.  A larger range cassette might, however, require a longer cage derailleur.  Something like a 9 speed Deore will probably work just fine and will play nicely with your brifter (same cable-pull ratio).  Shimano rear mechs typically come in three flavors: short cage (road), GS (medium length cage), and SGS (long cage).  If you have the choice, get the long cage.  It will weigh just a bit more and require a very slightly longer chain, but will leave you the flexibility to run just about any gearing that you desire.  In any case, stay clear of 10 speed DynaSys rear derailleurs.  They use a different cable-pull ratio than 9 speed rear derailleurs and will not work with your brifters.

Sorry to take you yet another level down into the rabbit hole.  Changing gearing sometimes opens Shimano's Box; altering one part of the system often leads to a seemingly endless chain of modifications necessary to make the whole mess work properly.  Having a good LBS with whom you can work is a great asset, as, for instance, they might be able to experiment with different spindle length bottom brackets at no extra charge to you (although you will probably end up with either a 110 or 113mm spindle) in order to ensure that your drivetrain is set up with the proper chainline.

Gear Talk / Re: Which triple crankset will fit my bike?
« on: January 05, 2014, 11:03:04 pm »
Be aware that you might also have to swap out your front derailleur to accommodate a different crankset.  This is especially likely if you switch to a 44-32-22 mountain triple.  It is also possible, but unlikely, that to shift into a small ring such as the 22 tooth inner ring on a mountain triple, the derailleur will swing low enough to make contact with the chainstay.

Gear Talk / Re: Why are most of the tires wire bead?
« on: December 02, 2013, 12:36:56 pm »
Three other tires that have not been mentioned and are worth considering:

Panaracer Pasela TG
Panaracer (Pasela) T-Serve
Vittoria Voyager Hyper (formerly known as the Randonneur Hyper)

The Vittorias might be outside of your budget window and are more difficult to find than the Panaracers.  I would also hesitate to use any of these tires for a heavily-loaded, multi-week tour, as the sidewalls and tread compound are probably not as durable as some of the more heavy-duty offerings from Schwalbe and Continental.  For a shorter, less remote tour on a bike not loaded with the gear required to get you across the continent and beyond, though, they would, IMHO, be the preferred option.  They will have less rotational inertia, roll slightly faster, and offer a more comfortable ride.

FWIW, here is a thought based upon my experience:  I doubt that I could tell much of a difference between a $50 and a $100 derailleur, but between a $25 and a $50 tire?  Almost certainly.  It is really worth spending the money to get the tires best suited to your needs. 

Gear Talk / Re: Trek 520 poor brakes
« on: November 11, 2013, 10:03:25 pm »
Please don't be insulted by the simplicity of this question, but...

Are you sure that the brake levers are compatible with linear pull (V-type) brakes?  You mentioned that the levers are the originals that came with the bike.  Was the bike originally equipped with cantilever brakes?  Most road-style levers will not pull enough cable to effectively actuate a linear pull brake.

Routes / Re: NYC to Monticello NY Route
« on: October 12, 2013, 10:58:39 am »
Have you tried searching Map My Ride or Ride With GPS?  Perhaps someone has done the ride and left behind a well thought-out route. 

Routes / Re: Advice for a ride beginning in NYC
« on: April 28, 2013, 02:43:16 pm »
If you are traveling light and willing to put in some longish days, you should have no trouble doing the loop in 4 days, especially if you are beginning and ending the ride in Saratoga Springs without the tag end leading to/from Niskayuna.

[Spoiler Alert]  I did the ride with two small rear panniers and a handlebar bag, which I would call modestly loaded.  My shortest gear was 34x27, pushing a 700x32 tire, which works out to something like 35ish gear inches.  I would consider myself an average-strength rider, and although I wouldn't have minded having a bit lower gearing, I was OK, with one exception: a short hill somewhere past Lake Luzerne (I think) which for about 100 meters nearly had me off the bike, pushing.  Even standing up, I just couldn't make it go ;D.  The three big climbs- Graphite Mountain Road into Hague, Keene Valley to Lake Placid, and Whiteface mountain- from Wilmington to the crest- were no problem.  Long and challenging, but never so steep that I ever felt that I would have to abandon the saddle.

You should check to make sure of this, but if I am not mistaken, the Whiteface Mountain alternate avoids the climb up Whiteface mountain, which you most definitely want to do!

If it helps to break the ride into more manageable portions, there is a place called the Nick Stoner Inn near Caroga Lake.  My guess is that you will have the park and your hotels/inns to yourself, and I think that the time of the year which you have chosen is perfect.

You're going to have a great time!

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