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Gear Talk / Re: roll up solar panel
« on: November 28, 2023, 07:59:11 pm »
I have never seen a roll-up solar panel, but I have a folding one.

You have to weigh out how many panels you want, the more panels the faster it can charge, but the more panels the heavier and bulker it is.  Those real small single panels devices are worthless, it could take several days of full sun to charge up a cell phone with one of those.

I settled on a 3-panel unit, the one that I have is no longer being made, which seems to be typical of these things, but the best one for the money, and looks exactly like mine, is the Anker 21W Solar Charger, these 3-panel jobs will charge a small iPhone X in about 3 hours in full sunlight while charging a rear tail light at the same time, but I don't think this one is made anymore either. 

So, you need to find a 3-panel solar charger panel that has between 20 to 24 watts of power; that has 2 USB ports, so you have the option of charging 2 things at the same time; and it needs to be compatible with charging iPhones, even if you don't have one, because someday you might have one.

The 20 to 24-watt panels will give you roughly 3 hours to charge a phone, 2 panels could take 6 hours, a single panel could take all day, and those small ones attached to power banks could take several days, 4 panels will be fast but as I said, the weight and bulkiness become an issue with backpacking or bike camping.

You cannot rely on the panel by itself, you need a backup power bank in case it's cloudy and you can't use the solar panel.  Again, weight and size determine how large of a power bank to get, I got the Anker Slim, and while it only puts out 10,000 mAh so far between it and the solar panel I've had no problems with getting power.

My panels have grommets so I charge something while riding, it simply sets on top of my back rack, held down by bungee cords in the open position.

One last thing, you can buy inflatable tent lanterns from Luci, these have a small solar panel so you recharge the light, but don't get the more expensive one that says you can charge up a phone, sure you can, if you don't mine using your phone for 7 days in a row!!

Gear Talk / Re: Rear derailleur dilemma
« on: November 28, 2023, 06:47:57 pm »
Warranty update:
Haro was very slow at responding about the money for the labor, but I found out that most of their staff got Covid so no one was around for 2 weeks, the 2 weeks I was calling them!  LOL!! Because I didn't hear from them I took the bike to a bike shop in town where I know the people that run the store, so I paid them for the work.  About 2 weeks ago I got a call from Haro, the rep there told me what had happened to the office, I believe their story because they were extremely fast at getting the new frame and fork sent to me, and now they're sending me a check for the amount I paid for labor.  They don't normally send money to a customer because a bike shop that is authorized to sell Haro bikes gets the money in the form of Haro credit, but in this case, they made an exception due to the circumstances and trouble with the Haro dealer in town.

So this whole thing turned out pretty darn good overall.  Haro has an amazing warranty service department, I am very happy with the outcome.  I had a problem with a Ridley bike that the frame cracked about 8 months and 8,000 miles into owning it, they refused to honor the warranty and used the excuse that fatigue caused the problem and their warranty didn't cover fatigue.  Haro didn't even question my load placement, I had to volunteer that information, so they might have known there was a problem and they were going to replace the frames as the complaints came in.

General Discussion / Re: Advice on likely my last bike
« on: November 28, 2023, 06:34:22 pm »
I think the bike choices you are looking at are very good choices, the Rivendell is a bit on the pricey side for what you get, yes it has beautiful lugs, but they're not made for loaded touring, light touring yes, heavy-loaded no.

So that leaves the Kona, and in fact, when I bought my touring bike I had it whittled down to the Kona Sutra and the Masi Giramondo 700c Speciale.  I had eliminated the Surly because the components you get on it are a level down from the Kona and the Masi, but you pay a bit more for the Surly, so that one didn't make sense, also I found out later Surly has a horrible warranty department should that ever be needed, so I'm glad I didn't select that bike.  The Masi ticked all my wants boxes, the others ticked most of them, but not all of them.

What I finally decided on was the 2019 Masi, it would have been a good bike but something happened.  When loaded with 60 pounds of camping gear the frame was shimming, or flexing, at first it flexed just a little, but as time went on it started to flex really bad, where it was swaying about 2 inches on both sides.  I contacted Haro about the problem they told me to take the bike to their dealer near me, which I did, he test rode it and said it was dangerous, he weighs about 50 pounds more than me and with the bike loaded he claimed, though I doubt it, that rear stays were swinging a full foot in each direction, whatever.  But even with just an inch or two that would over time weaken a weld someplace and the frame would break.

Haro was extremely fast at getting me a replacement frame and fork, man was I stoked, I had a problem with Ridley bike that cracked after 8 months and 8,000 miles they said it due to fatigue and not covered?!  I got screwed on that one.  But Haro sent me a new bike within a week after the bike shop guy told them what it was doing. 

I did run into another problem, they were supposed to cover the cost of the labor to swap the parts, but the guy at the bike shop when he called them he was told they would give him store credit, which I guess is standard in the industry, but the bike shop guy told them that he wanted a check because his landlord won't take store credit, Haro said no, so the bike shop called me and told me to come get my bikes he wasn't going to do the swap.  I offered to pay him myself but he refused, so I took it to another bike shop in town that is not a dealer.  I told Haro what I did and they decided to send me a check for the labor which is something they never do but due to the dealer going ape nuts and there was no one else in town that handled Haro, and I had already paid the bike shop, they sent me the check.  There was a bit of delay because no one was returning my calls at Haro, turned out that Haro office all came down with Covid, so they weren't up to full staff.

I think overall Haro did a fantastic job of taking care of a customer, I doubt any bike company could have done the same.  Even Rivendell they don't even offer a warranty whatsoever, they only say that if something goes bad send it back in and they will determine if an adjustment will be made at Rivendell cost...not a very comforting warranty.

I'm not sure how good the Kona warranty is.

I have not ridden the new bike at all, it's still in the shop, so can't comment on if they got the frame flex taken care of.  I do know that the frame has the exact same measurements as the old one, but the fork is completely different, it looks beefier.  The old bike the brass-colored paint on the top tube was a tad of a shade lighter than the rest of the tubes which sort of bugged me but it wasn't something worth crying about.  The new bike paint, a medium metal flake blue, is much better quality than the old one.  My only question is, will it still flex, I hope not. 

I think Haro might have known they had a problem because they never even questioned my load placement or anything, which I tried all sorts of combinations of load placement and nothing worked, so I think they were just going to take it as someone who calls noting an issue, they'll replace it no questions asked, but most bought those bikes and will never load the bike up, those will never know there was a flex problem.

Would I buy that bike again knowing what I went through?  That's a tough question, if I had bought the Kona and had the same problem what sort of warranty trouble would I be experiencing with them?  That's a huge unknown answer. 

So if what I said about the Haro scares you, then get the Kona, that bike is the best of the ones you mentioned.

Another bike you didn't mention is the Salsa Marrakesh, or some such name, that was my number 3 pick.

I would also call or e-mail each company, tell them how much you weigh and how much gear weight you will be carrying, so they can tell you if the bike is up to the task, and write the person's name down whom you talked to, or save the e-mail response.  I did that with Haro, and they assured me it was up to the task.

General Discussion / Re: Touring with an E-bike or G-bike?
« on: November 28, 2023, 05:53:12 pm »
I can think of several issues with using an E-bike for touring.

One is they're only good for about 20 miles, but loaded with another 60 pounds of gear and it may only go around 15 miles if you're lucky

If you save the battery for climbing, then you're pedaling with another 50 to 60 pounds in bike weight and battery, plus your gear weight.

When you camp for the night, you have to make sure there's power so you can charge the battery backup.  I think trying to find a campsite every 15 miles by itself will be tough to do, not alone one with a power site.

So now you think you'll just carry a second battery, but those weigh a lot and are bulky.

I just don't think it's very feasible.

Having said that, there is a guy I know who has a touring E bike, he has 2 large batteries attached to the frame, and he can go about 60 miles on a charge, but I questioned the logic of doing such a thing, his bike weighs 75 pounds, plus he carries 60 pounds of gear.  If you're going to travel like that you might as well say forget it and buy a motorcycle!

Gear Talk / Re: Rear derailleur dilemma
« on: November 06, 2023, 02:37:58 pm »
UPDATE:  Haro as you all know from what I reported earlier did a fantastic job of sending me a new frame and fork to replace the old one that had some sort of warranty issue with either the frame or the fork.  Received the bike quickly with no problems such as a damaged bike from shipping.

I contacted Haro about the labor and they told me, as their warranty implies, that they would pay the labor and take the bikes to a local bike shop in town that was an authorized dealer for Haro and they would pay the bike shop directly for the labor.  About 3 weeks ago I took the bike into the shop, the owner later contacted Haro and told them how much the labor would be and Haro told them they would pay in the form of a store credit, the bike shop owner told them that he couldn't accept store credit because his landlord wouldn't accept store credit to pay for the lease on the building, he's in!  The store owner told me what happened, so I tried contacting Haro 5 times since then and no one is returning my calls, nor is anyone returning any more of the store owner's calls.  This last Saturday the store owner told me to come to pick up the old bike and the new frame and fork and take it someplace else because he wasn't going to work for free, at that point I offered to pay him instead, but he refused because if there was some sort of future warranty issue who's going to pay him? He also told me that he would no longer do any warranty work for Haro, and was going to end his contract with them.

The only way that Haro would pay for the labor is for me to take it to a dealer and Haro would pay them, well now that dealer where I live won't do it, and the next closest dealer is 2 hours from me, which I'm not going to drive that far to take the bike into and then run into the same payment problem with them!

I don't understand and find it extremely odd that Haro did such a great job at getting the new frame and fork out to me, but are now refusing to honor the rest of their warranty as implied in it, and as it was spoken to me over the phone that they would cover the cost of the labor.

Gear Talk / Re: Rear derailleur dilemma
« on: November 04, 2023, 09:25:24 pm »
I had extensive experience with the Huret Duopar rear derailleur. It was a fine derailleur for friction shifting. It did not index well and faded from use.

But was the Duopar better than the Superbe Tech??

Gear Talk / Re: Rear derailleur dilemma
« on: November 02, 2023, 07:55:37 pm »
I don't agree with the Disraeli article, maybe the first year or two of those Mountechs and of the Superbe Tech, had issues, but I know the later years, the ones I've got, have had ZERO issues, and remember the one Superbe Tech I have has over 150,000 miles on it, if there was a problem with the design it would have reared its ugly head years and miles ago. Nothing has ever bent, and the weird thing is, you won't believe this, but the Superbe Tech with the 150,000 miles has NEVER had the jockey wheels replaced, and they're not cracked to this day.

The problem with those derailleurs was the issue of dirt, they didn't like dirt, so I kept mine very clean and made sure all the pivots and bearings were well lubed, I have always used Tri-Flow for all my components and cables, just not on the chain because technology has improved with chain lube. 

I have never used the Huret Duopar derailleur, nor ever known anyone who had one, that is how rare they were, at least in the USA.  Could the Duopar shift better?  Hmmm, all I can say is that a lot of people raced on Campy Nuovo Record back in the day, and I still have a bike with Nuovo Record, and Suntour Superbe Tech shifts better, thus I would be inclined to think that Mountech would shift at least as well as Duopar if not better, but I could be wrong.

My Mountech was built probably in 84 maybe 85 because it came original from the factory on a 85 Schwinn Le Tour Luxe, so it is a later model, but based on my experience the Mountech did not destroy Suntour.  Shimano destroyed Suntour by first coming out with SIS, or index shifting, Suntour was left scrambling to come up with their version of index shifting, and the first derailleurs were object failures! That failure is what got Suntour on a slippery slope to doom.  Suntour was a very small company, Shimano was a giant company, they built all their cycling components whereas Suntour got some of their stuff from Dia Comp and renamed it, Shimano was also huge into fishing gear.  This all meant that Shimano had a large research and development operation that dwarfed Suntour, Suntour was hopelessly lost against such a giant, and once the patent ran out on the Suntour slant parallelogram derailleur design Shimano jumped on it and incorporated the design in their derailleurs, that was the nail that closed the coffin.  Other things helped doom Suntour, and all this crap sort of happened in 10 years of hell period, the yen devalued in the mid-'80s, the slant parallelogram patent ran out, index shifter failure, bad news about the Tech series of derailleurs, sales dropped off to just 5%...yeah, you get the picture.

Personally, this is tough to say, but I think the bad news about the Tech series was propaganda perpetrated by Shimano!  That propaganda was repeated over and over and over by others in the industry so much so that it became a "fact".  I know people who have had those Tech derailleurs personally, as well as on forums, and not one person has ever said anything negative about them, well if they were such junk then people who used them personally would be shouting hate for those derailleurs, but none of that is happening even almost 40 years of still being used!  That is why I believe it was a smear campaign started by Shimano to try to put Suntour out of business, and it worked along with other factors.

General Discussion / Re: Pedals and Shoes for the TransAmerica
« on: October 31, 2023, 11:14:32 pm »

General Discussion / Re: Pedals and Shoes for the TransAmerica
« on: October 30, 2023, 10:41:03 am »
Two more sets of cleats to wear out here...

FWIW, as I noted up-thread, I've got Crank Brothers Eggbeaters, now on two bikes.  IME they're not as easy to clip in or out as the Frogs, but they're better than SPDs for a bit of float.  I've read, in another forum, that Time ATAC are even better for float.

I am considering the Crank Brothers Candy 7 when mine go bad, but the guy at the bike shop didn't know if the float has a spring return or is it a free float like the Frogs, and the Crank Bros website doesn't say either.  Do you know?

General Discussion / Re: Pedals and Shoes for the TransAmerica
« on: October 25, 2023, 07:55:15 am »
The Speedplay Frogs are obsolete, and people want over $200 for the cleats, idiots, all we have to do is buy new pedals for less the cost of the cleats!  So when my cleats go kablooey, then I'll have to get new pedals.

The problem is, I like a free float without a spring to return my foot back, I'm using the Frogs on my road bike so I can have the option to walk around if I want to without taking off the cleats, Not sure if such a pedal exist because none that I've looked at have said free float design.  Argh!

General Discussion / Re: The famous bicycle
« on: October 15, 2023, 07:11:27 pm »
Push the pedals and leave the jungle.

Gear Talk / Re: Rear derailleur dilemma
« on: October 04, 2023, 09:23:57 am »
I do know that when I'm under load the original rear Deore derailleur doesn't shift as well as it does with no load, not sure why that would be happening, but it could be due to the unusual amount of frame flex I was getting with the 2019 Giramondo.
I want a derailleur that will last a very long time and shift good when under load.

Is this just because derailleurs don't really like to shift well under load, but today's derailleurs can do that - up to a point?  I learned to shift on second generation derailleurs. long ago, and still shift under low/no load.  Which is probably better for the equipment anyway.  To me, if it shifts well under no load, I'd be satisfied.

I had an older 1985 Schwinn Le Tour Luxe that had Suntour Mountech on it, and it shifted just as good under load as it did without, I would have thought the newer stuff would have been better, or at the very least the same. 

So does a clutch derailleur like the Microshift XCD work better under load?  Or would the Deore XT clutch work better under load?  OR, since you mentioned the older stuff maybe I should just put on the old Mountech?

Gear Talk / Rear derailleur dilemma
« on: October 03, 2023, 07:39:02 pm »
I had an issue with my 2019 Masi Giramondo 700c, something was wrong with the frame that allowed it to flex almost a foot to either side in the rear when loaded, so Haro replaced the frame and fork under warranty, and did so hassle-free which pleasantly surprised me. 

They sent me the newest 2023 Giramondo frame and fork, but for some reason, it came with Microshift XCD rear derailleur which I think is a clutch design?

The front is the MS XLE derailleur.

To my question; is the MS XCD a better front derailleur than the Deore that my bike came with in 2019 for touring with loads?  OR should I skip both and get a Shimano Deore XT? 

I do know that when I'm under load the original rear Deore derailleur doesn't shift as well as it does with no load, not sure why that would be happening, but it could be due to the unusual amount of frame flex I was getting with the 2019 Giramondo.

And the other related question, is the MS XLE a better front derailleur than the Deore?  Or should I upgrade it to Deore XT?  I haven't had any issues with the original Deore, so I'm thinking that since the front isn't as critical as the rear either transfer the Deore to the new bike or leave the MS XLE on it instead.

I don't know anything about Microshift, nor do I know anything about a clutch derailleur, will a clutch derailleur work better when under load?

I want a derailleur that will last a very long time and shift good when under load.

Thanks for your all help.

Gear Talk / Re: Most compact UL down quilt or sleeping bag?
« on: September 30, 2023, 07:54:01 pm »
There is a quilt that can pack down the size of a water bottle about 5" x 6", it's called the Therm-a-Rest Vesper 32, not only does it take up very little space, but it only weighs 15 ounces, and as the 32 indicates its good down to 32 degrees, a sleeping bag that rating is for 32 degrees are actually comfortable down to 42 degrees, but this is a quilt and the temperature ratings are more accurate.  While it's not cheap at $361 for the long version, it's not horribly expensive either.

The problem with stuff that is lightweight is that the fabrics are flimsier and may not hold up as long as heavier ones.

If you want something warmer then the pack size and weight will go up, there is no way around it, but the smallest for a 20 degree back is the Therm-a-Rest Corus Quilt, it weighs 22 ounces and packs down to 7" x 10" and cost $300.

If those two choices are too much for your budget, and if don't need as warm of a quilt there is a third option that is very affordable at around $65 called the Get Out Gear Down Camping Blanket, it weighs just 17 ounces but packs a bit larger than the Vesper, but smaller than the Corus at 5" x 12" not bad size though, but the temperature rating is just 45 degrees which is typical of most blankets, most blankets will be lighter than most quilts, but as you can see, as it is with cycling, the more money you spend the lighter you get stuff, so it will depend on whether or not the money being spent is worth a few ounces, that's where blankets come in, they're cheaper and lightweight.

When using a quilt or blanket you will need a when using a quilt, you will need an insulated mat.

Do some reading on blankets and then decide if that is something for you.

Gear Talk / Re: Endurance bike advice
« on: September 30, 2023, 07:04:41 pm »
I read here that the average lifespan of a road bike is 5-10 years. And a good bike will last for 30,000 to 50,000+ miles on the road, but a bad one could break down in under 5,000 miles. Is that true? And are there ways to increase the lifespan?

5 to 10 years and 30 to 50k miles is for CF and AL bikes, not for steel. I have a steel bike I bought brand new in 84, it has over 150,000 miles on it, including the components, and if I wanted to, I could take that bike on a credit card tour across the nation and not think anything of it.  Sheldon Brown, the former and now deceased guru of bicycles, used to ride a steel bike to work every day weather permitting. His favorite bike he rode to work every day was built in 1918, he estimated it had over 300,000 miles, it even had a nice patina he called it.  Now if he could ride a bike with at least 300k, and built in 1918 do you think that article was referring to steel bikes?

I still see a lot of old Schwinn Varsity, Suburban, and Continentals still being used all over the city in where I live, who knows how many miles are on them.

I suppose if you could buy a steel Walmart bike that won't even last 10k miles.

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