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Messages - peterharris

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Gear Talk / Frame Saver or T-9?
« on: July 12, 2012, 11:40:32 am »
I've got a fairly new steel-frame bike and have been caught in a couple of torrential downpours. After the first time, I didn't think much about it, wiped the bike down, and put it in the shed until the next ride. The next time I got ready to ride I tilted the bike up for some reason and orange water poured out through the weep holes on the chainstays - maybe as much as a tablespoon for each side. I started asking around for suggestions on how to protect the interior of the frame. I got rained on hard the other day but before putting the bike away I made sure to tilt it up and drain any water out - maybe 1-2 teaspoons each this time.

My LBS initially suggested a product called "Frame Saver" but they're a small biz and don't seem to be able to get their hands on any of the stuff for another month or two. They do have Boeshield T-9 which the mfgr claims is good for "inside frame" as well as for chains, derailleurs, etc: "Solvent Base flushes out old lubricants. Penetrates deeply to thoroughly coat inner pins and rollers. Dries to a clean Paraffin Wax film so it will not pick up dirt. Lubricates and protects for 150 to 200 miles per application."

Thoughts? Opinions? Ideas? I'm not sure I want to use it as a general-purpose lube or chain lube but I may be interested in it as a frame-saver.

(>> I just checked a couple of on-line bike shops and Frame Saver seems to be on back order. I checked Amazon and they don't have it but the first product that popped up when I did a Frame Saver search was ... Boeshield T-9).

Gear Talk / Gear increments
« on: June 19, 2012, 09:40:14 am »
I had a hybrid, that I've since sold, that I bought off-the-rack and that had really smooth and even increments between gears as I shifted. What the bike lacked was a low enough granny gear for the hilly countryside I ride in. I'm getting up there in years and some of the hills in my area are short but pretty steep and I wanted a pretty low gear for doing those. I swapped out the cassette and got the granny gear I wanted but I lost some of the smooth, even increments between the other gears. I suppose the bike manufacturers try to select a chainring-cassette combination that gives those nice, even increments between gears.

I want to swap out the cassette on my new bike to get lower gears but I don't want to sacrifice the even shifting the bike currently has. Is there a formula or algorithm or something that I can use to determine how many teeth need to be on each sprocket of a new cassette so that I can keep those nice, even increments?

General Discussion / Re: Which sunscreen?
« on: February 15, 2012, 08:17:17 pm »
REI sells several long-sleeve button-front and t-shirts ranging from UPF 15 up to UPF 50. These would have the advantage of almost total torso and arm coverage when you need it plus the ability to roll or slide the sleeves up if you wanted to. They're not cheap but they're not terribly expensive either. If you're pretty much dead-set against slathering yourself with regular sunscreen, this might be an option to consider. And REI is having a sale right now so you might be able to find something at a great price.

I'm sure there are many other places besides REI that would carry these UPF protective shirts.

Gear Talk / Re: Surly Cross-Check off-the-shelf gearing
« on: January 13, 2012, 08:46:20 am »
Thanks for the suggestions!

Lesson learned: do a little more digging before posting.

As it turns out, based on the Surly website, the drive train components on the C-C and the LHT are almost identical. Same bar-end shifters, same front derailleur, same crankset (except that the C-C is only a double), same brand/model bottom bracket (except the LHT is a little longer due to the third chainring), same brand/model cassette (except the LHT is 11-34 and the C-C is 11-32). The rear derailleur on the C-C is a Deore M591SGS which, according to the Shimano service document, can handle either an 11-32 or an 11-34 cassette with a maximum chainring difference of 22 teeth (which is weird since the very same service document also says it can handle an 11-34). It appears it's as straightforward as buying the third chainring and replacing the bottom bracket with a longer one to convert the C-C's double set-up to a triple.

And, as pdlamb pointed out, this is the off-season for bicycle sales. The LBS should be able to get me a good deal on the bottom bracket and the chainring and - one would hope - swap them out for no labor charge if they're really hungry.

I'll let you know what happens!

Gear Talk / Surly Cross-Check off-the-shelf gearing
« on: January 09, 2012, 08:38:42 pm »
I really like the way the Surly Cross-Check feels and rides. I'm leaning towards it as a light touring and weekend back-roads bike. But I'm not totally thrilled with the gearing and don't know if it can be fixed inexpensively.

I currently ride a hybrid with MTB components. 26-36-48 triple in front and 11-34 or 11-36 9-speed in the back. That gives me a low gear-inch figure of somewhere in the very low 20s, I think. The exact number isn't that important but it's definitely down in granny-gear range. I like it that way. The rural area where I live has some short but nasty hills.

As listed on the Surly website, the Cross-Check has a 36-48 double in front and a 11-32 9-speed in the back. That gets me maybe into the lower to middle 30s for lowest gear-inches, I think. The bar-end shifters are capable of handling a triple (from the Shimano website). The front derailleur (Shimano Sora FD-3403) also appears to be able to handle a 3x9 combination. The technical documents on the website list it as being able to handle 27 gears with a 9 cog cassette so I'm drawing that conclusion. The crankset (Andel RSC6 36/48) appears to be available as a 26/36/48 (Andel website). And when you look at the Andel crankset on the Cross-Check, there are clearly a set of "empty" bolt holes that look like they're intended to hold a third chainring (the 26, I assume).

So ... I don't know much about these types of things but it APPEARS, based on what I'm seeing on a few websites, that I could possibly add a third ring to the crankset and get my 3x9 combination. Is it really that simple or am I deluding myself? The LBS guys said, without any hesitation, that I couldn't do that. Are they right or are they just spouting conventional wisdom? Or maybe they just don't know?

I know a lot of you build out your own bikes. I have neither the time, patience, nor money to do that. I'm going to basically buy "off the shelf" and tweak a few things. Many of you make extensive modifications and swap-outs on your bikes. I'm turning to you to enlighten me. If I can make these changes reasonably inexpensively, that would be cool. If I can't, I'm not ruling out the Cross-Check ... it just makes the decision a little more difficult.

The other bike I'm considering is the Salsa Casseroll which I have test-ridden and also like a lot (feels very much like the Cross-Check and the geometries are almost identical, thank you QBS). It already comes in a 3x9 combination but, quite honestly, the color scheme is pretty ugly, IMHO.

Thanks in advance.

Gear Talk / Brifters vs. bar-end from a convenience standpoint
« on: November 04, 2011, 02:34:13 pm »
First off, let me thank all of you who so patiently answer questions from us newcomers, questions that sometimes seem sort of repetitive. I value all the input I've received from you on my previous posts and just generally enjoy reading what you have to say, even if it's not on a topic that is a burning one for me.

I'm the guy who originally thought about "converting" my hybrid bike to a light tourer but who - after much research, reading this forum, and riding bikes my friends own - have started thinking about a "cyclocross" as a distinct possibility for the type of riding I want to do ... light touring, exercise, back-road rides in my rolling Virginia countryside. I want a "do-it-all" bike that doesn't excel in any one thing but does a few things reasonably well and many of the models sold as "cyclocross" (even the venerable Surly Cross-Check) claim that's what their bikes do. I can afford money and space for one bicycle. I don't have the inclination or money to think about buying a frame and then building it out the way I want to (whatever that could end up being). I'm going to buy something off-the-shelf.

I see some bikes I like and they're sort of evenly divided between having brifters and bar-end shifters. My hybrid is easy ... a flat handlebar with rapid-fire shifters right next to the brake levers. And all the other friends' bikes I've ridden have brifters. But as I look at the "cyclocross" bikes, all of which have drop bars, I wonder about the convenience of bar-end shifters as opposed to brifters. I clearly see the pros of the brifters - an all-in-one package that lets me shift regardless of where my hands are. I wonder about moving my hands down off the brake hoods to shift with bar-ends. I intend to test ride a bar-end bike sometime over the next few months but I was wondering what your views are about the relative convenience of bar-ends? I've done a search of this forum for previous bar-end posts but they all seem to be discussions about the durability and maintainability of brifters vs. bar-ends.

One of the bikes on my short list is, in fact, the Surly Cross-Check. It has bar-end shifters. It's currently set up with a compact double but the bar-end shifter that works the front derailleur actually can work a triple. That would allow me to later swap out the double for a triple (maybe 48-36-26) to get to 21 or 22 gear-inches. I think the current set up (48-36 and 11-32) only gets me down to 31 gear-inches. So, from that perspective I see the flexibility to get down to granny-gear range with a relatively inexpensive swap. But that may just be THAT bar-end (Shimano SL-BS77).

So many decisions. I need your help! Once I spend the money, I'm not going to be able to spend even more $$ fixing a bad decision.

Gear Talk / Re: Headlight Recommendations for use w/ handlebar bag
« on: November 04, 2011, 12:45:04 pm »

Gear Talk / Re: SRAM Apex?
« on: October 29, 2011, 09:38:13 pm »
whittierider, your point about what constitutes a true cyclocross bike is right on point. That's why I referred to the bikes I was looking at as "cyclocross" in quotation marks.  :-\

The bikes I have in mind are really "all-purpose" bikes suitable for light touring, commuting, general riding ... but the manufacturers are calling them cyclocross. Why not just call them what they are... light touring, commuting bikes? They're not what I would call road bikes, either, although when you go to some websites that's where their "cyclocross" bikes are located. Clearly there's not a lot of standardization of bike categories across the industry.

Here's how Surly describes their Cross-Check which is, ostensibly, a cyclocross bike: "It’s a cyclocross bike by category, but we try to design a lot of versatility into our stuff. You can build this frame with gears or as a singlespeed or fixed-gear. You can ride it on the road or off. It’s got lots of space for fat tires and for fenders. It does as good a job getting you across the country as it does getting you across town." In other words ... an all-purpose bike and NOT a cyclocross bike!

Gear Talk / SRAM Apex?
« on: October 29, 2011, 07:01:01 pm »
Well ... I've decided to get rid of my hybrid and not try to "convert" it to a light tourer (for a lot of reasons I won't go into here). I'm now looking at "cyclocross" and full-on touring bicycles instead but am leaning towards "cyclocross" so I can it as an all-purpose bicycle. I haven't decided yet whether to buy a built-out cycle (which would be more affordable) or a frame/fork and build it out myself (more expensive but could pick my own components and I'd have all winter to play with it).

A couple of the built-out cycles I've looked at use many components from the SRAM Apex group. From what I've been able to glean from a little web surfing, it's a relatively new group but clearly not top-end. I don't expect to do much more than occasional credit card and lightly loaded touring until I retire in several more years. Financially, if I build-out my own, I'll need to be judicious about buying components and the Apex components seem to be reasonably affordable. If I buy pre-built, I can probably get an entire bicycle with Apex components (mostly drivetrain) and spend less than if building-out myself but will have to be satisfied with everything else that comes with the cycle.

What have you heard about the Apex group? Anyone have personal experience with that group?

General Discussion / Re: Light Touring
« on: October 29, 2011, 06:11:25 pm »
+1 from me, too, for the Ortlieb Sport Packer (I have the Sport Packer Classic). I've used them for credit card tours and they have PLENTY of room, even in cooler conditions in VA & WV in October when I've wanted to carry extra layers.

General Discussion / Re: Camp Coffee That Doesn't Suck
« on: October 27, 2011, 04:00:55 pm »
I do some backpacking, too, and have to have my coffe. I use something that's a little more bulky than the Starbucks Via but if you like regular drip-type cofee, this comes close:

Be sure to get a fairly coarse grind of coffee. You'll get some sediment in the cup but not too much. Works for tea, too. Nests inside the coffee cup. I like my coffee a little stiff so I let it brew for 4-5 minutes ... it will take some trial and error depending on your tastes and the type and grind of the coffee you use.

Routes / GAP Trail tunnel detour?
« on: October 05, 2011, 07:15:01 am »
I'm planning a short trip up-and-back on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail the few days before Thanksgiving (probably Nov 21-23). I'm going north from Cumberland to Rockwood then returning a couple of days later - that part of the trail has me going through the Big Savage Tunnel. In reading the website and maps put out by the trail organization, I see conflicting information about the annual closing of that tunnel (due to weather, I presume).

Their web-based maps say the tunnel is closed from late November through early April and that there is NO easy detour. But their annual TrailBook says the tunnel is closed from early December to early April and that there’s a seasonal detour. I e-mailed the trail org a few weeks ago about the conflicting information but haven't heard back from them.

Does anyone have any experience/information about this? I'm less concerned about exactly when the tunnel closes (although early December would be better) than I am about knowing what the seasonal detour is. I've searched their website and the TrailBook high and low and can find no information about the "seasonal detour." Not being familiar with the area, I'm reluctant to guess at what a detour might be.

Gear Talk / Re: stemcaptain compass
« on: September 26, 2011, 11:31:35 am »
Depending on what you have on your front rack, maybe something like this would work:

It's a kayak compass - big, easy to read, and weatherproof. It uses bungees to attach to the deck rigging. No reason you couldn't modify it to fit on a rack.

Gear Talk / Could a cyclo-cross bike do?
« on: September 26, 2011, 09:50:51 am »
I'm not a "serious" tourer ... yet. I'm building up to it via weekend trips and eventually week-long trips. When I retire in a few years I want to start doing longer trips. I have too many other "distractions" right now - hiking, backpacking, kayaking, running, along with cycling. And with those activities comes gear and I'm starting to overrun with gear and run out of storage space - or at least that's what my wife thinks and if she thinks that then I pay attention. Peace in the household is a wonderful thing.

I have one bicycle - a Trek 7.5 FX hybrid - that I'm making do with for now. I am not going to be able to get away with another bike - one is all SHE can tolerate and all I really have room for - but I want something a little more suitable for the type of touring I'm doing now and expect to do over the next few years. An experienced cycling friend of mine has suggested a steel frame cyclo-cross bike as a compromise that might be appropriate for some touring and that would still be okay for the type of fitness and general riding I want to do, too (I have no aspirations to be a pedal-to-the-metal roadie, BTW). I really want a bike that does everything but I know there's no such thing ... I'll have to settle for something that does a few things pretty well but doesn't excel in any one thing. Budget is a consideration, too - can't afford a custom bike. I am okay with compromise.

I do value your opinions and thoughts on this, particularly since it's probably repetitive. You all seem to be genuinely interested in getting the less experienced of us out on the road more often to enjoy touring. I appreciate the variety of opinions - even though many of you take distinctly different views on a subject - but that presents options and alternatives to me I probably wouldn't have thought of on my own. I almost always go away from this Forum with the kind of information I need to make an informed decision. So, I'll thank you in advance for helping me out!

General Discussion / Re: Rain gear on self contained long distance touring?
« on: September 22, 2011, 11:20:54 am »
Ever considered any of these? Some are very expensive, some not so much:

I think they sell these at and probably other on-line retailers.

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