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Messages - rcrampton

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Gear Talk / Re: Chain Maintenance vs Replacement
« on: July 06, 2013, 01:22:57 pm »
When 12 links measures 1/16"  over 12" you're at 5.2%, time to change.

That's 0.52%. When I measure 0.75%, I start planning for a new chain, making sure I change it before 1%.

What's an order of magnitude among friends? Thanks for the catch :)

Gear Talk / Re: Solar Panel - Yea or Nay?
« on: July 06, 2013, 09:24:48 am »
I'd skip the solar panel.  You will find lots of places to plug in, especially if you plan to eat a diner meal here and there.

I had no shortage of places to plug in along the OR coast. We stopped for snacks at a convenience store a couple of times per day and ate lunch on the road. If I were using a phone with GPS running all day and needed more juice then I'd personally go with a dynamo hub with a USB port. Expensive, but it would be worth the money over the solar solutions for me.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Maintenance vs Replacement
« on: July 06, 2013, 09:19:25 am »
Chain maintenance - totally overrated.

Shimano applies grease before the chain is assembled. Their guidance is not to apply aftermarket lubes or solvents until that grease wears out. They say to at most wipe the chain down with a cloth and a sparing amount of lubricant if you ride in dusty conditions (e.g. gravel roads). They also say that pretty much all the aftermarket lubes are good.


I'm with you - quit screwing around with the chain and ride. At $30 for 3000 miles I'm not going to spend hours of my life messing around with dirty chains to save $30 per year or two!

Measured it every now and then with a ruler. The links are exactly on 1" spacing. When 12 links measures 1/16"  over 12" you're at 5.2%, time to change.

Gear Talk / Re: Bad idea?
« on: January 01, 2013, 11:54:49 pm »
Your bike is totally fine. Ride away. Like others said I wouldn't load it up with racks, panniers, and 75 lbs of gear, but for credit card touring it's a great bike! Enjoy!

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Maintenance on Tour
« on: October 17, 2012, 10:55:08 pm »
I am still running cogs and rings that probably have 100,000 miles on them.

Wow, I think I'll shut up and ride :)

Gear Talk / Re: REI Novara Safari
« on: October 17, 2012, 07:51:38 pm »
I've got both the Randonee and the Safari from REI and love them. They're good for the money and just plain good regardless of the money in my opinion.

I have models that are a few years old and are quite a bit different than the current ones so it won't help for me to tell you how much I love my Safari (aluminum frame, disc brakes, 26" wheels back then). But here's what I like about my bikes:

- Love the 26" wheel on one, it lets me put good off-road tires on (I prefer rails-trails type tours)
- Love the disc brakes. They are no-hassle and are fantastic for loaded touring.
- Like the butterfly handlebars pretty well. I don't use the various handlebar positions that much but I do some and it can be nice at times
- Love the grip shifters

As to the Safari as it's configured today:
- The gearing is great, nice and low 26/32 is fine for me for nasty hills
- 700c wheels are great if you think you'll mainly stick to good, hard surfaces
- I'd upgrade to disc brakes (the frame can support both) but it's not at all necessary, just a nice to have. Don't short change yourself on panniers for the sake of disc brakes.
- I'm not crazy about the Deore level of components but it wouldn't be a deciding factor. People make a bigger deal out of components than I think is justified. They can be upgraded at low cost later if you ever care.
- Wheels should be pretty good, like any factory wheel they can be a little hit or miss (I had three good and one not so good)
- The rack that REI used to put on their Safari was junk, the new one looks pretty good though.

I don't think you can go wrong with most any bike made for touring. To me, the differences between most of the models are in the noise unless there are some must-have features. For sure I'd buy mine from REI if I were in the market today and one of them was a good fit for me.

Gear Talk / Re: What kind of bike?
« on: October 07, 2012, 11:23:43 am »
+1 on the REI Novaras. I've got the Randonee (700c) and the Safari (26 but is now 29) and like both. They've changed a fair bit since I got mine. Which you'd like better is personal preference. The Randonee has slightly better components. For a road tour that's the one I'd buy today but I'd take either across the US with confidence.

I spent another $1000 on racks, fenders, panniers, etc. after I bought my first touring bike, hopefully you can get some re-use there.

Gear Talk / Re: Stem leaks
« on: August 13, 2012, 10:29:17 pm »
I had those kind of flats off and on with presta vales. My best guess is that I was stressing the stem/tube interface when I was pumping them up.

I drilled out my rims with a step bit so I could use schrader valves. I like being able to hit my tires with a quick burst from a service station, the tubes have been easier for me to find on semi-remote tours and I have never had these kinds of flats.

People use presta valves all the time without problems but I didn't play well with them. Not sure which you're using. A CO2 cartridge or pump with a hose on it may help.

I'm also curious about this. I recently came across this article which lists a few potential options:

Gear Talk / Re: Handlebars
« on: July 25, 2012, 05:35:28 am »
If you have an REI nearby you can try out the butterfly handlebars on their Novara Safari. I've used them and drop bars but never moustache style.

I do like a more upright position because it lets me see without craning my neck too much. I try to roughly match the 90 degree angle between arms and back as discussed in the posture article in a recent Adventure Cycling magazine.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened
« on: July 10, 2012, 11:24:40 pm »
A brake rubbing on the tire leaves a huge signature. The brake area will be covered in black dust. The erosion on the tire is clean because it's being burned away and heat polished. That is, until you burn it into the casing and then you might see something like in your photos. But a brake rubbing on the tire rubs on the entire tire or there will be a fierce bump while braking and you can smell the rubber burning. It's unmistakable.

The most common cause of brake erosion tire that I can think of is not seating the tire properly in the drops. Easy to do. You set it and then sit on the bike and then set it again with some mass and ithe axel will almost always shift. An improperly adjusted brake mech makes itself known on the first serious application of the brake.

So, I'm not going with the brake idea. Something else. Impossible for us to tell form here; it's all speculation.

I'm having second doubts to blaming the brakes now too. You're right, the smell of burning rubber is very strong. I think that's hard to miss. Maybe if the wheel was out of true enough to only rub in that one spot? I'm reaching there :)

The good news is that after a couple of failures like that we all usually get pretty anal about seating tires and tubes and don't take much for granted. With that extra care I never had any more problems :)

Gear Talk / Re: Buying a Bicycle from Europe
« on: July 08, 2012, 12:17:39 am »
I bought a bike locally and shipped it to Europe for a fellow touring guy on this forum a few years ago. Figuring out how to get it shipped affordably was tough. I ended up creating a business account with FedEx I think it was (or maybe it was UPS), and that let me ship internationally much cheaper than any other option I found. I believe the recipient had to pay duties on it when picking it up.

When it was all said and done (shipping, exchange rates, etc.) it came together pretty well, but it took me some hours of doing my homework to figure it out.

I know this is shipping the other direction from what you want to do but I'm just pointing out that it took some homework to find an affordable option. I burned several hours on it.

Gear Talk / Re: Do I need a water filter
« on: July 08, 2012, 12:09:51 am »
I wouldn't carry a water filter, I'd just carry some Aqua Mira drops. They're light, small, and work well without making water taste funny. They can take a long time to treat cold water, seems like I had to wait > 1 hour in winter:

Or iodine tablets. I forget why I stopped using those years ago. Taste? I use drink mixes a lot. If I didn't care for the taste I could throw some mix in. Iodine tablets probably have a really long shelf life. Aqua Mira drops can quietly expire and I don't notice :)

Gear Talk / Re: Tour Bike Gearing
« on: July 08, 2012, 12:01:36 am »
I agree that it's hard to gear up a bike too low.

I run 22/32/44 front and 11-32 rear with 26" wheels and find it to be about perfect. Much lower gearing and I'm going to slow to keep my balance very well. But I use every bit of that lowest gear when fully-loaded and on a steep hill.

I run the same on my 700c bike and it's fine. If I were to buy a new cassette I'd get one that goes to 34 for that bike, but it's not enough of a deal to do anything about it until I run that cassette in the ground.

Both of my touring bikes have 36 spokes. That's what came on them and I stuck with it. I've had a couple of broken spokes and several loose ones over the years. Whenever I toss these wheels I'll build ones with more spokes. I'll go with at least 44 but will pick 48 if there's not much price difference.

Were I going out of the country on a remote tour I'll go nuts for lower gears and more spokes. But touring around the US on roads and rails-trails, I'll do what I said above.

Gear Talk / Re: Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened
« on: July 07, 2012, 11:48:18 pm »
It looks to me like the brakes may have dived under the rim and abraded the tire.

+1, that's my first guess too.

A couple of months before each tour I go over my bike top to bottom. I've found under-tension spokes now and then. I get everything buttoned down how I like it and get a couple of hundred miles before I box it up and ship it.

I do carry a spare tire, tubes, and spokes with me. I've had a tough time finding tires and tubes on a lot of my trips, especially off-road trips. There are folding tires out there if you want something that packs down. Fully-loaded touring wears out rear wheels and tires!

I've been down the PCH in WA and OR, what a beautiful ride. We had one full day of pretty heavy rain, and I had two flat tires that day :)

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