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Messages - wildtoad

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1
Gear Talk / Re: Better components?
« on: December 23, 2020, 01:26:27 pm »
I agree with DaveB re the brakes, those ProMax brakes are so-so at best in my experience. They can be made to stop okay, but can be unnecessarily difficult to keep in adjustment over the long term.

I run TRP Spyres on my touring bike, with Shimano XT rotors and Jagwire Pro cables/housing. Overall, I'm happy with the setup. I never cared for the stock pads that came with the Spyres, however. I eventually replaced them w/ relatively basic Shimano resin pads, a noticeable improvement all around. Re cables/housing and mechanical disc brakes (Spyres, Paul Klampers, Promax and others), I have found that top quality/high end cables are more important than compressionless housing. YMMV.

As to the rest of your build, I concur w/ the prevailing input to just ride until you wear the components out.

2
I've been running solar panels on the bike for about 10 years (early adopter).  The first was a SolarMio, a fantastic, super light little product w/ certain limitations (light weight = small battery and 2010 era tech). The company is no longer around, but the panel/battery is still going strong. It's been replaced by other products for my touring, but it still sits in the back yard every day and powers my apple watch.

Last 5 years, I've been using a Goal Zero panel w/ Flip 30 battery.  Works brilliantly, plenty of power daily to charge iphone, garmin, watch. I just strap it on the top of the rear rack. While there are optimal angles for solar panels, it's not necessary to stress out about that. The battery will more than fill up after a decently sunny day on the bike, even if strapped flat on top of the rack.  And I can generate power while in camp after riding or on those all important off days (a dynamo won't).  Of course, if you are treated to copious quantities of crappy weather, then you have reached the limitations of solar.

More recently, I've supplemented the setup for longer, more remote tours w/ an Anker powerback. It's the size of an iphone and holds a ridiculous amount of power for size. Not too heavy, 2 usb charge ports, and can be filled up w/ regular usb or high speed usb-c.  So I bring that along on longer trips, and opportunity charge it/fill it up when I'm around a plug. But most days, the Goal Zero setup handles all of my power needs.

Power banks are and will continue getting smaller, cheaper, lighter, faster AND more dense. For many folks, a decent power bank is all they will ever need on tour.

For power banks and solar panels, my advice is to buy the good stuff from reputable brands. They go on sale frequently enough.  But there is a lot of hot garbage out there in the realm of cheaper batteries/panels. Not sure those will hold up great in the camping/tour context.

Dyno hubs are awesome, at least the better ones are, and almost mandatory for the hard core commuting and rando crowds (for lighting). I almost took the plunge on a dynamo and sinewave charging setup last year, but realized it just wasn't necessary for me and how I tour. But if I were going on a very long expedition style ride w/ long stretches of nowheresville, then I would run both a dynamo and solar setup. In that context, I think they are complementary, not competing, approaches.  Each has their strengths/weaknesses, and are not perfect.

3
I really like the cloth mask made by Maloja, a European cycling wear company.  I believe it was recently featured in Adventure Cyclist magazine.  By far the nicest, most comfortable mask I've worn. It apparently has some anti-viral/microbial treatment in the cloth, not to prevent COVID or anything like that, but to minimize how often you should wash it. 

It has a good retention system...better than most, so it's easy to slide off your nose/mouth if you don't need and and then pull it up when necessary.  I have it with me at all times while on the bike, including on remote dirt trails in the Sierras as often there is insufficient space for the 6' rule unless you want to go over a cliff or something.

Shipped from Germany.

4
Gear Talk / Re: Mechanical or hydro?
« on: August 28, 2020, 06:52:41 pm »
Another option to Gevenalle in the super-nichey world of alt brake shift levers is the IRD Power Ratchet levers. I picked up a pair a while back at a good price and they look good, but I've not mounted them on a bike yet.  I originally thought I was going to use them to replace the bar ends on my newish touring bike, but I've realized after some mileage that I really like the bar ends on the  wide, flared drop bars that came with the bike.  My prior dislike of bar ends may be linked to more traditional, narrower, non-flared drops.

Anyway, if anyone is interested in an depth comparison b/w the IRDs and Gevenalles, check out the website for Analog Cycles.

The one potential drawback of the IRDs and Gevenalles for touring is cable/housing interference w/ handlebar bags or bikepacking style handlebar harnesses.

5
Gear Talk / Re: A must item
« on: August 28, 2020, 03:23:46 pm »
If I'm touring in a dry season area, my plastic mallet for tent stakes. Maybe not truly essential but saves lots of unnecessary drama!

Cheap mesh bag to hold eating utensils/cup/plate...keeps everything together and stuff will dry in the bag after washing.

Wipes/hand sanitizer

6
Gear Talk / Re: Tents Designed for Bike touring
« on: August 28, 2020, 03:14:30 pm »
It's been a while since I've been in the market for a tent, but for touring I've always used backpacking tents and they work out great. With bikepacking being all the rage, maybe there are some specially designed tents that make sense, haven't looked. But in the past, some "bike touring" tents have struck me as pretty flawed from a design standpoint.  YMMV.

I've been using my current NEMO tent for 9 years now. It's been awesome, rock solid, zero issues.  It has a great vestibule, came standard w/ nice features that are often optional (e.g., gear loft), weight is decent, and the 2P size is pretty perfect for a solo bike tourer.  The specific model that I have has been discontinued.  But I've been very impressed with design/durability of the tent, and will definitely consider another NEMO when it comes time to replace.

7
Gear Talk / Re: Brooks Flyer Seat Bag Recommendation
« on: August 27, 2020, 06:06:09 pm »
When I put my touring/adventure bike in bikepacking mode, I use a Carradice Barley saddlebag w/ a Brooks Professional saddle.  Great combo; I like mixing/matching classic and modern stuff w/ the overriding requirement that things just work and work well without hassle (and look good too!).  The Barley along w/ a 1/2 frame bag, handlebar mounted bikepacking style tent carrier, Revelate feed bag, cargo cages on front fork and rear rack/panniers when/if necessary looks the bomb and works great.  I will admit that I am generally not a huge fan of bikepacking-style saddle bags from either a functional or cosmetic standpoint.   

J

8
General Discussion / Re: Flats while touring
« on: May 10, 2020, 12:00:02 pm »
On the tube quality issue/failure around valve seam....in my case, I have had good experience with both Continental and Schwalbe tubes. Screw on grommets and replaceable valve cores are a plus for those as well. (I have damaged a couple of valve cores w/ sloppy, overly robust use of frame pump!)  I cannot recall a valve seam failure on either brand of tube...I have some Conti tubes that have been in service for ages.

In the more distant past, Michelin and Specialized tubes have been fine as well.

Terrible/miserable experience w/ more than one "off brand/private label" line of tubes. While I have had good experience w/ many REI branded products, their past Novara branded tubes were horrendous IMO. Valve seam failure almost like clockwork. A couple other brands almost as bad, but I don't recall the names.  Anyway, I don't buy cheap tubes any more (although even "cheaper" tubes have huge markup nowadays).

So, go w/ a name brand perhaps, and do your best to minimize stress on valve when pumping, installing, etc.

9
General Discussion / Re: Flats while touring
« on: May 08, 2020, 07:46:37 pm »
Flats on tour:  Well, I'm going to curse myself here and potentially end my lucky streak, but I've not had a flat on tour during the last 7 years. Now, I have not done an epic tour during that time, mostly 14 day-long or so tours, 7 or 8 of them during that 7 year period time. Across my riding more broadly, maybe a flat ever 1200-1500 miles or so on pavement. I haven't ridden in thorn country, and I'm pretty on top of replacing tires proactively.

Tubes: I carry 2 tubes for self-contained touring, one tube for all other riding (plus patch kit). Bad experience glueless patches. Great results w/ the Rema patch kits, but do make sure your cement is not dried out!!  I will check out the Tear Aid product mentioned above, never heard of it but always open to potentially good stuff.

Spare tires: Never carried one. It's been a couple of decades since I've torn a sidewall on a road tour, and I think I fixed that w/ the old dollar bill tire boot.  Again, I've not done an epic long tour in ages. If I'm gonna be in nowhere land for a very long time, I might well bring along a folding tire.

Patch or replace:  Both. Generally, replace on side of road, patch at home (day ride, bike overnight)/campsite (tour).

Extra Tire Protection:  I carry a Park tire boot in toolkit for all of my bikes.  That's it, no liners and no sealant in the tubes.








10
Gear Talk / Re: Rene Herse Cycles tires
« on: May 06, 2020, 02:26:23 am »
Thanks for sharing your story, and sorry that you had to experience an accident/crash along the way!

As to pedals, I'm running the Shimano A530s as well....I've been using them on my touring bikes since Shimano first introduced that model several years ago.  Great pedals for touring.

Most of the time, I use my Brooks B17 on the Giramondo. But sometimes when I do a lightly loaded overnight, I will put on my titanium Brooks Professional which is probably my favorite saddle of all time. It usually resides on one of my classic road bikes. Anyway, as brooks saddles have lots of metal, the titanium makes a notable difference in comfort and weight...about 5 ounces lighter than B17.  But the Giramondo will never be a lightweight...but that's just fine for a touring bike.  And I don't think it rides like a stiff, overbuilt bike frankly. The frame strikes a nice balance.

So definitely get to know your new bike and you can then refine your setup over time.  I've had my Giramondo for 3 years now. Here's my baseline setup that allows me to mix and match as necessary (I have never used all components at once):
- Rear rack w/ small panniers
- Solar panel on top of rear rack
- Carradice Barley saddlebag---usually used when I don't need panniers
- Ortleib toptube frame bag, works great and I can use it on the Giramondo, my mtb and my road bikes.
- small handlebar bag that comes off quickly and can be worn as hip bag, good for valuables
- topeak front loader under handlebag bag, bikepacking style bag that's great for my tent
- Instead of front rack/lowriders, I have 2 blackburn outpost cages attached to fork mounts. I can leave them empty and they are more minimalist than a front rack. If I need carrying capacity, each can hold a 4 litre dry bag, up to 11 pounds each.

As to Masi, yep, I'm familiar with the history of the name for sure. In addition to touring, I also enjoy "vintage" road bikes, which for me mostly means 1980s high end steel bikes, a high water mark for road bikes IMO. The Carlsbad-built Masis definitely have a cult following and tend to command $$$$ on the used market.  Current day Masi (smallish corporate) bears little resemblance to classic Masi, but the brand has undergone a bit of a renaissance starting around 2015/2016 with the introduction of some interesting models like Giramondo, CXGR Supremo, etc. And they have hit some home runs w/ the cosmetics/colors in recent times, with some bikes just looking super squared away and like someone actually cares.  All at reasonable price points.  We're not talking bleeding high end stuff here, just well built and smartly spec'd bikes.

j

11
Gear Talk / Re: Rene Herse Cycles tires
« on: May 05, 2020, 06:08:44 pm »
So I saw that you mentioned your Masi, and I did a quick search through the old threads and confirmed my hunch that I responded to your thread/questions about the Masi Giramondo back in early 2019.  So did you pick up a Giramondo?  It's a great, fun and very versatile bike....and that is the bike that i'm running the RH tires on.  At some point in the future when you might want to try a second wheelset, pick up a 650b set and give the Road+ thing a try...it works really well on the Giramondo and gives it a different personality.  There is a blogger guy who posted a long review of the Giramondo a couple of years ago, and he also had great things to say about the Giramondo running 650b Road+ tires, which generally means in the 48-50mm width.

I predict you will love the Supreme tires in general, but most definitely so in comparison to the Kendas. I am a bit of a geek when it comes to bike tires (and car tires as well), so I'm pretty familiar with the current Schwalbe line and have always admired the Supremes. I don't think you can go wrong with either version of the Supremes.

In our stable of 10 bikes or so (6 mine, 2 each for wife and daughter), we run Panaracer, Schwalbe, Continental, Clement/Donnelly, Specialized, Rene Herse and Rivendell tires (the latter 2 manufactured by Panaracer). They are all excellent in their own way. I do have a soft spot for Panaracer for a few reasons. They are willing to make low volume, ultra-cool tires for niche brands like Rene Herse, Rivendell, SOMA, etc. They actively support "obsolete" tire size like 27", 26", etc. with quality tires (I still ride 26" for mtb and use Panaracer exclusively for that bike at this point).  Many of their tires are made in Japan to a very high quality standard. And my understanding is that they spend very little $ on marketing, etc., unlike bigger players like Conti, Schwalbe, etc.  Good stuff IMO.

Re tubeless, I hear you. I am a holdout on tubeless and still run tubes on everything, including MTB.  I have a few friends and know of a couple of touring friendly shop owners who are starting to push tubeless for touring.  They feel that the technology is there, but they readily admit that for touring, you would still need to carry at least one tube, as well as other stuff.  For me, the biggest issue is that I like to split my time riding different bikes.  So the Giramondo gets used a fair amount when preparing for a tour and then on tour....and for short overnights in the Summer, but there are times when she hangs in the garage for a couple of months while I ride other bikes.  My lingering impression is that tubeless is a PITA in that situation, and requires more periodic care.  I'm really not interested in that at this point.  But I am keeping an open mind and I expect I will give it a try in the near future.  The RH tires are tubeless ready as are the Velocity rims. 

Good stuff. Hope you are hanging in there re the pandemic, all the best.

J


12
Gear Talk / Re: Rene Herse Cycles tires
« on: May 05, 2020, 02:38:57 pm »
Sounds good, Marathon Supremes are excellent tires, and are certainly a good choice if you are seeking durability. I have run both Marathons and Conti TopContact touring tires in the past...bombproof and long lasting.  I still run the TopContacts on one of my utility bikes and they are good for urban environment.

Ultimately, there is no "perfect" tire for all conditions of course.  Pros and cons to all options...tougher/stiffer vs softer/supple.  One of the main reasons for my shift to lighter/supple tires is, over time, I have substantially lightened my touring load, both through carrying less and investing in lighter gear over time.  I have also trimmed down to my college era body weight!  I also use this bike for shorter bike overnights in more of a bikepacking style configuration......all told, I like the performance advantage of the supple tires and I'll take a shorter life span.

As to flats, there are many variables in terms of where you ride, what pressures you ride, etc.  Too much air in supple tires = more flats.  And I think the whole tubeless trend really changes the dynamic when it comes to flats. 

Enjoy your new tires!

J

13
Gear Talk / Re: Rene Herse Cycles tires
« on: May 05, 2020, 12:54:55 pm »
Hi Pat, definitely like your approach to re-tired :) 

For me, it was time to move on from a 30 year old frame and try out a disc brake equipped touring bike as I love touring in the mountains. It was a good change for the type of riding I do.  Found a new owner for the old bike who wanted to use it for commuting...so it remains in service!

No question, the RH tires are a big investment.  I was fortunate a few weeks ago to be awake and on email in the very early morning hours when RH sent out an email notice of a "flash" sale of sorts.  So I was able to pick up one of the tires at a significantly reduced price...softened the blow a bit.

But can't go wrong with Paselas, really.  I have an older pair of Pasela TourGuards on my around town bike and they are great, reasonably priced tires.

Take care,
J

14
Gear Talk / Re: Opinions on first budget touring bike
« on: May 05, 2020, 12:49:13 pm »
I run square taper bb/cranks on most of my bikes, including some modern builds. Nothing wrong with them at all, easy to work on and have been 100% reliable for my 40 years or so of riding.   

There are some good quality cartridge bottom brackets on the market, but not through "mainstream" brands. At the high end are the SKF units, but they are really pricey. I think the most compelling product is the IRD Defiant bottom bracket...still not cheap but more reasonable than the SKF, 10 year warranty, beautifully finished. I picked one up last fall and installed as part of a changeover to a sub-compact crank on one of my road bikes that I use for riding in the Sierras (i.e., lots of climbing at higher elevations). 

John


15
Gear Talk / Re: Rene Herse Cycles tires
« on: May 05, 2020, 12:15:28 pm »
I recently installed some Rene Herse Switchback Hill endurance casing tires (650b x 48mm) on my touring bike. This was part of a wheel upgrade and experiment to see how much I like the Road+ approach compared to the 700cx40mm wheels/tires that came standard on the bike. I haven't been able to tour on them yet or do any long rides, but a few initial shakedown rides have been great. The tires seem awesome, and they look fantastic as well. The tires combined w/ the wheel size have somewhat transformed the personality of the bike....more fun, definitely more nimble, very stable, faster over rough pavement/dirt hardpack, and its looks better too (no large 700c/29er tire "wagon wheel" look).

The tires measure 50mm wide on Velocity Blunt 35 rims. I am running tubes currently, but may try tubeless in near future. I expect these tires will perform well for touring as well as a hybrid touring/bikepacking setup that I also use on this bike.

In terms of past touring experience on Compass/RH tires, a few years back, I purchased the original Compass/RH 26" tires for my old Ritchey expedition touring bike (have since retired that bike). Those early Compass 26 inch tires are a bit different from the current RH tire line up; they were essentially lightened up/"supplefied" Panaracer Paselas I believe. I did one 10 day tour on the Ritchey with the Compass tires, and the tires were fantastic. Zero flats on that tour. The Compass tires are now installed on an old mtb that I keep up in the mountains for grocery store trips, etc. Still zero flats, maybe 750 miles total at this point. Expect they will last indefinitely as they get only low mileage nowadays.

Anyway, those early Compass tires started my gradual shift away from heavily armored touring and road tires toward more supple, fast rolling rubber at appropriate (lower) tire pressures. I have experienced zero change in flat frequency with this approach, probably because I am running wider tires across all of my bikes at lower pressures.  High end tires are a significant investment, but they are a great place to spend $ on your bike to get a noticeable improvement in performane/comfort.

Good luck w/ your tire search, happy riding, and stay well and safe.

John

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