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Messages - Mentor58

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Gear Talk / Windsor Tourist
« on: October 14, 2006, 11:02:31 am »
I've gotten a bike from was very pleased with the experence.  I have been told that they are not selling rebadged Fujis, but a lot of their frames are made in the same plants that Fuji uses and are very very close in design and in many cases better equipped for the money.  I will say that the specs between the Windsor and the Fuji touring bike look to be identical to the 05 Fuji.  Figure the weight to come in around 27 pounds or so, not light, but that's not really as much of an issue with a full touring bike IMO

My experence with them was that I got just what I had ordered, well packed, shipped quickly.  It needed the brakes and handlebar mounted, but that was it in terms of assembly.  I DID to a complete tech inspection of the bike, found the hubs were a bit too tight and while not dry, added a bit more grease.  Deraillers needed a bit of fine tuning, but the wheels were true and well tensioned.  Basically I did what any good bike shop would do, make sure that everything was ready to rock before I rolled.  
Like some of the other posters, I would look at swapping out a MTB crank to get the lower gears, and depending on how it fits for you, maybe going to a more upright stem.  Looks like it comes with a 0 degree stem, even a 7 or 8* stem would help get the bars up.  Thats a matter of fit and feel, and a generic stem from QPB won't run you more than 10 buck.  

I'd say jump on it.  My only concern MIGHT be the rack, simply because it's free.  

Hope this helps,

Steve W.

Gear Talk / Is this an appropriate crankset?
« on: October 12, 2006, 02:14:57 pm »
I don't claim to be an expert on everything, but I have to throw a flag on this one.....

Check the Adventure Cycling maps for the availability of bike shops.  And the size of towns along the route.  I bet you will find very few bike shops and very few sizable towns.  Thus very few of them will have the tools or parts available for fixing/replacing external bearing bottom brackets.  You can of course call the manufacturer or a large mail order shop and have FedEx overnight the parts and tools to you for a fee.  Whereas with old time square taper bottom brackets and cranksets, every bike shop will have them and the tools for working on them.

If you're far from any bike shop with a square taper, I guess you always carry a crank extractor (if needed), a long breaker bar and a socket to mount the crank with.  Lets face it, cranks don't fall into the "Field replaceable unit" category in my opinion.  Lets not forget the spanners to adjust the BB while we are at it.

Since Shimano's road line starts using the HollowTech II cranks at the 105 level, and the MTB line has them all the way down to the LX level of components I can't believe that there are too many bike shops that haven't seen and worked on them.

If one were hyper about it, one could always get the tool from Nashbar and toss it into the tool bag.  It's not big or heavy and would eliminate any possible problems if you have to rebuild your BB in Lost Buffalo Droppings ND.  (yes, I made that up for effect) Truth is, you only need the tool to install the external BB, the crank mounts (at least in the Shimano version) with two allen bolts that clamp the left one in place, and a small plastic disk to spin between your fingers to set the preload.  

The Nashbar Bottom Bracket Tool is designed to install/remove next generation bottom brackets (Shimano Hollowtech II, Race Face X-type, FSA MegaExo, and Truvativ Giga X-pipe). Hard steel ensures a lifetime of use while the comfort coated handle ensures a solid grip. Teeth designed to securely engage the notches of the bottom bracket cups and a separate hand tool to interlock the 8 internal splines of the crank arm adjustment cap for fine tuning.

The square taper has a long history, it's better than a cottered crank, but it's no longer the only option out there, and an external BB design simply has fewer problems associated with it.  You don't have to worry about a crank bolt working loose and the crank getting hogged out by the axle, less likely to creak (as long as the BB has been properly faced and tapped).  I'd say go with whatever fills your need, and as long as it's something from a major supplier I'd not sweat.  (now if you were considering the internally geared Schrumpf Cranks, then I'd want to take a second thought about it  :) )

Steve W

Gear Talk / Is this an appropriate crankset?
« on: October 11, 2006, 06:48:02 pm »
Setting up drive train / gearing is, imho, second only to choice in saddles, in causing more arguments about equipment.  I am fond of the new Hollowtech II, with the exterior bearings.  My reasoning is that since the crank / axle is one piece there you eliminate the possiblity of the crank working loose, creaking, etc.  That said, all of them, square taper, ISIS, OctaLink will work, but I just think that the external BB is the best of breed.  

You haven't said what kind of touring you plan on doing, I know that I like and appreciate LOW gears more than very tall gears that aren't really practical for me.  I also like to have fairly small changes between gears in the back, it just make it easier to find that 'sweet spot'.  My combinations are not orthodox, but they work for me.  

My best advice, go to, and play with different setups till you find the one that seems to work.  My LHT is set up with a 44x32x22 Crank and a 13-30 cluster. That gives me a 90 inch gear at the top, and a sub 20 at the very bottom.  Furthermore I get a nice tight spacing between gears, that helps find a nice comfortable one, no matter what the terrain.  That 90 inch gear is good for 25+ MPH at 90 RPM, and I've never had a situation where that has really become an issue. :)

I've also got a Bianchi Volpe that's geared almost the same, MTB crank with a 12-27 rear.  Great for light touring, and again nice and tight.

I do have a treking crank, the 761 48x36x26, it started off on my LHT, along with an 11-32 cluster, but got changed for the current combination.  It's now on my otherwise fully Ultegra equipped road bike, along with the ever popular 12-27 rear.  Works great for me in that environment.

My advice, get the gearing combination that will work for your touring style, fitness level, terrain and then work backwards to find the right components.  

Hope this helps....

Steve W

General Discussion / I got halfway there when...
« on: October 12, 2006, 02:36:12 pm »
Lots of good advice here.  

I have to second the one about a mirror.  I can identify with the "Semi behind you and RV coming at you" comment.  Sometimes a nice controlled bail off of the road is a good option.  

Along with all the good advice about taking training rides, shorter tours to build up your experence and confidence, I have to say one of the most important things is to "KNOW YOUR BIKE"

I would go so far as to recommend that over the winter (oh wait, Florida, never mind  :) ) to get some basic bike tools and a good book, I recommend "Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintence" or just the Park Tools Web site.  Learn how to take the bike apart, understand how the parts work, what is likely to go wrong.  That way, when the derailler starts to chatter, or a brake starts to drag, you are comfortable getting things back into spec.  Once you learn how to tune and adjust your bike to get it in top order (and no, they don't always come from the shop that way I'm afraid) you'll be amazed at how quiet and smooth operating it is compared to most of the ones you'll hear coming up on you.  

FWIW, I have a "Gumby" doll that mounts on my handlebars when touring.  It reminds me that I always have to be flexible when touring, that myh plans can and will change during the ride, that as long as I remember that the reason I'm riding for the Ride, then all is good.  

Steve W.
Who often asks "WWGD?" (What Whould Gumby Do?)

ps As for hills, the Spinervals "Uphill Grind" training DVD might be useful, as is just riding into the wind, the hill that never ends.

General Discussion / How fast do you ride?
« on: November 17, 2005, 01:09:06 pm »
One thing that I have too keep in mind when touring is that I can't afford to blow my legs up on a tour the way I can when I'm training.  Wheeling the fully loaded touring bike is different than the roadie on the sub 20 pound machine.  I find that I average about 60-70 miles per day, speed wise that's about 11-12 mph on the bike, but can vary due to terrain, wind, number of pretty girls in the area.  

I don't think about speed as such while riding, I think more in terms of distance per day, or how many hours I plan on riding any given day.  Some folks like the heads down multiple 100+ mile days, ride for all they've got mode.  I'm more of a 'noodler, see the sights, refuel often, cover 60 or so miles a day without feeling like I'm overworked at all.

Steve W

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