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Messages - RussellSeaton

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Gear Talk / tour tool(s) for spoke change
« on: July 07, 2008, 04:09:34 pm »
"P.S.: Out of curiosity, what do tourists using cassettes bring along; chain whip AND freewheel tool ?  That seems doubtful."

Pamir Hypercracker and a spoke wrench and a spare spoke.

The Stein Hypercracker is the new replacement since Pamir is no more.

Gear Talk / Getting lower gearing
« on: May 21, 2008, 06:46:48 pm »

It appears the Truvativ IsoFlow crankset has a 4 arm 64/104mm bcd.  The 104 outer and middle will accept as small as 32 teeth.  The inner 64 will accept as small as 22 teeth.  Unsure what the cost will be but you should be able to find them easily since Shimano uses this 104/64 4 arm spider on many of its cranksets.

Gear Talk / touring wheels
« on: April 18, 2008, 10:48:36 am »
I recently had a Mavic Open Pro rim crack on me at numerous spoke eyelets.  Only about 5 year old rim with not that many thousands of miles on it.  All paved roads.  So Mavic rims don't excite me much.  I still have some but will pick a different rim brand when they die.

An Ultegra or 105 hub is the same hub as a Deore, LX, XT.  No difference in quality, strength, etc.  Just different axle length and number of spacers.

Gravel roads are likely tougher on tires than paved roads.  The wheels themselves don't really care.  Paved might be worse for wheels because the holes have sharp concrete/asphalt edges to dent rims.  Whereas the holes in gravel roads have rounded openings.  Less likely to dent rims.  Most gravel roads I've been on are packed so hard they are almost paved.  Just ride where the car wheels go.  Loose gravel and soft spots can cause you to lose control so be watchful.

If I was donig what you are doing, I'd build a new rear wheel with a new hub (105 or Ultegra) and a non Mavic rim.  36 spokes preferred.

Gear Talk / Sore butts
« on: April 11, 2008, 10:32:17 am »
Different shorts can also have an effect.  Shorts range from obscenely expensive to dirt cheap.  Chamois in the shorts range from paper thin to diaper thick.  How many panels the shorts are made of range from 4 to 10 now days.  Which one is most comfortable for you depends.  Try a short that seems to be the opposite of what you are using now.  Might help, or not.

Gear Talk / Shoe Choice
« on: March 26, 2008, 02:02:30 pm »
Long ago I rode a bike with sneakers and toeclips.  And then cycling shoes and toeclips.  And now cycling shoes and clipless pedals.  I won't go back to the methods I tried before.  Based on the fact you are planning on riding across the country, you are apparently riding right now.  Presumably 50-70 miles per day for several consecutive days or a week is something you are doing now or have done.  If your feet did fine with whatever shoes you used for those rides, then they will likely do OK on a cross country trip.  A week long cross state ride will give you the experience to know if some of your equipment works OK.

Gear Talk / cyclocross bike for long distance touring?
« on: March 10, 2008, 08:46:58 pm »
Going under the assumption that you have no bike at the moment and the cyclocross bike, or touring bike, will be purchased for the Pacific Coast tour.  And based on what you wrote you will be using panniers and racks, front and back.  Also assuming you will be buying a factory built bike, not a frame/fork and picking out all the parts you want individually.

I don't think you will find a cyclocross bike that will work for you.  Cyclocross frames don't have long enough chainstays for panniers so you won't hit your heel on the rear panniers.  Cyclocross forks won't have eyelets on the front so you can mount a low rider rack solidly.  Or eyelets on the back so you can mount the rear rack solidly.  Or seatstay eyelets so you can mount the top of the rack solidly.  P clips work fine and wonderful for mounting fenders or racks carrying just a saddlebag, but I would not trust P clips for a rack with panniers hanging off it.  The wheels on a factory cyclocross bike will likely be somewhat minimal spokes for a racing look.  Such is the fashon now days.  You want lots of spokes on stout wheels for loaded touring.  The shop might switch them for you, but you might also pay extra.

If you pulled a BOB trailer then a cyclocross bike would work fine.  Nothing on the bike and weight is on the trailer and not the rear wheel.  I can understand you want a bike suited for riding unloaded after the tour is over, thus the cyclocross bike.  I don't consider my touring bike a great unloaded riding bike.  My racing bikes are much more fun.  But, a cyclocross bike isn't going to handle racks and panniers.  So pull a trailer or get a loaded touring bike.  Or do an ultralight and/or credit card tour instead of fully loaded camping and cooking.

Gear Talk / Night reflective material source
« on: February 12, 2008, 08:15:15 pm »

I covered (every tube except the headtube, 360 degrees) a frame with the tape above.  And RUSA has great 3M reflective tape that I used between the spokes and on pedals and cranks.  Bike is noticeable when light hits it.

Gear Talk / Locks/ theft
« on: February 04, 2008, 10:20:03 am »
On tours I carry a lock and cable.  But riding locally I do not and frequently go into convenience stores with the bike unlocked on the side of the building.  If you do not have a lock, there are other methods of making it difficult to ride away.  Undoing the quick releases on both wheels.  Shifting the gears, front and rear derailleurs, when the bike is stopped.  Both of these actions will cause the bike to be unrideable if someone tries to ride it away.  And the quick releases undone will also make it hard to push away.  Putting the helmet straps through the spokes also requires time to undo.  Note, shifting the gears and undoing the quick releases causes no harm or movement of anything if the bike is not moved.  So you can just click back to the right gear and retighten the quick releases when you return to the bike and its ready to go.  No adjustments necessary.

Gear Talk / Disc Brakes or Rim Brakes?
« on: January 28, 2008, 10:23:02 am »
Beloki's crash in the Tour was due to his rear tire slipping on the oil on the asphalt.  He and Armstrong were going around a turn and he hit an oil spot on the asphalt.  Oil due to the day being hot and the oil bleeding out of the asphalt.  His rear tire slid sideways easily on the oil spot and then abruptly came to a stop when the sliding rear tire came to the edge of the oily spot and hit the non slick asphalt.  At this point the sudden stopping of the rear wheel sliding sideways caused the rear tire to come off the rim and the rear rim to break.  The rear tire came off the rim due to the sudden and forceful side pressure applied to the tire.

I've never had much trouble keeping rims cool going down mountains.  With a loaded touring bike you can just sit up and catch lots of wind to slow you down.  The panniers also catch considerable wind.  Roads are designed for cars to safely descend them at a speed faster than most bicyclists are comfortable with.  I've always figured I can go safely at least as fast as cars down the roads.  If I do need to brake, then I apply the brakes hard and come to an almost stop.  Then coast up to speed.  Applying the brakes for a brief time hard, and then letting them and the rims cool while coasting up to speed prevents any overheating problems.  Applying the brakes constantly at a light pressure is what causes rims and pads to heat up.

Gear Talk / Touring bike for smaller person?
« on: January 25, 2008, 11:50:19 am »
Quite a few touring bikes now days use 26" mountain bike sized wheels for the smaller frame sizes and 700C for the medium and larger frame sizes.  Waterford's touring bike and Surly Long Haul Trucker are examples of this.  For touring bikes the 26" rim size is preferable to the 650C rim size.  700C=622mm, 650C=571mm, 26" MTB=559mm.  Lots of tires to choose from in the 26" MTB size for touring.  1.25" to 1.5" are easy to find and would work well for touring bikes.  You still have to keep in mind the top tube length.  As well as the seat tube angle and its impact on real top tube length.

Gear Talk / Bike Selection
« on: January 21, 2008, 10:41:11 am »
Any of the bikes you list will work just fine.  Ask the bike shop to put the smallest possible inner chainring on the bike before you leave the shop.  24 tooth for 74mm bcd crank, 20 tooth for 58mm bcd crank.  No other mechanical changes needed.  You will need to add in the cost of carrying your baggage if going with panniers.  Figure $100 for front and rear racks.  $100-400 for panniers and handlebar bag.  If going with a trailer, BOB for instance, figure $300.  Search this forum and the internet for opinions and pricing.  Depending on how your Litespeed is geared, you may want to investigate attaching a BOB trailer to it and not getting a separate touring bike.  Putting a triple with low gearing on a bike is pretty cheap and easy.  Your price range will work, more or less.

Gear Talk / bar end vs brifter shifting for touring bike?
« on: January 10, 2008, 10:18:59 am »
I know a man who's STI stopped working on PBP 2003.  Had to ride a few hundred kilometers of hills before he got to a control that could fix it.  I was riding on a 300k brevet in 2000 when an STI broke for a friend.  Man had to ride the second hilly half with just the front working.  I ride with a man who has replaced several STI in the past 5 years due to them not working anymore.  All these STI are 9 speed.  And I have Ergo shifters that needed a new spare part, easily replaced by me at home after ordering the part.  And occassionally my Ergo sort of freezes, the thumb button does not pivot on and off the ratchet ring like it should.  Rust and gunk can cause this.  Can be fixed by removing the rust/gunk or replacing the thumb button.  So both STI and Ergo fail, stop working.  Whereas my 1991 bar end shifters had to have the rubber lever covered glued back on in 1992 but that is it for repair.

Only my loaded touring bike has bar end levers.  My other geared bikes have Ergo.  Its more fun, enjoyable, better, etc. despite the extra potential of not working every now and then.  If I was touring in the remote parts of the world, I'd go for bar end if buying new or cheap.  If touring in the developed world, I'd go with STI/Ergo if buying new.  But since I own a loaded touring bike already, I won't waste money replacing the bar end shifters with STI/Ergo.

Gear Talk / Changing from Drop bars to Straight bars
« on: January 03, 2008, 10:10:51 am »
I'd say there is a lot to this story you are not telling.  If the only thing you changed was the bar itself, no bike shop mechanic competent enough to get a job would say

"The only problem is I found some bike mechanics tell me they won't stop the bike."

You're implying multiple bike shop mechanics say the bike won't stop.  Not just one.  It takes more brain power to speak or fill out a job application at a bike shop than it does to realize changing the bars has no effect on how the brakes work.

Maybe you have the brakes mounted at such an odd angle or place on the bars that the mechanics cannot visualize how you can even grasp the levers to activate the brakes.

Gear Talk / Changing from Drop bars to Straight bars
« on: January 02, 2008, 11:08:26 am »
"reused the road brake/shifter levers temporarily . Not only did they work to my surprise , but I found I really liked them . The only problem is I found some bike mechanics tell me they won't stop the bike .The fact that they will stop it with loaded panniers in Appalachian mountains on 14 percent grades doesn't change their preconceived ideas."

Assuming you are using STI levers with V brakes on your touring bike and not using any of those adapter things to change the amount of cable pull.  STI levers and V brakes are somewhat incompatible because V brakes need lots of cable pulled to move them against the rim.  While STI levers do not pull enough cable.  So an STI lever will bottom out against the handlebar and the brake pads will not be forced into the rim hard enough to get full stopping power.  You have a drag brake basically.  Fine for stop signs you see 100 yards ahead.  Not fine when a car pulls out in front of you and you have a few feet and a second to get stopped.

Gear Talk / Best Headlamps / Handlebar lamps
« on: November 28, 2007, 10:47:54 am »
The more I use them, the more I appreciate hub generator lights.  I have a Shimano generator front hub wheel.  Schmidt also makes one for about twice the price.  Read about them on the Peter White Cycles and Harris Cycles websites.  I have two Schmidt E6 headlights running on my hub.  Mounted right by the front hub down low.  I've put in more than a few miles in all conditions and they always work when I want them to work.  No worries.  I would go for the SolidLights generator driven LED lights today.

On long night rides I use a modified Princeton Tec EOS helmet light.  I put a newer brighter LED into it.  On short night rides I use Niterider halogen helmet lights in 15 or 10 watts.  A friend recently bought an HID helmet/handlebar light from for $200.  Uses the same HID lamp as everyone else, Welch Allyn, but their own batteries and chargers.  Seems good.

For rear blinkies I use Vistalite Eclipse or Nashbar or Balckburn Mars or Performance Viewpoint.  All are really bright.  I have anywhere from 4 to 7 on the back of the bike and always one hanging from a zip tie through the back vents of the helmet.  I think rear blinkies need to me numerous and at various height levels.

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