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Messages - RussellSeaton

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Gear Talk / Fixed Gear Touring
« on: May 22, 2007, 12:02:03 pm »
As Fred said, yes people have done it.  On brevets you will usually see a person or two or three riding fixed gear bikes.  Even the hilly/mountainous 1200km brevets such as Boston-Montreal-Boston.  They are carrying less than a loaded tourer does, but covering far more miles in a shorter time.  I would suggest you use a flip flop hub and have a freewheel on the other side when you run into mountains so you can rest and coast down.

Gear Talk / in Canada: 27" tires | denatured alcohol for stove
« on: May 22, 2007, 11:58:23 am »
Check Wal-Mart for 27" tires.  I seem to recall them having them.  Not the highest quality, but they would work.  I think you have Wal-Marts in Canada.  Go look for the tires NOW.  I would also suspect official bike shops would still have a few 27" tires hanging around.  If you know which towns you will be passing through, CALL up the bike shops in the town NOW and ask them if they have any 27" tires.

Gear Talk / smooth bends or ergonomic drop bars?
« on: May 15, 2007, 11:39:10 am »
"The gull wings kick the drops out so they're actually useable without being way down and super stretched like a racer."

The vast majority of cyclists are unaware of the fact handlebars come in a wide variety of horizontal reach and vertical drop.  Almost all cyclists are aware handlebars have different widths and shapes(curved, anatomic, wing).  Reach, horizontal distance, ranges from 70mm to 100mm.  Drop, vetical distance, ranges from 140mm to 170mm.  About 3cm range for each.  Over 1 inch.  Stem length and bar reach need to be considered together.  Stem height and bar drop need to be considered together.

The only reason to be way down and super stretched like a racer on drop handlebars if you choose to be.  You can easily find bars that allow you to use the drops in comfort for miles and miles and miles.  I do.

Gear Talk / smooth bends or ergonomic drop bars?
« on: May 08, 2007, 04:06:13 pm »
It depends on the shifters.

I have TTT Morphe anatomic bars and Ergo shifters on my three road/racing style bikes.  LOVE them.  Ergo and TTT Morphe anatomic bars.  The flat spot on the drops is the perfect place for the hands when riding into the wind or going hard.  I don't want more unperfect spots provided by the traditional curved bars.  Why have lots of places to move your hands on traditional curved bars if none of them are as comfortable as the one flat spot on the anatomic bar?

On my loaded touring bike I have Nitto traditional curved bars.  Love them due to the super long reach and corresponding long horizontal drop section.  I have bar end shifters on this bike.  And half step gearing.  With bar end shifters I frequently ride with one hand on the end of the drops ready to move the shifter for a half shift, and one hand on the brake hood.  Which hand is on the hood and which on the end of the drops depends on what the next half step shift is going to be.  Anatomic bars don't have a long enough horizontal section from the flat section in the drops to the end of the bars to comfortably accomodate a hand waiting to shift a bar end shifter.

Bar end shifters = traditional curved bars.
Ergo = anatomic bars.
STI = don't use these things.

« on: May 08, 2007, 04:21:55 pm »

The above links to AE Bike shows Shimano HG50 cassettes in 9 speed in 14-25 and 11-34.  HG50 is also called Tiagra.  HG70 has the same configurations and is called 105.  Nashbar occassionally has various configurations of HG70 cassettes.

The 14-25 has 14,15,16,17,18,19,21,23,25 cogs.  The 11-34 has 11,13,15,17,20,23,26,30,34 cogs.  I would take the 14,15,16,17 from the 14-25 and mate it up with the 20,23,26,30,34 cogs from the 11-34.  Nice 14-34 9 speed cassette.

HG50 is champagne colored.  Brown.  HG70 is chromed, nickel plated, shiny silver, whatever.  All of these are loose steel cogs with individual spacers between all cogs except maybe the first one where the spacer is part of the cog itself.  In real life use you will never know the difference whether you are using low or high end Shimano cogs.  Same steel in all of them.  The higher end cogs have aluminum carriers to reduce weight.  Big deal on a touring bike.  The ramps on the sides of cogs to speed shifting will be the same across all of the products so they will all shift the same.

On my road bikes I use the cheapest Veloce or Mirage cogs I can find.  All loose steel cogs and plastic spacers.  Mirage is galvanized steel instead of chromed on the Veloce.  I don't care, the galvanized Mirage were cheaper.  And shift just as well.  I have Chorus, Centaur, Record equipped bikes.  I believe in cheap chains and cheap cassettes.  The wear items on bikes.  Nicer shifters and such.

I think you can mix and match a limited number of 8 speed cogs in a 9 speed cassette.  But they are different thickness so you only have room for about 1 or maybe 2 8 speed cogs in a 9 speed cassette.  Better to just buy a 9 speed cassette and not worry about such things.  They are only $30 full price for the HG50 cassettes.  QBP sells them so your local bike shop can order them.

« on: May 07, 2007, 11:10:18 am »
Your frames rear derailleur hanger may or may not tolerate a 34 tooth large cog instead of a 32 large cog.  Only way to tell is to try it.  Rear derailleur is completely irrelevant.  But how the manufacturer put on the rear derailleur hanger is what matters.  Shimano had a spec for how the hanger should be positioned.  If the frame maker gets this exact, no problems with the 34 cog.  If the frame maker is close, then maybe a problem.  When in low 24x34, the rear derailleur pulley will run into the cog teeth.

As for whether 32 or 34 makes a difference, doubtful.  24x32 is 20".  24x34 is 19".  In a blind taste test you wouldn't tell the difference.

Shimano 9 speed cassettes of about any configuration are easy and cheap to make yourself.  No point in paying a bike shop twice the price to do it for you.  Shimano HG50 and HG70 cassettes are all loose cogs and spacers.  These come in 14-25 and 11-34.  Take the first cogs from the 14-25 cassette and add them to the last cogs from the 11-34.  These cassettes are priced at $30 or less before sale prices.

Gear Talk / Touring on full suspension - am I nuts?
« on: May 03, 2007, 04:54:45 pm »
"1. It's all I have right now and don't feel like buying another bike"

That pretty much is the end of the discussion and your decision is made.  You mentioned having racks and/or getting some to fit a suspension fork.  Do it.  And get some panniers.  And then get the plane ticket.  And maps.  And plan a route.  Etc.

I toured Europe for only 3.5 months long ago.  Used fairly detailed maps of the countries I as in.  Tried to ride smaller roads.  Ended up on gravel a couple times.  My Trek 520 with 35mm tires did just fine on the non paved roads.  Roads weren't too bumpy.

I always had a destination in mind when starting each morning.  And a route picked out.  You talk about riding on bumpy and dirt roads and singletrack and offroad.  Are you planning on wandering about on whatever gravel or dirt road or deer path you come to in the day?  I doubt you will find many maps showing all of the dirt and gravel and bumpy roads and singletrack in a European country.  If you actually plan to get to point B from point A, you will likely have to ride on paved roads.  As you know, full suspension mountain bikes are not ideal for paved roads.  But work.

As for taking a heavy sleeping bag, you own it so its your cheapest alternative.  Your bike is already heavy since its a full suspension mountain bike.  An extra couple pounds here or there will only add up to an extra 10 or 20 pounds in total.  I suspect your whole rig loaded will still be under 100 pounds total.  Which brings up another issue.  You say your bike is durable and holds up to abuse.  But with racks and bags and food and whatever, it will now be subject to abuse that is 50-60-70 pounds heavier than before.  Might want to see if the shocks on the bike are designed for that.

Gear Talk / Aerobars with an Ortlieb Ultimate 4
« on: April 23, 2007, 11:51:21 am »
Syntace aerobars have lifters as an option.  Raise the height of the bars 1 inch.  This might allow a bit more room underneath for the handlebar bag.  As for flip up pads, nice.  But for people using the Syntace bars, no flip up pads, they just put their palms over the top of the forearm pads and seem to ride just fine.  There are special handlebar bags that work specifically on aero bars.  You might want to, have to, use these instead of the traditional Ortleib handlebag bag.  Aero bar bags are not as big but I don't think you need lots of stuff right in front of you while riding.  Place for a map holder, some food, wallet, small camera.

Gear Talk / Denali Trip bike question.
« on: May 02, 2007, 01:50:09 pm »
My opinion.  Opinion.  This trip occurs on paved and gravel roads.  Maybe very rough gravel roads, but official maintained gravel roads.  It is not on single track rutted muddy rocky dirt trails through the forest in between trees and down gullies.  If the description of "gravel" is correct on the ACA website, then there will be gravel of a sorts and not plain dirt and mud.

The mid loader racks are designed for mountain bikes to get the bags higher in the air so when you ride next to a log or rock, the bottom of the bags do not catch on the log or rock.  Or when riding in a narrow gully, the sides of the bags are less likely to hit the sides of the gully because they are higher up.  The price you pay for this extra clearance is the less stable handling of having the front panniers higher off the ground.  The original Blackburn concept for low rider front racks works.  Its better to have the front panniers lower than higher.

Since the gravel roads on this trip will not have the type of terrain where pannier clearance is an issue, the low riders would make more sense to me.  Low riders have clearance underneath them.  8 inches or so.  You will not be riding on technical terrain requiring you to thread the bike through narrow openings and in and out of narrow deep ruts and gullies and ditches.  It will likely be rough roads and likely wet but you will be able to see where you are going and ride through the rough spots.  Since the road claims to be gravel, normal fenders should work fine and not fill up with mud.  Gravel roads don't have great gobs of sticky mud on them when wet.  Just small gobs of pasty gravel dust mud that will not clog up underneath fenders.

I'll also add that while the new custom bike you mention will be used for the Denali trip, I'm guessing it will be used far more after the trip.  The trip is only 2 weeks and 450 miles.  I'd hate to have such a specialized bike that is less than optimal for the 100 times more riding you will do after this Denali trip.  Normal touring type bike with normal fenders and low rider racks will be better for all the subsequent riding.  The lots of clearance fenders and higher racks would still work but maybe not as well.

Just an opinion.

This message was edited by RussellSeaton on 5-3-07 @ 8:27 AM

Gear Talk / Front Rack for Trek 520
« on: April 19, 2007, 12:08:17 pm »
I had a 1991 Trek 520.  Still have the frame and fork so I guess I still have a 1991 Trek 520.  But no parts on it and likely won't be unless I give it to someone to use since its too small for me.  But...  The 1991 Trek 520 fork had a hole all the way through the fork so the Blackburn Custom Lowrider fit just fine with the included hardware.  If the newer Trek 520 forks only have a hole on the outside of the fork blades, then the inside will be threaded.  This is how my Redline Conquest Tour fork is made.  Go to the hardware store, or bike shop, and get various lengths of 4mm or 5mm or 6mm Allen head cap screws and figure out which size is correct for the internal threading in your fork.  Don't strip the threads inside the fork when figuring out the size.  If it does not thread in easily, stop.  I'm fairly sure the thread size would be metric.  And figure out the right length to use.  Use blue Loctite on the screws when assembling.  Regular hardware stores would have hex head bolts if you cannot find Allen head cap screws.  You would have to use a 8 or 10mm wrench to tighten them instead of an Allen wrench.

Gear Talk / tools
« on: April 08, 2007, 02:31:10 am »
Depends on the bike.  On my old Trek 520 I took two 32mm headset wrenches (one with 15mm pedal wrench on the other end and one with a BB lockring hook on the other end) and a pin spanner when touring.  Frame problems caused the headset to loosen frequently.  On the new touring bike I put on a cartridge bottom bracket and threadless headset so I carry a 5mm Allen wrench for the headset and most other nuts.  I don't carry the BB tool since the fixed cup side is Loctited/teflon taped and the adjustable cup side is just plastic to provide some extra support and the plastic cannot possibly unscrew itself due to its inherent friction.

Figure out what tools are needed to fix, overhaul every part on your bike.  For newer bikes this may not be too many tools.  Then decide whether to take that tool along or not based upon the likelihood of the associated part failing and whether you could actually do anything if it did fail.  For the cartridge BB, I'm not sure having the tool along would make any difference.  You don't carry a spare BB.  Loose cups will wear out the ball bearings/cartridges but you will replace the whole thing cheaply at a bike shop that does have the tools.  I suppose if the fixed cup came loose the drive side crank arm could move far enough to the right to push the non drive crank into the bottom bracket shell.  To use the BB tool on the cups you have to also have a way to remove the crank arms.  So if you bring the BB tool, you have to also bring the crank arm tools.  Choice is both or neither.  An 8mm Allen is needed to tighten the crank arm usually.  I have a socket thing that fits over a 6mm Allen wrench so it does not add anything extra.

You may not need any more tools on a cross country loaded tour than you carry on a day long around town ride.

Gear Talk / Panniers or Trail Bob for USA crossing?
« on: March 29, 2007, 01:38:35 pm »
Since you are already own, paid for, the panniers and know how they work, what do you hate about them that is causing you to want to change?  Based upon comments from people who have trailers, they seem to work.  Based upon my own experience with panniers, they work too.  If starting from scratch, then it might be a different story.  Or if you just want to spend money on a trailer, then go for it.  But I already have the panniers, just like you, so changing systems, spending money, does not seem to make mcuh sense to me.  Unless you just want to spend money on a bike thing and do things different.  Different for the sake of being different is OK too.

Gear Talk / Rack and Panniers for T2000?
« on: May 04, 2007, 04:40:02 pm »
What exactly do you mean "are there panniers that fit racing bikes that do not have the fixtures?"  By fixture do you mean a rear rack?  Panniers obviously hang from the sides of racks.  Rear or front.  For a Transamerica ride I am guessing you are traveling loaded.  Maybe lightly loaded, but you can only go so light if being self contained.  Tent, sleeping bag, cooking ware, etc.  I suppose you could sleep under the stars in a tarp but I would not advise this.  It would be light though.  If you are doing the Transamerica credit card touring style, then you can travel real light since you only really need a FEW extra clothes and toiletries.  You can use P clips to mount a rear rack to a racing bike and attach panniers and load them very very lightly.  Not load them down for a loaded tour though.  Or use one of those big Carradice bags on your racing bike saddle and carry quite a bit of stuff for credit card touring.  Or a seatpost rack and rack bag and credit card tour.  Or the rack bag on the rack attached via P clips and credit card tour.  Or maybe even one of those bigger Camelbaks with lots of storage space and credit card tour.

For a racing bike going loaded, the BOB trailer is probably your only solution.  Cost is $300 or so I think.  Then you can travel loaded across the US.

Gear Talk / Rack and Panniers for T2000?
« on: April 13, 2007, 11:32:43 am »
"I'm sure that they are right, and 99% of the T2000's never carry a front rack,"

I would doubt this statement.  Why would anyone buy a T2000 if they were not planning on touring with it?  Cannondale makes dozens of models of bikes.  Many of them with the same low gearing and a similar frame as the T2000 or T800.  Why pay extra or get more weight with the T2000 or T800 if you aren't going to tour with it?  And can get the same low gearing on another Cannondale.

Of course it could be similar to SUVs.  Buy a bad, macho, etc. looking one for image.  Never know when a blizzard will come to San Diego and you will need your big SUV to get to the mall.  I guess the loaded touring bike might have the same image thing working for it.  Give the buyer the illusion they are just moments away from going on a round the world tour in hostile lands fending for themselves completely self supported.  Argghhhhh.

"I've always wondered if there ws a reason for the straight fork of the T2000, over the traditional fork of the T800's, other than trying to differentiate between the two models."

Probably the image thing above.  People love straight blade forks.  They think they are stiffer, which is interpreted as good, supposedly.  The big, fat, round blades on the T2000 look stronger than the skinny tapering curved blades on the T800.  Image.

Gear Talk / Rack and Panniers for T2000?
« on: April 12, 2007, 12:01:33 pm »
"The thing I'm not too crazy about with the Ultimate Low-rider is that it mounts using a long skewer right through it, which would seem to be a pain if you have to remove your front wheel."

This is the reason I would never consider an OMM rack.  I take my front wheel off my touring bike when hauling it around.  I don't want to muck about with the rack every time I take the front wheel off.  OMM racks solve a problem where normal racks cannot work, such as suspended mountain bikes.  But why put up with their difficulties when you do not have to?  I want my racks to stay on the bike exactly where I bolted them.  Not move when I take the wheels off.

I have a Redline Conquest Tour frame and fork.  Fork is large tubed aluminum.  Regular low rider rack from Nashbar fits on it just fine.  See link below.  click on picture to blow up picture to see the large diameter fork better.  Not quite as large a diameter as the Fatty fork, but still much, much larger than a steel fork.  As it should be since its an aluminum fork.

My lowrider rack.  Could not get the Blackburn Custom low rider, two separate pieces, bolt through fork, no hoop in front, to work on the Redline fork since the rack hole in the middle of the fork tube is not all the way through.  Its just a bolt and welded in nut in the fork tube.

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