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Messages - whittierider

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Gear Talk / Re: Belt drives?
« on: November 19, 2011, 05:49:57 am »
Both derailleur and internally geared hub have a shift cable that has to be kept in adjustment (only when it's new and is still stretching, or, as some would argue, only has that effect); but otherwise I have not done anything to my rear derailleur in its 27,000 miles other than clean it when I want it to look purdy.  It works perfectly, but I don't take it off-road and get it gunked up with mud.  I use the Performance ball-bearing derailleur pulleys.

Gear Talk / Re: Belt drives?
« on: November 18, 2011, 01:33:18 pm »

See this recent topic.  The belt itself is not the problem.  It's everything else that goes with it.

Gear Talk / Re: New Touring Bike (RTW)
« on: November 11, 2011, 05:16:08 pm »
I believe it was $180 in the late 1970's when I was working at a bike shop and we had a couple of other lines that had bikes I felt were at least as good for less money, and lighter too.  Of course, even our low-end steel road tandem with the Softride beam in back is almost lighter than a Varsity was.  My first 10-speed was a pice-of-junk department-store jobbie and it weighed 7 pounds less than the Varsity (33 versus 40 pounds).

Gear Talk / Re: New Touring Bike (RTW)
« on: November 11, 2011, 12:51:44 am »
It's not that my memory was faulty, but I didn't realize what was under the paint there.  It's interesting that the article kept talking about the method reducing costs, and yet the bike was very expensive at the time for what it was.

Gear Talk / Re: New Touring Bike (RTW)
« on: November 10, 2011, 03:54:46 am »
One can, and for the last 120 years many have, brazed bicycle frames without lugs (it's called fillet brazing).
Would the brass filling be stong enough?  The forces that cracked the steel in the first place are still there.
In my experience, no, it's not strong enough, unless the fillet is very large.  I remember the Schwinn Varsity having a fillet-brazed steel frame, but those fillets were absolutely huge-- very thick.

Gear Talk / Re: Brifters vs. bar-end from a convenience standpoint
« on: November 08, 2011, 12:28:33 am »
I remember back in the day of down tube shifters that they were much "cooler" to use than handlebar-stem mounted shifters. One of the reasons everyone gave was that the longer cable run from the handlebar stem shifters made shifting worse. Now we have brifters and bar-end shifters with really long cable runs and everyone loves them! :-)

For ultimate simplicity and crisp shifting I think you can't beat downtube shifters.
Stem shifters were the worst of all the kinds I've tried.  The longer cable housings today however are using a cable type that didn't exist in the days of stem shifters, being wound differently so they're not so compressible.  Down-tube shifters truly are the best though, except for their location.  In the case of the front derailleur, there is no cable housing at all with DT shifters.  The rear derailleur has only 8-10" of cable housing total.  Today's 10-speed Dura-Ace DT shifters are indexed for the rear derailleur, and friction for the front, which is perfect.  Their action has the quickest, most-precise response of all the shifter types.

Gear Talk / Re: SRAM Apex?
« on: October 31, 2011, 03:10:17 pm »
When I said above, "I haven't tried Apex myself but I've read nothing but positive about it," I was only thinking of the quality.  I forgot it was only double.  For touring, I'd definitely recommend a triple.  The anti-triple people usually come from situations where their triples were not set up correctly so they didn't shift well; but that's the mechanic's fault, not anything inherent in the triple.  The derailleur and shifter don't have any more parts for a triple than a double either.  Besides the fact that the compact double puts annoyingly large steps between gears as someone above mentioned, I find that the compact double is kind of like a triple that's missing the middle ring.  Bummer.  I do almost all my riding in the 42T middle ring and seldom even shift the front; but my triple is set up correctly so it shifts chainrings very quickly (in half a turn of the crank) and never drops the chain.

I should also mention that SRAM's website says on the Apex crankset page, "Allow crankarms with lower Q factor than triple chainrings" which is not really true.  The widest Q of any bike in our garage is on a double, and the narrowest is on a triple.  The angle on the chain stay means that even if the middle ring is nearly touching the chain stay, the fact that the third ring is much smaller means it can still fit without moving the middle ring out, because the chain stay is farther in as it gets to the BB.  (External-bearing BBs don't increase the Q either.  On the left side, no spindle length is visible like it is with an internal-bearing BB, and on the drive side, the bearings are nearly in the plane of the middle ring, with the small ring being inboard of that.)

Gear Talk / Re: SRAM Apex?
« on: October 29, 2011, 07:58:10 pm »
A true cyclocross bike has very little in common with a touring bike.  Don't confuse the two.  See this post from someone who has owned many CX bikes, owns a big shop, has led tours in Europe, and raced for decades.  He's a little bit abrasive but really knows his stuff.  The link should land you on the post starting with the quote, "Where can I get some good information?" and then his longish answer about the differences between true cyclocross bikes and touring bikes.

That said, there are bikes that are called cyclocross (perhaps their model name containing something about it) but in actuality lean much more toward touring.  This was discussed recently at

I haven't tried Apex myself but I've read nothing but positive about it.

Gear Talk / Re: Rear hubs - Phil Wood and Chris King
« on: October 25, 2011, 12:53:10 pm »
we began experiencing problems (failure to engage) within the first 500 miles.

That sounds like a freehub body issue, but I don't know if the freehub body is really separate from the rest of the hub with that brand as it is on Shimano.

Historically, I have found that cheaper hubs (Campy) require minimal service and I usually don't have to do anything but keep the cones properly adjusted, repack them after about 10000 miles and they'll go for 20000 miles or more.

Far more, I'm sure.  I have some old Campy hubs with that many miles which with the cups and cones cleaned up look almost brand new.  You have to look pretty carefully to even see where the bearings were riding.  I believe I went the first 18,000 miles without having the hubs open at all for any reason.  The key however is to make the adjustment correct for after the skewer is squeezed down.  If you eliminate the play for when the wheel is out of the bike, then the bearings will be way too tight after the skewer is squeezed down.  The axle is slightly compressible, and the skewer pressure makes the cones go a little closer together.

Routes / Re: Gallup NM to Durango CO
« on: October 17, 2011, 01:35:21 pm »
I rode the last 50 miles or so from Farmington to Durango 30 years ago and it was wonderful.  Going back wasn't, because of the headwind.

Gear Talk / Re: cargo trailers
« on: October 17, 2011, 01:32:42 pm »
The BOB's trailer's side-to-side pivot is way behind the bike's rear wheel.  That will always be trouble at high speeds.  You cannot get away from it.  I was on the T@H tandem forum for many years though when my wife and I rode our tandem a lot, and there were many, many members who did a lot of touring with two-wheel Burley trailers who had had them up over 50 and 60mph on descents, and never had trouble with them, because all the pivoting takes place right near the bike's rear axle.  The BOB design is kind of necessary for off-roading, but carries a heavy penalty in this regard when you get on the road and get much speed.

Gear Talk / Re: cargo trailers
« on: October 16, 2011, 04:10:45 pm »
It's related to why fifth-wheel travel trailers handle so much better than a trailer on a trailer hitch that's way behind the pulling vehicle's rear axle.  I've pulled a 2-wheel trailer that had the hitch at the left end of the bike's rear axle, and I couldn't even feel that it was there.  It did not affect the handling of the bike.

Gear Talk / Re: Fork and Frame Choices
« on: October 12, 2011, 12:34:26 pm »
The head tube angle and the fork rake work together to produce "trail," and these work together to determine stability.  The Rivendell Reader, issue #31 from Jan '04, had a report on some experiments Rivendell did.  They made a special fork with long, horizontal dropouts, so the wheel could be moved forward and back.  They did not have a way to change the head tube angle so easily, but from what they did try, the writer says about trail: "The biggest difference came out in no-hands riding-- the low-trail bikes were easy to ride at low speed, where the tons-o'-trail bikes were hard; and at high speeds it was just the opposite."

There's also the matter of how far forward from the steering tube you put your hands on the bars (involving the bar reach and the stem length) affecting the handling, as well as the practical matter of toe overlap.

Then you also have to weigh the effects of panniers and other loading.

General Discussion / Re: Light Touring
« on: October 05, 2011, 06:06:16 pm »
If "light" means you stay in hotels instead of camping, you could get away with no panniers or rack like pdlamb said.  The biggest of the seat bags he's referring to have around 1500 square inches of space, with internal supports to avoid sagging and swaying.

Jandd Mountaineering's Mountain Wedge III only has about 450 cubic inches, but that's still nearly two gallons' worth of space.  Here's mine:

Another I just found out about that has more space than Jand's is Revelate Designs' Viscacha with 3.7 gallons' worth of space, 14 litres which is something like 850 cubic inches.

You could augment with a handlebar bag too, but I've ridden probably at least 10,000 miles with both and I can tell you the handlebar bag ruins the handling of the bike a lot more than a big seat bag does.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast in January-February
« on: October 04, 2011, 02:54:15 pm »
I hope you like rain, because that's the time to get it.

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