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Messages - RussSeaton

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Gear Talk / Re: Best Touring Wheelset
« on: October 19, 2017, 04:06:06 pm »
You're using Shimano 105 hubs now.  So 130mm rear spacing.  Not 135mm for mountain bike hubs.  Get some Shimano Ultegra or 105 hubs.  Dura Ace are better, but not really for touring.  Lighter, shinier, prettier, etc.  But the bearings and cups and cones are the same.  Ultegra and 105 are also more common out in the world in bike shops.  So if you had to have something fixed, more likely to find the right part in the middle of no where.  Someone else mentioned Phil Wood hubs.  No.  They are nice, yes.  I built a 48 spoke rear hub for a friend's tandem.  But Phil need special tools to work on them.  Bearing press and a wrench to get the thing apart I think.  And generally you have to send them back to Phil for replacing parts and fixing.  Easier to work on Shimano hubs.  For spokes, DT or Sapim double butted 14/15 gauge spokes.  Or go crazy and get the 13/14 gauge spokes for super strength.  Or just go with straight 14 gauge.  All are good if assembled by a competent builder.  3 cross is good.  Brass nipples of course.  36 spokes is good.  No need for 40 or 48.  Those are tandem numbers.  Rims, I'm not sure.  Friend with the tandem used a Velocity rim.  But Alex, DT Swiss, Velocity are all good.  Just get a heavy duty one.  Heavier the better.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice for Great Divide bike set up
« on: October 08, 2017, 02:49:44 pm »
This is a purely mathematical response.  Assume 10 speed.  Assume 700C wheels.  Just for fun.  I suppose you could go 11 speed too.  And 26 inch wheels too.  But 10 speed and 700C.  11-36 cassette.  Putting the gears into a gear chart with a 34 tooth single chainring, I get about 22 mph top speed with 34x11 gearing and 90 rpm, 83 gear inches.  And I get about 7 mph with low gear of 34x36 and 90 rpm, 25 gear inches.  All the gearing jumps are about 5-6-7 gear inches apart.  Not bad.  Only problem is the high is not too high, not really much of a problem.  And the other problem is the low is not too low really.  25 gear inches isn't anything to brag about for a low gear.  You could run a 32 ring and get a high of 78 and a low of 24 gear inches, 21 and 6.4 mph.  But the low really isn't a lot better and the high is definitely worse.

The problem with running a single chainring is the gearing is compromised.  Either you lose high gears, or lose low gears, or lose the nice progression between gears.  You cannot have all three with a single ring and 10 or 11 or even 12 cogs on back.  SRAM is making a 12 cog cassette now.  The SRAM 12 speed cassette is 10-50.  The SRAM 11 speed cassette is 10-42.  I suppose with a 32 ring and 10-42 cassette, you could get a range of 86 to 20.6 gear inches.  23 to 5.5 mph at 90 rpm.  Good low gearing.  But not a great choice of middle or high gearing and big jumps between gears.  You got to compromise with a single chainring.  With a triple crankset, or even a double crank, you can have nice high gears, nice low gears, AND nice jumps between gears.  You can have it all with a double or triple crank, you can't with a single ring.  You give up good gearing range or progression for the benefit of maintenance, reliability, ease of shifting.

General Discussion / Re: New Orleans - Chicago
« on: September 21, 2017, 01:50:05 pm »
Definitely ride South to North.  New Orleans to Chicago.  In the Midwest in the summer, the wind comes from the south and west.  You will have a much better chance of tailwind going south to north.  No guarantees of course.  You could have a headwind every day too.

Routes / Re: Cycling Portugal to China - route help please!?
« on: September 18, 2017, 04:04:12 pm »
I have no knowledge about riding from Portugal to China through Russia.  But I did ride in Portugal once.  Good place to tour.  But I can think of several common sense reasons why everyone else rides south through the middle east to China from Europe.  1.  Weather.  Your ride will likely take 6-9 months if you ride more or less straight through.  So spring, summer, fall.  Staying south improves the chance of good weather.  Russia gets cold.  I know you will likely be in Russia in the summer, but maybe spring and fall too.  Maybe bad weather in Russia.  Russia is not flat.  It has lots of mountains.  Cold in the mountains.  2.  Terrain.  Flatter the further south you are.  As mentioned, Russia has lots of mountains all along its southern borders with all the other former USSR countries and Tibet, Mongolia, China.  3.  Roads and People.  There are not many people in Russia.  Russia is twice the size of the USA I think but only has one third the population.  There are no people in Russia.  Especially in the country side.  All the people basically live in a couple big towns and no where else.  So no towns or cities in rural Russia.  And, no roads either.  No people means no roads.  Just one or two main roads covering thousands of miles.  Unlike in western Europe, where there is a town and people and road everywhere.  Its easy to stay off the main roads.  The south route has lots more people in a denser concentration and thus lots more roads.  Don't have to ride the one main interstate turnpike road for hundreds of miles.

Do you think it would be too much if I asked to do a background check on my potential companion?

Not being a private investigator, or a financial something or other, I really don't know what a background check is.  Is it a financial check like the ones Equifax (HaHa) does?  Or a criminal check with the feds, state, county government agencies?  I can sort of understand these checks.  And they would likely tell you whether that is a person you want to ride with.  But, I can think of lots and lots of people who would pass a financial background check (not really sure a high credit score is really important for a bike rider, is it?), and do not have a criminal record, but are not people I would want to ride with.  Unless you know someone, and interact with them, I don't really think a background check will do much for you.  Other than the financial and criminal checks I mentioned.

General Discussion / Re: Avoiding highways
« on: September 04, 2017, 07:17:23 pm »
I don't really understand this "nothing but shoulders" mentality.  Where I live and ride, almost none of the roads have shoulders to ride on.  And most of the very few shoulders would not be rideable anyway due to debris.  I suggest doing as alligator responded.  Pick somewhere and then map out a route using the numerous county roads available.  That is how I rode around all of Europe and parts of the USA.  Get a map with somewhat low/high resolution, and find the small paved roads.  No official pre planned route to it.  If you only will ride on trails, then maybe Netherlands is the only place on earth you can ride.  Lots of trails there.  But I rode on the roads too when I was there.  So...

Gear Talk / Re: Thoughts on Nashbar Touring bike?
« on: September 04, 2017, 01:49:57 pm »
I can't beat the price, and free shipping!

No you can't.  Its a bargain.  Especially if you can also use one of the constant 25% off coupon codes.  Not sure about the free shipping though.  Ordinarily the free shipping does not apply to bikes.  You will end up with a bike with some name brand parts in the important areas, and good, functional parts everywhere else.  For not a whole lot of money.  ASSUMING you are a competent bike mechanic and can do all of your own bike mechanic work, you should easily be able to tune the shifting, adjust the headset and hub bearings.  And then it will be perfectly reliable.  No worse, or better, than 99% of all the other loaded touring bikes being sold today.  Its more or less the exact same bike, parts wise, as everything else being sold today.

Gear Talk / Re: Thoughts on Nashbar Touring bike?
« on: September 03, 2017, 04:20:43 pm »
I have a Nashbar cyclocross bike.  Probably somewhat similar to the touring bike.  Steel frame.  105 shifters and derailleurs.  10 speed.  FSA crank.  Some kind of wheels.  I have 35mm tires on the bike.  Nashbar stem, bars, saddle, post I assume.  Fine bike.  100% reliable.  Rides fine.  Heavy and slow with the big wide tires.  Suspect the touring bike should be just as fine.  My touring bike, an aluminum Redline touring frame and fork with various parts, weighs 30 pounds with racks(f+r), fenders(f+r), 2 cages, computer, taillight, bell/compass, Brooks B17 saddle, etc.  That is what loaded touring bikes weigh.  30 pounds.  Ready to ride.  The Nashbar and Bikes Direct touring bikes are basically unlabeled Surly Trucker, Trek 520, REI Randonnee, and other name brand bikes.  Exact same components more or less.  Same steel frame, fork too.  The other bikes cost twice as much because they have a name/label on the frame.  Otherwise same bike.  I guess you maybe get a "local" bike shop with the name brand bikes.  If that means anything or is worth anything.  Not to me.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Choice for Bike Tour in Tibet
« on: August 29, 2017, 12:49:38 pm »
If I spend the week before I leave in the mountains of Colorado visiting mountains between 12,000 and 14,000 feet during the day, will that help me?

I doubt it.  Because you will be at the high elevation only for a brief period of time.  90% of the time you will be at 5,000 feet in the towns at the bottom of the climbs.  And your 12,000 and 14,000 numbers are a bit goofy.  Those are the very summits, peaks of the mountains in the Rockies.  The passes where you will be are only about 8,000 feet.  Unless you plan to hike to the top of all the Rocky mountains and stand on the summit.  If you want to get used to altitude, assuming you even have a problem with altitude, go to Tibet, Nepal one month early and live for a month at the high elevations.  I'm sure a lot of cities over there are at 10,000 feet plus elevation.

General Discussion / Re: UK Trip Planning...John O'Groats to Lands End
« on: August 24, 2017, 03:59:58 pm »
In Britain, the John Groats to Lands End ride is the most famous in the whole country.  Every cyclist in the country knows about it.  I am pretty darn positive you can very easily find dozens and dozens of websites devoted solely to riding John Groats Lands End.  And most likely there are a dozen or more current active forums somewhere on the web talking exclusively about this ride.  To me it seems a bit foolish to ask on a cross USA website about riding the length of England.  I'm pretty positive the Groats Lands ride has been going on for much much much longer than the cross USA ride.  There are probably a dozen books on Amazon, Borders, Barnes Noble about the ride.

Gear Talk / Re: Bike Choice for Bike Tour in Tibet
« on: August 22, 2017, 12:20:20 am »
I'd suggest getting YouTube videos, TV shows, news stories, etc. showing the roads in Tibet NOW.  Look for recent videos and shows to get sort of up to date views of the roads.  When watching the shows, look at the roads.  In your opening questions you mentioned lots of paved roads to and from Tibet and Everest.  In the shows I am talking about viewing, you may discover that these paved roads were built by the British in 1953 to get Hillary and Norgay to Everest.  And they have not seen one iota of care since.  In case you did not know, cold climates, like Tibet, are really hard on pavement because all of the freezing and thawing breaks up pavement very quickly.  In your opening question you talk about lots of "paved" roads.  I bet "paved" roads in North America and Europe are different than "paved" roads in Tibet.  I'm guessing "paved" roads in Tibet may not even be good enough to drive one of those huge tire BigFoot trucks on.  A mountain bike is probably the best choice.

Gear Talk / Re: Should have learnt the easy way.. some advice guys
« on: August 22, 2017, 12:02:00 am »
like your car mirrors have a small blind spot.  So a glance behind before you change your position is still called for.

No. Bike mirrors do not have a blind spot.  Why?  Because you can move your head in all directions and change your field of view in the bike mirror.  No blind spot with bike mirrors.  In contrast, car mirrors are fixed and you, the viewer, are also more or less fixed.  When using a car mirror you do not move around and look at the mirror from many different positions.  If you did, then you could eliminate the blind spot on a car too.  But usually you remain fixed in your car seat and just turn your head and look at the car mirror.  So it has a blind spot.  No blind spot on bike mirrors.  Your head moves in every direction when using the bike mirror and you can see everything behind you in every direction.  Up, down, left, right, close, far.  Just move your head to get whatever angle or direction you want.

Yes you should look manually by turning your head when making a position change on your bike.  Turning left, look in the mirror to see if any cars are coming up behind you, and then turn around and look with your eyes.

Gear Talk / Re: Advice for choosing components to reduce gear inches
« on: August 17, 2017, 02:00:02 pm »
I've seen 20 teeth specced as the range for a bunch of front derailleurs.

It might be the standard.  Don't know.  Its complete nonsense anyway.  My Campagnolo Veloce bike has a 52-42-24 crankset.  Shifts perfect.  28 tooth difference!!!  My touring bike has a 44-33-20 triple crank.  Shifts perfect.  24 tooth difference!!!  My old touring bike had 50-45-24 rings.  Shifted perfect.  26 tooth difference!!!  Used to be double front derailleurs had a 14 tooth difference.  Just enough to handle the common 53-39 crankset.  Then people started loving these compact cranks with 50-34 rings.  16 teeth difference!!!  Oh no!!!  Shimano, Campagnolo, SRAM did not change the front derailleur.  They magically said it was fine to shift 16 teeth with the front derailleur.  People even use a double front derailleur to shift a triple crankset.  But you say that's impossible?

Gear Talk / Re: Advice for choosing components to reduce gear inches
« on: August 16, 2017, 09:09:24 pm »
Question: If one can achieve the gear-inch target range of 18 - 110 by either changing the chainrings or the cassette (similar cost), is there a preferred option?

I can get to a gear-inch range of ~18 to ~110 by changing the crankset and chainrings (staying within the 20 tooth capacity for the front derailleur) OR changing the cassette cogs (rear derailleur will adjust to accommodate the largest cog). Cost and effort are about equal.

Depends on where you are starting from.  And what components you are starting with.  If you are starting with a triple crankset that allows 64 or 74mm bcd, then its real easy to just put a 22 or 24 tooth inner ring on the crank and you are done probably.  If you are starting with a 11-28 cassette and a crank that only allows 30 tooth inner ring, then its easiest to put a long cage rear derailleur and 11-36 cassette on the bike.  Generally its a hell of a lot easier to change derailleurs and cassettes than cranks and bottom brackets.

When setting up my loaded touring bike, I changed the chainrings AND the cassette.  Sort of.  It was really just the chainrings.  But I went from a seven speed 12-32 cassette to a ten speed 11-32 cassette.  And changed chainrings from a 48-45-24 to 44-33-20.  So my decrease on the low side came only from the chainrings.  High gear stayed exactly the same.  But I picked up a LOT more usable middle gears from the cassette change.

20 tooth capacity for a front derailleur?  That's a good one.  Is it April Fools Day?

Gear Talk / Re: front gears
« on: August 07, 2017, 02:03:16 pm »
That is my biggest concern whenever I think about a 1x. I abhor being geared too high or too low, especially since I have never been a "spinner."

Yes.  For fun I will put some math to the situation.  My touring bike is a 3x10.  44-33-20 crankset and 11-32 ten speed cassette.  My high gear is 108 gear inches.  My low gear is 17 gear inches.  Pretty darn good.  But I do have to deal with a triple crank and front derailleur and shifter.  Lets try to duplicate my setup with a 1x setup.  Lets use the SRAM cassettes I mentioned above.  SRAM makes an eleven speed 10-42 cassette and a twelve speed 10-50 cassette.  Lets use the twelve speed cassette.  To get a low gear equal to my low gear of 17 gear inches, you must use a 32 tooth single chainring with the 50 tooth cog.  Your high gear ends up as 86 gear inches.  Kind of a medium gear, not high at all.  Not high for paved road riding, maybe great for off road trail riding.  The 10-50 SRAM cassette has cogs of 10-12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32-36-42-50.  So your highest gears are 86, 72, 62, 54, 48 gear inches with the 32 ring you need to get my low gear.  I would be very unhappy riding with gears not too high and that far apart.  With the SRAM 1x system you can get higher overall gears by increasing the single chainring.  But then you have a higher low gear too.  And you still don't get closely spaced gears.  The cassettes made for 1x systems do not allow closely spaced gears because they have to cover such a large range.  10-42 or 10-50.  1x systems REQUIRE you to give up closely spaced gears AND one of the following, low gears OR high gears.  You can never have closely spaced gears and you must choose either low gears or high gears, never both.

Some day we may have 20 cog cassettes.  Then you can get closely spaced gears and high gears and low gears.  Everything with a single chainring.  No triple crankset needed.  And 20 cogs on the cassette.

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