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Messages - wildtoad

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The venerable Masi Giramondo came w/ IS brake mounts. Nothing wrong w/ IS and there are still current drop bar bikes such as the excellent Black Mountain La Cabra that use IS. But adapters are required for IS and installation can, in certain contexts, but a bit cumbersome.

Flat mount was developed/promoted by Shimano circa 2014. Standard was focused on a cleaner, more "aesthetic" mounting standard for disc brake road bikes that would do away with stacking adapters. Shimano's considerable mainstream prowess has resulted in flat mount becoming the de facto standard for most current/forthcoming disc brake-equipped road, gravel, adventure, touring, and other sub-niche drop bar bikes. The cynic might argue that flat mount was just another example of the mainstream bike industry's love affair w/ "obsoletism." The optimist might counter that it's a better option in some contexts and there are still plenty of brake calipers made in the other disc standards should a frame maker want to go "semi-retro."

In terms of rotor size, my experience is that a good, properly set up disc brake system w/ 160mm front/rear rotors is more than sufficient for loaded, hilly all road touring (meaning pavement, gravel, dirt roads that aren't too rough).  Still, should you own a flat mount bike and are pining for a larger front rotor, there are now a few adapters on the market that enable you to run a 180mm front rotor w/ flat mount (e.g., the Discord adapter). I haven't used them so I don't know how well they work. One apparent caveat is that you are advised to check w/ the fork manufacturer to verify that your flat mount designed fork can handle the forces associated w/ a larger (>160mm) rotor. Likely not a problem for a burly steel touring fork, but something to think about w/ the plethora of lighter carbon "adventure" forks now on the market and coming stock on many production bikes.

General Discussion / Re: Front rack for Marin four corners
« on: June 13, 2022, 12:16:29 am »
My wife has a 2020 650b Marin Four Corners Elite, a slightly lighter frame/fork setup than the standard Four Corners, but the same geometry specs I believe (although not 100 percent sure).
I installed a Tubus Tara front rack on that bike for her, no problem. Worked great, although she now runs front cargo cages w/ rear rack/panniers as it's a better setup for her for all road touring (i.e., dirt/gravel in addition to pavement).
I realize that the Tara does not have a platform as it's a low rider, but it should work if you don't find another option.

Gear Talk / Re: Pre-Built wheel with dynamo for Trek 520
« on: June 09, 2022, 03:28:10 pm »
For a pre-built wheel on a short timeframe, outside of LBS (which can be hit or miss IME and parts availability may be tough for a short notice custom build), I've had great luck w/ both ebay (used) and Velomine (new). It's been a while since I've checked out Velomine's offerings, but they have offered touring wheels w/ dynamo in the past. There are small bike brands like Crust that offer decently-priced new dynamo wheelsets and may actually have them in stock, but I think the Crust wheels may be 650b only.

Good luck!

Gear Talk / Re: Bar talk
« on: June 03, 2022, 08:52:12 am »
Indeed, swapping between handlebar "genres" is a bit more involved than changing out just the bars. I've done this procedure on several bikes over the years. Given your current setup, the project will likely involve the following:
1. Brake lever swap, obviously. Be sure to match lever cable pull (short vs. long pull) to your disc brakes. Your will probably need short pull levers (i.e., cantilever compatible levers)...plenty of options.
2. If you currently have bar end shifters, the best option IMO is to mount them as thumb shifters using a compatible product like Paul thumbies or similar options offered by Velo Orange (made by Dia Compe, I believe), Microshift, etc. I really like thumb shifters in certain applications...can be very convenient and easy to use as you can easily optimize shifter location. This approach also enables you to maintain the simplicity/reliability of the bar end shifters, and keep the rest of your current drivetrain (derailleurs, etc.)
3. Stem rise and length. You will likely want a new stem to optimize the setup. This process can typically involve some trial and least that's my experience. It's unlikely based my experience that your existing stem will work well with an alt-bar.
4. New brake cables (levers will likely use different cable ends), handlebar grips, etc.  Given that you will be relocating shifters, etc., new shifter cables/housing probably makes sense as well.

Best of luck w/ the process. Handlebar preference is, of course, highly personal and it can take a long time for folks to find handlebar nirvana. As to alt-bars, I tried out an earlier version of the Jones bar 10 plus years ago on my touring bike. Ultimately, I passed it on as none of the 3 primary hand positions were great for me. But I'm glad I tried it...and bars like the Jones have given rise to other designs and pared down versions w/ less sweep that I love on my hardtail.

FWIW, on my current touring bike, I am running the Ritchey Beacon flared drops. After several months of riding, they have become one of my all time favorite bars. They just work for me.  Horses for courses......


Gear Talk / Re: PedalCell
« on: May 05, 2022, 09:48:56 am »
Great feedback, rmball28, much appreciated. Ordering the pedal cell was on my 'to do" list but was I struggling a bit with adding yet another accessory to my bikes... all the while a decent power bank, sometimes supplemented w/ solar, has met all of my touring power needs. Based on your feedback I am going to pass at this point.

Gear Talk / Re: PedalCell
« on: March 15, 2022, 02:32:07 pm »
Posed the safety question to PedalCell today and received a prompt and thoughtful response from the Founder, italicized below. I am placing an order, upside pretty good for me. I've recently added yet another device that needs charging (Garmin inReach mini) and will be doing more tours in NE US and Canada as we slowly relocate from CA to my trusty solar panel won't be as reliable w/ more prevailing cloud cover.

Will check back in here at the end of Summer to share my experience. Happy Spring/Summer touring to all.

Thanks for reaching out on our site. Funny enough, we've seen less than 5 instances where slippage occurred on the fork. Each one of these times was attributed to either:
a) using no rubber spacer when needed or using an incorrect size
b) Poor install
c) Not checking the tightness for an extended period of time
When installed properly, PedalCell will not slip off of your fork. Been used in countless offroad/bumpy settings.

PedalCell's clamp design mitigates twist and provides higher grip/clamping force, even on tapering forks via
1. PedalCell's clamp is comprised of Nylon 6/6 (30% Fiberglass). This material is strong (used on car panels). However, it is also flexible. Upon tightening, the flex ensures that the physical clamp structure molds around the fork to create a much higher clamping force.
2. PedalCell uses integrated rubber "teeth" on both sides, which flex and mold to the fork's geometry and increase contact surface area.
And we do have a fail-safe: Our spring force is quite aggressive. A user who fails to mount PedalCell with sufficient torque would immediately notice the spring pushing the product "away" from the rim. This can also be seen if the clamp loosens over time. A clear indication that something needs to be tightened!

Huh? I also have a Masi Giramondo, quite familiar w/ the gearing. Gearing is great on that bike for touring. Masi spec'ed it unusually well for touring, except for the stock wheels and, arguably, the mediocre promax brakes on the earliest models.

A Deore triple is not a "road" triple in my parlance. A road triple typically has a 50 tooth big ring and a 30 tooth small ring (with maybe a 39 middle)....and often a cassette that maxes out in the 30-34 range.  See gearing on current Marin Four Corners as an example.  Those are the "road" triples that I am referring to. Plenty of bikes marketed as touring bikes have come w/ such triples over the years.  For some folks, they are fine.

Suntour barcons are "legendary" for those who appreciate friction shifting. The indexing era ushered in the unfortunate demise of Suntour.


Gear Talk / Re: PedalCell
« on: March 14, 2022, 08:51:16 pm »
Yes, I think I saw that same comparison b/w PedalCell and Velogical last year.

So, if some folks are really fussy about cosmetics of their black, disc specific rims, I suppose they might be unhappy that the PedalCell will create a silver ring on their rims! LOL, but I know a couple of folks who fit that category.

More seriously, I do share HobbesOnTour's concern about safety in some applications...if I put this on my hardtail for bikepacking purposes, do I have to worry about the unit getting bashed into my spokes? Weird stuff happens. Rode portion of the Arizona Trail late last summer w/ a guy who had a couple of bizarre wheel/fork calamities. If I'm running a fork cage w/ bag, perhaps that protects the unit. Probably an issue worth asking PedalCell about if I decide to maybe take the plunge.

Wonder if the restriction against use w/ carbon rims will cause longer term problems re adoption/success for them? I don't run carbon rims and have no plans to, but that doesn't matter. Regardless of whether you are pro-carbon rim, anti-carbon rim or indifferent, there are more and more of them around including those being marketed as "adventure" carbon wheelsets for bikepacking and gravel. Some of those wheelsets are in line price-wise with mid-upper aluminum wheelsets. Obviously not a limitation for a hub dynamo. And not a short term limitation.

Gear Talk / Re: Handlebar Light and Ortlieb Handlebar Bag
« on: March 14, 2022, 08:39:55 am »
I've tried just about every light location option out there. Overall, I have found that the fork mounted Paul Gino or the Origin 8 Stub Light mount is my preferred option in most cases. That mount provides good light coverage and still works if I use fork mounted cargo cages. Limitation is that there is not much flexibility in using the mount elsewhere on the bike should the need arise.

Now, back when I was still using a Tubus Tara front rack, I fashioned a light mount on the front, forward curve of the rack using a wine bottle cork and zip ties. Worked great, would occasionally have to swap out w/ a new cork.

Re bar extenders, I do use a small one that came w/ my handlebar bag...I put a bell and my garmin on it. As to putting a light on it, I prefer lower-mounted lights for better road/trail coverage and less "blinding" or distraction of oncoming road/trail users.

Froze, glad to hear that you enjoy the Microshift bar ends. I am a huge fan of old Suntour components and have some of their stuff on an old road bike. If someone doesn't want index shifting, then the Suntour barcons are a great choice. And there are good options for new friction-only shifters (e.g., Rivendell silver). My favorite shifters of all time are the early 90s Shimano XT thumbies...I still run a pair today after 30 years of dirt and road use.

Haven't heard mechanical 105 groups described as "not capable" before. Interesting. Does the plastic pawl issue apply to the older 10 speed 105 rear derailleur?

As to clutched derailleurs, I agree they are not necessary for pavement road touring and one doesn't "need" a cluch for ultra rough stuff either. But I have found them useful for "all road" riding/touring, the term I used in my previous post, which can include paved roads of various quality, gravel roads, dirt roads, former and abandoned roads that are more like trails, and so on. The clutch is helpful in the rougher stuff. I don't do "jumps."  In any event, my reference to a clutch was more along the lines of adding a mountain rear derailleur to the proposed 105 or tiagra triple drivetrain as I am of the opinion that "road" triple drivetrains provide insufficient low end gearing for loaded touring. In general, if someone wants to run a touring triple drivetrain nowadays, I recommend a deore or similar triple crank w/ corresponding derailleurs and Microshift or Shimano bar ends.

General Discussion / Re: Does size matter?
« on: March 13, 2022, 03:34:27 pm »
I have two wheelsets for my touring bike, one 700c and the other 650b. Bike was marketed as taking both sizes. Can fit up to a 2" tire in both wheel sizes.

I find a noticeable difference between the wheel sizes on this bike, but there are significant variables at play (tire type/quality, pressures, etc.). With a 2" 700c tire, the bike is very stable but overly so IMO, sort of "truck-like" in handling and not my preference. Others might like it. It does better with a 700c tire in the 40 range or so..but then I am losing both comfort and speed advantages compared to my 650b setup.

On the 650b wheelset, I am running fancy, supple tires, 48mm advertised width, actual width on my rims around 50mm. Absolutely love this setup for all road conditions...and that includes plenty of pavement. Bike is more nimble and just feels more lively and "fun" all around compared to wide 700c. Because the tires are road-oriented, I don't think I am giving up anything compared to a narrower tire, and I am gaining substantial comfort (lower pressure), tremendous handing, and likely an overall faster speed over variable conditions (not something I really bother to measure, however). After I dialed in the 650b setup, I have not put the 700c's back on, and doubt that I ever will. The setup is very, very sensitive re tire pressure...must be patient and experiment until you dial in the right pressure. Some may find that process annoying.

If your idea of "wide" is in the 30s, stick with 700c. 650b makes sense IMO once you get in to the 40s..and I think around 650bx48 is pretty optimal for all road use. But tires in that range need to have some element of "supple" going on to be enjoyable (for years I ran heavy, tough German "touring" tires in 2" more).

Have fun with whatever you decide and I'm sure it will be great.

Well, if you are satisfied with "road" triple gearing, it looks like you could put together a 2016 era Shimano 105 10sp drivetrain using brand new, leftover equipment that appears to be available from major online retailers (some bike specific retailers, others well know giant retailers of everything). Shimano 105 5703 series triple "brifters" and triple front derailleurs seem to be available. The GS cage 105 10 sp rear derailleur is still available new, but can only "officially" handle a 30T cog in the cassette when paired w/ a triple. There are some local bike shops w/ web sites advertising the 105 triple crank as still in stock. But if a new 105 triple crank is unavailable, then I presume the FC-4703 Tiagra triple (available from major on line bike retailers) would work.

Personally, I don't consider such road-geared triples as adequate for loaded touring. But plenty of stock touring bikes have come w/ road triples over the horses for courses, depends on where you are riding, your preferences, etc.

You could widen the range of the 105 setup by using a 10sp long cage Shimano XT rear derailleur (would also gain a clutch which I find useful for "all road" riding). To resolve the incompatibility between Shimano road shifters and mountain derailleurs that Shimano introduced in the 10sp era, you would need to run the brilliant Wolf Tooth Tanpan in the inline configuration. The Tanpan works perfectly in my touring setup (Shimano XT 10sp rear, deore triple crank, and Dura Ace 10sp bar ends (the original BS-78s that include index and friction shifting options....Shimano ditched the friction in the later BS-79 bar ends).  Install of Tanpan took 15 minutes, and it's been "set and forget" since then.

Down the rabbit hole of esoteric drivetrains...the IRD Power Ratchet brake levers w/ Shimano bar ends or the Gevenalle (formerly RetroShift) levers featuring MicroShift bar ends provide a different approach to "integrated" shifters/levers. You would not need the Tanpan w/ Gevenalle. They are a niche, acquired taste IMO.

And yes, MicroShift makes 3x9 and 3x10 integrated "brifters." Never used or seen one in person so don's know if they can provide a "105" level shifting experience. My experience w/ 10sp MicroShift bar ends w/ Shimano derailleurs is that MicroShift bar ends are adequate and functional, but fall short of excellence. In contrast, the MicroShift Advent X 1x system is simply fantastic (this is a tangent, but I highly recommend Advent X to bring 1X shifting to an older but excellent mtbs).

Okay, it's warmed up to 17 outside and I have a bunch of snow to remove from the driveway (winter not over yet here in VT). Hope someone finds this rambling useful.

Gear Talk / Re: Breaking in Brooks B17 Imperial
« on: March 13, 2022, 08:14:36 am »
Have tried many different saddles over the years, but always come back to Brooks leather saddles as my primary saddles for "good" bikes and long distances (I like the brooks cambium rubber series in the C17 width, but not the narrower versions).

I have 2 Brooks leather saddles in rotation now, a Ti-railed Professional (my favorite all time) and a B17 special. In terms of break-in, I simply apply a little bit of proofide and ride. Both saddles were extremely comfortable for me very quickly. I do swap both saddles among a number of different bikes, including road, touring, hardtails to no ill effect. IME, I would not worry about different geometries and would have no concern about putting your Brooks on a trainer to facilitate break in. 

Take good care of your brooks, wipe it down when it gets dirty, use a rain cover when necessary, reapply a little proofide on occasion, and it will substantially outlast the typical conventional saddles.

Gear Talk / Re: PedalCell
« on: March 12, 2022, 03:46:42 pm »
I, too, have been intrigued by the PedalCell and have been thinking about picking one up. I guess we are all standing on the sidelines:)

I have 3 very different bikes that I take on "tour" depending on terrain, type of tour, etc. Conveniently (not!), each bike runs a different wheel size (26, 650b and 700c). So, a non-hub battery charging system that I can swap among the bikes would be ideal. To date, I have had decent success carrying small power banks and a solar panel (plus opportunity charging when available), but adding an additional self-contained power source would be a bonus.

Similar product is the Velogical from Germany, specifically, if I recall correctly, the blue version that is designed for charging batteries as opposed to lighting. It seems to be an elegant unit (more attractive than PedalCell IMO), but maybe not as easily "integrated" and swappable between bikes as PedalCell. Fun stuff.

If I take the plunge, I will report back after a couple of tours.

Gear Talk / Re: Tubeless versus Tubes - how well do tubeless hold air?
« on: March 12, 2022, 03:18:11 pm »
Glad to hear that your setup has improved re air loss. That mirrors my experience w/ road-oriented tubeless, it can take a few rides after initial setup to get to the point of "acceptable" air/psi loss. But you will lose psi faster than a butyl inner tube setup. Cool/cold weather can also prolong that initial sealing process depending on your sealant. For example, I really like the Panaracer sealant as it's the best I've used for sealing so-called "supple" tires, but it's not the best choice (or even a good choice) for cold weather.

I think tubeless is a great option for wider tired touring bikes (I run 650b x 50mm actual) running "moderate" psi.

Still skeptical re it's application for narrower tires/higher psi (28mm and narrower). I experimented last summer w/ 700x28 tubeless tires on one of my go fast road and rims both optimized for tubeless. Setup was easy (tires seated w/soapy water and regular floor pump) and performance was fine throughout the summer. Was running mid 70s psi or so; air loss at higher psi was on par w/ a latex inner tube. Did have to refresh the sealant more often than I anticipated, not sure why. For this season, I am going back to my regular clincher + latex tube setup on that bike; it's lighter than the tubeless setup (I get to play weight weenie on this particular bike) and I can do without the sealant hassle.  I expect things will continue to improve in the roadie context as the big tire makers continue to pour more $$$ into road tubeless.

Happy riding.

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