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Messages - DaveB

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General Discussion / Re: Just bought my first bike
« on: March 21, 2021, 09:38:53 am »
You are starting out with a bike pretty near the top of the cycling sophistication spectrum.  As noted this is a "race/performance" bike, not a tourer or casual rail-trail bike.  BTW, if the frame is badly mis-sized, there is pretty much nothing you can do to fix it and a different bike will be needed.  I hope you picked the right one since apparently you didn't try it before the purchase.
Also, depending on how hilly your location is and how fit you currently are, the gearing may not be low enough for you.   

I make a few recommendations:

1. If you have a knowledgeable friend or a local bike club member or a good local bike shop have them go over the bike with you be sure the size is close to right and to adjust the saddle height, bar position etc to fit.  As noted above a professional fitting would be ideal but costly.  Also, your best position will change as you ride more and adapt to the riding position. 

2. Learn elementary mechanical skills.  At least learn how to fix a roadside flat tire, do minor shifting and brake adjustments, chain lubrication, etc.  A book covering modern bike care and feeding would be a worthwhile purchase and YouTube has a bunch of good (and not so good) tutorials on the subject.

3.  Get a good floor pump and plan to use it before every ride or every two days if you ride a lot.  Narrow, high pressure bike tires lose air a lot faster than auto tires or wide low pressure bike tire and have to be topped up frequently. 

4. Enjoy the bike and ride it a lot!

General Discussion / Re: carrying a firearm on a tour
« on: February 27, 2021, 10:04:33 am »
I've heard from one of the crime noir authors I know, that a sure way to draw critiicism to your work is to make a mistake about guns or gun fights.

If you've been writing for a while, you probably have some expert consultants you can use. If not,  you might hit up a trainer in your region and perhaps a well-trained cyclist who carries a weapon.  Most of these folks will usually consult for the cost of a dinner and proof your fight scenes for you.
+100.  So many authors that try to include firearms use or descriptions make egregious technical errors and get pounced on by knowledgeable readers.  Those errors do a lot of damage to the credibility of everything else you have written so be sure to get really expert help if you go this way. 

General Discussion / Re: Low profile rugged touring tires
« on: February 16, 2021, 10:13:01 am »
Road bikes, particularly those a few years older, often have tight tire clearances and won't clear anything bigger than 700-23 or, at best 700-25.  What size are your current Marathons?  You apparently need a smaller tire or a different bike.

Gear Talk / Re: Rohloff SpeedHub
« on: January 24, 2021, 01:22:44 pm »
  I can, if so desired, put a sprocket on back that gets my gear inches down to 13 (low) and 73 (high) or I can put in a sprocket that changes my gear inches from a low of 22 to a high of 117.
Rohloff (and other IGH makers) has a minimum chainring/cog ratio that you shouldn't go below to avoid exceeding the hub's torque limit.  The minimum primary ratio Rohloff recommends iis 1.9:1 (2.5:1 for heavy riders and Tandems) and given the hubs low gear of 0.279 that gives a low gear of 14.3 gear-inches so your 13 gear inches is a bit lower than Rohloff likes even if you are light and your touring load modest. 

Gear Talk / Re: Bottle Cage Allen screw Size
« on: December 31, 2020, 10:35:31 am »
We've strayed into that dangerous lubricant territory.  I buy cartridges of Chevron SRI grease for all bike-greasing.  It is a high quality poly-urea based grease, which is fairly water tolerant.  FWIW, it looks just like Phil Wood grease.
Yeah, grease preference threads can get very contentious and, really, for no reason.   Bicycle bearing service is very undemanding compared to many automotive and industrial uses so almost any decent grease is perfectly satisfactory. 

I've been using Phil Grease since the '80's and it's been very good but many other "bike specific" and "general purpose" greases would be just as good.  Phil in the 3-oz tubes is absurdly expensive per ounce but I buy it in 640 gm (22.5-oz) tubs which makes the cost reasonable and it lasts for years.  I refill a 4 oz Dualco grease gun from the tub and dispense it from there.  That keeps the bulk grease clean and meters it accurately with little waste.

General Discussion / Re: Newbie bicycle tourists, Don't get fooled.
« on: December 23, 2020, 10:38:39 am »
DaveB - you say that - to get a more friendly rider position you need to replace the bars for drop bars. I disagree with that. There are very comfy MTB bars that function very well for touring.
No, I didn't say that, the OP (Westinghouse) mentioned changing from flat bars to drop bars as a low cost way to make an MTB more suitable for  touring.   

I agree that many riders are fine with flat bars for road and touring use.  I'm not one of them having ridden a flat bar bike enough to realize I don't like them but many do.

General Discussion / Re: Newbie bicycle tourists, Don't get fooled.
« on: December 20, 2020, 09:03:26 am »
You want reliability.
Comfort is indeed important but reliability is at least equally important and that's what disqualifies most Big Box and Department store bikes.  I recall reading an interview with the President of one of the big box bike brands like Huffy who said the average LIFETIME expected distance for one of their bikes is about 75 miles.  That doesn't make for a lot of confidence as a touring bike.     

To keep the cost down a used, good condition MTB or road bike by a big name bike shop brand like Trek, Cannondale, Specialized, Fuji, etc is a great starting point.  Routing checking of your local Craigslist should eventually turn up something suitable and some judicious modifications can make it a very suitable touring bike without great expense.  Ideally a used touring bike would be the best starting point but there are few and far between.

Gear Talk / Re: Better components?
« on: December 19, 2020, 01:09:05 pm »
How's that saying go?  Marry the frame, date the parts?
Ever tied explaining that approach to your wife?   ;D

General Discussion / Re: Newbie bicycle tourists, Don't get fooled.
« on: December 19, 2020, 10:49:21 am »
One comment on your OP, item #2.  Converting an MTB to a more tour-friendly rider position requires much more than just switching handlebars and cable lengths.  To fit drop bars to an MTB also requires new brake levers and shifters and probably a new stem.  Replacing the knobby tires with more roadworthy tires is also a highly recommended change. 

This is quite possible and several years ago I "roadified" an old rigid fork, hardtail Trek MTB doing what I mentioned above and it was relatively cheap since I had the needed extra components in my parts boxes as take-offs from other bikes but it would not have been particularly cheap if I had to buy new parts.

General Discussion / Re: Pedals and Shoes for the TransAmerica
« on: December 19, 2020, 10:24:14 am »
My first clipless pedals in the early 1990's were Look road pedals with their three-bolt cleats.  These convinced me of two things: 1) I never wanted to go back to quill pedals with toe clips and straps and 2) single-sided pedals with slippery, exposed cleats were not the thing if you rode in any kind of traffic or hilly city/suburban conditions with stop signs, traffic lights, etc.   They were fine for racers who clipped in once at the beginning and out at the end of a race or training ride but not in between and never walked in them.   That was not my type of riding and as soon as walkable cleats and two-sided pedals were available I switched immediately.

My first recessed cleat,  double-sided pedals were Speedplay Magnums that soon morphed into Frogs.  I have ridden over 100,000 miles on three pair of Frogs and really liked them.  Yes, they have a huge amount of float but that was never a problem.  I use them mostly with Shimano's SH-T09X, and SH-RT8X Touring shoes (two-bolt SPD recessed cleat pocket, flat lugless soles) and the stiffness was adequate for long rides with no foot pain.  That said, they were expensive, required routine relubrication, repair parts for the pedals and cleats were difficult to find, cleat durability was mediocre and, as above, Speedplay's support was unpredictable.  Also, despite their claim of being MTB pedals, their mud and dirt tolerance was poor and the cleats clogged easily.

Yes, Frogs are listed on Speedplay's website but "Not available at this time.....", as are all of their MTB/Touring type pedals.  The only ones currently available are the various "lollypop" road pedals.  Speedplay has been known for vaporware in the past and that seems to still be the case.

When my last pair of Frogs wore out I switched to Shimano SPD XT-level MTB pedals with the same shoes and have used then on all of my bikes since.  The more modest float is perfectly adequate and the durability has been great.  Also, the pedals and cleats are available everywhere and repairs and maintenance on the pedals themselves have been unneeded.

Gear Talk / Re: Better components?
« on: December 16, 2020, 10:37:14 am »
The OEM components are low end but adequate and I would use them until they wear out and then replace them with something better as needed.  The one item I have some reservations about are the Promax brakes and I'd upgrade to TRP Spyres if it were me.  The TRPs are better mechanical brakes and use common Shimano compatible pads.  I have them on a Surly Midnight Special and they work very well.

Have the brakes set up using "compressionless" brake housing like Jagwire Pro housing.  It makes a significant improvement in responsiveness.

The stock gearing seems fine.  If my calculations are correct, your "development" numbers equate to 18 to 92 gear-inches which should be plenty low for almost any hill and as high as a trike needs.

Gear Talk / Re: Bottle Cage Allen screw Size
« on: December 16, 2020, 10:16:16 am »
T-9 is the wrong product for your intended use. Shops sometimes try to sell you what they have when they don’t have what you need. I might just avoid this shop in the future, or at least that salesperson.

Any general-purpose grease should work. I use Park grease, but you could even use automotive grease.
+1 Boeshield is a pretty good chain lube but it isn't a grease.  Phil Grease is excellent and I use it to overhaul all of my hub, headset and other bearings but it's isn't needed for what the OP requires.  Get the smallest, cheapest tube of general purpose grease Walmart or you local auto parts store sells.

If yo plan to do major maintenance and overhauls of your bike in the future, invest in a high quality grease line Phil or Park but they aren't needed for your immediate use. 

BTW, use whatever you buy to also grease the seatpost and pedal threads.  That will save you major problems in the future.

After reflection, I'm thinking about revising my previous recommendation.  Since you're working with a good shop, you've got a few more options open to you.  And I'm cheap, so if you can make what you've got work, that's probably cheaper than buying another bike. 

So I'd first take your bike down and ask if they can put a smaller chainring on, and the larger cassette aggie mentioned.  Question: did that require a Wolftooth derailer hanger droppers?  (Not sure about the right name.)  If they can put on a 30 tooth ring and get the rear working with a 40 tooth cog, you're at about 21 gear inches.  Since you've got the racks sorted out, the Diverge would then be ready to ride.
Modifying the Diverge to get significantly lower gearing is going to be more involved and expensive than it appears.

First, the OEM Claris crank has a 110 mm BCD so 34T is the smallest practical chainring (yeah, 33T will fit but good luck finding one).  There is a Claris triple crank (50/39/30) but that will require buying a new crank and Octalink triple bottom bracket.

Second 8-speed cassettes are way out of date and the selection is limited. Finding one with a larger largest cog than 34T is probably unobtanium.  Those huge cog cassettes intended for 1X drivetrains start a 9-speed and are far more common at 10 and 11-speed.

Modifying the Diverge with GPX600 (11-speed) will fix the gearing problems but at a much greater cost as he will have to change the shifters, both derailleurs, crank, bottom bracket, cassette, brakes and rear wheel.

By the time the OP has modified his Diverge he is well on his way to paying for a Disc Trucker that comes far better geared and with better components (groupset, brakes and thru axle wheels) than his Diverge.  I think it's time for N+1

I recently built up a Surly "Midnight Special" mostly for the fun of having another, different, more versatile bike. All my others are pure road bikes. 

It would make a great gravel and touring bike as it has relatively long chainstays, accepts up to 700-41 tires and has mounting points for front and rear racks, fenders and 3 water bottles.  It also has disc brakes, thru axles and a standard English threaded bottom bracket so it will take a wide range of drivetrains and gearing.  It's not a heavy or purpose built as the Disc Trucker but is an excellent all-around road/gravel/touring frame. 

Gear Talk / Re: Mechanical or hydro?
« on: September 07, 2020, 08:30:40 am »
Another option to Gevenalle in the super-nichey world of alt brake shift levers is the IRD Power Ratchet levers........Anyway, if anyone is interested in an depth comparison b/w the IRDs and Gevenalles, check out the website for Analog Cycles.

The one potential drawback of the IRDs and Gevenalles for touring is cable/housing interference w/ handlebar bags or bikepacking style handlebar harnesses.
I looked at Analog's web site and their "put-down" of the Gevenalle shifters compared to the IRD's is mostly nonsense.  The two systems are very similar and, having tens of thousands of miles on the Gevenalle "brifters", I can tell you first hand they are comfortable, durable and convenient.  The Microshift levers Gevenalle uses are indeed accurate and reliable and require a lot less lever effort than Shimano levers (which I also have).  The current models levers also have a friction option.

Your comment about the exposed shift cables on both systems interfering with larger handlebar bags is correct and I see no simple way around that. 

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