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Messages - CastAStone

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Gear Talk / Re: Recommendation for a great shop to buy touring bikes
« on: June 29, 2010, 01:10:59 am »
Baer Wheels ( in Columbus Ohio usually has 3-4 Touring Bikes built up. Last time I was in there they had a Surly LHT, a Jamis Aurora, a Kona Sutra and one other which escapes me built up. The owner sponsors major touring events like GOBA and TOSRV, and is super knowledgeable - IF you catch him on a good day. They also leave the forks completely uncut until you buy it so they can size them better.

Additionally, the Trek Store on Lane Avenue in Columbus has had a Trek 520 and a Trek Portland sitting in it since it opened.

Baer Wheels
3030 N. High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43202

Trek Store
1442 W. Lane Ave
Upper Arlington, Ohio

General Discussion / Re: I need a new bike...Help!
« on: June 23, 2010, 07:30:51 pm »
Mayhaps you should check with the folks over at; this forum is focused on touring riders...

Gear Talk / Re: Seat posts
« on: June 22, 2010, 12:50:59 pm »
Any suspension seat post will require occasional care, but so does your chain and such. Ah well.

I'd be surprised if your new aluminum seat post helps much. Big guys (I'm over 300) can't keep their seats up in certain tubes, period. That's why we shouldn't ride Carbon fiber seat posts - we have to clamp them almost to the point of crushing them to keep ourselves up for a days ride, and at that point, if you turn it just a little bit more - crack.

I've always wondered if I'd be better off buying a steel seatpost and spraying it every day until it does that molten-rust thing and its stuck into place.

Gear Talk / Re: Chain Rings
« on: June 20, 2010, 09:26:46 pm »
You will have chain drops and other shifting problems, but they'll be with your front derailer, not your rear derailer. A gap of even 12 teeth like yours came stock can be too many, and bringing that to 14 is almost certainly going to kill it. The chain will end up getting stuck between the chain rings, and even if your mechanic can shim that issue away, the shifts will still be slower and you'll have to slow your pedaling to get it to catch. And you would then almost HAVE to use friction shifters of some sort; indexed shifters like STIs cant handle a shim kit.

As to your options that won't be more trouble than its worth, you can get a 11-36 cassette like the SRAM Apex or the 2011 XT or SLX, which will drop you to 22.5 gear inches, but to drop below 20, you'll need to replace all of your chain rings. Your current top gear ratio is 127, which is unnecessary. Anything above 100 and your really reaching a point where you should only use them on a hill so steep that you could gain speed faster by tucking than you ever could from pedaling. So you can afford to replace your big chain ring. With that cassette, you could run a 46-36-26 or a 44-34-24 and never miss the loss on the high end. I see no reason that you would have to replace anything but the chain rings ($15-35 a piece, depending on quality), but your mechanic will understand what your options are better than I can.

One last thought about chains for touring: The SRAM 870/970/1070 is the hardest chain you can buy in terms of metal density. In theory at least, that means it should break the least often.

General Discussion / Re: What is the best bike to tour with?
« on: June 17, 2010, 12:20:46 am »
Shimano also now makes a 10-speed 36; the brand new XT and SLX cassettes. They came out just a couple weeks ago. They're tightly geared for the high 6 gears, then flail out quickly for the low gears. The new SLX and XT cranks are 42-32-24.

So if I were touring on a Madone, one of these cassettes and an XT RD (the 2009 model; the brand new one takes up less chain) would be my only change. I LOVE the XT RD.

Here's what I do, and what all of you should do.

Carry 2 sets (4 total) SRAM Powerlinks (whether you use a SRAM chain or not). Make sure you get the right widths. Ask your LBS for a short length of extra chain off of a bike they recently built up (I ask for 5 complete links - 10 total links). Make sure you get the right width; it doesn't matter the brand/model. All of this will take up about 1 square inch and add maybe 2 ounces. Make sure your multitool has a chain breaker on it, or carry a tiny one with you (they make ones that fold to the size of a golf pencil).

If you break one link, break it off and use the quick link in its place until you can get to a bike shop. If you damage a part of the chain, take that part out, put your length of chain in its place (or break your little length and use a portion of it) using the 2 sets of quick links at either end.

Zang zadam. You're not screwed if your chain breaks, you've only spent like $6, and you're barely carrying anything.

General Discussion / Re: Two-week tour on a 2004 Trek Navigator 100.
« on: June 14, 2010, 09:06:55 pm »
It can certainly be done, but as whittierider noted it is a poor choice for the job. Tt would be better if you replaced the bike for your tour. Upgrading the components will not help because the general setup of the bike is wrong. If you want flat bars, consider a Trek 7.3FX, if you want drops, a Jamis Aurora is probably the most cost effective choice.

If you choose to make your current bike work, make sure you lock out the front shock by twisting the lever on the top until you can not move the suspension at all. It does have rear rack mounts, so that's a plus, you'll want to carry some stuff on your bike even if your tour has a bus or van carrying your stuff. So its possible, but not an ideal option. People have certainly successfully done tours on far weirder bikes, but why make your life difficult?

Gear Talk / Re: Trek 520
« on: June 07, 2010, 11:15:48 pm »
The only similar bike is the Surly LHT; everything else is either cheaper, pricier, or meant for a slightly different purpose.

So why should you buy the LHT instead? The componentry is better. The XT/Tiagra derailer combo shifts better than the LX/LX combo, and quite frankly 48 teeth on a MTB front derailer - although very common - isn't a great idea. The LHT's XT hubs are better than the 520's LX hubs, and the LHT's rims are generally held in higher regard than the 520's. The 520's cassette is of lower quality than the LHT and you can get (marginally) lower gear ratios with the LHT. The 520 uses V-pull brakes while the LHT uses Cantilevers (one isn't necessarily better, but some prefer one or the other).


The 520 is a great choice and looks about 10,000 times better than the LHT. Why do you want to talked out of purchasing a fantastic bike? If you like the bike, if it looks good, if it feels right, if it does what you want, and if you can afford it, BUY IT!

Gear Talk / Re: Tool kit?
« on: May 22, 2010, 10:49:11 am »
just a thought;

if you have an old bike lying around, after you buy your multi tool and before you leave, disassemble and reassemble your old bike, all the way down to the frame (you can leave the crankset on). Its worth it, and much less expensive and less of a waste of time than a basic maintenance class because its all hands on experience. Anything you need to know about how something goes back together you can find on or

Nothing can compare to hands on experience.

General Discussion / Re: Bike security when touring in the USA
« on: May 21, 2010, 02:18:14 am »
Use a U-Lock made after 2007 and a cable lock, and use both whenever you can. They make lightweight versiond of both. A thief needs one large, awkward, bulky tool to defeat the U-lock and a completely different large, awkward, bulky tool to defeat the cable lock. Combine them with one of the alarms from the other thread, and no one is going to steal your bike.

U-Locks made before 2007 are vulnerable to the pen trick. Those made after are more effective.

Gear Talk / Re: Lower gearing: change cassette, chainrings or both?
« on: May 21, 2010, 02:12:24 am »
I recently replaced the cassette and smaller 2 chainrings on my bike. I got a SRAM 970 and 2 XTR chainrings, total cost $106 with installation. If you can find cheaper chainrings and are willing to do a SRAM 850 or Shimano HG-40 Cassette it'll save a lot of cash over what i paid.

If your gonna swap the cassette, you might as well go to a 11-34 or 13-34 instead of a 11-32. They cost the same, and you'll get that little bit extra in low gear.

I'd leave the 52, go 38 middle and 24 small in front. With the modified cassette gearing and the smaller middle chainring, you'll find yourself there more often. 42/11 is too small for a high gear IMHO.

Shimano's been making some really bizarre BCDs in the last few years, so make sure you measure or look up your part number on the Shimano website (or whoever made your crank) to ensure you get the right parts.

General Discussion / Re: mountain v. road clipless shoes/pedals
« on: May 18, 2010, 02:11:47 pm »
I can't imagine touring in road bike shoes. How do you go into a store for a gatorade? How do you wander into the woods if you have to? The damn cleat is in the way! Ick.

MTB for me, thanks. A better question might be sandal vs. shoe or hard sole vs. really hard sole.

Gear Talk / Re: breaking spokes
« on: May 18, 2010, 01:31:53 pm »
Many road bikes actually come with two different wheels because you can save weight on the front one. So you're fine.

Gear Talk / Re: Any ideas for shaving weight off a Bike Friday NWT?
« on: May 17, 2010, 05:16:14 pm »
If you have Sora stuff, depending on the model year, you might be stuck replacing the stuff with other Sora parts unless you want to upgrade a bunch of parts at once. Your rear Derailer will only work with 8 or 9 speed casettes, depending how old it is, and your shifters are set for one specific number of speeds as well. Tiagra is 9 speed, but 105/Ultegra/DA are all 10 speed and will be incompatible unless you upgrade multiple parts simultaniously. As to which parts, weight savings varies wildly. the Dura Ace FD weighs just 1oz less than the Sora one. But the Dura Ace Cassette weighs 7oz less than the Sora one, less than half as much. The biggest savings are going to be in the cassette, crankset, and wheels. But Durability in the wheels should not be ignored.

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