Monday, October 8, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Raleighish Schwinn Cool Guy Bike

This latest project took 6 months to complete for some reason, but I just completed it. So nice. So many kinks along the way. So frusterating. But looks pretty. So pretty.

The bike use to be a typical 10 speed sport touring Schwinn World Sport or something with drop bars and 27" wheels. The owner approached me about doing a basic tune up, and I asked him how much a tune up. Well it eventually evolved into a complete rebirth for the frame, and the results are satisfying. Stuff like this is always exciting to watch happen and develop.

The owner was about to switch from a car to bike for commuting, so that's were most of the inspiration came from. Environmentalist wet dream right there... Anyway, I think in total the parts cost came around to $400ish not including labor and new powder coat. Through a shop it probably would have been more like $800ish, so its crazy to think about how a little know-how and right connections can save you money. 

One thing I came to terms with this build is that I'm a terrible wheel builder despite building over 50 wheels at this point, and that I'm probably happier not being a shop mechanic. I'd probably be good at it since I'm doing so damn well in food service, but it might kill projects like this for me, so it's nice to have a bit of autonomy over such endeavors.

Some of the parts also got stolen while being stored at the Evergreen Bike Shop, but luckily the majorly important part that was thefted (the rear rack) was replaced thanks to a generous donation from Ben C L to the Keep-Chris'-Stress-Level-Down cause.

The original derailer hanger striped out, so I had to use a clamp on variety... A very stressful last minute change. P.S. look at that small ring, wtf. Came stock on the crankset. Oh and Primo Super Tenderizer pedals are pretty sweet. 

The fork was a nightmare to deal with. First, the fork crown race was 26.4 instead of 27.0, unexpected since it was a Tange fork (JIS vs. ISO.) Second, the walls of the steerer were ridiculously thick, making only old school BMX and MTB stems fit. I had to compromise with this POS stem, but it worked fine for the job. Also, the clearance on the front is way less than the back--annoying...

The Sanyo hub and B&M Lumotec Fly+ light are decently bright, considering the price. Sorry, Blogger is doing weird photo orientation stuff that I can't figure out.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Post MTBing photos

I forgot to bring my camera along, so I'll you get is the after bike pics.

Max and Gabe's black Surly collection...

Yup I took the Lotus. One and only.

     It was super fun albeit terrifying. Steep head and seat tube angles with minimal rake and short chainstays don't make for a stable bike when climbing and descending fast. Unsurprisingly. The first 15 or so minutes kinda scared the crap out of me because the rear wheel kept jack knifing and the front would unexpected pop wheelies on the accents. No matter how dedicated I was about shifting weight, that thing just didn't want to stay up right. Eventually though I got use to it though and pretty soon I was as comfortable as I would be on my old cyclocross bike. I really want a real deal mountain bike, but secret project may just put that off for the time being.

     Fyi the Pacenti Pari-Motos did surprisingly well even on the most sedimentary of terrain. My rear wheel is only partially thrashed--impressive considering all the roots and giant rocks I rolled over.  Oh yeah also switched to Nitto Jitensha bars. They are sweet for commuting--less so for MTBing.

     Listening to Adele. So good.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Coming Back

The b-log has been a bit quiet recently due to lack of camera cable and me losing some interest. There has been plenty of projects going on these past two months or so to merit a few post, so hopefully I'll be able to update more in the next week or so. But I'll start with the most relevant change. And the reason why I'm going to hell:

On a whim, I switch from some old rando Nitto drop bars to Scott AT-2s. The reasoning has to do in part with the fact that I have a secret project brewing, which I'm sure I'll probably update soon about, but lets just say having a drop bar road bike just seemed a little redundant to have. The stupid part is the secret project won't be ready from months--maybe even a year out, so this was probably an awful idea, but I like it.

I think the thing I'm most stoked on are the Deore thumbies that I got off this old beat up Stumpjumper that was on craigslist. First indexing that I've had that I've been really sold on. Also friction ready, of course. These bars are kinda take or leave it for me--they were kind of a temp fix until I order some Nitto Jitensha bars. Sans front derailer because I'm lazy.

Also new are these XTR cantis that I recently brazed post on for. I like their 'bite' more than the center pulls that were on before (D Compe rear, Mafac Racer front.) Throw on the ridiculous Nitto rear rack on there, and I have one of the weirdest hybrids ever.

I think a lot of it is a result of coming to terms with the fact that I wasn't doing any recreational rides with the Lotus anymore since it wasn't really equipped to be self-supportive for anything longer than 80 miles. As result, I've only been commuting on it, and I wasn't in love with the Nitto randonneur bars, so... Once I get some bars with a bit more swep back, I think this will be pretty dialed in.

I think I am coming closer to touching the spirit of Sheldon Brown with this one... Or Satan, which ever.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pari Moto

In a moment of weakness, I ordered some Pari Motos.

I'm probably a lot more excited about them than I should be.

I'll talk about it more later maybe.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sixfiddy Bee

Can't really get over how effin' cool this dealie is. I have an affinity for steel racingish bikes from 80's to 90's, but really don't like skinny tires. Not a fan of the Col de la Vie tires or the front brake cable housing length, but sweet Basso frame with hella clearance and full Superbe Pro? Oh and offset Synergy in the rear is super cool too. This would be such a super bike for Pari-Motos. Anyway, wanted to share that...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sizemore Bicycles

Sometimes I think about how it would be nice to own a bike that wasn't so flashy. More details here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Low Trail!

I'll get to the whole subject of the title in a second, but a note about the blog--for better or worst of my judgment, I loaned my camera to my friend who is currently sailing across the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Guatemala, and seeing how that something I'd never do, I figure it'd be cool if he took pictures with it. See the world... Through other people. Anyway, no photos from for a while, so obviously I can't show you directly the cool stuff, but I'll use my words. Hard.

Of the endless topics I prattle on about on the regular, low trail bikes are usually at the top for things I should try to cut back on. If you look at the picture above, 'trail' is neatly labeled right underneath the front wheel. It's measured by figuring out where the centerline of the steering axis is and where the the front axle is in relation to the ground. The overwhelming majority of modern bike today have mid to high trail because its believed to have smoother handling.
As the above picture demonstrates, there are two ways major ways to change around your trail. The first is by having a steeper or more shallow head tube angle. Head tube angle are usually around 69-75 degrees (and that's a pretty wide range), with 73 being a fairly common middle ground. The second way to alter trail is increase or decrease the 'rake' of the fork. Rake is measured by how far the axle of the front wheel is from the steering axis. Generally speaking, a fork that is bent to a greater degree has higher rake. By making the head tube a steeper angle and increasing the rake of the fork, trail is lessened. By making the head tube more slack and the rake smaller, trail is increased.

Another way to visualize trail is by looking at the bottom bracket (where the cranks are connected the bicycle) in relation to the front wheel. Generally speaking, the farther away the front wheel is from the bottom bracket, the lower the trail is. Thinking of it this way, a few benefits of low trail are illuminated. For instance, on smaller frames its a common problem where when the crank is at the 3 o'clock/9 o'clock position, the rider's foot will hit the front wheel when making an exaggerated turn. At high speeds, this make no difference as you'll never turn the front end enough during a turn to make a difference. But at lower speeds, it can cause a minor crash--something you don't really want in city traffic. Low trail geometry deceases the likely hood of this happening.

Another major benefit of low trail is the ability to hold a load on the front of the bicycle without sacrificing the handling of the bike at high speeds. With the wheel farther forward, a load above the wheel is better stabilized by having the wheel constantly guiding the weight instead of it being pushed by it. High trail bicycles also have a fair amount of 'wheel flop'. When the bicycle's front end is turned to the left or the right, the height of the front sinks a bit. This is a good thing, as it acts as a sort of 'power steering' for the bike. With a load on the front however, the 'power steering' effect is exacerbated, causing the bike to want to fall to the left or right. High trail bikes have more wheel flop than low trail bikes. Since low trail has less wheel flop, it can feel more 'twitchy' than high trail bikes, but its ability carry loads is improved, especially at higher speeds.

There are other benefits of low trail such as the bicycle's ability to 'hold the line' on turns. Since wheel flop is decreased, the rider is forced to have more control over the steering of the bike. This benefits the rider, as they are more able to control where the bicycle directs itself during a turn without resisting the 'power steering' as much. This can be particularly helpful for when biking quickly at night and noticing an obstacle in the road when its almost too late--your ability to correct and avoid is increased.

I think the Lovely Bicycle! blog had a good point in that low trail isn't 'life changing' so much as its just 'kinda nice'. It can change how you use your bicycle and make it better at doing that, but it also isn't a game breaker/winner.

It looks like I'll be getting a new fork for the big trash pile bike, giving it low trail geometry. Gonna get a handlebar bag and front rack too, so hopefully this will make my 'carry shit' dilemma a little better. As I mentioned in the last post, messenger bags, back packs, and panniers just don't suit going on longer rides in which I only need to carry the essentials. Kinda nervous, as it's going to set me back $300+ and I really should be budgeting more this season, but I'm a sucker for this kind of shit.

Because I'm a mega nerd, I have planned out everything I want to get:

Corey Thompson-made fork
VO Randonneur front rack and decaileur
Handlebar bag that is super tall made by a friend (Not many vegan options out there...)
1" Threadless. First threadless bike I'm going to own besides a MTB I crashed a long time ago.
VO 45mm fenders because I love metal fenders but can't afford non-outsourced bike parts...
30mm Challenge Paris-Roubaix tires, or 32mm Grand Bois Cypress (700c!)
VO Grand Cru standard reach dual pivots (damn you globalization.)

I also really want to get Grand Bois Maes Parallel bars, but I have no money for anything above listed, much less $90 handlebars. I have these old school Campy Nuovo Record non-aero levers that I think I'll use. If I don't like those, then I might splurge for those sweet TRP aero levers. Some other cool free-bee parts I got are a Nuovo Record rear derailer and a Shimano 600 corn cob 6 speed freewheel. I found these shit 700c wheels that I revived, but it'd be cool to get something more legit in the future, primarily a generator hub.

The sad part of this is that I'm going to part out the Lotus to complete this project, taking away the cranks, bottom bracket, front derailer, shifters, saddle and maybe handle bars... I think I'll make it a fixed gear as I kinda miss having one around and I still love the frame, but one project at a time. FUCK MONEY. Does anyone want to pay me to be a nerd AND let me stay in Olympia? Because I'm willing.