Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Churn Counter

It's been a while since my last post, so you might imagine that I have had some turnover in my bike fleet.

You would be correct. 

I sold my Marino, but it wasn't the only bike to pass through my garage:

Thinking that the success of conventional wisdom in my full suspension mountain bike would translate over to a hybrid style city bike, in December I impulse purchased this Kona Dew when I found an XL in stock:


It rode well enough and was comfortable, but the fat tires can feel a bit ponderous for my bike paths, and the cheap mechanical disc brakes didn't feel great. It was an interesting experiment, but I sold it off this spring. I just like my mix of odd steel bikes, fixed gears, and small wheeled bikes better.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Henry's Rat Rod

Henry and I spend all together too much time watching car shows on TV. These are the HGTV equivalent shows where they buy a beater and fix it up over the course of an hour. Some of the projects that really caught our attention were the rat rods, where they fix up the car underneath but leave the outside looking deliberately rough. I don't have the time/space/money/know-how for much car work, but a bicycle rat rod is something we can try together...

Our project started with an early 90s Schwinn High Plains off CL. The previous owner was abandoning his dreams of a fat tired drop bar bike with a 3 speed internally geared hub, so we picked up the pieces for just $50.

Once again, I failed in blogging by not taking a clean "before" picture. But we got to work stripping off the parts, and then stripping the powder coat from the frame and fork. Two coats from one can of paint stripper was enough to peal it down to bare metal:


We then applied a layer of clearcoat over the bare metal. My expectation is this will only slow down the rust. Henry is looking forward to the rust as it surely develops.

Monday, October 4, 2021

The Triumph of Conventional Wisdom: Vitus Mythique

For the better part of the last two decades, I've been chasing my slightly offbeat image of what a mountain bike should be. 29ers when everyone was on 26ers, single speeds, rigid bikes, Jones bikes, plus tires, funny handlebars and suspension seatposts... I've had them all. In the meantime, the mainstream trail bike has been coalescing around a pretty stable image: a 29er full suspension bike, 130-140mm travel, with an aluminum or carbon frame, a dropper post, slack geo, and a mild rise handlebar. Which basically describes my latest bike, a Vitus Mythique:


You know what? Sometimes conventional wisdom is conventional because it just works.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

More Travels with Sam, S24O and backpacking

Sam and I have been getting out quite a bit this early fall. Driving, biking, or walking, Sam is ready to go.

One of early random road trips was up to Malabar Farm state park. Why? Because we threw a penny at the map of Ohio and it landed nearby.

We found a nice hiking trail to a small cave there:


And a cool blue butterfly:

Sam has a budding interest in geology, so our next trip was to Flint Ridge State Quarry:

Friday, August 27, 2021

New Custom Marino, and Various Other New Bikes

In the bike nerd corners of my internet, there is sometimes discussion about Marino bikes, an extremely affordable custom frame builder out of Peru. For less than the cost of a generic Taiwanese frame, you can have a custom frame delivered to your door. Finally, on a bit of a whim, I plunked down my $100 deposit last December. I wanted something like a steel version of my Marley, but not quite so slack, with more stack, more mounting points for stuff, and a little bit longer chainstays. And built for 29" wheels, since they have mostly taken over the mainstream mountain bike market. 


I never really appreciated the thought that goes into designing a hardtail's geo. The big question is, what length fork do you design around? If you plan to run a suspension fork (as I did), do you design around a fork length at 25% sag, no sag, or something else? In the end, I took a bit of a pass on this, and designed it around a 485mm rigid fork (eg, Krampus style fork), knowing that the sus fork would slacken the angles and raise the bottom bracket. My geo ended up like this:

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

How to list a bike for sale (with special notes for Bike Fridays)

I look at a lot of used bike postings for sale. Some would say, "too many!", and they would be right. In any case, a lot of these postings are crap. A typical example has a photo like this:


and no size or useful detail pictures. For some reason, Bike Friday ads are the worst offenders. They usually don't mention the size, and will only have one or two lousy, off angle pictures. A good bike ad should have six elements:

1. The make AND model of the bike
2. The frame size
3. Useful pictures
4. Component details
5. The seller's location
6. The price

 Let's tackle these one by one:

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Travels with Sam

Sam and I both had an urge to get out this winter. Apparently the urge to hit the road for a pointless destination, listen to the Beatles, and eat fast food is genetic. Or maybe we were just tired of being inside all winter.

Our first trip was to bravely ascend to the highest point in Ohio, Campbell Hill (1550 feet). Being men of daring, we managed this without supplemental oxygen:



Of course, once we'd been to the highest point in the state, our next trip had to be to the lowest point:

The Churn Counter

It's been a while since my last post, so you might imagine that I have had some turnover in my bike fleet. You would be correct.  I sold...