Sunday, December 9, 2018

Winter Project: ‘95 Trek 830

My bike fleet has been pretty stable lately, so it was time to mix things up. I was sorely tempted by a 62cm Rivendell Joe Appaloosa frameset on the RBW list, but I was worried it was a bit too big for me, and it was realistically out of my Jones drained budget. Instead, I’ve been trawling Craigslist for old mountain bikes. I’ve been missing my old Rockhopper, low stack height and all.

While I was killing time in a Detroit hotel this week, I came across this old Trek and made plans to see it on Saturday. And quite clearly, I brought it home. Maybe because it needed help:


Above is as received. I only raised the saddle... thing for my test ride. It's odd how unbalanced a bike feels when the nose of the saddle is cut off:

Bar ends pointed to the sky with one matching brake lever. But not both?

The drivetrain is mid 90s Shimano entry level 7 speed. The Altus crank arms have a nice shape; too bad the rings are riveted on. It still shifts OK after 23 years:

The seller advertised "brand new front tire!" but it's one of those rock hard, greasy feeling cheapies:

This is pretty much the last of the line for regular production rigid bikes... though that's not quite correct: Trek claims this is "suspension corrected", but maybe only for a 50mm fork. There's a little air space above that front tire.

Rack and fender brazes on all around. This is the kind of useful mountain bike that Riv modeled the Clem after (Riv makes a specious claim that this sort of old bike will need "a full resurrection cost[ing] $1300", which means I have $1210 margin to beat that budget)

But here's what finally sold me: a nice tall (185mm) headtube, with a 1" threaded headset. That's 25mm taller than my old Rockhopper, with easier height adjustment to boot.

It's also nice that the frame and fork are decent shape, and the tubing isn't double oversized like Trek's higher end bikes. My initial plan is to make it a fat tire, drop barred all rounder, the kind of bike that would be fun on gravel roads. I don't have any gravel roads around me, but sometimes you have to go where the project takes you.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Gears for Jones... Cheap

This has been a terrible fall for riding. Rain and temps that bounce right around freezing have made the trails way to sloppy to ride. I've been riding my Jones a bit on the road, but the limitations of single speed gearing quickly become apparent then. Coupled with my desire to try a cheap, wide range, eight speed cassette, I ended up adding some gears to the Jones:

Monday, October 22, 2018

Building a Jones Plus... on the Cheap


After celebrating Jones Day with the family, I settled into the bike shop and got down to work. I keep an Excel sheet to track my bike budget (surprising, right?), and since the Jones purchase was putting me temporarily in the red, I didn't want to spend any extra on the build that I didn't have to. Here's how I put together a budget(ish) Jones LWB build:

Friday, October 19, 2018

Monday, October 8, 2018

New Soma Riff

I've been working on my fleet a bit this fall. After my Niner died, I've been searching for another bike that gives me that same feeling of confidence when charging through the rough stuff. My Trek Fuel is OK, but I can never get into a long term relationship with a full suspension bike. I tell myself I don't want the extra maintenance, or that they allow me to go too fast, but in reality full suspension bikes just don't fit my early 90s image of what a mountain bike should be or look like.

My attempt to copy the Niner was a Soma Riff, somewhat impulsively bought when ebay had a sale coupon:

The frame is only a size large, a bit small for me, but the top tube length is comparable to the Niner or my KM. Alas, the higher bottom bracket exacerbates the low stack of this frame, leaving me to use a handlebar with three inches of rise to get the bars where they need to be. I haven't used the Velo Orange Klunker bar much previous to this, and I'm not terribly fond of it so far. It's heavy, steel, and has a bit of a dead feel to it. Why do steel frames feel so good, but aluminum wins for bars?

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Bikes and a Playground

Sam has been biking a bit more this fall. His usual bike ride is down the block to his buddy's house, but he's up for a longer ride now and then. Last week we headed over to the metro park:

There's a small hill in the metro park. We zipped down it only to turn it around and climb back up. "Sam, do you want to do that again?" "Sure!" So we did two intervals of hill climbing.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Billie Bar Review, with bonus Pine Tar Soap review

I placed a Rivendell order the other day to try out a few new products. My main purchase was a new bar for my Fuji. The Billie bar is an evolution of Nitto's Albatross bar: a bit wider and longer. I've ridden an Albatross copy a while back, but I didn't care for the narrow width and the bolt upright main position (the "Mary Poppins" effect).

So off came the Noodles, on came the Billie:


Winter Project: ‘95 Trek 830

My bike fleet has been pretty stable lately, so it was time to mix things up. I was sorely tempted by a 62cm Rivendell Joe Appaloosa framese...