Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2016 in Review

It's that time of years when bloggers get together, clean the last of the Christmas food out of the fridge, and make some sort of end of year list. This year, I'm going to look at what bikes and frames I've bought and sold over the year:

In January, I sold my Mukluk fatbike. I still think about a fatbike every now and then, but the wide Q factor and overall slowness of the fat tires didn't work too well for me.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day: Raleigh Updates and a New Niner

First off, Merry Christmas to all my B&P reader(s). We had an unusually warm Christmas day, so after opening presents (making the kids wait until 7:00am), playing new board games, etc., I headed out after lunch for a quick spin and some quiet. Jodi got me some new medium-heavy riding gloves that were just right for our temps in the low 40s (I now have four different pairs of warm gloves to span riding from the 50s to the teens).

I've done a bit of updating on my mid 80s Raleigh Technium:

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

B+ Monkey

Despite what my wife might say about my wardrobe, I try to keep up with some trends. While my dress pants are mostly unfortunately pleated, I did take the dive and order up some 27.5+ wheels for my Karate Monkey. Everyone is saying that these "B+" wheels are the Next Big Thing. The theory is they'll combine the traction and comfort of a 29+ wheel with the the agility of a standard 29er, while being able to fit in most 29er frames. Unlike, say, supply side economics, this is a theory that might actually hold up.

I didn't initially intend to try this on my KM. I originally had picked up a brand new Soma B side for the very low price of $238 from ebay seller xtremebikeandsport. They sent me a tracking number, and while I was waiting for my shipment, I ordered up some 650B wheels and B+ tires to go with them. A week later, xtremebikeandsport cancelled my order and tried to get me to say I'd refused the shipment. To quote our president elect, dishonest!

Anyway, with wheels and tires around, might as well mount them up on the Monkey. The first part of the theory of B+ holds up, in that they did indeed fit:

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Dying of the Light

We've had a strange spell of warm weather around here, so for the last week I've been jumping on my bike for a short ride as soon as I get home from work. On Wednesday, Sam joined me a quick spin over to the Metro Park:

I was riding my Rockhopper in its latest state, with Surly Open Bars giving a perfect position for lazy rides around the neighborhood. I liked this bike with drop bars, but it's also working really well like this. Somehow, the cheapie 700c 'cross fork gives it very neutral, even steering. I'm curious to load up the basket and see how it works then.

Sam was excited to explore this dry lake bed:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Drop that Karate Monkey!

I was pretty darn satisfied with my drop bar Rockhopper, which of course meant it was time to pull it apart and use the parts elsewhere. I've had a hankering for a drop bar mountain bike lately. I thought the KM would stretch me out too far, but the Tape Measure of Truth told me it could actually be a bit shorter than the Rockhopper, with the right stem. So time to get to it:


I'm in a fit of downsizing, so I'm also planning for my KM to take over my fixed gear duties. I don't ride fixed much these days, so this should be good enough:

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Rockhopper Updated. Several Times.

Regular reader(s) might recall I picked up a '98 Rockhopper off CL this summer for just $50:



After fixing the various drivetrain issues, I rode it around more or less stock for a bit, but then I decided to try it as a neighborhood cruiser:

For some reason--maybe due to "comfort bike" factor of a suspension fork on a city bike, this build didn't really gel for me. That's when things got a bit more interesting. I enjoyed the way the frame rode, but wanted a bit more off road capability than the noodly Indy fork could provide. News flash: twenty year old elastomer forks don't work that well. Digging into my parts bin, I figured a non suspension corrected, high offset fork from a Singular Gryphon might make it into a workable 69er:

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Raleigh Technium 650b conversion

After my relatively successful third try into the world of 650b road bike conversions, I had to try out my new wheels on my 1986 Raleigh Technium. The Technium, as students of dead end bike technologies are apt tell you, has the three main tubes made of aluminum and bonded into steel lugs, which connect to a steel rear triangle and steel head tube. The hope was to get the lively feel of 531 steel with the light weight of aluminum. I can't speak to the weight--the complete bike has always felt rather hefty--but it is a lovely, flexy bike to ride. How would that match up with fat 650b wheels?

Very nicely, as it turns out: