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:

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Fleet Update

My reader(s) have surely been clamoring for an updated overview of my bike fleet, so let's jump right in, shall we?

As always, bikes are posted in descending order of how much I like them at this moment:

1. Surly Karate Monkey (2012, XL):

"Wait," you sputter, "where is THE JONES?"

Not even top three.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

650B, Third Time the Charm?

For a wheel size that has been around for decades, rim makers have struggled to make a decent 650B rim. 650B has many attractions: it may allow you to squeeze fatter tires into a racing or sport frame, and there are some fine tires in that size. But it seems there are issues making a rim that fits easily with 650B tires.

My first attempt at 650B was with my Rawland rSogn. It was a great frame, both lively riding and practical, but both the rims and the tires were mediocre to bad. The Panaracer Col de Vie tires were somewhat sluggish, but the Velocity Synergy rims were downright bad: with a bead well that was too deep, it was almost impossible to get the tire evenly seated and rolling true (by the way, if you have an XL rSogn you want to sell, let me know).

650B try 2 was on my old Trek 620. This time, I had lovely, supple Compass Loup Loup Pass tires, but the rims were even worse. The Pacenti PL23 rims were nearly impossible to get a tire mounted onto. I pinched the front tube five times trying to get the damn tire bead over the rim. This was frustrating enough in my garage, but not something I'll live with on the road.

Is the third time the charm?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My New Workshop

The downside of buying a new house is an additional six years of grinding debt. The upside is my bike workshop has noticeably improved. Our garage has a nice bumpout in the back that makes a great shop area. We had to add some electrical outlets to the garage (it turns out the one outlet that Pulte provided wasn't quite enough), so after repairing and mudding that drywall patch, I painted it blank white and enlisted some help to liven up my shop area even more.

I told the kids they could paint what they liked. They thought for a moment and got to work: