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PER CT DEEP:  Please do not cut anymore trees. There are so many trees down is this section of the forest and on top of the Upper...

Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy February 29th!

Since this day only comes around every four years I thought I would get a post about an unusual frame design because it's an usual calendar day.

I have been perusing the Fixed Gear Gallery lately, looking at different kinds of fixed gear bikes when I recognized a Catamount, which is a URT (unified rear triangle). According to wikipedia:

The "Unified Rear Triangle" or "URT" for short, keeps the bottom bracket and rear axle directly connected at all times. The pivot is placed between the rear triangle and the front triangle so that the rear axle and bottom bracket move as one piece, and the saddle and handlebars move as another piece. This simple design uses only one pivot, which keeps down the number of moving parts. It can be easily modified into a single-speed, and has the benefit of zero chain growth and consistent front shifting. On the other hand, when the URT rider shifts any weight from the seat to the pedals, he is essentially standing on the swingarm, resulting in a massive increase in sprung weight, and as a result the suspension tends to stop working. Because of this effect, along with persistent suspension bob and a constantly changing saddle-to-pedal distance, the URT design has fallen out of favor in recent
years.
When I had the Pig, aka the Giant AC, and all the problems I had with it, I was thinking about how you might get better pedaling efficiency and eliminate the bob that is created by four bar suspension when on my own I thought of something like URT. Of course, as I found out, it had already been tried. However, if you think about today's Comfort Bikes, the URT is really an over designed comfort bike.

It seems fixie off road riders are a rarity and what I have gathered so far is that people using a mountain bike for fixie riding are simply doing it for the fact that they believe the wider, knobbier tires will give them better traction on roads with snow on them. I can believe that. Below is the Catamount from the Fixed Gear Gallery.



Which got me thinking about the Dumpgoose. Remember this monstrosity? As a
69er, it was not well received in the Koolaid Drinking Community but what about the fixed gear community?



Who knows, maybe I can get a mention on BikeSnobNYC. Well, I have been thinking, why not make this into a fixie? I have everything I need, except the cog. All I would need is a 16t or 18t TomiCog and run it with my Atomblast Disc wheelset - a bit overkill I admit but at least it will consolidate the wheels and get them off the garage floor.


Truth be told, the Dumpgoose rode pretty well. You sat very upright and it was perfect for pulling the boys in Burley. I will probably throw on a 16t and play with the 44t vs the 33t chain rig and see how she pedals as a single speed. If it's not worth it, then she might go back to being a ski bike. Of course, I still have to figure out how I am going to do that.

The biggest problem with the ski bike concept, I think is deciding whether or not to remove the cranks. If you don't, then you have mount the skis so that the pedals have enough clearance, which means, for one thing, that the front fork needs to be boosted higher. Check out this YouTube vid - actually this is something I want to avoid because you notice that the rider is a bit too far forward and thus you could be prone to an endo. Also, the sound track might be a not suitable for the office.



The ski bike in this vid is what I want to achieve.



And then again, to achieve my goal, in this vid, at least on a ski slope, having rear wheel doesn't appear to be a hindrance.

So it looks like it might just boil down to ensuring that mounting the fork to the ski achieves the correct hight for the bike geometry. Interesting site linked to this vid and I have seen this site before: www.bikesonsnow.com. Looks like the owner of this site has been obscessed with the skibike concept for the past 10 years or even more because there is a quite a history of development of and progression.

Here is the first bike, circa 1997:



and this is what it has become today:



Here is the solution that this site offers and it's what I would like to achieve but not at such a great expense - it just looks expensive. If you poke around further on this site, you will see that they are also offering a product called the FloWing, which to me looks just like a MaryBar or the FU

Bar
, which I own and have ridden with on the Qball and the Fixation. By the way, there are two types of FU Bars, so further on I will have a comparison of all four bars.

A few things strike me as odd off the bat. The FloWing claims to be crafted in Vermont, so what does that mean? I sent an inquiry to the manufacturer to find out what that means and how much it costs. My guess, and I could be totally wrong, is that he is importing the bar and puts the finishing touches on it.

So, let's compare the four:









Swept Back Handlebars Comparisson
BARWIDTHCENTERSWEEPRISEGRIPWEIGHTPRICE
FUbar635mm100mm33deg26mm202mm378g*$43.00
FU2bar600mm164mm37deg26mm140mm351g*$43.00
Mary Bar
645mmn/a15deg0mm175mm300g**£35.00
FloWing686mm89mm27deg0mm190mm310guknwn
* Can't tell from their site whether or not their currency converter is working properly. See for
yourself: Misfit Psycles
**at Pricepoint.com you can get this same handlebar for $54.98 and after pay for the shipping you are probably back to the converted price from Pounds Sterling($69.52).

Swept back bars are definitely worth trying and believe it or not they really make a difference in climbing since your grips are more towards the back of the bike, when you come out of the saddle, especially on a single speed, you are forced to stay in the middle of the frame, thus centering your weight in the middle of the bike. This prevents wheelies and being too far forward which will give you less traction.

Here are pictures of the four bars:

On One Mary Bar



FU Bars



FloWing


One thing to note about forward sweep. The folks at On One make a good point about the importance of forward sweep:

The bar sweeps forward 2in or so from the bar centre to allow you to run the same length stem you've got at the moment, and not need a stem swap. This lessens the torsional force going through the stem clamp, which we found was a problem on our non-swept-back samples (yeah fine, you can just fit a longer stem, but then the force that you exert on the bar can easily make the bar spin when doing drops and stuff, though this can be fixed OK with a good stem, careful installation and a bit of loctite, we didn't think it was a perfect scenario).

All three bars seem to have some degree of forward sweep. Definitely something to try, especially if you are looking for something that gives you a natural feeling in the way you hold the bars.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sporttracks


If you use a Garmin Edge you have probably tried using Garmin's Training Center and if you are like me, I love to be able to use and analyze the track data to make maps, but Training Center is severely limited. Once you have downloaded the track off your edge, you can only look at one track at a time, you can't edit any tracks, and it doesn't export to anything that is re-usable.

That is why I can't stand it and a few years ago came across a program that is a wonderful substitute. Of course, there are limitations with this application, like you can't upload courses or workouts like you can do with Training center, but for my needs, I really don't care because I don't need to follow another course, in fact, I ride with my Edge in my media pouch anyway.

Sporttracks tracks everything in your workout. It will pull down your cadence and heart rate data as well. It has an API that pulls from Terraserver so you can see where you have ridden, too. It lets you associate the ride with equipment so you can track how many miles you have put on a particular bicycle. It has canned and customized reports, as well as tracking your own health and fitness.

I think it's a fantastic substitute to Training Center. In fact, if you ask me, TC is simply a stopgap measure to appease those that are unwilling to purchase a membership on Garmin's online tool for this kind of tracking.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Too much snow to ride, so I went XC skiing instead

I think this is the first time I XC skied this part of the forest. Two or three years ago I went from Echo Valley Parking lot on some morning when it was 4 degrees and only did it for half an hour. Weather was much nicer today, though, and with eight to ten inches of snow on the ground it was nice. What made it even nicer was the crust on top and soft snow underneath.

Did a nice climb up the Polly Brody, then came back on the Mulikin. Bad news though, the ATVer went up the Upper Gussy section off of the Polly Brody. Didn't feel like following his tracks to see how far he went in but we are going to have to get creative to keep this person off the trail.

Got some new gear today? Heard that Outdoor Sports Center was having a biking shoe sale so I decided to pull the trigger on some Gore-tex, winter riding shoes from Shimano. They were normally $170 and I got them for $119. I guess they were not part of the sale but when I said that a friend of mine got them for $120 last week, the sales guy took 30% off, and I was telling the truth, too! A riding buddy who lives in Ridgefield got these for the same price.

Finally got the matching pair of Kinai knee and shin guards from Specialized. I have had the elbow and forearm guards for two years now and have wanted to get the matching knee guards but my Rockgardns were still in good shape so I didn't see a good reason to replace them, however, they are almost shot, so it's time for some replacement. So now, I will look good in the forest with matching elbow and knee guards.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Yellow Shirted on BikeSnobNYC!

I might have mentioned this before but it seems there is a little game over on the BikeSnobNYC blog in which as soon as the BS posts, a core group of readers try to be in the top three of posts and then the top ten, then it just becomes a free-for-all of commentary, kind of like a forum.

Last week, I think I made it in the top ten only because one of the anon posters deleted their post. Today, I yellow shirted by making first post! I couldn't believe my luck and I got my password wrong the first time, too, and still got the top spot! Of course, in my rush I didn't have anything brilliant to say, heck I didn't even read his post.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Qball given up for a Cannondale?

I have yet to meet, in person another Qball rider. There are a few on the East Coast but I think I have the only one in CT. Came across this add today while perusing the New York CList that instantly caught my eye:

For Sale: Quiring Q-Ball 29er Singlespeed Mountain Bike, size medium, black. A beautiful steel bike made by hand in Michigan and carefully built up by hand. This bike is just over 1 year old and in great condition. I bought the frame and fork from Scott Quiring himself and built it up in the Fall of 2006. It handles wonderfully and is super comfortable. There are a few small nicks, but looks great overall. I love the bike, but have to sell it because I am building up another F29 and can't keep two singlespeeds. I am a little over 5'10" and it fits me perfectly with lots of stand-over clearance. This would probably work for someone about 5'7" up to 6'0.

I will sell it complete, or in parts as I could use some of it for my new build. Specs and prices are as follows:

Frame: Qball, steel, black, medium
Fork: Q-stick, black
Headset: Chris King

Stem: Thomson (5deg rise, 11cm or 12 cm, your choice)
Bar: Salsa Pro Moto, Flat, 660mm
Grips: Ergon, with mini bar ends, the best single speed grips out there.

Wheels: Surly New Disc Hubs, bolt-on (wrench included), black. DT Swiss TK7.1 rims, black DT Swiss Champion spokes and brass nipples. Handbuilt, by me, and utterly rock solid. Hubs are smooth, rims are true.

Tires: Rear WTB Nanoraptor, Front WTB Exiwolf
Crank: Truvativ Stylo SS 32 tooth cog.
Cogs: White industries 18 tooth and ACS 20 tooth included.
Brakes: Avid Juicy Seven 185 mm front, 160mm rear.
Seatpost: Moots Setback Titanium, 27.2. Gives a nice cushy ride (in a relative sense)
Seat: Specialized Body Geometry, Avatar 143

Complete Bike: $1300
Frame, Fork, Headset: $415
Wheels and cogs, (hub wrench and cog tool included): $320
Bar, Stem, Grips: $70
Tires: $50
Titanium Seatpost and Seat: $110
Complete bike, except brakes and crank: $920


Tried to get a picture of the bike but the guy never wrote me back. Perfect frame for someone I know, in fact the very same person who told me about the Qball in the first place.

My honest opinion about my Magellan eXplorist

I got an email/survey link this morning asking my opinion of Magellan's products and this is how I replied:

Unfortunately, I find the eXplorists very difficult to use. The instruction manual is difficult to read and you would think with all the power that the device offers it would be an outstanding little unit but it's not. It's accuracy stinks, doesn't hold track in dense cover and from what I have seen so far, the only way it has a modicum of success is to hold it horizontal with the ground plane. I am a mountain biker and the only way to do that is to mount it on the handlebars or the stem and that is a no win situation because even the mount is very ungainly.

You probably don't want to hear this either, but a few of my friends have some different versions of you Trillion series - I was tempted to get one of those but after hearing their horror stories with the bugginess of those units, I am not. My next GPS purchase will most likely be another Garmin. I have two already.

Also, I recently downloaded your free software that interfaces to the unit but found that it doesn't offer me much. I can look at tracks, when I can get the interface to work, which seems like once in a million times, and then so what. I can't edit tracks - can't do anything with it. Again, Garmin has you beat there, too.

If you would like to contact me directly, feel free to email me at eatsleepfish [ at ] gmail dot com. I would be happy to discuss your products further.
I really thought the eXplorist was going to be a good alternative to my GPSMAP60 but it performs just about the same, if not worse at times. Seems the most accuracy with the unit is achieved by keeping it horizontal, which is a tall order for a mountain biker. That would mean mounting somewhere on the stem or the bars but I have broken enough of my Garmin mounts to know even that is not a safe place for a GPS mount.

The best comparison of my eXplorist to my GPSMAP60 (my first Garmin Product) can be found here:
eXplorist posts. My MAP60 isn't all that great, either, in comparison to the Garmin Edge, of course. Not sure if anyone has anything comparable at this point. In that ride at Trumbull, the Map60 outperformed the eXplorist by holding track much better.

Here is my best comparison of the performance of the GPSMAP60 and the eXplorist:


As you can see they are pretty evenly matched. The blips are when I took the pack off and it swung one way or the other. I have seen that alot, but you can see where there is a big red line and that means the eXplorist lost track. I suppose to give these two units a really fair shake I need to run them side by side and I might give that a shot by doing the entire Larkin State Bridal Trail on my fixie. I was driving through Southbury yesterday and was able to get a good look at the northern section of the trail and it looks a little rougher compared to the rest of the trail. In fact, I might have to run all three to get the most accurate comparison.

I will have dig up the posts from last year where I have used the eXplorist. Just have to finish tagging all my old posts.

Hopefully some honest feedback will get them to improve their product lines.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Free Wheel Burning'

Rode the freewheel today and it rocks, too! Last night I played around with the stem and go it to clamp down on the bars so that they wouldn't move anymore and that made a big difference. Tightened the brakes and readjusted the front calipers which made a big difference in my stopping power today, too.

As you can see in the picture above, I wore a different outer layer, my Pearl Izumi jacket with the zip-pits and I think it did much better in this weather than the Adidas jacket. The snow was pretty soft which made for a real smooth ride, but it was still pretty slippery. A few logs were tough to get over but the 69er rocks on this stuff.

I don't know why people have Shimano Pedals because the Crank Brothers rock is this kind stuff. Even with snow in the spindle and under my shoe, never had any trouble engaging the clip! I am really digging this bike!



As you can see, I rode the Upper Gussy today and had to do some more marking of the trail. Also took a bunch of pictures of the areas that will be needing work. Below is one stretch of about 30 to 40 yards that will have to be benched. This will be a big project but riding through here will be cool if you are coming down through here.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

First Fixie Fixation Off Road Ride!

Today was a day of many firsts. Wore my new Adidas Cycling Jacket for the first time. Road fixie on the road for the first time, and road fixie off road for the first time as well! There was alot of snow and ice on the Polly Brody and I think that made it easier. What made it difficult was the ice. Had to walk through sections of that but over all it was an enjoyable ride.

The 69er was smooth but that was largely due to snow that I was riding on top of. Had some problems with the stem not holding the bars tight enough and three quarters of the way through my brakes stopped working. I think the rear needs tightening and two screws came out of the front rotor. I think I am going to switch to my Ritchey stem and if time permits, ride again tomorrow afternoon on the same bike only with the free wheel this time. Might try to get some vids and pics of riding different sections of the Upper Gussy.

I was hoping that it would warm up today but it never got over 28 degrees. Still thinking about getting those Shimano Winter Mountain Boots but my current solution, neoprene socks are working pretty well. The Adidas jacket definitely sealed in the heat really well and of course, the orange is perfect for riding during hunting season. The only downside to the jacket is no zip pits. It's not really an off road riding jacket, rather road riding for rain.






I found where the ATVer lives, Bramble Trail. This time he went half way up the Polly Brody and then turned off on the Horse Trail (Yellow Blazed). Not sure how far he went up there. Knocked on the door of the house where all the ATV tracks eminate from but no one would answer the door. I am going to take pictures of all all the damage tomorrow but first try to make contact with the owner and see if he will just stop. If not, I will see what can be done going through the town and the state. There are tracks on the conservation easement and that is worth a fine. It looks like the people living there have recently moved from out of state and maybe they just don't have a clue.

Looks like there are more players in the Disc Rotor Cog market, check this out from Kogswellcycles. Same price point as the TomiCog only they offer a 16 and 18t only and this just looks like a cheapo stamped out cog you can can get at the local LBS for $10 that was drilled with a drill press. Still, it's cool to see others are doing it, since getting a boone Ti cog is impossible.




Check this out! Fixed Gear MTB Race. Lots of rigid rigs and 29ers, too! I could think of a better soundtrack but it's still real cool.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The 29er Debate

Found this on YouTube for any of you debating whether or not to take a sip of the Koolaid and get a 29er: The 29er Debate.

Here are some 29er ride vids for your viewing pleasure. This guy is riding a single speed with a squishy fork. While it's common to ride with a rigid fork, I did it for a year, when you put some squish up front it makes a world of difference.



Here is a vid of a guy riding rigid. More care is taken because the bike absorbs less shock, which means you can't go as fast you might like down a hill.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Trail Building Workshop, Saturday March 29, Newtown, CT.

Work on the The Upper Gussy Trail. Topics covered include designing, building, and maintaining a sustainable multi-use trail. Other topics covered will be working with the land manager, other volunteers, also tools, and safety issues. This course qualifies you as a Trail Boss. Learn what you will need to know to help build a great trail.

The workshop will have a morning classroom session at Edmon Town Hall and afternoon fieldwork on the trail . 8:45am registration, start at 9am sharp, finish at 3pm. Space is limited. Bring work gloves, lots of liquids, and dress for the outdoors. A continental breakfast and catered lunch will be served.

Pre-registration is required, contact me via email eatsleepfish [at] gmail dot com. Edmon Town Hall is located on Route 25 in Newtown, CT, 100 yards north of the flagpole.

Monday, February 11, 2008

More CList Fixed Gear/Single Speed and other shananigans

As some of you probably know, while I started riding with gears, I got into single speeds about a year later and absolutely love riding that way, more so at times than with gears. Not sure what it is, whether it's the challenge, or am I trying to catch up for lost time - I should have stared mountain biking years ago. I still love my geared, full squish bike, though.

Found this little tidbit while perusing Craigslist ads in search of the ridiculous and outrageous. Found this add for someone selling single speed parts in Boston: Mavic Open Sport Fixed Gear/SS Wheels - $57

Single speed/fixed gear is taking over the world. The era of Shimano's crappy, incompatible, over-priced shifters and derailleurs is ending fast. Only the yuppy swine - with unlimited $$, but no brains - will be riding with gears.

Single speed/fixed gear is for us regular folks. As for the fairies riding high-end carbon road bikes with Dura Ace gruppo ....... Die, Yuppy, Die !!

Which starkly contrasts BikeSnobNYC's prediction that the hip culture of fixie riding is now doomed because the hiphop set has found it fashionable to create a rap tune about riding fixie.

Now, would a statement like this convince you buy his products? Does this mean he is really hip and you should buy his crap - I don't know. It's seems, though, that the hipster, fixie riding culture is more secure up in Beantown than it might be in NYC. Then again, it's NYC.

There was an ad in the Fairfield Section of the CList that I had intended on asking for details on because the seller was asking for an outrageous price on a 2003 Giant AC 1, $1,500! At first, I thought this guy must be smoking crack if he thinks he could get that kind of money for a 5 year old bike.

Is this another case of Craigslist Seller Greed (I wish there was a better term for this - but this is all I can come up with for now - if you have a better one, please leave me a comment), a scam, or Seller Stupidity, or is it really fair market value for this bike? Looking on MTBR Reviews page on the Giant AC 1, it seems like average price for the bike was $2700 back when it was brand new in 2003. The average price for it on MTBR for a used bike (2004 to 2006) seems to be right around $1,500. However, with everything out on the market today, don't you think $1,500 is a bit too steep for a five year old bike probably with stock parts or even the same parts!

If the seller replaced or upgraded the parts and thought it would add value to the bike, a common practice when selling a bike on any online ad is to list out all the parts. This ad did not list anything and unfortunately it's no longer available and I forgot to download it. So, I would put this down as seller greed. Maybe that is why the add was pulled so quickly or maybe someone flagged it as an inappropriate ad. God forbid someone actually bought this bike and hopefully not at that price!

No more new 29er adds in CT, that one was a fluke. There are two on the Boston CList for rigid bikes, one is a 1x8 and looks like a Monocog Flight and the other is a 2007 Monocog for $475. I think the better value is the first one for $350, assuming it is indeed a Monocog. Looks like there is some inventory and it's being sold through a shop. Get a used 29er fork for $150 to $200 and you got yourself a rocking rig for around $500. That's a great deal when you think about it.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Neapolean's Death March

I thought the weather report for today was flurries but by the time we hit the trail, there was half an inch on the ground! Tren and his buddy Rick came over and I was planning on taking them down the Upper Gussy, then back on the Polly Brody to the Mullikin Trail and back to my house for some delicious, no preservative Berkshire Brewing Company Lost Sailor India Pale Ale, that I can now get in Newtown!


Sorry if this sounds like a BBC commercial but I can't get enough of this stuff and now that I can get it where I live, it's great! Once again, got thank my buddy Mark aka MMCG for hooking me up with this brew last year at Trumbull.

We set off down Hanover and picked up the Polly Brody and started to climb! This was the first time riding this fire road on the 'Horse and it behaved superbly, even with the shifting problems, that EMS Fairfield never resolved! I cleaned every stage and never hit the grannies. In fact, I have never had to use the grannies for any kind climbing.

At the top of the last big climb we picked up the Upper Gussy and headed into the forest. I put a few markers on some trees but the trail is so well defined at this point I didn't think it was necessary. The death march began after the first revers roller/climb. Coming back the other way, it's a nice roller and off to the left there is a nice spot for wheelie drop. Then you go down and back up again onto another little ridge and then back down again. Some of the trail is sort clear through here and some of it is not. I tied a few more markers still we hit the ROW trail and then a few more in the area that Tren and I bypassed last week and then I was done!

It was 4 O'Clock by the time we hit the ROW, cleaned the tunnel of love and hammered to roller at the intersection with the Blue Trail. We sessioned on it for a while, despite the slipperiness of having some snow on it. It was quite rideable, actually. The roller is about a 5 or 6 footer that you can come up from the south and then roll down, across the blue trail and back up the other side. Next week I will try to get some video of it. I also cleaned out a way to climb it as a trail challenge. Then we hammered home.

I stopped the Edge at 2 hours, for four measly miles! Below is the trail track. Green is today's ride and red is last week. I have some analysis on some of the issues on The Upper Gussy Blog page that talks about the stream crossing and ROW trail that you might find interesting.



The Iron Horse functioned really well in the snow! The only problem I had was when snow would build up between the rear tire and the seat tube, did I have to stop and clean it out, but that only happened while walking. When riding, snow built up but it didn't impede my ability to pedal. The 'Horse hit a 100 miles today! The Crank Brothers out performed Shimano SPDs hands down. Both Tren and Rick had Shimanos and they were constantly having problems. Whereas I never had a problems clipping in!


I did not test ride the Fetish Fixed-ation 69er today. Might try it tomorrow morning and just ride the Polly Brody. It's still a very useful bike to have ready to open a beer bottle without any complaints!





Friday, February 08, 2008

A Fixed Fixation!

I found a new use for the Fixation, it is now a fixed gear, rigid 69er! Yes, it is my first fixie and it is for off road riding! I thought I would give it a try after taking a few spin classes at the gym.


I got the TomiCog this week and spent Thursday night hooking up the rear wheel, adding a new break line to the rear brake. Repairing the rear brake and putting on pedals. As you can see the TomiCog mounts where the disc brake rotor would go.

It will be interesting to see how it works and how I handle it in the woods! You might notice another cog back there, that is the normal freewheel cog, so if it gets too tough, I can always flip flop to the free wheel. Gear ratio is 32:20.


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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Is this really a 29er?

People selling bikes on Craigslist continue to amaze me. For example, check out this ad:

This is not really a 29er, rather a mountain styled frame touted as an an urban bike with 700c wheels, which is the metric equivalent of the 29 inch wheel. I doubt there there is enough clearance on the Fatty Fork to accomodate a real 29er tire. The ballon tires rise off the rim a good two inches compared to the cross tires that this bike has on it that probably are only an inch.

While this is not a true 29er, it is a nice looking bike. Somebody at work contacted me the other day about what kind of bike he should get for dual sport riding, riding Trails and Street. The only bike that I knew of that fits this category before today is the Gary Fisher Montare, but I would classify the BadBoy as definitely a Dual Sport bike as well. This would be a really cool bike if it were a singlespeed or even a fixie!


http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/bik/561581611.html

Monday, February 04, 2008

Sheldon Brown: 1944 - 2008


http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/index.html

From the Harris Cyclery website:

It is with heavy hearts that we convey to you the news that Sheldon Brown has passed away. Our thoughts go out to his family at this time. The cycling community has lost one of it's most passionate members.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

A 29er on the Hartford Craigslist?

You don't see many 29ers, if any at all on any of the CT Craigslist Bike sites, so I thought this add would be fun to look at. Looks like the seller tried the koolaid and didn't like the after taste:

Hartford Craigslist: GT Peace 9er - $500
for posterity, I have captured an image of the add:

Check out the write up on TwentynineInches.com: GT Peace 9er and true to CList pricing standards the $500 price tag is 9% under MSRP, with tax, you are saving 15%. The seller doesn't say OBO so it sounds like he might not be willing to part with it for less than $500 but you never know. Haven't seen this bike for sale on Bikerag, Crankfire or Bustedspoke so clearly he isn't trying to sell this hard enough. Some missing information, which is the most important is the frame sizing.

The review of the bike points out some weaknesses but the main weakness is lack of disc brake mounts. However, to give you some perspective, I found an add for a 2008 GT Peace 9er on Busted spoke and check out what you get for $575 or 12% of the retail value of this year's model:
2008 29er Single speed w/ disk brakes

Was gonna keep this bad boy but not a viable option right now. This is my new 29R single speed. Never seen dirt. Never seen any action actually.
$575 B/O

2008 GT Peace 9r (Medium) MSRP: $649.99

Fork
GT design cromoly rigid XC fork

Drivetrain
Single-speed drivetrain

Crankset
TruVativ Blaze crankset

Brakes
Tektro Aquila mechanical disc brakes

Wheels/Tires
WTB SpeedDisc 29” double wall rims, alloy QR disc hubs, WTB ExiWolf 29” tires

Handlebar
Easton EA-30 Taperwall Monkey mid-rise handlebar

Seatpost/Saddle
Micro-adjust seatpost with WTB Laser V Race saddle

Pedals
Bolt-on alloy cage with alloy body

Cassette
18T. cog

Chain
KMC Z610 HX 1/8"

Spokes
Stainless 14 guage

Nipples
CP Brass

Stem
Easton EA-30, cold forged, 6 degree rise, 75/90/105

Grips
WTB Street Smart design with 3m end plugs

Headset
Standard press-in 1-1/8" alloy cups, cage bearings

Seat Clamp
GT cold forged, GT QR lever

BB set
Truvativ, Howitzer M-15 cr-mo axle, sealed bearings, alloy cups

Frame
GT triple triangle SS design, 29” wheel compatible
The disc brakes are not Avid BB7s, if you are going to get mechanicals, then Avids are the best and the rest of the components are OK I suppose but the important example is the price differential. This bike hasn't seen dirt, looks like it in the pictures, where the other one has. If you could get a 2007 between $400 and $450 then I would think you are getting a good deal.

The funny thing about pricing on Craigslist is figuring out the true worth of the bike. I like to go to eBay to see if I can find what the market value of a used bike or nearly used bike would be before trying to sell my own or buy something from CL.

For example check these auctions out:

$375 and a buy it now. Looks like a new bike and with shipping you are looking at $445. And there are two others where the reserve hasn't been met but the first one I think is probably the best judge of what the market is willing to pay for this bike.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Rode the 'Horse hard, put away wet!


I was going to hit the trail right at 2pm today but waited for a friend to join me. It was actually good, because it gave me time to get ready rather than rush out the door. The Acids came in Friday so I switched pedals and they felt great. Tren showed up at 2:30 and we started off. Decided to put the Edge in media pouch of my Camel to see how it performed and as you can see by the track above, it performed extremely well.

Hit the Jeep Road off of Sanford and started to climb. Sure is different climbing on a fully than it is on a hardtail, not to mention all the choice of gears. Hitting the new was nice. It really drains well although once the leaves come off it's going to be an awesome trail. The leaves still make it pretty slippery. We by passed for the first roller and had another nice climb to the stonewall, in which I cleaned but it was Tren's first time and he didn't.

We cleared up a section on the new routing portion, about 50 yards before the blue trail and then sessioned at the blue trail intersection (middle red dot in the detail map below). I wish I brought the video camera or my digital because that roller is nice! Some nice little drops in that section, too. Went up through the tunnel of love, which I stalled out on but Tren cleaned and then up the ROW to the new section. Wow, really different when the snow is gone. May have to rethink the crossing point because it's much wetter than it seemed when I first laid the track. The surrounding area has some narrower crossing sites, so I just have to go back and spend a little time figuring it out.


Tren made a great suggestion on the section of the trail that goes near the big vernal pool, that could have been a pond but over the years has undergone eutrophication. The enhancement creates an overlook of the vast vernal pool, so that in the spring time you can hear the musical chorus of the peeper frogs. We also widened out the switch back some that the turns are not a s drastic.

I think the crossing of the two streams before the Switchback needs to be readdressed because riding through there is not easy and rather than crossing two streams it might be easier to just make one crossing after they meet (shown roughly in Orange below). After the Switchback, the route picks up the ROW again. Looking at it closer it seems the ROW branches in hear. The part I pick up is like a secondary road and main road heads further down slope. The trail veers off the ROW and heads uphill, crosses over the ROW and heads down to the last stream crossing. I did a little more marking but then stopped so we could finish the ride. We stayed pretty true to the trail route, only by passed one section in the interest of the ride.

When we got to the last section of the trail that is blocked by an enormous downed pine tree, I heard what sounded like an ATV very close by, so I tore off down the trail to the fire road only to have missed the bastard by a minute or two. Man, do I want to meet up with him and let him know that I don't appreciate him riding in the forest. Frank, whom I have ridden with in Upper Pauggussett emailed me this morning about this same kid and he thinks the kid lives at the top of the hill on Bramble Trail. In the mean time, I am going to see if Tom has any friends at the highway dept to see if someone can drop off some boulders to make it harder for the kid to get into Forest.

Tren and I set off down the Brody Road. It was sloppy to say the least. Once at the Echo Valley parking lot we climbed back over the hump to the ROW, cleaned the Tunnel of Love and then hammered back to Sanford Road. 6.58 miles in 2 hours and 14 minutes. I was pretty muddy but unfortunately the photo quality of my Fuji stinks at night. Should have had the Cannon.



The 'Horse got a work out! However, something is not quite right on the shifting. In the lower and upper gears, it holds the gear fine, but in the middle cogs it shifts itself. I think the shift cable must be loose. I need to get a fourth hand tool and tighten it up.
How did the Acids work out? Awesome, however, as you can sort of make out below, the plastic covering on the surface broke off somewhere along trail. I am sure I will find it next time I am out but now I am wondering if I should have gotten the platforms afterall. Sent a note with a picture to Crank Brothers to see if they will send me a replacement part. Otherwise, I might just fill it in with some sort of epoxy or the glue stick from my glue gun.


Friday, February 01, 2008

New parts coming soon!

For the longest time I have been jonesin for a pair of CB Mallets but then I read about this new line of pedal from Crank Brothers called the Acid. A little more platform than the Candies (which I have on the Qball and 'Horse) but not as much as what you will find on the Mallets. So, I pulled the trigger on a pair from Blue Sky Cycling, which by the way has the best deal that I could find on them. Of course I solicited some user opinions from the folks over at Bikerag.com and they were all raves.

After getting the Cannondale, which I affectionately now call Barney the Purple Cannondale, and thinking about making this bike into a fixie got me reading all sorts of different websites dedicated to the fixed gear subculture, and what a culture it is. Initially I found this blog that was linked to mine, called IBike, ran by a guy who lives in Wilton named Pete. Ironically, he was selling a Kona Unit on CList that I was interested in but was unsure about the frame size. He decided to keep it and is now working on a fixed project with it. In fact, at my suggestion, he is now contemplating a 69er! Kool-aid drinkers unite! Thought I would extend the favor and link to him. Now we pass comments back and fourth and going to try to ride together at some point in the near warmer/non-snowy future.

Among the popular websites that I have been reading are BikeSnobNYC. This guy's blog seems to be trying to define the fixie culture and put it in the perspective of a non-messenger, fixie bike riding New Yorker. I think by saying New Yorker, that says it all. Nothing more opinionated than a New Yorker (from NYC - other parts of the state don't count), in my opinion. And it now seems that the fixie culture is close to damnation because now that the hiphop set is getting into it. Ironically, he even said that Mountain Bikers are not safe. Then there is the Fixed Gear Gallery, which is more bike porn than anything else, but they have great articles too! Hmmmm, wasn't that the excuse most guys used to tell their Girlfriends/wives why they liked reading Playboy or Penthouse?

This infatuation has led me to figure out how I can get into the game. For me, it's either buy a whole new wheel with a flip flop hub, still looking for that bargain, or see if there is something else and I found just the thing! This article on Fixed Gear Gallery got me going, Riding Fixed Off-Road. by Jesse Ratzkin - How he did it. Started looking for a Boone Ti Cog that would mount where my disc rotor goes and come to find out that you cannot get a Boone Ti Cog anymore. The guy that was making them no longer works for Boone (at least that is what Bruce Boone told me in a note) and he has a year's backlog of orders. Found one on eBay but obviously I am just a Johnny-come-lately to the Boone demand and they are now selling at a 60% premium over their original sales price. They go for $2.50 a tooth. I guess if you want lightweight and still be durable, then titanium is the material to have. Just look at the Moots!


Next on the list is a 20t TomiCog. TomiCogs are laser cut, Type 304 stainless steel 1/2" pitch chain drive bicycle cogs. They are cut to match a standard 6-bolt mtn bike disc rotor mount. Laser etched tooth count and logo, ground tooth bevel. Not intended for use with 9-speed chains, spend 15 bucks and get yourself a SRAM PC-58. Available in 16t, 17t, 18t, 19t & 20tooth. They go for $30 a cog. Same price for Endless Bikes Kick-Ass-Cogs, of which I have two. Got to thank my friend MMcG for finding me TomiCog. This guy has a line on everything! He has supplied me in the past with some great stuff at great prices both of his own stock and through his connections. If you need something, contact Mark and tell him Mark sent you!

So you might be asking yourself what am I going to do with a cog that will bolt into my disc rotor mount on the wheel hub and the answer is, I am building a fixie! Well, sort of at least. Now that my All Mountain needs are full filled with the 'Horse and I have my Qball for more simple riding pleasures, there is no point having another single speed in the stable unless it's doing something different. Barney is different in that he doesn't go off road. I do say that I really loved have that 130mm Splice upfront and I might got back to that eventually, but my goal now, especially since I finally have a Surly 1x1 fork with a long enough steering tube, that I am going back to the 69er concept. Rigid and single speed, and now a flip flop wheel so I can sample even more masochistic single speeding pleasures riding fixed gear off road!

Here is the Surly fork. I am really digging the black and white concept. You will see more of that soon.


To soften the harshness of the aluminum frame, I am going to get a suspension seatpost. Something svelte and low key. Going to go back to the mullet concept, canti brake in the back and disc up front and I am going to play around with different tire combinations. Here the fixation as a 69er and mullet.


As for bars, I am going to give the FUBars another shot with FUGly stem but I think drop bars/riser bars are the best for off road riding.

Hope to have the non-fixed gear single speed version of this up and running this weekend though I won't be riding it until I get my pedals for the 'Horse so that I can put those on the Fetish.