Friday, December 28, 2007

Road tested the commuter and ...

the first time out was a complete failure! Someone on said that 700c wheels with a cyclecross tire will just fit. Picked up a pair of Kendas from the Bicycle Goodie Shop in Bethel and here it is.

Plenty of room with the new Surly fork, however, the rear is a different story.

This is the amount of room I had on the horizontal support between the seat stays while rigged for single speeding.

I started with a 44:14 gear ratio but found that it was just too tall of a gearing combo. Wheel would pop out of alignment because the chain tugs would slip off the drops. On that initial test ride, Christmas eve, I did a measly four miles. The only way to maintain proper wheel alignment with horizontal drops is to shove the axle all the way forward, which means either getting a chain tensioner or going gears. Since I don't have a tensioner laying around, I decided to go with gears. I have an eight speed shifter and a nine and seven speed cassettes. Went with the 9 speed.

But as you can see, tire spacing on the horizontal support between the chain stays is a mere 2 or 3 millimeters! Rides nicely

Second test ride with the larger wheels and first time out with gears was a learning experience. I can forget about a second career as a bike mechanic. Ran into problems on the first climb on Hanover Road before Tamarack with the rear derailleur. It needed more tuning but I decide to press on. Rode down Alberts Hill only to find that it's closed because the section of the road close to the lake is eroding. With the snow and ice on the unplowed section made for some interesting riding. I got about 20 yards before I gave up and walked the rest of the way.

It was pretty much all downhill or flat to Walnut Tree Hill but my troubles started on the next climb. I never realized how steep this road is. Part way into the first climb my chain popped off the front sprocket while trying to downshift. After a quick fix I was able to climb the whole hill but it was tough, especially knowing that I couldn't quite stay in the lowest gear.

On School House Road, the chained popped off again. Same situation. I road back down Hanover and went for a final loop on Lake and the chain popped twice in that circuit. So, it's back to the stand for more work.

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