Sunday, December 27, 2009

3 Wrongs Make a Right!...

A year or two ago I can't imagine that I would have ended up here writing what I'm about to write. Never the less here I am with heavy heart and feelings of confused joy. You see...I was of the camp who held a healthy disdain for all things modern in a road bike. Carbon fiber, brifters, clipless pedals, etc...But alas as luck would have it I ended up with all three things on one roadbike.
The story begins last summer with a friend of mine urging me to buy a frame that was listed on craigslist. I looked at the ad and I must say that I certainly was not attracted in the slightest. The only thing it had going for it IMO was the fact that it was my perfect size and had at the very least some semblance of lugs.
The frame in question is a Trek 2120 with carbon tubes bonded to aluminum lugs with an aluminum rear triangle. It is a terrible purple color with bare carbon tubes and for the life of me I couldn't really visualize the bike complete in my minds eye. What would I build it with? What color could possibly compliment the purple and bare carbon?
Then a last ditch effort of a bike swap meet as this last fall was approaching brought the bike closer to reality. I had a booth with a friend trying to peddle some bike yummies and alas the Ultegra group of his did not sell. With some reluctance I bought nearly everything I needed to put the beast together (I justify the purchase 'cause I got a sweet Cinelli Alter stem with the cowgirl pinup and a wheelset that looks...Well? It kicks ass!)
As the project was clearly underway I decided to go at it in ernest. I needed to succumb to vanity and at least attempt to make the bike attractive. Now being a child of the 80's there is only one color that comes to mind when dealing with this particular shade of purple. Neon green! So off I went in search of neon green accents. I found some tires at the LBS (which I cringed at the price of) and found what I hoped would be a good match in bartape online. The bartape is a bit on the dark side but after my first ride I decided the bars are on the wide side so a swap is in the works at which time I will replace the wrap with something a little more suitable.
So in short....It's a mutt of a build but after 5 minutes on the bike I'm sold. There are a bunch of firsts for me with this bike but I must say that my initial skepticism was completely unjust. In the case of this bike it is just a tool. Something to carry me along my semi-social recreational rides at a pace that is a bit brisker than possible with any other bike I own. I found it interesting how quickly a person adapts to the changes especially in the case of the clipless pedals and the brifters. They are both incredibly intuitive and just seem to make sense.
As ugly as it is I love it. It rides very nicely, shifts quickly, brakes confidently and handles crisply. I think it will stick around for awhile and now that I know I like it I won't feel bad spending a bit of change on upgrades.
It's built with Ultegra cranks, 9 speed rear derailleur, Sti's and rear cassette, Campy (gasp!) something or other front derailleur, Spinergy Spox wheelset, BBB carbon seat post and some other stuff I can't recall at the moment....
Have a gander at the pic my buddy snapped on it's maiden voyage!

Friday, September 11, 2009

My newest bike: Raleigh Superbe

So the story goes...There used to be a little LBS here in town run by a father and son team. I got to know them pretty well and was allowed access to the back room where all the treasures accumulated over the decades were stored. I drooled over this bike plenty of times. The shop closed down a year or 2 ago and in the final days this was pulled out and dusted off. I made an agreement with the son to buy the bike the next day and when I came back I found that the dad had sold it out from under me for less then I was going to pay for it.

Anyways...A nice older gent had picked the bike up and just loved it to death. I'd see him around town and he became friendly with my girlfriend as they would cross paths often. A couple days ago my girlfriend came home and excitedly handed me the guys number and told me he wanted to sell his bike 'cause he got a new one. See...Our small town old school shop was gone and the only other shop in town couldn't do anything to the bike other then swap tires and lube the chain. He couldn't get it fixed and caved for a new fangled hybrid bike (which he hates BTW). To think he thought of me is just awesome. He saw me eyeballin' it at the coffee shop and I'd give him advise about the proper lube for the hub and how to adjust the shift cable. He clearly loved the bike as it is nearly spotless. Especially for a bike that got ridden several miles a day.

What's funny is I actually bought the original Brooks saddle and wheels from this bike. The wheels are rough and the saddle is currently seeing duty on my girlfriends bike but they are here none the less. The bike needs some tinkering, a new Brooks and a bar swap but after 10 minutes of diggin' in the Sturmey stash and some adjustments it glides along just fine...I've got other projects in line ahead of this but hopefully I'll get to it before spring. For now I'll happily ride it as is and when it gets a bit nasty out it'll get a good cleaning, a coat of wax and it's own special place indoors for the winter.


Monday, July 20, 2009

It's been awhile...

Well...I figured it was about time to check in on my blog and jot a few things down. Life has been pretty hectic but I've managed to keep myself going as far as bikes are concerned. Where to start? I suppose an update on my "Weight Weenie" is in order.

I finally made my way into a wonderful shop kinda local to me (They're closed on my normal days off). I convinced my buddy we should go so we drove out there to get some odds and ends. I was after some bearings for my Nylfor headset. I also picked up a new rear light for my GF's bike. At the cash register I asked if they had any old parts gathering dust and the owner said "Sure! We have 'em around for restos and what not but we don't generally let people rummage around in the boxes...". At this point I asked if a specific request would warrant some digging. He asked me what I wanted and feeling lucky I asked for a Campagnolo Ergal freewheel...He said "Sure!" and walked a couple feet down the counter and grabbed one from a drawer. My eyes lit up and he knew he had me hooked. He asked for my offer and I immediately blurted out $100. He said sold and told me to go get cash as it wasn't in the inventory. How sweet is that? Made my day I tell ya! I was told rather plainly that I owe him...Which I most certainly do. After I rattled off the parts list for my build he also gave me the proper puller for the freewheel and was happy it was going to someone who clearly appreciates it.

Anyways, enough of that! I sat down recently and busted out a spreadsheet to try and get an idea of where I'm at in my build. I was really curious if I was gonna make my target weight of 16.5 pounds. Several people have expressed shock at my goal when considering the thing is gonna have zero carbon fibre. Just plastic, aluminum and a wee bit of steel. Well...I'm positive I'm gonna make it...With room to spare:)

The list: (weight in grams)
Nylfor headset..........28.2
Headset bearings x50....14.2
White Industries BB.....151.9
Huret Jubilee FD........78.8
Huret Jubilee RD........149.6
Italmanubri Ti Stem.....178.6
Topline DS crankarm.....221.1
Topline NDS crankarm....169.9
Kronos crank bolts......11
Modolo shifters........32.5
Aerolite Ti pedals......123.7
CLB Spaceline rear......100.9
CLB Spaceline front.....102.8
Campagnolo freewheel....138.3
Shimano 53t chainring...94.1
Shimano 38t chainring...32.7
Chainring bolts.........8
Frame & Fork............2131.2
Seat & post.............473


Yup! Just a hair over 13 pounds. As I'm sure you have noticed that's without bars. I'm shooting for a 300 (preferably 290) gram bar. Also the wheelset weight is a rough guestimate and quite honestly my biggest goal. I don't remember what modern carbon wonder wizbang wheelset it was that I decided to try to match for weight but I do know it weighed 1450 grams without skewers, tires, or a cassete. It cost $4300 too! Anyways, my front wheel (Hi-E 36 hole hub laced to a Hi-E rim with double butted 14 gauge spokes 1 cross) without a tire but with a Hi-E quick release weighs 460 grams. I weighed a rather lightweight rear wheel I have sitting around (Hi-E, Fiamme yellow label, heavy tire and skewer)and it sat right at 1000 grams. So I figure with a Hi-e rim laced to a HiE hub I should hit 1450 grams with skewers for the wheelset. I might even be able to hit the target weight with the freewheel and tires but thats just crazy talk and wishful thinking. We'll see soon enough.
Please keep in mind the components will likely loose a few grams as the chain is uncut and I won't need 50 bearings in my headset. The seat post is extra long too which will be fixed by my trusty hacksaw and file...
So the hunt continues...I need sub 300 gram bars, sub 200 gram tires and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting about...Oh like cables! I have some CLB brake cables and housings that weigh 85 grams uncut. I've also got some misc. alloy and Ti fasteners just for backup if I need to shave some weight before the final weight is officially taken.
Very exciting! For me anyways...Everyone I know thinks I'm crazy and that this bike will be the death of me.

I think I'll post an unrelated pic just because...
My GF's Motobecane. This bike was built with junk and spares gathered in an emergency from far and wide. It was actually my first build from a bare frame. Surprisingly it hasn't fallen apart. It has served her very well for a number of years now and has gone through a couple of different bar and rack setups. One of these days I might paint it. I like the patina but I think it deserves a new coat...

Da Moto...
Mia's Moto

Kelly D

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Another longish ride...

So I went on a pretty long ride today with my friend Albert, his wife and their son. It was tons of fun! Not nearly as much pain this time which was nice. I started to feel the pain about half way (20 miles or so) and decided to give myself a little knee massage while riding. What's weird is a minute or two later my left knee popped and I had no more pain for the rest of the ride! I wish my right knee had popped too...

I decided I wanted to ride a different bike so I pulled out my Nashbar Alpha Road 5000 to get it ready.
(Sorry...I haven't quite got the picture thing down on this site...)

I had previously taken the bars off of it to swap them onto my girlfriends Cannondale Black Lightning (Sorry...No pic yet). Albert was nice enough to give me another Nitto as a replacement but when I went digging for bars I realized that I had sold or given away the ones slated for this bike to someone and didn't have a decent replacement that would fit my new stem. Bummer deal!
So at this point I hauled the GF's bike off the hook to adjust it, air it up and swap the saddle for a nice Rolls I had laying around. It was then that I remembered that I had on a previous ride skidded the rear tire enough to go through the rubber...Doh! A tire change was in order but I didn't have a spare tubular so I started digging for a different wheel. It needed to be a 700c with a 7 speed freewheel. Well the only one I had laying around wasn't optimal 'cause the rim is a Fiamme Speedy with an angled sidewall and there was no freewheel. I just happened to have used freewheel in the stash so I cleaned it up, installed it and slapped the wheel in the dropouts. I messed with the limit screws a bit and adjusted the brakes to get them acceptable and took off to the rendezvous point to begin our ride. That's when I noticed the freewheel skipped in one gear. Just one!
Anyways...Other than the one skipping gear which I carefully avoided I had no other problems. There were tons of people out on the MUP which was both nice and frustrating at the same time. I was actually pretty stoked to see so many people out riding bikes and going for walks. I just wish they would pay more attention to their surroundings and be a bit more considerate to others.

All said...Today was a good day!

Oh ya! I also counted all the rear derailleurs in my collection this evening...
I'm up to 31! And there is only one Japanese one. A Shimano 600.


Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm soooo excited!

As I stated previously I absolutely LOVE bike parts...

A couple of days ago some very special skewers popped up in my saved searches on eBay. I decided I had to have them but couldn't justify the cost so I started selling off bike parts that I hope I may be able to live without. Mostly consumables and parts that I can find easily. I made a fair bit of coinage to offset the cost and decided I'd hit the BIN button before someone else did...

Long story short...I am now the proud owner of two truly elusive and utterly fantastic Pino Moroni skewers!

I'll write more about them and post pics when they show up. I can't hardly wait!


Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'm a hurtin' unit....

I went for my first longish ride in quite awhile today. A measly 32 miles of virtually flat paved trail. I went with my friend Albert who was pulling his son in his kiddie trailer and we kept a kinda slow pace 'cause we were BS'in and enjoying the scenery. It was fantastic.....Until my knees blew up about 12 miles into the ride.
I just don't know what to think of it. I'm a youngish 30 something guy with a physical job and I think I'm in pretty darn good shape. Maybe it was the bike...It was my first long ride on it so maybe I don't have the fit dialed in. I've been riding it almost daily around town for 2 months but I've never ridden it more than 2 miles at a time.
This really sucks. I'm gonna do some research and try to figure it out. Maybe I'll revise my fit based on what I find out or maybe I'll just build up my mileage a bit before my next ride...I was braking in my new VeloOrange saddle too which was interesting to say the least. It's more like it was breaking me in. Ouch! The knees eclipsed the seat pain so it wasn't bad after a while.

So hear is the bike that I rode...The pic is from the mock up stage. It looks a bit different now.
My Peugeot 650b conversion:

Peugeot 650B Mock Up

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Some peolpe suck...Big time!

Just a bit of a rant about how much some people suck.

I was passed in a school zone today on my way to work. Not only that...But the herkin' SUV driver decided to cross a double yellow line to do it. That's just slightly illegal in these here parts. Did I mention that the speed limit is 20 mph between 7 am and 4 pm? Oh ya! And I was going 23 mph...At 8:45 am. I know this because I looked down at the speedo just after it happened trying to understand WTF was going on. Amazing!

No wonder my girlfriend and I decide to walk to work 75% of the time. People like this kill people. WTF is soooo important that they needed to stop and sit at a stoplight literally 10 seconds after they passed me?

In a school zone, crossing the double yellow while I was exceeding the speed limit.

Some people suck...Big time!