Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
I rode the train up to San Francisco this weekend and while walking towards downtown, the storefront of Chrome Industries caught my eye. I think that SF holds a special position in the bike world, definitely because of the regional legacy created by Gary Fisher, Joe Breeze, Tom Ritchey and Mike Sinyard but also because of the continuing innovation by companies like Swobo, Timbuk2, SOMA and Chrome.
I wasn't in the market for a new messenger bag, since I've got a Timbuk2 model that is serving me fine, but I was impressed by the quality of their clothing. I would especially like to try the Shins knickers. I should be impressed, they run a cool $160. I frequently wear a pair of knickers when I should wear bike shorts (long city rides) but don't want to look like I'm wearing bike shorts. You know, for those moments when you have to get off the bike and you don't want people staring at your lycra swaddled junk.
The shop itself was fun. They had a mish mash of frankebikes and parts bolted to the walls, a couch with some magazines for reading and a hot messenger doll plastered on the wall behind a vintage Honda cafe racer.
If you're in the city, check them out. They've recently moved. Their current address is at 580 4th street, south of Market, between Bryant and Brannan.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
- The Luzern (furry)
- The Dublin (canvas toque)
- The Paris (ball cap)
- The Tokyo (bucket hat)
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
photo from tektro.com
Why not just use your shifter/levers with a pulley? Because that pulley gets gunked up with dirt and becomes absolutely useless really fast. Kind of defeats the purpose of putting brake bosses on a cyclocross bike in order to use mud resistant brakes.
The owner of the Specialized seemed to like the way they worked. Any one else have any experience?
1 A good explanation of the symptoms and causes of front brake chatter can be found here.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
From http://www.chicobag.com/, these convenient reusable bags pack down smaller than your computer mouse in their own integrated pocket. They even have a little carrabiner if you wish to clip it to anything. Toss them in your backpack or messenger bag for those spontaneous trips to the store, then carry them in your panniers, basket, or hands on the way home (...or if on a tandem, make the rider in the back do all the carrying!) Cost is $5 each and multiple colors are available.
Made from recycled bicycle components, this keychain opener from http://www.resourcerevival.com/ comes in multiple colors and runs $14. This is a perfect stocking stuffer for most cyclists because when they're not thinking about bikes, they're drinking about bikes.
Enviro-lube:Dumonde Bio Green chain lube is 100% plant based and biodegradable. It's a green lube that actually works. Get it for $10 at http://www.rei.com/.
Hopefully, your holiday shopping is wrapping up (so to speak) and that you have plenty of bike-related gifts. Keep an eye out for the next installment of the Gift Guide!
Monday, December 15, 2008
So, I had a problem. My cyclocross bike chain was falling off pretty much every race and my homebrew chain keeper just wasn't cutting it. So, I first added an N-Gear Jump Stop (which is a quality product, by the way). That minimized chain drop to the inside of the crank, but couldn't stop chain drop to the outside. I run a 42t single chainring with a 42 tooth equivalent BBG outside chain guard. I wondered if I could go bigger on the outside chain guard, but that would rub against the chain when I was in the 11t sprocket. Then I thought to myself, why doesn't the chain ever come off on my mountain bike? It's a hardtail and I do some much bumpier terrain on that thing, it has a similar rear cogset and I'm frequently descending in the middle ring. The answer- chain tension.
I run a fairly low budget Deore rear derailer because it can handle the 11-32 cogset and has a 'high-normal' spring to match my road shifters. I suspected that the long cage geometry might give lower chain tension, allowing the chain to more easily slip while coasting (over bumpy descents).
How to test my theory? Borrow a digital force gage from work (you can substitute your everyday fishing scale if you want to repeat the experiment) and go to town tugging on derailers over a pre-defined travel range.
CX Bike (Deore) - 2.4 lb
Road Bike (Campy Centaur)- 2.6 lb
Mountain Bike (Deore XT) - 3.0 lb
Touring/Commuter Bike (Deore) - 2.3 lb
Cage length matters not. My Campy Centaur rear derailer is a very short cage road model. My Deore XT rear derailer is a long cage model. It's all about the torsion spring that pulls the cage back. Until I can get my hands on a high normal rear derailler that can handle big cogs and has a high spring tension, I took a couple links out of the chain and called it good. After a few races, things have turned around and there have been no more dropped chains.
On a related note, I used the digital force gage to get a real accurate read on my road bike's weight. (Bike+Pedals+Pump+Computer)+Saddle Bag = 22 + 1 = 23 lbs. Heavy or not, you know what they say... it's the Indian, not the arrow.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Photo from http://www.christmasspiritshop.com/
From http://www.swobo.com/, a hat and scarf combo for ultra-sheik casual winter riding - currently on sale for $39.
Stay tuned for more!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Seen at the Sagebrush Cyclocross race in Reno, Nevada. What you see here is a single speed cross bike (well, road bike with decent tire clearance) with time trial style brake levers mounted to a shallow drop/mustache bar. They point forward. Is this legal? Many cyclocross races don't allow mountain bike bar ends or "forward facing bar ends" so you don't create any new orifices for yourself or your competition. Does that rule apply to brake levers? Not that I need a cycling federation to tell me what to do, but it would be interesting to hear the logic on some of these rules. I don't know that logic is ever explained with sports rules (instant replay, no disc brakes in cyclocross, why female beach volleyball players have to wear bikinis) so don't hold your breath for the answer. Just sit back and appreciate the wild variety that is cyclocross racing equipment.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
While I was walking through the parking lot at this weekend's cyclocross race (last in the Bay Area Super Prestige Series) I noticed a fun Hunter bicycle. By the way, check out the sandy beach track just behind it. I noticed that it had a 70's vintage Campagnolo front derailler. How was he shifting it? Not by ergo-lever. Bar end shifter. Also, notice the nifty front brake cable hanger wrapped around the stem:
Friday, December 5, 2008
The fracture finally competed it's journey through the shell of my saddle during a race in Livermore, California this year. On the first remount of the first lap, I heard a loud crack which I thought was my seat post slipping. I kept racing (since all the important parts were still attached to the bike) and eventually realized that I was sitting on the ass-hammock you see in the picture above. It probably dropped my saddle-pedal height about 2cm. The pounding of my heart in my ears pretty much drowned out all other sounds so I had plenty of inner thought time to consider how I was going to get a saddle and fix it before the next day's race. I have now broken three saddles racing cyclocross. Two shell failures and one rail failure (via bending). Anyone got any ideas? My remounts are pretty smooth, not too much high flying.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
That looks like a sturdy pole that's probably necessary to hold up the roof.
On pretty much every trip I've taken to the velodrome, I've seen a crash. Some are no big deal, everybody gets up and walks a way. Some are kind of crazy with riders flying up over the rail, or sliding down onto the infield like in this picture I snapped in July of this year:
That bike flying through the air and the riders in the white and red jerseys would both be headed for that pole if they were riding in the new facility in Boulder.
I salute the guys building the new track. If America needs anything it's more physical activity and less Play Station. I would also advise them to do a little brainstorming on how make their facility as safe as possible.
Photo form www.boulderindoorcycling.com
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
On as historical note, this reminds me of the original Campy suicide shifter:
Monday, December 1, 2008
How many of you were riding monocoque carbon frames in the age of downtube shifters? This guy was. Follow up question: how many of you would ride a carbon frame this old?
Carbon is not the only bike material to fail over time. It doesn't take much research on the web to read stories of failed steel, titanium and aluminum frames. In fact, even good lugged steel bikes (which use a manufacturing technique that really gets the most out of the material strength) fail after enough use. So why do I suggest that this older carbon bike is not trustworthy? UV degradation and catastrophic failure. Although steel rusts, you can see that form on a bike. UV degradation of plastics (not the carbon, just the resin) isn't something that most people can gauge by looking. Also, ductile metals usually give way a bit (deform) before failing completely (fracturing). Carbon fiber tends to fail catastrophically, which is to say it fails all at once without much warning.
I saw this bike at the San Francisco bike swap this weekend and I hope the guy sold it because bikes should be used, not just looked at, but it's not a buy I wanted to make myself. On a related note, it was a good history lesson for me. I thought that carbon frames really began with tube-and-lug manufacturing (with metal lugs at first and carbon lugs later) so it's enlightening for me to see this early monocoque model.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
All sorts of fun, wacky bikes show up at the starting point in downtown Los Gatos. This Retrotec model was recently acquired by its owner (although it looks rather vintage) and the stiffness of the rear 'triangle' is adjustable by tensioning the cables/rods that go from the seat tube to the rear dropouts.
More weird wild bikes include this leopard print tandem with moto style upside down forks. A tandem would be fun for this ride since you enjoy the added power of two riders on 1.5 bikes and the downhill is not very technical.
This "Yokota Project USA" tandem was built at the dawn of mountain bike suspension. The "Shock Blades" fork offered about 18mm of travel (unless it was locked down in some way) and the bike made use of elastomer shock stems for both riders. Put a rack on this thing and you have a mean turkey toting machine.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone from nippleworks.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
What you're looking at there is:
-A hoop of carbon, probably the cut-off end of a 1 1/8" steerer tube
-Drilled through and threaded with a brake straddle cable
-Drilled from above and threaded with the front brake cable
-A straddle cable pivot end (probably from a TRP Euro-X brake) tightened on to the end of the brake cable
-A zip tie to somehow give it that finishing touch
Check this out. A Deore XT rear derailler with a derailler cable end (ferrule still intact) holding it in the appropriate position to act as a single speed cable tensioner. It was on a cross bike which may explain the extreme spring tension being used (since those bikes get a lot of bumping action at speed).
This would be a great way to cheapen up your old bike -> single speed conversion. I'm sure any derailler would work.
1) Find a derailler nobody wants (probably easy if said derailler is a 7 speed or 8 speed model)
2) Mount derailler to frame
3) Cut the last 4 inches off a derailler cable you were going to throw out anyway because it's roached
4) Pull the derailler to the right position (upper jockey wheel under your single sprocket) and have an indefatigable person or zip tie hold it there.
5) Install the cable with the ferrule in the derailler adjuster barrel (turned out half way) and the cut end under the clamp screw
6) Have the indefatigable person let go, or cut the cable tie
7) Turn the adjuster barrel in or out to get that jockey wheel lined up just right with the sprocket
8) Thread your chain and pull the ends together such that you get the desired tension (remember, you can always start loose and cut some off)
9) Remove the unnecessary links with a chain pin tool
10) Use a SRAM Power Link* to put the chain back together
*awesome piece of kit
Thursday, November 20, 2008
One of the Bay Area cyclocross race promoters (Pilarcitos) decided to run a night race under lights right on the shore of the Bay last weekend. Check out a great video of my race here. I have a pair of decent no-name photochromatic riding glasses but since the race would go from dusk to night, I really didn't need glasses that changed on me. You can buy clear lenses for your Oakleys or Brikos, but the best option, is to use a pair of plain old safety glasses. These wraparound models can be had at pretty much any hardware store for a few bucks:
You can chuck them off if they get covered in mud and also work great for night commuting. You can also get them tinted yellow or gray if you need some shade, and like all ANSI rated safety glasses, they offer UV protection. Finally, as you can see in the picture above, they look dashing.
Photo by J. Hadley
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Anyway, if someone knows more, post a comment.
Monday, November 17, 2008
When I was a grommet, the kids on the block would get a crappy baseball card and one of mom's clothes pins and clip that card on their bike frame so that the spokes would slap it around and you'd get a sweet BRRRRRRRRR motorcycle noise. Apparently, today's kids are too lazy, baseball players have Myspace pages instead of cards, and moms don't use clothespins any more because someone's selling the Spokester - bicycle spoke noise maker.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Ever noticed how loud and clicky some high end bike hubs are? Why? The picture above gives a clue. The pawls on this Zipp brand hub are large, thin and sprung by a long leaf spring. They are bound to make more clicking noise as you coast. Compare that to an older style hub:
Why do the Zipp pawls make more noise?
-WARNING WARNING, SUPER TECHNICAL DISCUSSION AHEAD-
- Each of those little pawls is like a diving board (or extended simply supported beam). Each one vibrates as it clicks through the teeth of the mating part (the black hub body in the picture), much as a diving board vibrates after the diver jumps off. The frequency of that vibration is dictated by the following equation:
Although I don't know this for sure, I imagine that the Zipp hub comes packed with less heavy grease than an older style hub since lower rotating resistance is much more important than longevity to the owner of the Zipp hub. That grease would act to deaden the sound of each pawl strike.
I hope you enjoyed today's nerd-out. Tune in next time for a discussion of flux capacitors.
Pictures from http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/ and http://www.roadcyclinguk.com/