LHT 26″ Wheeled Build PT4…

30 06 2011

It's starting to look like a bike...

I decided to install my bars and stem next since it makes the frame look like a bike sooner than if I worked on the BB cranks.

Velo Orange Chris' Rando bars...

When I saw the VO Grand Cru Chris’ Rando Handlebar on their website a while back I made a mental note to try one on my next build. It’s got an interesting shape with lots of bends that look like they’ll be quite comfortable. I got the 44cm width which means the tops are about 38cm apart centre to centre. The finsh quality is great and at $50 they seem like a great option to consider for a long distance bike.

VO Product shot...

The VO product shot above shows some of the curves better than my photos.

VO stem...

Continuing the theme of nicely finished functional parts that don’t cost a lot I attached the bar to the fork with  a VO 4 bolt threadless stem [26mm clamp, 90mm length and 6 deg rise]. It looks sweet and at $35 it’s priced well. I need to track down some silver 1 1/8″ headset spacers and ditch the black ones I have on the bike right now as they look goofy with the silver stem/bars.

VO stem product shot...

Here is a VO product shot that does the attractiveness of this stem justice. I’ve mounted it will a 6 deg negative rise so that I have the option of turning it upwards on a tour if I need some ergonomic relief. I’ll set the tops of the bars level with the saddle once I get its position finalized.

My next move will have to be the BB/cranks/pedals!





Surly Cross Check Nexus 8 Shifter Update

29 06 2011

Sharon checking out the new control setup...

Sharon has really been enjoying the Titec H-bars on her Surly Cross Check daily commuter. The only point of dissatisfaction was the Nexus 8 twist-shifter took up too much room on the bar necessitating a hacked Ergon Grip that was too short to be comfortable. The solution was either a Jeff Jones Loop H-bar [with a longer grip area] for $120+ shipping or a Alfine 8 speed trigger shifter for ~$50. In the interests of cost we went with the later.

The problem is that hacked right Ergon Grip...

The comfort issue is pretty obvious looking at the photo above.

The new setup with Alfine 8 trigger shifter and a decent sized Ergon Grip...

Swapping out the Nexus 8 twist shifter was a breeze. I love how easy the Shimano IGHs are to work on…=-) I still had to hack a small bit off a stock Ergon Grip to make it fit, but this time that left a reasonable amount of hand space on the grip and a smooth transition to the controls.

Sharon tries the new grip/control setup...

Sharon’s initial reaction was positive to the new configuration. I’ll let her commute on it a few days and then we’ll tweak the position of the components as needed.

The blue beast ready for more commuter action...

Since I had the bike in my work stand I took the opportunity to check the brakes, chain tension and fenders. I lubed the chain and added some air to the rear tire. Because of the IGH and quality parts this bike sees daily use and doesn’t need much maintenance.

Sharon is really enjoying the Donkey Boxx and it’s performed solidly for her. She gets lots of positive comments on it and questions about how she built it…lol…she has to let people know it’s a manufactured product not a DIY project.

Sharon hearts her Bike Wrappers...

We have so much daylight at the moment in Canada that Sharon hasn’t had a chance to use the reflective side of her Bike Wrappers yet. However, she’s digging the heart print on the “fashion” side and would be happy with them even if they didn’t have a reflective option underneath.





LHT 26″ Wheeled Build PT3…

28 06 2011

Velo Orange Grand Cru 1 1/8" threadless mirror finish headset...

When I was young and foolish I used to buy premium headsets for my bikes because I thought they had to be superior given the exorbitant cost. Then as my fleet grew I was forced to buy some lower cost headsets and was surprised to find no difference at all in using or maintaining them. Ever since I’ve been buying quality mid-grade headsets at a reasonable price and been totally satisfied.

Exploded view of the internals...

When it came to my 26″ LHT build I wanted something that would look nice with the mostly silver parts build I was using, that was high quality and was not expensive. Velo Orange has become a regular stop for me when looking for parts for a bike build and I ended up with a Grand Cru 1 1/8″ threadless headset. It’s got a lovely mirrored finish and uses high quality sealed bearings at a reasonable price of $52.

VO headset install in my 58cm 26" wheeled LHT...

I took the headset down to Cycles West [my new LBS] a few blocks from my house so they could install the headset for me. Now that I am home for a few weeks I hope to get this project rolling again and finish of the build.

Next up is the BB, crank and pedals. Then stem and bars. It’s almost a bicycle…=-)





Sunday at Hartland…

27 06 2011

Sharon ready to rumble...

A lovely sunny Sunday...

Hartland has gone all green with water and sunshine...

Sharon is getting more confident about riding dirt...

We love the bridges...

Sharon's a blurr...

We ran into only a handful of other bikers on a perfect riding day!

She's starting to try more daring lines...

Before leaving we messed around in the trials area...

Proof I was there as well!

 

Another great day at Hartland Mountain Bike Park!....=-)





My first touring bike…

26 06 2011

My lovely blue Cycle Tech XTC...

When I was a kid my parents bought me a few bikes over the years. At 17 I went to university on a military officer training program scholarship I got paid to study which meant I had some $$$ to buy my own stuff for the first time. The first bike I purchased was a Fiore mountain bike that was bright red and pretty mediocre, but it got me around town just fine and gave me a taste of the trails around Kingston, Ontario where I was studying. I lent it to a friend who crashed it into a car wrecking the front wheel and fork. I used the money he gave me to buy a eye-searing orange entry level Cycle Tech mountain bike. I was more into trail riding at this point so the bike saw a lot of abuse and like most entry level bikes didn’t hold up as well as you wanted them to. After a year of use I sold it to a friend and bought the blue Cycle Tech XTC shown in the photo above.

That bike was well equipped for the time. Not that I can recall what the parts were, but it seems to me it would be the equivalent to a full Shimano XT setup today. High quality and functional without being as expensive or as blinged out as XTR. For the last two years or university that bike was my mountain bike in the summer and my daily transport in the winter when my motorcycle was in storage. I rode to and from school everyday in 4th year in the snow/rain/sleet of winter so I could see my GF at night and attend classes in the day. Back then we didn’t know that canti brakes didn’t work in the winter and we didn’t realize we needed special tires and IGHs to commute in horrible conditions. I was too broke after buying this bike to do much more than simply ride it and get on with things. Interestingly I don’t recall having any problems beyond my GF’s roommates getting annoyed by the mess the melting snow left in their hallway!

After graduation I was sent out to Chilliwack BC [45mins east of Vancouver] for a couple years to finish my training. There was great mountain biking in BC and I started to get interested in bike touring since the BC rainforest is so much fun to explore. I was getting paid a bit more so I invested in racks/panniers and a tent then I hit the road. My touring adventures were all pretty modest, but I had fun and it has been an interest that has stuck with me all these years.

After BC I was sent back to Kingston for 2 more years and would commute to work most days year round on this bike. I really enjoyed my winter commutes because I was one of the few bikers out on the roads and it felt kind of epic! I continued to mountain bike in the summer and loved my trusty blue Cycle Tech. It amazes me that given the abuse it was receiving I never had any serious problems with it. I didn’t do my own maintenance so I would generally take it by a LBS in the spring and get stuff replaced/tuned up before trying to break it for the next year! That bike taught me that buying quality upfront wasn’t necessarily as expensive in the long run as buying a cheap bike and having to continually fix stuff.

Eventually I was sent to Alberta by the army and my XTC came with me of course. I had the Rocky Mountains to play in and was introduced to a new scale of mountain bike trails. Sadly my XTC was stolen during this time…=-( But, I was insured and was stoked to find out my policy allowed me to get a brand new equivalent bike. So I ended up riding a Cannondale Killer-V shown below. I was starting to make some decent $$$ by this point and was single with no dependants so I added a suspension fork to the rigid Killer-V, then v-brakes and new tires. I moved to Calgary and this bike was my only bike for a long time. I was really into mountain biking for the first few years of living in Alberta. Eventually I got a full suspension Cannondale MTB and the rest is history…

I had a thing for blue bikes!

Although my CycleTech XTC wasn’t my first bike or the nicest bike I ever owned it was my trusted ride during an important phase of my life where I might have given up cycling and embraced the slothful car-centric life most people do when they become an adult. That XTC was such a great bike that it kept me rolling through my young adult years until I got to the point where I was wise enough to appreciate that biking was more than just a fun thing to do – it would end up being a key factor in keeping me healthy all my life…=-)

I guess it’s appropriate that I’ll end this post and head out on my current mountain bike to ride the trails at Hartland Mountain Bike Park!





I love pulling that cart!

25 06 2011

....okay not really, but it pays for all the bike bling...=-)





So true…

25 06 2011

My GF wishes this was just a joke...=-)