Two 406 Schwalbe Stelvios for Sale or Trade

31 01 2009
406 folding Stelvios for sale/trade

406 folding Stelvios for sale/trade

Update: looks like I have a trade for two Schwalbe Marathons…sweet…so the Stelvios are taken.

I’ve got two 406 sized Schwalbe Stelvio Kevlar folding bead tires for sale. One is brand new and the other has been used for 100kms, but looks new as well.

I’ll sell both for $80 shipped anywhere in Canada/USA – that’s 75% of MSRP and free shipping….

I’d also be interested in trading them for a set of any of the following tires in 406 size:

– Schwalbe Marathon, Marathon Supreme, Marathon Racer or Kojak,
– Greenspeed Scorcher

If you have a mixed set let me know I might be interested.

I got these as spares for the front of my Fujin, but my abysmally low bent mileage makes 2 spares unnecessary and my Bike Friday NWT could use some wider 406 rubber….

Cycling Gypsies

31 01 2009
Fin's fully loaded Big Dummy...

Fin's fully loaded Big Dummy...

I’ll let the Cycling Gypsies describe themselves:

Welcome to an experiment in progress. 12 legs atop 6 six wheels; a circus show, commandeering attention everywhere we go. Two mentally disturbed humans, and two mentally disturbed dogs, taking a beautiful detour from the so called ‘real world’. Anchorless, wanderers on the open road, with a path directed by the handlebars of a bicycle. A simple life propelled forward out of necessity and wanderlust; food, water, warmth, shelter, and the never-ending horizon. As weather-makers in this increasingly hot, flat, and crowded world, we can’t think of a better way to experience its beauty and enormity, than one pedal at a time.”

Being a dog on tour can make one very sleepy!

Paco says being a dog on tour can make one very sleepy!

A Surly Big Dummy, a Surly LHT + trailer, 2 dogs, a European bike tour reported with great journal entries and beautiful photographs – what’s not to like?

Zoa and her passenger

Zoa and her passenger

New Tikit Dropouts

30 01 2009
Walter @ BF

Photo: Walter @ BF

Walter just posted some info on his blog about new dropouts Bike Friday has developed for the Tikit.  The upshot is that one frame can be adapted from a derailleur setup to an IGH Nexus 8 to a Rohloff to a fixed gear…not to mention that you can run disc brakes if you like in some of these configurations…sweet!

Seasons Tikit 7 Month Update

30 01 2009
...first stop

...first stop

It’s hard to believe it has been 7 months since the Seasons Tikit arrived from Bike Friday.  You can read my first impressions here.  I’ve really enjoyed the light/precise shifting of the Nexus 8 hub and the bike has literally required zero  maintenance since it arrived.  Most of the last 7 months the Seasons Tikit has been living with various friends since the medium frame fits them better than it fits me. I’m a little sad I don’t get to use it more often, but there is a reason Bike Friday offers the Tikit in 3 sizes – it makes a big difference in how they ride.  On the positive side I have another Tikiteer to ride with and I’m happy to spread the good word about this lovely folding bike.  This process has convinced one of my Seasons Tikit test riders to buy his own Seasons Tikit come spring….=-)  Cool….the more the merrier!

...stop #1 - Campione

...stop #2 - Campione

I figured it was about time to check in on this bike so I convinced Nivea she wanted to give it up for a bit…easier said than done!  I’ve been using it the last few days for my rides around town completing errands and appointments.  The Seasons Tikit doesn’t have any racks or accessories that aren’t stock. Compared to my Tikit it’s a bit lighter and the shorter wheelbase makes it noticeably easier to ride on a crowded sidewalk or  busy parking lot.

...mmm food!

...stop #3 - mmm food!

When I stay away from the Seasons Tikit I don’t have any complaints about my own derailleur geared Tikit, but as soon as I start shifting that Nexus 8 I start schemeing about how I’ll swap rear triangles or I’ll sell my Tikit and buy a large Seasons Tikit of my own – it’s that nice.  However, then the Seasons Tikit goes to live with someone else and I forget how great it shifts so the need to make a change evaporates and I’m totally satisfied with my Tikit.  My Tikit actually shifts quite well so it’s not a defect – it’s just how darn sweet the Nexus 8 is to use.

I had a look over the Seasons Tikit and everything is in good order.  The Hyperfold cable is tensioned well and the chain doesn’t need adjustment yet.  Other than some oil on the chain and some air in the tires [my friends don’t maintain bikes they just ride ’em] the Seasons Tikit is ready for another 7 months of use.  Good thing too since another week and I’d probably have to upgrade my Tikit to a Nexus 8!

Johan’s Big Dummy

29 01 2009
...checking in with his co-pilot

...checking in with his co-pilot

Johan sent me these photos of his Big Dummy carrying precious cargo.  I wonder how many BDs there are in Sweden?

...his 2 month old is blissfully ignorant of how cool Dad's bike is he just enjoys the smooth longtail ride...=-)

...his 2 month old is blissfully ignorant of how cool Dad's bike is he just enjoys the smooth longtail ride...=-)

Nice build Johan…have fun with your Big Dummy…=-)

...a family affair

...a family affair

Interview with Robin Thorn

29 01 2009 old Thorn Sherpa...what a pretty bike...=-) old Thorn Sherpa...what a pretty bike...=-)

The Cycle for Change Blog has posted an interview with Robin Thorn of Thorn Bikes.  I thought some of you might find it interesting.

Bike Friday New World Tourist – Part 4

28 01 2009
Bike Friday did a great job on the white paint...

Bike Friday did a great job on the white paint...

Sorry for the delay in posting a NWT ride report.  I wanted to get some more miles on this bike before I commented.  Although the weather has not been ideal I have been out and about.  Sadly the minty freshness of this bike is somewhat tarnished by road grime, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay to keep the blog posts flowing…hahaha!

I’m a member of the Bike Friday Yak List and I’ve read lots of NWT owner comments that the New World Tourist rides just like full sized touring bike.  I figured that must be a bit of an exaggeration since a 20″ wheeled folding bike has to be different than a 26″/700c wheeled bike.  Well I must say I see where they are coming from.  Other than having slightly faster handling and feeling bumps a little bit more the NWT fits and rides a lot like my Surly Long Haul Trucker.  I find that pretty amazing.

Speaking of amazing I must give Bike Friday credit for dialing in the fit on this bike for me so well.  All they had to go on were some measurements from my Tikit as well as some general riding preferences.  I just wanted to make sure we were in the ballpark and I figured I’d do the rest once I got the bike.  To my surprise the bike fit me like a glove right down to having a long TT and a short stem.  I haven’t had to adjust a thing – sweet!

One of the reasons I think the NWT and the Tikit ride so well when compared to other folding bikes is that Bike Friday allows you to customize your frame to fit you.  This is more than just pushing your seat back and adding a longer stem to make a small bike fit a large person.  Anyone who has ridden a bike like that will agree the feeling of having your weight too far over the front wheel is not pleasant nor confidence inspiring.  The effective TT on my  NWT is around 59cm which allows me to keep my weight well back of the bars and allows the bike to handle very pleasantly.

Between the handling and the fit I’m really looking forward to doing some touring on this bike.

The NWT feels a lot like my Surly LHT...
The NWT feels a lot like my Surly LHT…

The NWT is a lot stiffer than I expected.  I knew it would be a stronger frame than my Tikit, but I’m very happy how solid this bike feels. Even when I’m out of the saddle hammering to beat a light or crank my way up a steep hill the frame just takes the punishment and drives the bike forward.  The stem/bars in particular are rigid which gives you lots of confidence bombing down hill at high speed.  Keep in mind I have not tried it fully loaded so l my impressions are of an unloaded bike.

In terms of handling the NWT’s high speed manners are excellent.  A little faster than my Surly LHT, but not a great deal.  I was bombing down a steep bridge with a heavily gusting crosswind and the NWT was easy to keep on line.  I suspect that a fully loaded NWT will descend mountain passes very confidently with some front panniers slowing down the steering quite a lot.  The bike is a real pleasure to ride at slow speeds since it’s quite maneuverable and slowing to a crawl & track stands are easy.

The bike accelerates well both in the saddle and standing on the pedals.  Since my foot was feeling good and the bike responded well to hard sprints I found myself racing between lights.  I eventually had to remind myself this is a touring bike made for cruising not criterium racing!  The NWT climbed competently [although it reminds you it’s not a featherweight road bike] when the road turned uphill.  I enjoy climbing on tour so I just settle into my comfy cockpit and churn away at the pedals while the scenery rolls by.

The Nexus 8 twist shifter mounted at the right bar end position is a new configuration for me.  I found it intuitive to use and easy to grab without looking.  I do prefer a true bar end shifter so I’ll be replacing it with a JTEK Nexus 8 bar end shifter, however I have to say it if you are thinking of mounting a twist shifter on a drop bar bike this is not a bad way to go.  I’ve been using bar end shifters for years so perhaps if I stuck with the twist shifter longer I might grow to like it more.  The Nexus 8 is as much a pleasure to use as the other two Shimano IGH I’ve got running.

My earlier post about the NWT gearing closed noting you can do all the online gear calculation you want, but ultimately the real test is on the road.  After putting the NWT through its paces I’ve come to the conclusion the 39T x 16T is great for an unloaded bike, but too high for touring.  I didn’t even bother using the 53T chain ring as I wasn’t spinning out one of the longer steeper hills in town – although it must be said I’m not a kamikaze descender.  The easy way to lower the gearing is to swap in a bigger Nexus 8 cog as they run $8 each at full retail.  I’ll play with this and post something when I’ve got it dialed in.

...slow speed handling is excellent.
…slow speed handling is excellent.

Just a few random component notes:

  • NRG Slabalanche BMX pedals are great on this bike
  • Brooks B-17 is comfy out of the box like all my other Brooks saddles
  • I threw on some salmon coloured Koolstop brake pads
  • the Tektro drop bar v-brake levers and Shimano v-brakes stop the bike silent and with authority using just two fingers on the levers. I’ve been finding the hood position of the Tektro levers a bit uncomfortable.  I need to see if it’s the angle they are sitting at or if it’s the unpadded gloves I’m wearing.  This seems a bit odd as I have some identical Cane Creek branded levers I’ve enjoyed on another bike.
  • the Bike Friday fenders work and are easy to install with one bolt each, but I’m a fan of full coverage fenders so I’m going to see if I can find a set I like and try them out.
  • The Schwalbe Marathons are solid rugged touring tires, but they are heavy and not so fast.  I’m going to try and get a pair of Greenspeed Scorchers in the 40mm-406 [20″] size to try out since they have treated me well on my Tikit.

That’s it for now.  I’ll be getting the NWT out every chance I have to ride dry roads, but that may not be too often until March rolls around.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get this bike out for an early weekend tour in the mountains and post my Part 5 Touring Review sooner rather than later.