Tikit Withdrawal

30 04 2009
I want my Tikit back!

I want my Tikit back!

I took my Tikit to a house party two weeks ago in the back of a friend’s car.  The idea was I would leave early and ride my bike home so I could get a good night’s sleep and be fresh for a 100km road ride on the following day. Not surprisingly after a few too many beers I didn’t go home early and in fact missed my friend leaving.  Thus started a long forced separation from my Tikit.  I’ve tried to get it back a few times, but have been foiled at every turn by both our busy schedules.

I have a lot of bikes so the temporary loss of one shouldn’t be an issue right?  Wrong.  I can’t even count the number of times I started to fetch my Tikit only to remember it was across town.   *sigh*  I could ride another bike, but locking it up in many places downtown is not an ideal option.  Especially since all my other bikes are really nice.  For the most part I’ve ended up walking instead.  That’s fine, but it takes a lot longer meaning I get less done or I’ve just skipped running an errand until my Tikit returns to me.

Kurt has the Seasons Tikit which I have borrowed a couple times, but it fits him better and he uses it as much as I use my Tikit – ie. all the time – so it’s rarely available.

They say you don’t truly appreciate something until it’s gone and they also say absence makes the heart grow fonder.  I can confirm “they” are right on both accounts!

I should get my beloved Tikit back this Saturday.  I think my last phone message sounded sufficiently desperate that my friend realizes I’m in crisis mode and gotta get this situation resolved ASAP!  Only two more sleeps – I can make it!

On a positive note my go to bike has been my Bike Friday New World Tourist.  I’ve had loads of fun riding it, but it’s too nice and too loaded up with goodies to want to lock it up outside for more than a minute or two.

New Rohloff Update

28 04 2009
The supermodel of IGHs...=-)

The supermodel of IGHs...=-)

If you were waiting for a new version of the Rohloff Speedhub I’d recommend you stop.  I think seeing a production version of a new Rohloff will be 2 years out from the completion of a design and the beginning of prototype testing.  Since it appears the design process is not finished it will be considerably longer.

From the Thorn Rohloff Forum:

“Hello Justin,

We are indeed working on a newer, lighter version of our ever popular SPEEDHUB 500/14.

It is not possible (as with other bicycle components) to simply replace the material from which the SPEEDHUB is constructed with that of a lighter metal. Instead we must try to reduce the surface area of the entire system and this means completely revising the construction of the hub. This process as I am sure you can understand, is not exactly a light task.

To date, the designs themselves are not satisfactorily completed, for this reason we have no prototypes which we can start testing and therefore will most probably take a good couple of years before we are ready to release something into the open market place.

Again, because we have not yet completed the designs of the newer SPEEDHUB version, I am momentarily not able to say anything more about the construction.

The current version (SPEEDHUB 500/14) weighs approximately 1760g and therefore the weight lies only a few hundred grams over that of a derailleur gear system of the same quality. For this excess weight you receive a product which saves maintenance and repair costs, time by cleaning and adjustment, and by shifting the entire weight of the shifting system to the rear of the bicycle, the total weight of a bicycle will be evened out and centrally balanced (balancing point over the BB).

More information over the current SPEEDHUB can be found on our internet site www.rohloff.de .

Best Wishes from Fuldatal, Germany.

Stewart Stabik,
Technical Support Manager
Rohloff AG, Germany
(*)/ (*)

* contact:
* Rohloff AG, Stewart Stabik,
* Mönchswiese 11, D-34233 Fuldatal
* phone: +49 561 510 80 0, fax: +49 561 510 80 15
* http://www.rohloff.de, mailto:stewart.stabik@rohloff.de

* Aufsichtsratvorsitzende: Iris Doepfer * Vorstand: Barbara Rohloff
* Handelsregister: Amtsgericht Kassel HRB 4472
* Sitz der Gesellschaft: 34233 Fuldatal
* USt-ID-Nr. DE 113 084 808″

Urban Assault NWT

28 04 2009
NWT getting down and dirty in the Big Smoke!

NWT getting down and dirty in the Big Smoke!

My NWT is a touring bike, but I only tour once in a while and have a few touring bikes to choose from so it has to serve multiple purposes.  I didn’t really have a clear vision of what the NWT would be when not on tour, but it has naturally become my choice for all urban assault missions that don’t require folding.  Of course if it has to fold my Tikit is the obvious choice.

What makes a good urban assualt bike?

  • quick & nimble
  • reliable = IGH
  • tough
  • all weather = fenders
  • comfortable
  • can carry stuff easily
  • lights
  • fun to ride
  • easy to store transport if needed

My NWT meets all of the criteria above without breaking a sweat.  The 20″ wheels make darting around obstacles easy & fun while at the same time being strong so crashing through potholes isn’t an issue.  Since the NWT is built for touring it’s tough and reliable.  With a Shimano Nexus 8 IGH it’s also low maintenance.  With a dyno headlight, 2 LED tail lights and fenders it’s ready to ride day or night – rain or shine.  Front and rear racks mean I can carry a week’s worth of groceries or a month’s worth of recycling easily.  Bike Friday dialed the fit for me so well I find I’m grabbing the NWT a lot just because it feels so good to ride.  I love the drop bars, Brooks saddle, BMX pedals and Greenspeed Scorcher tires.  They all work together to make hopping on the NWT a pleasure.  As a bonus if I need to throw the NWT in a car trunk or hop on transit I can fold it in a minute or two.

I’ve been feeling extremely lazy when it comes to bike related projects lately so the full coverage fenders are still sitting in the corner waiting for some time to put them on.  The Bike Friday travel fenders work well enough it’s not a huge issue – although I am looking forward to the functionality and aesthetics of the SKS 20″ fenders I have ready to install.  I also think I’ll add an AirZound horn to help get my road rage on when motorists don’t drive like normal human beings!…=-)

Burning Man 2009

27 04 2009
Sarah biking the playa in 2007

Sarah biking the playa in 2007

I’m thinking Burning Man may be in the cards for me this year. It’s not a 100% yet, but I’m going to work out the details and see what happens.  One question is what to do for a bike?  In 2007 I used an old MTB from a friend.  It worked and I still have it, but it’s in rough condition due to the very fine dust on the playa.  I didn’t really enjoy riding it while at the burn, but it was nice to leave it unlocked and walk away for hours knowing it was most likely going to still be there when I returned and worst case if it was “borrowed” it was not a great loss.

I’m considering bringing one of my nice bikes – probably my Pugsley.  I just have to ponder what the hassles of having to lock it all the time will be like and what the damage to the components is likely to be.  I’m hoping the dust won’t penetrate the Alfine – that would be tragic!

Anyone bring nice bikes to Burning Man?  If so what was your experience like?  Would you have preferred to have a beater MTB instead?

My Burning Man rig in 2007.

My Burning Man rig in 2007.

Kite Board Gear Arrives!

24 04 2009
Kite Board & Kite

Kite Board & Kite

Our kite board gear showed up today from AirTime Board Sports in Vancouver. We got two Naish Code 12 kites and two 130cm Airush Switch boards and some cool golf bags to travel with our gear without paying baggage fees…=-) This is all 2008 product so we got a deal on it.

The key now is to get lessons and avoid getting killed!  I’m really excited to have another board sport I can do in the summer and I can use as an excuse to escape somewhere tropical in the winter.

Now that's what I'm talking about!

Now that's what I'm talking about!

Nick’s Randonee

24 04 2009
Nick's REI Randonee frame built up...

Nick's REI Randonee frame built up...

I sold Nick a used REI Randonee frame last year.  It was the one Anna discarded when she move all the parts over to a Surly LHT.   Nick took some time to build up the bike and sent me this email:

“Hi Vik,

Thought you might like to see what became of all your stuff.

I am really happy how the bike turned out.  The frame seems to fit me well, although I am still tinkering with the sizing.  I use it exclusively for my daily commute (27kms each way) and the setup suits me well.  I especially like the Paul Thumbies you suggested.  With the Ultegra shifters on friction, shifting is very smooth.  The Truvativ crankset you gave me is also working well.  I did not splurge on anything else except the saddle.  You sold me on the Brooks as well. Break-in period doesn’t seem to be bad.  The sales guy thought it would eventually be ‘like a hammock’.  High expectations.  I like the Schwalbe tires too.  They perform well on the combination of trails, paths and roads I use.  All in all, a great setup.  Thanks for all your help.

I read you’re off  to Switzerland soon.  Huge biking nation.  I grew up there, in Basel.  I seem to recall you were born there?  Mother is Swiss?  Hope you enjoy it.

Cheers for now,


Nick's comfy cockpit...

Nick's comfy cockpit...

I need a 54cm LHT!

23 04 2009
My custom Surly LHT

My custom Surly LHT

I need a 54cm Surly LHT – doesn’t need to be in mint condition – just serviceable and with a price commensurate with the condition.  I may consider a frame/fork only.  If you have one let me know.