Proud to be ashamed!

14 04 2011

Clean and tweaked - ready to get dirty again...

So my Work Stand of Shame methodology was successful…=-) I’m done working on my Bow Cycle 24 rando back up bike. Got almost everything done and what I didn’t do was for external reasons. The bike is nice and clean again.

Front fender tweaked and mudflap installed...

Fixed front flat, tweaked the fender alignment and installed a DIY milk jug mudflap.

The rear mega flap!

Taking some advice from I fashioned the rear mudflap from some stair covering material. It’s easy to work with – not sure how it will perform, but there is only one way to find out.

That's what a non-integrated fender line looks like...=-)

I noticed the left rear brake pad was loose so I sorted that out while I was at it. *sigh* What a F-ugly fender line – better than nothing I suppose.

A cockpit interrupted!

I got the Dinotte 200L-AA mounted so I have lights for this bike. I gave up on the GPS as the interrupter brake levers [which I don’t use] are right where the GPS needs to go. In a pinch I can mount it further to the left, but since my only need for the GPS is brevets and this is only a back up bike I won’t bother taking up valuable hand space with the GPS mount until I need it. When I do an overhaul of this bike I’ll strip the interrupter levers off it as they are dead weight to me and just taking up space I’d rather use for other things.

No Brooks yet...

My Brooks B17 Imperial Narrow saddle hasn’t shown up yet so I gave up waiting and will ride the stock plastic one until my Brooks arrives. I adjusted the rear light and checked that the batteries are in good shape. About 3hrs work all told that only took 9 months or so to get done!

This baby is ready to roll…=-)

Carbon Fiber Mountain Bikes?

29 03 2010

Ibis Mojo HD

You can’t help, but notice a lot of the new mountain bike designs are featuring carbon frames.  The Luddite in me says carbon is too fragile and too expensive to be a good choice.  However, when you look at companies like Santa Cruz and Ibis that have gone heavily carbon you don’t see huge amounts of failures being reported in the online forums.  Additionally these are both smaller boutique brands that rely on their reputations to justify higher sticker prices compared to the major players like Specialized.  If Ibis suddenly had a reputation for frames breaking they’d go under in a heartbeat.

I found this interesting discussion of different frame materials linked on the Ibis site.  It was written a few years back before the current generation of Ibis frames were designed and it is worth a read if your keen on understanding the differences in frame materials.

Talking to a couple Santa Cruz dealers they were both super stoked about the carbon frames and felt they were superior to the aluminum in almost every way.  They even went so far as to say the carbon frames were as tough or tougher than the metal frames.  You could just chalk this up to salesmanship, but these are some longstanding well respected bike shops that rely heavily on customer loyalty and reputation to sell high end bikes.

Santa Cruz Blur LT Carbon

Going carbon for a Santa Cruz Blur LT costs$564USD and saves you a pound for a similar build in aluminum.  The frame will also be stiffer and can be made in shapes not possible for a metal bike.  In the world of high end mountain bikes $600 to save a pound and get better ride quality is well within the spectrum of what’s considered acceptable.

Santa Cruz Blur LT - aluminum

So after a bit of poking around the choice of carbon fiber for a mountain bike frame material doesn’t seem as crazy as it did when I started thinking about it. Ultimately the proof will be in the pudding.  With so many carbon frames out in the dirt it won’t be hard to get a feel for how they are holding up by seeing what riders are posting online.

Cannondale Raven

As a side note my buddy Kurt had a Cannondale Raven which was one of the first carbon fiber mountain bike frames made.  He abused it pretty well until the frame failed.  Interestingly the part that failed was the aluminum insert at the headset not the carbon fiber.  He rec’d a Scalpel as a replacement since Ravens were out of production at that point.  The Scalpel uses carbon fiber chainstays without a pivot so they flex as the rear suspension compresses.  He’s been riding that frame hard for years and it’s still going strong.

Cannondale Scalpel - note carbon chainstays...

BTW – if you want a deal on some aluminum Santa Cruz bikes aluminum Blur LTs are being sold off online by riders upgrading to the carbon Blur LT…same thing is bound to happen when the carbon Nomad hits the trails this spring…you’ll be able to snap up some used aluminum bikes at great prices.

My 2nd Selle Anatomica

19 05 2009
Adjusting my new Selle Anatomica

Adjusting my new Selle Anatomica

Anna bought a Selle Anatomica Titanico saddle and after trying it for a while decided she preferred her old Brooks B-17 Champion Flyer.  Her rides tend to be on the shorter side around town and she didn’t find the SA was any more comfortable for this sort of use.  Being the good friend I am I bought it from her since I love my Selle Anatomica saddle.  I put it on my Bow Cycle 2-4 test bike as the stock saddle isn’t comfortable for 4hrs+ road rides.

The SA saddle on my BBC cross bike.

The SA saddle on my BBC cross bike.

Kite Biking

18 05 2009
Kurt flying a 4m Scout power kite

Kurt flying a 4m Scout power kite

With another sunny day forecast Kurt and I decided to ride across town to Nosehill Park and fly some kites.

Urban Assault

Urban Assault

We stuck to the Calgary Bike Path System most of the way which was nice and peaceful, but took quite a bit longer as the route was decidedly not very direct.  A problem shared by most dedicated bike paths.

Kite flying @ Nosehill Park

Kite flying @ Nosehill Park

The 4m Scout is still a beginner kite, but a lot more powerful than the 2.3m Rush trainer.

I rode my Thorn Nomad

Thorn Nomad

I rode my Thorn Nomad touring bike.  It’s a very comfortable solid ride, but it has all the good and bad qualities of a truck!  Not a fast accelerating bike, but uber stable and confidence inspiring.  It plowed capably through everything on and off-road I threw at it.

Getting hauled all over the place!

Getting hauled all over the place!

I was impressed by how hard the 4m Scout pulled.  We literally went skidding all over the grass when the kite was in the power zone.  However, with a little bit of caution we were able to control it quite well and nobody sustained any dragging injuries!…=-)  Next time out we’ll bring along a all terrain skateboard and try it out with the smaller trainer kite – of course wearing all our DH biking body armour and a helmet.

On the way home.

On the way home.

Bowness Bike Company 2-4

9 04 2009
My new very red BBC 2-4...=-)

My new very red BBC 2-4...=-)

I’m going to be doing a longish term test of a BBC 2-4 cross bike this season.  I’ll be posting details over on my Bow Cycle Blog for those who are interested in such things.