Category Archives: wrenching

Water Bottle Cages vs Fancy Socks

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I finally broke down and bought some water bottle cages. People who have ridden with me know that I have a “thing” about keeping bottles on the bike. I don’t like them rattling and rumbling around. I don’t like the extra weight. I’m just not a fan of using my bike as a hydration transportation unit. The Camelback has been a great solution to this issue, HOWEVER, since I have recently started riding with a little more advanced group, I have noticed I am the only one running a hydration pack and baggy shorts. I’ll solve the shorts issue later, but for now the hydration pack issue is solved. Along with the cages and bottles, I’ll also be running a very small under seat bag, with a tube, tire lever, patch kit and 2 c02 cartidges. Even with two full bottles and all the repair gear, I’ll be carrying less weight than when I use the Camelback, since I carry a grip of tools and a pump in there. I’m going to be travelling lighter but definitely riskier if I flat. I’ll take the chance. BONUS LEVEL: cages were $4.79/ea…70% off list.

The cages look pretty rad, but I tossed an empty bottle in one and I already feel goofy riding with it. This is what my bike will feel like to me when I have both filled bottles in play:

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In other “new gear” news, I got some rad socks. I am assuming that Davis Bicycle Club is purely fictional, but I love the font they used. I really bought them for the “On Your Left” though…bikey people will get it. Get it?

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“Stealthbomb” Aventon Cordoba Test Report and Bar Reduction

I have had my Aventon Cordoba for about 3 weeks now, so it is time for a review. I cal it the Stealhbomb as a nod to the matte black paint and the awesome airplanes made by the Lockheed Skunk Works. I’ll keep it short.

Overall this bike ROCKS!

My previous fixed gear is an 84 (or 86?) Peugeot which I coverted top fixed and did a flop n chop on the bars, so the Aventon is a big jump to modern geometry. Love it.  Also it has a 44t chainring as opposed to the 39 on my older bike. I’m pretty sure that the rear is a 17, but I haven’t counted and it isn’t listed in the specs. Anyway, I thought the taller gear would be EXTREMELY difficult to get used to, but it hasn’t been at all. In fact I dreaded doing hills with this new larger gear, but the momentum I get on flats and downhills seems to actually be helping level out the hills a bit.

DOWNSIDES: I trashed the pedals on day one. Toss them straight away and get something proper. I switched to the same type of BMX pedals , but higher quality models…Anumal Hamiltons. Instantly the bike became a zillion levels quieter.

I also ended up replacing the seat which was a bit small and hard for my ass section, which is larger than the average hipster type who might buy this bike. It’ll work for a while though. Don’t put a Brooks on this bike it will look stupid.

So, my final word on the Aventon Cordoba: Money Well Spent. Make sure when you get yours you tighten up the chainring bolts, crank bolts, and lock ring just to be safe.  Oh one other thing…on the City Grounds description it says the brake lever will only work with the riser bars. This is not true, the brake lever will work with the bullhorn bars also if you mount it up by the stem. It just won’t mount in the end of the bar like some of the levers out there that you may have seen. You’;; most likely need to cut a few inches off the brake cable also. Great bike. Love it love it love it.

The bullhorns it comes with are fine, but they are BIG. For me, a little too big, so I cut about 3″s off of them, and now they are perfect. Here is a before and after pic:

fixeBarB&AMUCH BETTER!

 

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Seat Swapper

I’ve been wanting to swap the seat out on Scotty for a while, and last week I finally got around to finding a saddle that had the right price ($15) and also a ventalation oval for the taint. The new unit is actually a bit less “race” and bit bore “comfort” as evidenced by the slightly larger size, and higher squish factor.

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Of course I would love to have a Selle Italia, but let me tell you how that will work for me. As soon as I get a saddle with a price point higher than $100, I’ll end up crashing or worse, the bike will just fall over when I lean it against something, which will result in a giant gash on the rear corner. I dunno, maybe not…the orig saddle that came with the bike didn’t get torn and it’s been over a year.

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Overall it ended up looking pretty rad, but once I actually performed the install I kind of realized that I am more interested in how it performs than how it looks. Really hoping that the ventalator will help me go a few miles further each ride, because usually the taint is ready to stop before my legs are.

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The new saddle has a higher profile than the last so I had to lower the seat post a bit. Since I was going to be messing with the seat post I figured I would take it out and inspect the seat tube. While pulling out the seat post it felt like freaking sandpaper against sandpaper. I guess the shop I bought it from neglected to pull a very small film of grease on the post before installing it, which is something that I like to do to help prevent the post from getting locked into the tube. This isn’t a big problem with aluminum to aluminum, but I still think it is a good practice, si I sorted it out before the reinstall.

It’s gonna rain today so I won’t get to give it a proper test, but hopefully we’ll get some miles next week and see how it goes.

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Brake Upgrade

Got some new Clarks’s Brake Pads for my road bike. I decided I had to after riding my buddy Jay’s bike and realizing that his bralkes were a zillion tons better than mine. The pads that were on my bike were still the stock OEM jobbies, which I knew would be one of the first parts I’d replace. Ended up looking pretty rad. BONUS LEVEL: Since the spokes hadn’t been tightened, wheels trues since I got the bike about a year ago, I figured it was about time. Sorted them out…add a little stiffness.

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Bicycle Upgrade Funtime – Ye Olde GT Talera

For a while now I have been wanting to put some purple handlebars and purple cable hangers on ye Olde 1993 GT Talera. I finally got around to ordering the parts, so my big project for the weekend was to make the swap. FULL DISCLOSURE: I’d much rather be riding my bikes than working on them. After 7 years of working at a shop a zillion years ago, I learned that what I really like is to get the thing set up right once and then ride the crap out of it, as opposed to switching parts all the time, which was more my thing during the BMX days.

Right away I ran into a major unforeseen problem. I had stupidly ASSumed that the shfters were a separate component from the brake levers, similar to how they are on my mountain bike.

WRONG!

LucyShifter580

Lucy Does Not Approve Of One Piece Brake Shifter Combos

I sat there looking at the thing forever, trying to figure out a way I could saw it in half, but that was’t going to happen. It was pretty evident that to complete the mods, I was going to have to buy some new shifters, which I wasn’t looking forward to/ We are talking about a 20 year old bike, so I was really anticipating compatibility issues.

Since I already had the thing apart though, I figured I would move on with what I could do, which was to revers the positioon of the stem so it was angled downward, and put on the new bars. This whole operation went pretty smooth, including the part where I removed the logo from the side of the stem so I wouldn’t have to ride around with a bunch of upside sown lettering.

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The next day, and a few internet searches later, I found that they had a 7 Speed SRAM Grip Shift at my local REI, so I headed over there and grabbed it. I would love to have put some under bar shifters on, but the idea was to do these mods without ending up in the poor house, so I opted for the Grip Shift which was ridiculously inexpensive, and hoped that if I set it up correctly, that it would work better than the sloppy feeling versions I remember from BITD.

I was pretty stoked to be able to work outside since for the first time this year the sun actually came out here in Georgia. No seriously, all it has done all year is rain, and if you don’t believe me, check the records. BUT ANYWAY, working outside is fun, much better light and all, so I loaded up the surgery cart with my gear and got ready to dig in.

surgeryCart

First was the front shifter and brakes. Everything went smooth as glass. The new anodized precision cable hangers are SO RAD! Total Overkill. It is the kind of piece that most people will not even notice but heads will know.

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Rear shifter and brakes also went silky. Taking my time and paying attention to the details really helped this Grip Shift perform much better than I thought it would.

rearHanger

Overall the whole thing turned out pretty much exactly the way I envisioned. A few people have told me that adding all the purple anodized parts is very 90’s, which is fine sith me since the bike is 20 years old. Period Correct. To me it is like a modern version of a Rat Rod type thing…the beat up old frame hung with a bunch of upgraded parts, wheels, etc. I love this bike, so much SOUL!

wholeBikeTaleraAug2013

Oh Yeah, I Got Some Tricked Out BMX Brake Levers Also, And Added Purple Anodized Barrel Adjusters. Another Touch For The Pays Attention Crowd.

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Kool Stop Brake Pads

It wasn’t easy to find a set of cantilever pads I felt were worth shelling out the loot for, but I had to get something because the 20 year old pads on Ye Olde Talera were making the metal against metal sound. Finally found some Kool Stop jammies that looked like they would be worth having.  They came in last week, and I finally got around to the install today.  DO NOT make the mistake of telling me I have to toe in the pads…they actually come with a little extra material at the back of each pad that more or less MAKES you install them with good toe-in. I would have done it anyway.  They work INSANELY good.

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Shimano 8speed to 7speed Spacer Issue: Hall of Fame Level Cheap Dirty Fix

Got a new set of wheels for my beater bike, Ye Olde GT Talera, which is a thousand years old and still jammin.  Seriously, I love that bike, it is so weird.  So Thursday night I was stoked when the wheels arrived and I could finally remove the one with the giant flat spot from that pothole I hit at Atlanta Mobile Social.

The new wheels have an 8 speed freehub, and Ye Olde Talera is a 7 speed, so I ordered the appropriate space from Bike Island  as recommended. Dove into the install and immediately found that the spacer was way too big! It was big enough that I couldn’t even get the  lock ring to catch the threads.

Bummer.

I put all the tools and gear away, and headed in to see what I could find about getting a smaller spacer, which was pretty easy to find, but I just couldn’t let the issue go. I had to WIN. It was the kind of day where a bunch of crap had happened that sucked and getting the wheels put on was going to be the redeeming element, there was no way I was going to give up that easy.

Then I got an idea. A -possible- solution. So crazy it just might work. So I headed out to give it a try. I’ll let the pics do the talking from here…

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hanger2

 

hanger3

 

Yep.  I used a freakin coat hanger to create a makeshift spacer…and it WORKS!

A few notes.  The cassette I have is very old, the original from the bike. I’m pretty sure that newer cassettes as completely flush on the back of the big cog, as the connector pins are recessed. At least that’s how they are on my SRAM cassette on my mountain bike, so I figure Shimano must be doing the same.  This particular cassette has pins that are like rivets, I don’t know if they are removable, but they ad about 3/4 mm to the stack size that butts against the inner part of the freehub.  This contributed to the problem, and is a factor in the makeshit install as well.  In the places where the rivets bumps are the coat hanger wire is bent inwards a bit when they line up with one of the “hollowed out” portions of the freehub body. You can sort of see this at the top of the pic with the yellow arrows.  As far as I can tell this han’t caused any alignment issues at all, it spins straight and shifts fine.

My rig is awesome but it will be temporary. The wire has the potential to pop out if the circumstances are correct, and I don’t want to take that chance, o I ordered a proper spacer, just to be safe. Overall though I was pretty happy since I WON, and I’ll actually be able to use the bike this weekend. Ordered some wicked new Kool Stop brake pads also…upgrades are fun. Cantilever pads are increasingly hard to find, unless you want clunky black uncool bricks.

So Ye Olde talera now has actual round wheels again. Truthfully these wheels are a little much for this bike (bladed spokes? cmon now…), but the price was good and hell, why not trick it out, I love this bike. Still haven’t decided whether I’m going to remove the stickers from the wheels or not…they kind of mess up my vision of a totally murdered out blackity black ride, but at the same time they are kind of growing on me. I’ll decide in a few days. Comparison below.

TaleraB&A_NewWheels_edit

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Ceramicspeed Derailer Pulleys

At $252.95, these derailer(sp?!) pulleys are def the “Dramatically Overpriced High End Audio Cables” of the bicycle world.

pulleys

Buy them at Jenson USA before they run out.

Ceramicspeed, if you folks would like to send me a set of these to test and review, I’d be glad to give ’em a whirl, and return them afterwards. Message me if you’re down, aight?

FULL DISCLOSURE: I do think precision pulleys are rad, and I stumbled across these while searching for a swanky anodized set for my new road bike…but $252.95? C’mon now.

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Schwinn That Found Me

A few weeks ago, while riding Haw Creek with my buddy Jay, I was noticed some junk about 30 yards off the trail. The most obvious piece was an old refrigerator, but as we got closer, right there standing up against a tree, was an old school rustbucket of a bike. We stopped and headed back into the brush to check it out. It was an oooold Schwinn…old enough that I knew it would be American made, so I stashed it a little further back behind the fridge, and vowed to come back for it later.

Fast forward a few weeks, and Jay and I are at Haw Creek again. The ride didn’t go so well, in fact we never actually got to ride. But since we were there I thought it would be a good time to go back and retrieve the bike. I’m glad we did, because when we hiked back to where it was stashed, someone had actually drug it up out of the woods and it was leaning against a tree right on the trail for everyone to see. I wasted no time in hoisting it up over my shoulder and hoofing it back to the car before someone else came and snatched it. Finders Keepers.

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Once I got it home I was able to find the serial number on the left rear dropout after doing a bit of rust scraping.

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I was able to find info for it using the Schwinn Serial Number Database, which told me that the bike was “Traveler” manufactured May 24, 1960!

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My plan was to bring it home, and try to get it working mechanically again, while maintaining as much of the rust/patina as possible. Whatever parts I did have to replace, I’d make sure to try and adhere to a flat black/ bright red/ color sgheme, hoping to make it into a “Rat Rod” kind of thing. 

A few days ago I hit it with the first round of B’Laster rust penetrator, hoping it would help knock some of the bolts loose. Of I can get it apart the rest is easy, but man this thing is completely rusted together. Worst rust I have ever seen on anything…ever.

Today I tried to see if I could crack the headset lock nut loose, which did not work, so I moved on to the stem bolt, which promptly sheered off. Damn.

I’m not going to give up yet though. It’s not like it is going anywhere, and I am thinking that there are some methods of removing rusted together materials that are beyond my scope. Fortunately I have a few old school car mechanics in the family which I can call on for some ideas. A quick internet search says that using a torch/heat may be helpful. We’ll see.

Even if the project fails it won’t be a total loss, because the very minimum that will happen is the bike will get taken to the dump and disposed of properly, so by bringing it home I may have hooked up ol Mother earth by cleansing her surface. She likes when that happens.

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GT Talera Upgrades

I’m not usually one to buy parts for any of my bikes just because they’ll look nicer. Doing that clashes with my anti-conspicuous consumption programming. But every once in a while you have to walk on the darkside right? So I nabbed a set of purped out anodized quick releases for an insanely excellent price from PorkChopBMX, which just so happens to be in Cartersville GA, so even shipped regular US Post they got here in 2 days. I like em so much I’m probably going to order a set for the ‘Goose also. I bet they’ll get here before the pedals I ordered from Dan’s since my shipment seems to have been “held up due to weather” or some such unfortunate tale.

The shiny new parts really bring out the rust spots and scratches on the rest of the bike don’tcha think?

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