Tag Archives: wrenching

Water Bottle Cages vs Fancy Socks

bottleGages

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:

water-truck_007

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?

bikeSocks

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Gatorskins Finally

contiUltraThe Continental Ultra Sport tires that came with my road bike finally reached the point where I could legitimately justify replacing them.  One of the top rules of being a LOW BUDGET SOUL RIDER is that you don’t replace parts for sheer vanity.  You replace them when they wear out, or you break them. So Mote It Be. The rear tire actually had threads showing through, so I figured I was good to finally get some Gatorskins.  I’m not going to lie…I have always loved how they look, and I’ve wanted a set forever. All the reviews I read said that the Ultra 4000 was better, or at least more preferred by the high performance set.  But the Gatorskins still seem to have a zillion tons of hipster market penetration due to their supposed high anti puncture reputation. The final component that needed to come together for me to plunk down the dollars was a good deal.  REI happened to be having an anniversary sale, so I was able to find them for $37.99/ea! Not the super cool foldable ones, the steel bead ones, but that is fine with me, I don’t need an extra tire that I can stick in a pack or jersey pocket at the moment.  I opted to go with 25c instead of 23c…hoping to get a little more comfort without gaining too much rolling resistance.  I’m sticking to my polan of only riding the fixed gear during the week, so I won’t really know how they ride til this weekend.

gatorSkin2

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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.

seatComp

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.

seatBA_2

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.

seatBA_1

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.

brakePadsTop

b&a_brakePads

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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.

stem

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.

frontHanger.fw

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.

levers

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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.

newpadsrear

 

newpadsfront

 

 

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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…

hanger1

 

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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Park Tool Small Parts Container Separated at Birth Twin FOUND!

My newly acquired road bike Scotty causes me to randomly wander around the internet looking for something…ANYTHING…to buy to add/change/upgrade his stock set up. So far no luck, although in a future post we’ll discuss the psychological ramifications of  looking at carbon fiber headset spacers and resisting the urge to hit the buy button. A whole mess of issues there.

Anyway, while wanderlusting the digital plains I happened across this little gem from Park Tool:
parkToolPartsContainer

“Park Tool Small Parts Container” said the description.

Wait a minute! I’ve seen this contraption before, but not in a bicycle related setting.  Hmmm, lemme think. Oh yeah I know! This is the same thing that holds the lemon wedges that get squeezed into the top of your Corona, the olives for your martini, and the cherries that decorate your unnecessarily elaborate, overpriced and somewhat fancy looking cocktail.

This thing is a re-purposed BAR CONDIMENT DISPENSER with a Park Tool Sticker on it!

Nah. Couldn’t be that easy. Park tool are scientists…wizards of the craft, the familiar blue color letting you know that every product they produce is purpose built specifically for bicycle use, on bicycle parts, by bicycle mechanics.  So let’s investigate, I thought. Fired up the engine that searches, and whaddyaknow…

barCondimentContainer

 

There it was on the first page of results, an unbranded twin brother/sister that most certainly was separated from it’s Park Tool match at the hospital factory assembly line where it was birthed.

Although it is unlikely that these two ever be reunited on the same workbench, both the Park Tool version (27.95), and the “Yet To Be Branded” version ($11.35) are available to be adopted to good homes.

 

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Milestone: Scotty gets a Flat

Took advantage of the small window of good weather to log some seat time with Scotty, my road bike. Got to the furthest point away from the car that I intended to go, and immediately got a pinch flat.

Didn’t even see the rut in the road. I was in the middle of a cool new park I discovered, which is actually closed for the winter (for cars/campers), but you can still bike in by going around the gate. It was a beautiful day, and the park is right on lake Lanier, so I was gazing around not paying attention while hurling down a hill.  Yeah, I didn’t see the rut, but I def felt it.

lakeLanier2.15.13_edit

scottyEdit

After stopping at the very far end of the park so Scotty could get an Instagram Glamour Shot, I hopped back on to head out and discovered the flat. Dug around in my bag to see if I had a 700c tube, but no luck. I did have 3 c02 cartridges/pump though.

At first I started to walk back to the car which was several miles away. After about a mile I got tire of the cleats grinding on the asphalt, so I decided I would try to make it as far as I could by using the c02 and hauling butt.

Used only about half of the first c02 cartridge, hoping to stretch them out, and made some good time pretty much to the top of the first decent sized hill. At the top, I used he rest of the cartridge, which was quite a bit, and big ringed it for the rest of the way.

I actually made it back to the car on a single cartridge! 

Actually, I had enough air left that I took a quick loop around the front of Historic Downtown Flowery Branch just to add a little length to the ride.

Def had fate on my side this time around, but I won’t be riding the road bike again without a couple of spare tubes and a few more cartridges. Whew!

What’s your worst “flatting during a ride” story?

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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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