Last night I put the finishing touches on routing and securing the wiring for the lights on the X bike and took some satisfaction from the project being done. Then I laughed at myself, realizing that since getting into bicycling again nearly 7 years ago, none of my bike projects are truly done.
It may amount to no more than a small adjustment, or it may be a major change like this one, but experience has proven that I never really ever finish working on a bike. I’m just a gearhead, and I’m fickle about finding the perfect setup for any particular bike, and how that bike fits into my mental plan for all of the bikes, even if it’s only two at this point.
So while the “current phase” of work on the X bike has come to a close, there are still a few issues remaining that I’m pining over:
The big one is the tires. I like the 32c Vittorias on it now, but I’m thinking I might like the 42c Kenda knobbies better. It would completely change the character of the bike from a sporty street machine to a more versatile multi-surface/pothole proof ride. The tire swap is not a big deal, but making them fit is. While the frame has enough clearance, the front derailleur is a high clamp, top swing Deore 600 off an old Cannondale. Great piece of kit, but that top swing arm rubs against the 42c tire when shifting to the big ring.
But I think if I try a low clamp triple FD, it will provide the clearance, but I’m not sure. So my challenge is to find an inexpensive low clamp unit and see how it works. If it does, then the punch sheet for this project suddenly appears and some more work is in order.
I also found a 22 tooth granny gear in the parts bin and made a quick swap, giving this bike the same ultra-low gearing as the Trucker. That should really help when grinding up some of the big passes in the region. Great move, but when doing so I noticed that the big ring is looking a little worn. So while it’s not a priority, I’m going to keep a lookout for a 46 or 44 tooth big ring, which will still provide adequate gear inches for blasting down some of those passes that I’ve just grinded up.
So riding in February has been a bust, with my schedule stacked on the one fairly warm day that we had. Still, I’m hopeful that I’ll get a chance to get the bike out for some shake-down rides and some pics soon.
This past weekend we traveled to Huntingdon to watch Son#1 play some volleyball. During a break between matches we ventured downtown to check out the sites. They’re trying hard to capture the “college town” vibe while also taking advantage of the wilderness/tourism crowd, so there is everything from niche antique shops to open Wifi, to some trendy eateries.
The local outfitter managed to get my attention:
These Mukluks rent for $50/day. Inside you can pull down a Pug or a Krampus, and one of the staff guys told me they’ve just started selling ECR’s.We talked a little bit about bike camping, and they steered me to a back room where they had some stoves and other small items.All of this is tucked in with kayaks, snow boards, skis, etc…, but I’d have to say that just looking at the shop and shooting the breeze, biking, and particularly fat biking, is their specialty.
Later that evening we went to a local bar on the same street for dinner, and not only were a couple of guys from the shop there, but between all the other doo-dads on the wall and sitting around, there were a few pictures of Pugsleys.
How can you not like a shop like that? Rothrock Outfitters = thumbs up.
The X bike project is coming together well, but we’re now in a holding pattern while I wait for some final parts: the Wald basket, a new set of Tektro V brakes to replace the lack luster first versions, and a headlamp mount. At some point, I also have to visit the local LBS and pick up a star nut. The parts bin revealed an old Bell mirror, so that’s mounted for now and hopefully the optics are good enough. If not, another B&M, like the LHT’s, is on the list. This whole revision could be completed by the end of next week, and then let the break-in begin.
The weather warmed up a little today, which allowed me to get out to the garage and clean things up a bit. The free workspace also allowed spending some time on the X bike.
I ran the brake cables and made some adjustments, but I have to say that while the braking is satisfactory, it’s not nearly what it should be. I’m pretty sure I’ll need to upgrade with a better V-brake that can take the Kool Stop pads. The current pads are a hard plastic surface, and compared to the LHT, the stopping is terrible.
The fork is only held on by the stem, with no star nut yet, so I couldn’t really push things, but at this early stage I’d say the bike still has a sporty feel to it. I’ll need to make some adjustments for shifting, but it’s close.
Next is to work out a mount for the rear light. The front light will probably go on the handlebars like the LHT. A Wald 137 basket is on order, along with a little cargo net.
We’ll be out of town this weekend, but with warmer weather forecast, it will be great to get back to some riding.
The build/re-build is at the point where it needs power tools and heavy things to continue. Given the cold temperatures, everything has just been thrown on my work bench in the garage for the last six weeks. So between the two chainsaws, the paint cans, car maintenance doo-dads and other assorted bike parts, I’ll need to clean things up for a decent work surface.
And that ain’t gonna happen until things warm up a bit out there. We’re home again today because of the 14″ of snow predicted, so I know what kind of workout I’m going to have.
The bike has reached that point, though, where you can tell what it will look like, and it has me eager to ride. I think it will result in a nice combination of two similar looking bikes, but vastly different in handling. Can’t wait!