Updates

Miles up, but no pictures.  Not sure why, but I just haven’t been inclined to stop to records rides.  Did get over to Dillsburg on Monday for a beautiful ride while everyone was getting ready for the parade.  Good thing the coffee shop was closed or I’d still be there.

My mind wonders on long rides, and I think about other bikes.  I’d like to try low trail.  My options: 1. purchase a Soma Champs Elysess fork and install it on the X bike, 2. purchase a Soma Grand Randonneur and experience the whole 650B thing plus have a frame built heavy enough for  a camping load, plus be able to move alot of parts over from current bikes,  and 3.  continue to lust over an Elephant National Forest Explorer, which appears to be the only low trail bike made with disk brakes, and allows big honkin tires.

Thinkin happy thoughts!

Contentment

Wonderful weekend morning called for a ride in the country before the heat came up and the lawn cried out for mowing.  Hills, flats, bigger hills, a lake or two.  Right turn to head home or left turn to explore a little further (left of course).IMAG0003Kayakers, fishermen; and sailboats preparing for an afternoon regatta.  A few moments later there was a hint of ripples on the water.  The wind would be up within twenty minutes.

IMAG0006The summer heat draws flies, so the horses get masks for protection.  Looks like one has found some greener grass.

Throughout the weekend there was tweaking on the whole fleet: inflating tires, calibrating computers, etc….  The X bike is nice because it’s quick, but a short toodle up the street on the LHT reminded me that I have to plan an adventure soon.

Trying a New FD

Some time ago I picked up a new front derailleur for the X bike, thinking that the low clamp design would give me a little more room to work with the fenders and bigger tires.  What I discovered was the exact opposite, where by having the hinge mechanism behind the works actually leaves less room around the chainstays.IMAG0003Still, I haven’t been altogether happy with the shifting on this bike, so I decided to switch some things around to see what the results would be.  Mounting the unit itself was fairly simple, although I had to refresh my memory on how to unhook the masterlink.  I was still able to squeeze the Jumpstop in below the clamp.

I had to get a little creative with the fender because the hinge covers up the lower chainstay bridge.  With a little metal work and drilling a small hole into the seat tube, you can see that the whole works is lifted slightly, which gives a few more inches of coverage in the rear.

There is a definite improvement with shifting – smoother and more precise.  The derailleur does not hesitate to seat the chain on any of the rings.

My concern is the clearance.  This eliminates the option of running the knobbies.  This may or may not be a problem, because I’m giving some thought to getting a 650b based bike, and my first move might be to squeeze some rims onto this frame – but that’s for another post.

Last night was gorgeous, so the X bike took me out to the Yellow Breeches on a long, yet fast ride.  Despite the new hardware, I opted to come out of the saddle rather than downshift, and this morning my legs are paying the price.  So sweet is the pleasure after pain.

Not Pretty, But It Works

After giving thought to switching the Luxos to the X bike since that rig will be ridden more after dark, I was still faced with the desire to have a USB charging port on the LHT.  It seems frivolous, but once you’ve had this luxury, it becomes addictive.  I run the GPS unit alot, moreso as a bike computer after dark, but it also does great to charge up the phone or any other electronics I happen to be travelling with.IMAG0003Another Luxos would be heaven, but until I find a used one at a great price, I decided to explore some of the other options.  This is a German Re-volt.  With the help of Google translator I was able to discern that it would meet my needs for a reasonable price.  Originally it was planned to mount it on the stem, but the lack of a cache battery forced some McGyver like changes where it now resides in the bottom of the lunchbox.

The wire on the right is coming off the dynamo.  The wire in the middle goes to the lighting system, and the wire on the left, which is the USB jockey, goes into a small rechargable Li-on battery.  What you don’t see is the full USB port on the battery that then goes to the electronic device.  There are lights on the Re-volt to indicate input power and the output path, along with a button for routing.  And its all held together with electrical tape.

The build quality isn’t anywhere near B&M, but you get what you pay for.  I was mainly interested in the circuitry to make sure that it would charge at a high rate.  The unit also came with a basic bottle dynamo, so that may end up on another bike at some point just to play.

Just Right

‘getting in some short rides here and there as time allows.  Primarily dialing in the X bike and the saddle tilt.  Its amazing how a smidgeon can make a big difference in comfort.  Conventional wisdom says that the saddle should be level, but level is a relative term where a broken in Brooks is concerned.

I think I finally got it just right last night, at least that what my bumm was telling me.  A longer ride or two should confirm it.

I’m also adapting back to the drop bars.  Overall I feel pretty confident that it will work out, but much like the saddle, I think its going to take a few more rides to feel just right.

X Bike 2015

IMAG0026A little more wrenching, swapping out the knobbies for the Vittoria’s, fenders, and switching some lights around; and we’re done…for now.  After a short ride last night, there are still some saddle adjustments to make, but we’re close.

IMAG0038Two significant changes are the mini-V brakes and moving the Luxos over from the LHT.

The new brakes are intended to provide the stopping power of V’s with a drop bar configuration.  I’ve never been impressed with canti’s, and wasn’t sure about the whole short pull v. long pull thing.  The result is mini-V brakes with Kool Stop pads, long pull levers, and short pull interupters.  There is still some dialing in to do (I suspect too much toe-in), but so far there is decent stopping power with no chatter or squealing.

As for lighting, my logic is that this will be my night-riding/fitness bike, probably running a few mph faster than the LHT, which is my errand/touring bike.  So this machine gets the better lighting.  The Luxos also allows me to run the charger for the GPS, although I have a charger coming for the LHT as well.

There is still more riding to do, but so far so good.

Teaser Photos

IMAG0021Over the winter I usually spend a good deal of time and thought about bike/camping gear, and any changes that might take place for the coming season.  This past winter, and I’m not sure why, I got to thinking about goals and how to get there.

I’ve never ridden a full century even though it’s been on my list for years.  And to do so, I realize that it probably won’t happen toodling around on the LHT.  It most likely is going to be a lighter bike, yet comfortable, and more “race” configured.

It’s no secret that drop bars and me don’t get along, but I decided to try a pair of “short and shallow” bars, and liked them.  Of the choices available, I went with the Soma Highway One 46mm model.  The cockpit is more compact, and some new brake levers increase the wrist comfort as well.  They are Tektro long pulls, and the interupters are the Cane Creeks that I’ve had for years.  The brakes have been changed to Tektro mini-V’s with pulleys replacing the noodles, and the pads have been upgraded to Kool Stops.

The pic above is “Version 1.”  To be in fashion, I’ll describe it as a Gravel Grinder, even though I’m not entirely sure what that means.  The truth is, I don’t think I’ll be using this version very much.  The frame is a little too tight around these tires, especially at the fork crown, and the new mini-V’s only allow about 1/2 inch of clearance for the cables.  But these tires just seem to float over potholes.  I believe something like a Cross Check would be a better frame, with a little more room for these wheels.

IMAG0025Within the next few days the bike will be shod with the Vittoria Randoneurs and a pair of fenders for a little speedier kit, but these knobbies will be close at hand if I decide a little dirt riding is in order.  I already figured out a mirror mount, and the only thing left is to come up with a USB charger to run off of the dynamo since my Plug is toast.

This could end up being my main ride for 2015.  More pics to come.