Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

First Mountain Bike Ride On the 650B Stumpy

Rich left me a message on my phone, Friday. "Hey, dude. Want to go mountain biking for a few hours, up in Buffalo Creek, tomorrow?" (Words to that effect, anyway...)
"Hells yeah!" I thought. "I want to try the 650b bike out on the dirt.
So, plans were made, coffee was drunk and we eventually found ourselves at the trailhead parking lot outside of Pine.
I figure we got the "odd couple" award for our mismatched bikes. I was riding the 1984 Stumpjumper Sport 650b conversion, while Rich was on his new YETI ASR.
OldSchool/New School Shootout? Nah, I leave that kind of crap to the guys at Mountain Bike Fiction magazine. We were just two guys riding the bikes we wanted to ride.

Did I like the way bike rode? By the looks of the maniac grin I'm sporting in this picture, I'd have to say so. I love Mustache bars, off-road, and the big wheels and tires hooked up well on the sandy trails.
Plus, it's a hoot to ride rigid, again, after all these years. I think I've slowed down so much, in the past couple of years, that I ride about as fast rigid as I do with suspension (or as slow with suspension as I do rigid, I suppose).

Part of the ride took us through the burn area. Lots of vegetation has reestablished itself, but the horizon is still a lot farther away than it was ten years ago when the whole area was heavily forested.

Rich on a climb.
The one shortcoming of the bike was the brakes. I was running Avid Shorty cantilevers, and they just weren't cutting it on the long downhills. I had a few "life flashing before my eyes" moments, and pretty much was constantly on the brakes just to avoid gaining enough speed that I'd overshoot a turn, unable to slow down enough.
In other words, I was transported back to 1996.
In all, we rode 19 miles of trail. Rich sent me the elevation profile from his GPS:

That last downhill was worth the price of admission.

Today, I decided to make some V-Brakes work on the bike. I modified the 29er adapters I had made, back when I was running the 700c wheels on the bike, so that they aligned the front pads with the rim. The rear brakes were close to usable, and I was able to slightly lengthen the mounting slot on the brakes, themselves, to get good alignment.
The road bike brake levers were replaced with some V-Brake levers, modified to fit on the Mustache bar diameter. Presto! I got stopping power!

Here's the Dr. Jekyll personality of the bike. Road tires and the rear rack convert the mountain bike to a randonneur/touring rig.

Those are the stock tires from the Raleigh Portage I just sold. I'll be getting some newer, nicer tires for it, eventually. I'd like to get another pair of the Schwalbes like I put on the Portage.
Fenders are in route from Velo Orange. Maybe I'll actually get around to installing them, on this bike. I sent the fenders I bought for the Portage away with the bike, still in undrilled, new condition.
Oh, well, gotta get the snow bike ready for the commute, tomorrow. Close to 80 degrees, today, and a winter storm is supposed to move in overnight. Rain/snow in the morning, snow in the afternoon. The forecast is for only a few inches, though. The blizzard is apparently going about 90 miles north of Denver, this time.


At 10:53 AM , Blogger frankenbiker said...

Love the "YEAH!!MOUNTAINBIKING" look.It's still too wet on most trails here on the BIG "O",but I have gotten out on the trails a couple of times.It is suppossed to freeze weds. night so maybe Thurs. morning I'll go ride on the "hopefully" frozen mud.My favorite trail(my own)is still a mess trees down from the winter,and the snowmobiles got out there and made some of it 4ft wide.Looks like it's time for a reroute in few places.

At 11:59 AM , Blogger Jon said...

I have to admit, I actually felt like a mountain biker, Saturday. Never got out of the middle ring, for the climbs, hung with Rich on the downs, despite the lack of suspension. I was pretty stoked. you noticed.

At 8:19 AM , Blogger Apertome said...

Badass bike! And so versatile. That grin is priceless.

At 10:34 AM , Blogger all ideas are good said...

Do you have more details on the SJ conversion? I'm looking into doing the same thing. Which V-Brakes did you use or are they modified V's to match the rim diameter?

thanks - great blog

At 1:52 PM , Blogger MMcG said...

Hey - can you tell me more about the modifications you had to make to the V-brakes to get them to work with the 650b wheels?



At 9:35 PM , Blogger Jon said...


I sent you an email with a sketch of the adapter. Check your spam filter, if you don't get it.


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