Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Monday, February 01, 2010

Today's Commute: Brought To You by The Red Rockhopper

...complete with Mutant Saddle.

Carl asked, in the Comments section of the last post, why it is that I seem to have recurring problems with broken saddles:

"Is it the fact that you use ancient saddles. or that you have terrible luck? I remember a tale in a far off land of saddle woes and the miracle of the LBS."

Well, I think it may be a bit of both, with an emphasis on the ancient saddles. A lot of the saddles I get with old bikes, or off of eBay, have hung in the garage for 30 or 40 years, with no temperature or humidity control. So, sometimes, the leather is not in the best of shape, and it finally gives up at the rivets. Even Jacquie Phelan has had a similar problem. Her attempted repair was a bit more classy, but less successful.

As it is, my saddle is working just fine.

On the 4 past workday commutes I have ridden (in order) the Raleigh with 700x42c tires, the Raleigh with 26x2.3" studded snow tires, the XO-2 with 26x1.35" tires and the Red Rockhopper with 26x2.0" semi-slick mtb tires. I was curious if the tires, the bike or I was to blame for the slow trips to work which have been plaguing me, lately.

Here's how it broke down: The Raleigh, regardless of what tires, took me 38 minutes from door to door on the way to work. The XO-2 (skinny 26" tires) and the Red Rockhopper (fat 26" tires) got me to work in the 33 minutes I consider normal (well, within 30 or 40 seconds of 33 minutes, anyway).

So, I'm thinking that means that the tires are not the problem, since two bikes with different types of tires gave me the same elapsed time. And, the same bike with two different sets of tires gave me the same (slower) time.

Gearing? Positioning? Bad juju? I don't know. But, I hope to figure it out.

Stay tuned. Just don't get blinded by the science.



At 7:37 PM , Blogger Oldfool said...

I am not blinded by science in this case, I am dazzled by art. I love that saddle and it should be hung as "Art".
I wonder what it could tell us about the butts it has seen.

At 5:15 AM , Blogger frankenbiker said...

Hmmm,so you faster on geared bikes and slower on a fixed gear...Sounds about right to me.I don't think tire size has much to do with it,sounds like a gearing or cadence problem.

At 5:31 AM , Blogger Adam said...

Isn't 95% of the story of bike speed the gearing? And isn't 80% of that the chainwheel size?

At 7:16 AM , Blogger Jon said...

Well, I think I mentioned this in an earlier post, but 33 minutes is my benchmark because that was the normal time for the trip on my "Ghetto" 700c Rockhopper conversion, which was a fixed gear running 39/16 gearing on 35c tires. That's about a 66 inch gear.

The Raleigh was fixed, with a 38/18 and 2.0" tires (61 inch) and now it's on 42c tires (about 58 inch).

Of course it's a bit slower, but it should also be a bit easier with the lower gear. What is bugging me is the fact that the bike seems over-geared (can't spin it up to a high cadence), yet is still slow. It really feels like I'm riding with the brakes on, but I have checked them and they are not dragging.

So, I was afraid it was in my legs. But, my recent experiments lead me to believe otherwise.


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