Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Saturday, March 19, 2011

One Year Down the Road

Just about a year ago (plus a week and a half, actually), I built up the RockCombo frame and fork I had gotten from the Netherlands.  I originally set it up in the same style it left the factory (as seen above):  wide tires, drop bars, no fenders or racks, etc.  But, since I planned on commuting on it, I knew that I would, at least, be adding a rack and bags, lights and a bell.  I did plan on leaving the fenders off, because I like the looks without them.
Of course, as the year progressed and the RC became my main commuter, I started turning it into a "commuter" rather than a "bike I commute on, occasionally".

The first thing to go was the drop bar.  I experimented with the Nitto Randonneur bar, then an Origin8 Gary II.  But, the drops on both were low enough that I had to have a huge quill extension on the stem to get them high enough.  The fact that this is an 18" frame, didn't help.  On a 20" frame, I could have probably made it work. As it was, though, I had so much quill showing on the stem that it flexed, noticeably, when I was standing and climbing.

So, I went with the old faithful mustache bar, and a shorter quill.  I like the looks of the drop bar and, if I ever start commuting on something else, I'll put the Gary II back on the RC.

I also broke down and installed some fenders.  It doesn't look as good, to my eye, but they are really a requirement for an everyday commuter.  On the other hand, there are people who actually like the looks of fenders on bikes like this, so I guess it works for them.

The tires are now 1.5" knobbies, rather than 1.9" semi-slicks.  They work better in the occasional unexpected snowfall on the way home from work, and actually seem to roll better on the dry pavement, as well.  The seat is now a Cardiff, and the bags I blogged about a few weeks ago.

Another requirement for a bike with bags on it is a good, sturdy, kickstand.  I like this rear-mounted side-stand better than the two-leg center stand I originally had on it.  The front wheel was always in the air, due to the weight of the bags, with the center stand, and it was just unwieldy.

So, after a year of commuting and errand-running, I have put over 3450 miles on the bike.  I guess I got my money's worth out of it.

I should probably put a new chain on it, soon.  And the bottom bracket/headset need to be overhauled.  Daily-use bikes tend to get neglected.  When you don't have much downtime on the bike, the time available for major maintenance is rare.

I'll probably end up changing out brake levers, as well.  The aero-style DiaComp levers on the bike don't really work that well with the cantilevers, unlike the non-aero version on the XO-2.  They require a lot of adjusting to keep the cable tension in the sweet spot.  I have some Ritchey mtb levers that I think I can shoehorn onto the bar.  They should improve the braking, immensely.



At 6:21 PM , Blogger Apertome said...

It's definitely a great bike. I do think it looks better without the fenders, but as you say, fenders are necessary for daily commuting. That's a lot of miles with minimal maintenance!

At 7:28 PM , Blogger Steve A said...

Those bags actually complement the bike quite well.

At 7:51 PM , Blogger Big Oak said...

It's fun watching to see what you come up with next. It's like bike commuter evolution.

Is there a reason you don't use fixed gear bikes on your commute anymore?

At 8:29 PM , Blogger Jon said...

Thanks, all.

Bill: Mainly, I just got in the habit of riding the RockCombo, and it's simpler to use the same bike every day. All the stuff is in the panniers, and the bike is in the house when I'm ready to go in the morning.

I was planning on putting non-studded tires on the black bike, and switching bikes each week, once the threat of snow is past. I did that with my two motorcycles, back when I was commuting by motorbike.

At 9:00 AM , Blogger Big Oak said...

Jon, I know what you mean about using the same bike every day. I only have one light and one tail light, plus the extra stuff, like comb, work clothes, etc. and it's much easier to keep one bike ready to go, as opposed to spending a half-hour every morning switching every thing from one bike to the other. For some reason, time seems to go much more quickly in the early morning than at any other part of the day.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home