Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Challenges, Small Victories and Aggravations

Isn't that, pretty much, a description of life? It is a phrase that certainly comes to mind in light of the projects I have worked on, these past few days.

We have enjoyed record warm weather, here in Denver, this weekend. I worked 4 ten-hour days, this week, so that I could be off for the 70 degree temps on Friday. Yesterday was even warmer and, while it's a bit cooler today, the high is still reaching well into the 60s. It's windy as all get-out, but that's the price we pay for the warmth, around here.

I spent all day, both Friday and Saturday, in my driveway working on bicycle projects (after the requisite morning trips to the coffee shop, of course). They were days filled with challenges, small victories and aggravations, for sure.

Challenge #1 involved my old Bikes Direct "Motobecane" 29er frame. I have a bit of an attachment to this frame, as it was my first 29" mountain bike, plus the fact that it is a quality, Kinesis-built, frame. So, I don't want to get rid of it. But, the thing is, I have a 29" bike (the titanium Funk, and the ti Fat Bike are both capable of running 29" mtb tires), which makes another 29 mtb is redundant.

Recently, I acquired some 26x3" mtb tires. They are cheap, and heavy, and a bit more knobby than what I want. But, I got them in order to figure out if I could run that size tire in this frame. I had some 26" disc-only wheels hanging in the shop, and I figured I would build the bike up as a test, before buying nicer 26x3" tires. (Surly Knards come in that size, but they retail for $90.00 apiece, and that's really a bit much to throw down for those, not knowing if they would even work.)

These tires just clear the frame and fork, with little to no room for runout, if you ding a rim. The Knards are a lot less knobby than these, which makes me think that they will have more adequate clearance.

I built the rest of the bike up with part-box components. The Deore crank is sporting RaceFace rings, and the rear derailleur is an old Shimano Light Action from the early 90s (but it shifts the 9-speed chain, just fine).

As an alternative, and actually a preference, there are some new Wilderness Trail Bikes 650bx2.8" (or 27.5x2.8", if you prefer that nomenclature) tires which should be available, soon. The slightly larger diameter should allow more side to side clearance for the tires, since they will be running more in the parts of the frame and fork which are designed for tire clearance. I have some 650b disc wheels, so I may just wait on those tires and run that setup.

That would give me a choice of five different mountain bike setups, spread across four frames, leaving the Funk as my all-rounder/cross bike:

1. My vintage 26" mountain bike (rigid)

2. The Fat Bike (26x4") (rigid)

3. 29er (Fat Bike with 29" rims and tires, rigid)

4. The "semi fat" setup (either 650bx2.8", or 26x3"), with a suspension fork

5. Fixed gear (1988 Specialized RockHopper, rigid)

Then, all I have to do is actually go mountain biking, this year!

The aggravations abounded, when it came to the other bike projects I worked on. I had gotten some new wheels for the commuter fat bike, with quick-release hubs and 50mm rims, only to realize that the bike has a 190mm spacing on the rear, and these wheels have a 150mm rear hub. I could use them on the ti fat bike, if I want, but I don't know that I will. I like the 100mm rims on that bike...

Then, there's this bike:

This is my 1986 Bridgestone MB-1 frame, built up as a 650b commuter/tourer/XO-1 wannabe. I never ride it, because the Funk takes that position in the quiver (commuter, century ride bike, etc).  But, I don't want to get rid of it. Every time I let a lugged frame Bridgestone go, I regret it.

That made me think that it would be a good idea to just rebuild this bike as a drop-bar mountain bike, and sell my 1991 Trek 930. I don't need two vintage mtb's.

If you are interested in the Trek, let me know!  (I'm looking at you, Tracy...)

I specifically want to run the same tires, on this bike, which I run on the Trek. They look good, work well both on and off-road, and they have a large enough profile that I can run relatively low air pressure, without much worry of pinch flats.

To that end, a few months ago, I started looking for parts. I took my time, and bought things as cheaply as possible. One of the first items I bought for it was an old-school XT/Ritchey wheelset. I replaced some chewed up spokes, on the drive side of the rear wheel, and everything was good.

I pulled the wheels out, this weekend, and found, first, that the tire on the rear will not clear the U-brake, under the chainstays. I removed the brake, with the plan of getting cantilever studs brazed on, eventually. In the meantime, I have a bolt-on cantilever carrier I can use.

Not a lot of clearance, Clarence...

Then, I started to install the new 8-speed cogset and ... remembered that I had a 7-speed wheel. Another aggravation, but I managed to turn it into a small victory by swapping the cassette carrier and axle from an old 8-speed Shimano wheel I had hanging in the shop.

To further make things difficult, I had recently ordered a  1" quill dirt drop style stem, with a removable face plate so that I could run the Gary Bar (original version) which I had picked up at VeloSwap, back in October. I pulled the stem out of the package, and it was a 1-1/8" quill version.

Dang it!

So, I was forced to use my old Specialized stem expander tool to wrestle the Gary into a standard clamp, on an UNO stem.

This is as far as I've gotten on that build. I may have to work on it some more, today.

So far, today, other than grocery shopping, all I have accomplished is the removal of the rusted step rail from the passenger side of my truck.

The drive side rail was missing, when I bought the truck, but I had left this one on just because it does make it easier to get into the passenger side seat.

But, it was not only getting embarassingly ugly, I was beginning to worry that it was going to collapse under someone as they stepped on it. So, off it came.

Challenges, small victories and aggravations...



At 9:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, with all those mountain bikes you better do some mountain biking this year! ;-)

I also feel you on the vintage MTB thing. I struggle over whether I should hold onto my 1984 Raleigh Crested Butte with "klunker" geometry. It's a bit too small for me, and I have the new bike to deal with, so selling a bike like that would give me some "scratch" for the project. On the other hand, damn, the Crested Butte is a sexy bike, and it's not like I'll get a lot for it. Unfortunately its geometry would not work for drop-bar conversion.

At 7:41 PM , Blogger Tracy Halasinski said...

Well, hell, I didn't figure you'd be looking to sell so quickly! I just picked up (another) Cross Check on Ebay. It was way too good of a deal to pass up. And now the stable is overflowing. I mean, I have been forbidden to bring in another bike...

At 7:04 PM , Blogger Jon said...

Well, Tracy, it will be a while before the Bridgestone is finished, and I'll be holding onto the Trek until at least that time. If space becomes available, let me know. Just wanted to give you "first refusal".


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