Monday, December 17, 2012

Foundry Riveter

After talking with Sean at Peninsula Bike Works on Friday about bikes and whatnot, I spent some considerable time on the Foundry Cycles website.  I'd been to the website a few times in the past, but a new gem has appeared.  The Riveter.  It is a disc-specific road bike and is offered as a frameset or built in three configurations (two Sram, one Shimano).  What is interesting is retail on the frameset is rumored to be $2199, but the Shimano 105 build is listed at only $2715.  Seems like a no-brainer to me.  The other builds are Sram Force/Rival for $3475 and Red for $5175.  All come with FSA parts, and the 105 build has some Ritchey parts thrown in the mix.  Two things I love about this frame are the internal cable routing and the Di2 capability for a future upgrade.  One interesting note is the fork is made for a 15mm through axle for extra stiffness.  This makes wheel selection a bit more difficult, basically calling for a custom build wheelset.

Today I'll be visiting Sean at PBW to see the Foundry Ratchet he has on loan to check out the build quality of the frame and get my first in-person glimpse of what could be my next road bike.

Foundry Riveter frameset.
Interestingly, this photo shows an Ultegra Di2 build, which is not shown as an option.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Skylar Grey Singing About Bicycles

I'm not really sure what to say about this.  At the very least, it is bicycle related.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

New CX Parts to Pick Up

I just got a call from Micah at Peninsula Bike Works.  The parts that I didn't expect to see until next week arrived today!  The new goodies are TRP CX8.4 brakes in blue and a FSA headset top cap, both for the Blue Norcross.  The TRPs will be replacing the short-lived Paul Touring brakes, and the top cap replaces the stock top cap with cable hanger.  Looks like I'll be testing out the new parts in Fort Ord tomorrow.

PBW is a new shop in Monterey, opened by Micah and Sean, two veterans of the bike shop world.  They worked together at Joselyn's up until the doors to that shop were closed.  Drop in and check them out.
My cozy new PBW sweatshirt.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The Rules

I can't believe I haven't seen this before today.
 
http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/

I live life by rule #12.

GT Edge Ti Video

Renewing my interest in the new GT Edge Ti frame, here is a BikeRadar video from Eurobike 2012.  It gets to the good stuff at 1:14...


Monday, November 05, 2012

Friday, November 02, 2012

Paul Touring Cantis w/ Campagnolo

Several months ago I decided to upgrade the brakes on my Blue Norcross SP cyclocross bike.  I had been using cheapo Nashbar cantilever brakes since I had them sitting around when I purchased the Norcross.  They worked ok, but really didn't have the stopping power I wanted.  After talking with Gary at Cycle Masters I decided to get two sets of Paul Touring Cantis.  I know some would say that I should have put the Neo Retro up front for better power, but I'm strange and like symmetry.  I installed the brakes and promptly took the bike out for a spin.  Well, I didn't feel much change from the Nashbar brakes, and fast downhills are downright scary.  I have much more power braking from the top levers than from the Ergo levers.  Aha, that right there is probably the problem.  The pull from the Campagnolo Ergo levers is different from Shimano levers, which is what most people are set up with.  I don't think I can fault Paul for the braking, or lack thereof, but rather the Campy levers.

Now I have a dilemma.  After searching around, reading forums, and seeking information, I am leaning toward TRP's CX8.4 linear brakes.  Directly snagged from their website, "The CX8.4 features 84mm length arms designed to work seamlessly with SRAM and Campagnolo shifters."  Well, that sounds promising and Byron at Bike Hugger seems to like them.  It is also a bonus that they are available in anodized blue to nicely match the bike.

For those who are using Paul brakes and enjoy them, I highly recommend picking up a set of Hunter Nugz.  In the photo below it is the little barrel adjuster on the release side of the brake.  The added adjustment is awesome to have and eliminates the need for an inline barrel adjuster and they're only 25 bucks a pair.

Current setup with Paul brakes and Hunter Nugz
TRP CX8.4 in svelte blue

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review - Easton XC One Wheelset

I love these wheels. I dropped nearly a pound swapping these for the Mavic CrossRide wheels I was using.  They have a nice stealth black finish with minimal decals, unlike most of what is available these days. Also, the decals are removable if I decide that I don't want to advertise for Easton. Or, if you're a major weight weenie, you could remove them and tell your buddies about how much rotational weight you saved. They are light, stiff, and well built. It is nice that they came with an aluminum lock ring and variety of spacers to get your chainline just right with whatever style of cog you use. I'm using a Chris King cog with it, and have heard that you should avoid the thin steel cogs.  They could tear up the aluminum cassette body.

Redline Monocog Flight AL with Easton XC One wheels

Review - Salsa Stainless Skewers

I have tried using KCNC's super lightweight skewers on my road bike and they didn't have enough clamping power for me on the rear wheel, causing it to slip.  I decided I would rather have a really strong skewer at the penalty of a few non-rotational grams.  The Salsa skewers are beautiful, but I have to say I liked the look of the older finish better.  It was a bit more raw and you could see the machining.  The new finish has a softer look to it with rounded edges and a different texture.  That is the only complaint I have about the skewers, and it is completely my own personal taste.  The new skewers have some nice features like color-matched clamp-shim-washer-things, stainless contact points, and spring retainers.  Check the photo below for a comparison of new and old.  As of this review, Salsa still has photos of the old style on their website.

I'm currently using Salsa skewers on two mountain bikes (hardtail Scott Endorphin and full suspension Sette Ace) and my temporary FR-303 road bike.  I have blue, red, and green and the colors are very rich.  Love 'em.

Images courtesy of QBP & Salsa.

My rare Scott Endorphin sporting blue Salsa skewers.
New style Salsa
Old style Salsa


Review - Mavic Equipe Jacket

This review is a little old, but is a testament to the quality of Mavic apparel.  The Equipe jacket is still available from Mavic, with what looks like only cosmetic changes.

On my first ride with the Mavic Equipe jacket I was very impressed. My ride started at about 5:45 in the morning with the temps in the low 50s and a good amount of fog. Under the jacket, I was only wearing a Defeet UnDShurt Tank and was very comfortable. The jacket is super soft and deceivingly warm for how light it is. I was afraid the arms would be a little long for me, but the cuff is longer than normal and the soft material gently bunches without being annoying. I met three of my GTR teammates in Asilomar and we rode back through Monterey to do some climbs through Monterey and Pebble Beach. This is the only point in the ride when the jacket got a little hot. I opened the zippered sleeve vents in the arms for some cool air and dropped the main zipper a bit and was fine. Speaking of zippers, the main zipper is offset so you don't have any rubbing on the middle of your throat from having the jacket partially unzipped.  We dropped back down into the fog by the coast in Pebble Beach and the jacket was perfect. I finished the ride by coming back through Pacific Grove into Monterey and by then the temps were up in the high 50s. I would say this jacket is best in the 45-60 degree range, but would not use it above 60. It's amazingly comfortable, looks great, and has some wonderful features.

Mavic Equipe Jacket & Blue Norcross SP

Product Reviews

I've decided to post some product reviews I have written on different retail websites.  They are short blurbs, but might be useful to someone out there.  I'm hoping to do more reviews in the future and make it a regular thing here.  Up first - Mavic Equipe jacket...

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

APB - Stolen Focus team frames & wheels

My feelings on Rapha aside, this is not cool.  Information taken from a post by David at Bike Hugger.

The Rapha team van was broken into a couple nights ago in the San Diego area and someone stole a dozen Focus team frames and bunches of Easton wheels.  The frames are painted in the distinctive team colors and were without forks.  Those will be really hard to get rid of since they are so unique.

From Velo News:
"Jeremy Powers’ Rapha-Focus cyclocross team is asking for help after losing a number of frames and wheels in a break-in over the weekend.
Thieves broke into the team’s sprinter van and made off with 12 Mares frames painted in the U.S. national champion’s custom lay-up, as well as 37 Easton wheels. The theft occurred between 6:30 p.m. on Saturday August 11 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday August 12."


broken window

Items Stolen:

12 frames - all 54cm FOCUS Mares Carbon CX frames. All in US National Champion paint scheme. (Note: No forks were taken)

15 - Easton EC90 SL Rear Wheels
18 - Easton EC90 SLX Front Wheels
2 pair - Easton EA70 wheels

If you have any information, contact:

Carlsbad Police Department Case 12-05050 Officer Sheldon Berg 760-931-2100

FOCUS Bicycles USA Jeff Rowe Operations Manager j.rowe@focus-bikes.com

Rapha Racing Chris DiStefano Communications Manager chris.distefano@rapha.cc

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Rings and Cogs

Recently I have been thinking of chainring combos.  I am currently running a 172.5 Campagnolo Chorus 53/39 crank with a Centaur (?) 12-25 cassette.  Prior to that I was using a 11-23 cassette, which was no good for hills.  The 25 is moderately better, but not what I want.  Thanks to the late, great Sheldon Brown, I have put together a list of options.  Getting the 50/34 combo would be the easiest route to go, but I would prefer the 52/36 setup.  For Campy Chorus or Record cranks, that means stepping up the system to 11 speed.  Sure, no problem.  Chump change.

Click to make this itty-bitty chart readable.

Friday, July 20, 2012

FSSS Update

I mentioned earlier about a full suspension singlespeed (FSSS) project, so here is an update.

The bike I'm converting is a Sette Ace, which I have had for several years.  It's a great bike from an often mocked company and was sold through Price Point.  When I bought it, I went the frameset route and built it up rather than purchasing the complete bike with a bunch of stuff I would want to immediately swap.  Also, the frameset came with a Rock Shox Monarch 3.3 which was better than what the complete build came with.  It is a capable climber that doesn't suck much energy and inspires confidence when descending.

On Wednesday, a package arrived containing the main piece for the conversion, a Shimano Alfine chain tensioner that I scored on eBay for twenty bucks shipped (brand new).  Supposedly, the Alfine tensioner is better than others because of the extra spring tension, which is useful for the suspension's articulation.  I was able to remove the derailleurs, shifters, and cable without taking off or loosening any cable.  I'll be able to put them back on with little fuss if I decide I don't like the FSSS.  After removing some links from the chain, I decided that I should remove two more.  Too much tension.  Add one link.  Perfect.  I should note that the Alfine tensioner came with three washers, but I had to add one to straighten the chain line.  It's not perfect, but it is close and works just fine.

Did I ride it yet?  No.  I'm waiting on the arrival of an Avid disc brake bleed kit so I can try to fix my Elixir R brakes, which I pretty much hate.  They have been troublesome from day one.  However, there is supposedly a better bleed procedure, as seen in this SRAM video:


How to Bleed your Brakes with Chuck from SRAM on Pinkbike

I have set up the rear with a 16 tooth cog and 32 ring up front, which is the same as on my HTSS.  As you can see from the photo, I still have the large and small chainrings on the crank.  I still need to order a bash ring and then I'll remove them.  Or, maybe I should forget the bash ring and get a chain guide similar to what the downhill guys use.  Hmm.

As is sits now, it weighs about 24 pounds, only a pound heavier than my HTSS.  I could easily drop more weight with some carbon bits and better wheels.  However, I think I'll ride it first and see how I like it.
Crappy cell phone photo.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Singlespeed Punishment

Last weekend I got talked into doing a local CCCX mountain bike race with one of my GTR team mates, Andy.  I had my choice of the beginner race on a geared bike or the sport race on a singlespeed.  Being the brilliant individual that I am, I chose the singlespeed race.  I haven't done any racing since February of last year, when I did a beginner CCCX race on my geared hard tail.  I also haven't done much riding recently.  The race on my fully rigid Surly Karate Monkey was brutal and I dearly paid for my poor decision.  There was also an error by the officials who informed me that I had one lap left when I had two to go.  I questioned him as I went through the line, but he was adamant that I only had one to go.  I learned long ago not to mess with the officials too much, and thought he might have had a good reason for cutting a lap.  Nope.  He was just wrong.  I was talking with him about results later, and he seemed surprised when he said, "You only did four laps."  Yeah, you told me to do only four laps.  Thanks to Andy for sticking around after his race, which he won, to take these videos.
My short-lived second-place lead.
 
Crossing through the finish area, probably finishing lap two.

 Anyway... I want some redemption, so instead of fire-bombing something I am going to race again on July 28th.  I went ahead and did the sensible thing and bought some lighter weight parts.  However, the parts are not for the Karate Monkey.  I decided to rebuild the 26" wheeled Redline Monocog Flight frame that I've had sitting around for a few years.  Front suspension is a brilliant luxury and I hope to never race on a fully rigid bike again.  I have outfitted the Monocog with brand new Easton XC One wheels and Thomson setback seatpost (on order), and the lighter bits that were on the Karate Monkey.  As it sits, it weighs about 23 pounds, which is not incredibly light, but much lighter than the 29er anchor that is the Karate Monkey.  I took it out yesterday for a shakedown ride, and it felt really good.


I now have the crazy idea of converting my full suspension Sette Ace to singlespeed, and have already ordered an Alfine tensioner.  Stay tuned.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Jack be Nimble, Jack be quick...

Jack Flash sat on his candle stick.

A couple weeks ago I was daydreaming and thought about the Nimble Crosswind wheels.  I headed on over to the website to find it hadn't been updated in years.  Being the curious fellow I am, I sent an email to see what was up.  David at Nimble sent me the following reply:

"Steve:

Thank you for your e-mail.  We are operating at a fraction of former self.  We are working on collaborating with new manufacturing to produce both our historical flagship products and new higher performance products we have yet to introduce.  It may be a year before you see us again.

David"

I'm glad to hear they will be returning to the scene with some new products.  I wish them a speedy recovery and safety from sitting on candle sticks.

Images from Nimble

Image from CYCLINGWMD

Tater Tot

Last night I was poking around on the Bell Sports website looking at children's helmets for Madison. I checked the size recommendations for the XS helmet, grabbed a measuring tape, and wrapped it around the kid's head (much to her confusion). I was surprised to find that her noggin is big enough at eight months to fit into the helmet. With a giant grin, I immediately ordered a Tater from Bob's Bicycles in Boise (nice alliteration, eh?) in the teal/magenta hearts pattern. Stoked.
I now have to decide which bike I want to use as the hauler for the trailer and/or the iBert I will purchase soon. The only problem is that the iBert requires at least 3/4" of space along the steer tube under the stem for the clamp. My bikes are all set up with much less space than that, so I might have to do some sort of conversion shenanigans to make it work.

As for the Tater, I will post my impressions once it arrives and I strap it to her giant noggin.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Aloha

Aloha from Kauai, Hawaii. We have been here for a few days now and it started with a moderate level of ridiculousness. Tony and Jaela picked us up at the airport just in time for lunch and we headed straight for Duke's. Tasty. Then we were off to Costco for supplies for four for the week. Naturally, about half of the $440 shopping spree was spent on booze. Part of the alcohol purchase was specifically for WSATU celebrations. If you are not familiar with WSATU, you need so spend some time over at AHTBM and read up on this fun-filled day. I will only be posting one photo from the event, in which only my friend, Tony, and I participated while our wives ignored us as best they could. I ended up besting Tony by one beer, with a final score of 11 to 10.
In bike related activities, the Poipu area is not for cycling. Well, at least not road cycling. I know nothing of mountain biking in the area. We headed over to the other side of the island and it is Obviously much better for cycling, but still not great. We happened to pass by Kauai Cycle and I was able to convince Tony to flip the car around in traffic so I could check out the shop. It is a pretty small shop, but the guys were nice and they looked pretty busy wrenching on bikes. They did have some really nice Specialized bikes and a slick Cervelo P3. I bought myself a nifty new water bottle, but couldn't find a shirt in my size.

As for Kauai in general, it is beautiful. We have visited several out of the way beaches and sights and will be doing a hike or two later in the week. Madison was freaked out by the sand and water combo at first, but has grown to like it since we keep forcing it upon her. Let's face it, she really doesn't have much of a choice.

Mahalo for stopping by.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Back in the Saddle

Madison's first bike ride It seems as if I have forgotten about this blog. My last post was nearly two years ago. It's amazing how much has happened since then. I got married in August of 2010, got a job with the DLI (yes, again) in August of 2011, and had a baby girl, Madison, in October of 2011. Yes, I named my daughter after the velodrome race because of my love of riding in ovals.

I have also acquired and rid myself of several bikes and frames. Just last week I sold my Colnago CLX frameset to a friend and GTR teammate. He's as giddy as a schoolgirl researching and buying parts for it. When he has everything I will be building it with him to teach him how everything works. He is a good rider and has a killer S-Works Tarmac, but has never built a bike from the ground up. I'm pretty sure he doesn't do any work on his own bikes based on the state of gnarlyness of his CX bike that I recently tuned up. I am now riding a Chinese open mold frame from Flyxii and am really enjoying it. It is simple with clean lines and looks great.
Flyxi FR-303

However, Bike Hugger recently posted about the return of the GT Edge Ti road bike and I'm smitten. It takes me back to the days when I started riding (holy crap, that was twenty years ago), often out of Cycle Masters in Turlock with guys on the steel Edge frames. I don't think I will be able to resist the temptation of that frame. We shall see. I have been riding more recently now that I'm getting the hang of having a mini-me in the house (which is awesome). Maybe I can justify the mythical beauty that is titanium with some more saddle time.
2013 GT Edge Ti (Courtesy Bike Hugger)
Image from Bike Hugger