Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Martyn Ashton's Road Bike Party 2 Video!

Martyn Ashton's Road Bike Party 2 features Chris Akrigg and Danny MacAskill.  This is another amazing video of guys doing tricks on a road bike.  Not a bad plug for the Colnago C59 Disc.

Colnago C59 Disc
Colnago C59 Disc

Friday, November 08, 2013

Review: North Shore Billet Parts

The maching and finish on the North Shore Billet adapters is beautiful.  I bought two 160mm blue adapters (front and rear) and the color is very close to Salsa blue, as compared to my skewers and seatpost collar.  The threads are perfectly machined, so all the bolts threaded easily and securely.  I have no way to verify the stiffness, but the machined faces will be a more solid connection to the frame and brake than the adapters that came with the brakes.  The only problem I had was with the front adapter, as it is a bit wider than the one that came with my brakes, so I had to file about one millimeter from both of the holes on my brake to get a proper clearance from the rotor.  The fork is a 26" Fox 32 F100, the wheels are Easton XC One SS, and the brakes are an inexpensive Tektro cable model.  One other thing to note is these adapters are shorter than my stock ones.  On the front brake, I had to cut a tab off of the brake pad to clear the bottom of the adapter.  Not a big deal, but worth noting.

As for the NSB cable guide, it is a great little piece, but it isn't perfect.  The machining and color are just as wonderful as the brake adapters, but the bolt that secures the guide to the fork uses a tiny hex with a soft head.  I was barely able to get the guide secure because the head started to strip.  With a better bolt this would easily be a stellar product.  It is a stout little piece of aluminum, and probably weighs about the same as the two zip ties that I was using to secure the brake cable.  If I can find one, I will replace the supplied M3x8 bolt with a titanium one.  Bolt issues aside, I would still highly recommend this cable guide.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Guinness Red Harvest Stout

Guinness Red Harvest Stout.  It is a bit lighter, less "thick" than original Guinness, with a sweeter flavor profile.  It keeps the beautiful fall after pouring and has a nice dark red-orange color when held up to the light.  Quite a pleasing beer, most worthy of the Guinness name.

Guinness Red Harvest Stout
Guinness Red Harvest Stout

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bike Rumor POTD / G4G Mention

Today my Santa Cruz Highball was posted as the Pic Of The Day (POTD) on Bike Rumor!  They were also kind enough to add a mention and link to Gears 4 Good.  Pretty cool.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

New Bike!! Santa Cruz Highball

On Sunday, I took delivery of a bran-spankin-new Santa Cruz Highball.  I opted for the aluminum frame over the carbon for two reasons.  First reason is price.  It was going to be nearly an extra grand for the carbon.  Second reason is dropouts.  The aluminum frame has swappable dropouts that allow you to run it geared or singlespeed.  The singlespeed swinger dropout kit is about fifty bucks.

Sunday afternoon I swapped out some stock parts for some parts snagged off other bikes that I prefer.  The parts I removed were a 70m Easton EA70 6 degree stem, WTB saddle, and Lizard Skins grips.  They were replaced with a 90mm Thomson X4 -10 degree stem, Fizik Tundra carbon saddle, and Oury Grips.  The other things I did was remove the red and white decals from the WTB i19 rims
add some orange aluminum bottle cage bolts to hold the King Titanium Cages, and toss on a set of Crank Brothers Eggbeater pedals.  I was hoping to have a mango Chris King headset installed, but they are on backorder so I'll swap it in as soon as it arrives.  Other parts I'm waiting on are a custom orange seatpost clamp from Purely Custom, some miscellaneous titanium bolts, and a stem (mentioned below).

On Monday morning I had a fit session with Chris Burnham, who has an office inside of Peninsula Bike Works.  We spent most of the time with my road bike, with the main focus on my cleats.  On the Highball, there were a couple tweaks with saddle height and position.  At his recommendation, I have a Thomson X2 100mm -17 degree stem on order to get some more drop and a little more reach.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take the Highball on dirt, but did get a quick eight mile ride on the bike path to get a feel for the bike.  The main thing that I found strange is the massive width of the Easton EC70 bars.  They're listed at 685mm, but measure out closer to 710mm.  The bars on my other mountain bikes are closer to 600mm wide.  I'll be chopping them to a more reasonable width when I swap out the stem.  This weekend I'll be able to take it out to Fort Ord for a proper break-in.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ibis Silk SL - Retired!

While browsing the Ibis site today, I realized the Silk SL road bike was nowhere to be found.  I then found it listed under Past Models along with the Tranny.  Being the curious guy that I am, I sent an email to Ibis about this.  Well, only about the Silk SL because it was what really interested me.

My inquiry:
"Good morning, bike friends.  I just saw that the Silk SL is now in the Past Models section.  WHAT??  Are you planning on bring on a newer and shinier (or matter) Silk to the lineup, or are you going to focus on all things dirt?  By the way, I love what you've done with the Lugi Disc.  I hope you have more sun today in SC than we have in Monterey.  Dreary.


The response:
"Hi Steve,Yep, we've retired that bike. Stay tuned for what we're working on. I assure you it's a lot. We don't say specifically what we're working on until it's ready to ship.

Interesting.  I imagine they will bring back a road frame, but only time will tell.  The Silk SL is a gorgeous frame with a reasonable price for the low weight.  My only real gripe is the external brake and derailleur cable routing.  Some prefer that, but I like the clean look of internal routing.  Now that it is discontinued, I bet the price will drop from online retailers like Wrench Science and Competitive Cyclist.


Ibis Silk SL, now retired.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Peter Sagan & Roof Rack

Peter Sagan has some crazy skills with a road bike.  Apparently, he has found a creative way to get his bike up on the car's roof rack.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Scot ‘Chuck Ibis’ Nicol on Riding a Bike

Scot has put into words what many of us feel.

Every kid who gets on a bike, that’s their first real taste of freedom in their life.  That’s the first time you really escape home.  That’s something that never leaves you.

Monday, April 15, 2013

STOLEN: NAHBS Littleford Expedition Rig

Information taken from BikeRumor.com:
Please help Jon Littleford get his personal bike back. The beautiful rig he showed at this years’ NAHBS was stolen in front of Portland’s downtown courthouse on April 11, 2013.

From Jon:

“On the morning of Thursday, April 11 the Littleford Expedition rig, shown 2 months ago at NAHBS, was stolen from where it was locked, on camera, in front of the downtown courthouse. The bike was there for just over an hour. I spent two very hard months designing and building this prototype expedition bike for the show. It is one of a kind.

Please see here for more photos and keep an eye out for either the whole bike, or for some key components that may be parted out:
Schmidt SON SL dynamo hub (currently with Velocity Aeroheat rim)
Schmidt Edelux dynamo headlight (brushed finish. These come from the factory polished.)
Velo Orange Gran Cru high flange touring hub (also currently with Aeroheat hubs.)
Well worn (and beloved) honey-colored Brooks B-17 Select saddle.
Nitto Dirt drop stem
Sugino XD triple crank
Velo Orange Gran Cru seat post
I’d really appreciate any help and/or information that may help me get back my bike, helpful information can also go to the police (503) 255-3600 (Police case # 13-402154).”

Friday, April 05, 2013

Ti Bolts for a Thomson Seatpost

Today the titanium bolts for my Thomson Masterpiece seatpost arrived.  I bought them through Amazon and until after ordering didn't realize that they were going to be shipped from China.  The estimated shipping date was over a month out, but the bolts arrived as if they had been shipped from the East Coast.  After wrestling the envelope away from my 17 month old daughter, I was able to inspect the goods.  They're beautiful, like most things that are polished titanium.  The difference in weight is minimal, but they sure do look better than the zinc yellow finish of the stock bolts.  I weighed the bike before and after with my Feedback Sports Alpine Digital Gear Scale and the difference was about 20 grams.  One of the main reasons I like to change my bolts to titanium has more to do with corrosion than weight.  Living in Monterey, with the salt air, can be hard on components and I've had chrome bolts on high end brakes start to pit and rust.  Not cool.

The current weight of the bike is 7.170 kilograms or 15.81 pounds, with a Topeak Micro Rocket CB pump and Bar Fly with a Garmin Edge 200.

And now for the photos.  The red lines on the rails were so I could get the seat back in the proper location after replacing the bolts.  I removed and replaced one at at time, torquing to 5.1 Nm, as recommended by Thomson for the Masterpiece (6.8 Nm for the Elite).

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Thomson Masterpiece

A bit over a week ago I ordered a Thomson Masterpiece seatpost for my road bike to replace the less-than-stellar post I was using.  I would have purchased the Elite post, but my REI dividend came in along with a 20% off coupon.  Time to splurge.  Normally, they don't sell the Masterpiece, but after visiting the bike counter and talking with the staff, they pulled out the big book and ordered one up.  Since it is from one of their regular catalogs it wasn't considered a special order, which would have not allowed me to use the 20% coupon.  Yup, read the fine print to find that restriction.

I picked up the post on Monday and installed it that evening.  It is a beautiful piece of American made machined aluminum and wonderfully light.  Being the bike nerd I am, I have ordered titanium bolts for the head to further reduce the weight.  Necessary?  Nope.  Fun?  Absolutely.  Hopefully those will arrive Friday and I'll install them asap.

The bike feels much more complete now that my seatpost matches the stem and cap.  I considered adding the seatpost collar at one point, but it isn't available in green.  In fact, I have a new custom seatpost collar on the way.  More on that when it arrives.

Yes, it was taken at a funky angle.

Crispy Peep

As most of my friends and family know, I love Peeps.  Not my peeps, as in my homies, but the tasty, squishy, sugary marshmallow treats.  My parents came to visit last weekend for Easter, and naturally my Mom brought me a Peep treat.  No proper Easter is complete without Peeps.  To my surprise, it was a new one I hadn't seen yet.  It was labeled as a "Crispy Rice Marshmallow Treat" and I assumed it would be similar to a Rice Krispies Treat.  It was similar, but not nearly as good as the Rice Krispies Treats I make with Fruity Pebbles.  The surprising bit was not the bright blue color, but the bright little purple, yellow, and pink sugar bunnies on top.  Nice touch, Peeps.  The crispy rice was not so crispy, and it lacked a bit of flavor.  However, I gladly gobbled it up and the sugar has helped to keep me going this morning.  I can't say that I would purchase one as a snack, but am glad to see that they are experimenting with new ways to expand the Peep line.  Best of all, no trans fat or cholesterol!  It must be a healthy snack, right?  Yum.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Newness on the Horizon at Swobo

I'm a fan of the Swobo Sanchez even though I've never ridden one or even seen one in person.  I think it has great lines, some nice touches, and a killer price tag.  As awesome as it looks, I have no intentions of purchasing one, but would be incredibly tempted if they released something similar meant for hitting the dirt.  Deciding that this was a brilliant idea, I sent them an email and through a brief exchange found out some interestingness on the horizon at Swobo.

I found out that they are redesigning all of their bikes with 700c wheels to fit 45c tires and some will have canti brake mounts, to be released later this year.  Sweet.

I would love to build up a SSCX version with the bright orange paint using Bruce Gordon's Rock 'n Road tires, silver Thomson stem & post, green King headset, green King hubs laced to polished silver Velocity A23 rims, and other assorted goodness.  Perhaps add a Paul crankset and Paul MiniMoto brakes activated by TRP RRL SR retro levers with gum hoods.  Mmmm...

A bit more info, straight from our email exchange:
"So, if you follow him, you'll know a bit about the Divine. We're doing that bike first as a US made. We've been working out the kinks and headed into production. Limited though in terms of the US market. We'll take that info though and head to Taiwan and have the new Sanchez's built on the platform as well as our other 700c bikes."

Sounds like some great stuff will soon be coming from Swobo.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Gears 4 Good - An Introduction

For one and a half years now I have had a project in the works.  In December of 2011 I founded Gears 4 Good and just this week received my letter of approval from the IRS granting 501(c)3 nonprofit status.  Stoked.  The mission of the charity is simple - get bikes to people who need them and can't afford them.  I have been receiving donations from friends and others by word of mouth, and a couple contacts through the website.  So far I haven't been able to give away many bikes since they all need some work and most need parts.

Now that I have the official nonprofit status I can start requesting donations that can be written off by the donors.  Money is always awesome, but what I need are the "consumable goods" for bikes.  Brake pads, cables, tubes, tires, and chains are the most needed items, followed by grips, seats, pedals, locks, and other various parts.  The big ticket item that would be a great help is storage space.  My little garage is already overflowing and I have something in the works with a big box store that will be both amazing and overwhelming if it comes through.

More to come as things develop.  For now, please "Like" the G4G page on Facebook.  If you want stickers, send me an email - steve@gears4good.org.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bike Snob's New Book - "Abroad"

I read Bike Snob NYC's book, "Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling" and found it entertaining and amusing.  I would say it was more aligned to the beginning cyclist or someone curious about cycling than someone who has been cycling for over twenty years.  Still, it was worth the read.  Below is a promotional video for his latest book, which I'm sure I will read.  If you have a keen eye, you might be able to spot Stevil Kinevil of AHTBM fame.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Video: Morvélo. A Bloc.

I've seen a lot of bike-related videos lately and I really enjoyed this one.  Well done, Morvélo.

"Everyone appreciates a good climb. But that's only half the story.  Enjoy the whole ride and give it everything."

Morvélo. A Bloc.
from Morvélo Bicycle Apparel on Vimeo.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lance Armstrong meets Radiohead's "Creep"

This is freaking hilarious.  This has long been one of my favorite songs.

Radiohead's "Creep" by Matthijs Vlot:

The original song:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Boyd 38mm Carbon Clinchers

Last Friday, my new Boyd Cycling 38mm carbon clincher wheels arrived.  Unfortunately, because of an oversight on my part, they were shipped with the wrong brake pads.  I ordered Campagnolo compatible wheels, which ship with pads for Campagnolo brakes, but I use TRP brakes that use a Shimano style pad.  Yeah, should have specified that.  They arrived in the standard cardboard wheel box with just a piece of cardboard between them, foam on the cassette body, and a protective plastic plug on each hub.  It wasn't as impressive as the packaging that my Easton EA90 Aero wheels came in.  That was an impressive wheel box.
Dog feet, wheel box, my feet
Of course, the first thing I did was weigh them.  The claimed weights are 614g front and 770g rear.  I can only assume that is with the included rim tape and no lockring since that is how they arrived.  On my Feedback Sports "Alpine Digital Gear Scale" they came in at 620g front and 780g rear, a difference of 16g.  Pretty darn close.  The one thing that surprised me is the lack of a lockring.  My Eastons came with an aluminum lockring, which is sitting on the Boyds until my pretty green Far Near one arrives from Fairwheel Bikes.  The Easton EA90 Aero wheels have a claimed combined weight of 1545.  On my scale, they came in at 1600g (680g front, 920g rear), 55g above their claimed weight.  Photos of everything being weighed can be seen here on Flickr.
Ghosted decals
Getting the Kenda Kaliente Pro tires (23c) on the Boyds was quite a chore.  It was impossible without the aid of a tire lever, which annoyed me.  The Eastons were difficult (same tire), but I could get them on with my thumbs.  This might have to do with the difference in width as the Boyds are 21mm wide while the Eastons are 19mm wide.  This is pure speculation as I really have no idea and it could just be that they are different.  Boyd recommends 48mm valves for the tubes, but they weren't quite long enough for my pump to get a good grip.  I went with 60mm tubes but the ideal length would be about 55mm, if they are available anywhere.  The tubes I picked up were regular shop stock, so they are a bit heavy.  I'd love to put some nice latex tubes in which would enhance the ride quality and save a bunch of weight.

After the brake pads arrived on Monday, I finished setting up the bike and getting everything adjusted, but was unable to ride because of time.  Yesterday I was off work a bit early so I jumped at the chance to get in a quick ride to test them out.  My first impressions are very favorable.  They feel smoother than the EA90 Aeros and I didn't feel any flex when standing up to climb.  I have to mention one pretty awful thing about the wheels, which is squeal when you grab a fistful of brake lever.  The front wheel makes a small amount of noise, but the rear sounds like a stuck pig.  I'm going to contact Boyd about it and see if he has a recommendation.  Otherwise, the braking is smooth and much more powerful than I had expected.  I've heard horror stories about carbon wheels taking much longer to stop, but I didn't notice that at all.  We'll see what it is like during a wet rain ride.

This is my first set of carbon wheels, and so far I am very happy with them.  I'll be giving them a much better test tonight at the Laguna Seca Twilight Ride.  Good stuff.

Update:  I spoke with Boyd (the owner and namesake) and he suggested more toe for the rear brakes.  However, and I know this sounds strange, I am unable to toe in the brakes.  The pad holders do not have a spherical washer, and the brakes are carbon-wrapped aluminum so I can't bend the arms.  I'm now on the hunt for a pair of adjustable pad holders.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Craigslist Ad for Aaron Gwin's Trek

Most likely a joke, this Craigslist ad is pretty funny following the news of Aaron Gwin leaving Trek for Specialized.  The ad was quickly pulled, so luckily I got a screen capture.

The ad reads:

Factory Trek Session Team DH Bike - $5450 (Temecula)

Amazing DH bike! Doesn't get much better than this! All Saint factory equipped! Fox shocks! Fox 40 forks! You want race tuned! Here it is! Collectors item for sure! ! Enough said!! No BS offers...once you see it you'll understand! #1 for a reason! 760-594-4638 will trade for toy hauler,Toyota Tacoma , sand car or Bentley ;)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Vintage 1994 Sea Otter Classic Photos

A little while back, my mom found, scanned, and emailed me some photos from the 1994 Sea Otter Classic, which was just before my sixteenth birthday.  Back then it was a fairly large event, but nothing like it is today.  They also had an inline skating race, which I proudly entered.  This was way before my days of actually racing inline (indoors) while living in Sacramento.  I'm pretty easy to spot on my hot pink Specialized Allez Transition.  I miss that bike.  Few might notice that I'm using Scott Drop-Ins, and I really liked them.  The low drop was very comfortable, and with my hands down there, it made it easy to flick the downtube shifter with my thumb for a different gear.

And now for the skating photos.  I'm wearing the very stylish (think grunge era) plaid shorts and dark sweatshirt with a silver Specialized Sub Six Pro strapped to my noggin.  It was cold and wet, and the traction of the skates was horrible.  The race course did not go fully around the track, but was an up-and-back along the flatter section between turns 3 (Andretti Hairpin) and 5.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

How a Cycling Shoe is Made

This is nifty.  It makes the high price of some hand-made shoes understandable.
Vittoria shoes on "How It's Made."

New Wheels Ordered

On Friday I finally pulled the trigger on a new set of wheels for my road bike.  I know I've been whining about wanting a new bike, but nothing is exciting me right now and I really can't fault the Flyxii FR-303 frameset.  The wheels I have had my eye on for a while are the Boyd Cycling 38mm carbon clinchers.  Boyd is introducing a new wheel line soon, so the current wheels are all 20% off.  One thing I love is the option for ghosted decals.  They are scheduled to arrive on Friday, so I'll get out for a test ride on Saturday as long as it isn't raining.  I'd rather not test new equipment in the rain.  Stoked.

Boyd Cycling 38mm carbon clinchers with ghosted decals