Monday, June 30, 2014

Video: Le Tour De France Explained in Animation

This is an incredibly well done animated video explaining Le Tour.  I especially enjoyed the history in the beginning of the video.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Bar Fly Shim for 26.0 Handlebar

A while back I bought a white Tate Labs Bar Fly for my Fuji Connoisseur retro-ish road bike.  The Bar Fly isn't available for a 26.0 bar, which is what I have mated to the Nitto Dynamic quill stem.  I was using a shim made from a Bud Light can held on with electrical tape.  It worked ok, but slid when it got warm and recently just gave up on life.  Luckily for me, I have a friend in the machine shop at work who is also a cyclist.  Armed with a CAD drawing, I headed downstairs to beg for a shim.  A day later I had this in my hands:

Bar Fly shim

Below is the shim installed on a set of first generation of Easton EC90 bars.  It looks great next to the Nitto stem and reliably holds the Bar Fly in place.

Bar Fly shim installed on EC90 bars next to a Nitto Dynamic stem

More photos of the Connoisseur are on Flickr.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Race Face Narrow Wide Chainring Install - Bolt Decisions

After numerous rides on my Santa Cruz Highball using only the 32 middle ring, I decided to ditch the front derailleur, shifter, and extra chainrings.  After looking at the options I decided on the Race Face Narrow Wide single ring, mainly because I could get it in orange, and bumped up to a 34.  If it proves to be too much, I can always do a cassette conversion to gain a 40 on the rear.  My current XT cassette is 11-36, and I rarely use the 36 out in Fort Ord.  One of my big concerns with going to one ring was losing top end speed which is why I opted for the 34 tooth ring.

Install was straightforward.  Mostly.  I pulled the cranks to get the rings off and do some general cleaning and went to slap on the new ring.  There is a choice of graphics on this ring.  One side is mellow with some laser etching in the grooves, but the other side has Race Face laser etched all over it.  I wanted the beautiful orange color to show, so I opted for the mellow side out.  I had ordered a set of Wolf Tooth Components single chainring bolts in blue to nicely offset on the orange and tie in the blue bits of the Fox fork.  This is where I ran into trouble.  You see, the Race Face ring is flippable, but different.  On the mellow side, the bolt holes have a recess for a bolt head to sit in.  The flashy side is flush.  If you want the mellow side out, you need double chainring bolts.  If you want the flashy logo side out, then you need single chainring bolts.  Bummer.  I dropped $36 ($28+tax+shipping) on the WTC bolts which are now useless to me.  Luckily I had a set of double bolts sitting around that I slapped on.

Race Face Narrow Wide Chainring - 34 Tooth
Race Face Narrow Wide Chainring - 34 Tooth

I wrapped the chain around the chainring and largest cog in back, without running it through the derailleur to determine the new chain length.  With three links overlapped, I shortened the chain by one link and added a master link.  I was a bit surprised that the XT chain didn't have a master link installed.  On the stand, shifting didn't seem to be any different, and thinking about it, I didn't take note of extra noise from the chainring.

As for weight savings, I dropped about 380 grams (0.84 pounds) by removing the rings, cable, shifter and derailleur.  It's a decent chunk of weight dropped for parts I rarely used.  I will give it a proper flogging this weekend to see how well everything works and will do my best to try and drop the chain.

Race Face Narrow Wide Chainring
Hard to see, but the flashy side holes are flush and the mellow side holes are recessed.