Monday, July 18, 2016

A Canadian Bike Commute: Courtesy Gone Wild!!!

I'm not gonna write much for this, since the video does it all. You will notice in watching it that I am much like a small child who repeats something they find funny way too many times. But this is my blog, so tough! I tell that one way too often too! Hah!

Yer Pal,

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The One True Bike - Part 5 - Finished!

You know how I was documenting the building of my latest bike in awful mind-numbing detail? Screw that, the bike is done! I mean, who wants to waste their time reading that shit let alone writing it? Even unrepentant cycle freaks really just want to see the bike and the selected gear. So here we go!

As I've written previously, this bike is an attempt to put all the features I've loved on other bikes into my perfect 2 wheeled machine, the One True Bike.

Now that it is finished, I can honestly say I wouldn't change a thing on this bike. I love it. Period. It rides beautifully, in just the way I had hoped. Wait; I would (will) add a Brooks saddle, probably a Cambium. And a front rack. I'm out of cash for now.

I loved the solid feel and big tires of my heavy Cube city bike. This bike weighs in at 13.6 kg (30 lbs) including accessories, where the Cube was 16 kg. This bike feels super solid although its frame and some other bits are lighter, largely thanks to wide, 40-spoke Sun Rhyno Lites with 38c Schwalbe Marathon Plus (puncture resistant) tires. I got the wheels from a place called VeloMine in the US. Good prices on what appear to be pretty good wheels. In my case they had no-name alloy hubs with cartridge bearings. I know many bike freaks out there swear by cup n' cone hubs for serviceability reasons, but I'm not good to my bikes like that and I prefer cartridge bearings. Anyway, these wheels should be great for handling my considerable weight plus the loads I plan to carry for camping and stuff.

My gearing choices were informed by how much I like simplicity and how much I dislike grip shifters. The 8 speed Nexus on my Cube was OK, but I didn't like the mystery of it all... I'm not mechanically inclined enough to delve into the guts of an IGH. My fixed gear was wonderfully simple of course, but gears are sometimes nice, particularly when carrying loads. I ended up going for a simple and solid 1X10 setup using Shimano Zee MTB/DH components. My highest gear is 36X11, which with my wheels and cranks gives me 89.4 gear inches. I won't achieve high speeds on this bike, but that was never the point. My low end is 36X36, 27.3 gear inches, which should get me over most hills, even loaded, in my non-mountainous part of the country. The Zee crankset uses the Shimano Hollowtech II system, which I like better than anything else I've ever tried.

I like racks and fenders. I will probably add a front rack soon. For now though, the Axiom Journey rear rack and SKS Chromoplastics are both items I've been really pleased with in the past.

Last, I have become tired of trying to stand my bike up, particularly with a loaded pannier or panniers, so I got a two-legged kickstand and I really like it. It is rather heavy, but weight was not a big consideration with this bike. Both legs tuck up under the left chainstay, which I thought pretty cool.

The rest of the bits and pieces were chosen based on price, aesthetics and availability, or previous experience (like the best mirror I have found). Now, to pics and specs and costs! Oh Boy!

Now, to the money spent. I've included all the boring bits like cable hangers and such because when you are a guy like me building up from bare frame at home rather than in a shop, they really add up and must be considered as part of total costs. Speaking of total costs, here they are, taxes and shipping included. Prices are in CAD. Most components came from UK online retailers, some came from and the wheels from VeloMine in the USA:

Basic Elements:

Trek 20" FX Alpha Black Aluminum frame (used)         50
Deda Carbon Cross Fork                                           171
Hope Pick N'  Mix headset + star nut and cap             102
Deda Elementi Zero1 Road Stem                                32
Bontrager Big Earl Handlebar (used spare)                    0
Ritchey Logic 2 Bolt Seatpost                                      25
MEC Classic Saddle                                                    22
Shimano M530 SPD Trail Clipless MTB Pedals               38
Ergon GP1 Grips Black, Large, Standard                      38


Sun Rhyno Lite 40 spoke 29er wheelset rim brake       280
Schwalbe Marathon Plus Black, 700c, 38c X2               76
Vee Rubber Road Tube 700c, 38c, Presta X2                7
Velox Rim Tape Cloth White, 19mm X2                        7


SRAM PC1031 10 Speed Chain Silver                          28
Shimano Deore HG50 10 Spd MTB Cassette 11-36t      38
Shimano Zee M640 10 Speed Crankset,36t, 170mm    135
Shimano Zee M640 Shadow+ 10 Speed Derailleur       50
Shimano Zee M640 1x10sp Trigger Shifter                  32
Shimano Road Gear PTFE Cableset High Tech Grey      28


Shimano MTB Brake PTFE Cableset High Tech Grey      28
Tektro CR720 Cyclo Cross Cantis (Front and Rear)       48
Shimano Ultegra R780 Flat Bar Brake Levers               41
Tektro Seat Clamp Cable Hanger                                14
Tektro Cable Hanger - Fork Mount                              12


RockBros Classical Stainless Bell (Black)                     24
SKS 50mm 700c Chromoplastic Fenders                     42
Foldable Double Leg Kickstand                                   27
Axiom Journey Rear Rack                                          56
Mirrycle Mountain Mirror Handlebar Mount                  19


Taxes and Duties charged separately                       150

                                           all-in GRAND TOTAL    1620 CAD
                                                                            1242 USD  

It pains me a little to actually account for every little thing and see how it all adds up. Honesty with oneself is important, though, I think. In addition, I've now got a what I consider a truly kickass bike that suits me in every damn way I can think of. What's that worth?                                               

I know I have mentioned many brand names and retailers in this post. Please know I have received nothing from anyone for writing any of this.

Last but not least, some vanity shots:

Good grief am I loving this thing. I'm so lucky!
Yer Pal,

PS - I started this post saying nobody needs all that tedious detail, and then proceeded to provide tons of it. Hmph. Hopefully you just skipped to the pitchers.