My Rides

Monday, July 18, 2011

S.U.B. (Sport Utility Bike) - Build, Part 4 (Fin!)

While some things are never "finished" (modifications/adaptations) the bike is "complete."

I left off last time pondering the chain-line, and a bigger rear tire.  I got the narrower spindle bottom-bracket (Nashbar, another $28), and a 700c x 47mm (1.85") Continental Comfort Contact rear tire (Amazon $32).  Both are worth the trouble.  The chain-line looks better, and the ride is softer - even with the tire at/near it's max of 58 PSI.  I would prefer the tire had the reflective band on the sidewall (like the picture at Amazon).
Continental Comfort Contact Urban Bicycle Tire (26x1.5)
I've had some time using the shifters now - after some time (200 miles) you get used to the "throw" for a single clean shift, and reaching over to feather the front derailleur after a few shifts to the rear.  For a little while I was thinking "maybe I ought to just get some grip shifts" (in my opinion the next best fitting of the utility bike style, with easy shifting), but that thought passed.  I did have to file one of the bosses on the bike frame - the front shifter wouldn't develop sufficient friction resist the derailleur's spring tension.  The shifter itself is very simple - a fastener compresses a couple of washers to develop friction to "hold" a shift.  The fastener was "bottoming" on the boss before the washers were compressed sufficiently.  With a few minutes of careful filing, all worked well.

After a few rides, I added laces to the Brooks saddle, as I did on my other one.  

I definitely like this.  I can tilt the nose down a little, and the saddle seems to "break in" more locally to my sit bones, and ends up very comfortable after a few hundred miles.  I'm riding 6-7 days a week now, and 2-3 of those are done without bike shorts (not bare-bottomed, just in regular shorts).  I can't say I notice much difference (those without shorts are short, easy rides).  So, again, no regrets on the Brooks saddles.

I've got the handlebars wrapped in Planet Bike "earth" colored foam bar-tape (Amazon $14).  They're developing an appropriate "dirty" look after a short while.
I also found room for an awesome bell.  It's a Crane Suzu "Lever Strike Bell."  It's unbelievably loud (in spite of my acoustics degree) bell that just rings forever (I usually have to tap the perimeter to mute it after a few seconds).  Already the brass is getting tarnished with drips of sweat, and grubby finger-prints - PERFECT!

Although I haven't commuted yet, I've got a beautiful rack on the back.  It's a Wald chrome steel rack (Amazon $17).  
A couple of silver Avenir water bottle cages (Amazon $6 each) give me some water carrying capacity.
I really wanted one of those Brooks D-shaped tool bags, but couldn't bring myself to spend $100, yet (perfect Christmas wish list item - hint, hint).  Instead I moved my Timbuk2 seat bag over from my mountain bike.  The large is big enough for 1 spare tube, 2 tier levers, an allen wrench set, car key, and phone (phone is a tight fit, but it fits).  
Brooks Saddles D-Shaped Tool Bag (Black)Timbuk2 Bicycle Seat Pack,Dk Green/Lime-Aide Swirl,M
I've put about 300 miles on the bike - about 250 training / 50 utility (I prefer it for training on paved roads, and it's fine for utility duty / utility speed on grass, single-track, and gravel with those big tires).  I really love the vertical / forward position of the bull-horn bars - I can ride all day in that position.  The foam tape and Big Apple tire soak up vibrations pretty good, and it takes a lot of moisture / sweat to make me think about gloves.  There are times I consider a 2nd layer of foam on the grips - we'll see as training rides approach 3-4 hours in preparation for my race in August.  

I can't say I'm anxious to change the brake lever - what's there works fine (I would also need to change the caliper to one compatible with shorter throw road levers). 

That big disc stops the bike and / or bike with trailer just fine.  I just have to watch braking while dismounting on gravel or dirt (i.e. encounter a log on a trail, with kids in buggy).  That causes slippage...
I still want to build a "dedicated" rear wheel, using a silver rim, with 36 spokes, and no disc rotor (that's the "road wheel" for my mountain bike).  But, again, the bike is "complete", but likely never "finished."