Sunday, January 31, 2010

Two muddy rides, one clean chain

I got the nice privilege to ride twice this weekend. On Saturday I rode with the Growler's Gulch Girls on a nice ride. The trails were in good shape with only a few muddy spots. Today I rode Stella and found it to be much muddier. The trails were quite muddy in some spots and it was quite wet. Great test for the new chain lube, and the end result...clean chain and no shifting issues all weekend. Looks like my lube is going to be tested at a upcoming 24 hour race in New Mexico, I anxious to get rider feedback on it.

On another note, I am once again having a sticking piston problem with my Avid Juicy 5 brakes. After using Hayes for 5 years, I switched to using Avid. The braking power and modulation is nice, but these brakes have been a bit troublesome. Also, the clearance between the rotors and pads is very small so if your rotor is even a slight amount out of true there is some rub. Nothing major but annoying none the less.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My "Green" Collection of Lubricants and Cleaners

CHAIN LUBE-Renewable Lubricants Bio-Pro 15W-50 Bar & Chain Oil diluted 50/50 with canola oil. Meets ASTM's "Ultimate Biodegradable" rating, made with a canola base oil. This replaces standard wet style chain lube (I don't find dry wax based lubes to be effective). Can be used full strength for really nasty conditions.
DEGREASER-Purple Power which is certified biodegradable by SCS. Works very well diluted as a cleaner and degreaser, especially degreasing bio lubes that clean easier.
GREASE-Lubrimatic Green Soy Based Lithium Grease is readily biodegradable by OECD 301C (BOD/ThOD) Test Method. Offers 4x the bearing wear protection as mineral oil based lubricants.
LIGHT OIL-Tom's Secret Formula B-404 All Purpose Lubricant is biodegradable and is used for lubricating derailleur pivots, cables, and shifters.

I will be testing these products and giving long term reports. Initial impressions have me very optimistic about their performance.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Riding with the Growler's Gulch Girls

Short post here, had a nice casual ride with the GGG's today. Good to see a couple new gals out on the trail learning how to ride. I've spent 18 years participating in this sport and most of it has been riding with Guys 99% of the time. It's nice to see the Gals only enhances the scenery ;)

Here is some video footage from the ride as well

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Working on Going Green

So I have been working on changing my chain lube from a mineral oil or synthetic oil to a natural biodegradable oil. I am currently using a animal fat based chain lube that I have found is working every bit as good as any wet lube I have used previously. However, using a animal based product does have some environmental issues of its own...not to mention some ethical issues for some people. So in the mean time, I have been researching plant oils to determine which ones will be the best for chain lubrication. I am close to testing some out soon. In am also looking into using more earth friendly greases and cleaners, with my goal of using all plant based products on my bikes and the bikes that I service. My requirements are these:

-the product must perform to the same level as its mineral or synthetic oil equivalent
-the product must be produced in an environmentally friendly way (ie no deforestation of the rain forest, no heavy pesticides, no large feed lots)
-the product must not be derived from food sources
-the product must be economical

I currently use a Citrus based degreaser that is not totally chemical free. I don't like Simple Green as it doesn't work near as well, but I will be on the lookout for a better citrus product. My grease is mostly petroleum based and I will need to find an acceptable substitute. The soy based greases show promise, but many are lithium based which does not work as well as the waterproof grease I use now IME.

In the meantime, here is a Wiki to some more information

Update...I have ordered and will be trying the Lubrimatic Green Biobased LMX "Red" meets the all the criteria on paper, I will see if it meets the criteria in actual use.

Update 1/24/2010...I was formulating a plant oil lubricant based on Canola and Jojoba Oil, however Jojoba Oil solidifies at ~40 degrees F so not a good choice. I have ordered a quart of plant based bar and chain oil which I'm thinking will match or exceed the performance of the G-Oil.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mountain Bike Trends that I think are stupid


I purchased my first mountain bike in 1992 and worked in varies levels in the biking industry from 1995-2004. Here are some trends, changes, and parts that I simply do not care for (either as a rider, mechanic, or enthusiast).
-Alloy Freehub 80 grams but you have to run expensive cassettes (a high wear item) on them. For some reason if you buy nice hubs, you get stuck with these (Chris King actually offers a Stainless Steel FH Body). They're just a bad idea unless your a uber weight weenie. It'd be nice if more high end hubs came with a Steel or Ti option.
-9 speed...yes, like most I use it. And it has gotten pretty reliable was a solution for a problem that never existed. We should have stayed at 8 speeds, at least my chains would last longer! EDIT: 2011 will bring 10 speed drivetrains to the masses from both Shimano and SRAM...when will the insanity end!!!!
->$600 suspension forks...really, have they improved our riding experience that much? I still have as much fun on my $300 fork as I had on a $600 fork I owned in the past (and work on it less). Some things just don't need to get this complex
-Downfall of affordable Steel...OK, its making a bit of a comeback in the 29er and SS market. But it never should have gone away. Simply put, steel is durable, comfortable, and affordable. It also isn't that heavy, lets face it...most of us should be more concerned about how much WE weigh than our bikes. I'm hoping to be back on steel for my 29er soon and I refuse to ride anything else on the road.
-Prefabricated Wheels...Most use proprietary parts that are difficult to find and very expensive. You can get a hand built wheelset using better hubs, standard spokes, and standard rims for the same price that will be just as durable, just as light, and way easier to service.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Crustius Maximus

My MTB name, post yours in the comments

Monday, January 11, 2010

Riding with the GGG

Short post as it was a short ride (for me at least). Rode with the Growlers Gulch Girls on Saturday and had a good time. I'd been feeling fatigued last week and then my Saturn broke down Friday night so I had to get picked up for the ride. When April and Jeanette had to leave early, I went with them as it was my ride back. It was OK as I was not feeling very hot, but I wished I could have rode longer. Growlers is a little muddier than Stella so I got to really see how the Michelin AT's worked, I'm happy to report that they are a worthy mud tire. I'm also happy to report that my new lube continues to work fantastically.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fall like conditions ride

It felt almost balmy today at 43 degrees after several sub freezing rides. I was even in shorts and knee warmers! The trails were mucking in places, the roots were snot slippery, and the mud was sticky. Sounds like a great all ride, except it's January. The Michelin tires handled like previous versions I've owned. Great in mud but slick on roots, so it makes things fun.

On another note I have been "testing" a new chain lube that I had mentioned on a previous post. Well, after a half dozen rides the verdict is getting clearer. I have found this lube to be a very good wet lube. It soaks into the chain rollers well, stays put, resists wash off, and does not attract much dirt. I simply wipe my chain down after a ride and I'm good to go. It is G-Oil Bar and Chain Oil that is readily available at Home Depot. The product meets the ASTM Ultimate Biodegradable rating. It probably won't make PETA happy because it's made from animal fat. I like it but might look for a plant based alternative.