Thursday, December 18, 2014


If you still use skewers (vs the more and more common Thru Axle) then a large portion of stiffness can be gained or lost by using the right type.

I've used several different types over the years and have even tested multiple types and brands on the exact same bike to see which are the stiffest (in feel and brake rotor rub). These are for steel rods only, no titanium skewers for me.

Least stiff- Bolt on style skewers, by far. You simply cannot tighten these enough. I got the most brake rotor rub running these by a long shot.
More stiff- External cam models that are the most common aftermarket design. I've used many brands including Salsa, SRAM, Novatec, and Mavic. They all use a nylon bushing that compresses ever so slightly and you really have to make them tight to reduce flex. Getting them undone is a serious PITA when they are that tight! Now I have not tried the Hope ones with a brass bushing instead of nylon. I assume they would work better but that is just a guess.
Most Stiff- Without even comparison, Shimano internal cam skewers are the best made. They aren't fancy and don't come in lots of anodized colors. But they are easy to clamp down tight, don't come loose, are easy to open, and have virtually no rotor rub detected from flex. In my opinion, buying fancy skewers is a complete waste of money.
I use the plain Jane black Deore models. 

Post Edit...I picked up a set of the now discontinued FSA Scatto skewers for $10 shipped. They use a nice internal cam and they look pretty sweet. Based on reviews they should be right up there with the Shimano skewers. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dutch cycling terms

My mother in law (mijn schoonmoeder) is Dutch and was born in The Netherlands. So my wife is 50% and has sever 1st cousins (once removed) and 2nd cousins that live in The Netherlands. We had the pleasure of visiting many of them in the summer of 2013. We rode bikes in several towns and really enjoyed the cycling culture there. In anticipation of visiting there again in a few years I have been learning the Dutch language, including cycling terms. Here are a few to know from this cycling mad country.
Fiets (Omafiets)
Fiets (Opafiets)

In addition if you are riding a bike, you are Fietsen and you are referred to as a Fietser. If you are all dressed up in Lycra and riding a Wielrenfiets then you are a Wielrenner. Notice the lack of mountain bike terms, we simply there aren't really any mountains in The Netherlands unless you include the Dikes and Sand Dunes. Mountain is Berg but the Dutch simply use the English term of Mountain Bike.

One thing you will notice about bikes in The Netherlands is that they are not into flashy bikes. Simple bikes, the rustier the better, were the ones seen the most. There were also a lot of electric assist bikes as for many this is their primary mode of travel.

Here are the main Dutch brands I saw there

Monday, November 24, 2014

Adding "Suspension" to my bike

OK, not really suspension but rather larger volume tires. I've got a 2.4" big volume Specialized Purgatory Control in back with a few mm's to spare on the chainstays. Up front I've installed a Vee Rubber Trax 3.0" tire. Actual width is closer to 2.8" but it is BIG! The Karate Monkey fork has plenty of clearance for this tire. Both are set up tubeless on Velocity Blunt 35 rims.

I have also replaced the SLX rear derailleur and shifter with a SRAM X7 combo. The SLX rear derailleur actually made contact with my chain on the arm extension that is part of the "shadow" design. It also made removing the rear wheel impossible without removing the chain. The X7 doesn't share this issue so I gave Shimano a valid try (and other than the issues mentioned, liked it) but I am back to SRAM.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A complete domestic bike

I decided I would put together the closest thing to a fully US made bicycle. Price is not a concern, just as close as possible. It is not completely possible but one can get very close, especially with a single speed. 
Single Speed...I'm going to keep this as local as possible
Frame...Cielo Mountain 29 Frame using US made True Temper tubing. $1695
Fork...White Brothers Loop 29 tapered steerer and 15mm axle dropouts. $713
Headset...Chris King Inset 7. Included with frame $0
Wheels...Chris King ISO Singlespeed hubset 28h w/fun bolts rear, 15mm front, Wheelsmith DB14 Spokes, Wheelsmith Alloy Nipples, Enve AM 29 28h rims. $2595
Bargain Wheels...White Industries Eno rear hub, M16 front 15mm hub, Wheelsmith DB14, Wheelsmith Alloy nipples, Velocity Blunt 28 rims, White Industries Eno Freewheel. $652

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Been a while

OK, first off I've once again neglected this blog. I was on a work trip at the beginning of May and chose to bring my bike along for rides in the evening. I am really glad I did!!! I got two evenings of riding on the famous Phil's Trails that are west of Bend. They aren't particularly scenic trails but they are well maintained and are off limits to motorized vehicles and HORSES.
Now I am out of shape and of course coming off of a double hip replacement this winter so I kept to the green and a few blue trails (that's easy and intermediate). Having not spent a lot of time riding and then coming to 4,000 feet elevation made for some winded climbs but the reward was worth every bit.
I enjoyed riding the full rigid on these mostly smooth trails. My hands did take a little beating over a few rough spots but most of the time it was fine. Day two I climbed up to the top of the actual Phil's Trail which is mostly a one way descending trail. It is flowy and fun with a few rough spots. It was quite a blast.
I got a guy riding a full suspension Giant to snap this last picture of me. He thought I was nuts riding on a full rigid. I never mentioned the ileostomy or the double hip replacement.
I can't wait to get back there for some more rides!


Monday, March 31, 2014

Lots of house renovation going on

Sorry for the lack of posts, currently in the middle of a $38k external house renovation. I've added a link or two for some of my favorite mountain and gravel grinder web pages.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

More photo's of Hector

Water bottle cages, saddle bag, and pump installed.

Front view with the light 90 gram Planet X stem

No good touring and gravel grinder bike should go without the proper tools

The drive side with a new SRAM Apex 50/34 crankset. Handlebar and saddle height is set for comfort.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Bike situation is finally getting settled

I have the Origin 8 set the way I like it with the possible exception of adding a 42t cog on the rear cassette as they become more available. Tires, wheels, headset, crankset, pedals are all set. Can't wait to take it out on the trail.

Meanwhile I have been working on a Touring and Gravel Grinder bike. The frame is a Rodriquez Adventure OX Platinum frame and an alloy Adventure Touring fork. I got it fitted with the parts I prefer and it is ready for a ride soon. This bike has a aura, a feel...a name came to me right away...Hector


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Traded a bike for bike

Last Saturday I drove up to Kelso to meet a guy from North of Seattle. We had been talking on the phone about a possible trade of bicycles. I had my much loved but not rode very much the last couple years Landshark that he was very interested in. He had a touring style Rodriguez bike that is made up in Seattle. We met up to look at each other's bikes and agreed on a strait trade. I believe each of will be happy with our "new" bikes. Of course I have to make the Rodriguez my own by switching out a few components. Not because there is anything wrong with the existing components, but just because I have certain preferences. So off go the wheels (low spoke count cross wheelset) for a nice 32 spoke wheels more suited for my style. I also like metal over carbon fiber, so seatpost and crankset have to go. No worries though, it will all be a clean build when I'm done. Pictures to follow soon.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Finally completing a wheelset

About two years ago I laced up a "backup" wheel as my first wheel build that I had done in about eight years. It all came naturally and the wheel turned out really nice. The problem was that I got the rim on clearance and didn't think to buy two. I've been looking for a matching rim for a front wheel for a good year and a half.

Last week I found a Sun EQ27 on Ebay, new for $26 shipped which is cheaper than I bought the first one on "clearance". I then picked up a Novatec D041 front hub for $25 and purchased some Sapim Race spokes and brass nipples which were the largest expense at $32 shipped. Yesterday I laced it up, got my tension nice and even and now I have my backup wheels. I got some semi-slick tires on them that I only paid $10 a piece for and I figure when the family heads to places like Sunriver I'll throw these on (I got an extra set of rotors not shown in the picture) the 29er.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Time to revive this blog

So I am looking forward to getting back on the bike after have a bilateral hip replacement in January. When I was really sick with Ulcerative Colitis the doctors gave me high doses of prednesone. While this likely saved my life at the time, it caused me to have necrosis in both my hips. This necessitated replacements so I had both of them done at the same time. They are premium titanium replacements with ceramic ball joints. If only my bikes were titanium with ceramic bearings! Anyway as I have been recovering I decided to make a wheelset change to my 1 x 10. I decided I wanted some WIDE rims to run some nice wide 29er tires on. I got a good deal on some Novatec hubs which are some of my favorite Asian made sealed cartridge bearing product. I then got a pretty good deal on a pair of Velocity Blunt 35 rims and ordered my favorite Sapim Race spokes. All in all I spent about $300 on the parts and then laced them up myself. I found the Velocity rims to build up nice, with even tension. I then threw on a set of Geax Gato TNT tires for the full tubeless effect. I read a review on Twenty-Nine Inches on these tested on a similar set of 35mm wide Salsa rims by a tester who is similar in size to me. He recommends running them low, around 18 psi so that is what I am going to do.

On another note, my alter ego now has a name...Nails. There are two reasons for this name. First and foremost is that despite everything I have gone through I am still ticking, still riding, still working. There are very few who would argue that I am anything short of "Tough as Nails". On a lighter note, sometimes you're the hammer and sometimes you're the nail...I've been the nail a lot the last three years!