The Bad Made Worse Turns Good

Today I went to the LBS and it was a great experience. Unlike times before when it was to say the least CONDESENDING.  The lady that helped me out was knowlegeable and more than willing to  suggest some help for my flat tire predicament.

Back on the Road Again– Willy Nelson

So I now have 2 rolling  tires w/ tire liners and 3 spare tubes , plus 2 valve extenders for my new wheelset. Which I tensioned and trued today

 

 

 

Here are the new wheels.

The Good, The Bad, and the Bad Made Worse

The weather was partly cloudy,and in the high 60’s yesterday morning. Perfect riding weather. Took my usual morning route and had a really enjoyable spin on the Talon. The one thing that really made an impression was how freindly everyone that I passed or met was. Maybe it was the lower temperatures but I had smiles and hellos from almost all I saw. Later around 4:00 PM I took a ride over to my sisters house. This is the bad part. On the way home I ran over a little clump of dead weeds growing from a crack in the street. Two blocks later I felt a wierd vibration, I had a low tire. Another block and steering got wobbly, now I had two flat tires and a little over a mile left to go. I limped home and made it without popping a bead off my rim. Once home I removed the tubes and luckily only had 3 small punctures. I patched them up and all was good. Or so I thought ! Putting the tubes and tires back on was a pain. Those Vittorrio tires fit very tight, and I inadvertantly poked 2 new holes in the tube with my tire spoons. Took the tube back off and saw it said “super light tube” stamped on it, oops I guess I was a little too rough for the thin rubber of the tube. So I had made the repair into a mess and will have to go out today and pick up a couple of new tubes. Dang, I hope my bike shop has the right size tubes in stock.

Now I also have a little rant.Why is it bike manufacturers chop the steer tube off so low? Not only BBB’s but the high end manufactures too. Is it really too much trouble to include $ 3-4 worth of spacers so we can adjust our bikes geometry for ourselves? The only bike I have not had to add an ajustable stem to is my Schwinn Solitaire and thats because it actually came with one. If you buy a new fork it invariably comes with a long steer tube to cut to length. I admit I am now 58 yrs old, and not as spry as I once was, but geesh! Get real! I am not a TT sprinter nor an all out mtb competitor, I like being comfortable on a bike and not having to practically lie down to ride. On the Kestrel Talon, I added an Origin8 stem riser. Went on a 20 mile ride and I feel great. My best guess is I have long legs in proportion to my torso and arms because I dont fit any contemporary fitting specs out there.

WOAHHH Nellie, New Bike “2011 Kestrel Talon”

So I saved my $ for a few weeks, didn’t drive much, ate at home, carried my lunch to work, did not splurge. I now have a full carbon, shimano 105 groupo, oval concepts Kestrel Talon 2011 road bike!!!!! This thing is the bee’s knees. I purchased it new online from www.bikesdirect.com. This bike is a hoot. I set up the geometry for a comfortable road bike for mysel, however it has the capability and aero dynamics to be a full on race or tri bike if so desired. I personally enjoy it because of the light weight (<20 lbs fully loaded), it has phenominal acceleration and quick (if not bordering on too quick) response.The bike is a monocoque (Monocoque is a construction technique that supports structural load by using an object’s external skin, as opposed to using an internal frame or truss)  triangle with fused carbon wheel and chain stays. The dropouts are alloy as is the replaceable rear derailler hanger. It even shipped with an extra hanger. The forks are carbon and it sports a tapered 1 1/8″ headset  to a 1 1/4″ fork junction. The only thing I replaced is the stem , because in my opinion, not 1 bike I have seen comes with a long enough steer tube. Speaking of which, the steer tube is alloy so that made it easy for me to add a “Uno” 110mm adjustable stem. So far that is my only modififation. I might switch the seat, sometimes I like it, sometimes I dont. I rode almost 8 miles today and it was comfy. Here are a bunch of pix .

Talon 1

Now I have to ride more to justify this bike. I think I will go out and ride it now, the temperatures are only in the low 100’s in the afternoon so its not too bad.

 

Stem

 

 

 

 

 

Seat

 

 

 

 

 

Oval Concepts color coordinated brakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Rides

Some nice bikerides so far this weekend. Saturday morning 5:30 AM jaunt around neighborhoods and parks on the road bike, the Schwinn Empire XL. I’m no expert bicyclist but that thing goes FAST! Rolling down a 1/2 mile stretch and getting a cadence going is a rush at 20+mph and not even on the big chainring. If it wasn’t for intersections and autos it could be even faster. Only problem now is the weather is nicer and Breawood Park is busy even at quarter to 6 in the morning, so it is harder to get my laps in.

Empire XL

Later that morning, around 9 AM, I took the Mongoose out to tool around the new Scotland Yard Park . It opened last weekend and is just around the corner from my house. It is a very nice new park. On the way out I noticed the service gate open to the CAP canal, soooo I rode in and followed the canal  down to Peoria Ave. Some nice little granite hills and sandy areas for the MTB.

CAP Canal

Sunday morning I slept in and got out on the bike around 8:30 AM. I was going to hit the hills and sand in the canal again but the gates were closed. I rode the neighborhoods again, and the parks, but used the Mongoose this time. That thing is twice the workout as the roadbike but still put in a good 45 minute nonstop ride.

Mongoose Hatchet

Bike Theft in Peoria AZ

Last night someone(s) drove through our neighborhood and stole a bike locked up on my front porch. They also stole my neighbors bike off his front porch, I am not sure if it was locked or not. Whoever did this are total chickenshit punks. The bike was not mine but a buddy’s bike I had tuned it up and adjusted it. It was an IronHorse Sinister 6.2  29″ MTB, it is blue and white in color.. So unless my insurance pays I will have to get him a new bike.So keep your eyes open and scour craigs list for anyone selling a bike like this in or around Phoenix AZ

95% Complete Mongoose Hatchet

So the Hatchet, my mountain bike, is almost the way I want it now. I installed new brake levers, front disc brake and rotor, rear linear pull v brake, Kool Stop rear bake pads, rear oil damped shock, front and rear derailliers, white shift cable housing, and orange brake cable housing with teflon cables. I have teflon shift cables on order and will slap them on soon. I also updated the paint job and added pinstripe and a couple of “Mongoose” stickers. This is a big bike once you are on it,

Mongoose Hatchet

mostly due to the 29″ tires and high ground clearance. Actually the only original parts left on it are the frame and wheelset. I really enjoy this bike, its comfortable and very torquey. It is capable of far more than I will ever put it through , but its nice to know it has what it takes if i need it. I took it for a 3 mile ride today and it handled perfectly.

Brake and cables 

 

 

 

 

 

Shifters

 

 

 

 

 

Empire Upgrades flowing Rivers and,,,Dogs

I put new in-line or cross brake levers on the Empire and new cables and housings. Tecton Levers and Jagwire cables. Wow, what a difference. The levers make it so much more safe and comfortable to ride the drop handlebars, knowing the brakes are accessible at all hand positions. Liking the Jagwire too, coated with a  black slick stuff, (Teflon?).

Levers and cables.

The commute thursday was scrubbed due to the fact that the trail was closed for flooding. The runoff from a cave creek storm had made its way down to my part of the trail. It will be interesting to see if its ridable next week.Took a nice 5 mile ride this morning, all went well untill about 3 blocks from home. A big female 40 lb dog was loose and she came barking and running toward me from across a parking lot. I got my foot out of the left clip and booted her in the jaw but it was sort of a defence move, if I hadn’t slowed down I would have hit her at about 13 mph. That would of caused  quite a tumble. I think I will pick up some pepper spray and a small airhorn !

New Bike and New Mods

AHA  !! Just back a while ago from the shakedown voyage of a new Schwinn “Empire XL”. Dang that thing is fast. Nice bike for the $ too. I measured the frame  at 23″. 700 x 25 tires at 85 psi, ( rated for 100 psi but I like to let the tubes get used to air first time out). 26 lbs (by my bathroom scale), aluminum frame, unicrown road fork, alloy double wall wheels w/black spokes, dual pivot canti brakes, 52/42t alloy chainring, Shimmy TZ-40 rear, nondescript front derailiers, drop bars, Schwinn seat. The seat is actually very nice, I will most likely keep it. It is quite firm, narrow and has the requisite anatomic cutout in the foam under the synthetic leather cover. On the Schwinn Solitaire I tried 3 different other seats and kept returning to the stock seat, sooo, Kudos to Schwinn for making quality saddles.The Empire rolls forever , the wheels were almost too perfectly trued with good spoke tension. The only drawback for me is the the muscles that run up the back of my arms are not used to that riding position with drop bars, but with time I am sure they will strengthen up. Also the bike is equipped with sealed bearings in the Bottom Bracket, yeah.

Empire XL

I really like the included toe clips, had not used them for years but I’m a believer again. All in all the bike is a nice addition to have for pure fast street riding.Another thing I did yesterday was put a Shimmy “MegaRange” freewheel on the Hatchet.

Mongoose with MegaRange

OhMyLanta !! What a gear ratio.you could pedal up Mt. Everest with that.

 

Every time that wheel turns round,

Your bound to cover just a little more ground.   -Jerry Garcia

Bikes Are Cool Machines

It is deceptive how simple  modern bicycles are. Piece by piece the average Joe’s bike (especially mine) is just metal ,bearings, and pulleis and cables. But if 1 or 2 thing are not working in harmony the results can be very discouraging. So I have given my bikes a once over today and made an improvement to the MTB. The Hatchet got a new freewheel, a Shimano ” MegaRange” Yahoo!. I also added a road / racer bike to round out the stable. A Schwinn “Empire XL”. This bike is a great bang for the buck! I bought it off the rack @ Walmart, it was the last one in stock. The bar tape was ripped (just a small nick) that I might have done driving it home in my trunk. Other than that it just needed some adjustments and I put a higher rising adjustable stem on it that I had from the Mongoose.If it wasn’t 112º F outside I’d be out riding the Mongoose right now, gotta find a steep hill to try out that 34 tooth cog on the new freewheel. But I will be on the trail with it tomorrow morning. So I have finally gotten all the bikes I want right now. I have a couple of parts on order for the Empire, I am gonna throw some “Cross Brake ” levers on the top rail of the drop bars, which means new cable housing and ferrules and bar tape. Then I believe I will just ride those bikes till the cows come home. The Solitaire continues to be a commuter workhorse and a pleasure to ride as well. I may post some more pics later and critique the Empire once I have ridden it more.