Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bikepacking build: Trek 800 Sport

Decided to build up a bikepacking rig to do some overnighters with.

Went down to my local bike co-op and picked up this old Trek 800 Sport for $5. They had a lot of old frames to choose from, but I wanted it to A) be my size B) made out of steel C) use a 1 1/8" steering tube.

Regarding C above: it's nearly impossible to find an aftermarket 26" fork with 1" steerer tube. So finding one that used the 1 1/8" would give me more fork options.

Frame was in pretty decent shape, not much rust, but decided to paint it anyway. Used an electric hand sander to take off the decals. Burned off some of the thicker decals and the chain stay protector.

Then used the Krud Kutter to take off the grease and dust.

Some light gray primer, then sprayed with metallic gray paint:

Then began looking for a proper fork to use. This Surly Troll fork comes in non-suspension adjusted, 26" and is built for bike packing with a shit ton of braze ons. Personally, I think its the ugliest thing I've ever seen. The braze ons remind me of open sores on a lepper, but I suppose they will come in handy.

I'm going to run a disc front brake and V rear. Purchased the Avid BB7 brake caliper

Trek downtube decals were ordered off eBay, having a couple custom decals made as well. And ordered an 80s gold Trek headbadge decal.

More to come...

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Left to Survive

Within the past week, I've launched a new website called Left to Survive which could best be summarized as a "left leaning" survival blog.


Have you spent any time reading prepper blogs and forums? I have. Every other paragraph makes reference to Der Fuhrer Obama coming for your guns and the need to stand your ground. Paranoia is rampant. Taking their advice on disaster preparedness or anything else for that matter is really difficult.

This was a major reason for creating Left To Survive. If the Zombie Apocalypse does come, the only people who will survive are the crazy, paranoid, racist, bigoted freaks because they were only ones crazy enough to be prepared.

So we need you, educated, literate, rational thinking person reading this, to prepare your home and your family for the possible future when an emergency does strike. We gotta out-prep the preppers, if not for your sake, for the sake of the future educated, literate, rationally thinking persons. LEFT TO SURVIVE is designed to help you prepare for the impending doom and all that it entails without the paranoid ultra conservative Tea Party political viewpoints espoused by most prepper sites. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Adventure Racing bike: nearly rideable

So the vintage Novara adventure racing bike is nearly done. I'm waiting to put the chain on when I get my new cranks. 

I did find an aluminum threadless fork with 1" steering tube (which isn't easy. This was a Kinesis off of eBay). 

Also, I have a set of used FSA Carbon Pro Compact cranks on their way to me. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

AR bike: shifting

I said I wanted to modernize this bike. Trouble is, I hate modern shifting. Well, I hate the price of modern shifting and I hate when it's not tuned just so and you're chain is clickity clacking for miles. Yes, I prefer friction shifting. My last triathlon bike had friction shifting for 2 x 10 speed. No problems. Don't believe the index hype, it's just a fad.

So what are my retro options for a flat bar bike (remember the bike has to be a "mountain bike" no crazy cyclocross bikes allowed)?

The obvious first choice was thumb shifters ---- but I kind of don't like those either, it seems convenient to have that shifter right there and it's easy to push it away from you with your thumb. But I'm not very good at getting it back.

I really like the Suntour micro-ratchet Power shifters bar cons and have used them a lot. But that won't work on a flat bar bike. Except, Suntour made a stem mount Power Ratchet as well. Totally friction and buttery.

I picked up a set on eBay for $19 shipped. Suck it index.

Oh yeah, did I mention this bike has a threaded fork/stem? So mounting the stem shifter is easily done. I just got her hooked up and blammo, I'm in love.

Not all stem shifters are pieces of shit ----- don't believe the hype.

Friday, July 12, 2013

the "perfect" adventure racing bike

So I decided I needed an epic challenge. I used to do triathlons but could never get past the hatred I feel towards swimming. Not surprisingly, I also suck at it. My first sport was kayak racing. I wanted an event more about finishing than racing but was still a race. Something unique, new.

I settled on the Dawn to Dusk adventure race in San Luis Obispo for 2014. Its 12 hours of kayaking, running, biking, orienteering, zip lining, etc. The winning time was 10 hours and those guys are probably elite. Is this an excuse to build up the "perfect" adventure racing bike? Perhaps.

Some of the course is paved and dirt fire roads and some of it is single track. Sounds like a job for a cyclocross bike. Except the race rules specifically state, "no cyclocross bikes."

This kind of made me mad. What about a CX bike were they banning, the drop bars? 700c? 32mm tires? I didn't ask them, but figured it was probably the drop bars that freak them out.

As a result I decided to build up a quick cyclocrossy mountain bike. Only catch is my slim budget. I found a Nishiki 1990s frameset plus parts on Craigslist for $20 but after getting it decided it was too small. Then I found a Novara Aspen 1990s mountain bike at the local thrift store for $42.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to turn this thing into the "perfect" adventure racing bike.

One of my main objectives was to modernize this thing, the other was to lighten it. Going all weight weenie on a bike is a very slippery slope. I first said, who cares how heavy it is. Weight doesnt actually really matter, not really, right? Then I weighed the tires on the bike (nearly 2 lbs each). Next thing I know I just ordered titanium quick release skewers that weigh 48 grams (compared to the stock ones of 191). That's a 1/3 of a pound on just the skewers alone! 19 cents a gram! And so it goes...

Stay tuned

The Algea Velo

I got an email from the creator of the a new "(non)team" founder Brian Bressler who created The Algea Velo .

Looks like a cool concept, open to anyone, but don't worry even though they're a (non)team, they have cyclocross skinsuits.

Check it out

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Celebrate bike month @ the Crocker!

Just read about this, sounds like a good time for all of you in the Sacramento/Davis area:

Celebrate Bike Month at the Crocker Art Museum!  Check out Art Mix/Chain Reaction on May 9thfrom 5-9 PM.  There will be a bar, custom bike show, live performances, free bike valet and more. 

More details here: http://www.facebook.com/events/444839362266176/

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sekai 26er is done

Got the Sekai Bigfoot touring bike completed this weekend!

In the end, I added new wheels, VeloOrange leather saddle, Suntour barcons, Soma 3 speed bar (25.4), Crank Brothers Eggbeater pedals, Suntour VX-S rear derailleur, rear rack, all new cables and housing, Nitto Dynamic stem (25.4), Kenda Kross tires, tubes.  I also repacked the BB and the headset and JP Weigle'd the insides of the frame.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Sekai Bigfoot is nearly done

Got some of the remaining parts I needed over the last few days and spent last night putting the thing together. Only thing left is to add the chain.

I'll try and take some pics this weekend with a better (less busy) background.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Ritchey Swiss Cross

Other than orange paint or maybe raw titanium, the red with white panels is a pretty damn awesome way to decorate a cyclocross bike:

link: ebay
link: ebay

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sekai progress

No progress on the Sekai, due to slow shippers! Ordered a new set of mustache handlebars over a week ago and am still waiting. Boo. Though UPS is saying tomorrow.

Polished up a Suntour VX-S touring derailleur and bought new jockey wheels for it from Velo Orange. Those got here quickly, but they are too big, and thus useless. Boo.

I did purchase a wheelset off of eBay --- an older pair with Deore hubs and Ritchey Vantage rims. The original wheels had bolt on (no skewers) hubs. And the spokes were a bit rusty. They would have worked, sure. But the new wheelset is 1.5 pounds lighter.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bridgestone X0-1

Worthy of all the lust you can throw at her

Source: http://www.cyclofiend.com/cc/2008/cc596-williamhsu1208.html

Mustache Bar Shootout Extravaganza


In building up my ATB touring bike, I knew I wanted to try mustache bars. A lot of people love them and praise the fact that you can get multiple hand positions which is ideal for long rides.

Here, I thought I'd try to help you de-mystify some of the quirks about picking the best mustache bar not only for cyclocross riding but for any kind of bike.

These are the mustache bars I have found that are currently available (ranked by price low to high):

Nashbar Mustache bar

Price: $13
Colors: Chrome
Stem Clamp: 25.4
Brake lever clamp size: 24.0
Weight: 666 grams
Material: Steel
Bar end shift compatible? Yes
Note: Some reviews mention that they rusted easily
Link: Nashbar

Origin8 Tiki

Price: $20
Colors: Silver and black
Stem Clamp: 26.0
Brake lever clamp size: 23.8 (for road brakes)
Weight: 330 grams
Material: Aluminum
Bar end shift compatible? Yes
Note: there's a sticker on the package that says "Not for offroad use. Street use only" So, no good for cyclocross.
Link: Amazon

Dimension Double Bend
Price: $26

Colors: Silver and Black
Stem Clamp: 25.4
Brake lever clamp size: 23.8 mm (road brake size)
Weight: 346 grams
Material: Aluminum
Bar end shift compatible? No (though one review on JensonUSA says it does work with barcons)
Note: Since this bar is 23.8 it will not accept mountain shifters and since it doesn't accept bar end shifters, it seems it is only for single speeds or fixed gear bikes.
Link: Niagara Cycles

SOMA 3 speed bar

Price: $37
Colors: Silver
Stem Clamp: 25.4
Brake lever clamp size: 23.8 (for road brakes)
Weight: 320 grams
Material: Aluminum
Bar end shift compatible? Yes
Link: SOMA website

SOMA 3 speed bar II

Price: $37
Colors: Silver
Stem Clamp: 25.4
Brake lever clamp size: 22.2
Weight: 320 grams
Material: Aluminum
Bar end shift compatible? No
Note: uses mountain bike brakes and shifters
Link: SOMA website

Sparrow Moustache Bar
Price: $38

Colors: Silver and black
Stem Clamp: 25.4
Brake lever clamp size: 22.2 (mountain style brakes)
Weight: unknown
Material: Aluminum
Bar end shift compatible? No
Link: Universal Cycles

Nitto Moustache

Price: $80
Colors: Silver
Stem Clamp: 25.4 and 26.0
Brake lever clamp size: 23.8
Weight: unknown
Material: Aluminum
Bar end shift compatible? Yes
Link: Harris Cyclery

Personally, I'm choosing the SOMA that accepts bar end shifters. Seems like a good price, 25.4 stems are easier to find than 26.0 versions and it accepts barcons.

Let me explain the comment above about 26.0 stems that I made above. Sheldon Brown (RIP) said that moustache bars typically require a shorter stem with more height. Finding a stem like this in 25.4 is pretty easy. Something like this Kalloy (which even comes in a version that has a built in front brake cable stop):

Price: $15.50
Comes in silver and black
Link: Jenson USA

Lastly, what brake levers to use? For the bars above that have 24mm grip area, you can use regular road brake levers. But another option to save a little cash (you can get Tektro drop bar levers for about the same price but they are 180 grams heavier) and a little weight is to use a set of cyclocross levers: 

Tektro RL720
Price: $20
Size: 24.0 mm
Link: Niagara

More info on the moustache bar: link

Did I miss any? Anyone have experience they want to share? I will continue to update this page as I find new models.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Man loses hundreds of pounds via cyclocross

Pretty cool:


Monday, October 08, 2012

Some more bike building tips

Worked on the Sekai ATB over the weekend, thought I'd talk a little about what I did:

Disassembled the Bottom Bracket and Headset and repacked the bearings with grease. Not a complicated job, took me about 35 minutes or so. On the headset there was no lube on the ball bearings. The BB wasn't much better.

Here's the tip, don't buy bicycle grease, go to an automotive parts store and buy a tub of what they have there, it's cheaper and works well:

While I'm talking about grease and bottom brackets, I always wear latex gloves when doing this sort of stuff. Makes clean up a lot quicker.

Next, often old seat tubes are not very clean ---- dirt mixes with grease and sits in there and makes a weird paste that can sometimes make it difficult to get the correct size seat post in the tube. Other times, that greasey dirt will scratch up your new or old seat post. To help with this, I have made this seat tube "reamer". It's a piece of wooden dowel that I can chuck into my drill, the working end has a slit that's about three inches long, a zip tie at the bottom insures that the slit doesn't keep splitting. I fold a piece of aggressive sandpaper, put on another zip tie and go to town:

I hold the drill with my right hand, I put a leather glove on my left and loosely hold the wooden shaft and sand the inside of the seat tube. Doing this on the Sekai produced a ton of rust colored dust but also got it super smooth.

The rust dust reminded me that some JP Weigle's frame saver would be a good next step:

I bought this can like years ago when I built up that Colnago Cyclocross bike, remember that? Let the frame saver dry for a few hours then lubed up the old seatpost and it slid super smooth into the seat tube.

Anyway, here's where things are now, just waiting for my big parts order from Niagara:

I had the Velo Orange saddle sitting in a drawer, that I was going to use on another project but never did.