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


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.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Building a Sekai ATB

So, earlier today I posted a photo of the ATB bike I picked up on Craigslist the other day. My plan is to build this thing up into a commuter/touring bike. I do love those old 80s ATB bikes except for them handlebars and stem; terrible.

Anyway, went on a small shopping spree at Niagara Cycles online (one of the best online bike shops IMO), plus free shipping when you spend more than $100.

1 x Sunlite Front Alloy Cable Hanger 1" Silver (832) = $3.55
2 x Kool-Stop Eagle Claw II Bicycle Brake Pads - Dual Comp Black/Salmon (432853) = $19.98
1 x KMC Z-72 7.1mm 6-7-8spd Gry/Brn Chain (425982) = $11.05
1 x Origin8 - Tiki Handlebars, Silver (431616) = $18.49
2 x Kenda Kross Plus Front/Rear Slick XC Tire, 26 x 1.95" (51645) = $19.98
3 x Avenir Regular SCHRADER Valve Tube, 26" x 1.90" to 2.125" (433399) = $8.61
2 x Jagwire Basics Lined Brake Cable & Housing Assembly (1 Brake) (402723) = $4.40
1 x Jagwire Hyper Derailleur DIY Cable Kit, Black (406271) = $15.53
2 x Avenir Economy Bottle Cage Black (434231) = $5.74
Shipping: $0.00
Total: $107.33

A little imagery of some of the items I ended up buying:

how to build a bike: the planning

Whenever I buy a bike, I create a Google Spreadsheet to help organize the acquisition of parts and the cost of the build. I have a lot of spreadsheets created over the years. Not only does it help to organize a build, but it's also handy if three years down the road you want to sell the bike and see how much you've got into it.

In the first column I put this:

Bottom Bracket
Brake hanger
Brake levers
Brake Pads
Cable Housing
Derlr (Front)
Derlr (Rear)
Handlebar tape

The next column over goes the individual component names, sizes, colors etc. Next column is the price I paid for those individual components. Sometimes I'll even put links to bike parts that I might want to buy in the future. I highlight in orange the items that I still need to buy to finish the build.

Here's the spreadsheet for the current build I'm working on: link

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


These are pretty cool...though I don't know about $140 without the actual shifters, $220 with.