Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Always fussing

I woke up this morning at about 5 AM and started thinking about the next round of bike fixes. There's always a next project in the hopper.
The back story
I'm actually very satisfied with my current bike situation. Here's where I'm at:
Bike #1: Rawland - go anywhere, fat-tired road, snow, and mountain bike. With my beloved Hetre tires on there, this bike is an ideal all-day dirt road and trail explorer. With the crazy fat knobbies on it, the Rawland is a good-enough mountain bike and a great snow bike. Commuter, tough-guy, no limitations on exploring.

Bike #2: Lyon - I call it the 747 because of the tubing. Story here. This is my version of a racing bike. Since I don't race, I really don't need a "real" racing bike. This bike is a wonderful bike that I can ride all day. It's as go-fast as I'll ever want. I just built this up before the snow came, so I don't know it as well as the others. My guess is that I'll end up putting more miles on this bike next year than I do on any others.

Bike #3: Blue RB-T - This is the "urban bike." That's a classification that the Bike Quarterly guys came up with for a low-trail, fendered, front-racked road bike that is optimized for urban commuting. That pretty much explains the blue RB-T. If someone held a gun to my head and made me keep just one bike, this is the bike I'd hold onto. It's fast enough, it handles predictably, and it makes carrying 90% of the loads I carry very easy. The bike has a non-stock fork to make it a low trail bike and that has made all the difference. In a rational world, this set up would be in the line up for each big bike manufacturer -- right in between their flat-bar commuters and their internal-gear-hubbed "city bike" offerings.

Bikes #4 and #5: Seasonal bikes -- When people ask me how many bikes I have, I include these two and tell them "5." I don't include the tandem, or the bikes that I have out for loan, or the bikes/frames that I have stashed in the various caverns of our house.

I have two seasonal bikes: the fixed gear ice bike. This year it was also a single-speed cx bike that Stuart raced.

The second seasonal bike is my beloved black RB-T that I built up this year as a cx bike. The black RB-T holds a special place in my heart and if a guy did hold a gun to my head and did force me to choose my blue RB-T, then I would weep for the loss of this bike. This was the first bike that "planed" for me. It wants you to stand on climbs. It was the first bike I had that did not have hugely long trail. It likes to fall into corners. I love it as a CX racer. It's the perfect life for this bike now.

The fuss plan
So, with all that bike happiness, what's there to fuss over?
Mostly, I'm now looking to Liza to do some fussing, since I'm all fussed out. But there are a few fussers for me in the list:
1. Strip and unload the 520 (John): I put a bunch of time and money into building up this bike. It came out good, but even as a Porteur with an internal gear hub, the bike is really redundant with my blue RB-T. And it turns out that Liza can use the wheelset and internal gear hub for her project. I'm hoping to trade this frame, some money, and other bits, for a more robust hauling solution. More on that as it unfolds.

2. Revive the Fuji as a 650b (Liza): Liza loves her $75 Rockhopper. After many rounds of precision questioning, I have unearthed two critical features of the Rockhopper. 1) the poofy tires make for a comfy ride on our crappy streets, and 2) the position it puts Liza in. Specifically, the Rockhopper provides for a position that is not too upright and not too hunched over: it's just right. With these goals in mind, Liza is going to rework the Fuji. She really wants a woman's bike that she can wear a dress with, but she doesn't want the jarring ride that the skinny 700C tires offer.

3. Revive the RB-1: It's weird, after 650b'ing the RB-1 last year, Liza liked this bike. But after she got the Rockhopper, this bike went away. This is where the "too hunched over" issue came from. Reviving the RB-1 is a P2 goal for Liza after the Fuji. Actually, it's probably more of a priority-3 or so. I really want to see that bike ridden. It's a great bike and should be on the road. Under Liza.

4. JohnAndLiza-fy the Burley Tandem (both): this is probably the most ambitious project in the lot. Not technically, but emotionally and spiritually. Liza and I have never tandemed before so this entire process will be interesting. The tandem will changed thusly: we'll swap out the flat bars for drop bars, reconfigure the drum brake as a drag brake, add a front rack, upgrade the rear rack, add a dyno lighting system, and change the saddles and peddles.

5. Make minor changes, upgrades, fusses (John):

  • Bitchin new cx race wheels for the black RB-T. I'm hoping I can find some lightly used cast-offs from a racer that has upgraded to the new $1200 DuraAce set.

  • SON hub and new front wheel for the Lyons 747, and a light.

  • Replace shifters on the blue RB-T. Alex put down tube shifters on his nearly identical bike and with the front rack it makes a bunch of sense. I like indexing with DTs. It's very crisp. Finding indexing 8 speed downtube shifters is not as easy as it was about a year ago. (Got any?).

  • Put Honjo fenders on the blue RB-T. This is low priority, but I can't get over these fenders.


Jacque Hendrix said...

Dang! That sounds like enough to keep you busy through the winter.

My list kinda goes like this...

1. Put the Bruce Gordon in the basement.

2. True wheels on the Trek 1100 road bike.

3. Drink beer

Spokane Al said...

Those are most definitely not current Spokane pictures. They do remind me of the other six months of the year.

Hank Greer said...

When Kathy and I got our tandem eight years ago we were told it's also known as a marriage validation device. How true. It really helped me with my communication skills which means fewer beatings from my stoker. Kathy knows what to anticipate and I don't get a sore back. Perfect!

Practice up. The word is that Spokane may host the Northwest Tandem Rally in 2010.

RJ said...

It's funny how people can DEFINITELY have too many cars.. but somehow, never too many bikes. :)

Schrauf said...

If this winter keeps up, one of these silly things may be necessary. Probably more dependable than the bus system.


Anonymous said...

I like that I will always be able to say, "well, at least I own fewer bikes than that crazy fanatic John Speare!"