Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Interim bike

This bike popped up on Craigslist last week. It's a Novara X-R. This is the third configuration I've seen this bike in.

I bought one years ago -- 700c, fillet brazed, Tange tubing, with LX components, crazy track bars and bar-end shifters. Then I saw one a couple years ago at the bike swap -- even more interesting: 26" wheels, fillet brazed, etc.

Turns out that Glen sort of perked up with these bikes too -- he ran across one a few months ago and bought it (the 700c track bar version). If I didn't have a bunch of bikes and a couple similar bikes that I don't ride enough, I would have pestered that one out of him. Instead, it's hanging in his shop, awaiting its fate.

This version (the third that I know of) of the X-R is much different than the others... and older maybe by 8 years or so. It's basically a mid-80's mountain bike with drop bars. Japanese. Lugged. Tange Infinity. Shimano DX, shimano barcons, Araya rims. There's a little sticker on it that says it was "Designed by Scot Nicol." That's the Ibis guy.

So, when Glen saw this little bike on Craigslist, he bought it and he decided to make a few changes to it and let Maddie ride it for a while. This will be Maddie's bike until next spring when we figure out the next bike. She's outgrown her righteous Grape Bike. And we're talking about some multi-day (week?) road touring next summer, so we'll need to figure out that deal.

He put some old chestnut wheels on there. These are Mavic MA-2 rims laced to Shimano 600 hubs. But these aren't just any old MA-2s. See the Bontrager sticker? Mavic did not make these rims in 559 way back when. But mountain bike racers wanted this style of rim. So Bontrager had a business (in which Glen was a cog) rolling down and re-welding the 700c rims to 26". 

Sugino Maxy crank with Mavic rings. Another chestnut from Glen's stash of cool old shit.

Click for big and dig that crazy-ass lacing on that wheel. Glen didn't have a story there.  He also put some sweet rubber on there: Schwalbe CX Pro.

Modern Ritchey drops and a stubby stem. In true 80's mountain bike style, this bike with a 48 cm ST has a 57 cm TT.  Glen also swapped out the weird-o Shimano friction barcons with some 8-speed indexed versions.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Black Friday -- the 5th year

We're on again for the Black Friday ride.

The plan:
  • Leave the The Scoop at 9 am
  • Do the first chunk of the NW passage +Mega-church section of the river trail.
  • Land at River City Brewery at around 11:30

That's it. You can read more about this ride by browsing the commentary from past years' rides

I think we'll see some fat bikes this year. I'll be on my mountain bike, which is a change -- as I've always ridden a 'cross bike. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Parts and stuff

You wouldn't know it by reading this blog, but I do still ride a bit. I don't have a lot to say about my riding, because I feel like I've said it all before a few times. And I'm not in the mindframe of late to talk about policy stuff. So that pretty much leaves gear discussion for the time being.

Lately, I've been into the mountain bike. It's a fall/spring thing I guess. Glen told me a couple weeks ago that he had some tires for me. I finally picked them up today: they are Schwalbe tires -- Rock Razors - 650Bx 2.35".

I've only got one High Drive ride on them so far, but I immediately noticed the cushy volume difference compared to the 2.10" Maxxis I had on there before. I liked the Maxxis, but I was drifting a bit too much on the wet trails this past weekend and was looking for a bit more grip as the moisture settles in for the season.

You can see the big honking knobbies on the edges of tire -- this is what Glen liked about them and after an hour of farting around on the wet trails, I can see his point. As noted, I also really appreciated the volume - they've got reasonably soft sidewalls for a mountain tire, and I like that. The center has a bunch of small knobbies -- sort of Thunder Burt-ish, but a bit bigger and more spaced out, knobbie-wise. So they roll good-enough on smooth trails and pavement.

Take note of the sparkly white bike. That's not just picture-clean. That's the new John... Glen sort of busted my ass about wanting a white mountain bike since I'm not known for fastidious (or any) post-ride wipe downs. But that's the old John. The White Elephant will always be white. Disclaimer: the new John approach to post-ride fussery does not extend to other bikes btw... that's just too much work.

Fenders went on the Legolas. And by fenders, I mean a rear fender and a front coroplast fender. This is a temporary state. I sold the Purple Elephant to fund the parts for the incoming stock NFE. When the new NFE comes along, the Legolas will go back to normal mode. Great bike. Notice the platform pedals on there. That's another gear change that I'll discuss in a future post. It's a big change for me. 

The sharp observer will notice that the orange saddle pack is becoming the standard tool bag on my bikes. It's a cheap, just-big-enough solution for carrying the basic tools/tube. I like it because it's tiny and holds tight to the bottom of the saddle and doesn't encourage me to bring the kitchen sink, which I am wont to do with my previous solutions.

This bag change has actually been precipitated by my saddle changes. I'm done with Brooks. I have one on my beater bike, but otherwise -- I've decided not to care about saddles. I want cheap and plastic. And it's liberating. The saddles on the Legolas and the White Elephant are both XLC -- which is the cheap knock-off Seattle Bike Supply house brand. I dig them.

I just cleaned my workbench about 2 weeks ago. I cannot keep it managed for the life of me. I may change my saddle, tool bag, bike-cleaning ways, and pedals, but I can't seem to get the trashed bench thing changed.