Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas OC

Well it's been about 4 months since I posted about OC, so I figured I add a few thoughts. OC probably redefines himself twice a month, so it's hard to pin him down. Regardless, if you spent anytime plowing through my OC Journals, you might think OC is definable; he is not. His recent morphs have shown more sophistication than before (like there was little room for him to go the other way) and has raised his level of rhetoric to NYC Bike Snob. His reading "fan" letters has morphed to carrying on a one side conversation with the iconic blogger (how many times can you say Bike Snob in a 5 minute video?). OC has also taken to singing his favorite songs in his videos; I believe this is to attract a GF. As with a 5 YO, this behavior starts out as endearing and entertaining, but is repeated so often, your mind starts to wonder as you start developing a curiosity about waterboarding. Still OC is a force to be reckoned with; he is somewhat famous and I am somewhat not. I have been confused in the past by how OC defines himself, but his search continues and his videos are a testament to the long strange trip he's on.

Merry Christmas from a fan,


Friday, November 28, 2008

1993 Bontrager Single Speed Conversion

A couple years back I came into possession of a early 1990’s Bontrager RaceLight. Somebody had painted it up like a Privateer and rode the shit out of it, leaving nothing of value but the frame. This was to be one of my coolest conversions. The first step was to strip the components down to the frame and then go to the one man that could do the bike justice, Paul Sadoff from Rock Lobster. Now Paul is normally way to busy to do a Single Speed conversion like this, but since he built me a Singlespeed and he still has a soft spot for us Singlespeeders, he agreed to it, as long as I didn’t tell anyone. Well it’s been two years, so I think it’s safe to let the cat out of the bag. Further, I also wanted to chuck the old Manitou shock and make the bike rigid; Paul also agreed to build me a fork. Here I have a shot inside his workshop as he was doing the conversion work. The idea was to “shave” the unneeded stops and weld on some Surly, sub-11 dropouts. To this day I never asked him why he mounted them so low, but I figured he must have known what he was doing.

After the welding was done and the fork was made, it was off to the Powder coater. To make sure my wife would not get all over me for spending too much money on another bike, I choose her favorite color, cobalt (or in this case electric) blue. The result was stunning. The fact that the fork was absolutely first rate and matched the bike with tube diameter and color, made it into one of the best looking conversions I have ever seen; even Paul said it was some of his best work.

The build of the bike was pretty
straightforward. The only original parts I used were the brakes, brake levers, stem and seatpost. The levers were old style rubber coated Suntour and the brakes, DiaComp cantilevers. Since this was a Bonty, the steerer of course was 1 inch and Paul made it threadless at my request. I chose a Cane Creek S2 headset, since they are well made and still one of the lightest in existence. The original stem was 1 inch threadless and I threw on a Bonty RaceLite straight handlebar, Bonty bolt-on grips and bar ends. The cranks were some Bonty ISIS that came of a friends Gary Fisher. The wheel set used a set of Surly SS hubs I had in the parts bin, laced to Sun MACH IVs with Hutchinson Pythons. The seatpost was a Titec/ Bontrager carbon fiber original and the seat was a Bonty Race that came of my 1999 Privateer. It all went together with little problem and I had The ridged SingleSpeed to die for. But it needed to go on a diet. I can't remember for sure, But I think it came in at about 21 lbs; I wanted sub 20lbs, including pedals and water bottle cage. Time to spend some money.

Okay, now I could spend an arm and a leg on a lighter wheelset, but I'm happy with what I got and I like the traditional look; so my first thought was titanium. Oh Yeah! I started off with a bunch of Ti bollts, Ti QR front axle and a hollow rear axle. Now I'm not a big fan of ISIS, but the FSA Ti bottom Bracket was not too pricey. As much as I liked the original Bonty 1" theadless stem, but it was replaced by an Ebay Ibis Ti stem. The Bontrager saddle is as unique as the Bontrager name, but it is heavy and I have developed a liking for classic ti Selle Italia Flites. I took a chance on a minimalist Sette (Price Point) Race-Ti. It turned out to be a good choice; also light and comfy. I didn’t understand why you would judge the weight of a bike without peddles; like they’re not necessary. The only way to deal with this was throw the big money at it; Time ATAC Titan Carbon. $$$$ I have never been much of a weight weenie, so I pretty much had to learn as I was going; after and continued by dragging out a scale and weighing components. My original choice of handlebar was a Bontrager Crow Bar, because I am always trying to convince myself I like riser bars (I really don’t). However I weighed the darn thing and it was heavier than a flat Racelite bar and bar ends combined. Then there were the Bonty Big Al grips. I checked around and found ESI foam grips; very high quality, light and comfy. . Throw in some lighter tubes, a Ti water bottle cage (not shown), a hollow rear axle and you get about 10 gms short of 20 lbs; Mission Accomplished!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The 10 speed Nishiki with FFS

9/17/2008: Hey, my Nishiki has been posted on Old Ten Speed Gallery; take a look!!

Wow, look at this, another posting within a week of the last.

I have no idea why I bought this bike. The only thing I can think of is that I had just rebuilt an identical frame as a fixie, but most of the bike was trashed. When I looked at this on ebay I saw I could have it for $100 and it looked to be in very good shape. When I received the bike I saw the paint had several scratches that needed some touch-up. Also the drivetrain looked strange. There was some sort of mechanism attached to the crank that allowed the crank arms to turn backwards without moving the chainrings.?? The name on the bike was a “Tourist FFS”. The crank also had a cover over center that said “Shimano FF System”. I thought, okay, what is Shimano’s FF System? I did a Google search, and after clearing out the redirect, I found a 1982 Shimano catalogue from Sheldon Brown’s site that was introducing the FF System.

Per the catalogue; “Shimano’s FF (Front Freewheel) System moves the freewheel mechanism up to the chainwheel- This allows the chain to revolve even when your feet stop pedaling. Now you can shift effortlessly. Smooth FF System shifting can be done while coasting, even with your feet off the pedals. The FF System is a new standard of 10-speed gear shifting performance”.

How does it work? Well like the catalogue said, the chainrings are on a freewheel and the rear cogs are fixed. That way as you coast, the drivetrain keeps moving. More from the catalogue- “The FF System is the result of Shimano’s research on the problems of 10 speed gear changes. The 10-speed bicycle has gained prominence as a recreational and transformational (transformational ?) vehicle. Both young and old enjoy the convenience of multi-speeds, but many new riders have difficulty shifting correctly. Now with the FF System anyone can ride and enjoy the benefits of a multi-speed bicycle.”

Well of course it never caught on and for good reason. This was obviously a gimmick; i.e. a solution looking for a problem; and although I have read they are quite common, this is first one I have ever seen of heard of. Back to the bike on hand.

I said the paint was bad (which is true) but the rest of the bike was in very good condition. All the chrome, with the exception of the spokes, was in great shape. And since most the bike is made of steel that is a good thing. The hubs turned easily and the headset felt solid. The bike then hung in my garage for about 4 months. I was sick enough to miss almost the entire month of August. As I started feeling better my attention returned to the Nishiki. I spent an entire day cleaning the bike. The following day I went after the bearings. The result was very bizarre. When I took the hubs apart there was no sign of grease. The bearings had not only dried out, but there was no evidence there had ever been grease there. Not only that, all the bearings, races and cones looked almost new. There was no need to even clean the bearings, races or cones, as they were all shiny clean. This was also true of the headset and bottom bracket. The only sign of grease was some small brown residue on the top race of the headset. So I packed everything with Phil Wood’s bearing grease, put it back together, and noticed it rolled much quieter.

So, what am I going to do with this bike? Well ride it of course. I may not use it to ride the Solvang Century, but it would make a great commute bike (I commute to work everyday on a bike). OTOH, if some work mate compliments me on the bike, it would not kill me to transfer it to a new owner (something I can not say about any of my other bikes).

Issues and Answers (click on any of these pictures to make them bigger)

There were some bumps. When I got the bike the rear wheel was terribly out of true. I brought it back as best I could, but the old spokes and nipples, they'll never be straight.

The seatpost clamp has a QR and the rear hanger attached to it. This historically is one of the weakest clamp setups and this clamp was no exception. The clamp had been bent so far that I need to Dremel out some metal so the clamp wasn't running into itself.

I noticed that the drivetrain was quite noisy. Now, granted if the entire drivetrain is moving even when you're coasting, you're going to get noise. Turns out some of the noise was coming from the low point of the cage of front derailleur, where the chain was rubbing in first gear. This necessitated moving the derailleurs down about 3mm.

On my first ride after the cleaning, I noticed the handlebar was bent. It was a typical right side crash bend. While I have never tried to straighten a handlebar before, since I was dealing with a steel bar it should be possible. I laid the bike on the left side and placed a crow bar under the bar where it starts to drop and wrapped the hook part over and around the end of the drop. I then stood on the left drop and pulled. First, nothing but a possible back ache. Again I tried, this time giving my best effort and I felt the bar give. I checked the alignment and it was much better, not perfect, mind you, but at least the brake safety levers lined up.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Long Haul Trucker (Luisa's Bike)

This project turned out to be one of my favorites. Not only did I put a bike together but my part specs were all done for for specific purposes, which all played out in the end. This bike is for my daughter Luisa. Lusia is tall, 5’10” and weighs over 200lbs. Most bikes are made for riders 180lbs or less. I wanted a bike that would be user friendly, comfortable and strong.

The first choice was the frame. I decided on the Surly, Long Haul Trucker. The LHT is a very strong steel frame. The frame/fork weighs 1/2 to 1 pound more than other Surly frames; that’s should equate to more steel. Due to female proportions I decided to go big, 60 cm. The stand over might be a snug tall, but top tube needs to be extra long for the sweep back handle bars I’m going to use; using a long stem with these handle bars would be unstable.

Next the wheels. My first choice from the beginning where 48 spoke tandem wheels. I initially ordered some Shimano XT 48 spoke tandem hubs and 700 Sun Rhino Lite rims. For some reason these never arrived. Back to this later.

I recently changed the cockpit on my Burly tandem to a mustache bar with bar ends shifters. The bike originally was set up as a mountain bike with 9 speed grip shifters and while it has 26” wheels, so do Burly tandems set up for road. This left me with the 9 speed shifters and Shimano LX Brake levers for the Surly. I then decided to go ahead and switch out the brakes also, and found some NOS Avid Arch Rivals for the Burly.

The road triple crankset and bottom bracket, both Truvativ affairs came to me in a trade as did the front Shimano Sora triple derailleur. My decision here however was to reduce the crank to a single chainring to keep things simple. TruVativ bottom brackest come with a 5 mm spacer. This allows you to use the same bottom bracket on either a 68 or 73mm bottom bracket housing. The Surly is 68 mm, but I installed it without the spacer anyway. The reason was I wanted to mount the single chainring on the outside of the crank for aesthetic reasons. However this would move the chainline to far outboard, as the middle position is the proper place. By installing the bottom bracket without the spacer, it positioned the crank 5mm more inboard, making the chainline perfect. After that I simply put the spacer on the other side to take up the extra space. I installed the Sora front derailleur just to keep the chain on the chainring and will also be able to upgrade to a front shifter (I kept the original chainrings) if the need should arise later.

Back to the wheels. Since my LBS was unable to come through with the wheels I looked elsewhere. Ebay turned out to be the answer. There I found a set of NOS Shimano (XT/ Sun RhinoLite) 48 spoke 700c Tandem wheels for $200. There were two easily solved problems with these wheels. #1 the hubs were 140mm while the LHT frame was 135mm; but it was nothing a little cold setting couldn't solve. 2) the hubs were 7 speed and I had planned for a 9speed drivetrain. After considering the possibilities for a while I decided to go for the wheels and switch the shifter to a 7 speed. I checked a nearby LBS who has a lot of used parts and he came up with an old 7 speed SRAM shifter for $10. I then order the tires, tubes, new brake pads and a 7 speed cassette. While I already had a cassette and grips, I wanted the cassette to be as wide as possible and found one 32/12. I also found these cool Celtic braid grips and I had to buy them. Other parts came out of the parts bin; an early Ritchey cartridge headset with steel cups, a short 90 deg Salsa stem, and a cushy Avenir gel seat.

While waiting for the rest of the parts to arrive, I started putting the rest of the bike together. No real problems, until I came to the rear derailleur. This derailleur has a strange history. My mom inherited a child’s bike and she wanted to know if it could be fixed so the kids in the neighborhood could use it. I discovered that someone had put a 2000 XT derailleur on the bike, but the main spring had sprung. I switched out the derailleur with one that was working and rebuilt the XT. Unfortunately, when I tried to stretch out the derailleur, the spring popped out again. What followed was an hour of trying to get the thing to work. Finally I decided that something had to be wrong, as these things usually go together and work flawlessly. It was at this time I realized one of the tabs on the spring was bent less then 90 deg. This of course meant that any tension on the spring would cause the tab to pull out. I took a ball peen and pounded the tab to 90 deg. After that the derailleur went together without any more problems; I love it when I figure out stuff like that.

By Friday all the parts had come in, the wheels being the last to arrive. With the exception of the rear derailleur problem I just spoke of, the bike went together beautifully. This was quite fortuitous, as Luisa is visiting from LA, I would be able to let her take it back home with her. The finishing touches were a basket for her little dog, a kickstand, and a speedometer. I liked this bike because everything I wanted to do worked. It should be bullet proof and give her years of riding without problems.

And heres a little movie of Luisa on her new Bike!

The Frankenstein Bike

I have three geared mountain bikes now. The first a 1998 Bontrager Sport, which I will show later. The second is a 1993 Barracuda A2T that I bought from a friend a couple years back. But this post is about my newest completed project. A 92-92 Yokota Project USA mountain bike. The idea was simple. I had a need for a small framed mountain bike. A friend at work found this frame and offered it to me. It included the crankset. At first I had some strange idea that I would be able to build the bike from spare parts. First I had a 9 speed SRAM derailleur, shifter and cassette I got in trade for the cranks and derailleurs that came off my Peleton.
Also, I have some an NOS Bonty seat, brake levers, a handlebar and a used set of Panaracer tires thar still had some meat on them. Unfortunately I discovered immediately discovered that I really had nothing else that fit; off to the LBS that sells used parts. I planned on using a threaded fork and found a NOS Tange fork at the LBS. They further had a NOS XT cartridge headset, which are really nice BTW. My bike now had a fork.
I also needed a front derailleur and the LBS just gave me one (cool). The LBS also had one of those funky adjustable stems, which seemed to fit the bike. I looked up and saw a couple of wheelsets. The only one that really fit the bill were some old style XTR/Bontrager wheels. The LBS gave another deal ($100) and I had wheels. The LBS also had a set of Tektro V brakes they had taken off a bike when it was upgraded to discs; $15, score! This LBS did not have a seatpost or seatpost collar, so I checked another (Santa Cruz is so cool). I got a seatpost but no collar. Turns out 30.0 is an off size. I finally had to order one off the web.

Problems and Retro-fit

I thought the headtube was 1 1/8, but it turned out to be 1 ¼. I really don’t know how common 1 1/4 was in the early 90’s but there couldn’t have been a lot of them. I ended up needing a 1 1/4 to 1 1/8 reducer to make it fit.

The crank on the bike was a Standard size, meaning the chainrings were 46/36/24. Back in the middle to late 90’s Shimano switched a compact drivetrain, 42/32/22. They have now switched back, so I needed either a very old or a very new front derailleur to be compatible with the Standard. Fortunately my friend at the LBS had a newer front derailleur. Since it had a 26.8 clamp, which won’t fit on most new bikes since the industry has gone to larger seat tubes, he just through it in for no cost. A little more history here. Shimano's idea of a compact drive train meant smaller chainrings and smaller cassettes They reduced the 5 arm triple crank BCD from 110/74 to 94/58 and then to a 4 arm crank BCD of 104/64. The idea was to reduce weight. However as 9 speed cassettes grew to 34 teeth, there was really no point to the compact cranksets and Shimano went back to Standard size chain rings but stayed with the smaller 104/64 BCD.

The Yokota had three sets of cable stops on the right side. They where meant for the rear brake and derailleurs and the bike had a hanger for cantilever brakes. Since I was going to upgrade to V brakes, I had to run a brake cable down the right side. Unfortunately, I ran out of black cable and had to use white, but that’s easily fixed.

And that was about it. The only other issue was it looked like some had just taken a hammer and pounded off the old headset. I ended up filling the divots, masking the headbadge and repainting the headtube. It was more of a hassle than I thought, until I discovered I needed to wait 48 hours between coats. You can see some of the divots if you click on the seat tube photo.

The bike it not as pretty as my other bikes, but it’s very utilitarian. My wife is 502, my son is 9 and about 409, and I have a step-daughter that’s 506. My Bontrager is can also work with someone short in stature, as they were made very small. With all the bike riding we do as a family, I expect this Frankenstein bike will get lots of use.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cheers to the Opinionated Cyclist

Well now don't I feel bad. My days with the OC are long over and I haven't been paying much attention. In my Opininated Cyclist Journals I was not always complimentary to him but I did admire his creativity, courage and tenacity. Well just when I figured he really didn't give a rat's ass for anything I did to try and help him, he put out this video Tribute to Onespeedbiker*and he really had nothing but nice things about me. I don't know if I could have done what you did. To ignore what I wrote and sing my praises. OC you really showed some of the southern class I heard about. I guess I need to heed my own words, "Keep your words soft and sweet, for you may have to eat them someday". He also made a production video out of a package I sent him, I'm Special....ized!!! *. BTW, he also said I do not post enough, so I'll be posting two bikes within the next week.

PS, OC shut down that porn site; it doesn't reflect well on you .

*Links to OC Vidoes may not work as he is constantly removing and/or re-posting them on YouTube.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The NJS Bike Part 3

This is going to be a short one. Just to add I picked up a Nitto seatpost, SP72. Probably one of the most beautiful seatposts ever made. Still a little expensive @ $120; fortunately I found one used and in very good shape @ 1/2 the price. I also had some fun making some Bottom Bracket tools to R&R a Tange Steel Levin Bottom Bracket with a Tange NJS Alloy Levin Bottom Bracket.

These are the headset tools I made. The top is a headset cup remover, which is nothing more than a piece of 3/4" copper pipe with 4, 4" slits cut along the sides. All you need to do is pull the ends out a little and it works the same as the Stainless version (you work it into the head tube and pound out the cup). All this for about $2. The second is a headset press. The copper pieces are some plumbing adapters that fit a 1" headset to a "T"; the price is about $6.00. Generally I don't like to install headsets and only install the cups if they are steel. The cup remover worked like a charm.

The press takes a little more finesse, but it does work as long as your very careful. Would I trust myself and these tools on a Chris King? Uh, no. Would I use this system on a Cane Creek S2, which had some of the lightest and fragile cups on the market? What do you think?

This was a steel frame with very tough alloy NJS headset and it went on without any problem; the NJS stamp appears in the stem and headset photo; it is probably the smallest NJS stamp I have ever seen, but it is visible when you click on the photo.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

My 1999 Schwinn Peleton

In 1999 I bought a Schwinn Peleton. The bike is an 853 steel frame, very graceful S shaped stays, nice electric blue paint with “Schwinn” beautifully incorporated into a contrasting black on white down tube. The gruppo is almost all Shimano Ultegra except for the headset; this becomes an issue later in it’s life.

When I first bought the bike I was married to my ex-wife. The purchase of this bike was an unspoken sore spot in our relationship; added to the already mounting unspoken sore spots. Anyway, the beautiful paint started to chip off. I took it back to my LBS and they apparently had to go through 3 frames before they got a good one.

I then rode the bike for about 2 years until the single speed bug bit me and the bike sat for about 3 years. Then after I met my good friend Mike, I gave him the bike to see if his wife would become a bike spouse. Well that didn’t work and I got the bike back a couple months ago. No worse for wear, it had a Nitto stem and a new set of Conti Ultra Sports.

Now, since I parted with the Peleton my taste in geared bikes has matured. When I bought the bike I had the double crank changed to a triple. While the triple works the way it is supposed to, it is quite clunky needing two additional trim shifts to keep it quiet. Also after seeing the Nitto stem I decided it would look even better with a Nitto seat post and different seat.

First I decided to switch to a compact crank. I think it was the designers at Campagnolo that came up with the idea of a lowered gear crank. Instead of a 52-39 double or 52-42-30 triple, they came up with a 50-34. The 52 is only useful for 28 MPH plus, with a 50-34 you get most the gearing of a triple, without the chunkiness. The compact cranks also come in the new 2-piece with exterior bearings. I decided on the 105 level R600. Once I installed the crank, I found the triple derailleur worked, but not well. I scrounged up a double 9 speed 105 derailleur and after installing it I found that although Shimano says the triple derailleur works, I wouldn’t advise it. I also got two new tools in the process.

The OEM seatpost was a Titec and I changed the seat to a Specialized "Body Geometry" style. In 2008 this would not do. So, next I looked for a Nitto seatpost. The Peleton has a 27mm and I found that short of buying a double bolt NJS seatpost, the other Nitto posts only come in 27.2. Then as luck would have it I found a WEB Store, Peter Whit Cycles, that went to the trouble of ordering 50 Nitto Crystal seatposts so they could have them made on 27mm. SCORE! Now a seat. I first thought Selle Italia as I have the seat on most of my bikes. However, my wife is quite fond of the looks of Brooks saddles I have put on my last two projects. Certainly my wife will agree to fund most any seat, but if she actually likes the seat, well that’s uber cool. Anyway I found a black B-17 narrow that will do the trick.

The 1999 Peleton came with an aluminum fork. The popularity of aluminum forks was very short lived and although it looks nice, a carbon fork is certainly in order. Here I will have to admit I went uber cheap and bought a Nashbar Crabon fork, regularly $150.00, on sale for $80. When the fork came in I immedately pulled out the stem and removed the old fork. I tapped off the crown race and slipped it on the carbon fork; slipped it all the way down where it should have needed to be pressed on. The problem was obvious, the OEM fork is JIS. JIS is an older japanese standard that has been replaced with ISO, which is the now the industry  standard, but is still found on some inexpensive department store bikes. After I removed the head tube cups, I found that the head tube on the frame is ISO, which means the current headset is is half ISO and half JIS, so a JIS fork will work in an ISO head tube. I have seen these 50/50 headsets  for sale labeled a "30.2/27.0 headset." (30.2 for the ISO head tube cup ID; and 27.0 for the JIS crown race ID. If you then want to upgrade to an standard fork with an ISO, 26.4mm crown race, you can simply buy a compatible Tange ISO crown race (Tange sells them separately) or buy a new threaded ISO headset; I choose to do the latter. At this point I had a sudden realization of the obvious. I had wondered from the beginning why Schwinn has spec'd the cheaper Tange headset over an Ultegra headset that would have matched the spec on the rest of the bike. Well,  the reason suddenly became obvious; the Ultegra would not have worked with the JIS fork. So I picked one up and now the entire bike is finally Ultegra throughout.

Do the Math
Well the Carbon fork has too short. The original steerer was 170 mm (I thought 165). But there was a 7mm spacer so I figured I was set. Not. Turns out the Ultegra headset had a 4mm higher stack height then the OEM Tioga; due the math and I'm 7mm short. So the 160 is in the mail back to Nashbar and the 175mm has been ordered in it's place....
Its about a week later and as you can see it all worked out. I even threw on the short cage rear derailleur to finish it off.

The Opinionated Cyclist Journals

The Opinioned Cyclist or “OC” as he likes to be called, is a new born roadie. I first saw my first OC video on YouTube via a link from NYC Bike Snob. OC appears to think that a passion for your sport and a daily bike ride is all you need to be worshipped professional rider; of course that only applies to him. He says in 2005 he watched the TdF (Tour De France) and decided he was going to be a professional rider. Of course, to OC, being a professional rider doesn’t mean you ride fast, or far or train, or enter races; no, it only means someone is going to pay him to ride.
OC made videos on You Tube; I’m talking usually 3 10 minute videos a day. His first videos where pretty entertaining. He would tell us about his trips to Walmart and how he would get his mom to buy things for him. He made a few videos on how he made a reflective vest and a few more on his lower leg protectors; this appeared after he was bit by a dog. He also made a number of "silent" videos, showing some of the rides he takes in North Carolina. These videos were really fun and I found myself liking this strange fellow. He also is trying to sell a car. A 2000 Ford Contour SE. The car has like 175,000 miles and a screwed up dashboard; for that he asking $3000. During this time I sent his $10 on Paypal (I believe I’m still the only person to send him any real money) OC also eats incessantly while he makes his videos. At first I ask him to stop eating, but then I realized that his eating set him apart, so I advised him to keep it up. One of my favorite OC videos is called “Reflections”. In this video he tries to explain how far a pro rider would ride in a week. Naturally he has no idea how pro riders train, and just assumes all they do is ride various distances. So he spends the middle 2 minutes of the video, trying figure how pro riders ride. It kind of went like this: “I usually ride 2 hours a day. I would think the pro-riders ride 4 hours a day, no 6 hours a day average, and maybe one 7-8 hour ride; no, five 4 hours days; no, four 4 hour days and one 2 hours day. Okay, four- 4 hours days, one- 6 hours day, 1 seven hour day and one- I hour rest day.” Toward the end of his video making and to be sure that no one can keep track of his videos he started labeling all of them simply as “v”. At that point I started skipping through the videos and then just stopped watching them altogether.
The reasons I started watching OC's videos are two fold. One is, I said before his videos were entertaining. The second was his bikes. He has 4 bikes; they are all old 70’s American road bikes with American bottom brackets, 26 and 27inch wheels and 21.15 stems and seatposts. Most these bikes are rebranded Huffy’s. The fact is I didn’t even know they made 26” road bikes until I started “working” on his bikes. OC, seems to have this love hate relationship with his bikes. He talks the “steel is real” line and how he despises carbon fiber, and the next moment he talks about how cool it would be to convert his aluminum mountain bike to a road bike. Three of his four bikes are in dis-repair and his “Pride and Joy” is nearing the end of its tire life. Well, me being a diehard mechanic and lover of bikes, could not watch these bikes just sit there un-used. OC may be a loser, but I know if these bikes were fixed up he would ride them. That’s all I needed to know. The result is I sent him three packages of bike parts totaling about $100.
Package #1
His Pride and Joy is probably a Huffy. It has 26x 1 3/8 tires and an American BB. This bike appears to be in relative good working order.
The next bike is a Kingston. I couldn’t find much information about this bike, but it has 27 inch tires and again an American bottom bracket. The only thing wrong with this bike is a blown front tire. Out of all his bikes, this one has index shifting in what Shimano called Positron II. Out of the over 300 videos he has made, he has not told the story of the Kingston and why he has not ridden the bike since the apparent tragedy of riding the bike some distance on a blown tire. For this bike I sent a set of 27” tires, 2 tubes and 1 tube of Slime (he has requested the Slime).
The 4th bike is a JC Penneys bike. This bike is a mess, but it seems this is the bike he wants to ride. The bike has a wielded front fork (“my brother fixed it for me”), a missing brake, a messed up saddle and of course no tires or tubes. For this bike I sent, 2 tubes, a tube of Slime, and an old Dia comp brake I took off my Nishiki. Also included in the Package #1 was a Solvang Century hat, and a some “I Listen to the Opinionated Cyclist” stickers I had made up by CafĂ© Press.
The next bike is another Huffy. It appears to be identical to his Pride and Joy, except it has no tires, a bent handlebar and he destroyed some of the spoke nipples on the front wheel using a pair of pliers to try and true the wheel. He has apparently replaced some of the nipples, but is begging for more and says he needs a truing stand. For this bike I sent Package #2, which contained a set of 26x 1 3/8 tires (to also be used on his Pride and Joy if needed), 4- 26 1 3/8” tubes and 2 tubes of Slime.
OC has (or had) a number of web cites, all with the purpose of generating revenue. On of these sites is The was setup so fans of OC could pay him to ride; his goal is 1,000,000 miles. When I first sent these packages to OC, he was shocked that I would require something in return. Apparently he is so deserving, that “No strings attached” should be part of his motto. However, in anticipation of receiving these packages I told OC I wanted the value of the packages in miles; @ $1 @ mile and OC agreed willingly. I gave him a deal, not counting the ridiculously expense cafepress stickers @ $50. He apparently made the 50mile ride (complete with riding on a flat tire again) and posted the event on
Package #2 and The Throw Away Letter
Package #2 contained the “Throw Away Letter”. Package #2 also contained the following the following parts for the Penneys bike, a second set of 27x 1 ¼ “ tires, a pair of ½” spindle steel pedals. Included in the post was a letter. The letter simply told him I was done watching his videos and he should hopefully find joy in the process (something he once said then later denounced the concept) and finally to find solace in the path set out for him by God. OC is really all over the board on the subject of God. If you had to summarize his beliefs it would be that only he is allowed to bring up the subject and woe be it to anyone who tries to bring up the subject or comment on it. So, as not to offend OC, I told him it would be better that he not read the letter.
OC, made a few more videos toward the 4 th week of April, which gave me the greater insight in him. The first was a pathetic call for fans. He carried on for 10 minutes in how he had no need for friends, how all he wanted to do was make money and be looked up to as a pro; remembering that the only definition of a pro is you get paid to ride. I’m getting the feeling OC has not done well will friends either. When he made his first Goodies video, you could see that he was very touched that someone would actually send him something. I thought perhaps this scared OC, as he immediately started to look for a way out. The Throw Away Letter was exactly what OC what looking for; a way to keep receiving packages from me, but still keep some emotional balance and distance. However it may have been simpler than that (I tend to over analyze everything). The second was at the end of a video where he explained that he wanted to look good in front of his wife, that it was a fan that sent his the parts I sent him, not just a friend. I can totally understand the wife thing, so I followed this up with a letter to OC that said the following;
OC, As you know, someone hijacked the second care package I sent to you and replaced the letter. The counterfeit letter was by some crazed Christian who thought you needed God explained to you. Sorry about that. This mad man was found hiding in the Santa Cruz Post Office and has been sentenced to 30 days of navel contemplation. He also had the gall to call you his friend. OC, I have very few friends, and I can't imagine such a thing with someone of your stature and accomplishments. I am of course just one of your many fans. So please shred that letter and place this in the package as it's true replacement. OC, Here it is, the second Cycling Care package. Included are more tires, tubes and Slime. As you know I only do this because I am a fan and really like old steel bikes. I expect to see these on your bikes soon so OC Can Ride! There will be one more package that will include a fork, stem extender, longer seat post and a few extras. Good luck on all your projects and maybe someday you tell the story of the last Kingston ride. Remember OC, it's all about you so keep it up. Your fan, Brad
April 24, 2008
The latest videos and email I have seen from OC, he is wanting a handlebar for his Huffy. He complained earlier about it being bent but now it has become the subject of several more videos. So, on a whim I rode over the Amsterdam cycles and told Tom Sullivan about OC. He has a friend who watches the shop and I turned him on to OC yesterday. Both of them thought it would be hoot so they chipped in a handlebar for the OC cause. Below is the letter I sent him.
OC, As one of your devoted fans, I went to my LBS (Local Bike Shop) and told them of your need of a handlebar. Dan Sullivan of Amsterdam Cycles graciously donated a very nice handlebar. There is a string attached, he would like you to name one of your videos after his shop and of course mention the shop in the video. I will send you the handlebar in my next package and you can decide. It is a used Sakae Custom, which was the top end Japanese handlebar bar of it's time. It's aluminum, with a classic bend, 41cm wide, with a integral chrome shim. Very Nice New it was a $50 and you can find them sometimes on ebay for about $30. . The bar is bare, so you will need to new bare tap or foam. Also, I saw one of your videos were you said you needed more 27" tubes. I sent you 4, do you need more than that? Remember, the 700's work on 27 inch wheels (the tubes work, not tires!). Since 27" wheels are old school and cheap, the tubes tend to be overpriced; the 700 tubes are 1 inch smaller, work without any problems on 27 inch rims and are cheaper. If for some reason you need more let me know; someone just gave me some tubes that are right up your alley. Brad
Goodie Video #2
After I sent him the email, he posted the second Goodies video and made a video for Dan. This Goodies video was not as good as the first. First was his near psychotic reaction to the Throw Away Letter. A belief that he already knew what was in the letter and it had tainted out relationship forever; I'm sad to say there will be no friendship with OC. In the second Goodies video he forgot I had sent him 4- 700 tubes in the first package; so he started a melt down, thinking he was lacking enough tubes for 4 tires, which gave the remainder of the video a taint of disappointment. He had already received the above email and responded that he was mistaken about the tubes, but apparently he had already made the second Goodies video, so never wanting to miss a chance to make a fool out of himself he posted the video anyway. Regardless, it should keep him going for a few weeks more until he gets the last package. I have a few pre-Slimed 700 Presta tubes I think I throw in just to get rid of them.
My wife heard the story of the welded fork on OC’s JC Penney bike and wants me to do something about it. So I checked out a nearby LBS that has a lot of old stuff and found a nice NOS chromed fork for $20. So I’m making up a third and last package (I’ve already told OC I’m going to take his advice that only non-cyclist and losers watch his videos). Initially when I brought up the new fork he thought it would come with a longer steerer. Although one can do this, it is not the advisable way to add 2-3 inches. I have ordered up a 21.15 stem extender and a longer seat post. This should give him room he needs without having to spend an arm and a leg.
OC receives Package #3
Of course there were some problems. First his brake hanger has a tab that centers the hanger on the steerer. His original fork was drilled rather than notched, so the notch on the hanger is too big. Second, the handle bar I sent is a bit larger then his old one. The clamp size is the same, but the brake levers won’t fit have a 22mm band. Fortunately, there are larger bands (23.2) for the levers readily available. I found them @ a web store for about $2 @ and had them mailed directly to OC. I also threw in another brake hanger.
Package 3.5
Well the brake hanger was a perfect fit but the bands were problematic. There were two bands on the web store site and I mistakenly chose the one without nuts. OC even tried to use some nuts he had lying around, but they wouldn’t fit. I went to Amsterdam Cycles and bought a pair of Diacomp brake levers for $4. The levers have the band and nut OC needs for his brakes. Either way he will have brakes for his bike and this is the last package.
One of the most glaring issues with OC, is he really knows nothing about the cycling culture; every dedicated rider out there is doing what OC is trying to do (that is getting in the best riding shape possible, not trying to get paid for riding). That fact that he takes a 30-mile ride everyday is pretty much meaningless to most cyclists. A truism is the qualities we most despise in others are the qualities we most despise in ourselves. Regardless, OC is either growing, morphing, melting down or a combination.
Bike Snob NYC even talked about the change.
It is for this reason that I was simultaneously concerned and entertained to learn that beloved cyclist personality Opinionated Cyclist has apparently lost his mind. Here he is showing off an artificial kidney he has fashioned from a potato * (All of OC vidoes have dropped off of Youtube). This is but one example of what seems to be the new OC. The rules of decency to which I do my best to adhere prohibit me from sharing with you the subject matter of his many latest posts, though if you visit his Youtube page you can find out for yourself (OC has since moved his entire show to I will say that the word "dildo" comes up with alarming frequency, and that it is also used in conjunction with the word "mother." There is also much talk of colons. (Anatomical, not punctuative.)
So its time to unsubscribe my friend.
The only videos that really showed any real passion of understanding of an athletic lifestyle were his videos on running. I would recommend he change his byline to the Opinionated Runner; at least his opinion would be grounded in reality. What’s really sad is he could make money at this. The fact that you he is so opinionated about something he dosen’t understand can be hysterically funny. The problem is, it’s not an act; but it could be. OC has now been reduced to reading letters he has written to himself, saying how great he is. The idea that anyone would think he has accomplished anything in cycling could be hysterical if he didn't seem to take it so seriously. There is also a saying that obscenities are a crutch of the ignorant. Still in all this there is something to OC; a spark of something different. But now I doubt there is any one who is willing to weed through all his BS to find something of value.
And what is he doing now? First he was reading self written letters talking about was a great cyclist he is and that morphed into a Blog that is mostly connections to porn sites. You really can't get lower than that. And yet there was one video that sounded like an earnest new-born Christian. What's with that? OC you are undefinable; and I like that in a person.
OC, if you read this, I'm sorry if it offends you. There have been many versions of this post (as there have been many versions of OC), I have tried remove most of my opinions that would seem mean spirited. I told you at the very beginning that I like watching your videos, without really knowing why. These are my thoughts and ideas and they carry about as much weight as yours do in your blog. Still I wouldn't have spent so much time (and money) with you if I didn't want you to succeed in what ever you are doing (except for the porn). And I give you credit for hanging it all out; something I could never do. I don't have the time, energy or ability to do what you do. Like so many journalist, I go into the battlefield at the end of the battle and kill the survivors.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Teresa-Ann's new (to her) bike

I have two beautiful step daughters, Luisa and Teresa Ann. Recently, both have showed interest in cycling, so I have obtained bikes for both. This post is about Teresa Ann's new bike. My wife approached me, and knowing I was in need of a spring project, she suggested I put together a bike for Teresa Ann. My first thought was to strip the Ultegra components of a 1999 Schwinn Peleton I have and put it on a smaller frame. However, by the time I figured the price of a new frame and fork, I discovered for a few dollars more I could have a bike put together by a LBS that specializes in putting together bikes. There I saw a complete bike put together for my price for the frame and fork alone. My wife was a little peeved, but she had to succumb to my logic and we bought the bike.

I would mention the bike shop, as the owners and I are on a first name basis, but one of this points of this blog is the problems with the bike. What really cemented the deal was the owner offered to buy a smaller frame, so the bike would better fit Teresa-Ann. I was first concerned that the owner would be losing money on the deal, until he told me some other customer came in a short time later and wanted a bike built up on the first frame. The bike we ended up with is gorgeous. It starts with a Soma frame. Soma is a San Francisco company that has some really nice frames made up in Tiawan. There are a lot of Tiawan frames out there made under the names of Surly, Zion and even Rivendale; you pretty much get what you pay for and the Soma's are on the higher end. The gruppo is pretty much used Ultegra with a TruVativ triple crank. The wheeset is Shimano's lower end SH-2200. The fork is a carbon Bontrager 110.

When I walked into the shop to pick up the bike I noticed the rear brake pads were mounted too high, and rubbing on the bead. The problem became immediately obvious; the frame required a long reach brake. Now, although both frames were made by Soma, the geometry of the two frames are different. The issue was, the owner was ready to hand the bike over as is, and he had to know of the problem.... Okay, maybe he didn't. Maybe he was so busy it just didn't register. He first offered to machine the brake arms so the bike could be ridden until a new caliper could be found. This was on Friday, so he said the brake would be ready on Monday.

Well Tuesday came and went and the brake was not fixed. The owner said he was having problems getting the long reach caliper. Further it was being ordered from Shimano and would be in in a couple of days. Well it didn't come in Wednesday, Thursday of Friday. And it didn't come in Monday-Thursday. I called again on Friday and was first told it was still not in, then the owner called back, saying the brake had came in the the bike was finally ready. My wife and I went in to pick up the bike, new long reach braked caliper and all.

As usual my first thing was to clean the bike from front to back. The drive train was fairly dirty and the chain just seemed off. Here's the reader digest on chains. First, to remove a chain you usually need a chain breaker or press to push out one of the pins. There are basically 4 muti-speed chain pin sizes; 7.3mm for 5-7 speed chains; 7.2 mm for 7-8 speed chains and 6.6 mm for 9 speed chains; and 6.1 mm for 10 speed chains.
Theses numbers are for KMC chains, model Z 50 (7.3), Z.51 (7.2), Z9 (6.6) and Z10 (6.1). There are a few variations, i.e the SRAM 8 speed chain is 7.0. Multi-speed chains are generally riveted together and unless you have a "connector" of sorts, you will weaken the chain by pressing out a pin and re-using the pin to put the chain back together. SRAM makes a re-usable connector called a Power-link, KMC makes a one time a connector called a Missing Link, and Shimano uses replaceable pins.

Saying all that, the chain was a KMC. I cleaned the chain and planned on using a SRAM Missing Link to put it back together. First I tried the the SRAM 9 spd; hmmm the chain is too fat. Then a tried the SRAM 8 spd; still, the chain is too fat. Okay, the KMC 8 spd is 7.2mm, the SRAM 8sp is 7mm, but this is for a 9 spd system; out comes the the caliper, 7.3! The difference in price is not lost on me. A KMC 9 speed chain runs about $14, the 8 speed is $9 and the 7 speed is $7. Hey, I admit the fat chain seemed to be working. Still, no one has actually put any time on the bike, so I'm sure the mismatch would have showed up sooner than later (It's amazing how well drivetrains work on a stand). When it come to multi-speed drivetrains I like to stay brand specific.

This bike has Shimano 9 speed shifters, Shimano 9 speed derailleurs, a Shimano 9 speed rear cluster and a Truvativ crankset. The best chain for this system would obviously be a Shimano 9 speed chain. The best prices I have seen are almost always the top of the line Dura Ace/XTR for about $25. That's what I had and that's what I used. I don't think the owner of my LBS purposely used a 7 speed chain (you can't tell the difference without a caliper), but the price difference is at least $7 and in my case, $19. What are you going to do? As usual the bike is not finished yet. The idea hit me that I could switch the Ultegra triple off the Schwinn and install a new compact double on the Schwinn. I found the crank on sale for $130 so it's a done deal.