Saturday, September 22, 2018

A Pile of Parts

The new bike is coming together surprisingly quickly. I did decide to make the leap for disc brakes, and the frame came in on Thursday which actually caught me off guard a little bit. I hadn't been expecting it quite that quickly.

The frame looks magnificent and is of course light enough that I need to weigh it down so it doesn't drift up and bump along the ceiling. The wheels also arrived quite quickly, which was a pleasant surprise as they came all the way from the UK (not for any particular reason other than they somehow had a really good price on them).

The rest of the bits have been trickling in from Amazon, as they wont do. I've got almost everything I need from there but I'm waiting on the front derailleur and the bar tape before I'm at 100% of a bike. They should hopefully come in sometime next week. Hopefully. If push comes to shove I can run without bar tape for a few days but it'd be nice to have everything wrapped up at the same time.

I've been waffling over what to do with the leftover bits from my old bike. At this point I'm only a few parts short of a full bike, and I could either sell it off as such, or buy the few remaining bits and have two bikes? Like I could fit fenders to it and maybe use it as a winter bike. I suppose we'll see how I feel.

Speaking of extra parts, I did manage to accidentally order more parts than I need. I had bought a pair of lockrings for the disc brakes without realizing that the wheels came with a set, and likewise I ended up with an extra set of caliper spacers. Not a big deal, I'd rather have extra than none at all.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Bike Bits, Take Two

I've set aside the idea of getting the Colnago for now as I have some concerns about durability and warranty service on it, and instead turned my sights to a Specialized Tarmac frame, like thus:

It's a top quality, reliable carbon frame, and now all I need to do is find one in my size... which is proving difficult. I'd like to get the rim brake version so I can reuse more of my existing parts, but if push came to shove I might have to switch to disc which would mean new wheels, and some other bits will get more expensive.

On the Cannondale front, it looks like Sports Basement will be able to take care of my warranty claim so I'll be able to recycle that frame into a new one, which I plan to sell, along with some other bits that won't carry over, on to help recoup some costs.

In the mean time it's starting to look like I might have to ride out the rest of the commuting season on my XC bike. Not the worst fate and at least I'm still getting exercise, but all the same it's not quite what I was hoping for.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Phoenix Down is Down

Looks like my ENERGY LEGS have claimed another victim, and this time it's the frame of my road bike, or at least a weld between the chainstay and the rear dropout.

Sadness and woe. I'm pretty sure I can get a replacement from Cannondale but I'm thinking of maybe going a bit more upmarket and getting this fancy-pants Colnago C64 frame:

I'll be transferring most of the parts from Phoenix Down over (should I go this route) and probably upgrading one or two bits that I've been overdue on refreshing. It's a little spendy but nothing out of my reach; assuming I can get a replacement frame from Cannondale I'll sell that off to help offset the cost, but it's not a big deal either way.

It's a good thing I have more than one bike, there's still a good 2 months of bicycle commuting left before the time change.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A Weekend Spent Well

It's a good thing this weekend had 3 days, because I somehow managed to fill all three of them.

Starting off with Saturday, the main job of the day was modifying my triangle bag on BlackBirb, my mountain bike. The velcro-and-elastic holding it on was doing an ok job, but it was showing signs of not really being the most secure long term solution; the tension from the elastic was pulling the velcro off itself. Rather than going to any huge lengths to re-engineer this I decided to just add some hook-and-eye fasteners to the velcro, and the result was quite satisfactory.

Fast forward to Sunday and the main event, a ride from Lexington Reservoir to El Sombroso. I initially planned to go down Woods Trail as far as Hicks Road, but I was being swarmed with tiny flies that kept buzzing an inch from my sunglasses (not biting or anything, just buzzing away in front of me), and by the time I was at El Sombroso I felt like I had done enough to call it a good ride.

Sunday was bike wash day, as the trails around here are hella dusty, so much so that the dust actually scrubbed away all the lube from the chain on BlackBirb by the time I was 3/4 through the ride. But I washed both it and Phoenix Down while I was at it, and gave them both a once-over with the lube.

The hours in between were filled with the usual minor weekend tasks and chores that don't bear mentioning. Doing laundry, taking out the trash, doing my nails and so on. Cleared out a bit of a backlog too, so I should be able to get started on something new next weekend (though I've been saying that for a few weekends now, at some point it'll actually come to pass I'm sure).

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A change of venue, and a key holster

So I've decided to revive this blog once again, due to G+ deciding that one of my posts was spam and deleting it outright, including the lovely description I wrote up. Plus let's face it, who even uses G+ anymore?

That aside, here's a new 3D printing project I recently completed.

It's just a little holster for the amenities key. I had a hook here before, but I found it somewhat annoying and unsatisfying to use. This should be much easier to drop the key into and grab the key out of.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

An Unexpected Motorcycle

So Scooty-Puff Sr was making some transmission/clutch noise when pulling away from a stop. Luckily it was still under warranty, and with a few weeks to go before my Reno trip I figured it would be a good time to drop it off at the shop and get it fixed up. Apparently, though, BMW has different ideas about how quickly such repairs could take, and poor Scooty-Puff is still in the shop as I write this.

This left me with a bit of a conundrum. I needed a mighty steed to convey me to my destination, and yet my chosen mount was not available to carry out its duty. I had a few options, the most mundane of which would have been to take the Pedovan. A bit too far on the other end of the adventure scale would be to take ANGRY BEES. Somewhere in the middle would be to borrow a friend's touring bike. Way over in the "it would make a better story" section would be to buy a cheap bike off Craigslist just a few days before my trip and ride that, then sell it again when I get back.

I like good stories.

I set my budget at $2500 and gassed up the computer. The first candidate that came up was a Suzuki Bandit, which had apparently only been messed with a little. The Bandit is a bit notorious for people trying to mod it into a drag bike, so the idea of trusting a 600 mile round trip to such a "tinkered" ride didn't sit well with me.

The next candidate was a BMW K75 which was listed for only $1900. The K75 is a great bike, reasonably modern and so on, which made the price tag seem a bit suspicious. It could be that the bike is at its classic-vehicle-nadir, where it's too old to be a nice used bike but not old enough to be a nostalgic classic. But more likely there was some bad news hiding between the lines of the Craigslist post.

The next and eventually successful candidate was a BMW R65 from 1982. Old enough to be classic, but new enough to be reasonably reliable. It also had the bonus of being a bit of an odd duck model, generally hiding in the shadow of the more popular full-size airhead boxers of the day. So I packed up in the van and drove up to Napa to give it a quick test ride and bring it home. My initial impression of the bike is that the suspension was annoyingly soft, the throttle was annoyingly stiff, and the engine annoyingly stalled at idle. Other than that, and the fact that it was somewhat underpowered, it was pretty much perfect. It came with the original panniers too, which was a pretty sweet bonus.

The bike started life as an R65LS, but had been written off in the 90s some time in a low-side accident, then rebuilt into a half-faired frankenbike of sorts that, to be fair, looked quite good. That write off also gave me the opportunity to bargain the price down from the $2500 asking price to only $2000. I wrote a cheque and signed the title and the bike was mine. All that stood between me and Reno was 300 miles of twisty mountain roads.

It's like riding a chainsaw, basically

The same day I test rode the XDiavel, I also dropped by the BMW dealer to check out an S1000XR. It was a model that was on my contemplation list to serve as my commuter/tourer bike, but after the test ride I put it safely in the "not for me" bucket.

First off, the XR doesn't suffer from the motorboat style dive and squat that the Multistrada did, so that's a good start. The suspension felt solid in all of the various modes, to the point where I really couldn't feel much difference between the modes at all. At least they all felt pleasant.

The engine modes were much the same story: couldn't honestly tell the difference between them, and they all delivered a delightfully absurd amount of power. That said, I found the engine's snarly, raspy character to be completely unsuited for something I would want to tour on. I feel like the engine would have been better off left in the S1000RR and R.

The bars were of course far too wide for me, and the whole bike was pointlessly tall, both in the fine tradition of adventure bikes. In the end I wasn't particularly thrilled, it felt more like a BMW response to the Multistrada (and I feel like it edges out the Multi in a few ways, especially the suspension) than a winning formula in and of itself.