Thursday, November 11, 2004

Bike Notes

So the rear wheel is off to Phil Wood. They should have received it today (gotta check out my tracking number to see if it really did get there - I've had some bad luck with the USPS). The deal is that they'll examine it first, then send the wheel off to Peter White, who'll rebuild the wheel using a Chris King rear freehub (ISO disc, 36 hole, stainless steel hub shell) and new spokes. Phil Wood said they'd cover the cost of the rebuild (though I don't know if this includes new spokes or not, nor do I know about shipping). With any luck, I'll get a little money back because the Chris King hub costs less about $60 than the Phil Wood.

The hope is that I'll have better luck using a mesh gear system as opposed to the pawls. I sure hope so because I'm tired of this.

Thus, my nice Epic is out of commission for now. I could throw the rear cassette on the old rim and hub, but I'm afraid I'll just kill that hub - and I may have someone who's interested in buying it. Are you?

The next task on my list is to convert my old mountain bike to a singlespeed. I'm doing this on the cheap because Mary will kill me if I spend money on a bike I don't really use. The first steps are to remove the shifters and front derailer. You keep the rear derailer to use as a cheap chain tensioner. The after-market chain tensioners (surly, convert and others) cost upwards of $50, and are viewed as kind of kludgy. I figure, if I'm going kludgy, I might as well use the old derailer to save the money. Then you need to get a single rear cog lined up perfectly with the chain ring you wish to use. Again, the plan is to go cheap. I called up a couple of local bike shops until one actually was friendly enough (hurrah Cyclotopia!!!!) to see if they had any old Shimano cassettes in the trash. You see, if you bust apart the cassette you can get your hands on all the spacers that were holding the cogs at perfectly in alignment and use them to hold your single cog in perfect alignment with the chainring of choice. I'll probably start out with a 32-17 tooth combination, which is a little easier to pedal than the 2-1 ratio that's suggested as a good starting point. Then I use my chain tool to take out a bunch of the extra links in the chain to achieve proper tension and I'm ready to go!

If I invest any money in the bike it'll be for a set of platform pedals (I've still got the Speedplay Frogs on - which are a pain to use for just putzing around town) - estimated cost $10-15. If I actually ride the bike much, I'll probably need a new rear cog because the Shimano cogs are shaped specifically to make shifting easier - and you don't want your singlespeed to ever shift! A Shimano BMX freehub cog costs $5 (woo-hoo!) And then the luxury item would be some new handlebar grips because the other ones have worn through to the metal. At that point, I'd have a decent singlespeed that would work just as well for riding around town - total cost $30.

Now, ideally I'd like to get into riding the singlespeed bike, and I'll want a "clean" solution that wouldn't use a chain tensioner. The only practical way to do this (without buying a new frame or welding) is to get one of these nifty rear hubs: Eric's Eccentric ENO.. I'd then build a wheel around that, shorten the chain a little more, and have a beautiful singlespeed. I'd even be able to have a fixed gear if I wanted. It's a great Xmas gift idea!

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