Category: ‘Uncategorized’

Gearing Questions II

December 13, 2017 Posted by Lenore Koch

I had another thread asking about gearing that got lengthy and this thread, while related, is a bit more specific.

So I’ve ended up with a 2017 Marin Four Corners. It has a 9 speed, 11/32 cassette and a 50/39/30 crankset on front. Having a ten speed 50/34 X 12/30 on my road bike, I can see for a touring bike, especially in mountainous areas, I haven’t gained a great deal in climbing gear. Yes, it is a lower gearing, but considering this bike may see more climbing, I would like to investigate lower climbing gears. The 50t front ring is also no real advantage in front. (All of which a number of you indicated on the last thread)
So, to add versatility I see two possible options but I’m no mechanic or gear guru.

Can I remove the 30t inner ring and replace it with a Shimano 24t inner ring? Since that isn’t a great jump, would it be reasonable to expect the rear derailleur to take up the slack? Here is a link to a chainring.…?ie=UTF8psc=1
Only thing, that is considered a 10 speed and not sure if that is compatible.

Otherwise, I’m not against replacing the whole crankset, but I see not much readily available that would meet the need, except in “mountain bike” specific. Not sure if that would matter. I did find this:…24Sth=1psc=1

It is 175mm x 48/36/26t 9 speed. I believe this is what I need, and I could just switch it out.

This seems a simple solution, though as stated, I’m not a mechanic and don’t know if there is anything that would make this NOT work. I realize the BB may need to be changed or may need to shorten the chain?

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Brooks B17 regular vs aged vs ???

December 12, 2017 Posted by Lenore Koch

My Brooks b17 is about worn out – I’d like to break in another on the rollers before the Rando season here in Wisconsin – Considering a regular B17 but I like some of the reviews I’ve seen on the AGED B17. I also like the lace holes on the bottom of the AGED.

Has anyone use the aged?

Any comments on the lace holes and lacing? I’ve seen the holes but can’t recall anyone actually using them.

I also read RANDO RICHARD description of John Howard’s (I think) method of quick break-in of new B17 involving mink oil, soaking in hot water, etc. Has anyone tried that and what do you think about it?



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Best trainer / indoor cycle for aspiring randonneur

December 9, 2017 Posted by Lenore Koch

I’ve been a lurker for about a year and have also gotten into longer distance riding in the past two years. I’ve yet to go beyond a 300k, but have big plans for 2018. With the weather turning cold and my arm in a sling from falling on a clavicle that I had cracked in half in August, I’m in the market for something I can ride indoors. New family obligations also put my time at a premium and a quieter machine will help me get stronger and keep me close to home.

So, my question is this:

As addicts of long rides, what trainers / indoor cycles do you guys use? If you won a modest sum of money in the lottery what would you look to buy for yourself for the upcoming holidays?

I’ve appreciated being able to read your insight over the previous 12 months and look forward to your thoughts here. For the record, I’m looking at going deep on a trainer that will ideally last me a long time; both the Wahoo Kickr 2017 and Tacx Neo have caught my eye, although they are pushing the limits of what’s financially feasible.

Thanks in advance!

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Century Question

December 4, 2017 Posted by Lenore Koch

Is a Century’s finish line 100 miles from the starting line, or is it a loop, starting and ending at the same or nearby location?

In other words, if I ride 51 miles out, turn around and ride back, did I ride a century or just 102 miles without doing a century?

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Tell me a story about a mechanical failure

December 4, 2017 Posted by Lenore Koch

I’ve had a similar problem!

My friend @TimmyT and I were riding a century out on Long Island. Maybe 40 miles out my bike got hard to pedal and then just stopped. Rear wheel wouldn’t turn. Even removing it from the frame was difficult. With the wheel off the bike, the axle wouldn’t turn. I adjusted the cones out a bit and it seemed okay.

We rode on.

But 25 miles later the same thing happened again. The cones had now damaged the axle threads pretty badly, and to fix that I took the axle all the way out. While I was messing with that, Tim looked at the wheel and figured out that the real problem was my free hub was loose. It was unscrewing itself as I rode.

Well that’s easy to fix if you have a 10 pm Allen wrench… but I didn’t.

The bike I was riding, however, had Weinmann 610 centerpull brakes, held on with 10 mm nuts. I took the whole brake bolt off the front brake, and took the nut off the rear brake. I locked the two nuts together on the brake bolt to give me an emergency 10 mm allen wrench, with which, with my crescent wrench, I was able to tighten the freehub.

After reassembling the hub, with no new grease and buggered axle threads (don’t even think about dirty balls), and reassembling the brakes, we rode on. Didn’t finish until after dark, but we finished.

Moral of that story? If you convert a 7 speed hub to 8 speed, make sure you tighten the new freehub pretty dang tight.

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Starting from scratch: building a new bicycle for randonneuring

December 1, 2017 Posted by Lenore Koch

I’ve been PMing with a few folks about their bikes, but I’d like to start a discussion in the open forum here.

Just by way of background, I have two bikes. One is a carbon frame from Ribble that I got on clearance and built into a 19 pound road bike. It has an Ultegra triple groupset that has a combination of 6600 shifters with the remainder of the 6700 group. The wheels are Shimano RS-80s that I got used. It only fits 23mm tires and has rim brakes. The fit on this bike is very aggressive and while I can and do ride it for a few hours at a time, I don’t think I’d want to do more than a 200k on it. I seldom ride it but I did put a few thousand miles on it over the past 6 years since I built it.

My second bike is a 2015 Surly Disc Trucker that I built myself from a frameset. It has a Shimano 105 5700 group except for the crank, which is a 48/36/26 trekking triple. The wheels were hand built by a local shop with a Shimano Alfine front dynamo and XT rear hub, 32 straight gauge spokes, and unknown rims. I recently bought a scale and weighed it with my usual seat bag, bottle cages but no bottles, fenders, pedals, computer, dyno lights, and a fuel tank bag on the top tube, and it was 16.3 kg (35.8 pounds). The fit is quite relaxed on this bike with something like 50mm of headset spacers and the bars relatively flat with the saddle. My fitness is quite a bit better so I could probably stand to adjust this slightly and have a bit of drop. I completed a 200k on this bike in September with 3300 feet of climbing and I ride it 3-400 miles a month. It has 26×1.6″ tires and is very comfortable other than the weight when climbing.

I’m considering building another bicycle to bridge the gap between these two. Honestly, I didn’t pay quite enough attention to weight on my Surly build and it’s probably carrying an extra ~5 pounds as a result, but the frameset is also 3 or so pounds heavier than a high end custom steel frameset. I intend to ride this bicycle on a SR series in 2018 and on PBP in 2019.

I want to build a bicycle that has:
26 (559) wheels
disc brakes
(probably) steel frame and fork
1.5″+ tires (probably going to use the Compass 26×1.8″), probably tubeless
dynamo lights and fenders
low trail fork and set up for a front rack + bag
(maybe) travel couplers

These are pretty much non-negotiable. I want to do 26″ wheels because I ride a 50cm bike and I fit better on the smaller wheels. 650b or 700c will be too many geometry compromises for my taste and too much toe overlap.

What I am interested in suggestions for are lightweight 559 rims. How light is too light on the wheels? My current wheels are too heavy, but with 26″ mountain bikes going by the wayside, options are limited. I want brute force durability, but I weigh 155 pounds, so I don’t need extreme overkill, either! I am thinking 32 spoke, but light. What rims should I use?

Who would you consider for the frame? Options I’ve considered are Waterford/Gunnar, R+E Cycles, Lynskey, Elephant, or possibly something full custom where I meet with the builder in person. Are there any others I should consider that you’d like to suggest?

Is it worth it to build a bike from scratch just to save ~7 pounds of weight? Ideally it would have shorter chainstays, low trial geometry, a mini front rack, but otherwise, my vision is for it to be pretty similar to my Surly. I love the fit of my Surly now, so it’d be hard to part with it, but it’s really going to be somewhat redundant in my stable if I build a specialized randonnuering bike.

If I don’t build a new bike, I would consider replacing my spokes + rims with lighter ones, running lighter tires, and generally trimming off the excess fat, but of course I want another bike, so I can’t help but ask.


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Steens-Mazama 1000 self-supported race

November 30, 2017 Posted by Lenore Koch

Howdy folks,

Are any of you familiar with the Steens-Mazama 1000 (

I’ve put an inquiry in to participating in the 2018 race, and would love to hear from folks that have ridden or raced the route, or have participated in similar ultra-distance events. This race sounds pretty epic: 1000 miles of self-supported, mixed-terrain riding around the highest paved- and non-paved roads in Oregon. If I can manage to get a few days off from classes, then I might use this race as a way to get my feet wet in the world of long-distance riding.


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Ultracycling and childhood trauma

November 26, 2017 Posted by Lenore Koch

Machka’s Website
Machka Rowan’s Photo Gallery

And links to …
Some of my favourite photo threads on Bikeforums
List of monthly photo contests in Foo
2017 – Your Short Tours
Walking as a second language

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Gearing questions

November 7, 2017 Posted by Lenore Koch

My bike has 26/36/48 on the front and 12-30 on the rear (10 speed). I don’t find myself using all of the rear unless I’m 100 miles in and feeling like I got my ass kicked by mother nature, but I’m glad it’s there. The 36 and 48 rings are perfect for me, with the 36 offering enough speed for all but the most windless flat terrain and a good overlap with the top of my 48 tooth ring. If I’m near the bottom of the 36, I can almost always find a gear a few gears up on the 48 where I’m comfortable at a similar speed.

I don’t think a 50/34 with an 11-32 would be comfortable for me. It would require me to give up my top two climbing gears, which when I’m tired, I’m glad they’re there if the grade gets steep. The 50 ring would put me near the top of that cassette in the flats, where I’d be either in or too near the big/big combo or between rings, which is annoying. My ladyfriend who rides with me has 48/32, which I would find much more useful than 50/34 (especially since she has a 36 tooth cog in the back to bail her out if it’s rough).

Having always had triples on every bike I’ve built/rode, I could probably find a double that would work for me, if I had to, I’ve just never had to make that compromise, so I never had to try to figure out where I’d be comfortable. The triple allows me to do probably 80% of my riding time in the middle ring, gives me the small ring when I need to slow down to keep my heart rate/intensity under control, and gives me a big ring for descending and for the nice sunny days when the wind is at my back. If you can find a way to duplicate that feeling with the right double, go for it!

Triples are heavier and my three ranges overlap each other quite a bit, so I am not unpersuaded that I could find a double setup that’d work for me, I’ve just never had to, because the triple gives me the ability to have whatever overall range I want with closer steps between gears, in compromise for the increased weight and complexity of the triple (having to trim the front d in certain gears, and it’s probably more of a pain to get dialed in exactly right to be able to use all 30 gears). It’s worth it for me, but the trend is definitely NOT toward the kinda setup I’m running, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

50/34 with 32 teeth in the rear was designed for road bikes with a rider and a seat bag. Once you add weight to that bike, you’re going to want more gear than that, unless you live in Nebraska.

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Specialized Allez vs Sequoia vs Trek Emonda vs Trek 520

November 5, 2017 Posted by Lenore Koch

So I am still on the hunt for a new road bike (first time buyer). I am not interested in racing but riding long and far… centuries and such.

My LBS recommended a Specialized Allez as a first bike, but I am eyeing the Sequoia since that seems more of a long ride bike from what I gather on the website. The other LBS carries Trek and recommended an Emonda that was a close out, but looking at the website at Trek it seems the 520 would be more what I am looking for.

Thoughts anyone? Am I right or am I over thinking this?

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