Sunday, July 27, 2008

Test Run

Two days on an 80lb bike, with an additional 40lbs of gear, 200miles from my house to Sugar Bottoms and back via random gravel and pave.

For my own organizing purposes, here's the gear list:

On the right side of the bike: Luxury Thermarest, a ziplock with a few books, and a Seal line bag containing a sleeping bag, blanket, towel, and casual shorts.

On the left side of the bike: Bibler tent in the red granite gear bag, poles and vestibule in the skinny black bag, purple granite gear bag contains three ziplocks with two pairs of riding shorts, three lightweight SS shirts, one LW LS Smartwool, arm and legwarmers, wool gloves, 3pairs of socks of varying weights, and the legs of the Northface convertable pants I'm wearing. (note to self, remember spare underwear). Small Wingnut bag with MSR cookpan, 2bowls, 6packs of oatmeal, silverware, washcloth, hankerchief, hand crank battery cell, USB cord, tent stakes, IB profin, band aids, spare contacts, contacts case, and solution. MSR dragonfly stove, hat, Rainlegs, and raincoat.

MSR fuel bottle with white gas for stove went in the rearmost waterbottle cage, Nightrider bottle battery in the front frame cage, and I started with three waterbottles, one in the rear frame cage, and one on each side of the front fork(works good!). I ended up with another MSR bottle for gasoline in the rear frame cage and another strapped to the luggage on the right side, and one of the water bottles tucked under a strap.

Wingnut pack on my back had 50oz of water, sunblock, 2 NUUN capsules, Hammerflask, cellphone, camera, lip balm, wallet, hankerchief, Gerber Cool Tool, scissors, headlamp, zipties, ziplock bags, windvest, matchs, IB Profin, bandaids, patch kit, 2 Snickers Charged, 1 toe strap, small roll of duct tape, a whole bunch of reflective ankle straps, and an empty soap box I picked up in IA city(another note to self, bring soap).

Also on the bike, Garmin 305 GPS, cable lock, 2 tubes, pump, more zipties, another scissors, another microtool, Planet Bike superflash, SMV sign, and a bunch of thought provoking stickers.

I thought about leaving the Wingnut pack home, but I'm used to it and it's a handy place to keep your camera/cellphone/wallet/lipbalm/sunscreen/food/soapbox? OK the soap box goes in the Wingnut accesory bag with all the other incidentals next time around. I could have done without duplicating tools between the pack and the bike, but the tools in the pack stay in the pack, and the tools in the bike well...maybe I'll take the tools out of the bike if I always wear the pack, eh?

Other future changes:
I've got about a 40% chance of waking up without a back ache with the best of the Thermarest pads, so I'm planning on switching to a Luxurylite Cot. I've heard nothing but good things about these. Another Seal line bag would make this rig weatherproof, and help keep the gravel dust at bay. I've got a Big Dummy frame on order(just like everybody else). Nuvinci CVT is ordered, hopefully it beats the frame here. I should have some Reelights, and an AXA lock to play with by the end of the week. At some point I'm going to invest in another Schmidt SON28(S this time) and an EDeluxe to fill out the lighting demands. I think I'll order two more pair of these, carry my second pair North face convertable pants, and ditch the riding shorts. Wool base + nylon shell + leather Selle An Atomica saddle = perfect touring setup. No clammy, smelly, riding shorts. Dries super fast, and you don't have to feel like a lycra clad superhero everywhere you ride. Need a couple more LW SS wool shirts, and my shipment of Swiftwicks are on their way now. Maybe some Keen clipless sandals, and a Garmin 705. Retrogrouch you say? I'm riding a SS motorized gravel touring Xtracycle with a 5"fork...right. And I happen to think Rivendell, Velo Orange, Clever Cycles, and Peter White are getting it right, thank you.

The bike handles quite a bit different with the extra 40lbs on the back. Standing and climbing is much more wiggly(Still worlds better than any trailer or even full racks on a touring steed). I had some issues with gear pushing against my fender stays, making the fender rub the rear tire. A dedicated Xtracycle frame like the Surly Big Dummy would address both these issues. The WTB 26x2.55" Weirwolf LTs are the perfect tire for this thing, and they just barely fit under the Planet Bike Cascadia fenders, but it's a worthwhile combination. Rumbles, can't even feel'em. Pothole, where? Run off the road, vagrant gravel, no problem. With the help of the motor I managed all the hills, including getting into and out of Sugar Bottoms(twice) on a 40x16 gear without resorting to dismounting and pushing. On a couple of occasions while fully loaded I did get it to slip the chain on the Surly cog on the rear freewheel. The Surly cogs tooth profile is a little pointy for my taste, and I'd make a cog for it, but I'm really hoping to be replacing that wheel with a Nuvinci wheel within the next two weeks. I found that even though I've got a motor helping me wrestle this beast down the road, my legs are still smoked from trying to keep my spin up over 90rpm for 200miles. Gears will be a whole nuther ball game, and I'm looking forward to it. The Staton gear to gear, gear reduction is super stout, and I'm sure it'll last forever, but it sure is noisy. Next go around will be a two or three stage Gates timing belt gear reduction, and full belt drivetrain fully enclosed. The chains have alot to be desired. Belts will be a load quieter, more efficient, cleaner, and less maintainence. Fairing will be played with after I get gears figured out on OHV1. Big Dumb Pugsley after Big Dumb Motorbike V2.



Jason said...

Thanks for sharing!

I have wanted to build something like that since 2002? (See my post on the frambuilders email list) but you are actually doing it instead of just talking. Very cool and inspirational. Thanks for all the product links. You have found some very cool stuff indeed.

The bike is taking on a bit of a Mad Max look, reminds me of some of the stuff the crazy's around Reno ride. How has the response been from other cyclists? Around here they can be a bit harsh about thinking outside the box. Your probably immune to it anyway with the recumbents and streamliners anyway.

Do your research on the belts. I have seen several systems fail (slip). When I last played with belts (on the Zepher ASME HPV), the rounded tooth pattern was far superior to the squarish tooth pattern. I doubt they will be more efficient than chains however.


Buckshot77 said...

Damn, that's just awesome man. A quick question on the An-atomica. I'm planning to grab one for use on my tandem. Since my wife isn't much on standing to pedal, I end up stuck in the saddle for much longer periods of time than on any of my other bikes. Think that situation will still work well with the an-atomica?

Steve Fuller said...

buckshot - either the selle anatomica or a brooks. Wall Bike has a 6 month money back guarantee on their brooks saddles

Neve_r_est said...

Jason: Thanks. This was the best option I could come up with the my combination of requirements. I still have alot of refining to do, but it's been a great learning experience already. I've yet to run into anyone, cyclist or elswise, that had a negative comment. I still need to figure out how to jump through a few legal hoops, but I'm not going to wait around for the red tape.
You can bet I'll do my homework on belts, I've been wanting to try them for awhile, so here's the prime opportunity.

Rick: I've had a Brooks B17, two Brooks Swifts, and now this Selle An Atomica. I've been riding the Swifts for 12years now and they are the bomb. The B17 was way too stiff and wide for my liking. I've only got about 350miles on the Sell An Atomica, but so far its the best yet, and unlike the other leather saddles no break-in period. Comfy straight out of the box. Durability might be the downfall, we'll see. Check out the Rivendell and Velo-Orange links in addition to Wall bike for saddles. Brooks prices have tripled since I first bought mine. There are a few new leather saddle options out there that may be worth a look as well. Invest in a saddle cover to protect against rain and theft no matter what you end up with.


Anonymous said...

1 lbs. for Kitty


Ari said...

This is the best post I have read in a very long time. I long cry from the WRX that we spoke about on the Trans Iowa. Let me know if I can help in any way. I hope to ride with you again someday. I have fond memories of that day.
from Sycamore