Saturday, April 23, 2016

I had one day off before having to work a 6 day stretch. The weather was warm and sunny, so I headed out for a ride. I had no particular direction in mind but the wind helped me determine my first turn towards Whippoorwill Rd in the hopes that it would be a bit sheltered.  As I was traveling along Whippoorwill I passed a small parking area with a map of the trails that it led to. On the map they showed a dirt road so naturally I had to check it out. Well the road proved to be less extensive than the map led me to believe and every off shoot soon became too rough for the likes of me. Never the less it was a good warm up.

At this point I decided I would head over to Ashlawn Farm to get a frozen coffee drink. As I headed up the multi use path over the bridge there was a RUSA sign announcing a rest stop feast just around the corner. Looking up the path I saw two randonneurs. Well the thought of some sort of a brevet route coming through my neck of the woods peeked my curiosity so I kicked it into 2nd so I could catch up to the riders up ahead. I passed them on the bridge and a little bit later the male rider passed me. We continued back and forth like this for a while and at one point I asked him where he had come from. He told me he had come from Westfield  Mass, holy crap no wonder I passed them on the up hill of the bridge!  A 300 km brevet is 190 miles!  RUSA's idea of just around the corner turned out to be about 3 miles to Saybrook Point Monument Park.  Later I learned it was the Old Saybrook 300 km hosted by Berkshire Brevets . Old Saybrook was the midway point control before the randonneurs headed back to Westfield.

After I discovered where the control was I meandered around Saybrook point. That's when I discovered a thorn in the sidewall of my front tire. Of course I was compelled to pull it out, at which point sealant began bubbling out. I don't have a tubeless set up and on the Soma I use tubes with Schrader valves which aren't ideal if your going to put sealant inside the tube, but it is possible to remove the core from a schrader valve.

I decided to put sealant into my tubes after one too many sharp metal objects had pierced  my tire and tube. Now the sealant was put to the test. I wiped away the bubbling sealant but it just came right back, so I decided to pedal up the road a bit then stop and check the tire again. Less than 200 ft later I stopped and the sealant was still bubbling, so I leaned the bike to the side of the hole for a moment and spun the tire. At that point the sealant seemed to be congealing so I went on my merry way. Ten minutes later I arrived at the coffee shop. No doubt the tire had lost some pressure but the tube seemed to be sealed. After wiping away the dried sealant I could no longer see any signs of the piercing.

I know there's dry rot on the side walls but I have never had a problem riding tires like this. I will take a closer look at the tire and tube in the near future but several days later it is maintaining it's pressure. I use Joe's eco sealant
 It doesn't contain any latex and I believe it is better for use inside tubes than some of the other sealants on the market that ball up after about 6 months.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Bridgestone MB-2

Yep I did it again, started a bike project without taking pictures first. I purchased this 1992 MB-2 last winter. The bike was in good shape but the paint and decals were shot. It must have spent a lot of time on a bike rack because it was scratched beyond anything I've ever seen. The former owner did make some attempts to touch up the scratches with blue and black paint, yikes!  As usual I started cleaning the bike, then out came the rubbing compound. One thing led to another and parts started coming off. Ultimately it led to a full paint job done by me and Testers.

I made my own decals, which is why the down tube decal isn't true to the original on the MB-2. I printed the decals on waterslide paper, applied clear coat to keep the ink from running off the paper and then applied them to the frame. It's a real pain and I don't think I'll try it again.  

Originally I tried to set the bike up with drop bars but ultimately I couldn't overcome the extra long top tube. At 24 inches it's 2 inches longer than my other drop bar bicycles. The 49 cm frame came with a long stem, straight riser handlebars, and grip shifters. The stem may have been original but the grip shifters and handlebars were not. I originally tried a Nitto Technomic 50 cm stem on the bike but switched to the Nitto Dirt Drop stem to try and get the handlebars higher with the drop bars installed.

I used a pair of inexpensive plastic fenders I had hanging around. I cut the rear fender shorter since there's nobody ever riding behind me. On the front fender I made and extension to the existing mud flap using a piece of old tire tube and some rubber used to make gaskets. It's a bit of a kludge but provides a bit more protection than before.

After riding the bike for a while I realized I was using the middle 34 tooth chainring with a 7 speed 11-28 cassette 98% of the time. So I decided to go to a 1 x 7 setup. At the time I had been borrowing a rear wheel from another old mountain bike because the rim that came with the MB-2 was shot. I had my LBS replace the rim, unfortunately I didn't know that the rear freehub body was dried out until I put a new cassette on and gave it a spin. It spins fine but is rather loud due to the lack of lubrication. I tried to service it but it requires a special tool that Shimano no longer makes. There is a way to make a tool (thanks You Tube) but I haven't gone that route yet. Since this bike is supposed to be for bad weather I decided to just ride it as is. When the hub dies I'll replace it. Who knows how long it will last. My goal with this bike was to use the parts I had on hand with a few exceptions, IE: the rim and dirt drop stem. Also when I made it a 1x, I had to change to a shorter BB, a 38 tooth chainring, a Sugino chainring guard, and a 11-34 cassette. 

I had the Rivendell Saddle Sac and the Brooks B68 saddle which is no longer made. If you want a wider Brooks saddle you now have to buy a sprung saddle!  The Saddle Sac makes a nice trunk.

Nitto Dirt Drop - MT-10, is the tallest of all the 1 inch quill stems. 35 degrees of rise, 100 mm extension and 155 mm from minimum insertion. Picture a heavy duty Nitto Technomic stem inserted to it's minimum insertion mark, which gives you 6" of rise, then take 80 - 100 mm of extension and angle it up 35 degrees, that's the Nitto MT-10 in a nutshell. I should say that is the MT-10 long quill in a nutshell. The short quill Dirt Drop has only 90 mm from the minimum insertion mark. The shorter version seems to be more commonly found. I found the long quill at http://www.benscycle With the swept back handle bars I'm not even close to using all of the stem's potential height. 

I made handlebar grips from remnants of used Brooks leather tape wrapped around bits of gel pads. The additional grip areas are wrapped with Newbaums cloth tape with  two coats of clear wax free shellac to keep the tape from fading and fraying.

Grip shifters are hardly a classic look but they are as easy to use with bulky winter gloves as they are with bare hands. I also like the fact that you can shift several gears at once like a friction, or indexed bar end shifter. You can't do that with rapid fire shifters which is kind of ironic. The front derailleur also gets a bit of trim with grip shifters, rapid fire shifters don't allow for any trim. Sometimes I think the bulky collar of the grip shifter is kind in the way of my hand space but other times I think it provides I nice place to keep my hand from slipping forward. When I finally have to replace the rear hub the shifter will also have to be changed because newer hubs are 8,9,or 10 speed compatible and I won't try to rig it with a spacer just to keep it 7 speed.

The handlebars are Civia Duponts that I had hanging around. They are very similar to the Nitto Albatross handlebars except they are 22.2 mm wide readily accepting shifters and brake levers used on mountain bikes but they are too narrow for bar end shifters.

The MB-2's frame and fork were constructed with Ritchey Logic Prestige tubes, and the rear diamond was constructed with Logic CroMo ,unlike the top of the line MB-1 which had 100% Ritchey Logic Prestige tubes. From what I've read the logic tubes had shorter butts allowing longer thin sections. 

The Deore XT linear pull brake was an upgrade that the previous owner made. Oddly he had it mounted in the rear using the left hand brake lever mounted upside down on the right side. The original cantilever brakes were mounted on the front with their original lever. I just flipped the brakes and levers around. Since the front brake is generally stronger I wanted the superior linear pull brake up front. I replaced the rear Dia Comp cantilever that was part of the MB-2's original set up with an Avid Shorty that I had in the parts bin. If nothing else they are easier to set up with adjustable spring tension for centering the brake arms and shoes.

The original Deore XT rear derailleur and Specialized crankset remain. Both wheels were replaced at some point and from the looks of them with their purple alloy nipples and wheelsmith spokes I think they were built by my LBS. Below is a list of the original build specs. 

The complete Bridgestone 1992 USA catalog can be found here:
A Wald medium basket is zip tied to $12 Sunlite Gold Tec front rack. Also zip tied to the rack is a piece of the old handlebar with corks plugging the ends, which gives me a place to mount my headlight under the basket.

So all and all with the various changes I'm probably out of pocket $300 for the bike and parts. I'm sure there will be more changes to come. As anyone who is a big enough bike geek to read all this knows bikes can go through several iterations before they finally settle into their final state.

                                            Happy riding