Category Archives: My Bikes

New Bike

There’s only one scenario where getting a new bike is a bad thing, and that’s when you’ve had a bike stolen from you. Especially if it’s a bike you’ve built from the ground up. But, even considering that – new bike!

Of course I’ve had several “new” bikes in recent years, but they’re always been vintage bikes. Getting a brand new bike from a shop i haven’t done since I worked at Redbike about ten years ago.

Before I even started looking, I new there wouldn’t be that many for me to choose from. For starters, I wasn’t going to spend a lot on it – $2000 was my target. And I just don’t have any interest in a lot of the bikes out there now.

I’m sure trail bikes like the Rocky Thunderbolt and Kona Process/Precept are awesome, but I don’t ride enough to warrant a bike like that. I wanted a hard tail with a long fork and 27.5″ wheels. And it pretty much had to be steel. Aluminium is fine, but steel is just a better fit.

That really left me with only two choices.

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How to be a bike mechanic

Years ago, I bought a Dekerf Team ST that was very well used. The fork oil was all over the outside of the fork, the fork crown was cracked, the frame probably had never been cleaned, the cables were messed up, and the wheels… The wheels had a clunk in the front – like there was a loose bearing – and a rumble in the back, which usually means a pitted cone.

And on top of that, the rear rim is very concave on the braking surface – the metal has been worn away and the brake pads will soon break right though the rim. They rim really should be replaced before it breaks.

The problem is  that they’re weird wheels. The nipples are at the hub instead of the rim. The rear is offset bigtime. Getting a new rim to fit these wheel is probably not an option.

Cane Creek WAM

Cane Creek WAM

I was pretty discouraged by all this at the time. They’re Cane Creek WAM Cronos, which was a pretty high end wheelset from the late 90’s. It really seemed dumb that they were essentially garbage.

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Bridgestone

The part of industrial giant Bridgestone that makes bikes, started doing so in 1949. Some were called Kabuki, some called Anchor (pretty crappy name for a bike I figure), and today they still make track bikes for Japanese Keirin (track) racing. However, it’s the mountain bikes from the mid 80’s on that I really care about.

I read on a forum not too long ago that even when new, Bridgestones were old-fashioned. Once my jimmies were sufficiently un-rustled, I realized that this was pretty accurate. They never made a mountain bike from aluminum and they were really late to the suspension party. In 1994, I’d guess they realized they were making bikes that just weren’t going to be popular, and decided to pull the plug on North American operations, rather than get modern.

MB-5

MB-5

What was unique about them, was product manager Grant Petersen. At this time, what a lot of companies did, was simply buy a bunch of Shimano DX component groups, and a bunch of XT groups, put them on two frames, and there was two price points done.  The reason for this was the discount Shimano offered for buying the entire group. And we’re not just talking brakes, and front derailleurs, but even the little plastic guide for the derailleur cable that goes under the bottom bracket.

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Vintage wheel size?

I was chatting with my neighbour the other day, and he made a comment that was really innocuous at the time, but when I thought about it really quite telling about the state of the industry.

He’s a rider too I should mention – has a Giant enduro-type bike from a couple years ago.

We were discussing the end of the 26″ wheel.  I mentioned that I have a set of Mavic XC717 rims, and they’re probably the last high-quality, rim brake compatible, 26″ rims made.  He said; “Soon there won’t be any good 26″ stuff left for us.”

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