The Bike Stable

4 Jan

In the spirit of getting to know each other and since this blog is partly about bikes I think I should introduce my little stable. I’m not like a world famous blogger who has bikes given to him by Specialized. I don’t begrudge Fatty (The Fat Cyclist) anything, even if I’m slightly jealous, I always read his stuff and I have donated to his favorite charities.
My road bike is first in the stable and is nothing to brag about but it is what I have. I put it first because it is the one that gets the most miles each year. My roadie is a 2008 Trek 1.5 (60cm). The frame (aluminum) and fork (carbon) is stock as are the rims, hubs, seat post (carbon), shifters (Sora STI) and breaks. The original 2×9 crank set (53-39) was replaced with a 3×9 Shimano Tiagra FC4503 Crankset (50-39-30) on an Ultegra 6700 bottom bracket. This crankset is a Hollowtech that helps lower weight and spread the bearings for better stiffness. The cassette went to a Sram 11-32. This is what I call my alpine gearing. It gives me a respectful top end (50×11) and a stump pulling, hill grinding bottom end (30×32). This setup required a long cage mountain bike type rear derailleur to make it work. I used a Shimano Deore. This setup puts my shift points a little further apart but not so far as to be unusable. Cross chaining is more of an issue so I need to be mindful. From a rider fit and comfort stand point much of the rider interface components have changed. The seat is a Specialized Toupe’ expert with titanium rails, good comfort and proper support. I changed the stem to an AKA Truvativ short stem that I had to bring the reach in some. The handle bars are changed to some no name (Chinese made) carbon fiber flat top 440 mm width drop bars. The bikes pedals have changed a couple of times. Right after I got the bike in ’08 I went to Wellgo SPD’s. They did a good job for several years. The next set was a Shimano Look style that I got used from a friend. They helped with a knee pain I was having. The mounting retainer clip pivot broke on one so they had to be retired. Recently I went to a Wellgo Look style pedals for a little better connection. These seem to be working fine. The biggest single part change to improve both ride comfort and performance was the tires. I upgraded to Continental gatorskin. The feel is good and the ride is much smoother and no flats (we will talk about flats in another post) in four months of riding.
The second bike is my mountain bike. I should say my 29er. This is the one that gets the second amount of miles each year. I’m pleased with this bike choice. It was reasonable investment and has good capabilities. I have had this one about fifteen months. It is a 2012 Trek X-Caliber (21”). This bike is still mostly stock. The first of two upgrades is the seat post was changed to an older Rock Shox suspension seatpost. It works really well to take the edge off a hardtail ride. The only significant weakness is that they don’t still manufacture them. I love having this on my hardtail. It adds only a little weight and it makes the ride a lot more comfortable. The combination of a 29er wheel and a seatpost shock gives a ride very like a 26” full-suspension without any loss of peddling efficiency and less weight gain or investment. The other upgrade was converting to tubeless. The bike comes with tubeless ready tires and rims so it was a no brainer. I have not had even one flat so far. In an area that is known for flats. The pedals are Crank Brothers Eggbeater 1.
The third bike is my bad boy. It is a 2008 Gary Fisher HiFi [modified](17.5”). I bought the frame used from a fella that rides many of the same trails as I do. He said he was not happy with it because he found himself going over the bars too often. In the time that I have had it I have dumped it a few times but have never gone over the bars like he described. The frame is a little small for me but that has worked well when I want to slash and dash some of our twisty single track. It is an aluminum frame with carbon (seat stays) inserts in the rear suspension triangle. The Fox Float RP2 is the only other stock part. Front fork is a Rock Shox Recon Silver TK. This was a cost effective choice that turned out to work well. The brakes are hydraulic disc. Shifters are Shimano LX, the derailleurs are XT, the crankset is LX (44-32-22). I have a Kenda Nevegal Stick-E John Tomac Tire. This tire has super traction and digs in to loose corners nicely. It is a little heavy but it is a 2.35×26 so it’s a monster. I like the way it works on the loose rocks and deep gravel that some of our local trails have. The rear tire is a 2.3×26 Specialized Renegade Control, it has good traction and is rather light. I’m running both as tubeless on DT Swiss wheels. Once again since I went tubeless I have not had any flats. See I have a thing about flats. In the rider compartment I went to the Bontrager Select stem that came off my Trek 1.5. Yes I know it’s a road stem but it works, ok. The seat is a cheap Bell that was laying around. The pedals are Crank Brothers Eggbeater 1.
That rounds out my stable. They all have their share of chips and scratches. These are bikes for real world use. I take good care of my equipment. I also use it, sometimes hard, sometimes even a bit carelessly. These bikes are serving me well, they may not be fast, not pretty, but they always give me a good time. Isn’t that what we ride for, to enjoy the day.
So to brow a line from a Queen song “Get on your bikes and ride.”


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