Dragon, Kearny Street, 2013 Chinese New Year Parade San Francisco, California (Community Youth Center San Francisco)
To get up into the hills, I ride my bike through glass strewn, broken city streets. Including the weight of my bike, I’m pushing almost 100 kg. I was getting a lot of punctures from very small pieces of glass, frequently enough that I started to consider tire savers. If I hear a crunching sound or ride over small pieces of glass I don’t see in time, I reflexively put my thumb down on the rotating tire to hopefully flick off debris.
Though I need a rear tire that is more resistant to punctures, I also didn’t want to compromise too much on weight because I am riding a racing bike, even though it is from the early 80′s. Years ago, when I lived in Manhattan, I went from tubular tires to a Specialized Armadillo. It was like putting on a truck tire.
After I read Bruce Weber’s account of his flatless cross country bicycle ride with Schwalbe Durano tires, I bought a Schwalbe Durano Plus. With a folding bead, the 700 x 25C tire weighs 380 gm. Compared to the Continental Grand Prix 4-Season (that I was riding in a less demanding environment) the Schwalbe Durano Plus tire had a certain sluggish response.
One of my local bike shops suggested a Continental GatorSkin. They didn’t have the foldable version so I bought the 300 gm, wire bead, 700 x 25C. The GatorSkin felt more responsive than the Durano Plus and through it’s life, I only had one puncture. Unfortunately, the cord started showing in one spot after about 3500 miles.
I would have bought a folding Gatorskin, but LBS #2 wasn’t a Continental dealer. They suggested a Specialized Roubaix Armadillo Elite. I mounted it on my Mavic Open Pro wheel without shredding my thumbs or using tire irons to get the final part of the bead over the rim. Even though it weighs 305 gm, the Elite feels more responsive than the other two tires. For $60, I hope it wears well.
Specialized says, “The Roubaix is an Endurance Road tire for epic rides from smooth country roads to rough field roads.” Since my riding is none of the above, hopefully it will just work.
The Surefire Z32 bezel was used on the Surefire M2 flashlight and currently on the Surefire M951XM07 Millennium® Universal WeaponLight. The main design function of the bezel is to isolate the incandescent lamp assembly from weapon recoil shock. Since the shock mechanism reduces the heat dissipation ability of the bezel, I use aluminum shims or copper tape around the LED drop-ins to help dissipate the heat through the flashlight body.
The Surefire 6P, is to me, what a flashlight looks like (though I have moved on from incandescent lamp assemblies to LED drop-ins, such as this modified Malkoff M61). The stock Surefire 6P is 5.20″ (132 mm) long and the bezel diameter is 1.25″ (~32 mm). I like the current design of the Surefire Z32 bezel as opposed to the original design with the vented ribs. The Z32 bezel is about 1/4″ larger in diameter and about 3/8″ longer than the Z44 bezel that is standard on the 6P. With a Z32 bezel on a 6P body, it looks even more like a flashlight.
9th Street, Oakland, California, just hours before Super Bowl XLVII
When I went to Montano Velo to buy some spokes and a rim for a new wheel build, they sold me Phil Wood spokes. I bought double butted spokes, so it took a few minutes to prepare them on the spoke machine. I had always used DT spokes and I really didn’t notice that they weren’t DT spokes until I started threading them through the hub and saw “PHIL” embossed on the butted section near the spoke head. I used Damon Rinard’s free spoke length calculator, which is an Excel spreadsheet with macros, to calculate the length of spokes that I needed. After truing and dishing the wheel, the spoke length calculations proved correct.
I also used a Mavic Open Pro rim. The Mavic Open Pro rims have double eyelets, which hopefully distribute the stresses through the two sections of the rim. I considered the Mavic CXP33, which has more of a V-profile than the Open Pro. I guess I’m a traditionalist. I’m not interested in saving weight – I just need strong wheels that will hold up to someone who weighs 14.2857 stone and occasionally bunny hops on craggy Oakland streets. I have never had any problems with Mavic rims. In the past, I have used the G40, GP3, GP4, MA40 and MA3. On my first ride today, the wheel didn’t pretzel so I guess it’s working.
Camera: Nikon D7000. Lens: Nikon Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 (lens gift of Joe McNally)
After building a new wheel and acquiring a new 13-26 Campagnolo Record 8 Speed Ultra Drive cassette, I needed to change the cog in the final position from a 26 tooth to something larger so I could have a lower gear for hills. My normal ride has a Category 3 climb, according to the Tour of California’s rating of bike climbs. There is also a short 9.5% grade that I dread every time I get there, so the extra 2.6 gear-inches makes a difference.
I couldn’t find an 8 speed Campagnolo cog larger than a 26 tooth but there seemed to be Miche (Campagnolo 10 speed compatible) cogs with 27, 28 and 29 teeth for sale on eBay. According to every source I found, Campagnolo 10 speed cogs would not work on an 8 speed hub, mainly because the splines are deeper and there is a stepped-ridge on one of the splines. That’s where the Dremel cut-off wheels come in. After a few minutes with the cut-off wheel and some chamfering of the splines with a file, the 10 speed cog was now 8 speed compatible.
I have been using Campagnolo Record hubs since the I started buying Campagnolo components in the early 80′s. When cassette hubs were introduced, I stayed with freewheel hubs because of the 126mm drop out spacing on my De Rosa.
I’ve also been using a Shimano Dura Ace (Hyperglide) freewheel because of its good availability. The center to center spacing (5.0mm) and the thickness of the cogs are very similar to the early Campagnolo 8 speed according to Sheldon Brown’s Bicycle Frame and Cassette Spacing Crib Sheet. The Shimano freewheel also works very well with the Campagnolo Record Syncro downtube shift levers that I use with a 7 speed insert.
This was all fine until the rear hub developed a hairline crack at one of the spoke holes. Instead of buying a used Campagnolo freewheel hub, I decided to find a used Campagnolo 8 speed hub. This seemed the most economical route as opposed to buying new Campagnolo Ergopower controls, a new rear wheel with a Campagnolo Record hub, new 10 or 11 speed sprockets and a new derailleur.
The 8 speed hub I bought on eBay had clean bearings and races when I disassembled it so I just cleaned everything up and added new grease. I bought a Mavic Open Pro (CD) rim and laced it up this afternoon. I managed to buy a new Campagnolo Record 8 Speed Ultra Drive cassette on eBay so my 30 year old De Rosa is back in business with a 20 year-old shifting system.
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