Hunter Nugz and Paul Racers

In the ongoing quest for improving all possible Rambler build variants, as well as being able to answer customer questions with first hand knowledge, we recently acquired a set of Hunter Nugs from Rick at Hunter Cycles.  Thank you Rick for the samples, as well as the generally awesome things you bring to the bike world.  These cool little pieces of engineering move the cable adjustment point to the end of you brake straddle cable.  A side benefit is using the cut off end of the standard double ended road brake cable as the straddle cable. Having the ability to adjust your brake cable length, and thus brake pad position is a critical part of building up the bike.  The Nugs add an option to the list of possible adjustment point: the lever, inline, the stops or the Nugz.  Once I had the Nug in hand it became apparent that these were not going to allow for proper clearances with the standard Racer brake.  The height of the adjustable stop ends up in conflict with the pivot.  4.25 Racer Nugs-1050616 4.25 Racer Nugs-1050613 4.25 Racer Nugs-1050610 4.25 Racer Nugs-1050608These pictures show the brake in the open position.  Even with the arms in mid swing as they would be in use the clearance is just not there with proper set up for a 23mm rim.  As shown, the drive side pad is in contact with the A23 rim.  The spacial conflict occurs with the Nug and pivot in two planes.  I have a couple of other ideas that have sprung out of the test fitting, but until then, I can not recommend the Nugs for use on the Ramblers.

There is a chance that these might work with the Racer Mediums do to the upsweep in the upper brake arm.  I can neither confirm or deny since I do not have the Racer Medium on hand at the moment.

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Coffee Outside Mid April Recap

I made it out more times than I would like to admit in the last 10 days in an attempt to get some “Summer” coffee outside pics for potential publication in a magazine.  With that  kind of potential on the horizon the fog set in, thick fog, every morning but one.  The clear day I had the pleasure of a company, Tony was out from the east coast on vacation.  In spite of the weather  it is still one of my favorite ways to increase the bike fun in the mornings.

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Easter Weekend Free Shipping

Update – We are letting the sale Roll through Monday 4/21 1:30 PM wets coast time in hopes of playing a major role in your Monday Morning Work Avoidance Program

4.18 Free Shipping memeWe don’t do sale often, the prices on our goods are already at a low point that makes no good business sense, and the big idea was that volume would balance it out.  So who do you call people to action, other than having awesome stuff?  Free shipping all weekend with code EasterShipFree at checkout.  This applies to all in stock items, kerchiefs, caps, wallets, etc….and Ramblers Too!

Thanks – Happy Easter – and Play Outside!

 

 

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Coffee Outside

I woke up at my “regular” 4:30 AM for the first time since Daylight saving time started this year. That meant that #coffeeoutside could actually happen, and be break after a couple hours of work was on the clock.   A great way to kick off Spring

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Bunyan Velo No.4

Bunyan Velo is an online magazine dedicated to the beauty and the story of bicycle travel.  Only out for a year now the latest issue, No.4, was recently released.  I have been asking Lucas, the editor, for advertising rates and space for the last six months, and the answer has always been no.  He wanted an article.  Most of the articles are about grand adventures to far away places, and my big adventure has been family and Ocean Air Cycles for the last two years.  He wanted to share my story a bit, how the micro adventures are crammed into the gaps in the day.  After kicking some ideas back and forth we settled on the #coffee outside.  Cramming a little bit of campaign back into a regular morning.

Print

I am honored to be included in a journal with so many great story tellers, photographers and adventurers.  Each issue keeps getting better.  Check it out, share it with your friend and spread the word.

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38mm and Tubeless?

The tubeless tire setups common in the MTB world have been slowly starting to creep into the fat tire road bike niche.  The benefits of weight savings, running lower pressures and near flat-proofness all translate to some degree.  I have been asked, and do not recommend that the commonly available 38-40mm tires be set up tubeless for most riders.  The risk of failure is too high for most of us.  That said, today I did this:

2.22 Orange Seal wp-9040997Things are not always what they appear though.

There are a few perimeters that all come into play to make tubeless setups work.  Removing the rim from this discussion for now, the tire generally needs a bead that has near zero stretch, and a sidewall/casing with a butyl liner to protect it from the solvents in the tubeless compound.  Tubeless setups are generally run at lower pressures for improved traction and comfort.  The sealing solution is meant to seal up any small gaps in the system, but also seals any punctures along the way.

That all sounds great for what we want out of our light and supple 38mm tires.  I brought this up a few years back while talking with Kirk Pacenti ant NAHBS.  He has a strong grasp of tubeless design and had recently launched his 650b PariMoto tire.  The first problem is with the tire itself.  To make them proper for tubeless they have a butyl liner bonded to the inside of the tire.  With large MTB tires this liner is significantly lighter than the tube it replaces.  As the tire gets smaller the point of diminishing returns is approached.  The available super light tubes weigh about the same (100-120g) as that the liner and a full load of sealant would weigh.  The zero stretch bead needed adds further weight.  Then there is the pressure consideration.  Riders at or over 180 lbs will likely be running pressures greater than 45psi.  this pushes the limits of where non-tubless tires will stay on the rim without a tube.

So what did I do to my wheels this afternoon?  With the goathead thorn season getting ready to ramp up and some dirt road group rides planned I wanted to add a bit of insurance to my system.  I decided to take as much of the good as I could and set up an optimized system for the 38mm tires and my weight (210 lbs).  Starting with the Velocity A23 tubeless rim, the secure tubeless ready fit gives a snug fit with the tire bead.  The Soma C Line tires are one of the widest, light 380g, and supple 700c tires on the market at the moment.  I opted for the super light Q tubes at about 120g each for the 700x 35.  This set up alone has been going great for months now.  Taking it to the next steep in flat protection I added 2 oz, half the normal amount for a full sized MTB tire of Orange Seal to each Tube.  This will add about 70g to each tire, less than  standard tube and aramid liner.

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The process was simple.  Let the air out to the tire, having a presta nut on will help later

2.22 Orange Seal wp-9040991Next up grab a 4mm wrench and remove the valve core from the stem.

2.22 Orange Seal wp-90409942.22 Orange Seal wp-9040993Insert the plastic end of the supplied hose onto the well shaken bottle of sealant

2.22 Orange Seal wp-9040995And the other end goes over the stem.  Invert the bottle and squirt in about half.

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Turn the bottle right side up an detach the hose.  Re-install the valve core and inflate to the desired pressure.  I keep my C Lines between 55 and 60 psi.  Repeat on the other tire and ride.  It is that simple.

What are the gains in theory, and how is this different than a basic Slime brand pre-filled inner tube?  The whole system is optimized to be light and supple for decreased rolling resistance.  The level of safety is high.  Time will tell if there is improved air retention and flat protection.  The end is a system with all of the good parts of each improvement and less risk to safety.

There have been reports of successful tubeless setups with 42m tires and lower pressures.  I suspect the rider weight and load were also correspondingly lower.  While there have been successes, there have also been failures.   The tires and pressures we are using on “Rando” bikes are close to the margins of safety for tubeless design.  The price of failure is high.  Failure being the front tire coming off of the rim at speed with total loss of air pressure.  While I want improved performance as much as the next rider, I do not think tubeless is the right choice for our needs.  I am looking forward to increased flat protection while having the piece of mind that my tire is far more likely to stay on the rim.

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Trek 613 650b Conversion For Sale

The Trek 613 650b conversion I did for a customer just over two years ago has come back to our stable to find a new home.  It has aged quite gracefully, and looks better now then it did at the start.

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The Trek 613 frame is the backbone for this build.  it was what Trek listed as a 23″ frame, and has a 57cm seat tube and a 56cm top tube,  It would best first riders with a pubic bone height in the mid 80’s

Everything about this build/restoration met or exceeded the original expectations.  There were a few things that worked but need disclosure.  The extra long reach brakes stop the bike, but will not induce a skid.  This is not really a safety issue but sometimes the nature of these sort of conversions, the bike stops just fine when you need it to.  There are some chips and scratches in the paint, no dents.  The Suntour Symmetric shifter is gorgeous, but only pulls enough cable to shift through 7 of the 8 rear cogs.  The stainless Berthoud fenders have a few small dents, but are solid and crack free.  The HT AE-01 pedals are in need of a rebuild, they spin fine, but a rebuild would get you another decade out of them.  The original front rack and basket were intended to be a temporary thing, that ended up going the whole time.  I was not happy with the mounting and they are not included with this offering.  I would recommend the Soma Porteur or Pass & Stowe as the best non-custom replacement option.

On the plus side this is an incredibly smooth and nimble riding bike.  Everything is in fine working order to take it home and get riding.  It has proven itself both around town and on more then a few mixed terrain short tours.  The Brooks B17 Select has restored my faith in current Brooks production standards.  There are a few top notch upgrades like the Nitto Technomic stem and Albatross bars, and Brooks Select saddle.  The serial Number, dates the bike to 80-81 an fit is in fantastic condition for a bike that age.  It is rust free inside and out.  All of the bearings are clean and free spinning.

I am offering the bike at $1800 $1500 as seen in the pictures.  I have a couple of interested parties, but I am starting a list of potential buyers.  While I would prefer a local sale, we can facilitate packing and shipping at a reasonable fee.  If the potential buyer would like too use this as a starting point for some other improvements, I would be willing to facilitate any thing you may want, like a new front rack etc.  Contact me for a full re-build quote

General thoughts, Trek 650b conversions like this are intended to be ridden with a front load.  The handling is great unloaded, but things really stay nice and neutral as you put a but up front.  The big difference between this and the Ramblers is all of the details for lighting, better performing brakes and rack mounts.  These old Treks provides a fair amount of inspiration for the Ramblers.

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Scout Book Meeting Wallet

This year has started off with a flurry of meetings, and my note taking / business card distribution system was in series need of improvement.  It was time to hit the workbench and fix things a bit.  The “Scout Books Meeting Wallet” samples are the outcome

2.13 SB Samples WP-1040787I like the Scout Books, enough to design a wallet around it.  The paper is great, fountain pen friendly, recycled, and the whole thing is made in the USA.  They get bonus points for building a system that will allow for custom printed journals (another project in the works around here).  The wallet is there to add a bit of protection, and hold the other things I need for quick business meetings, card holding slots, extra pocket, room for a writing utensil in the fold etc.  I can grab this and go.

2.13 SB Samples WP-10407852.13 SB Samples WP-10407842.13 SB Samples WP-10407812.13 SB Samples WP-1040783The secret money pocket for those moments when you should have brought a little extra cash, meetings overrun into meals, coffee etc.  The whole thing drops into the back pocket, and just makes it into a shirt pocket.

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All of our leather goods are made with Veg Tanned natural leather produced in the USA.  We treat the leather with a bee’s wax based leather dressing.  Use and sunlight will put on the patina, these are built to last, and will just keep getting better with time.  This is what one of my early wallets looks like with over a year in the pocket

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These will be up on the storefront later today as a custom order item.  I also will be switching all of our leather goods, single and double pocket wallets, to a custom order basis so that I can manage the supply a bit better than I have been.  I need the demand to get me sewing, and then make the steps to start working with a contractor for some managed growth of the line.

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VP Vice pedal in Silver

We love Flat pedals, all sorts.  This is a broad category that includes all pedals that do not somehow attach you to the pedal, i.e. clipless or toe clips and straps.  Grant at Rivendell wrote a piece years ago, The Shoes Ruse, that sums it up better than I ever could into one essay.  After months of compiling commute time data with all sorts of pedals, the clip less showed no significant benefit.  I switched completely to flats.  Last year when considering what pedals to offer our customers I compiled all of my of my thoughts and reasoning behind choosing the VP Vice into a blog post.

2.2 Silver Vice Pre NL-1150319The vice is our favorite pedal for the money.  The color options are really fun to add a touch of detail to your build.  The next closest options that offer significantly better mechanical features cost roughly twice as much.  I have helped a bunch of people onto these pedals over the last year.  The only non-positive feedback was the wish that they came in Silver.

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Well this year they will.  We are working with VP USA to import a batch of these in Silver (clear) anodized finish.  We are close to our minimums for making the project happen, and need your help to get over the hump.  We have set up a Pre-order on our storefront.  The turnaround time on these is about 60 days, and we expect a mid to late April delivery.

Place Your Pre-Sale Order Here

2.2 Silver Vice2 ig-1130085Today is the last day of the lowest pre-sale pricing, tomorrow the price will go up another $10 before we settle in at the new $95 price point for the year.  To see presale pricing you will need to add the pedals to your cart and use Coupon Code SVPVPS at checkout.  While we can not advertise the price, I will say this is a smoking deal and below the wholesale price of most other thin flat pedals on the market.

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Coffee Outside

The new baby is finally sleeping through most of the night, at least for the moment.  THat helps get me out of bed and out to the beach in time for some coffee outside and the sun rise.  Today was tight, but I set up in the dark, then as the sun light passed through the clouds and the magic lens of LA air things went all sorts of psychedelic for a bit, then settled in closer to normal.  As usual, a great day to enjoy being outside, light breezes and temps in the 40’s but closer to 50 right by the water.

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