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 Post subject: So Surly....
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:01 pm 
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So, I've rededicated myself to cycling to work as much as possible, including when it's wet or cold. So far this summer I've ridden to work ~15 times as time/weather allow. I've been riding my road bike, which is fine as long as I don't need to carry anything (no fenders, no bags, etc...).

The commute on bike about 12 to 15 miles one way, depending on the route I take. It's mostly flat except for one significant hill going up SR520, which sadly is unavoidable. Not that I mind hills, but it means getting to work all sweaty. The office shower facilities suck...

Anyway, back to the bike...

I shopped around the bike shops, and couldn't really find anything that inspired me to want to ride it a lot, at least not that would make a suitable commuter/touring bike. The biggest challenge for me is finding a bike that fits me. Being 6'5" with a long upper body, and proportionally short legs, I'm a challenge when it comes to bike fit, particularly when it comes to buying off the shelf. Also, other than REI, which likes to sell their brands, no one really sells true commuter/touring bikes any more. They are mostly a special order item these days.

One of the local shops sells Surly Bikes on custom order. Surly is a company that designs some really cool, highly customizeable steel bike frames, in sort of a retro style. After looking around their site, and talking to a few people, I decided to build a custom bike based on a 62cm Surly Straggler (Disc Brake) frame set. It was available in two color choices. "Glitter Dreams" and "Closet Black". Surly themselves refers to the "Glitter Dreams" color as 'Unicorn Stew'. The choice of an all black bike was easy at that point....

Since my existing road bike has a Shimano Ultegra 11 speed rear cassette, and I know it has plenty of gears (compact double 50/34 in front and 11-32 in back) to climb the hills around here, I decided to go with that same setup, rather than a triple chainring. I went with Avid BB7 disc brakes, as I couldn't really justify the Shimano stuff, and the hydraulic discs are fairly new on the market. I decided the Avid's, which have been around for a long time, and are easy to get parts for, were the way to go.

The handlebars, stem, and seatpost are standard Easton aluminum stuff. No way to justify the expense of carbon fiber for a $700 steel frame bike to save a few ounces of weight.

I put Shimano XTR pedals on it. I'm fond of the SPD system, and I already have several pair of shoes with that cleat system that I use.

The seat is a Fizik Aliante VSX, which is identical to the one on my road bike. It's a good fit for me. Like a pro bike fitter once told me. Once you find a seat that works for you, buy a bunch of them. You never know when they'll stop making them, or change the design. I spent a *lot* of time swapping out seats, and making very small adjustments, until I got the BMC locked in. I just duplicated the geometry as close as I could on the Straggler. Note that I left the steerer pretty long and put a few spacers, along with a long, high rise stem. This is in part because that is the natural geometry of my road bike, which fits me really well, and partly because I've had a hotspot/stinger in my neck and shoulder that can get pretty painful when I ride. Being a little more upright helps.... I'll probably drop the bars down a bit once I get this pain resolved.

The wheels on the other hand, were a definite splurge. Not in the name of weight, but in the name of a solid reputation for being bomb proof, reliable, and serviceable.

The hoops are 32 spoke HED Belguim Plus, on Chris King R45D disc hubs. These wheels are incredible works of fine craftsmanship, in particular the hubs I chose. Chris King hubs are hand made one at a time in Portland Oregon, right down to the bearings. They use a unique engagement system that gives them a very unique buzzing sound when they freewheel.



It's not nearly as light as my 16 lb carbon fiber BMC Gran Fondo GF-01 road bike, and thus not as quick and agile, but it tracks down the trail like it's on rails. It'll make a nice solid commuter/trail bike once I get fenders and a set of panniers on it.

Next summer, I'm going to spend a week riding it up the John Wayne Trail from the Idaho/Washington border back to Seattle. I'll have to put slighly larger tires on for that though....

Anyway, here is the end result. I have to say it's quite spectacular.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: So Surly....
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:05 pm 
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I'm a fan.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:01 pm 
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Steel is real.

Gorgeous ride Midgen.

I need to get back out on mine, but with the move and it being triple digits consistently here, its super hard.

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Holy shitsnacks!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:38 pm 
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Thanks guys,

I'm totally re-infatuated with riding. Since May 1st (my first time on a bike since 2010), I've ridden just about 975 miles. My longest ride so far has been 60 miles (out and back on the Centennial Trail. I've also recently done two non-stop 50 mile rides on back to back days within the last week.

My base is slowly coming back, and I'm getting some muscle tone and definition in my legs again. I've also lost 50lbs in that same time frame (makes climbing that damned hill in front of Microsoft that much easier).

The Surly was just my way of making sure I couldn't use the weather or lack of cargo carrying as an excuse not to ride to work. The fenders and panniers will be here later this week, so... no excuses. :p


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:46 pm 
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On average, how long does it take you to make the ride? I am 13 miles one way now and it is something I have been thinking about.

I am tired of being a fat bastard.

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 Post subject: Re: So Surly....
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:25 am 
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Average speed depends on a lot of factors. The average person can ride 10 to 15mph on flat ground with no headwind. Obviously this depends on your level of fitness and your tolerance for sitting on a bike for an hour. Both of these things get better over time. Be patient working up to being able to ride for an hour without pain.

How long it takes to ride to work mostly depends on how many hills you have to climb, and how many stop lights you have to wait for.

For me, I have the one hill, and zero stop lights. I ually take an hour in the morning, and 45 to 50 min to get home, depending on the wind direction. My average moving speed home is about 17mph. Going in is about 13mph.

I occasionally stop to stretch if my neck and shoulder are bothering me.

Here is my garmin data from yesterdays commute. Click the "Play" button to see the graphs animated. Select Speed and Elevation to see how much the hills affect my speed.

The morning commute, with 'the Hill' at the 9 mile mark
http://connect.garmin.com/modern/jsPlayer/541418957

The evening commute was much more pleasant. I didn't mind the head wind slowing me down a bit, as it was mighty hot, and the breeze felt good.
http://connect.garmin.com/modern/jsPlayer/541817242


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 Post subject: Re: So Surly....
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:37 am 
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That's a handsome piece of machinery you've got there!

Cycling is huge down here for some reason; there are lots of people riding expensive bikes out on the roads almost all the time.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:44 am 
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Yeah, that's a sweet ride.

On my mountain bike, on slick tires, I can usually do about 12-14 mph in L.A. But I stop for lights and signs, and so on.

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 Post subject: Re: So Surly....
PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:40 am 
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My off-season Mountain Bike project is complete and ready to ride.

Frame:21" Ritchey P29er
Fork: RockShox SID XX 100mm
Drivetrain: Shimano XT 2x10
Brakes: Shimano XT Hydraulic Disc
Wheels: Stans NoTubes ZTR Arch EX on Chris King ISO hubs and Schwalbe Thunder Burts
Cockpit: Ritchey bars, stem and seatpost, Selle Italia SLR saddle
Pedals: Shimano XT

It's built to be a fast roller on single track on fire roads. Not really into technical trail or trials riding at all.

This was a nostalgia project for me. In 1989 I was working part-time in a bike shop in Colorado Springs. Tom Ritchey was making the rounds showing off prototypes of his P-Series frames. At that time, he had only made a few 'TEAM' bikes for his racing team. I whined about not being able to find a mountain bike frame that was big enough for me. He agreed to take a deposit and my measurements, and a few weeks later I owned one of the original P23's a year before they were available to the general public. It had exactly the same paint scheme as this 29er(although it was a 26" wheel bike). Sadly that bike was stolen about a year later, never to be seen again. Unfortunate, as it would be a museum piece if it were still around.

When I saw this frame, I just had to build it up.

I thought about going single speed, or putting a 1x11 on it, but I decided to go with the more practical 2x10 so I wouldn't have to dismount every time I happened on a steep hill

Image

Going to break it in on a short ride up the Tolt Pipeline tomorrow (Sunday)

Image


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:53 pm 
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Heh, before I read the test, I was going to ask how old that frame is. Didn't realize they'd brought back the paint job. Or, maybe it never left?

Nice bike. My big project is taking off my (original) front shock and putting on a regular fork.

Nice trail, too. I'll be lucky if I can get out for a ride up the LA River some time in the next month.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:14 pm 
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I seriously considered a rigid (carbon) fork, and may still end up going that route.

The guys at my local bike shop talked me into using a fork based on the suggestion that the frame/geometry were designed to accommodate a 100mm travel suspension fork.

The SID XX I used has a remote lockout, so I don't have to worry about the fork bouncing when grinding up a steep hill. The head tube/steerer are straight 1 1/8", which is fairly rare (most newer bikes steerer tubes are tapered). It made finding a decent suspension fork a bit a challenge. Fortunately, when I did find one, It was pretty heavily discounted.

Something else I appreciated about this bike is that it used an old school standard 68mm english threaded bottom bracket. No wonky cups or adapters needed.


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 Post subject: Re: So Surly....
PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 8:23 pm 
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Damn, that terrain looks beautiful! Have fun!

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