Tuesday, April 03, 2012

feasibility studies

After writing yesterday's post, thinking about what I wrote, emailing a few people, talking to a few people on the telephone and more thinking (because that is what I do a lot of); I have a few ideas which almost didn't let me fall asleep last night (bad thing to have those rocks turning in your head late at night).

My evening consisted of a few feasibility studies to think out-loud if you will. Feasibility studies on reducing bulk and weight of what I am carrying.

Visuals help convey the thoughts.

I ran with a few comments taken from Salem and SBC. Enter exhibit A.
Ditch the heavy trailer and tow the mountain bike directly. Use an old front hub to mount the mountain bike to the 520. Throw panniers on the rear rack of the 520 to haul the gear.
Hub attached in some fashion. Probably industrial strength zip-ties? It is resting there to test feasibility.
Front mountain bike wheel held in place with three toe straps like on the trailer. Handlebar, fork and pedal.

Pros are the weight of the trailer disappears. The yo-yoing effect I get with the trailer due to its attachment spring disappears. Seems straightforward and meets the goal of reducing bulk. Executed many times over by Salem.

Cons include handling characteristics being off but Salem suggested padding the fork to absorb shock. This option includes two bicycles but removes trailer. Two bicycles is one extra bicycle of weight I am hauling around.

A modification to this would be fabricating a mount down in the plane of the 520's rear axle. That will place handling characteristics of the mountain bike more inline with how the bike handles normally. This option requires fabbing something up (not hard, just more time consuming).


The next option is similar to what people like Harlan have done with motorcycles.

Using an old fork mount to, again, to test feasibility.
No quick release on tray but it gives you the idea of position. Bike tray mounted to the top of the rear rack on the 520.
Hmmm. This rear rack is not going to work. Places the mountain bike pretty much to touching the saddle of the 520. Not going to work.
Bontrager rack that came with the 520 has more options. This will suit me fine.

Pros include loss of trailer and its associated weight. Still retain room to place panniers for carrying my gear. Mountain bike front tire will be secured similar to exhibit A (three points: handlebars, fork and pedal).

Cons include possible bicycle handling / balance issues with such a large cantilever off the back. Need to read some about the effects on a motorcycle to better understand this con. Another con are two bicycles. That is excess weight.


And that brings me to exhibit C.

SBC, Missouri Miller, Ginger and a few others have mentioned variations of this.

A) Ride a geared mountain bike to the races. Remove gears and race singlespeed. Reinstall gears for the ride home. Carry gear in a backpack as the Superfly is crabon and I do not want to risk breaking it by having a rear rack mounted to the seat stay.

B) Ride singlespeed to the races with a good gear ratio for the road. Swap rear cog and chain for the mountain bike race. Carry gear in a backpack as the Superfly is crabon and I do not want to risk breaking it by having a rear rack mounted to the seat stay.


C) Ride singlespeed (Cannondale) to races with a good gear ratio for the road. Swap rear cog and chain for the mountain bike race. Frame as bosses for a rear rack. Use rear rack and panniers. Remove rack for mountain bike race.

D) Ride singlespeed (Superfly) to the races with a good gear ratio for the road. Swap rear cog and chain for the mountain bike race. Get a seatpost mount rear rack and perhaps make a bracket that attaches to the sliding drop-out bolts to help stabilize the rear rack. Carry gear on rear rack. Remove rack for mountain bike race.

E) Ride singlespeed (Superfly) to the races with a good gear ratio for the road. Swap rear cog and chain for the mountain bike race. Go minimalist with gear and follow what the Tour Divide and Colorado Trail Race riders do.
(photos by Robb Kranz)




700x32c tire off the 520 mounted to the Stans 355 from my Cannondale. Mounted super easy. Easier bead seat than the Bontrager rims that came with the 520 (there's a reason why I swear by Stan's). Should mount to the Stan's Crest rims on my Superfly no problem. I'd use these tires and carry two mountain bike tires (rolled up) and some Stan's sealant for the race. Much lighter than carrying two bikes or two sets of wheels.


Doing a 60-70mile ride this weekend to western CT to test out one of these options.

Now, the trailer is a great idea and excellent for touring purposes. Trying to be fit enough to race after towing that much weight... That is just not possible for me at this point in time. The trailer will stay but we'll use that for around town with groceries and other such stuff.

5 Comments:

Blogger CB2 said...

I like the idea of putting a road gear on the mtb and riding it with minimal gear in frame packs to the race. If you went with a 34x15 (61" gear w/ 32mm tires) you should be able to get up hills okay, but not be too slow. My only concern would be sealing your mtb tires; I never have any luck without a compressor. Let me know when you're doing your test, maybe I'll join you.

4/04/2012 6:16 AM  
Blogger mandy said...

I vote E. All things being equal, it seems like the simplest answer to your dilemma.

4/04/2012 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Cornfed said...

I ran 2 cogs on my ss one geared for road and one for the race (15 and 19t) and just moved the chain over and adjusted sliders. Carried gear in frame bags. Worked well. If it was 80 miles or shorter I just rode on my knobbies. Longer ones I swapped tires but I was still a tubie back then. You could carry a Schafer adapter, remove the stans valve core and use a gas station air hose to seat your tires before the race.

4/04/2012 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Cornfed said...

Schrader. Stupid iPhone

4/04/2012 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Steve S said...

I kind of like your first option but with the lower mount. For transporting the front wheel, can you attach a wheel fork (http://www.yakima.com/shop/baserack-only/wheel-fork- ) to the handle bar of the SS instead of doing the zip ties?

I do a lot of commuting on a 29er SS and find I wear the knobs down on the rear tire pretty quickly. Something about grinding up steep hills with "road friendly" gearing and a 15lb backback just seems to eat through them. Just something to consider if you go that route.

Anyway, it was great riding with you on the TJROW. Good luck with this.

4/05/2012 10:27 AM  

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