Bikes

Somewhere, there’s an equation, which expresses a theory. In essence, what this theory consists of, is a means of determining what the correct number of bikes to own is for any individual. To sort out how many bikes you should have, start by counting how many bikes you have. Once you’ve got that figure, add one to it. Now you’ve got how many bikes you should have. Some people refer to this as a collection, or stable, or garage. Either way, mine consists of four bikes at this moment, which means I should have 5 bikes, but we’ll burn that bridge when we get there. For now, this page will have a word or two about, and some pictures of my current bikes.

Cutter

With a nod to the spirit of simplicity, I’m going to start with my Schwinn Cutter. Now, mine is a little older than the current very hipster looking version, so it doesn’t have aero wheels or stripes, or anything like that really. It is a single speed “urban” style bike, it does have a free wheel, not a fixed gear, and it also, allegedly has brakes. I’m of the opinion you need to plan ahead a little to use them though, because they aren’t all that great. It’s not that big a deal though, and not really worth spending the money on to correct, considering what the bike cost to start with. I bought the bike to use as a campus bike when I was taking classes at a local university. It blended in well, and was going to attract a lot less attention than the other bike I was riding at that point. Now that I’m done with classes, this bike has mostly been relegated to a bike path bike, and a trainer/beater general purpose utility bike. Speaking of bike paths, I took a picture of the bike on my local rail trail recently.

This Cutter hasn't been spray painted, it came this color. In fact, it came without any decals on it too. But plain is nice in my opinion, and simple is good.

This Cutter hasn’t been spray painted, it came this color. In fact, it came without any decals on it too. But plain is nice in my opinion, and simple is good.

So the Cutter gets a lot of miles put on it, and I’m sure it will be around for a long time serving it’s humble purpose. The steel frame is heavy enough to have implicit durability, and although I’m sure I’ll have to replace the bottom bracket soon, and as I said, the brakes aren’t real great, the wheels leave plenty to be desired (the braking surface of the rims is likely part of the problem with brake performance), the bike is reliable, fun, and makes a great loaner for the occasional friend who is unprepared for a bike ride when they visit.

 Nashbar Single Speed

In my standard of timeliness, I must add a bike to this page. I should be adding several bikes to this page, and may yet, but for now, you get my single speed mountain bike. Yes, it continues in that vein of simplicity. What started out life as a Nashbar Single Speed 29er has morphed a bit. The stock brakes had to go. The problem wasn’t that they were mechanical, or too heavy, or anything like that. No, it was much simpler. The problem was that they where too difficult to adjust in a pinch, and honestly, coming with 160mm rotors stock front and back wasn’t quite enough umph in the stopping department for someone my size and weight. So I did what any sensible, simplicity driven single speeder would do. I put BB7’s on it, with a 180 up front, and kept the 160 in the rear. As I often do, I found the stock seat post (350mm) to be about 5 mm too short for me, and put a 400mm post on instead, taking advantage of a killer deal on a carbon post to improve the ride just a bit. Ah yes, the ride.

The Nashbar bike has an aluminum frame. It’s a pretty stiff ride, to be honest. The aluminum frame has other issues too, but I’ll get to those in a minute. Other ride improvements were made by having a set of wheels built up that I could run tubeless with. I made reference to tubeless tech in another post, so I won’t go into my methodology here, just suffice to see a couple PSI lower pressure in each tire makes a world of difference. Those modifications pretty much complete the bike, as pictured.

The Nashbar SS is a favorite every day ride in MidTN for me. Practical, reliable, fun, and relatively inexpensive.

The Nashbar SS is a favorite every day ride in MidTN for me. Practical, reliable, fun, and relatively inexpensive.

Sadly, all good things come to an end. Dubbed “The Golden Goose” by some of my riding friends, I was beginning to think this bike had nine lives. First, I managed to knock a hole in the frame one day when I ditched the bike. Yes, it was my fault. Yes, I was going too fast. No, I don’t give up easily. So I took the bike, and the chunk I’d knocked out of the frame to a local fabricators shop and asked if they’d weld the chunk back into the tube, since it didn’t dent the tube, or otherwise compromise the structural integrity of the seat stay the chunk came out of. They obliged me for a modest $25, and I was back on the trail in a couple of days. Next up, the top tube began to display a distinct bow. I wasn’t kinked however, and I soon decided I’d continue to ride the bike until it failed. However, the top tube was not to be the undoing of this bike. Sadly, the aluminum itself was the weak point. The nuts on the rear axle have cause enough deterioration of the rear track ends, that you can’t tension the wheel properly anymore without tensioners, but since all the tensioners I’m aware of hook over the axle in some way, effectively moving the nut towards the ends of the axle, I can’t use tensioners because the axle is too short. Rather than get a new axle, I’ve decided it’s time, after two and a half years, to retire the frame.

The Golden Goose, stuffed and mounted if you will, after it's retirement.

The Golden Goose, stuffed and mounted if you will, after it’s retirement.

 

Giant Anthem 29er X2

While I’m on a roll, I just as well post up about my Anthem. I love my single speed, but it dishes out quite a beating. Sometimes I just can’t do more than a day or two in a row of that before I have to recognize that I’m not as young as I used to be, and I need some relief. That relief comes in the form of a full suspension 29er, a Giant Anthem.

I give the Anthem a rest somewhere on Narrowback Mountain, in Virginia.

I give the Anthem a rest somewhere on Narrowback Mountain, in Virginia.

Of course, what’s pictured here is a relatively “new” version of the Anthem I ride, which is to say, it’s unmodified, mostly. It started out life as an X2, although it now sports a full X1 frame, courtesy of Giant’s fantastic warranty service. No manufacture is perfect, and the best of them stand behind their products, so when something does go wrong, you don’t get stuck. Anyhow, the X1 frame sports a 1×10 drive line with a wolf tooth components narrow-wide 36 tooth ring up front, and a standard 11-36 cassette in the rear, brought into check with an X9 type 2 derailleur. No, I don’t run a chain guide, and no, it doesn’t drop the chain. Never. There’s really not much more to this ride, other than to say it’s great fun, it’s a great ride, and the bang for the buck on this bike is fantastic. It’s for sure an XC machine, light weight and fast, but you can push it a little as long as you keep it on the ground. At my size, too much air time will be the end of it.

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