Cycling and Bike Building

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Design Objectives
To ride bikes and to build/modify them when necessary!

I am now using the bike more regularly and a recent trip to France highlighted that the brakes could be better. On return I stripped out the wheels and tried to remove the discs from the hub. I failed miserably and in my efforts scrapped the hubs and threads. So it was onto ebay for new items. These are now fitted. Shimano Brakes and Shimano Deore hubs with Mavic rims. The brakes are really easy to adjust and very powerful. I also installed a different seat given to me by my brother and fixed the remote fork lockout.

I have now completed the Salsa bike. At the weekend I installed all the brake and gear cables. I had a little trouble with the front gears as the rear derailleur only just has enough flexibility to accomodate the gear range. I also need to lower the front mech a little, but the Salsa frame welds are stopping it from going lower. I'll run the bike for a while to see what exactly is the problem. I also took delivery of the shock pump which was quite a nice buy. I put the front spring and rebound pressures to 140psi and the rear the same just to get me going. Again the bike needs to be used a while so this can be dialed in further. On an initial ride, it feels very much like the GT. This is a good thing as I liked that bike a lot even though I only rode it for a short while.

On the way home from work on Friday I had my second puncture on the rear tyre of my Giant Halfway. Fortunately I was just at the end of the road from my digs. On Saturday I purchased a new inner tube from Tescos and a new BMX tread tyre from Halfords. The inner tube had a Schrader (car type) valve, so I had to modify the wheel rim hole to 8.5mm. The bike feels a bit more grippy on the back end, so if its ok this week I may change the front wheel to the same setup for winter. The maximum tyre pressure is supposed to be 40 psi, but I may push this up a little if I can.

Its now full steam ahead on the carbon commuter bike.

Work has now begun on the Carbon fibre commuter bike. Check out the link above.


This weekend I mainly concentrated on my daily commuter. It gets really filthy cycling through parks on the way to work. You can see in the following image that it has had a few modifications. I purchased a rear carrier rack, not to carry anything in particular, but I thought it might act as a rear mudguard to keep my backside dry. I spotted it on ebay. It was for the Mk1 halfway, so didn't fit exactly, but I made up some adaptor plates (see white plates behind seat tube) on my RepRap machine which enabled it to fit. It works really well as a mudgaurd and of course is also usefull should I need to carry something. I was also stopped by the police a few weeks back and they offered to security tag it for free on the roadside. They etched the frame with a dot matrix print and recorded it on their database. You can see the red sticker on the main tube. I really love this bike and it got me thinking that it would be nice to make a carbon fibre commuting bike of similar dimensions. This wouldn't be folding, but would have 20" wheels and of similar proportions. The only thing I can think of that it would be like is the Cannondale Hooligan. Now the Hexapod robot is complete I am looking for another project. I might sketch a few ideas in CAD to see if it interests me enough to give it a go. I also have my old GT frame lying around. This is only worth about 15 so I could chop it up for the bottom bracket,headset and use the rear triangle / dropouts. Hmm this is looking like a nice project!

Other work this weekend included putting some cables on my Salsa. I am still a few short, so this will have to wait until next weekend.

30/09/2012 Mods Stage 3
The GT Aggressor is no more! This weekend it was stripped down and rebuilt into my new Salsa Caballero. I was amazed how light the Salsa frame was and when the box arrived I thought there was nothing in it! Good progress was made on the reassembly, but new cables are called for and another headset spacer is required. These will be ordered for next week. I was concerned as to the height of the frame, but the ground clearance is much better and the riding position seems fine. The paint finish is beautiful and the photo doesn't really do it justice. Hmm those brakes look a bit scruffy now..Perhaps some more money is required!

Not much cycling going on at the weekend on the GT as I am doing a lot of miles in the week on my Giant Halfway. There has however been lots of purchasing going on. This week I recieved some Rockshox Reba air forks off eBay. They cost 200. A bit of a gamble, but on first impression they look in very good nick, only a few cable wear marks and they came with a remote poplock. I won't fit these to the GT as I also won a frame on ebay. It's a Salsa Caballero. Its new, but old stock and cost 299. Salsa frames are generally over 1000, so hopefully this is another good deal and has very good reviews. I should pick this up next weekend. I am concerned as the stand over height is 33", which is a lot for me at 5ft 8", but I do prefer a larger frame, otherwise it has similar proportions to the GT which suits me nicely. Its just the forks will lift the front end up from the GT frame position. Still it should make a nice bike.

After a bit of a mix up with the suppliers computer system, I picked up the front mech yesterday and fitted it this morning. All went well and this afternoon I went for a 20 mile ride with all 24 gears working. The bike is now really smooth, particularly as I blew the tyres up to 80 psi. I seem to be able to get about another 4mph out of it on a flat road. Yesterday I also went to Go Outdoors and bought some new cycle clothing. The Polaris range they sell seems nice and so I am now equiped with a new top and some shorts. A better bike and some new gear seems to make the ride much easier...maybe its just all in the mind. I have also ordered a new adjustable handlebar stem and a chain stay guard. I am also on the lookout for some new front forks, but the choice is a little confusing at the moment. I need to do some more research before making a purchase.

11/08/2012 Mods Stage 2
The new parts have been fitted to the bike. I won't be using Chain Reaction cycles again as The delivery company (Parcel Force) never seem to be able to deliver to a neighbour even though every other one can. This morning I had a 60 mile round trip to Milton Keynes to pick up the parcel! The part packaging was all damaged inside the main box and there seems to be a bung missing from the front Gearset. Rebuilding a least was quite an easy task now everything is apart. I took the trouble of having a good clean around the bottom bracket and assembled everything with copper grease to make sure everything comes apart easier in the future. Unfortunately the larger front gear means that th
e front derailleur gear wont cope with it as it is a fixed unit fitted to the lower bracket and not clamped around the downtube. For the time bieng I will have to do with eight gears, but I will order a new one for delivery next week. I also fitted some new handlebar grips and a new trip computer (not shown in picture). These were from Tescos and were quite nice items. I also transfered a few parts from the Cannondale (Seat and seat post, bottle carrier and the handlebar end bars. This afternoon I did a ride of about 5 miles and all was OK. The bike is really nice and much better than the Cannondale. I was toying with the idea of changing the frame, but whilst I had the bike apart I noticed the frame is realy quite light. As it rides so well I won't be changing it for a while. Next week jobs are to get 24 gears rather than 8 and maybe have a look at the forks to see if they are servicable of need replacing.

Never doing things the easy or cheap way I have been visiting Bedford auctions over the past few months and about 2 months ago a GT Aggressor 3 mountain bike caught my eye. So 85 pound lighter I was the proud owner of my first suspension and disc brake bike (I am only about 15 years behind the rest of the world!) It didn't look too bad apart from the cables and it appeared to have lots of Bike Hut extras. I was aware that they sold this bike at Halfords, but the wheels, stem, handlebars etc. look as if they have been added on later. My thoughts for this bike are that I will replace everything on the bike eventualy a bit like "Triggers Broom!". When I got it home a quick ride, which I was not able to do at the auctions revealed that the gears were worn a little too much. I was forced to pick one gear that was OK for my test ride. I rode quite a long way even with the problems, which shows I like the feel of the frame. This was enough to make me think I should spend a little money getting it how I want. Sure I could buy a new one, but this one will be just as I want it.

Mods Stage 1
I removed the wheels and gave them a thorough clean. At this stage I took the trouble of removing the stickers from the rim. I am not too keen on the designer label look! I really like the Continental Travel Contact tyres I have on the Cannondale, so I bought a new set of these as well as new inner tubes. There is one bad dent on the rear rim, but as it has disc brakes this isn't an issue. The rear brake wasn't working so I replaced both front and rear cables with some Clarke items from Halfords. I was impressed with them as they come with ferrules and little soft plastic cable washers to stop the unsheathed cable from hitting the top tube. Highly recommended. In addition I fitted a SRAM chain. This was pricey at 24 but I don't mind spending a little in the right places. Unfortunately this didn't cure the gear slipping issues. Tonight I stripped down the rear cassete and disassembled the bottom bracket. I had a lucky find in my garage as I seem to have all the correct tools to hand, probably from my recumbent building days. The bottom bracket was a real bugger and I nearly bent the frame removing it. All is sorted now and I only have one black fingernail and a few less swear words in me to show for it. New parts should arrive next week. These have been purchased from Chain Reaction Cycles and are:-
1 Shimano HG41 8 Speed Cassette - 11-30 Price: 13.99
1 Shimano SLX M600 Triple Chainset - 170mm - 22.32.44t - 68/73mm Price: 94.99
1 Shimano Acera M360 7/8sp Rear Mech - SGS - Long Cage - Black Price: 17.99
Here is how the bike looked with the new tyres, chain and cables.


I have had a few bikes over the years, at first road bikes and then mountain bikes. My favourite bike was the Cannondale M300 pictured below. I did a lot of cycling in the Lake District and North Wales without problems even though it is really a hybrid frame. I only had one failure and that was when I fell off and landed on top of the bike, the seat stem broke against a large rock. This was a quick fix and cost about 25 for a new part. Not bad for a bike which was around 600 in the nineties.

My brother owned a M1000 and he decided to sell, so I sold my M300 to a chap from work and bought it off him for about 180 if I remember rightly. The bike cost originally about 1200 new. This was a big mistake really as the frame is smaller and has never felt comfortable to me. A ride a few weeks ago around Rutland water convinced me that a large frame suits me better even though I am only 5ft 8" tall. My brother is keen to have it back now, so I might have to let it go.

As I am now cycling to work on a folding bike (Giant Halfway) I am keen to get a better mountain bike for the weekend. I haven't ridden a bike really for a long while but now I have the bug again. Its also doing me good as I have lost over 10Kg in weight. I am convinved that isn't only due to the lightening of my wallet as I spend money on my new bike.