13 August 2012

Bike in a (small) box

I had my first ride with the new Ti travel bike on Sunday, with Gunjira and Gueorgui.  We headed out Onekan, then the "tank road" and the north shore of Tsukui-ko, and then Pref Route 517 to Magino/Pref Route 76.  There Gueorgui and I headed back in on Pref Route 76/Route 20 over Otarumi and via Takao.  A frisky Gunjira powered on via Route 76 over to Doshi Michi and for some additional exploration.

The new bike rides very nicely -- everything works like a charm, with the new SRAM Red shifting and braking very precise in feeling.  It takes much less effort with my hands to brake or shift with the SRAM groupset.  There is a huge difference from the Dura Ace/Ultegra mix on the Canyon in the amount of effort needed to shift the front derailleur from small to big ring -- just a light tap of the paddle with my fingers on the SRAM, an effort using every muscle in my hand on the Shimano (.. maybe it is time for new shifter front derailleur cable, inner and outer).

The frame itself feels ... like Titanium, very alive, never harsh, and with good power transfer.

My only current complaint with the bike and set up is the 30.6mm seat post I selected.  A beefy FSA post for a mountain bike, it seems to be designed so that the bolts tighten with the saddle either 2 degrees tilting forward or 2 tilting back, never flat.  I may need to replace it.

And there were a few times, in the extreme heat and humidity, climbing 10% plus grades on Route 517, when I began to think it might be a good idea to swap in a compact crank for the Pyrenees.

This evening, I tried to see if I could pack the bike into its "backpack style" case.
The bike; The 26"x26"x10" case
Brake cable splitter. 
The bike needs to be separated into quite small pieces to fit in this kind of case.  I will need to allow some extra time for packing and unpacking, as compared with the Biknd case.  And I will need to figure out if I can do a less complete dis-assembly and still fit it, while minimizing risk of damage.
Bike in pieces
It was easy to fit the pieces into the case after watching Leonard Zinn do it, though I do not have a detachable link in my chain.  Now I just need to figure out how to secure, protect and avoid losing any of the various pieces.  I think I will start with some large plastic bags.  The bike, case and tools weigh just over 12 kgs.  ... so lots of room for other gear as padding before bumping up against weight limits.


It took me about 50 minutes to put the bike back together.  I needed to attach the rear derailleur to the dropout 4 times -- a couple times to get the cables routed properly, then once to get the derailleur positioned correctly, then finally I needed to take it off so the chain could reach far enough forward to slip it through the downtube coupler since it turned out the chain was hooked over to the wrong side it.  I'll get the hang of it with a little practice and hope eventually for sub-30 minute assembly or dis-assembly.

Comparing the bottom bracket (BB) with the SRAM Rival groupset on the Yamabushi, I realized that when I built the Ti bike up I mistakenly put some spacers on the GXP bottom bracket, based on the SRAM/Truvativ BB instructions for a 68mm BB shell ...  I read online instructions which suggest that the spaces are only for use with an MTB crankset.  Without the spacers the crank and bolts tighten properly and snugly, and still spin without friction.

After looking at the GPS tracks of our proposed route in the Pyrenees, this evening after dinner I swapped out the SRAM Red 53/39 crankset for my SRAM Rival 46/36 crankset (cyclocross gearing), taken off the Yamabushi.  At least with this crank, I don't need to change the BB (as I would if I used the Shimano 50/34 compact.  I think I will be much happier on the long climbs with 36/28 gearing than I would have been with 39/28.  And 46/11 is a big enough gear for this kind of non-competitive tour.

In other good news, after another 3 or 4 adjustments, I finally managed to get the saddle to be nearly horizontal on the FSA 30.6mm seatpost.

UPDATE - January 2013:

I replaced the MTB seatpost with a regular road 27.2 seatpost (Cinelli, basic aluminum model) and a sleeve that fills the gap between 27.2 and 30.6mms.  With a 27.2 seatpost the ride feels more compliant.  I think for sprinting and racing the 30.6 is probably better, but for long rides and comfort, I like the 27.2 post setup.

I also want to replace the shallow drop Deda bars (44cm outside-to-outside) with a set of the Ritchey WCS or Pro anatomical bend (44cm center-to-center) bars that I like on my Canyon and the Yamabushi.


CM said...


Like your site.

Tried #9 from the 20 Plus Rides page yesterday and this is a summary of it.

From the Tamagawahara bashi to Musashi Itsukaichi I got lost and ended up in Hachioji. Didn't know how to alternate appropriately between path and road I guess. Do you ride on the gravel?

So anyway wasted some time around Hachioji before getting on to Jimba Kaido Kogen 521.

Got to the Wada Pass climb but couldn't do it. I had to get off the bike and walk. Couldn't believe the gradient. I was putting a massive amount of torque into the cranks and bars but couldn't maintain enough cadence. What gear do you guys do it in?

Then for the descent which I thought was treacherous. I had to put one foot down and Fred Flintstone brake while sitting on the top tube.

After a few minutes of that, however, I burned right through my cleat and heal pad and stopped to save the sole of the shoe.

Do you guys manage the descent at a reasonably safe speed?
How much rear brake do you use?

At that point I had to abandon the ride and walked to Fujino station.

Would like to join you on a ride but fear i wouldn't be able to keep up on the climbs.

David L. said...

Hi CM:

Thanks for trying one of the rides. It sounds like you went out Jimba Kaido and over the FRONT side of Wada. Yes, that is really nasty and steep. And unless you are a light climber, you may need to walk part of it, especially if you try it in the heat--I did the first few times I tried it back in 2005.

As for Ride #9, the way to get from Tamagawaharabashi to Musashi Itsukaichi is shown on the RidewithGPS track -- just stay along the river and either

cross at Route 20: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/716402

or alternatively cross at Mutsumibashi: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/716414

There is not much gravel on this route ... only a few short stretches of the path along the Tamagawa.

As for the descent down the back side of Wada to Fujino, I've never thought it was too treacherous. Never blown a tube from heat or put a foot down. Other than on the corners (where you need to be careful and use the mirrors to anticipate ongoing traffic), I just feather the brakes a little to keep from going "full speed". I weigh 94 kgs, and I HAVE blown a tube on Nokogiri North side descent to Route 411, for example. And I have never used carbon clinchers because of worries about overheating on this kind of descent.

It is a little hard to know what is going on and why you felt your brakes were inadequate without knowing what equipment you were using (especially brakes, tires), how well-maintained it is, how much you and your bike weigh, etc.

The climb up the lower Akigawa is a lot more civilized than Wada ... Or another option for a gradual climb is the north side of Yabitsu.

Manfred von Holstein said...

CM, sounds like you were worried about using your front brake. There is basically no descent (on asphalt) where it would be unsafe to use the front brake. With increasing steepness (and weight), the rear brake, however, will be increasingly useless.

Anyhow, as David says, best to start with more gentle hills. A classic and not crazily steep would be Otarumi Toge on route 20, just out of Takao.

CM said...

It is a little hard to know what is going on and why you felt your brakes were inadequate without knowing what equipment you were using (especially brakes

Shimano R505 mechanical disc brakes but I didn't have the pads in tight enough to the rotor. Tires are 559-28 Continental Grand Prix "MTB"

I had to put my foot down because the lever was right against the bar and I was still accelerating. I'm just under 90kg and had too much gear. Almost enough tools to build a bike.

, tires), how well-maintained it is, how much you and your bike weigh, etc.

On the climb I used a 32T ring and 16T sprocket. I want to try it again with a 32T sprocket ie. "granny gear"

The heat was definitely a factor. By the time I reached the climb I had been riding for about 60km and was already starting to suffer. I drank about 10 bottles of water/sports drink.

Unknown said...

Are you still using the soft box for traveling? I'm currently waiting for my coupler frame, so I'll have to decide between the soft case, and the (pricey and bulky) hard case.

Any bad experiences with crushed gear in the soft box?

David Litt said...

Hi Unknown: I have not had major problems, but I think I have mangled some small plastic items ... I cannot even remember what. Also, the straps on the backpack travel case fully loaded bite into my shoulders. But instead of getting a new, heavier hard case (and bumping closer to the weight limit when stuffed with all my gear), first I have just purchased 3 of the "compression members" to avoid crush issues.


Also, I have some really nice, comfortable straps on a musical instrument case I got last year ... so I will attach those when I travel with the bike case this summer.

David Litt said...

One other idea ... if it is cost/bulk that are the concern, Excel Sports has a travel case for Ritchey Breakaway that should work with an SandS frame and looks like it is soft ... but has wheels and a handle for pulling, unlike the backpack case. It looks a bit longer and a bit less deep than the SandS backpack ... and costs a bit more.


Karsten said...

Thanks, that helps a lot. The Excel case seems to break easily, so I guess it will be the backpack version.