Cycling: New Toy

bike01-boxArrived today via UPS around 1300 local time. This is probably boring to a lot of folks, but it’s just possible a reader might benefit from my experience some day.bike02-inbox The box was just a bit smaller than I expected, but I discovered that they pack them more tightly these days. The last time I watched someone do this, the seat and handlebars were already mounted. Not now.

And it’s just a little sticky coming out of the box. I could have used an extra pair of hands to push down as I pulled up.bike03-pkng It call came out in one piece except the box containing the pedals. This mess had to be dismantled carefully and I used diagonal pliers (AKA side cutters or dikes) to cut all the heavy zip ties and that cheap mylar tape that you can’t easily break.bike04-unpack So this shot on the left shows everything prior to assembly and somehow it turned out fuzzy.

bike05-halfThe first step was to mount the handlebars in some provisional position, and then the seat. This allows me to invert the thing and have it stand that way while I worked on the tires. They were soft, which was fine, because I had to deflate them anyway.

A couple of issues made it challenging. First, the rims are much narrower than the old 26″ mountain bike stuff. While it didn’t suffer the design flaw that tends to pinch 700c (hybrid bike) tubes around the valve stem, it was still tricky dealing with tires designed to balloon out around the rim that way. I wanted to add some tube liners (AKA thorn straps) to reduce the likelihood of flats. However, the only ones I could get on short notice were pretty narrow. The company sells them for 29″ tires, but they just barely cover the center strip of the tread area that gets all the abuse. The problem is that they didn’t lay inside the tire nicely, tending to shift around while I was putting it back together. I’m not entirely certain they stayed where I wanted them, but it’s better than nothing. I’ll order the wider ones later.

bike06-doneThis is the first time I’ve dealt with disc brakes, but they went in nicely. I found the factory assembler had left the front brake cable in an awkward route, so I had to do my best to find a way to slip it over to the other side of the front end where there was a clip to hold it in place. It’s still a little torqued and curled, but functional. I’ll try to adjust it later.

A couple of other considerations now. The handlebars are lower then I’m used to and I don’t know if it’s going to aggravate my arthritic shoulders and elbows. I can order a riser that should help, but the factory design offers no adjustment for height. I bought two bottle holders because there were holes for them. I’ll get a different style to mount on the seat tube and that’s as much water as I could need even in the heat of summer for long rides. For everything else, I found a way to attach it to my body. This thing is noticeably lighter than the Edgewood and the wheels with tires are just a tad bit bigger in diameter. It’s got a 9-speed rear cassette but is geared lower in the first place, so it means more lower gears than before. The shifters and derailleurs are sweet and the brakes are clearly superior. Oddly, the disc brakes make that same faint rubbing noise the make on cars because they are designed to remain in contact at low pressure. The only thing I really want now is to design a cover for the front derailleur to prevent splash and grit from coming off the rear time onto it.

In honor of the donor, I call her “Jeanette.”

Final note: The old Edgewood went to a friend, a fellow Christian just next door. We were able to make it fit his shorter frame.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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6 Responses to Cycling: New Toy

  1. Jay DiNitto says:

    I bought Functional off of ebay, and it was shipped in a similar manner.I didn’t know much about bicycling beyond the basics when I put it together, so I had a bit of a struggle. The weird thing is, as long as you know the basics and use some common sense (and some tools), it’s not too hard to piece it together.


  2. Ed Hurst says:

    Yes, they make it pretty easy these days. This is the first serious mountain bike I’ve had so it’s somewhat new to me. I’d used some of the very early off-road bikes you could get back in the 1980s but that was before I started reading the magazines about it. The first semi-serious mountain bike I got was through the military recreation sports sales in Europe, a decent Schwinn aluminum frame in the days when indexed shifting was still rather new in consumer grade bikes. I brought that one home to the US with me and used it up.

    So my experience is long, but not deep and not at all in competition or serious training. I did a lot of parts-swapping in Europe because every little village in the Netherlands has at least one bike shop, and I made friends with the guy who ran the one closest to me. He taught me a lot about the hardware. I rode all over the place in those days, so you can bet I really missed it for some years when it wasn’t feasible. It’s great to be in the off-road saddle again, and Jeanette is just extraordinary riding.


  3. Jay DiNitto says:

    Cycling in the Netherlands, and Europe in general, must’ve been an experience.


  4. Ed Hurst says:

    Cyclists are officially favored over motorists. It’s not great politics, but it’s fun for cyclists, and most of the citizens tend to play along with it gracefully. On the one hand, bike paths or similar accommodations are opulent. Where they aren’t feasible, other traffic takes you seriously.


  5. Paul says:

    Nice bike.. looks like all good parts. I don’t have disk brakes on my Kona, but mine are fine, easy. I pay particular attention to my pedals and crank. I put traps on the pedals (after getting better ones than the stock ones) , because I tend to angle my feet otherwise, which is bad for back/posture. I have to lower the seat a bit more than I should because my frame is 1 inch too big for me. I had an 18 inch frame before, but I don’t do a lot of off road and like the bigger frame for the highway. The handlebar horns I took off; although they are great for standing on the pedals, that is not a recommended technique for distance/road, you can bust your kneecaps on long hills after a while. And if you ditch…ouch (I’ve seen it, done it) They are great for off-road though, and relieving cramps from gripping for long periods. Enjoy…


  6. Ed Hurst says:

    Thanks Paul. I use the bar ends mainly to vary the pressure points. Many years ago I had a marvelous loop bar called “Scott AT4 Pro” and loved it, but gave it away as part of a bike, assuming I could buy another. It disappeared from the market and the closest thing to it is the so-called “butterfly” handlebar. I really miss that AT4 bar.


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