Wednesday, April 2, 2014

SS reborn... continues

More parts trickling in.. things were starting to look good after the last post on the Stanyan's transformation... but dashed were the porteur bike dreams when I realized there's no eyelets for racks on the fork.. Well, there's ways to go about it but aesthetics would be compromised. Besides DIY with P-clips for non load bearing attachment like fenders are probably alright but with a rack...hmmm. Anyway after  further thoughts I reckon an appropriate rear pannier rack wouldn't be all that bad either.

As luck would have it.. some one was selling a Wald piece with the wooden base. Long story short, it became mine..

Gotta luv vee-brakes parts.. bits of these old leftovers just
became spacers to clear the rack's mounting tabs. and I'm still saving
some of those vee's funny convex and concave spacers that might just
come in handy for fenders installation ;)
Shiny stainless steel (heavy!) hece not much re-work needed but at some point of completing, I'll probably remove to touch up the wood piece which has certainly seen some weathering.

The thing I couldn't get over with is the front mounting bracket.. looks like something right off a trainer wheel bracket dull and rough against everything that is spit polish shine on the bike. Well, not critical-- will figure what to do with this later...

As usual, have a few snaps after the parts are up,. Scrutinize from a distance and see what needs further work or changes...

The initial idea of having wooden fenders were scrapped. "Overkill".. was pinging fast and furious from my neurons. From the way things evolved.. wood stuff should just be highlights, not big chunks here on the build. Plus, if the occasion do call for me to plonk on my bread tray on the rear-- having those woodie fenders... Ugh.


Well, I still want fenders of course... and so the hunt continues... into a subject that I have little knowledge of but this time key word switched from "wooden" to "high polish" in the little Google search box in the corner of the browser.

Short of getting custom or obscure little things on kickstarter or etsy... it pretty much boils down to three I found:- Velo, Honjo or Gilles Berthoud...

The first is a little too fattie looking for my liking at 45mm width. The Honjo seems to need quite a bit of fidgeting just from reading about the product online and had a little too much profiling to it I didn't care for the hammered dimple option one at all.

The Gilles B. fenders looks to be the one I like.. 40mm wide but all the US online sites were rather expensive with shipping Until... yup-- "Cheaperer" option- as always found by your Venerable El Cheapo, yours truly here...  and on its way now.

One of the thing that irks me to no end are the crappy bottle cages..  and it wasn't easy to find nice looking ones to match.. Ok stainless steel has gotta be one criteria.. Well there is the Chris King one , no wait its King's Cage if I remembered correctly and also one from errrr.. Nitto? Ok forget the custom ones from Ahearnes-- it will probably take too long to get it here.. already dying in anticipation for the finish build.

Let's go LBS shopping this time.. well there's only a few shops I can recall by now that might fit the bill of carrying such stuff.. Bingo! Found!
No brand taiwan stainless steel cage that grips really well.
as it expands out at the bottom to fit bottles being pushed down into it that looks
Just ALMOST like the Iris King's Cage.
Click on the link and go spot the diff ;)
Casually enquired about the availability of a Brooks Cambium...something I always wanted ever since I saw a pic of it. Not knowing whether it would fit my butt- it is just a "want", really , a desire more than ever a need..

Arriving in May but as luck would have it again... saw one chucked into a forlorn corner of the shop half hidden in some mangy cardboard box of almost the same color... It has red fonts over it-- Hmmm that's probably a marketing/display piece.

"Eh boss.. how much arh?"

The price sounds good compared to the $200++ ones that will arrive next month, so with typical Singaporean "buy buy buy" attitude...mai tu liao lor (aka don't hesitate anymore) ... :)

Looks a little off at first glance after mounting.. the black old cheapo Glute saddle actually seemed more at home on this bike.

Then again the color of the Cambium, either the one I got here or the other option spotting a darker grey aren't exactly hues found on other bike components. Reckon Brooks had intended this on purpose.. Its a saddle to stand out by itself... Ok so be it. But anyway I already have some ideas how to "match" it up with tiny functional bits needed elsewhere on the bike with materials that aren't traditionally associated with bikes.  Shhhhh...

Truth be told.. my sensor filled butt didn't really register much of  a diff from the Glute after a short test ride with this saddle even though this is wider and theoretically more comfy. Maybe a longer ride might elude more later on.

By the way, there's things wood that has caught my eyes since a while back.. Hmmmm--toying with more ideas

Fenders, fenders, come quick...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

SS reborn

Thou shall not start nor end bar wraps ever with sticky adhesive tapes. Same goes for cheap plastic stock plugs.

Must have broken a record in shuttling to bike shops this week... 4 times to be exact.
The inverse SOMA Urban Pursuit lever just didn't fit with the VO Porteur bar and with some after thought that I might lace up a geared hub later on, the bar end would be good for a barcon shifter.

Made the swap today for a pair of SOMA Urban CX instead.

Fretting over the cables as the old but still very good Goretex might not be long enough! Guess what...both front and rear was in perfect symmetry once installed, crossing right at the centerline of the bike. Much better than when they were on the old rando bar.

OK, maybe it lacks the retro "big arc" look that would go with such a setup, but then I'm never a fan of excessive cabling on a bike.

The Tange lugged stem has always presented a problem in that the 26mm bar clamp is a single bolt utilizing a pinch to grip the bar. The old Randonneur and the current VO are both 25.4mm. On clamping hard-- the metal piece on the stem will ovalize and never clamp sufficiently. With these kind of bars where the weight is pressing forward and down... it would just keep rotating forward.

Bad idea when u have to suddenly stand up and punch your way out of a situation and suddenly your bar start having ideas on its own!

Time to apply good old Coke can shimming. Gave me the excuse to get a can... Haven't drank that toilet cleaner shat for the longest time...

Works? Yup, nice and tight. Nuthin moving whatsover...

If there is one thing that really makes my analness shine... it has to be bar-wrapping. It can never have any of those disgusting adhesive tape provided with every bar wrap purchase usually emblazoned with the brand's logo... and we all know, that poo never last. It will start unwinding itself and next would be the wrap itself coming loose. And oh... what's with all those crappy plastic end plugs. . I mean here you have some $60 leather wrap (ok the ones bought today was $5 a pop cork tape on a firesale at Entro) and you round up your product with a piece of plastic. Hello to the brands out there...yooo hooo ya you... if those tapes look anything half decent- -the damn plugs will be screaming MIC from a mile away.

No I'll have none of that and before the leather Brooks end plug arrive-- I'll make do with some DIY wine cork instead. Maybe even just keep them there...

All's finished for now... short ride, feels good and back to Google to search for the right racks and fenders...

Back from morning test ride to "test-drive" an e.kickscooter

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Been contemplating to sell off the Stanyan lately. But for one reason or another... decided to give it another shot.

Started to look again at various kind of commuting builds and somehow found myself gravitating again and again to pictures that shows porteur racks and bars...

It must have been years ago when I first saw this particular bike from....errr, Ahearnes Cycle ??? With full custom porteur racks which at that time I didn't even know that's what they were called and the coolest tricked out shifters that incorporated wooden beer keg tap!. Can't seem to find that pic again... but the image has been etched into my grey matter all these while.  No, I won't try to replicate the same thing as a respect to both the owner or bike builder.

Original pic is from here
Anyway... I think my Stanyan will probably end up looking closer to something like this. What started as a latent fixation culminating into last week's search for all things with the word "porteur" resulted in my OCD kicking into overdrive this week. Good thing TR Bikes had just what I needed to stop those convulsions.... now all that's needed are wooden fenders, bar tapes and ...hmm I'm still mulling over the necessity of a porteur rack actually.

23.8mm ... VO Porteur bar and SOMA Pursuit in blinkety blink polish silver
15 psi gauge....arhhh... must not forget other bikes in the quiver. This one is for TUFA...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Every pic tells a mistake...

Thought of adding a second piece after the last post below when upon a closer look...

Have always been looking at photos of myself riding... not Adonis admiring fashion but rather to try and spot where mistakes are. Shots in earlier days were glaring enough to have pointed out the mistakes easy but with more pedal time under the belt...

Yup... can definitely recall I was squashing it on the way out of the berm and holding it there... guess it explains why the tabletop always seems difficult to clear in this ending section.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lighter side of mid week

Wear lycra and ride road bikes? Nah... gimme a chessboard

While reading SRAM's new 7s DH gruppo and housekeeping my blog's pics. Can't help but make a comparison...
Conclusion: diff parts of the world, diff level of riding skills... but pattern always same same lah!

Happy Wednesday Folks
Glossary: bolas = balls, 
                CMI = Cannot Make It

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chiang Mai 2014

Don't ask me why but I always wanted to do the homeless grunge shot....
What's suppose to be a trip in Nov got delayed till now... better late than never. My annual pilgrimage to the mountains in Chiang Mai. Right now is probably the driest couple months of the year but nothing really prepared me from the diff of the cooler Nov-Dec period of previous trips...
By the way Apr-Sep would be rainy season
Being a little different this year with a bigger group... more tech and mech failures along the way was to be expected . I was nursing a badly setup fork on day 1 and started running into brake issues. Changed too many parts and gears before the trip... First time I'm using a dual crown here and popped an angleset in just before the trip. Day 1 handling is best described as a FUBAR ride. Thinking back... in the enthused state of riding here again, Dumbass Me totally forgotten to check suspension settings on the first day! SShhhhhhhh.......

Also.... Lesson learned. Stick with what works from before. Yes full length knee-shin guards be it they are on the dorky-robocop side of fashion appeal. Even if its not for the knocks & spills... the dry lashing vegetation on the shins during high speed runs makes a BDSM scene looks like a Disney fairy tale.

CW from top left: Yours truly f@#ked up rear brake. Broken spoke from Tinny's long should-be-trashed wheels
Someone's broke a chain, Ivan's clean snapped rail bolts. Plus my new abstract mountain leg-art.
Reflecting on all the boo boo of the previous day...
and hoping that everything was sorted out before reaching the summit

Gotta love the classical "WTF-happened" look on Ivan's face when the moment of truth dawned on him that he either has to go the next 1500ft  all trial-sy without  post+seat or start nurturing a close proctological relationship with his seatpost going down those 45 degree rutted rocky lines.

Ok Note, our guide to the rescue-- gave Ivan his seat post and gone sans seat and post. Can still jump and whip on the way down! Some Madmonkey indeed!
Note and Ivan: And we can all see the budding relationship in those few days
All thanks to 2 cleaned sheared off bolts ;)

I always bring spare rear dee and hanger but never occurred in the past to bring spare brake levers... maybe it was something in my subconscious says.. and luckily I did...

Thankfully by Day 2.  I was back in my element. Suspension adjusted and got used to the new riding positions as dictated by all the changes on the bike...

Spare XT lever.. Whew!

Uplift: The most understated but critical piece of equipment from our guide. Without which there will be no gungho posing ride shots if we have to drag bollocks pushing the bikes up each time in this dusty heat.

Ok -- let's get to some riding pics Plucked from various cameras... in no particular sequence to the days we were there

Go Pro Good arh!

"Mai Tu Liao...chiong arh"

Group shots.. .can there ever be a trip without one?

No CM trip, repeat, NONE is ever complete without a cuppa 3000ft up in the cool mountain air.
One of our guide has to take up babysitting role while ma hand grind aged beans and prep the brew for us
city-bumpkin-tourist-bikers that keeps coming back yearly for the novelty. But seriously... its really good good kaffee.
"Camera Front!" Quick lah.. Pose Pose Pose.. Hip sway, Eyes front, Heels down. Look the part damnit!

Our mystery rider-- Look Ma, no hands! This has got to be another "WTF-Happened" moment....and the entire sequence? Here
Virgin-no-more-Smurf-Merv: Ok he deserve his own shot with the peak after surviving not only the rides but all the sh!t we were trying to scare him with :) Should have a calloused perineum that he can wear like some paratrooper's wing back home now.  Chilcotin ho arh!

Doi Inthanon: Not particularly exciting on the way I must say and we travelled 80+km to get there... But hey at least its bragging rights back home that we been to the highest mountain in Thailand that's part of the Himalayan range eh!

ahhh.. this trip's most verbally abused rider want his portrait shot with the peak too. Yea rite... over all our salt laden hairy ass... Permission not granted Tinny!

Ernie-the-Detonator did it again... another dust bomb from him.... All lovingly captured for posterity by cam-whore Dave.

Seeing fk-all : Just gotta have faith in the guy in front of you not to fall...

The dusty aftermath of Doi Inthanon... actually back in the rest
of the usual trails twas' pretty much the same in this dry season

whenever there are streams and falls in my ride-- old habits die hard.
Hot Hot Hot: Me icy skullcap creation to make sure I don't have to haul
some heat-collapsed bag of old bones I've known since the Jurassic Age
(1) Ernie- "wait wait wait, don't take yet... I'm not ready" (3)No one beats Sit-Down-Dave. Camera or not, his ischial callosite stays glued to the seat- all day,all trails ;) (2) & (4) Kim and Les definitely saw the camera ... all that body English.... PoSeR TiMe! (5) And we were still wondering if Tinny was trying to do a TT aero position when the shot caught him.  (6) Ivan's damping-less fork for the day.

Mid Trail Arm Pump Relieving Break: Excited Merv relating dunno what
experience he has up there. Note and Andrew lending big sympathetic ears :)

Videos to follow-- Too many cameras, too much to edit now...

Riding is just a part of CM trips. Food glorious food, gorge till you drop, great local stuff to things we will pay a king's ransom to feast on back home....

From nice chic restaurant to donnowachacallit-point-your-finger-and-order goodies...

Of course there's the default touristy thing to do... More pachyderm art in the house now...

and city-Indiana Jones certainly needs a moped to get around as always...

2nd trip for the missus to CM. Looks like they are enforcing
the helmet rule more in the last year since we were there.
Were told it's a 500 Baht fine if the coppers decide to stop you...

Ok one parting ass-shot oops I mean group shot. Yup, just about everyone got their personalized Madmonkey jersey.

Conclusion: Think I'll be back end of the year again if no other big trip materialize in between. A new DH bike? Nah... the EG is really versatile and good enuf for me... Just gonna keep all my different forks and shocks to Plug 'n' Play as necessary. With  no WC DH courses around the region nor me having the guts to pile some 30ft air anyway.. a full on DH would be just overkill.

But rough "FR"ish terrains for some of the trails here sure can use a DH pogostick if the frame can fit. For which the EG certainly is up to the task with the RV1 plonked on it. In retrospect, back then I wasn't really thinking so much about pure DH rigs but veered in the direction of things like the TR250 or Morewood Kalula. Bikes that are comfortable and catered to switch around with a big single or dual crown....

There's no wrong or right but often with all the marketing hypes we all tend to fall into the "more is better" trap. Been there done that too... not that I have always been all that wise on things mtb. But with a much better sense of knowing one's own capability and terrains to match, its a lot easier to settle on what's really necessary and functional.

The single biggest change wasn't so much as having the bigger fork in there this year.. It was the head angle change with the Workscomponent set. Never thought it would be so radical but it did necessitate quite a fair bit of changes in my riding positions to accommodate the differences from before. A lot more forward but which was still a lot more stable It also meant having to watch out for front hoop washouts and do the leg kickout routines more often into high speed turns..  a la MX style.

With increasing speed each year, I can see the limits of me XT brakes... time to swipe that plastic for a pair of Saints now... Definitely a proven piece of component as seen on the other guys' bikes on this trip.

Adjustable seatposts? Duh-- learned my lesson from past 2 trips. Much as I'm an advocate for one on any trail bike but for these kinda  riding and the possible cartwheeling spills, an adj post is like trying to carry a porcelain vase on a ride. No more, not for klutz me at least.