giovedì 21 giugno 2018

Frame geometry

While looking for (new) pictures of any Amazon Cross around the web, I came across Van nicholas official website and had a look oat the geometry of my frame.
Head tube is 72° and the seat tube is 73,5°, which is (I think) somehow normal but, going back to an old Morati catalogue, I found out that my HC 1.3 has 71°-73° that is incredibly closer to the current CX setup of my Amazon.
With a fork 1cm shorter (Crisp...), it can reach the same steep head tube angle.


mercoledì 18 aprile 2018

A couple of (not so recent) pictures

I'm lazy and I know it. I shot this pictures last month and they are still sitting onto my Flick account, waiting for me to write this (almost useless, I agree) post.

So, here it is, in it's almost latest setup (I took out the Restrap bag and the rear light).

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I switched the front stem with a 120mm one (Brand X, good and cheap from CRC)
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With these Tektro generic brakes, there are no probs with 28mm tyres (but I won't be able to use any full size mudguards...)

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This is somehow a good idea, tried to place the rear light (with the help of a tiny P-clip) on the rear axle (using the fender bolt hole)

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The biggest change here was going 1x. I took out both chainrings, front mech and its suport to use a narrow-wide 44 chainring (bought on eBay) along with a 10s 11-36 cassette.
Tightening the B screw, 105 rear mech can cope with the big cog. I may need a slightly shorter cassette but is not an issue, never had a chain drop since then.


sabato 14 aprile 2018

Crank Bros MXR pedals - rebuild

I have a pair of MXCR since ages but I never investigated whether they are rebuildable.
After a full winter, I thought it was the right time to service them just to discover that they are not serviceable.
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I was slightly annoyed (I bought a rebuild kit just for them...), however it is actually possible to tear them apart, clean, lube and close them again. Perhaps they won't last enough for a third service but for sure you might be able to prolong their life

This is, roughly, the kit I used, along the pedal itselfç
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Main topic is summarized in the below picture: the spindle is rolling over a very small set of ball bearings.
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The process is somehow straightforward. Open the pedal, removing the plastic cap (which is normally a bolt on item but for these pedals is just a simple cap pressed on the hole).
Remove the nut) as you'd do with a usual Crank Bros pedal.
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Given the status of the spindle,
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I don't think that the pedals may survive another service, however there are a couple of takeaways I can share.
This type of pedals (along with their Candy-type cousins) are serviceable.
Tightening the closing bolt (or loosing it) may reduce any play.

Last but not least, there is another (maybe easier) way to help prolonging the life of your MXR pedals. Without opening the body, you can drill a little hole (3mm should be enough) on the plastic cap and, using a grease gun, injecting as much grease as you can (Mr. Cunningham, we all owe you).


domenica 8 aprile 2018

Kona Hei Hei - Drop bar

Since the beginning of March I've got back my old Kona Hei Hei 2-9.
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This was an old 2009 model that I bought in 2012 (in used state).
I barely used it, back in the days. I raced just once with that (the year after I raced on a fully Rigid Niner EMD with a drop bar...) and cycled around my place a couple of times.

Once I got it back, I tried to sell it on the web but did't have any success so far.
I decided to move it a little bit on the road-ish side, as there is no real offroad here where I live. I had basically everything besides some good road disc calipers. Bought on Evans a pair of Shimano calipers and on Merlin Cycles a Tiagra brifters kit (were on sales, triple setup... why not).

The result is somehow close to some of the latest gravel experiment (plus size, slacker angles) due to the fact that this Kona is very old style. It has steeper angles (compared to modern MTBs), limited travel (80mm front, less than 90 rear).
The bigger issue may be the chainstays which allow a very limited choice of chainrings. Going 1x, the biggest ring is around 38 (to stay on the safe side).

I used the SLX chainset with a 38 narrow wide setup (taken from my Van Nicholas) with a 10s cassette (11-28... I know, I had a used chain which was too short for anything bigger than 28). Deda handlebar is 46cm wide (I don't really like flared bar), Tektro levers with Shimano 10s bar end shifters and it's done.
I didn't want to use the new Tiagra brifters just because I may not like this peculiar setup.
I expect to use it for everything, perhaps for a century next month.

Here are some pics:

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giovedì 15 febbraio 2018

Boardman Team Carbon - 2018

You may remember that this very very moment, last year, I sold my Team Carbon (which, by the way, had a very respectable spec with full 105 and Mavic wheelset).
Well, I had a good opportunity for another Team Carbon, from 2014 (I believe) with a mixed groupset: Tiagra 4600 with a 105 rear mech and FSA BB30 crankset, so-so wheels (Mavic CXP-22S rims on unbranded hubs made by Formula) and a good carbon frameset.
I know that it does not make sense to buy a bike, then sell it and spend 3 months to try to buy it back. I just wanted another bike, that's it. I started thinking of just the frameset (a used Ritchey Logic or a brand new P29er both for the same price), but then I thought that I would be better start with a complete bike.
That's because I would ended up using it for commuting and is it a pity to throw a steel (even worse if brand new) frame in the grimy winter we have here.
The bike was ready to go since the moment I got that from the seller, no issues, not even inflating tyres. I just had to add mudguards and was ready to go.
I used it since Monday now and it seems slightly faster that my other bikes. I'm inclined to think that this is a placebo effect due to the new toy.
Soon I'll add some pictures.


mercoledì 17 gennaio 2018

Brake bosses

I was reading this article this morning:
And I noticed the Moots Mounts on the rear triangle (they can be used on a fork as well).

One picture worths more than 10.000 posts.
(Picture taken from

It’s incredible how simple this has been engineered back in 1984, with the clear intention to use different wheel size on the same bike (course, you may have the need to use a brake booster).

Just think about the “new” gravel craziness with it's need to switch your wheels (between 700c and 27,5) while Moots was doing that, for the same purpose, more than 30 years ago.


lunedì 15 gennaio 2018

Shed leftovers

So, besides the old Atala Top Al and the rusty steel road Marin (even though the stays say Moser... something good for a new story), nothing really good is left on my shed.

I sold (for few bucks...) everything. My 29er Kona is left (but is currently in a shop, should bring it back here).

Ironically, I brought with me more than 10 cranksets... what should I do with these?

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martedì 9 gennaio 2018

No Drop

Dalla casetta, con l'ultimo carico di materiale, ho portato su sei o sette manubri. Tra questi ci sono i due Fleegle di On-One che comprai tempo fa.
Il primo, 25,4 alluminio satinato, è andato sulla Lancaster. Il secondo ha finito il viaggio sulla Van Nicholas.
Ho messo le comode leve Sram argento e un comando Shimano a 10v su supporto Paul.

La vista laterale è piuttosto pulita, se non fosse per il cavo freno anteriore troppo corto (lo so, ne avevo un segmento già tagliato, e...). Con le ruote da 26, poi, sembra molto bella nell'insieme.
Forse è esagerato in larghezza, 710mm ma c'è parecchio spazio per mettere le mani.

With the last boxes taken from my shed, back home, i brought a couple of handlebars. Among these, two Fleegles made by On-One bought some time ago.
The first one, with a diameter of 25,4mm, raw aluminum, is on the Lancaster now. The other one ended up on my Van Nicholas.
I used a good old pair of  Sram silver levers and a Shimano 10s bar end on a Paul support.

The side view is pretty clean but for the front brake cable too short (I know... this was already cut).
I like the clean lines  especially with these 26er wheels.
Perhaps may be a little on the wide side with its 710mm lenght however this way there's a lot of room to rest your wrists.

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Quello di cui parlavo / What I was talking about:

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Il setup dei comandi / Levers setup:

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Per un breve periodo ho anche montato le appendici aero che potrebbero anche avere un senso su un manubrio così. Ho deciso di toglierle, però; un po' troppo ingomranti ingombranti se uno ci deve andare soltanto in città.

For some time I used some aero bars which make sense with these bars. However I ended up taking them out as they are too cumbersome to carry around (especially when commuting around the city).

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Spero di avere l'occasione (molto presto) di togliere i parafanghi e poterci fare un po' di vero fuoristrada.

I hope to have the opportunity to ride this bike with no mudguards on a real offroad ride.


domenica 7 gennaio 2018

26 pollici sulla Amazon

A ottobre scorso ho avuto l’occasione di svuotare ulteriormente la casetta. Ho tolto di mezzo una quantità di roba che per qualche motivo continuavo a tenere. Ho scoperto di avere pneumatici completamente inutili oppure mozziconi di guaine freno troppo corte.

Ho riempito una quantità di scatole e le ho portate alla base (sul contenuto, magari, scriverò qualcosa in seguito).
In October I emptied my shed. Throwing away many things that I thought I should have kept.
There were useless tires or outer cables too short to be used.

I made a couple of plastic boxes and sent them here (I'll write a post sooner or later about that).

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Tra le cose che ho imballato c’erano anche una bella coppia di Mavic Crossmax 26" solo disco con su un paio di Kenda Small Block 8 tubeless.

Le ruote le avevo preparate per la Paduano e portate alla Martani Superbike del 2014. Ci avrò fatto quattro o cinque uscite in tutto e poi le misi da parte (vendetti la Paduano molto presto).

Appena arrivate le ho montate sulla Van Nicholas e... Caspita! Funziona tutto.
Il movimento centrale risulta di poco più basso rispetto ad una coppia di 700x32 tradizionali ma le 26 con le Kenda da 2.1 sono sostanzialmente identiche alle 27,5 con su le Kojak da 33.
La bici è diventata comoda ed è più sicura quando giro nel parco col fondo umido e scivoloso.
Il passaggio ruota sul carro posteriore è più che sufficiente. Probabilmente sarebbe un problema sul fuoristrada serio e fangoso (o durante una gara di ciclocross) ma siccome non faccio né l’uno né l’altro, non è un vero problema.

Il nuovo formato, per fare qualcosa di più impegnativo dove servano gomme più tassellate, è eccezionale.

Among the other things there was a 26" Mavic Crossmax disc wheelset with a pairof Kenda Small Block 8 on it.

I made these at the time I was using the Paduano and used during Martani Superbike race in 2014. I used them four or five times and then put them in a corner (my Paduano was sald very soon).

As soon as I get them, I put them on the Van Nicholas and... gosh, it works.
The botton bracket is slightly lower than with a normal set of 700x32 however these 26er with their Kenda 2.1 are roughly the same as a pair of 27,5 with their 33 Kojacks.
Now the bike is more comfortable and safer when riding in a wet and slippery park.
Tire clearance is ok but tight, it may be a problem with mud (like during a CX race) but I'm not going to do anything like that.

This new setup is awesome once you get off the road.

Forcella / Fork:

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Carro posteriore / Chainstays:

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Foderi verticali / Stays:

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venerdì 5 gennaio 2018

Reverse thumb shifter

... che in inglese fa un figurone ma in italiano sarebbe un più modesto: comando cambio rovesciato (e farebbe pensare ad un motociclista integralista)!

Si racconta che anche il buon Greg Herbold sia stato il primo ad usare i comandi XT sopramanubrio in versione rovesciata. Non ho trovato nessuna foto in rete che lo confermi. Le foto più risalenti si riferiscono alla Myiata che usò a Durango nel 1990 ma in quel periodo Shimano produceva già i Rapidfire (modello Push Push).

Ad ogni buon conto, non fu il solo a farlo. Moltissimi atleti preferivano questo setup al classico sopramanubrio, anche nell'era dei Rapidfire (tutti conoscono la storia dell'affidabilità dei thumb shifters).

Tempo fa, comprai un set manubrio da crono con dei comandi Shimano Ultegra a 9v (sebbene il venditore fosse convito che quelli fossero a 10v, millantando di averli usati con un setup a 10v...). Il comando destro aveva una indicizzazione traballante, forse dovuta all'uso. Non era in grado di tenere la marcia, troppo gioco. Potrebbe sempre essere un buon comando deragliatore (vedi sotto).

Ho preso, allora, il comando sinistro, nativamente a frizione perché da usare con il deragliatore, montandolo su un supporto Paul (dovrei prima o poi comprare un set di quelli a cerniera da spostare pià facilmente).
L'ho quindi installato sulla destra del manubrio, in posizione rovesciata, collegandolo ad un vecchio (e un tempo NOS) cambio 105 degli anni 90).

Ecco qualche foto.

... if you use English sounds always better.

Apparently, it was the good old Greg Herbold to use, during a race, the good XT thumb shifters upside down. There are no picture to corroborate that assumption. The oldest ones are about the Miyata that he used in Durango, 1990, but at that time Shimano already introduced the new Push-Push Rapidfire shifter.

Anyway, he was not the only one to do so. Many athletes used to have this setup, even when Rapidfire were sold (everyone knows the legendary reliability of the thumb shifter).

Some time ago I bought a TT bar with 9s Ultegra bar end shifters, the seller told me (with a bold voice) that these shifters were 10s, pretending he was using them with a 10s setup...). Anyway, the rear derailleur shifter is slightly loose, perhaps badly worn out. It can't keep the right gear, it can be used for the front derailleur (see below).

I used the front shifter, with no indexing, with a Paul support (I should buy the new hindged version, sooner or later).
Then I installed it on the right hand side of the handlebar, upside down, linking it to an old (used to be a NOS) 105 rear mech from 90s.
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E' da un paio di settimane che uso la bici con questo setup, soltanto in città (e, more solito, entro il piccolo parco - con annessa pista BMX) che percorro quotidianamente.
Una volta presa la mano alla cambiata a frizione, non ci sono grossi problemi. Anzi, il manubrio resta molto pulito così.
Chissà come sarebbe con entrambi i comandi ed una doppia...