Thursday, April 26, 2012

Finally Complete

The plan was simple, purchase a part here and part there to complete the list of items I had.  If a box shows up from Amazon or Price Point from time to time it is less noticeable than saying, "hey, I need $300 or so to finish this up."  At least that is what I tell myself, there is no fooling Household 6, she know what I am up to and it all adds up to $300.  Because most of my creative brainpower is used for work, I ended up saying "hey, I need $300 or so to finish."  The end result is an affordable durable ride that is capable of just about anything.

I am not going to take pictures of every aspect and part because it really is quite plain.  

I wanted something that I could run on and off road and planned on putting a road crank so I wouldn't spin out on the flats.  It is top pull and since I could not find a top pull road derailleur I went with a Shimano SLX capable of running up to a 48 tooth chain ring.  That is a good compromise because I was looking at a 50 tooth.  I used a Shimano Deore crank with the hollow tech II to provide stiffness.  My only complaint is that spacers and small parts are plastic instead of aluminum.  I am not found of the headset, but it was the right price and it is what you get when you don't do research.

I would say that the highlight so far has been the Jeff Jones Loop Bar.  I love the variety of hand positions, it makes for a comfortable ride.  I did the first 20 miles on it yesterday to listen for creaks, moans, squeaks, or rubbing.  Everything went well and I know that I am going to get a ton of use out of this bike.  It is very versatile and there are plenty of options to upgrade in the future.

I have some multi-cam Porcelain Rocket products on order.


Ogre 22" frame
Headset:  FSA Pig headset
Crank set and BB:  Shimano Deore 26/36/48 
Cassette:  Sram X.9 11-34
Front derailleur:  Shimano triple SLX
Rear derailleur:  Sram X.9
Shifters:  Sram X.9 trigger
Stem: Giant Connect 90mm
Handlebar:  Jeff Jones Loop bar
Brakes and levers:  Avid Single Digit 7 Linear Pull.
Wheels:  Shimano XT hubs with Salsa Delgado Cross rims
Seat Post:  Salsa Shaft

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Almost Done

I am almost done assembling my new Surly Ogre.  This will be my gravel grinder and commuting bike.  It has a mixture of old and new parts.  Nothing fancy, my goal is quality and function.  My biggest challenge is the gearing.  I was going to go with a road crank for a large chain ring.  Turns out nobody makes a top pull road derailleur.  The result is a 48 tooth mountain crank, the Shimano LX front derailleur will handle it.       

Surly Ogre

I am excited to use the Jeff Jones Loop Bar.  I anticipate it will be comfortable with the swept back grips and multiple hand positions available.  I am going to ride it a little bit and ensure the position of the brake levers and shifters before wrapping the remainder with handlebar tape.  I think I may need a shorter stem.  Again I will ride then make the decision.

Here is my Multi-Cam Porcelain Rocket Mission Control handlebar bag. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Decisions: Frame Bag or Panniers?

Spring is definitely here.  I am settled into a routine and it is time to start working on a bike commuting plan.  I love to ride but it can be difficult to find time to ride.  Commuting is a great way to use time to ride.  Commuting however has a number of challenges and it is probably why more people do not ride to work.

Here are the problems I face:

1.  Time:  My work hours are dismal.  I have to be to work at very early times.  This means that to make my roughly 8 mile commute and be showered and clean I would have to allow about 1 1/2 hours time.  That translates to really early.  This just means I have to go to bed earlier and I can sit and stare at the wall before I leave in the morning.

2.  Stuff:  I have a very specific problem, I can't wear flip-flops at work and my boots are big and heavy.  This is probably my biggest challenge.  I would assume that this is the biggest challenge for every one and the main reason most don't bike commute.    Here are the options for this and some of the things I have tried:

  • Back--This is the old school Sherpa style.  Carrying all of this on my back is uncomfortable and gets heavy after a long day.  I have tried numerous bags and backpacks.  Backpacks tend to ride high and make it difficult to see over my shoulder.  I like my Timbuk2 but it fills up quick with boots, towel, uniform, lunch.......
  • Trailer--I bought and used a B.O.B. trailer.  It fits on any bike which makes it nice.  This is a great trailer when it is moving, I barely noticed it was there.  This is great for long days of touring.    Stationary, it is a pain.  A serious pain.  I believe it would be easier to park a Mack truck with trailer.  Getting it alongside a bike rack is not easy and since it only has one wheel it wants to shift the weight making it difficult to load.  Surly makes some but they are two wheel and bulky.  I have not interest in owning more trailers.
Right now I am trying to decide how to set up the Ogre, it has braze on capabilities for panniers and trailers.  I am also interested in going a little more stream lined with a frame bag like Porcelain Rocket, but again volume is an issue.  In the mean time, I will continue to carry the load on my back.