Thursday, 1 November 2007

Four In One

OK, you havn't had a blog in a while. So here they are all at once.

A fine desktop...

Mmmmmm ... pikey. :)

And so yet to another BMXC ride on bored days off.

I rekon I did about 20k in less than 4 hours on a single-speed jump bike, which I think is pretty good going on an improvised route of towns, skate-parks, suburbs, bridleways, footpaths, fields and country parks in and around Kettering. Twas a lovely day. Blue skies, pretty flowers, fun riding etc.

To sumarise my BMXC philosophy if you missed it, BMXC is a form of mountain biking with a jump bike - preferablly single-speed and very little pedaling up steep hills. The object is exploration and adventure riding anything you think (or don't think!) you can along the way styling it up. Basically, its about messing around with your bike in the sunshine. What more could you want??

Anyways, as asid a lovely ride. However, unique for me in that I left my house with one bike and came home with two. This was completely random for me as I was riding along by the river Ise down a footpath and after some serious Ms Isle thrashing I stopped for a rest by the river. I spied what I believed to be a childs bike in the river, but upon closer inspection it turned out to be a Haro BMX with a 3-piece crank, 14mm axels, gyro and 'sun' rims. So, I retreived it from its watery haunt and upon being picked up from Twywell I returned post haste to collect the bike. Will probabbly see if I can repair it and sell it eBay styley. Will keep you updated anyways!

I am now seriously considerting 'downgrading' my saint brakes for Avid BB7's. I have come to the conclusion after maximum fettling with both hydraulic and cable disc breaks that cables are simpler and equally powerful if the overall design is good.

So, some of these bad boys for the Ms Isle... replace the saints. On paper the saint brakes are awesome, however the rear has never been right due to the fact that I obviously can't bleed them properly. And if you can't make them work properly then whats the point???

So Avid BB7's - 185mm up front with the traditional 160mm out back. Should be good, if a little contraversial.

I built this beast some time ago now.

Yes, I know I should grow up. But, come on. It's pretty good, isn't it? :) However, before completion it was desatroyed by a rather annoying man in a tractor. And so it becomes clear. My mission is to find a suitable location for stealth-jumps. I miss dirt jumping. It may have just been down at sandy ramps or Trisnant and I couldn't do any tricks, but it was still a good giraffe. So I need a good reasonably local spot to build before the frost lays in for the winter. The story continues.

Its arrived! New wheel ahoy! My new wheel is a Hope Pro II Single-Speed hub built with 36 plain-gauge balck DT-Swiss spokes onto a Mavic EX721 rim with velux cloth rim tape. It is the sex.

The design is excellent and if you're against having 9 gears on your bike then this will run up to six sprockets (prob about five with normal 8-speed sprockets and a 3/32" chain) although I havn't worked out how to get round the issue of locking your rear mech out to just 5 sprockets yet, appart from using an old-school 5-speed SIS mech! Also, this hub has the added bonus of a steel cassette hub body as standard, which is a far more sensible idea than the aluminium on the standard ProII and comes here without the extra weight of a full-size 8/9spd shimano cassette hub set-up. Also, bolt-up axels are a good idea. 6mm allen key and you can whip them out really easily, yet its like having a bolt-through out back in terms of stiffness and general hub immobility. No less than five swiss-made sealed bearing units keep the hub spinning smoothly and four pawls in two offset pairs seem to make the hub a little quieter than the standard ProII. This is probabbly due to the distribution of sound through the hubs rotation creating an illusion of a quieter hub when infact the noise is just as loud, but closer to a 'buzz' and less of a 'clack'. The other benefit to this wheel over the standard ProII is the increased flange distance due to the shortened cassette hub. This means that there needent be as much tension in the drive side spokes to compensate for the wheel dish and consequently makes for a much stronger wheel.

In terms of single-speed, i've never tried a Chris King hub, but I can't imagine you wanting anything more from a hub. This is one absolutely bob-on piece of kit!! This has to be my favourite rear hub ever - including my other standard ProII.

At first I was suspicious of getting a new Mavic EX721 as the graphics looked a little bit questionable asthetically, but on the bike they look the business and - despite what you may have seen on the internet, are completely readable if you stand further away. I deliberately got a non-disc rim so as to leave possibility open for a trialsy future for the build.

Wheel build from Chain Reaction Cycles is, as usual, exempliary. My other hoops have taken a severe beating for about a year now and are still as true as a nun on a polygraph.

I will have to give the new hoop a bit of a thrashing before being able to give any reasonable feeback, but initial indications and previous experiance suggest that this should be one-hell-of-a-piece-of-kit!

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