Sometimes, to get off my butt, I need a goal. Since I have really been sitting on my butt in a huge way (well, I sorta had an excuse -- some nasty neck problems and old age!) I decided I needed something fun to obsess about that might get me off my butt. The answer is to hoard my vacation time and take a 4-5 week-long tour in coastal lowlands somewhere between Copenhagen and Lisbon in 2007. I had better start riding again, eh?
I have a touring bike that I am very fond of, a 1985-vintage Lotus Odyssey that I found fit well over the years. When I look at the price tag of something like a new Trek 520, I become even more fond of that not-very-expensive-back-then Lotus. So I am trying to consider what sane things to do to upgrade it.
I had often considered 700c wheel conversion for better choice of tires (I'm looking at Conti Travel Contact). Taking the bike overseas almost seems to make that mandatory (unless I want to haul a spare rim). But that upgrade has a chain reaction of implications.
The low-end canti brakes would not allow reposition of brake pads to smaller 700 rims. It looks like there might be enough space to fit some V brakes. Some of those I have seen (like "Pauls") look like they allow repositioning *way* down on the lever, but I wonder how close they could get to the pivot before losing all leverage. Looks like V brakes would require new brake levers, but those don't really exist in road/drop versions? Adapters?
With the newer double-pivot caliper brakes, I wonder if it might be smart to have the cantilever bosses ground off, cover the wounds with some touch up paint, and add some calipers (would need to be deeper...)
If new wheels, do I try to salvage existing hubs? They are mid-range something-or-other. I need to check width -- are they 126 versus 130? For loaded touring and given that I am a big guy I could get excited about a new *rear* at least with lots of expensive spokes.
This bike is presently an 18-speed and I have to say I have not ever lusted for anything more. I converted it way back when to a half-step-plus-granny-gear setup that I like a lot -- kind of the Barcalounger let's-not-shift-*too*-much approach. All of the Shimano stuff now seems like 8-speed and up. Am I not right to wonder if all those cogs reduce actual wheel width (more dish?). Is there a popular sturdy alternative in rear hubs/cassettes that would maybe support 6-7 cogs?
'Course, whatever I do there it seems like I could be looking at new derailleurs. I see Shimano still sells bar-end shifters. My bike has the originals and I still find them the best overall solution even though the friction action is pretty sloppy. I can't tell if the new ones are better -- do they ratchet or index?
Ah, the one other possible upgrade: see if I can't get a slightly taller stem set back a tad more to try to cut my corroded cervical vertebrae some slack!
Anyhow, if I keep dreaming up things I could change, I could save money by buying a new bike. But I like the old one...and it has this lavender metallic paint that I love. I hope you won't tell me I'm nuts. Please!
I'm interested in any thoughts of what to do with the old mare...short of putting her out to pasture