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  1. #151
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    This is my favorite $300 BD bike. Of course I'm a curmudgeonly lover of steel road bikes with level top tubes and thin tubing.

    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  2. #152
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    Regarding the BD bikes; the only three at the $300- mark that I would pick over the Denali are:

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...y/avenue_a.htm and http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...y/avenue_b.htm due to the cro-moly fork. And that is the ONLY reason. Everything else looks the same.

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...e_xi_steel.htm for the cro-moly frame; this one is on close out and only 61cm frame size left...if this was a 57 to 59cm; I 'd be all over it. I'd still be upgrading, like Borobike did.

    The other offerings are basically exactly the same as the Denali at almost 2x the price.......

    IF I was is the market for an already built new bike; I'd probably go with this:
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist.htm
    except the 58cm is sold out.....
    Last edited by nfmisso; 07-03-11 at 12:44 PM.
    Nigel
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  3. #153
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    This is my favorite $300 BD bike. Of course I'm a curmudgeonly lover of steel road bikes with level top tubes and thin tubing.

    +1
    Nigel
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  4. #154
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Just from looking at pics (haven't pored over specs) seems like most BD bikes have nicer cranks, nicer stems, nicer forks, nicer saddles.

    I like the geo of the Wellington 1-0 way better than the Denali, shame about the ugly downtube on the Wellington.
    Denali headtube looks really slack, hard to judge in pics though. That HT angle might make it a good candidate for clip-ons with barend shifters in 'em. Could possibly be the best Tri on a budget bike.

    I'm gonna check my lottery tickets I bought yesterday. I'll get a couple of BD bikes and a Denali for some side-by-side testing if I hit the jackpot.
    Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 07-03-11 at 12:52 PM.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  5. #155
    Dept. store bike bandit
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    This is my favorite $300 BD bike. Of course I'm a curmudgeonly lover of steel road bikes with level top tubes and thin tubing.

    Nice, I didn't see that one. Love the classic look.

    Like nfmisso, I too would be upgrading the components (keeping it retro though). But that's one great starting point for a quality brand name bike on closeout.
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    I ride two different department store bikes of doom. Neither have exploded or caused small children to cry yet.

    198? Free Spirit Sovereign 12 speed road bike (Sears) - the smooth and comfy one. The commuter/hauler/touring bike.
    2011 GMC Denali 14 speed road bike (Wal-Mart) - the fast frankenbike. The racer.



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  6. #156
    This bike is cat approved monsterpile's Avatar
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    With alot of bikes it depends on what you are looking for (type of bike, what is your budget, mechanical ability etc) and it really depends on you market. I really like that Motobecane Mirage and I saw one in person in Salt Lake City, but unless you have to have new or something else about that particular bike, around here buying that bike doesn't really make much sense (or those other DT or stemshifter bikes from BD) because what you can get on the used market. If you go to the local bike charity Mad Dads you can get a tuned up DT or stem shifter bike thats pretty nice for around $150 or less. I just picked up a 1994 Trek 370 for $100 really ready to ride to turn into a tri bike for a friend. There are other flippers that have similar stuff for sale as well. I know in some markets getting something like the BD makes a ton of sense compared to the used market, but not here. If you start taking singlespeeds, brifters, cross bikes then things get totally different and BD is a great buy. Teh bottom line is most people on this forum know that usually just a few extra $ exponentially increase the value you get out a bike. Some people just don't have or aren't at the mental place where they will/can spend the money.

    Would I suggest a Denali to someone in the market around here? I wouldn't say flat out no if they were thinking o getting one. It would really depend what they were looking for but i generally suggest used because its a great value and sometimes I have something they can buy from or I can find something. If they were looking for a cheap road bike I would ask if they were interested in used bikes. If not I would say go for the Denali if they weren't willing to expand their budget.
    My SUV is a bicycle

  7. #157
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    Yeah, same here. I don't recommend the Denali to others unless they ask me about mine. The truth is most people who don't already know can't believe that it came from Wal-Mart, even less that it cost $157 originally. Those that do see mine and ask me how I like it. Some are looking for an inexpensive bike and I tell them it's great if you change out the brake pads and the shifters.

    The used market here isn't bad, there is stuff available but Auburn is a huge biking community and good road bikes are usually sold by those who know the value of them. That's not to say you can't get a good bike for a decent price, but that it's not going to be as stellar of a deal as say, some of my ebay part scores. Mountain bikes on the other hand, come and go frequently on craigslist and can be found for a great price as they are the bicycle of choice for university students.

    Not much of an update, but I finally figured out my shifting problem. Turns out that the Sora rear derailleur prefers jerky shifting (moving the shifter quickly from one setting to another) as opposed to the old derailleur which seemed to work better with smooth movements. That's probably intentional and related to the Sora's normal pairing with STI shifters, but either way now that I've figured out the proper shifting method I find that "hunting" back and forth between gears happens less frequently while shifting. Still no ghost shifts.

    The discovery happened when I was trying to smoothly ramp it up into fourth gear or so when it started "hunting" again. I got frustrated and smacked the shifter which knocked it up to 5th or so. The back and forth shifting stopped.

    For a while I was concerned it was the derailleur itself despite the fact that I can find no lateral play in it. I'm glad it's not, because as far as I'm concerned with friction shifting there is little need to go better than Sora considering the lack of inherent precision with this shifting method.

    The Sora FD and Dura-Ace crankset make a great combination. Shifting up or down is incredibly smooth, quick, and quiet. Which is good because yesterday we went up some killer hills and I found myself needing the inner chainring to climb frequently only to have to switch to the outer so I could keep up my pace once over the top.
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    I ride two different department store bikes of doom. Neither have exploded or caused small children to cry yet.

    198? Free Spirit Sovereign 12 speed road bike (Sears) - the smooth and comfy one. The commuter/hauler/touring bike.
    2011 GMC Denali 14 speed road bike (Wal-Mart) - the fast frankenbike. The racer.



    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...rzg/weight.png

  8. #158
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    Well, I found my next upgrade. Went on a ride today and almost hit a dog. Some little yappy mop whose owner didn't have it on a leash (we have a leash law) and was at least 50 feet away, on a public roadway. Dog came charging at me from the front while I was going 20+ mph.

    I've never really had to panic brake in an actual situation before today. I was on the hoods so I wasn't getting the best leverage possible, but I hauled back HARD on the levers, and while the bike did stop there was no lockup. In the intensity of the moment I felt like my brakes were seriously underpowered, the bike kept going and I almost hit the dog. Not that I would have felt particularly bad, because once I stopped the stupid thing kept barking at me and proceeded to bite my left foot, but since it was just a mop dog I couldn't even hardly feel it through my shoe but that could have just been a mix of anger and adrenaline. Anger because the owner didn't even bother saying a word to the dog during this whole encounter.

    I really wish I'd just kicked the stupid thing, if it happens again I probably will. I was probably so shocked that the owner continued to not do anything about it that I just laid the hammer down and figured if it gets caught in my spokes, I won't lose any sleep over it. Well, aside from the damage to my wheel.

    Either way, the braking performance really got me wondering what would have happened if that dog had been something that actually could have harmed me. With the single pivots and my tendency to ride on the hoods I have noticed that I really am forceful on the brakes most of the time, even during normal stopping. I just always figured that if the situation would call for it, I'd have extra squeezing power on reserve for wheel lockup and short stops. Not the case.

    So today I bought a new set Tektro R736 dual pivot calipers on ebay for $37 a set, not a super deal considering my other finds but pretty decent considering they usually sell for $60 or so a set. But they should give me the better leverage that I need. These also include the quick releases for big tires (like my 32c's) which my current single pivots do not. Also come with a new set of brake pads but I will likely clean up and install my Kool-Stops and keep the Tektro pads as spares.

    More later, should be done Friday or Saturday.
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    I ride two different department store bikes of doom. Neither have exploded or caused small children to cry yet.

    198? Free Spirit Sovereign 12 speed road bike (Sears) - the smooth and comfy one. The commuter/hauler/touring bike.
    2011 GMC Denali 14 speed road bike (Wal-Mart) - the fast frankenbike. The racer.



    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...rzg/weight.png

  9. #159
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    @borobike

    That is one experience you got there... If you remember I asked about your brakes in some posts above. I was also contemplating on replacing the stock V brakes on my walmart ride instead of just replacing the pads. Although my experience is more on the "wet" side of things, I was wondering if having great pads and not so awesome brake assembly vs a good complete brake assembly would fit the bill...

    I know that you have a different brake assembly than mine, I have a V brake for my mountain bike. The shimano acera sets from amazon looks more cost effective than just buying pads for my ride...

    Sorry for the ramblings on my part I was just thinking out loud and telling you that your experience just affirmed that buying this set over just good pads is the way to go

  10. #160
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by borobike View Post

    ...

    Out of curiousity, let's do a part breakdown to compare this bike's price with that of other entry level Sora-equipped bikes:

    Original price: $157
    Kool-Stop pads: $20
    Dura-Ace Crankset: $36
    Sora FD: $9
    Sora RD: $10
    Suntour Friction shifters w/cables: $10
    Total: $242

    "Optional" Extras (things that are more personal/not necessary for every Denali):
    Shimano UN54 BB: $20
    Serfas Dual Density Saddle: $40
    KMC Z-Chain w/master link: $15
    Total: $317

    When you consider that many Sora-equipped bikes start at $350-$400 and can go up to $700 or so new, the Denali isn't such a bad deal if you don't mind doing a little wrenching, at a base build price of $242. Granted, many of my parts are based on pretty great deals, but if you shop around a little you can find them too! For example, I saw a Dura-Ace 7402 (vintage 7-speed) RD for sale on ebay in great working condition for $60, if I hadn't already gotten the Sora I'd be all over that. It pays to browse around.

    Alternatively, for $40 (another deal I found) I could have used a Tiagra RD and brought the total build price with optional extras up to $337.

    If you don't like stem shifters, you can use bar-end index or friction shifters for shifting. From what I've found, these can cost between $30-$100 depending on what you like. This would bring your total cost minus optional extras up to $262-$332. Still a pretty fair price for a full Sora bike.

    The only negative I can see is the issue with brifters, if you don't like friction shifters or bar-end. You can easily budget in a set of brifters on top of the $242 price and come out well, but the problem is that the bike is a 7 speed whereas most brifters are going to be adjusted for 9 speed drivetrains (you can use a 9 speed RD on a 7 speed drivetrain btw, the RD doesn't care, the shifters do!). Budgeting in a 9 speed freewheel at about $35 (there aren't many, but there are some out there) and a 9 speed chain ($15) brings the base cost up to $292. Allowing $150 for the Sora brifters (or $129 for the Nashbar variety) brings the total cost for the build up to $420-$440.

    I have also found that some Sora shifters are tuned for 8 speed drivetrains, meaning you can keep your original chain and drop your price down to $405-$425 w/brifters, and allowing for the cost of an 8 speed freewheel.

    Of course, there's still the issue with weight, but your cost savings has to come from somewhere. Swapping out to a road crank should save you a couple of pounds, and the derailleurs might weigh a little less as well. Likely when all is said and done though, it is probably still a 25lb bike at the bare minimum. Changing the wheelset, tires, seatpost, and fork could get this bike under 20 lbs but then it's no longer a budget build.


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    It's not really an apples to apples comparison. The Denali has a heavier frame and wimpier brakes. Also, you can get bikes with 8 speed cassettes from BD for $299. It's still down tube shifting vs brifters but it's a much easier upgrade path starting with a cassette instead of a freewheel if you do eventually want brifters and/or a 9/10 speed drive train.

    While there are 9 speed freewheels available it's not a great idea to use one. It's fairly easy to bend or break an axle once you get above a 7 speed freewheel and I'm sure the hubs on the Denali aren't designed for more than 7.

    Another alternative is Nashar where you can get a road bike and even a cyclcross bike on sale for under $600. Note that most entry level road bikes from major manufacturers also come with a carbon fork. Not everyone wants one but it's definitely a higher level component than what you get on a Denali. Then there's all the little details like forged dropouts and replaceable derailleur hangers.

    All that said, there's a place for a Denali. Where it might make some sense for me is as the basis for a winter bike but I don't know if it has sufficient tire clearance. It would have to have room for 38's with fenders. Assuming it did, I could pick up a used Denali cheap and replace basically all the components. The attraction for me is the cheap aluminum frame. Finding decent caliper brakes to work with the larger tires could be a problem though.
    Last edited by tjspiel; 07-06-11 at 08:50 AM.

  11. #161
    The Fat Guy In The Back Tundra_Man's Avatar
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    As I follow this thread I keep being reminded of the guy who claimed he had the world's greatest hammer. It was really inexpensive and had lasted him over 50 years. It only needed to have it's handle replaced four times and the head replaced twice
    '81 Panasonic Sport, '02 Giant Boulder SE, '08 Felt S32, '10 Diamondback Insight RS, '10 Windsor Clockwork

    Visit me at the Tundra Man Workshop

  12. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnj2803 View Post
    @borobike

    That is one experience you got there... If you remember I asked about your brakes in some posts above. I was also contemplating on replacing the stock V brakes on my walmart ride instead of just replacing the pads. Although my experience is more on the "wet" side of things, I was wondering if having great pads and not so awesome brake assembly vs a good complete brake assembly would fit the bill...

    I know that you have a different brake assembly than mine, I have a V brake for my mountain bike. The shimano acera sets from amazon looks more cost effective than just buying pads for my ride...

    Sorry for the ramblings on my part I was just thinking out loud and telling you that your experience just affirmed that buying this set over just good pads is the way to go
    Try the pads first and see how well they work for you. If that doesn't work then you may indeed want to upgrade your whole assembly. Changing the pads made a huge difference but that alone isn't going to quite do it for me.

    @tjspiel, I haven't tried fenders and don't plan on it so I can't tell you much there. What I can tell you is that the Denali uses long reach brake calipers (mine measure out at 53mm) and it has mounts for fenders front and rear, so I'm guessing that there is probably enough clearance for them with the stock 32c tires.

    BTW: The $300 BD offerings weigh 28-29 pounds. The Denali stock weighed 29 and I probably dropped a pound or two off changing the crankset. There isn't much savings of weight to be had at this point. Can't argue on the wimpy brakes, but I'm still only at a $279 price point for Shimano Sora, Dura-Ace, dual pivot brakes and other bits and pieces.

    Many of the $300 BD bikes also utilize freewheels, but that Motebecane Mirage does have an 8 speed cassette. That's a nice touch. My only negative point with the Mirage is that it does utilize lower-grade derailleurs, more or less equivalent to what the Denali had stock. That doesn't matter as much with the downtube shifters I suspect, but it would be an upfront cost to upgrade. Alternatively, it does have a cassette and quick release wheels which the Denali does not. All that said, the Mirage is probably the only bike I'd take over my current build of the Denali at the $300 new price point, for it's upgradeability and decent list of standard components. It's a pretty sweet deal.

    However if we are going to jump to around the $600 price point, this would be the bike I would get. Check it out.

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...our_legacy.htm

    I've decided that given the complication involved with 9 speed drivetrains (meaning what I'd have to do to get one), I'll stick with 7 speed and hunt for 7 speed brifters like RSX or Vintage Sora, as they do exist. Anyone know if I can use an 8 speed brifter with a 7 speed drivetrain? I've seen them around also. But that's something for way in the future.

    I hope I'm not coming across as saying that the Denali is better than anything else out there, rather I'm trying to say, as you are (tjspiel) that there is a place for it and it can be an enjoyable bike for someone who enjoys tinkering. And that throwing better parts on it isn't a wasted effort.

    @ Tundra_Man, but in the end he still had a hammer. I'd be a bit delusional if I claimed the Denali was the world's best bike.

    Looking back, there'd be only one thing I'd change. I recently found where I could have gotten a new 105 rear derailleur for $34. The Sora works fine for me currently so I see no reason to upgrade, but if I could do it over I'd have gone with the 105 for potential future upgrades.
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    I ride two different department store bikes of doom. Neither have exploded or caused small children to cry yet.

    198? Free Spirit Sovereign 12 speed road bike (Sears) - the smooth and comfy one. The commuter/hauler/touring bike.
    2011 GMC Denali 14 speed road bike (Wal-Mart) - the fast frankenbike. The racer.



    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...rzg/weight.png

  13. #163
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by borobike View Post
    .......
    Anyone know if I can use an 8 speed brifter with a 7 speed drivetrain? I've seen them around also. But that's something for way in the future.
    ........
    The cog to cog spacing of 7 and 8 speed are different. Scroll down about 1/3 to Cassette /Freewheel Spacing http://www.sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-spacing.shtml 5.0 vs 4.8 mm - maybe okay, maybe not........
    Nigel
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  14. #164
    This bike is cat approved monsterpile's Avatar
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    I think if you got some 8 speed Sora shifters you could make them work with 7 speed with the alternate cable routing Sheldon has mentioned on his site. I would do a Google search to make sure or get some feedback from some other posters before buying.

    You seem to find good deals on stuff, but I might suggest you make sure this Denali really fits you before dumping a bunch more money into it. Of course your situation is different with this Denali having some happy thoughts attached to it, but just keep in mind maybe a budget of the bike you aren't willing to go over. Of course some of the stuff you have bought can be switched over to another bike if you wanted to.

    Also you have good taste in bikes I love that Schwinn Le Tour for some reason too. =) A few months ago Nashbar has some of those and it was a better price (if you got the right sale) than on BD. I would have been tempted, but they ran of them. Its ok though I am really happy with my 1987 Le Tour I picked up a couple months ago. =)
    My SUV is a bicycle

  15. #165
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by borobike View Post
    BTW: The $300 BD offerings weigh 28-29 pounds. The Denali stock weighed 29 and I probably dropped a pound or two off changing the crankset. There isn't much savings of weight to be had at this point. Can't argue on the wimpy brakes, but I'm still only at a $279 price point for Shimano Sora, Dura-Ace, dual pivot brakes and other bits and pieces.


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    The Dawes Lightning with Downtube shifters is ~ 25 lbs. which is still heavy for an aluminum road bike but better than the Denali. I'm wondering how it could weigh so much actually since my mid-80's Steel Peugeot with fairly ordinary tubing weighed the same.

    My 2005 Specialized Allez Sport (which is Specialized's entry level road bike) weighed about 21 lbs. stock. I got it for $350 in 2007.

    Quote Originally Posted by monsterpile View Post
    You seem to find good deals on stuff, but I might suggest you make sure this Denali really fits you before dumping a bunch more money into it. Of course your situation is different with this Denali having some happy thoughts attached to it, but just keep in mind maybe a budget of the bike you aren't willing to go over. Of course some of the stuff you have bought can be switched over to another bike if you wanted to.
    Yeah, since the bike was free, you've really only invested a small amount. But to buy it new and spend another $100 to $200 on low end or dated components doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I'd save the money you're planning to spend on upgrades and wait until you can get a bike that's close to where you're headed. Then sell the Denali or keep it as a backup or foul weather bike.

    I realize though that in your case you get as much joy from the tinkering as the end result. I can relate to that.
    Last edited by tjspiel; 07-06-11 at 04:48 PM.

  16. #166
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    Thanks guys for the input on the 8 speed shifters!

    The bike actually seems to fit me pretty well fortunately, which is one reason why I'm comfortable putting money in it for now. I won't lie though guys, chances are sooner or later I'll end up modifying this bike beyond the point of any economic reason, even considering I got it for free. My future purchases (either a new bike or more stuff) are going to depend a lot on my future economic situation and where I'm headed after college.

    I went on a high speed group ride today (pretty sure our average speed was well into the 20s). I was way out of my league. I thought I'd built up enough endurance (that and I thought the rides were only 17 miles or so) but I was very surprised. At mile 20 I practically gave out as I'd pushed myself to the point of becoming nauseous and let the group go on. I think they rode for another 15 miles, likely at full speed still.

    I'm not terribly bothered though. The first time I tried this after about a week or two of riding, I only made it 4.5 miles. Today after two months of riding I made it for 20. The longest ride I've ever done was 22 miles, and it was a more relaxed group ride. Someday I'll be able to keep up. The Denali and I did a good job keeping up until somewhere between the 15-17 mile mark, and then of course at the 20 mile mark it was a complete disaster.

    What surprised me the most was how I gained ground on the other riders with the Denali...it wasn't going downhill as might be initially suspected, but uphill. Not standing either, but spinning. This is probably due more to the motor than the bike. There may be a climber hidden inside me with a little more training, which is somewhat tragic because I hate the upside of hills.

    Then again, maybe fast rides aren't really my thing. I really enjoy the more relaxed long distance rides.

    Today's ride also pushed me into a healthy BMI for the first time in at least a year, but I think more like three. I came close last year but I'm pretty sure I was still 5 pounds over. Here's my weight chart:



    The third data point is the point at which I bought the Denali, you can see the steady loss of weight after that.
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    I ride two different department store bikes of doom. Neither have exploded or caused small children to cry yet.

    198? Free Spirit Sovereign 12 speed road bike (Sears) - the smooth and comfy one. The commuter/hauler/touring bike.
    2011 GMC Denali 14 speed road bike (Wal-Mart) - the fast frankenbike. The racer.



    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...rzg/weight.png

  17. #167
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    Dual pivots done!





    Installation was simple but I did have to drill out one side of the hole for each so that the recessed retaining bolt would fit.

    The difference is like night and day, just as large of a difference as the Kool-Stop pads were compared to the original. Definitely a worthwhile upgrade.

    It's a lot like adding power brakes to a car that didn't have them before. Some 'feel' is reduced (they are a bit mushier) but the difference in power is tremendous. These things clamp down hard and stop the bike fast, and don't take much effort at all for even a full out panic stop. I can lock the rear wheel up now whereas I couldn't do it before, although for the sake of the tire I will try not to do that. These are a welcome upgrade.

    End of week report: 506 miles and no problems. I have the tool to remove the rear freewheel now, so soon I will be taking off the dork disk and checking out the rear wheel bearings. I expect to find them in serviceable condition. Wheels are still absolutely perfectly in true (seems to be the only major component left to report on).

    Lost another pound too. I found myself yesterday on my way home from a group ride cruising along at speeds averaging somewhere around 22 mph, going up an incline (not steep, about 4%) also at 22 mph without much effort. I think this may be some extra strength built from pushing myself so hard on Wednesday. Either way, I haven't weighed this little in about 4 years, I'm almost positive.
    .
    .
    .
    I ride two different department store bikes of doom. Neither have exploded or caused small children to cry yet.

    198? Free Spirit Sovereign 12 speed road bike (Sears) - the smooth and comfy one. The commuter/hauler/touring bike.
    2011 GMC Denali 14 speed road bike (Wal-Mart) - the fast frankenbike. The racer.



    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...rzg/weight.png

  18. #168
    Dept. store bike bandit
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    Well, it's time for the first negative report I have on the Denali for a very long time. Something that could cause a problem to someone planning on buying one further on down the road, unless they plan on upgrading anyway.

    The tool I received from the bike shop didn't work to remove the freewheel, like the one before it. It won't catch on the splines. I returned to the shop and worked with the store owner for a while.

    We concluded a few things: It's a "Sunway Group Co LTD" freewheel, relatively unheard of brand name. Googling brings up little to no information about it. The freewheel has a lockring that we were unable to figure out how to remove besides chiseling it off. Likely this freewheel requires special tools that we couldn't locate. The shop owner said he'd look more into it, and to bring it back in tomorrow when we'll get the thing off one way or another. Likely I'll be swapping out freewheels for something more conventional and using standard tools.

    The freewheel itself I have no complaints about, it hasn't worn, it shifts well, and otherwise functionally it has been fine. But because it requires special (and as far as we know, impossible to find) tools to remove, a Denali buyer will face problems when it comes time to service the rear hub. Of course if the hubs are never serviced, then they eventually will be trashed. Couple that with a difficult to remove freewheel and you're looking at a new wheel.

    The reason why I'm going to such lengths to remove the freewheel is because the bike is now up to over 510 miles without a glance at the rear hub. It's probably okay (still feels very smooth) but given the cost of a new wheel(set) I want to get in there to check it out, repack with fresh grease, and forget about it until about 1000 miles from now at which point I will disassemble both for a full cleaning and re-greasing. Also about that time I'll see about servicing the headset, not sure if I'm going to tackle that myself or let my favorite shop do it. Not out of difficulty but I hear the tools needed for it are expensive.

    But we're not throwing in the towel yet, we'll see about getting the thing off tomorrow but it may be destroyed in the process. If I didn't like the wheelset so much I wouldn't bother, but after 500 miles it's still perfectly in true and the braking surface of the rim is machined and slightly rough giving extra braking traction. That's probably common in more expensive wheelsets but I haven't seen it often in inexpensive ones. They are decent wheels and worth saving.

    If anyone knows the tool meant for these Sunway freewheels, that would be great. Otherwise tomorrow I'll likely have a new Shimano freewheel. I'll take the opportunity to do a little upgrading, I'd like to go from the 14-28t Sunway to an 11 or 12-28t Shimano, for a little extra top speed.

    But the bike itself is still performing great. I love the new dual pivot brakes, coupled with the Kool-Stop pads I have a great deal of stopping power. They grab quickly and hard. It feels as though it takes half the effort for the same amount of braking. And as I can mentioned earlier, I can lock up the rear wheel now whereas I couldn't before.

    I've just now gotten used to friction shifting with the new derailleur, I don't find it hunting much anymore. Which is somewhat unfortunate because a new freewheel will likely mean I'll have to get used to it all over again due to the slightly different tooth geometry.
    .
    .
    .
    I ride two different department store bikes of doom. Neither have exploded or caused small children to cry yet.

    198? Free Spirit Sovereign 12 speed road bike (Sears) - the smooth and comfy one. The commuter/hauler/touring bike.
    2011 GMC Denali 14 speed road bike (Wal-Mart) - the fast frankenbike. The racer.



    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...rzg/weight.png

  19. #169
    Nigel nfmisso's Avatar
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    Hi Borobike;

    I am very glad you like the dual pivots. Your experience is the same as mine

    A note on freewheels - the minimum number of teeth is 13. Seven speed freewheels that I know of with 13T in the smallest cog::
    Sunrace 13-28; uses Park FR1 (Shimano) tool; Amazon (put one on the hybrid I just sold to a friend; I rode it about 500 miles, no issues at all.
    Shimano 13-28; Amazon
    Sunrace 13-25; uses Park FR1 (Shimano) tool; eBay; currently on my commuter.
    Sunrace 13-24; uses Park FR1 tool; Harris
    IRD 13-24; Harris
    IRD 13-28; Harris
    IRD 13-32; Harris
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/freewheels.html#7

    The IRD ones are really nice, and expensive too.

    I just ordered at Shimano 13-28 (13-15-17-19-21-24-28) with an idea to take it apart, and combine with parts from a Shimano 14-34 (14-16-18-20-22-24-34) to create a 14-15-16-17-18-20-24 or similar with one tooth steps in the upper range.

    Sunrace seven speed freewheels are about 2mm wider than Shimano seven speed freewheels - probably not an issue for your bike, but was for my mid 80's Suze-Araya wheel

    To go to 11T; you need a modern (8 speed) freehub and cassette.

    This wheel would do it for you: http://www.amazon.com/Mach1-EXE-Rear...0176636&sr=1-3
    it has DT spokes, so at worst typical maintenance (tension/true/stress relieve) and greasing the bearings would get a wheel that would last a lifetime.

    Then you'd want one of these" http://www.amazon.com/SRAM-PG850-Spe...0176757&sr=1-5

    etc
    Nigel
    Mechanical Design Engineer

  20. #170
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by borobike View Post
    Well, it's time for the first negative report I have on the Denali for a very long time. Something that could cause a problem to someone planning on buying one further on down the road, unless they plan on upgrading anyway.

    The tool I received from the bike shop didn't work to remove the freewheel, like the one before it. It won't catch on the splines. I returned to the shop and worked with the store owner for a while.

    We concluded a few things: It's a "Sunway Group Co LTD" freewheel, relatively unheard of brand name. Googling brings up little to no information about it. The freewheel has a lockring that we were unable to figure out how to remove besides chiseling it off. Likely this freewheel requires special tools that we couldn't locate. The shop owner said he'd look more into it, and to bring it back in tomorrow when we'll get the thing off one way or another. Likely I'll be swapping out freewheels for something more conventional and using standard tools.

    The freewheel itself I have no complaints about, it hasn't worn, it shifts well, and otherwise functionally it has been fine. But because it requires special (and as far as we know, impossible to find) tools to remove, a Denali buyer will face problems when it comes time to service the rear hub. Of course if the hubs are never serviced, then they eventually will be trashed. Couple that with a difficult to remove freewheel and you're looking at a new wheel.

    The reason why I'm going to such lengths to remove the freewheel is because the bike is now up to over 510 miles without a glance at the rear hub. It's probably okay (still feels very smooth) but given the cost of a new wheel(set) I want to get in there to check it out, repack with fresh grease, and forget about it until about 1000 miles from now at which point I will disassemble both for a full cleaning and re-greasing. Also about that time I'll see about servicing the headset, not sure if I'm going to tackle that myself or let my favorite shop do it. Not out of difficulty but I hear the tools needed for it are expensive.

    But we're not throwing in the towel yet, we'll see about getting the thing off tomorrow but it may be destroyed in the process. If I didn't like the wheelset so much I wouldn't bother, but after 500 miles it's still perfectly in true and the braking surface of the rim is machined and slightly rough giving extra braking traction. That's probably common in more expensive wheelsets but I haven't seen it often in inexpensive ones. They are decent wheels and worth saving.

    If anyone knows the tool meant for these Sunway freewheels, that would be great. Otherwise tomorrow I'll likely have a new Shimano freewheel. I'll take the opportunity to do a little upgrading, I'd like to go from the 14-28t Sunway to an 11 or 12-28t Shimano, for a little extra top speed.

    But the bike itself is still performing great. I love the new dual pivot brakes, coupled with the Kool-Stop pads I have a great deal of stopping power. They grab quickly and hard. It feels as though it takes half the effort for the same amount of braking. And as I can mentioned earlier, I can lock up the rear wheel now whereas I couldn't before.

    I've just now gotten used to friction shifting with the new derailleur, I don't find it hunting much anymore. Which is somewhat unfortunate because a new freewheel will likely mean I'll have to get used to it all over again due to the slightly different tooth geometry.
    .
    .
    .
    Freewheels aren't that expensive. I'd get another regardless of whether he can get it off without destroying it. A hyperglide shimano freewheel will likely shift better anyway. Even better, check out craigslist for a used rear wheel with a freehub. My guess is that it won't be long until you're replacing the wheel anyway. Might as well save the intermediate cost of a new freewheel. Actually last winter I picked up a new rear wheel on Amazon for $50. I got it as a spare and it was nothing special but I guarantee it's better than what's on the Denali.

  21. #171
    Dept. store bike bandit
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    Thanks nfmisso, looks like I'll be opting for a 13t then. That may actually already be what's already on there now. But I'll be opting for a Shimano 13-28t freewheel, I'd like to keep the same wheelset for now out of cost concerns. Thanks for the wheel recommendation though, I'll remember it for later!

    tjspiel, thanks for the hyperglide recommendation. It's going to depend on what he has (I want to support my LBS for being so helpful with this) but I'll ask for it and see. I definitely plan on getting a new freewheel regardless just so future removals can be easy. Kind of the same as above with regards to the wheel, I'd prefer not to right now to keep costs down. Aside from weight concerns (it's pretty heavy) there's not much reason to switch out at this point. The wheels have held up extremely well. I'm not excluding the possibility of a future upgrade, however.

    On that note, and as an amendment to my last post, internet searching has revealed a guaranteed way to safely remove the freewheel without harming the wheel itself. It is still destructive to the freewheel, but that's okay. Park Tools and the Sheldon Brown website have handy guides on the subject, and I found the corresponding parts on my freewheel. I don't have the tools to remove it here (two chain wrenches are required, as well as a hammer and punch and a vise grip) but disassembly will be simple once returning to the shop tomorrow. End result for Denali owners is, it is an inconvenience for sure not having the appropriate tools but removal is still possible using the alternate method. Links to these methods:

    http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-...uctive-removal

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/freewheels.html#disassembly

    I will take care of this tomorrow and will look into a new hyperglide freewheel, I love perfect shifts. Updates then.
    .
    .
    .
    I ride two different department store bikes of doom. Neither have exploded or caused small children to cry yet.

    198? Free Spirit Sovereign 12 speed road bike (Sears) - the smooth and comfy one. The commuter/hauler/touring bike.
    2011 GMC Denali 14 speed road bike (Wal-Mart) - the fast frankenbike. The racer.



    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...rzg/weight.png

  22. #172
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Borobike I don't know if I had a different freewheel on my older Denali but sunrace 12-28 does sound familiar. It didn't even have a lock ring, just a threaded top cog that screwed the whole thing down. Taking it off I used a vice grip and some chain, and it's reverse threaded. The Shimano 13-28 is what I replaced it with (I incorrectly said 26 or something like that earlier), and so far no complaints at all.

    A forum member (I don't know if he wants to be anonymous so I won't say who) sold me his Denali bottom bracket when he upgraded (thanks btw), and not a moment too soon. My cranks had been flopping around for the last few days and when I pulled the bottom bracket out, my drive side bearings cage had completely disintegrated. So if anyone's keeping track, 10-12 thousand miles would be about the life-span of the stock bottom bracket, given no maintenance. Of course, I'll be greasing this one periodically.

    BTW, I noticed that nfmisso is recommending the Mach1 EXE rear wheel and I thought I'd mention that I just a week ago replaced my front wheel with the matching Mach1. It isn't any lighter than the Denali wheel but for $28, not bad.

    Last edited by wphamilton; 07-08-11 at 09:52 PM.

  23. #173
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    I don't think shimano makes a non-hyperglide freewheel anymore so it's likely that that's what you'll end up with. Your current freewheel might use a similar design so maybe there won't be a difference but I'm guessing this is another area where the Denali cut costs.

    The reason I suggested another wheel is not because it's going to make that much difference in and of itself. It's because it opens up the possibility for more speeds and an easier upgrade to brifters down the road. The current wheel is kind of a dead end. A new wheel will also allow you to use more traditional tubes.

  24. #174
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    Borobike I don't know if I had a different freewheel on my older Denali but sunrace 12-28 does sound familiar. It didn't even have a lock ring, just a threaded top cog that screwed the whole thing down. Taking it off I used a vice grip and some chain, and it's reverse threaded. The Shimano 13-28 is what I replaced it with (I incorrectly said 26 or something like that earlier), and so far no complaints at all.

    A forum member (I don't know if he wants to be anonymous so I won't say who) sold me his Denali bottom bracket when he upgraded (thanks btw), and not a moment too soon. My cranks had been flopping around for the last few days and when I pulled the bottom bracket out, my drive side bearings cage had completely disintegrated. So if anyone's keeping track, 10-12 thousand miles would be about the life-span of the stock bottom bracket, given no maintenance. Of course, I'll be greasing this one periodically.
    Just a note. If I remember right you can actually do without the cage. In fact, going without a cage is better. The only reason a cage is used is for ease of assembly.

  25. #175
    Dept. store bike bandit
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    Borobike I don't know if I had a different freewheel on my older Denali but sunrace 12-28 does sound familiar. It didn't even have a lock ring, just a threaded top cog that screwed the whole thing down. Taking it off I used a vice grip and some chain, and it's reverse threaded. The Shimano 13-28 is what I replaced it with (I incorrectly said 26 or something like that earlier), and so far no complaints at all.

    A forum member (I don't know if he wants to be anonymous so I won't say who) sold me his Denali bottom bracket when he upgraded (thanks btw), and not a moment too soon. My cranks had been flopping around for the last few days and when I pulled the bottom bracket out, my drive side bearings cage had completely disintegrated. So if anyone's keeping track, 10-12 thousand miles would be about the life-span of the stock bottom bracket, given no maintenance. Of course, I'll be greasing this one periodically.
    Sounds like a fine fellow that sold you that part. I don't mind at all, glad it's working out for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    The reason I suggested another wheel is not because it's going to make that much difference in and of itself. It's because it opens up the possibility for more speeds and an easier upgrade to brifters down the road. The current wheel is kind of a dead end. A new wheel will also allow you to use more traditional tubes.
    A very valid point. And if it weren't for the upcoming fall semester (and being not exactly sure from where I will be getting funding for it) I'd take this opportunity to spring for a different wheelset using a cassette, for the possibility of brifters later. It's still possible to use the RSX or older Sora 7 speed brifters with this, but I'd prefer the newer 8 or 9 speed types.
    .
    .
    .
    I ride two different department store bikes of doom. Neither have exploded or caused small children to cry yet.

    198? Free Spirit Sovereign 12 speed road bike (Sears) - the smooth and comfy one. The commuter/hauler/touring bike.
    2011 GMC Denali 14 speed road bike (Wal-Mart) - the fast frankenbike. The racer.



    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...rzg/weight.png

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