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  1. #1
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    DIY Boomer Bike Rev. 2

    The Campy stuff on my Kona wasn't making it - the gearing didn't have enough range (or maybe just not the right range) for the flatlands so I made the following changes:

    Swapped the Campy drivetrain for Shimano XTR "rapidrise" with a compact double crank
    Went to bar-end friction shifters
    Added the Brooks B-17

    Photos:





    May do some more fiddling this fall. The rear brake seems absolutely useless - I've never needed it. Also, the front double seems useless - I never ride but on one chainring.

  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    You say that the gears do not seem to have enough range on them, but it looks as though you have quite small rings on the crankset. Perhaps a change of sprockets to something bigger might help, but The road riders can advise you there. It doesn't look as though the discs have been used, so higher gearing- higher speed- Where's the Brakes? might be the next stage.
    I recently put rapid rise on my Tandem, and although some adjustment on changes is needed, Rapid rise works a dream.
    I take it those are 26" wheels, and for road use I use Continental Grand prix slicks at 110 psi. They roll across the tarmac and have added to ease of pedalling up to speed, but with a slight jarring of the backside on rough roads, but that Brooks Saddle looks comfortable enough for Ploughed fields so good choice on that one. The Contis are more of a roadie slick, so if rough trails are on the cards, then may not be suitable, but for road use are ideal.
    Good project, and you started with a frame that is worth it in the first place, but as you are finding out, a project like this takes some sorting, so keep us in touch with the mods that do work, and also the ones that don't.

  3. #3
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    I've done some similar things to an old Bridgestone I keep at the office--it's made running errands around town, which I do on the bike when I have time, a lot more pleasant.
    I'm curious about a couple of things, though. First, what do you mean when you say you've "never needed" the rear brake? Two-wheel braking is a basic skill, one of the first things to master once you're able to stay upright. If you're doing all your braking with the front, you're giving up probably 30-40 percent of your stopping power. I can't think of a reason NOT to use both brakes, except maybe when you're just scrubbing off a tiny bit of speed for a corner. Even then, the rear alone would be more stable than the front alone, at least in theory (in practice it doesn't make much difference, unless you hit a patch of sand or something).
    Second, you say you ride on only one chainring, and you show the bike with the chain on the small ring, so presumably that's the one. In that case, wasn't going to a compact crank a move in the wrong direction? If you need more gear for "the flatland," you'd want a BIGGER chainring, not a smaller one.

  4. #4
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    You say that the gears do not seem to have enough range on them...
    The gears currently on the bike are fine. I stay on the 38t ring and that works fine for my knees and my speed. The 50t ring gets no use at all. The Campy setup had a 53-42 setup, and both rings were too tall.

    Rapid rise works a dream.
    Agreed!

    I take it those are 26" wheels
    No, actually they're 700c wheels with larger tires.

    keep us in touch with the mods that do work, and also the ones that don't.
    Will do. I'd also like to see some of the other forum members' rides. Might get some good ideas!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog
    what do you mean when you say you've "never needed" the rear brake?
    Yes, I can use the rear brake, but on mild braking, I normally use the front only. On hard braking, the rear wheel is so light that it isn't doing anything anyway. I don't think that I'm losing any more than two or three percent of my braking capability (if that) by not using the rear brake at all. For the past month, I've been experimenting with using the front brake only. In no situation have I been even tempted to use the rear brake! The front tire is where the weight transfer and braking occurs.

    you say you ride on only one chainring, and you show the bike with the chain on the small ring, so presumably that's the one. In that case, wasn't going to a compact crank a move in the wrong direction? If you need more gear for "the flatland," you'd want a BIGGER chainring, not a smaller one.
    If I'm riding even a 40 tooth front cog, I find that I never use the smaller cogs on the rear cassette. My plan is to eventually use a 32 to 36 tooth front ring only with no front derailleur at all. This will make my bike an 8-speed. With that setup, the bulk of my miles will be done with the chain in the middle of the rear cassette, with some use of the smaller cogs in the rear. This will improve my chainline, and will still leave plenty of "low-low" gear available for the rare "climb" that comes along. There just aint no mountains in Louisiana!

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Sheldon spells out the importance of front braking in this article...

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

  7. #7
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    RE: one brake theory.

    And if the cable breaks (or some other malfunction) on your one brake?

    I've seen it happen. Luckily, the person still had another brake to stop the bicycle.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    And if the cable breaks (or some other malfunction) on your one brake?
    In all my years of riding, I've never, ever had a brake cable break. The only brake malfunctions I've ever had were because I failed to close the quick release on the rim brake before I rode off.

    I now use a "checklist" to verify that all the essential systems are working on my bike before I ride. I inspect for brake function, look for wear, and verify that shifters are OK before I mount the bike.

    With the reliability record of bicycle brakes, I'm comfortable betting my life on one and only one. Failures are more likely to occur in drivetrain or tires/rims. I've got only one front tire. By your logic, should I have two?

    As I said, I've been using ONLY the front brake for the past month to test my idea. I've had no problem stopping, either gradually or emergency, and I don't see that my stop distances have changed at all. If I rode extensive downhill or in wet weather, this might not be so, but for the type of riding I do, one brake seems plenty.

    It'll be a while before I bother to modify the bike again anyway, but should I opt for the "front brake only" setup, I'll post photos again and say how it's working.

  9. #9
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    I have to agree with Far...I've embraced much of what Sheldon has said on this and all his other subjects. You just can't dismiss all his expertise and hands on know-how. I was a back brake braker when I found this site and someone else pointed to his braking page. Being a reborn commuter at that point I wanted to stack the deck in my favor all I could with the 'tricks of the trade'. I have to say now that I front brake exclusively and feel natural doing it. And I've never broken or seen a front cable break (or a rear, or a shift cable) and I've got some relic bikes that came from the local auction house. First order of business with any bike is ensure that it'll start, and it will stop. Road worthy tires that will hold air and you're off and riding. My next project is to build a fixie so I can truly embrace the 'feel of the road' as Sheldon so eloquently puts it. And I'm going to install...yep you guessed it...just the front brake.

  10. #10
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    As a ex-moto crosser and a avid cyclist I feel the only way to go is using both brakes, the only time I use the front brake is when I need to stop quickly. If used correctly the back brake works quite well but if you get carried away it just locks up.

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