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Old 12-06-08, 08:44 PM   #1
Robert Foster
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Are we hypnotized into N+1?

Friday was a great ride day and I even attacked one of the dreaded hills I have always dreaded I have always disliked. But just before the top of the hill I was forced to sit down and try to grab a lower gear. For reasons I canít explain my small front ring and the two biggest read gears on my cassette just didnít seem to like each other and kept skipping. It was time for servicing anyway so on the way home I dropped the bike off at the LBS and called my wife for a ride home. I had family and friend commitments so I will not have a chance to pick up my bike till Sunday afternoon. While sitting around the house I thought how nice it would be to have a second road bike for the days when my first choice is out of service. Yes I can and do ride my MTB and my Revive when the Road bike isnít available but that isnít what I was thinking. While daydreaming I started thinking about picking up an older frame and trying my hand at building a back up bike. I even considered building a steel bike. That may be because one of our club members has been talking about it lately and that made me think of it. I donít really know where this came from because building a bike isnít my style. Is there something infectious in handlebar tape that hypnotizes us after we get to some magic number of miles under our belt?
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Old 12-06-08, 08:56 PM   #2
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I don't know. I've done it twice, in 1977 and in 1985.

The first time I wanted to soup up my Peugeot U-08. I ended up swapping out for some mid range Sugino and Shimano components as well as some nice aluminum handle bars, a Brooks saddle, specially selected gear ratios and other stuff. It was a nice bike. I took it on tour to Europe and the SNCF 'misdelivered' it to a small town 30 miles from my destination. I think the French were galled at my using japanese components on a french bike.

The second time was on my American Eagle/Nishiki. But that was because I had worn the original components out and wanted to replace my cottered cranks. The wheels had to be replaced because of an altercation I had with gangster on a Stingray, where he ended up trying to push me into traffic with enough force that my rear wheel tacoed.

But since then, I've been pretty satisfied with my bikes as they came from the factory.
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Old 12-06-08, 08:57 PM   #3
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Old 12-07-08, 01:02 AM   #4
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Think very carefully about this n+1.

What is it going to be used for. Just a spare bike for when your main one has problems- Won't work as you always ride your better bike. It will just sit in the shed till the wife trips over it for the Nth time getting the mower out while you are riding.

A spare bike for when one of your friends wants to go out with you to see what this bike riding is all about? Doesn't work as the fitness you have means that you will get fed up with waiting for 10 minutes at the top of the slopes for your mate- and he will realise how unfit he is and not bother riding again.

A different kind of bike to enable you to do a different type of riding? A good possibility but not always a good idea. The wife will get get fed up with running you down to the A&E if the N+1 is a mountain bike- till you get used to how to negotiate the Fast rocky downhills. Good fun though.

Just a new bike because the one you have lacks a little on the lightness/specification/fit/colour? Good reason.

Sorry but I can never recommend an n+1 for any of the above reasons alone. A combination of any 2 of the above and you have a problem.

Now what colour is it going to be?
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Old 12-07-08, 01:32 AM   #5
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It is always good to have a backup bike. It is a healthy progression of the sport to want to try building up a bike. I always try to make sure there is something significantly different about any bike I add to the stable. It could be a totally different type of bike or it could be a more subtle variation on a theme. I like to have enough overlap between my bikes' purposes so that they can serve as good backups when another is temporarily out of service.

I wouldn't want one bike to be merely a lesser version of another bike. It could be geared differently or have different carrying capability. It would need something to make it the first choice for some type of riding.

A big benefit of building up your own bikes is that you would need to aquire enough knowledge and tools that you would no longer be faced with as many situations where your bike is acting up and you don't know why. Instead of dropping your bike off at the shop for vaguely defined "service", you would have the bike up on your repair stand as you examined why your chain was jumping in certain gear combinations. The answer might give you an opportunity to upgrade some of your bike's parts.
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Old 12-07-08, 06:39 AM   #6
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I think for many cycling is a hobby that includes a passion for the machine itself. For them collecting bikes is pleasurable.

For others, we come to realize that the experience we have while participating in the sport can be enhanced with options in the machine(s) we use. There is a functional reason for N+1.

Finally, there are those who are fulfilled to an extent with the bike(s) currently owned and have no desire for anything other than riding it/them.

It sounds like you fit into the second group.
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Old 12-07-08, 07:44 AM   #7
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It's a good idea, especially when N=0!

I'm looking to get onto a road bike from my hybrid. I'll be bugging you all next spring to help me make the right choice. I need to BF50 seal of approval.
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Old 12-07-08, 08:10 AM   #8
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It's a good idea, especially when N=0!

I'm looking to get onto a road bike from my hybrid. I'll be bugging you all next spring to help me make the right choice. I need to BF50 seal of approval.
You can ask for our opinions as much as you like. We will give you a choice of about 30 bikes to take a choice of and it will be a Roubaix- a Giant- a Trek- a Cannondale- a Hand built custom model or if you are that way inclined- a Cervello or some other gold plated bike.

Won't make any difference as you ride the bike and you know your local shop.

So start test riding now- Then you can eliminate 29 of our choices before we give them to you.
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Old 12-07-08, 08:21 AM   #9
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It's a good idea, especially when N=0!

I'm looking to get onto a road bike from my hybrid. I'll be bugging you all next spring to help me make the right choice. I need to BF50 seal of approval.
If you have a hybrid, then N=1, not 0.
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Old 12-07-08, 08:41 AM   #10
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I guess I succumbed when I bought my 50th bday present of a Chorus equipped Kuota Kharma. But at the time I just considered it was going to be my only bike. The old steel bikes in the basement were just too old-fashioned at this point considering the new gear.

But over the last year, I slowly brought the Davidson back to life with some more modern components, if not a total rebuild. So now I have 2. Now I'm thinking about the other steel bike. It mostly just needs a chain, but the brakes also suck, but I want to keep this one original. Then there's my wife's Cdale... But at least I'm starting from existing stock.
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Old 12-07-08, 09:05 AM   #11
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I'd rather work on my bike and just keep it up as it needs it rather than waiting for a particular time for servicing. That way you are always riding a well tuned machine which is a pleasure in it's self. To me that would be less hassle than maintaining two bikes for the same purpose. I already maintain two (mountain and road) for myself and two more for the wife, though she does the easier stuff.

The possibilities for skipping gears are few and after a while you can easily tell the cause if you do your own maintenance. Using an lbs for bike maintenance requires more time than doing it myself if you count the time it really takes to deliver and pick up the bike, not to mention the phone calls to make sure it's ready. The tools required to do that are minimal and relatively cheap. The learning curve is steep. The Park website provides good tutorials, even videos.

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Old 12-07-08, 11:34 AM   #12
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If you have a hybrid, then N=1, not 0.
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Old 12-07-08, 12:49 PM   #13
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If you have a hybrid, then N=1, not 0.
Depends on the definition of N

But seriously, we do seem to be driven by wanting just one more. I want a road bike, but am going to be happy with my Trek 7500 for a while yet. Let me tell you, waiting is not my normal MO. But I'm going to hold off at least until spring.

Did you guys really think I couldn't count to one?
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Old 12-07-08, 12:52 PM   #14
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Thoughts:
  • I have a bunch of bikes so if one is out of service I can still ride. Usually if my road bike is out of service I go mountain biking, and vice versa.
  • If you are going to do a project bike it's nice to have something to ride while you're working on the project. I've built a couple of bikes up from a bare frame, using parts from various sources, such as Ebay. One road bike took 6 months. Luckily, I had another bike to ride in the interim, so I could take my time and not get too antsy. I'm starting a new project now, and don't have a lot of "bike-project" money, so I'll be patiently watching for good prices on components. It could take awhile. It's good to know I have other bikes to ride in the meantime.
  • It's valuable to learn to fix your bike yourself. Most adjustments can be done on the road with a multitool. Cables stretch and you start to miss shifts. Usually you can make those adjustments with the barrel adjuster at the rear derailleur.

I'm not trying to criticize anyone for taking their bike to a shop for adjustments rather than doing it themselves. I take my truck to Jiffy Lube, even though I know how to change oil and filters myself. I'm not implying that the original poster doesn't know how to wrench; I don't know. I'm just trying to offer encouragement. I've found that most mechanical things on bikes are relatively simple.

I remember when I didn't really know what a bottom bracket was. When mine started clicking I brought the bike in. Now I can tighten or replace one myself. I remember when I had a guy at a bike shop change a tube for me. Now I lace my own wheels. Now I look at every mechanical problem as a chance to learn something. Better yet, an excuse to buy some new tools!
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Old 12-07-08, 03:29 PM   #15
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Thoughts:
I'm not trying to criticize anyone for taking their bike to a shop for adjustments rather than doing it themselves. I take my truck to Jiffy Lube, even though I know how to change oil and filters myself. I'm not implying that the original poster doesn't know how to wrench; I don't know. I'm just trying to offer encouragement. I've found that most mechanical things on bikes are relatively simple.

I remember when I didn't really know what a bottom bracket was. When mine started clicking I brought the bike in. Now I can tighten or replace one myself. I remember when I had a guy at a bike shop change a tube for me. Now I lace my own wheels. Now I look at every mechanical problem as a chance to learn something. Better yet, an excuse to buy some new tools!
I didn't take anyone's post as being critical. I bought my bike at the LBS partly because of the free service and because I have come to like some of the people working there. But while I may have taken the bike in for service even if the gear problem had not reared its head, I should have looked into why it was skipping myself. But after I picked it up I realized I could have easily fixed the problem. I am just surprised how interested I was in making sure I had a back up bike just in case I needed it. In the old days I would have just missed a ride or two till I was ready to go again. Now I hate to miss even one club ride and after the first of the year may add even more rides to my week.
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Old 12-07-08, 03:41 PM   #16
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It seems the OP already has two spare bikes, so the issue isn't having another bike to ride, but another *road* bike to ride.

When I returned to cycling, I bought bikes at the rate of one every nine months. Didn't plan it that way, it's just how the timing worked out.

The first road bike was a badly abused bike I bought with the intention of learning how to rebuild. I enjoyed that process tremendously. All that remains of that original purchase are the bars, stem, fork, frame and bottle cage screws. Of course I also have all the tools, the Big Blue Book and all the instruction sheets that came with the components too.

What I got out of it is a fair-weather fun ride bike and backup commuter. I also learned enough that if I wanted, I could do all my own maintenance. In practice, I now have a choice of whether or not to get my hands dirty.

One needs to be careful when rebuilding an old bike. Rescue bikes are like rescue dogs or rescue kids. They worm their way into your heart real bad.
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Old 12-07-08, 04:16 PM   #17
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Depends on the definition of N
Do we have an ex-president posting incognito?

But all seriousness aside, there is no confusion over the definition of N. It comes from the law of N+1.

The number of bikes you need is N+1, where N is the number of bikes you have now.

I am a purist, I guess, as I do not include my wife or my son's bikes in my N count. Nor would I count a bike that I bought for the purpose of fixing up and selling (unless I changed my mind and decided to keep it for myself).
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Old 12-07-08, 07:22 PM   #18
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I am just surprised how interested I was in making sure I had a back up bike just in case I needed it. In the old days I would have just missed a ride or two till I was ready to go again. Now I hate to miss even one club ride and after the first of the year may add even more rides to my week.
I have had that perspective since I got seriously interested in cycling about 6 years ago. For our mountain bikes, I keep a toll box full of spares and take it with me when I go on trips along with tools, a folding maintenance stand and data sheets. I can replace the shock, derailleurs, shifter pods, rings, cassette, rebuild the fork, relace a wheel, replace suspension bearings, etc. pretty quickly and get back to riding.

I don't have to waste time running around looking for parts no matter where I am. As the wear rate for mountain bike parts is high, I know they'll likely get used eventually. Also, by getting them ahead of time, I take advantage of the better selection and prices on the web.

Also, now-a-days, if you take a fork in for repair/overhaul the shop is likely to send it off for the work. And even if they do the work, they often have to order the parts. That's especially true for suspension bearings. That's happened to some friends. Then you don't get to ride for a very long time.

I also keep parts for our road bikes, but rarely travel with them.

Al
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Old 12-08-08, 11:46 AM   #19
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I also keep parts for our road bikes, but rarely travel with them.

Al

One big advantage I have found on the road bikes- is that they do not use parts like the MTB's do. I still carry Virtually every part for the Mountain bikes- as I know I will be using them eventually. All I keep in my stock for the road bikes is a chain- and Cables(Which are the same as the MTB's)

But if you want to work on bikes Frequently--Get a Tandem. They break things just by looking at them.
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Old 12-08-08, 11:51 AM   #20
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What you need to build yourself out of an old frame is a freedom bike. Either single speed or fixed gear, no shifters, no derailleurs.
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Old 12-08-08, 08:47 PM   #21
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What you need to build yourself out of an old frame is a freedom bike. Either single speed or fixed gear, no shifters, no derailleurs.
I might consider a single speed but I am not sure I like the Fixed gear concept just yet. I have enough trouble clicking out of my pedals as it is. However I don't know that I would ride a fixed gear as a backup bike when my road bike might be down. I look so forward to club rides three time a week I was simply thinking about what might happen if I walked out to get my bike and discovered a flat or the bike was in the shop. If I had a backup bike I could simply take it out and fix the flat on the main road bike after I got back home.
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