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Getting Jake back up to speed

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Getting Jake back up to speed

Old 01-15-19, 02:29 PM
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velojym
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Getting Jake back up to speed

As I've been posting in another thread, I'm whittling away my excess fat, blowing past the need for a specialty bike, and find myself within the 'factory' weight limit for a couple of my bikes.


One is my Surly LHT, which has a set of upgraded wheels (Velocity Clyde build), and will serve for loaded touring, and probably for a bit while I work on My Bike.


Some of us get attached to our hardware, from my old beat up pickup truck, to my 2000 Kona Jake-the-Snake.

I slid out on some gravel on my first ride... a test ride... and crashed.

The guys at Chainwheel (Little Rock, AR) told me not to worry about it, but I went ahead and bought the bike anyway.


Over the next few years, a few centuries, more club rides than I could count (Hi, ABC!), and close to 40,000 miles (people on the river trail just called me Jake), I got married, had a kid, moved a couple times, and generally drifted away from cycling.


I got fat, too... but that's the other thread.


Now, years later, Jake is sitting here in my office, after over a decade cooling his heels in a garage, then a basement.

The Shimano 105 brifters are gunked up, as they do when left sitting for years. For the moment, I think I'll remove them and do a flush/lube on these and see if that gets them working again.

The nameplates have a little...character, but only paint damage. I'll either get some silver touchup paint, or just leave 'em. The black and white patterned bar tape has never pleased me, so when I do this, I'll switch back over to black.


The XT rear mech (swapped it after my first tour on the stock cogset, along with a wider ranged cob) seems fine, as does the front mech. No surprise there. I'll just clean and lube these, and make sure they're nicely adjusted. The cogs/rings/chain are in really good shape, so a clean and re-lube for those, too.


The drivetrain has enjoyed a relatively easy life, as I like to do things smoothly, but I'm a clyde even at my leanest, so the front rim has lost its wear groove. The rear rim is fine. I do have a spare cxp23 rim around, so I may go ahead and try my hand at wheelbuilding by swapping that in. However, in the meantime, the stock wheelset from my LHT (turns out it's probably stouter than I'd feared when I bought the clyde set) will serve nicely for a while, if I just decide to do that. Eventually, if I decide I've "earned" it, I'll splurge on a better wheelset.

Otherwise... it's a bike. Not much else to worry about.


The frame still looks good, but I've used it as a road bike, and I'm pretty sure it was way overbuilt for that (CX bike). Though ridden in all weather, I've always kept it indoors and cleaned it ASAP when needed. Still looks new. If I go the extreme route later, I'll get it professionally checked before doing anything expensive. The above is just an inexpensive path to getting Jake roadworthy again, possibly for a season or so. As my abilities re-improve to anything close to how I used to be able to ride, I can start looking at upgrades... new drivetrain, fork, wheels, etc.


Yeah, I could get a better bike, and have found the n+1 equation to be quite valid... but now I have to deal with s-1 too.

Jake is going nowhere. If/when retired, due to mechanical or other issues, that bike will go up on the wall, if only the frame. It's the one thing I've owned in my life that I wouldn't sell or otherwise get rid of, though I know most cyclists these days consider a bike to be an almost disposable collection of parts.


The above is what I plan. If anyone has constructive advice in that vein, shoot. If "Get a new bike" is the advice... sorry, that's off-topic for this thread. I'd rather hear from folks like me, who get attached to meaningful stuff (and most stuff isn't), and have felt the desire to do what it takes to keep a good mount rollin'.


Besides, it was kinda fun to break a few rules and ride fast with a bunch of roadies, on my funky Kona, cargo shorts over my spandex, and keep up just fine, thankyouverymuch.





Jake, pre-refresh.
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Old 01-15-19, 05:09 PM
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Looks good as is.
Cables/housing due for replacement? Brake pads?
You're onto something with your strategy of just riding the bike for now.
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Old 01-15-19, 07:00 PM
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cables and housing, as well as brake pads, will be replaced. I forgot to mention that.
The cables came with the bike in 2000 and the brake pads, though very good when fresh, are rock hard now.
I'm amazed at how well Jake stood up to time, but I've been told sometimes that I'm a little "too easy" on things.

My old pickup's tires, though driven every day, died not of wear, but of dry rot, still with most of the tread intact. Never wore out a clutch, either.

Jake should, after a proper refresh, last a long time.
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Old 07-29-19, 07:13 PM
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I flushed/lubed the brifters, and while I got them to work, the right one was still a little.... balky. I'll work on them some more, but if anything, they'll go on the old Bridgestone 200 for a retro-mod treatment. I just installed my new Sora levers today. I don't like my bar tape job, though. I'll want to re-wrap that after I've taken Jake for a test ride tomorrow.
The wheels are still off, and I'm probably going to source a rim that looks close enough to the rear (a good 'un, of course), and spokes. In the meantime, the Velocity Chukker wheelset will do, especially as I'm still a bit far into Clyde territory.
New brakes. I stuck with cantis from Tektro.
New cables and housings as well.

The wheels are new, the BB is very low mileage, and the headset is still turning smoothly. The latter will probably get some attention in the near future, though, as a precautionary measure.

These 35c Panaracer Paselas feel pretty darned good, but I have some 28c Gatorskins waiting in the wings. The Paselas will probably moved over to the tandem.

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Old 07-30-19, 11:44 AM
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If the shifters are balky, it could be a cable that's frayed. Replace the shift cables and see if you don't have an improvement (you'll have improved reliability anyway - cables are supposed to be replaced periodically).

Other than that, it looks fine - and you know that you like the riding characteristics. Enjoy!
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Old 07-30-19, 12:30 PM
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The cables were one of the first things I replaced. The problem is old grease in the mechanism, but that's gonna sit on the bench for a while as I have the new Sora brifters mounted, and as of this morning's ride, they're working great. Not as svelte as the 105, but that's ok. I didn't want to spend a lot of money at the moment, and needed something to tide me over until I decide whether to do a complete update of the bike.
I'd been riding laps at a nearby cutoff route that's popular with a few other riders, and managed to wipe out my PRs all at once, and moved up pretty well in the overall standings. I ain't gonna start racing anytime soon (probably never, not gonna suffer this time around), but it was a morale boost.
My previous laps were on rigid MTBs, so yeah.... pretty natural that I'd beat 'em today.

I left the brake cables a bit long, but as everything's working well, I'll go in and trim things up a bit sometime in the near future.

One thing I noticed... Having been used to the silver levers on my old brifters, I was worried about having that much black on the handlebar without any relief. It actually looks pretty good to me.
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Old 08-24-19, 08:48 PM
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Ooh. Bad thing, but fortunately not a disaster.

Over the years, since I bought Jake new in '01 ("last year's model", so I got a discount), I've replaced and serviced components as needed, and put tens of thousands of miles on this bike.
So... the headset has never been apart. Ever.
Feeling a light amount of drag when I picked up the front of the bike and moved the handlebar from side to side, I went ahead and pulled it apart, well... not entirely as I left the brake hooked up.
The bearings were a bit dry.

So... I squeezed in some Phil grease, worked it around, and put it all back together. One more list item, I suppose. Gotta overhaul that. The races looked fine, so I may just pull the caged bearings and replace them with loose, for a bit of additional durability. It's amazing that, after so many miles of basically abuse, they're still in this condition.
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Old 08-25-19, 06:58 AM
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My usual advice to someone contemplating upgrading and updating major components on an old bike is: "Don't do it. The cost will far exceed the value and you will do better getting a newer bike." However, in your case all bets are off. The bike has serious sentimental value to you so what ever you do is justified whether it makes financial sense or not. Enjoy the project and the ride.
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Old 08-25-19, 07:33 AM
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Great stuff. I have a Jake the Snake from the same era. It was given to me a few years ago by a friend who had it laying around unused in the basement for years.
I dealt with gummed up 105 brifters on it as well, but otherwise functions flawlessly. Good solid bike with a bit of a harsh ride, but not too bad.
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Old 08-25-19, 08:44 AM
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You should rebuild the bike. I am sick of Trek, Specialized and Cannondale. People ask me why I spent so much on my old bikes or why am I riding what I am riding of instead of Bike X. Well, because I do not want the same flat black, disc braked, CF or faux CF (aluminum) Chinese box factory bike they have. I so love passing folks on CF bikes. They obsess over grams on their bikes and most of them could loose 40 pounds from the engine, which do you think will make the bigger difference in performance?

Go old, go steel or some nice 6061T6 vintage aluminum. Sorry, the brifters need to go.

You have a nice bicycle there, enjoy it, upgrade, cherish that it is not part of the herd.

Looks like a 56 or 58 size frame, you could not be that big huh?

Good luck with your weight loss, not something I ever had to deal with but I applaud your efforts to not be a part of the 90% obese population. Be different, get skinny. Anyone can be overweight and ride a CF Trek. Not everyone has a nice, old finely honed Jake the Snake!

Good luck with your program.

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Old 08-25-19, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
You should rebuild the bike. I am sick of Trek, Specialized and Cannondale. People ask me why I spent so much on my old bikes or why am I riding what I am riding of instead of Bike X. Well, because I do not want the same flat black, disc braked, CF or faux CF (aluminum) Chinese box factory bike they have. I so love passing folks on CF bikes. They obsess over grams on their bikes and most of them could loose 40 pounds from the engine, which do you think will make the bigger difference in performance?

Go old, go steel or some nice 6061T6 vintage aluminum. Sorry, the brifters need to go.

You have a nice bicycle there, enjoy it, upgrade, cherish that it is not part of the herd.

Looks like a 56 or 58 size frame, you could not be that big huh?

Good luck with your weight loss, not something I ever had to deal with but I applaud your efforts to not be a part of the 90% obese population. Be different, get skinny. Anyone can be overweight and ride a CF Trek. Not everyone has a nice, old finely honed Jake the Snake!

Good luck with your program.
It's nice to hear (read) something other than: "Eww! Old bike! Buy new Bike!"
This is a 60cm frame, and I'm 6'4" tall. I ride a 62 or 63 on road bikes with the lower BB heights.

I was poking around, looking at new, upgrade parts for this bike, but then... in line with what you said... there's nothing really wrong with the way I have it set up now. I have toyed with the idea of swapping the brifters for bar-ends (with which I'm pretty comfortable), and building a new front wheel (I have the parts now, A23 rim, LX hub, DB spokes) and riding Jake into the sunset.
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Old 08-25-19, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
Great stuff. I have a Jake the Snake from the same era. It was given to me a few years ago by a friend who had it laying around unused in the basement for years.
I dealt with gummed up 105 brifters on it as well, but otherwise functions flawlessly. Good solid bike with a bit of a harsh ride, but not too bad.
All those miles, on this stout frame, with the cro-mo Project 2 fork... on high pressure 23c Axial Pro tires... yeah. Anything but the smoothest roads could be a bit harsh, and I'd accepted it as such.
As I'm getting back on my bike, I currently have Panaracer Pasela TGs in 35c, and now the bike is plush. This could just be a relative term, based on my prior experience, but I can ride Jake all day like this.

Also thinking Jake will make a fabulous bikepacker-style tourer, with some gravel ability.
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Old 08-25-19, 09:51 AM
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Yup, good versatile bike for those purposes. Will take a rack and fenders and tires up to 38 or maybe more.
Here's mine on this morning's ride by the lake.
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Old 08-25-19, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by velojym View Post
a nearby cutoff route
I'm trying to guess but I can't, what is that? A place where cars don't usually go?

I'm enjoying reading about your bike and your progress. I love the ones with some history.
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Old 08-25-19, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by rseeker View Post
I'm trying to guess but I can't, what is that? A place where cars don't usually go?

I'm enjoying reading about your bike and your progress. I love the ones with some history.
Oh, sorry. It's just a road that bridges two more major roads. Usually the only traffic on them are folks who live there or otherwise have a reason to be there. Makes for a great little loop for grinding out a few miles, or testing out work I've done on my bikes.

I think I might like to put together a more comprehensive history of Jake and me... if only for my own enjoyment, but I'm sure some other folks might get a kick out of it too.
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Old 04-07-20, 08:37 AM
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I've changed two more things on Jake: brakes and the front fork.
I replaced the P2 steel fork with a Ritchey carbon one. The P2 ended up being lighter than I'd expected, but I still managed to save about half a pound.
As I was getting some shuddering I couldn't seem to adjust out of my canti brakes, I found a deal on some tektro mini-v. They work great with my brifters, though there is one little sorta-issue.
You only get about 1mm of clearance per side, so you have to make sure your wheels are true (not a problem here), and my 32c tires won't clear the pads when removing a wheel unless I deflate them.
For fixing flats on the road, that's not an issue, I guess... but if I'm hauling the bike in the back seat of my car and have to dismount the wheels to fit, a couple minutes of extra labor.

Functionally, they seem to be working well, are quiet and stop me fine. If I was living in a bicycle safe area, I wouldn't give it much thought, but right now I have to haul my bikes to ride.
Sold my HHR with the hitch receiver, guess I oughta start looking at installing one on the K-Pop Cruiser (Hyundai Elantra).

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Old 04-07-20, 05:05 PM
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Hey nice Jake! For the issue of the brake clearance, Clarence, (sorry I couldn't resist) you might try an inline barrel adjuster with a quick release.
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Old 04-08-20, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by imakecircles View Post
Hey nice Jake! For the issue of the brake clearance, Clarence, (sorry I couldn't resist) you might try an inline barrel adjuster with a quick release.
That idea had crossed my mind. I'll certainly look into it.
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Old 04-15-20, 09:06 PM
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I checked the noodle, and it seems like I'm only a couple mm short of being able to disengage it.
So, I ordered a set of noodles, with built-in adjusters, that are also a bit shorter on the brake insert end. It occurred to me that I could probably fit some sort of spacer in there, but I've already ordered the above, and would like the adjusters anyway. So, that's probably going to be sorted.

I also ordered a rear wheel to match the front, which I just replaced... and the drivetrain is in great shape, so I probably won't be upgrading that in the very near future, considering I've been Covid-dropped at both of my jobs.
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Old 05-02-20, 07:18 PM
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New hoops! After some delay (FedEx real busy right now), I finally got both ends covered with new wheels from Colorado Cyclist. While getting that swapped in, I installed new Jagwire noodles, featuring a built-in adjuster barrel.
A few turns of that gives me enough slack to clear the tire for removal, and since the drivetrain is still in such good shape, I think we'll be good for a few miles now.

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Old 12-21-20, 01:08 PM
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Drivetrain still in good shape, but I have enough parts coming in to rebuild Jake in 3x10 Tiagra 4700. I'd originally planned to put that on my Montague Fit frame, but the idea of bolting that kind of versatility into Jake (and essentially making it a new bike, other than the frame), is really tempting.
The current drivetrain will live on with the Fit, which will be my summer trunk bike, a job currently being worked over the winter by my Paratrooper.

Also, while I have many miles on the Selle Flite saddle pictured in the last post, I've replaced it with a Brooks C17. I love the B17 on my Surly, so figured I've give this one a whirl. Also, though I mounted the steep stem to get my gut outta my lungs, I have something a bit more horizontal for future use, and a shallow drop bar, too.

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Old 12-21-20, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by velojym View Post
I've changed two more things on Jake: brakes and the front fork........
As I was getting some shuddering I couldn't seem to adjust out of my canti brakes, I found a deal on some tektro mini-v.
Too bad you didn't mention this before changing the brakes. In your "before" photos the cable anchor for the front brake is installed at the top of the headtube and above the headset's upper race. Given your large frame and the long steerer span inside the headtube that is a common source of pulsing and vibration under braking with canti brakes. Lennard Zinn (who is also 6' 4" or more and a frame builder) has written rather extensively about this phenomenon.

The cure is to mount the cable anchor at or under the bottom of the headtube and there are adapters that use the caliper brake hole in the fork crown to accomplish this.
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Old 12-21-20, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Too bad you didn't mention this before changing the brakes. In your "before" photos the cable anchor for the front brake is installed at the top of the headtube and above the headset's upper race. Given your large frame and the long steerer span inside the headtube that is a common source of pulsing and vibration under braking with canti brakes. Lennard Zinn (who is also 6' 4" or more and a frame builder) has written rather extensively about this phenomenon.

The cure is to mount the cable anchor at or under the bottom of the headtube and there are adapters that use the caliper brake hole in the fork crown to accomplish this.
Yes, I saw that and actually ordered the adapter. Got lost in the mail, and I happened to have gotten in the v-brakes, which I'd originally planned to use on my tandem. I may yet go back to the Zinn solution, though. While these work great, clearances aren't as good as with the cantis.
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Old 12-21-20, 09:58 PM
  #24  
pattrick
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The bike will serve you fine.

Currently have the same bike I still run often. I still find it to be a great ride. Keep mine with full fenders and lights and use it often at nights ,spotty weather and during the winter months . I have grown fond of this ride and will keep it going as long as I can. I have put this ride through hell and back and it still looks and rides fine. I bought a 2016 Jake because of the nostalgia of this bike. Yet I still smile more when I ride the old Jake. Why I can't quite explain, it just makes me happy to ride. Since it seems to do the same for you I suggest you take good care of Jake and just enjoy the ride.
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Old 12-28-20, 07:09 PM
  #25  
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AUGH!

I stripped Jake down to the frame, and was putting ugga-dugga into the bottom bracket, and the ring broke. I pulled something in my side and wrenched my left elbow in the process.
I'm going to put my tools down for the night, and drop Jake off at my LBS tomorrow, as I really don't want to mess up the frame on this bike, of all bikes.



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