First real ride on the fixed gear. Sunny and almost 13°C
First real ride on the fixed gear. Sunny and almost 13°C
This is the “3wrencho” from Portland Design Works. It’s the coated version; they have a non-coated version also. The tool is made from heat-treated steel and coated with a glass filled nylon coating. It feels good in your hand and you won’t gouge up your nice rims when you use the other end to change the rubber. You can stand on it for leverage and with a little finagling, you can open cold beverages as the website states. It fits well in your pocket and after a month, it seems to be holding up quite nicely. She’s definitely worth the 20-25 dollars.
4.5 inches or 114mm in length
95 grams or 3.5oz in weight
So it’s been cold as… well let’s just say it’s been cold. Plus, money been a little tight lately. So I decided to channel my time, energy, and money into something different. A fixed gear bike for commuting and fun.
I wanted to do it as cheaply as possible and I already had some parts sitting around. The majority of it is a POS online “complete bike” from Amazon. It’s a “Critical Cycles Fixed Gear Single Speed Fixie Urban Road Bike” .
The welds are not pretty, but it seems strong enough to take some abuse. It’s a steel frame and I chose this one because it had a threadless fork and headset. For no other reason than, I wanted to be able to use my stem and bars. So far the bike seems fine. It rides nice and for the price, it looks pretty good.
I added a ProLogo saddle that was laying unused around my shop. The one that came with the bike was a bit cheap, but usable. The 3T seat post I have and wanted to use was a “no go”. Because the seat tube on the bike is a weird size, not a 27.2 mm like most. This tube is a bit smaller (kind of annoying). The seat post that comes with the bike does have the newer one-piece clamp so you can micro-adjust the saddle.
I did remove the cheap brake that came on it and replaced it with a Campagnolo Chorus Dual Pivot brake that I’ve had for a few years. It was an ebay purchase (ridiculously cheap, like $50 US for the front and rear) that never got used.
The wheels are cheap (the whole bike was $200 US). They came pretty close to true. I adjusted them a little, but the were usable right out of the box.
All the components on the bike are cheap brands and I’ve really never heard of them. As it came. The bike would be fine for a $200 bike, but with some upgrades, it should be usable for quite a while.
All in all, I’m happy with it so far. My only real complaint is the lack of water bottle cage screw holes. I guess I’ll need to pick up a bolt-on cage.
Hopefully it gets above freezing around here and I can ride it for more than 20 minutes at a time. These images are from the first ride. Enjoy -
I found a company that makes custom stem caps. Kustomcaps.com
This one reminded me of some skulls I have and love, so I had to get it. Their prices are quite reasonable and the shipping was fast and inexpensive as well. The product quality is wonderful and you can make your own designs, if you’re feeling creative. If not, they have a good selection of pre-made custom caps to choose from. These would make a great gift for any cyclist.
As its been getting very cold around here, I thought I’d tell you about some of the most comfortable and functional winter gloves around. You’ve most likely never heard of Chiba, but they’ve been making gloves for more than 150 years. It’s what they do, they make gloves and very nice ones at that. They don’t make everything; they make gloves (period). Chiba makes cycling gloves, ski gloves and gloves for police and firefighters. The quality is amazing and the fit is better than any glove I’ve worn before. The first few rides have been good. These gloves breathe well and they have a lot of grip. You can move around and they don’t feel bulky, plus they keep the wind and water out. They work best between 30° and 40°, but they performed better than my Pearl Izumi or Castelli gloves when it was below freezing. They have well-padded palms and a soft nose wipe areas that work well. I haven’t washed them yet, but I’ll let you know more once I’ve broken them in a little more.
Hopefully the snow will melt and I can get some more riding in. Chiba does make Thermo gloves and if I can find someone who caries those, I’ll be getting some.
Too much pressure on your perineum?
After a little long distance riding in the drops last year, I ended up with some painful issues. So for this year, I thought I’d try a new saddle. Then I said, “I want a new seat post for the new saddle.” Then the old stem didn’t match, so I needed a new stem as well. After some bargain hunting, I found all three.
I wanted to try a cutout saddle, for my perineum issue. There are quite a few options available. I looked at a few and decided on the Prologo Zero Pas Saddle. It has a nice cutout in the middle to relieve some pressure. It’s as wide as my Fizik and about as long, so it’s not a big change in shape. It does seem to have a little more roll to the top, which I sort of like that more. I’ve only done a few short rides and so far it’s very comfortable. Hopefully now that the weather and work have calmed down, I’ll get some long rides in.
The seat post and stem are from the 3T Pro series (the less expensive ones). The seat post is the Palladio model, not the carbon version. I like the offset (25mm) and 0.5° tilt adjustment. Plus the clamp won’t tilt, even if the bolts loosen up. The clamp is a bit strange to use at first, until you get the hang of it. The stem is the ARX alloy stem. It weighs 9g more than the Team stem, but it’s half the price.
So far I like them all. They look good, feel good and they didn’t cost an arm and/or leg. I’ll let you know more, as I put more kilometers on them.
Vittoria Brave Cycling Shoe
I’m like most cyclists, I don’t have a ton of cash and I hate to ride with cheap gear. I have a family, a home and I’ve returned to school. This leaves me with little money for my cycling habit. So, when I need to replace things or upgrade them, I tend to be very picky. I also tend to spend some time researching the product and a place to find the best price.
Vittoria shoe is a separate company from the well-known tire company. Vittoria has been making shoes since 1976, so they’ve had some practice. Most of my research yielded customers with good experience. Plus the shoes come with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects. This means, I get a little piece of mind concerning the quality of the shoe. The shoes are hand made in Italy, by people who care about their craft. They are not like some of the Italian companies who have it made somewhere else, and then stamp their name on it.
“A product that contains a history, since 1976, and for the one who chooses it, it’s a guarantee of innovation, style, quality and price.” (Vittoria-shoes.com, 2013).
The price was reasonable, they retail in the US for around $145.00, they’re comparable to the Giro, Apeckx or a pair of Sidi’s on sale. I went to bike shops and tried on about 20 pairs of shoes before deciding on the Vittoria’s. The Vittoria shoes felt far more comfortable and, compared to the others, the styling is beautiful. When it came time to purchase the shoes, I decided to go with my favorite bike shop. Buying from you local bike shop is not always the least expensive option. However, with a product like shoes or helmets, that can cost way more than I’m willing to gamble with; you may want to pay a little extra for the service and convenience they provide. I have owned three different brands of cycling shoes in the last 5 years and they are all different sizes. I’ve had size 46, 45 and 44, so I didn’t want to guess which size I needed.
The shoes are comfortable and light. The fit is better than any shoe I’ve ever owned. They look way nicer than any shoe I have, so the basement trainer is the only place I’ve ridden with them. I’m in Ohio and the last week was rainy and freezing. This week we got 8 inches of snow (in March). Hopefully in the next week or so, I’ll be able to get them out on the road and break them in proper.