Friday, July 25, 2014

Some Upgrades

After free service offered 3 months after buying, my bike had pretty bad time with me because of lack of maintenance. The only time the bike had seen a bike shop workbench afterwards was the day before my first 1000km BRM.. My lack of care for chain for 9000 kms costed me replacement of all the moving parts of drive train then. Though there were no problems I faced, I changed chain, crank and casettes not to have any problem in 1000 km ride. I literally took an oath to check and maintain drivetrain..

Well, it is known what would have happened... Every brevet day morning, I cleaned chain for namesake, applied whatever oil available in home (usually coconut oil, once in a while ground nut oil).. Again 8000 kms and now again cassettes are in their worst shape.. I decided to visit bike shop after the every next brevet I rode and that particular next brevet never came.

Finally, the moment came with three things happened
  • Some weekend rides with Sandeep Reddy. Seeing his bike and the way he maintains and prepares, I felt guilty for my bike's condition
  • Sreepathi's discussions on his new bike builds
  • Registrations for intimidating 'Bliss in the hills' 1200 km BRM opened
Though I had plans of doing upgrades individually, onething led to other and ended up upgrading the most, though it resulted in a big hole in the pocket(well, upgrades total cost is more than the bike's) . And needless to say, the information for most of the upgrades were provided to me by Abhijit - a big thanks to him.
And all the components in this upgrade - I got from Arvind Ganesh, Happy earth enterprises. I got bike serviced and fit at Crankmeister Bicycle Works

Schwalbe Road cruiser

Schwalbe Road Cruiser 26"x1.75" Semislicks  
The first ever upgrade I did is replacing the given up back tyre - stock kenda 26"x2.1" knobbies with schwalbe black jack 26"x2.0" knobbies, almost 18 months before (yeah, 0.1 inch reduction is an upgrade, isn't it? ;-) ). And being over pessimistic, I installed Mr tuffy tire liners.
The next upgrade happened when the other stock tyre also gave up - along with the drive train change, a year before. I changed to roadcruiser 26"x1.75" semislicks, both front and back.. I noticed an immediate reduction in effort needed for distance comparatively - I could finish 1000km BRM comfortably in 59 hrs 10 min and my legs had juice for another 200 km BRM immediately. 
Puncture protection is good - I had totally 3 flats over 9000 kms, but a thing to note - I have Mr tuffy tire liners too. 

Dynamo Hub
SP PD-8 and sapim spokes

I was wishing for this long time. Always my constraint was, my calculating mind which compares every cost with that of the bike. And also, compatibility with disc brake. Well, with information from Abhijit's blog and some discussions, I got Shutter Precision PD8 dyno hub. Initial plan was to build a separate wheel with dynamo - have two front wheels, one with dynamo for brevets and tours, and other wheel for day to day commute. 
I changed plans then since I can buy a single speed Btwin Mybike  for commute, with the money I have to put for new rim and brake disc. So, rebuilt the old wheel itself. Bought Sapim straight gauge spokes from Arvind for the wheel build (Specifications for Rockrider 5.3 2011 stock front rim - 32 holed, 16x258.4mm and 16x259.3mm spokes). Dynamo looks compact with the wheel.
I have ridden 14 kms only with the built wheel as of now - I could hear some friction sound from the hub, but will check thoroughly with a long ride this weekend.
I haven't checked dynamo output with a light either. The light is in next set of upgrade plans, which should happen soon.

Rigid fork

The fork was not actually in the plan for current update. But two thing forced this
  • Need to get ready for a 1200km climbfest
  • Have read and discussed the problems faced by Abhijit to fit front fender and work around needed. Stock fork has no screwholes for fender installation. 
I got surly troll suspension corrected fork. I like it since it has too many attachment options, di sc compatible and fender compatible. And it helped in transforming my almost white bike to an attractive black and white bike, but with following two tweaks.
First, I didn't want to cut the extra length of steerer tube, so had to put some (actually, many - 10) riser rings and new fork needed new star fangled nut. 
Second, the front brake converter. The rockrider fork had the screw holes for the disc brake setup in apt place, back of the fork, with apt clearance between two holes. But in the new fork, the holes were facing right side, and of different  length of clearance between 2 holes. So the converter was used.

More Options possible

Want Rack mounting?

Riser Rings

Spot the front brake converter


Abhijit's detailed blogpost on Fender installation on Rockrider 5.3 - here

After discussion with Abhijit on fender installation and some more research, I became confident on going for SKS P55 long board fenders - black ones to make bike look more awesome. Thanks to Abhijit's guidance, I had less problems and solutions easily available for them.
The known problem with fenders and rockrider are the following
  • No screwhole on stock fork for fender mount screw - my new fork has it.
  • Foot of the stay clearing disc brake group to reach the fender screwhole on the fork. Thanks to the position of the fender screwhole on the fork, only a nut was needed as a spacer to clear the disc brake set.
  • A main problem - since the fork is suspension corrected, the screwhole to connect the flap on the blade is almost 10 cm from tyre. Initially planned to get a metal piece cut and attached. But there is a solution available. Problem solvers fender flute - looks good on the bike, and can be used on other bikes in future, but it costs more than a hell. Had I got a piece cut from workshop, the money in spent would have been 14 times less.
  • Back fender stay needed a bit bigger spacer to clear the disc brake set.
Fender Flute - Priced too much?
Front Stay Clears disc with a nut spacing
Front fender fit 
Back Fender  stay fit with spacer to clear disc brake set up
Back Fender fit

And the full bike.

Well, there is an even bigger list I am planning to get upgraded.
  • Front and back lights
  • Saddle
  • platform pedals
  • Good bib shorts / pants
  • A randonneuring bike - yes. I like surly lht, surly straggler framesets currently. Wish to build a bike with any of the frames like these. At least buy a second hand bike. 
There is one more thing I got. A tactical multifunctional head wear. The need for this came with my three 1000 km BRMs. Nape getting burnt under sun and having itching sensation for following week. Checked on the 14 km ride back home from bike shop at night. Have to check on the day time under hot sun.