three chains method

As cheap bastard, I’ve been thinking about reduce costs of running drivetrain. Everybody came across the situation when it’s time to replace chain and often during couple first rides new one is actually noisier, making strange clunks, and sometimes skipping. If you replacing a chain to second one when is stretched already to magical 1% is not too bad. Chain quickly will adapt to existing drivetrain, and if you’re lucky another 5000km can be done on it (depend obviously on weather and surface you riding on). Third chain is usually completely different story. Third will be noisier and there’s good chance will be skipping. If you’re lucky enough sometimes new cassette will do the job. If you aren’t, chainrings need to be changed (as well as cassette). The only good news are that you have third chain already ;-).

People been using three field crop rotation for centuries… Ok start again ;-). Don’t remember where) I came across with three chain method. Basically it’s quite simple (almost like three field crop rotation). Starting with new drivetrain and two chains in a drawer, changing them on regular basis, based on wear. You need to catch the point where wear is about 0.5% (that’s only my suggestion) and replace to #2, and again when #2 wear reaches 0.25-0.5% to #3. When third chain finally will stretch just about the same as both previous, get back to chain No1. Of course to do it properly chains need to be clearly marked. I’ve only started the whole procedure but I’m writing measured stretch* on the box, approx km made, as well as chain number and bike it belongs. (calliper reading). That will give me a rough idea when to check again and what to expect.  (variation of that method is changing chains willy-nilly, every time replacing to the “shortest” one).

2014-01-08 20.36.44

In terms of costs, the whole fuss at the end, might be not that efficient as I’m expecting but changing chains using that procedure is less stressful and change almost not noticeable. Comparing to “revolution” every 4-5000km with new chain “adapting” to old drivetrain is smooth and easy. So the more laborious*** method might be actually beneficial in terms of comfort, but for me that’s enough. Even without money benefits I’ll rather listen to birds singing than clunks and creeks. The thing is, after reading lots of cons/pros on Internet, opinions are almost exactly 50/50. I thought “what the heck, I’ll check it by myself, won’t cost me arm and leg” and have opinion based on experience rather than duplicating Internet bollocks.

* Measuring chain wear (stretch). That’s quite a subject. As Rule 24 stays, I’ll be describing everything in metric system (it’s not a rocket science to convert everything to inches/miles). Measuring the chain can be done using special tools but in my opinion standard vernier (or electronic) calliper will do the job equally ok, or IMHO even better. Some fancy tools like ParkTools or Rolhoff might be even more expensive than callipers. The other thing is that you might find having callipers quite handy, not only for measuring chain wear, but also they’re useful for measuring chain line, seatpost dia. etc etc…

My method: 1. Shift to big chainring and 2nd-3rd gear on cassette (you need to figure out when chain is straight = parallel to bike axis).

2014-01-08 20.28.52

2. Block rear wheel and apply some pressure on pedals (don’t go crazy just press by hand).

3. Set up calliper to 130mm and place the inner jaws between the rollers (between outer plates), and stretch calliper. Like so:

2014-01-08 20.28.01 2014-01-08 20.28.26

The reading in my new Shimano chain CN-5701 is 132.2mm so 0.5% strech is 0.661mm to be on a safe side I can use 0.6mm but because I’m measuring wear of two rollers pushed aside** as well, I’m using 0.7mm, so wear between 0.25-0.50% is something about 132.5-132.9mm.

I’m keeping an eye on distance I’ve done on a chain and for CN-5701 0.5% stretch is after about 1200km on the clock in wet conditions (I mean WET conditions as in this example I’m using my “weather bike” and this is island but not Gran Canaria). Theoretically whole setup will last about three rotations without any problems. Then you buying extra time. Lets say if drive train will be ok after 4 changes you’ll have 12-14.000km on the clock. So it’s about two times than standard lifespan of chain-cassette. This maybe isn’t something impressive in terms of costs reduction, as well as my labour (once a 1000k I need to replace chain ***).

** two rollers wear measure

*** To make whole procedure easy I’d recommend using chain connectors. Good choice is SRAM PowerLock (based on internet opinions), but as I’m not able to produce wattage like Andre Greipel in my case BBB BCH-10 do the job perfectly 😉

2014-01-08 20.39.15 2014-01-08 20.37.29

By the way, we all know that good ride depend on lubrication. In any sense. LOL. Two day ago new oil arrived, as my old green Finish line run out. This time I’ve purchased Rolhoff oil, as got plenty good opinions across Internet. Will see…

keep them rolling

Shed engineering

I know it’s crazy. You can buy the same (almost) stand from Halfords for 10 quid… Frickin ten quid, with relatively good opinion 3.7/5. So, who’s crazy enough to DIY it? Guy must gone absolutely bonkers! Hmm well,… I made it. The weather is currently soooo crap, that I’m literally clutching at straws not to go insane. In fact to go outside, even when you find a clean window in forecast, is quite tricky as lots of roads been flooded and some of rides ended up 8km from my doors.

Quite some time I’ve been thinking about small stand that I’ll use whilst cleaning bicycles, as well as for minor adjustments. Nothing like big service stand, but something small and foldable. I had already an idea, I had a pile of scrap, and as rain slowly been turning my garden to mudpot I decided to start some shed engineering. Pictures of the prototype below. (soon I’ll post on when I’ll paint it)

I’ve used some rectangular and square tubes. Cut and welded to create this Y shape. You can see my “quality welding” LOL! 😉

2014-01-05 12.54.27 2014-01-05 12.54.16 2014-01-05 12.54.05 2014-01-05 13.13.56

some screws, washers, nuts, nylock nuts (for joints)

2014-01-05 13.43.16 2014-01-05 13.43.09

flat piece as connection, 6mm steel rod for hooks (threads made using dice).

2014-01-05 13.13.43 2014-01-05 12.52.29

hooks been wrapped in old handlebar tape

2014-01-05 13.28.53

Folded flat, looks like some ancient weaponry 😉

2014-01-05 13.50.57 2014-01-05 13.50.45

and that how it works:

2014-01-05 13.44.30 2014-01-05 13.44.20

Easy to clean bicycle and make some derailleur adjustments. Just need a touch of paint and everything will be nice an dandy.

Keep them rolling

Parking brake

There’s many ideas on internet how to block rear brake on bicycle. Below is mine, used bungee cord (from my R.I.P Severne sail 🙁 which didn’t survive one hardcore session), plus some washers, screw and Ritchey handlebar end plug. Pictures are self explanatory.

Cheap bastard…

I went yesterday to hunt for some thermal base layer and spotted half price neoprene gloves. 5 pounds doesn’t sound terrible so took them. The idea is try them on the bike despite original purpose. In my case I can use them anyway for windsurfing, even if they won’t be suitable for cycling (autumn looks quite windy this year).

20131101_203738 20131101_203804 20131101_203921

After close inspection and reading some reviews on Internet it looks like there’s no difference between cycling neoprene gloves and surfing gloves. The biggest difference is price as you can see below :-). I’ve picked up for comparison the dearest available on the market, but even cheaper has same construction. Imagine spending 60 quid and then realize that is not what you’ve been looking for… Neoprene looks like good material for British weather. Anyway what people are saying in reviews is despite warm hands you’ll have them wet anyway because of sweat.

Now posh solutions: Castelli Estremo & Castelli Diluvio
CRC – Castelli Estremo gloves 65 quid   Wiggle – Castelli Diluvio gloves 35 quid

I’ll ping a message once they’ll be used on the road.
Keep them rolling.

How smooth is your stroke – winter song

Minor tweaks to Bee Gees song and here we are. Song for winter trainings on rollers “How smooth is your stroke”

I know your eyes in the morning sun
I feel you touch me in the pouring rain
And the moment that you wander far from me
I wanna feel you in my saddle again

And you come to me on a summer breeze
Keep me warm in your love and then softly leave
And it’s me you need to show

How deep is your stroke
I really need to learn
Cause were living in a world of cars
Breaking us down
When they all should let us be
We belong to you and me

I believe in you
You know the door to my very soul
Youre the light in my deepest darkest hour
Youre my saviour when I fall
And you may not think
I care for you
When you know down inside
That I really do
And it’s me you need to show



Vaelominati rule no 12 stays:

“While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.”

So here it is, next one.

Giant Defy N+1
Giant Defy N+1

Continue reading “n+1”

Micro adventure

Long bank holiday weekend pushed me outdoors. Initial plan was Dartmoor (possibly Project Eden) but I’ve ended up just touching outskirts of Dartmoor.

Anyway, as always lack of planning is a plan for disaster. The links to with routes are just as an example, I’ve done each day from 110-120km circling around towns or trying to find better way, or trying to find shops etc..

Day 1

Day 1 – reality

I was in rush as I ended earlier on Friday and still had to change tyres, change pedals, tighten crank buy a food etc, etc… Effectively I forgot couple bits and pieces and climbed quite a hills on National Cycle Route no 2 on the way back, plus insane hills just before Cerne Abbas itself. In some places the road is insanely steep reaching (from my Garmin) 18%. Not funny with trailer and panniers, but what won’t kill you will make you stronger.

Day 2

Day 2 – reality

Between Devon and Dorset Route no 2 is in some places just magic…

20130826_111949 20130826_113501

… but very steep in some places which makes problems with climbing, but as the rule no 2 saying: harden the fuck up. On the other side you can reach easily 70kmh going downhill. Not good at all… As a result after Alps and this trip brake blocks are not existent.

Day 3

Started with brill weather as you can see…

panorama2 3rdd

… and then gradually was darker, and darker and of course started pissing. I thought will be worse so turned back and decided to shorten whole trip one day and get back on Monday.

On the way back I took ferry which saved me probably an hour or so. Ended up, after painstaking hill, on the posh camping near Sidmouth feeling slightly strange between campers worth 50k quid ;-).

Day 4

The steepest and probably hardest hill on the last day Eggardon Hill, but the view was rewarding. On top, one guy just asked Don’t tell me you cycled all the way up?!


Gear camping and some thoughts.

I’ve tested couple of things as always. At first of all what works.

Coffee maker – coffee sack ;-). Basically I’ve made simple method for coffee on the go. I made small sack made of synthetic (polyester?) fine netting fabric. Whole procedure is similar to making tea from leaves and the sack can be used for that purpose as well. Weighs nothing can be squeezed and stored anywhere. Quality of coffee is more less same like from french press.

JavaSack ;-) JavaSack ;-) JavaSack ;-)

JavaSack ;-) JavaSack ;-) JavaSack ;-)

New sleeping bag Vango F10 Catalyst 250 goose down (95/5). Just delighted with that thing. Spent 120 quid (RRP £200!), quite a money for me, but I’ll be sorted for early spring and autumn. I must admit was slightly too warm, as in the night was about 14C. Only one night been col enough to zip it up.
New tent Terra Nova Zephyros 2. Seems to be quite ok tent for the price – double skin, under 2kg, spacious tent for around £100. I’ve made two mods: replaced lines with dynema and line-loks and replaced 60cm end masts with foldable ones same length as main pole (43cm) which effectively reduced whole package to almost half size. Terra Nova is claiming that is two person, but really you need to be close with someone to count it as 2 person tent ;-). I’ll call it man-with-a-dog-tent. Plenty of space inside for one person, and in bad weather I believe will be able to cook inside. I’ll post some pictures in the future.
Gearing in front double 46-34 on the back (10 sp) 11-36. Basically mix of Deore DynaSys with FSA Omega crankset SLX Cassette. Works really well with trailer, quite happy with that setup. Can’t see any reason changing to anything else.Allows me to climb even steepest hills (the 36T cassette looks absolutely ridiculous ;-))

What wasn’t work

Pegs from my new tent. Fucking joke! Almost half of them bent after first use.
Bloody Garmin and 705 calculating route 2o minutes, soooo annoying.
My planning skills sucks. No major mistakes but plenty smaller quite annoying (that’s why I haven’t got output from GPS- batter died and I didn’t have cable to charge it…).

Keep them rolling.

cable pull

I found on internet info about rear dérailleur cable pull. Might be quite handy sometimes.

Shimano 8s — 22 mm
Shimano 9s — 23 mm
Shimano 10s — 23 mm
Shimano 10s (Dyna Sys) — 36 mm
SRAM 9s (1:1) — 35,5 mm

Almost the same pull for SRAM and Sh Dyna Sys which means theoretically you can couple SRAM – Shimano systems or replace some components…