Free at last

My No. 2 Steelman Eurocross, a.k.a. Big Red.

My No. 2 Steelman Eurocross, a.k.a. Big Red.

It was Ride the Neglected Bike Day again yesterday. The office was feeling a bit cramped, what with all the computers, books, cartooning tools, audio-video equipment, and voices in my head, and having a bike clamped to a trainer in there — even if that bike was a Steelman Eurocross — didn’t exactly help matters.

So I liberated the Eurocross and myself from bondage. The tire pile in the garage included a serviceable pair of 700×35 Maxxis Razes, so I slapped ’em on and rolled over to Palmer Park to make a fool of myself on the single-track for a spell.

This is one of my old eight-speed racing bikes from back in the day, and like all the others it’s been through some changes, so I forget what I’ve got on it drivetrain-wise — seems likely it’s either 46/34 chainrings with a 12-26 cassette or 48/36 with a 12-28 — but you’d be surprised how well an old feller can go uphill on a bike that’s five or six pounds lighter than what he usually rides.

Today I was back on the Kona Sutra, which is next in line for an Adventure Cyclist video shoot — the old Quentin Ferrentino treatment, ho ho ho. The Sutra weighs 27.2 pounds without pedals, wears a pair of 700×32 Continental Contacts, and no, I did not ride it up any sketchy bits of single-track, thank you very much. Not even in the granny gear.

But I have some burly off-road rubber in that tire pile, and with the Sutra’s racks and fenders off I bet I can squeeze some fatties on, and then look out, Palmer Park. Bologna on a Kona, comin’ through!

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26 Responses to “Free at last”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Short cage ultegra on the back, eh?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Shimano 600 rear derailleur

      Actually, that rascal there is so old they were still calling it “Shimano 600.” I have another on my Steelman time-trial bike. Like the seven-speed 105 on my townie, these things were (and are) immortal.

      I mean, look at the sumbitch. Looks like a cyborg woodpecker with a titanium beak has been at it, and it still shifts as smoothly as the day it left the factory.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Plus, its clean. I did bike clinic at the Bomb Factory today for Earth Week and didn’t bother cleaning off the grit and grease from my daily driver beforehand. Sheesh….

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        I assume that the housekeeping standards in the house are much higher than in the garage. Therefore, Big Red had to pass inspection before being brought into the house and subjected to the ultimate insult of being put on a trainer.

  2. David R Says:

    You need to mow the front lawn too..

  3. Russ Williams Says:

    Hopefully you were wearing your “Old Guys Who Get Fat….” Jersey.
    I’m not sure I have forgiven you for not making those any longer. My old jersey finally wore out.
    Russ

  4. Pat O'Brien Says:

    NIce!

  5. mountainhigh10200 Says:

    and people speak of how much better shifting is today. Not since indexing has the derailleur world made a leap forward until the electronics.

    • Larry T. Says:

      I guess electronic is great…until it isn’t…and you don’t have the electronic gizmo to figure out what part’s gone on the fritz or a pile o’ spares to replace it with? Can’t help but notice a few of the top pros like Cancellara and Nibali refuse to jump on the electronic bandwagon while the rest of their team is forced to use the newest-latest, like it or not.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        You know me, Larry. I am not the most knowledgable guy on cycling and bike mechanics. But, I think electronic shifters are an answer when there was no question. Just because pros use something doesn’t mean it is useful for the rest of the cycling world. Churning the market is what they are doing. Now a Schlumpf mountain drive, a 8 speed Nexus hub, and Gates belt drive might get me interested if the value for price was right.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Electric shifting seems like a solution in search of a problem, as Pat agrees. Just another way to spend money on something that really doesn’t need automation. Now an electronic self-lubricating chamois for long rides with pumped in goo at the push of a button….maybe.

      • Larry T. Says:

        One of the big attractions of bicycles for me is their basic simplicity. I understand that complicated, expensive systems are needed for fighter jets and commercial aircraft as nobody can pull a cable and lever setup to move the flaps on a 747 and a modern stealth bomber would probably be impossible to fly without computer controls.
        But a bicycle really doesn’t need controls via servo motors and batteries IMHO…it really seems an answer to only a question of marketing mojo rather than any genuine improvement, as Wiggins and Evans found out the hard way last season.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I prefer simplicity, perhaps because I’m a simpleton. When the STI on a bike fails I go to bar-end shifters, not new STI. My Soma Saga uses Silver shifters, which don’t even index. It’s surprising how quickly even a simpleton remembers how to operate those things.

        I have a set of Shimano 600 downtube shifters squirreled away around here somewhere. I need to put ’em on a bike.

        • Russ Williams Says:

          I looked until I found an old road bike w/600 downtube shifters. You are right. IF they ever crap out, I will buy bar-end shifters. Never used the new stuff… never want to.
          Russ

      • veloben Says:

        Shimano, like any consumer tech company the design motto is “We built it ’cause we can.” The sales corollary is “We can make a buck off that.”

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Seems that I read somewhere that some pro racers used to use STI rear shifter/brake levers and down tube friction shifters for the front. I think if front STI shifter on the ES ever goes bad, damn those STI shifters are expensive, I would replace it with a bar end or down tube shifter. But I like STI or bar end indexed shifting for the rear. My better half does care for drop bars and runs XT Shimano Rapid Fire shifters on both her bikes.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        My Better half does NOT care for drop bars.
        Changing subject for just a second, I just added 2Gb of memory to the old 2008 iMac, for a total of 3Gb, and it is working much faster. The spinning beach ball has taken a vacation. Might add some more later. Thanks for the advice!

      • khal spencer Says:

        I imagine one would have to be a little more deft shifting a 10 speed with friction shifters than the old six and seven speeds of my youth, but it could be done. Back when I was on a team, there was some friction amongst us as to the value of STI. It was seen as a crutch for those who couldn’t figure out how to shift properly. Now we all use it. Would be interesting to put friction on the Cannonball with the Campy ten speed cassette on the back see how well it works.

        Agree with Larry. Some things need automation, some things are better with simple elegance.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Pat, I recall that some weight weenies would order their climbing bikes built with a downtube shifter for the front derailleur and regular STI for the rear.

        Nowadays, with everything all electronical and newfangled, they’re falling all over themselves to stick shift buttons everywhere — sprint positions, climbing positions, you name it.

        The times, they do change.

        And K, the Saga has nine-speed, so shifting isn’t quite as delicate as with 10, but I still blow a shift from time to time. Not like on my seven-speed 105 townie. Its shifting got bollixed once, so I simply switched the bar con to friction mode, and it was just like the good old days. The cogs on that freewheel are all in different ZIP codes.

    • Steve O Says:

      Does the Segway count? It’s two wheeled. Continuously variable, yeah?

  6. mountainhigh10200 Says:

    ZAP does not count.

  7. Charley Says:

    Napalm is a little overkill, unless you want to up your Freedom creds!

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