Friday, 28 December 2012

The ideal all season bike !

Good question I hear you ask ?, what is the ideal all season bike, well it depends of course where you live, what kind of weather you get and how often you cycle. As mentioned in a previous post I am now totally car free so no more car related payments nor being stuck in a traffic jam - those days are finished thank god !. If you live somewhere like me you will have to put up with a mix of weather, Niigata has about one month of rain ( rain season ) , August is very hot and humid which is unsafe for long distance riding and recently winter with heavy snow and ice is almost 4 months long - so in reality we have about 5 - 6 months of crap weather !. But it is possible to commute to work every single day of the year if you take care and ride a suitable bike to handle the changes in weather. At present as many riders will know I am riding a 2012 Kona Jake cyclo cross bike, I love it and it has never let me down whilst riding in all weathers and once winter is finished I can take of the 700 x 35c cross race tyres and fit some slicks and I have a quick road bike with cantilever brakes and 30 gears !, Yes that's right I have a 10 speed cluster on the year with a triple up front, in reality you do not often need that many gears but if you were to use this bike for touring or trying to outrun someone on a lightweight road bike those extra high gears will serve you well for sure. On my daily commute I never use the outer chain ring so have taken it off for winter to make cleaning a lot easier. Recently I found a photo of what may be the ideal all season bike.

A surly cross check with a sturmey archer 3 speed rear hub, easily held in place in the rear drop outs and with down tube shifter mounts you can fit a sturmey archer 3 speed changer easily. Of course if you do not like having your shifters on the down tube there are a few other options as well which are -

Bar end shifter
Seat post mount - might look a bit weird while changing gears e.g what are you grabbing between your legs !
Handle bar mount - Sturmey archer make one
Handle bar mount using a Dixna open clamp mount - I can sell you one of these if you need one
Stem mount - another Dixna product
Retroshift CX1 - the Goats at retroshift tell me it is possible to fit a 3 speed shifter to their CX1
Trad Sturmey 3 speed bar trigger

So as you can see there are plenty of options for mounting a 3 speed lever to your cross check frame, why a Surly cross check, its one of the few reasonably priced production frames on the market with down tube shifter bosses , you can run it geared, single speed or fixed and best of all FFF - Fatties Fit Fine yes that's right you can fit up to 700 x 45c tyres - how many cross bikes have enough space for such wide tyres - not many I can tell you and in snow wide tyres and low gears are what you really need. The reasoning for the Sturmey Archer hub is quite simple as the gears are contained inside out of the way of the muck, dirt & slush so you only need to worry about maintaining your chain, what could be more easy and if you run your cables up to the top tube using Sturmey archer clamp on guides you will have a trouble free all season bike that with the right tyres can go through snow, mud & slush and still keep up on a road ride when the weather is nice with narrow tyres.

Anyhow pictured in this post is the photo I found of a Surly cross Check with a 3 speed rear hub which I am sure the owner enjoys riding very much


Pandabonium said...

Nice post. I enjoy this blog in general and really am amazed at posts dealing with riding in the snow.

Don, I live on the "dry" side of Honshu and ride a few bikes, but mostly a Raleigh (Japan) Club Sport which I've had for three years. I recently accidentally broke off the (cheap plastic) chain ring pant guard. Really hard to find a replacement. Perhaps when cars are on the way out due to lack of fuel and bicycles are more the norm, replacement parts will be more easy to come by. Meanwhile, I wonder if you have any suggestions for me on tracking down a suitable substitute?


Don Speden said...

Hi Pandabonium

Have you tried the bicycle store where you purchased the bike from , there are many after market chain ring guards available so a good bicycle shop should be able to take a look at your crank and maybe there will be something available to fit it. When peak oil hits cyclists will be fine and motorists will be in big trouble for sure !

Pandabonium said...

Thanks. I don't have a "real" bicycle shop anywhere nearby - Kashima City. Bought this one through the internet. I'll see what shops are in Mito City and take the train up there one of these days. Thanks again. Cheers.

Pandabonium said...

A couple of weeks ago I made a big splash with my bike - I fell down into a mud puddle on an icy dirt road. (I live in a relatively rural area.) Nothing injured but my pride.

So I have since thought about getting a set of studded tires for the few months of cold that we have in this area. I wondered if you used studded tires and what you think of them in general.


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