Category Archives: Bike Tech

the clutch

I was so far removed from the current bicycle tech.  I didn’t even read print magazines or loiter on some bike related website to read about the new and improved.  Why should I?  Over the years my interest in bikes waned from a humble highpoint 2 decades ago when all I did was live bike to a few months ago where I might look bikes on craigslist when I day dreamed at lunch time and silently wept at the cost of it all.  They say you have to pay to play.  I am still not convinced.

I suppose, though, the real reason for the disinterest in the wheels was just me and my body.  I was failing.  A late fall hospital stay and an ensuing six month ‘one thing after another’ age issue related hiccups in my body took a toll keeping me from spinning the cranks.  I hit a reset.

In the last month or two of decent health I have been pretty active just camping and backpacking.  It has been awesome and invigorating and it will continue on.  But.  The bike has been absent.  A shame really.  The stable of bikes for riding were limited and did not mesh well with the reset.  Something versatile and geared up for comfort was missing for the trail.  The single-speed was great and all, but my knees are telling me no more.  Gears are in order.  I started looking around for what people are using for a rigid bike.  I seems 10 or 11 speed cassettes and single chain ring up front  set-ups are the ticket.  I like gears when everything is quiet and hides in the background until you need to change them.  The slap of the chain on the chainstay and the rattle of the rear mechanism over various terrain is unacceptable.  So, they have solved it appears.

The Shimano Shadow+ rear mech.  Some call it the clutch.



So I look at the Shimano stuff.  The Shadow+ series of rear mechs have a switch that controls the tension on the chain and keeps it from both making noise and hitting the chainstay.  Sweet!

the switch shown in a bling gold annodize

the switch in a bling gold anodize, shown here covered in T100 remnants

I just wanted to run a rear mech.  Keep it simple.  The cassette is an 11-36.  Quite the range when coupled with a 32T front chainring.  One concern was a repeat of the past set-ups I have had with a 1×9 configuration was the length of the rear derailleur – the distance between the two jockey wheels was long and it was affecting the crispness and positive engagement of gear change.  So I knew I wanted a short cage style.  Past experience tells me that a short cage has a quicker shift than a medium or long cage style.  It seems there are not many to be had.  Sure, you can order an XTR or a SRAM something or other that is just out of the ball park for a working man. Enter the Shimano ZEE FR.  Intended for specific downhill use with a single front chainring and up to a 36T on the cassette.  A burly unit.  The even only the shifter itself dedicated as rear only, no front option.

ZEE 10spd shifter.  All burly and stuff.

ZEE 10spd shifter. All burly and stuff.


So it looks like the original Salsa El Mariachi set-upI bought back in 2008.  That one was a 1×9.

I reverted back to where I started.
Good stuff.
I’m just gonna ride it.
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Filed under Bike Tech, Rides

Tioga Psycho Genius 29




They say it is the 3rd or 4th ride on a new set of tires that will determine if they are for you or not.

These tires are for me.  I know, everyone loves a new set of tires and we seemingly have to justify at once the outlay of cash for them – so everything is positive from the get go.  I have been there before.  And over time, sometimes the attitude about the new things change to negative if they do not fulfill the original plan.  So, maybe things will change and these tires may prove to be expensive, completely worthless, over engineered, cleverly named, fast wearing and ugly.  I don’t know yet.

I have them mounted tubeless on Stan’s ZTR Flow rims with the Stan’s sealant and new valves.  They popped on and sealed effortlessly.  I used my air-compressor.  How I lived without an air-compressor before, I will never know.  The thing is loud and is cheap, but it does the job.  I leave the garage when it is on.

So I played with the pressure in the tires 4 times on 4 separate rides and settled on 38psi in the front and rear.  I started at 28psi on the first ride and went up from there.   Big changes in that 10psi.

They roll just okay on the tarmac.  They make a lot of noise, but feel like they don’t drag as much as say, the Panaracer Rampage 29×2.35, or the Geax Saguaro TNT.  They are slower than the Geax AKA TNT or a  WTB Weirwolf LT.  They kinda roll  in-between all of those.  Acceptable.

On the trail.  Love.  I visualize and feel the funny shaped knobs spreading out to react to the terrain that they roll over.  Each knob is split in 3 and can bend in any direction.  They bend and grip and release.  Grippy but not slow.  Back in the day – when Tioga was a player in the MTB world, I liked to ride the unflappable Farmer John, the Farmer John Cousin and the Psycho.  The Psycho had these great side/edge knobs that really hooked up when cornering  – especially when braking.  The new Psycho has those same shaped side knobs.  Grippy.



Filed under Bike Tech

skinny with cheese

You simply owe it to yourself to go to Fatso’s.

Order a skinny – but with cheese.



I put some of the skinny on the cross bike.

The road beckons.

hanging around in the house for about 4 years.

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evolve xc-ss & xt

the Holy Grail


Filed under Bike Tech, bikes, Rides

oh my!

this was no help.

just try to get that out of there.

New Shimano XT pedals and Race Face Evolve XC SS cranks on the way.

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February sub24

I spent yesterday afternoon rebuilding my eccentric.  The thing just gets dirty and makes noise.  I dislike that.

dirty mess causing noisy mess

forgive me, but I like the way the frame works with the oversize BB shell. Maybe a BB30 compatible frame is in my future.

kids and bikes. helmets are good for us.

So I put the bike together and the Russian swung by to meet to go to wherever we were going.  While riding we decided upon the Pima and Dynamite area to make our camp.

a small fire and someones 2nd course

oh my.

it has been a while since I have ridden on the P&D trails. Still sandy. Still a lot of fun.

end ride

A great sub 24 overnighter in the desert.  A sleeping bag would have been handy.  It was super cold.

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Filed under Bike Tech, bikepacking

haro. part three.

Squaw Peak (known formally as)

nice little part of a loop around Shadow Mountain

So I put the Haro in a state of readiness for any kind of ride.  Throw on a helmet, some gloves, a water-bottle and I am good to go.  I must say it rides pretty comfy with those Mary bars.  Upright with great control – especially when the trail is going down.  The position relaxes my shoulders pretty quickly.  Oh, that is nice.

I am gonna cut that thing off.

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Filed under Bike Tech, bikes, Rides