Tuesday, August 30, 2016

2010 Specialized Hardrock Disc

Thought I would give a little more detail on a couple of my bikes, to help flesh out what I do around here.
As I have recently mentioned I bought this 2010 Hardrock off of craigslist.org for the princely sum of $150. It was as original as they come.
I think this picture was the day I bought it. It still has the specialized tires on it even!

Since I was getting more into bicycles when I bought this one, I decided to go through and do some clean up and simple maintenance that i knew how to do. I took the fork apart and cleaned and re-greased it. I also rinsed and re-packed the headset bearings while I was in there. I tried to lube the cables and clean and adjust the derailleurs. I also replaced the clanky BB with a cheap Shimano one.

And then I rode it for a while. It was great! I could ride over way more rugged terrain without having my fillings or kidneys fall out. It had disc brakes so I learned what good brakes felt like. things were wonderful.

Of course I couldn't leave things alone! Why have disc brakes if you aren't going to hydraulic, right? Here comes our friend eBay: $60 for a full set of Tektro china specials, with all the hardware and discs even!
Then a new seat. Then some new stems to play with ergonomics.
Then some pedals to replace the poly original ones. Cheap Wellgo pedals. Work wonders over the worn out stock poly ones.

The chain and sprockets start looking poorly so I buy a new cassette, a new chain, and decide to take the raceface crankset off of a frame I got and freshen up the whole drivetrain. I learn how to adjust derailleurs correctly this time.

Finally I bend the wheels one too many times. Brian, the mechnic at my LBS, says "these things can't be trued correctly. I got it straight but if you hit too many more bumps its probably going to pop right back to where it was." So off to the internet! what looks robust: Azonic Outlaws! they cost twice as much as the bike but they come in green so it happens. May as well put some of these aggressive looking Michelin ATs on it while I am in there.

Lots of time and money spent on this rig. I just took it out for a ride today as a matter of fact: since I have been recently riding my XC bike this thing feel terrible. but it is still light, flickable, and nimle feeling comapred to my 33lb full squish. :) Experience it a terrible thing sometimes.


Some Two Wheeled History

When I read other blogs, and watch people's videos online, I frequently wonder "Who are these people, and what is their background?" So today I wanted to take a little walk back in time to share with you all a little bit of my bicycle background.

As a young little whipper-snapper I had many crumby bikes that I have very little memory of. 20" banana seat bikes that were pink with tassels kind of stuff. I am going to skip over those! The first "real" bike that my mother bought me was a Trek 800 Mountain Track:
This is not the exact bike i owned, I sadly cannot find any pictures of it right now. It was bought new, had a rack and panniers even! I rode this thing all over the Keweenaw Peninsula and around Price County Wisconsin. It was awesome. I even got a Vetta C15 computer for it at some point! I thought it was so cool. I used to go down the street from my mom's house to some old tailing piles and try to jump the thing. Of course i knew nothing about jumping bikes and didn't really have any friends that were into bikes so I just ovaled out the headset and kept riding it. I had this bike until 2009ish when I went off to college and started riding to campus and back. I soon realized that the bike bought for me in grade school no longer fit me!
Then one day in my sophomore year in college I spotted a bike that had been sitting chained to a bike rack since I started college and thought "self: if you take that bike at least it will stop being so rusty, and it will probably fit you." Of course i never thought "self: if you take that bike you are technically stealing." college students, I tell ya!
Another pesky Trek. This time with a blown out BB, non-functional fork, and no seat.
I bought a seat post and a seat from the local Scheels store and rode this bike for the rest of my time in college. At the end of my time there, when I had purchased another bike, I quietly left this bike at the exact rack that I had taken it from all those years earlier.

Eventually I thought I needed a bigger frame again. So Craigslist was now a thing in my life so I kept my eyes on it and sure enough a "large" framed Bianchi Timberwolf popped up one day for $75 and I had to have it:
I slapped some balloon tires (CST Cyclops, I knew nothing about tires at this point obviously) to replace the leaky old ones that came on it and away I went again!
This bike I rode until I had moved back to Minnesota, at which time I discovered single-track. So clearly this towering behemoth of a bike was not the thing for singletrack. It must have been an extra-large frame measuring in the 22"+ range.
Next I bought an old Cannondale M300se:

I sought this bike out rather than taking what landed in my lap, for the first time. The Bianchi had been very functional but being a steel frame it weighed a ton. So when I decided I wanted a bike for this new-fangled single track stuff I decided i needed to have a lighter weight bike. I rode this bike around Elm Creek MTB Trails for a season before thinking "gee I sure could use a suspension fork" which I proptly identified the headtube of this featherweight as being too small for most modern forks. rascals. Time to buy again! Note- I do still own this bike, though I put road tires on it for something to ride around the neighborhood. It has surprisingly good handling and geo for a bike that is 20 years old. I am tempted to put nobbies on it and go try my hand at single track with it, just for fun.

Now things start to get interesting and a little more modern:
2010 Specialized Hardrock
This was another craigslist find. It was listed a few miles up the road from my house at the time and the ad was fairly old without any pictures. but for $150 I was willing to take a look as MTB prices were just starting to take off at this time. The guy said it was his sons, off to college and didn't want it anymore. Frame size 19" and aside form some scratches in the decals and fork it looked to be in good condition so I brought it home. This is when things really started taking off for me: I started to really enjoy single track riding, I started meeting other people that ride, I started tinkering with this bike's bits and pieces and really learning, in earnest, about working on bikes and when things do when you change them. Things also escalate quickly, the next few bikes have all come within the last two seasons:

2008 Specialized P.Street dirt jump bike:

2007 Norco Evolution trials bike:
Zoo! Pitbull trials bike, which I don't currently have a picture of for some reason.
And this season I graduated up to a full squish 2013 Trek Rumblefish 29er which even with all of its comfort, I still am not certain of some days.

Then there are the GFs bikes:
2000ish Specialized Hardrock Ultra. Her first good bike, It was in great shape and with some decent tires served her well for two seasons of singletrack. Now sold.
Replaced the Hardrock with a 2015 Specialized Lynx 27.5er. A distinct improvement over a 15 year old, mens frame. I wasn't sure about it when she started looking, especially when it is "i like the color of that one" but she was clearly more comfortable on it and it had lots of good modern technical aspects that will allow me to upgrade it if she decides she wants more.
2008 Specialized cirrus
She said she wanted to get into weekly road rides at the LBS. I believed her and found this beauty for $180 on craigslist. I knew I would be bringing it home before the guy even said anything. A solid like flat-bar urban bike. 

And then there are a bunch of random bikes that came and went over time.

Yes that is a 650B women's road bike. Crazy lightweight and also tiny.
A 1960s 27 inch unicycle a friend gave me.
And we haven't even talked about motorcycles yet! Perhaps another time.

And there is what used to be a garage in all its glory.


Video fun

Hey everybody! Some of you might already know this but: I have a YouTube channel! Well sort of.


Yup, that's it. As of today I have posted 12 videos in all the years of my membership but as of late I have been watching lots of videos lately. This has inspired me to get back into the attempt of making my own videos.

Channels like Seth's Bike Hacks and Phil Kmetz along with more commercial yet cool channels like Park Tool really make me want to get back into the idea of making videos for other people to enjoy. Back when I used my GoPro camera in California I really enjoyed being able to share my experiences. Then I bought Adobe Premiere and things got more complicated...but again youtube helps a guy out and now i feel like I have some level of fumbling confidence.

Of course in the years since California I managed to somehow break my old GoPro 2: I decided I should just purchase a new one, possibly a session? Enter stage left: Amazon.com our favorite online mass marketplace. It turns out GoPro is no longer the one and only, thanks China, and now I can get a GoPro knockoff for stupid cheap: Wespire Action Camera 2.0. Of course when the camera is that cheap i can't just buy that: I have to buy a bunch of stupid cheap accessories too!

So far I have bought:

So far I am back into video for about $130 which is still less than one single gopro brand camera would set me back. Crazy.

The only item I have not purchased that seems to be popular now is a powered gimbal. I am looking at some on the ole Amazon but I have not decided if I want to go that route just yet. I will see how a couple videos turn out with this knock-off camera and then decided if I buy the gimbal or save up for a GoPro Session.

So keep tuned in while I get things up and rolling. And feel free to watch all 12 of my sweet videos I have posted.

Thanks for reading! -G

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

First race! Yay

Hey all! Long time since any real posts or updates. Tonight I, and Leann, rode in my first MTB race, and finished! It was a pretty laid back local affair held at my "home" track of Elm Creek Preserve Trails. I finished 65 out of 75 or so with a time of 1:01.22. I did pass a handful of people but one mis-step going over an optional obstacle cost me early on, then a janky rear derailleur and soggy brakes lost me confidence.
Thanks to Shawn Hoffman for telling me about the races, wish I had heard about them sooner! Good job to the other Polaris nerds that come out and rode as well!
Over all I thought it was an awesome time, and a well spent $15! Big shout out to Three Rivers Park system and Maple Grove Cycle for providing all of the support.