Saturday, November 18, 2006

Woody Woodpecker Resurection

It's been a while since I've blogged anything, but I've had a very busy fall. I've put a lot of time and effort over the last couple of months winterizing the house, the garden and my bikes. Plus there's work and family and catching colds. All more likely to score time allotments than blogging.

Anyway, I've decided to start blogging some of my bikes. I tinker with bikes quite a bit and like to try lots of different things, so I thought I might like to show some of them to the world.

First up is a Surly Cross Check that I bought as just a frame in 2000. It's one of the early bean-green frames, and one of the last made with Reynolds 631 tubing. This one started life as sort of a fun off-road cyclocross bike:

Sort of silly that I had bought a 56 cm frame, given that I'm over 6 feet tall, with a 34 inch inseam. Should have gotten a 58 cm at least, and perhaps a 60 cm. As you can see, the bars are quite a bit lower than the saddle. Don't get me wrong—it was a gas to ride—but a sure-fire recipe for a stiff neck later.

So I let my sister's boyfriend ride it for a while, but he really wanted a mountain bike. Then I almost ended up selling it, but decided to make it into a single-speed commuter instead:

Turned out to be the right decision. I always liked the way this bike rides, and it continues to be a pleasure with the upright bars. It's currently a 39-18 with a Formula flip-flop rear hub. It has a Shimano 3N70 dynamo front hub powering an Inoled 20+ 2-watt LED headlight, Nitto Dove bars, Zefal Safari 3 rack and Brooks flyer. All of these things I mention specifically because I like them a lot and would recommend them to anyone. The front view at the top of the post shows the dynamo hub and the Inoled on its Inofix stem mount. Also shown is the Woody Woodpecker headbadge, the origin of which is an Ancient German-Irish Secret, and huge homemade mud flap. Note in the side view how the mud flap falls below a line between the bottom of the front wheel and the bottom of the chainring, intercepting the stream of wet, gritty crap present whenever one is in motion during one of Wisconsin's winters.

Because this bike was designed to take the largest tires possible, the chainstay bridge was pretty far forward. There used to be a huge, ugly gap between the fender and the tire and the fender touched the seat mast:

Can't have that. Fortunately, our local hardware store had a 15-cent nylon spacer that now moves the fender back just enough to look good and resolve the touching issue:

Also visible is the no-skid and electrical tape chainstay protector.

The other issue with the fender was a major conflict with the Zefal rack. The Cross Check has only one rear braze-on, so the chunky Zefal rack mounts and the v-stays of the SKS fenders have to attach at the same point. Visible in the side view (several pictures above) is a lot of crossing of rack and fender stays. In the end, they simply weren't going to both attach to the outside of the dropout, so I ran an extra-long bolt and nutted the stays to the inboard side of the braze-ons:

which wouldn't have worked with a multi-speed setup, but works just fine with a single.

This is still a cyclocross bike. It has a high bottom bracket, snappy handling and a short wheelbase that results in some substantial toe overlap with the front wheel. Even so, it's remarkably stable, agile and its horizontal dropouts and enormous tire clearance make it very versatile. It can easily handle 700c 35 Nokian Hakkapeliitta studded tires, which I used briefly this spring (I'll use them more extensively this winter). They have a harsh ride, but combining them with the dynamo hub make this a very capable winter bike.


Tex69 said...

glad you're back. sorry when interesting people dissappear. love what you've done with the Crosscheck. have one too, but it's straight 'cross right now, even though i've not done much of late. looks good.

Jim G said...

toe overlap? I always thought that CrossChecks had looong front-centers. What's that measurement on yours?

Mauricio Babilonia said...

Jim, I'm sure there's plenty of room for cross riders with smaller tires, no fenders and foot retention. With the big tires, the fender and my big clodhoppers not being clipped in, there's an issue. I've just learned to be careful.

I'll be blogging my LHT at some point, and I'll try to include some comarative measurements there...

Kate Stapleton said...

Hey. What is the stem you are using on this bike? Thanks . Kate

Kate Stapleton said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael Lemberger said...

Hi Kate, it's unmarked, but I believe it's a Dimension or similar, 100 mm, 40 or 45-degree rise.

Cedric Satterfield said...

I know this post is FOREVER old, but when you had upright handlebars on your Surly, did you have the stem flipped or was that just spacers? I love that setup that you have and I like a really upright position.


Michael Lemberger said...

Hey Cedric, because I cut the steerer so short initially, I had to use a stem with a lot of rise. I think the one in the photo is a 40- or 45-degree. I'm currently running drops, which are much lower, but they still require a stem with 25 degrees of rise. You can see the current setup here.