Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bullwinkle Unleashed

This is my dedicated winter bike, the Moose. It's a late-eighties Trek 800, originally purchased at a garage sale for $15. Mountain bikes of this vintage seem to have been made to be ridden in the snow. The long wheelbase and slack angles add up to a slow but steady cruise, well-suited to keeping the center of mass going in the right direction over unpredictable road conditions.

The seat post is stock, but everything else is a mix of hand-picked new and trash-picked old. Nitto Albatross CroMo bars (new) with SunTour BarCons (trash); Zefal Safari 3 (new), Lee Chi 4-finger brake levers (trash), bronze-colored dirt-drop knockoff stem (garage sale, but like new) and huge cheapie BMX platform pedals (purchased new, but now trashed.) Note an ongoing obsession with a big front mudflap that falls between the roostertail of front wheel slime and the crank assembly. Really cuts down on the wear and tear on the (trash-picked, except for the chain) drivetrain. That's a 110 BCD crankset, but it's geared more like compact drive—44-34-24, if I recall. The current rear wheel and its predecessor were both sourced at my local CurbMart (trashpicked.)

Currently running IRC Blizzard 112 studded tires front and rear. Remember those? The 56-stud version was the only commercially-available studded tire I can remember from back when I started riding year-round back in 1989. They're big and heavy, but the studs don't seem to be wearing out after 6 or 7 seasons—even with a fair amount of pavement riding. The best thing about them is that a neighbor who was moving to a warmer climate gave them to me, unused, for free.

This is my other dynamo hub headlight. It's the Shimano NX-30 laced to a Sun CR-18 rim, powering a Lumotec Oval Plus 3W halogen headlight with LED standlight. The whole show is run by Shimano's Nexus automatic switch (visible immediately behind the fork crown.) From what I've read, the automatic switch packs a dizzying array of circuitry for its simple job, but it works remarkably well. Occasionally, early in the morning before the sun is completely up, it will turn out the light while passing over patches of snow on the road surface (the sensor points at the ground) and back on when darker pavement is reached. At night it's perfect. I have plenty of blinkies to attend to, so it's nice that at least one light smart enough to keep up with the task at hand.

Also note the Tirefly on the Presta adapter. Don't see that every day.

The Lumotec isn't as bright or as focused or as wide as the Inoled I'm using on Shirley the Woodpecker, but it's a much cheaper light and was quite good when I purchased it back in 2001. It's been quite good for winter use.

Here's a view from the catbird seat. Coupla blinkies, since I'm a big believer in redundancy. Those Nitto Albatross bars do have quite the span, and lordy, do I love the fact that they'll take bar-end shifters. Thanks Grant! Also should mention that you'd want to get some stretchy grips for this setup, since the shifter cables need to run through them somehow. The old WTBs I have on there had just enough give.

I dunno, maybe I'll get me a Pugsley someday, but this'll do for now.


Doug said... winter snow and ice commuter is a hand me down late 80's Specialized Rockhopper. It looks very similar to the Trek. It does make a great, stable ride in winter.

Mojoe said...

Loved the 'tross bars when I had them on the first incarnation of my Xtracycle. I've been using Dove bars pretty regularly for 3 years. I'm going to pick up another pair of Albatrosses though, so I can switch back to barends. Got some junky old barcons in the parts bin.

Joe in tropical Northern Iowa

Mauricio Babilonia said...

It's tropical here too. The Moose hasn't seen much action yet this year...

Yeah, I'm actually a little surprised how much I like the barends on the Albatross bars, but they work great.