4 months of tech updates

With all the riding, I haven’t had much time to write. That is the way I would prefer it to be, so no complaints. Over the past months I’ve made a few changes along the way.

Surly Long Haul Trucker

When I started training for my century in early July, I still had the Schwalbe Marathon Cross tires on from last November. 700-800 miles with them and the center ridge was just starting to show a little wear. Unlike my Michelin and Continental experiences, I was thoroughly pleased with Schwalbe. Any company that builds a tire that can support my behind is ok in my book, so naturally when I went looking for a smoother tire for all the road riding I knew I’d be doing I went straight back to Schwalbe. I picked up a set of Marathon Supremes from WallBike. Expensive at $55 a pop, but for what you get they’re WELL worth it. I have 1000 miles on them now and they’re just starting to look a little broken in. If you ride a lot, get them. You won’t be sorry. Oh, and the reflective strip they put on most their tires is awesome. Oh, and no flats. Pinch, glass, thorn, or otherwise.

After I had a spoke break in August, I researched for a few weeks and ordered a new wheelset. My ‘local bike shop’ on the other coast Webcyclery set me up with a set of handbuilt wheels – Mavic A719’s with new XT hubs. This is the second set of wheels I’ve brought from them, and they are also worth every penny. I’ve ridden them 500 miles or so, and they’re still straight as an arrow. Now that I have a spare set of wheels, and I’ve rolled through my century, I’m going to switch back to the XT-Alex’s that came with the LHT. They’re still ok, but if I break another spoke I’m just going to rebuild it around a new rim.

The Ostrich bag has held up very well, but using it to commute every day has exposed a few weaknesses on the stress points which hold the majority of the bag’s weight. I had to do a little hand stitching to reinforce it in some areas. I was not into it when I was working, so I’ll have to redo it at some point. I’ve spent so much time observing how this bag has evolved that making something new sounds much less daunting than it did a year ago.

While in the sewing mood I stopped by the fabric store and got some dark green canvas to make new covers for my water bottles. I like the new color, but I wish it was just a little less blue-green and a little more yellow-green. Then they would match my bag perfectly. This time around I added a layer of insulating fabric to the inside which was a nice touch. I also made a new strap to hold my frame-pump in place too.

The Elkhide Wrap had to go. Novara makes a gel bar wrap that I replaced it with. It’s an ok comprimise. It’s black, which isn’t my first choice, but it was my only choice. It feels good like cork wrap, but it doesn’t have that super-sticky double sided tape on the back that most cork wrap has which makes it impossible to reposition on the bars. I’ve had it on both my bikes now for the past 350 miles or so with no complaints.

That’s about it. Everything else just keeps on rollin!

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