Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Bicycle Collection

There's my "main" bike, the one I ride the most. It's a Giant Acapulco. I bought it from a friend in about 1997 for $50. I'm just a recreational rider so it means a lot that I've put thousands of miles on that bike. It's a little too small for me I think, but I'm pretty comfortable on it for the distances I am likely to ride. Usually not more than a couple hours at a time.

I've got it pretty customized to my preferences. There's the dashboard to the right. That old Vetta trip computer has been on several of my bikes and was new in the early 90's. Hard to believe it has lasted that long. Combination bell and compass for directionality and warning pedestrians. Bright headlight. The suspension stem, a cheap find on ebay, is a great improvement in comfort. Completely takes the jarring out of your arms and is simpler, cheaper and lighter than a suspension fork. You can see where I repaired the right shifter with J-B Weld.

I also have the rack on the back and great bag to go on the rack. Cheap suspension seatpost does some to keep the jarring and vibration from traveling from frame to seat to butt. Sturdy lock (not like someone would really want to steal this bike.) Tire pump with built in gauge. It has 18 speeds with simple index shifting for the rear deraileur and friction shifter for the front one. It doesn't have a really low gear so I have to break my cadence on really steep hills. It's made out of steel and weighs 39 lbs with all that stuff on it. Taking off the lock and bag gets it down to 33 lbs.

Here's the next bike, the Schwinn High Sierra. Looking at this reference page it looks like the Bronze color was only available in 1986. I think I got this one day when the Goodwill was overstocked on bikes and made them all $5. It is in quite good condition for it's age.

It is really a little too big for me. I can straddle the bar on flat feet, but riding on a trail, you sometimes need a bit more space than that. It is a good thing I wasn't riding this bike on this trail ride. It has some really wide handlebars, and I guess the larger frame gives it a longer wheelbase. It really feels quite different to maneuver than my other bikes. It has some unique features that I suppose were very state of the art for their time. The roller-cam brakes seen below on the left and the biopace chainrings on the right for instance. The chainrings are not round, they are sort of elliptical but not exactly. They look round standing still, but when they are turning you can see the eccentricity of them. The idea behind them is that as you crank them around with your leg muscles, they provide different effective gear ratios for different segments of the stroke. I don't think that idea ever really took off for some reason. It seems like a really good and clever idea to me. I think it makes it easier to pedal both at high speeds and low gear hill climbing. This bike is also steel and weighs 32 lbs. It has 18 speeds and no index shifting at all. I don't like that.

Next on the list is the LL Bean Bike:

This one I got out of the trash. Really what I wanted from it was the rack that was on the back, which I have since removed. Then I noticed it was pretty light and made out of aluminum. A little more poking and research and I found it was made by Cannondale. Someone told me it was from the mid 90's. I had to replace the chain and all the cables, but now it rolls pretty good. Still needs some handgrips and then it's pretty much ready. It's only 15 speeds but the low gear is pretty low. No index shifting again. I actually tried to convert the rear deraileur to index shifter, but that apparently doesn't work unless all the components involved in shifting are set up to do that. My lightest bike at 28 lbs, but it doesn't even have a kickstand on it. Me, I like kickstand. This bike feels feels very quick and maneuverable to ride. Maybe it's the light rigid frame or the geometry?

The Trek Navigator is my newest bike:

It's kind of a cruiser/comfort type bike. It's got totally modern components on it like V-brakes and trigger shifter for the 7 speed rear deraileur. The front deraileur has a grip shifter. I actually got 2 of these from a Freecycler. They are almost exactly the same but the other one has some damage from some sort of traumatic incident with the chain going where it wasn't supposed to. This one has a quality suspension seatpost and a stem with adjustable angle so that you can sit very upright if you like. The frame is quite small though, and I can't get the seat high enough for even me to be ergonomic. It has *really* low gears. Check out the giant "megadrive" sprocket on the rear. It is so much larger than the next sprocket. Kinda hard to believe the chain will jump over onto that thing. But it does, and then you put it on the small front sprocket and it feels like you could ride up a tree with ease. This bike has 21 speeds and is 31 lbs of aluminum including no kickstand.