Saturday, June 2, 2012

siren call, part two: the bike

In anticipation of someday having to give up singlespeed racing, I swung a deal to obtain a geared mountain bike in my size over a year ago. It has hung on a hook in the Bicycle Brain Trust, waiting patiently. I had assumed/hoped I'd have a few more years of singlespeed racing in my knees when I got it. But last cyclocross season hurt my knees so badly that in the end I knew I'd have to make the switch sooner.

With my teammates egging me on last week, I knew I'd have to race at least a few times out at PIR this summer. So this weekend, the "new" bike -- a 1989 Bridgestone MB-4 -- is getting its turn in the stand.

Some issues here point up my lack of knowledge about off-road equipment. Of course, I'm trying to equip a nearly 25-year-old bike for short-track racing in the 21st century. Some compromises will have to be accepted:

1. Stem and bars had to be changed for my aging back. For now, I'm trying to make it work with a Misfit FU2 Bar (of course) and a Nitto Dirt Drop stem, though the stem may need to change. My options for a sturdy, off-road stem that's short-reach in a 1" threaded size are slim.

2. I haven't gotten into the drive train yet, other than ascertain that it actually all works and will work better with a thorough cleaning. Drive train is BioPace with LX shifters and brakes. The plasticity of the thumb shifters makes me nervous; even hiding under the bar as they do, plastic seems far more prone to breakage. I am toying with the idea of converting the whole thing to 1 x 7 if I can get it to work without throwing the chain. Multiple gears will mean lots of pesky details and much greater risk of breaking parts.

3. I saved my Conti Explorer tires from last year. They've seen two seasons of use and should be alright for the three or so races I'll do this summer.

4. That saddle in the photo HAS to go; I've got a WTB SpeedShe saddle ready to swap in.

5. I'll need to figure out some decently grippy platform pedals that will work without breaking my bank.

Checking the weather for the opening night of the short-track series, The forecast calls for rain and a high of 62F. That's cold, even for early June. Sweetie says I should go and race. I tell her my bike's nowhere near ready yet, and frankly neither am I. Soon, though.

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