Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Randonneuring- The revival of cyclo-touring part 3: The finished product.

Part 3 of my Randonneuring article and the results of my 10 speed conversion.

Let me start out by showing some "before" pictures of my 10 speed Schwinn before the conversion.

Now the converted Schwinn to Randonneuring bicycle,
The finished product.
25.4mm diameter suspension seatpost with Brooks-style saddle.
Swapped the 5 speed freewheel for a 7 speed mega chainring freewheel. Fitted a Shimano Tourney long cage derailleur to take the largest cog.
Going against conventional wisdom, I installed a set of Shimano Tourney thumb shifters on the top of the drop bars. You will need a longer bolt to fit these shifters than the ones supplied. I took some bolts of a department store bike brake levers to make it work.

Its amazing the weight savings I have had just by replacing the old freewheel, shifters and derailleur from the bike. Having a more accurate shift, taller stem and wider handlebars has improved the maneuverability of the bike. The better gear ratio also allows me to pedal alot faster and smoother. I took it for a test ride today and man was it fun. It's great for adventuring through the backroads, park trails or just riding with the family.

Question remains, will this bike hold up to singletrack? Probably not. It will at least be able to take on some fire roads and gravel or flat dirt roads. The top tube is too long to get proper lift and the bottom bracket too low to the ground for hopping logs and other obstacles. That doesn't mean I am discouraging anyone to try it out for themselves. As for me I have invested too much in the bike already (I am a cheapskate about upgrading bikes than most other enthusiasts) to try riding cross country on this bike.  What I will say is I have rigged up a bike that is quite capable of doing what I designed it for; Randonneuring.

Too many kids today (I mean twenty somethings like myself or younger) have a beef with gears. Many consider gears on a bike to be an accessory only desirable to old people.  The kids who grew up riding single speed BMX bikes transitioned to single speed road bikes or "fixies". While there is nothing wrong with that, having grown up riding mountain bikes my views differ. Its all about the gears. The more gear range on my bike, the better. More gears mean more utility. If I wanted to ride my bike over 'em mountains, I sure can, as long as there is a road going up there somewhere. Not something I would advise on a single speed/fixed gear bike. It is not feasable or practical to ride a bike loaded with about 80 pounds of equipment, say, in a place like the Rockies in Colorado, single speed. Maybe with an internal gear hub in the back but not with a single speed cog or freewheel. That's why I recommend gearing out your old ride instead of stripping it to the frame and the wheels. You'll have alot more fun riding it and you'll be able to ride a wide variety of terrain without having to get off the saddle and walking. I hope this article served it's purpose to inform the reader the potential of their garage sale 10 speeds. Give it a try, let me know how it goes. 

No comments:

Post a Comment