Wednesday, October 01, 2014


Swapped out the offending broken rear derailluer. Not sure how 'backward compatible' current Shimano XT Deore Shadow derailluers are, considering its being mated to Shimano's Dual Controller shifters from '07.

So happy about the new cable entry point on the new derailluer.  The previous set up had the cable having to do a complete 120degree turn in what was really not enough room.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bendigo MTB event - 3hr.

Why train when I can race? This was my stab at cashing in the few kms I commute to work by bike each day as prep for a MTB race - Bendigo 6hr, entered solo mens 3hr.
The result was a broken rear derailleur half way through my 2nd lap, about an hours worth of riding.
Course, I found, very rocky and the climbs were complicated with the rock ledges etc. My biggest issue was climbing, not being used to pace myself using a good speedy cadence so I didnt blow out grinding with feeble legs.
I stopped half way up a climb when I was really maxing out and almost felt like passing out - thats the last time I stop during a climb, bettercto use the free pedaling on the first part of the next descent to recover. 
May I never diss my granny gear - 22t chainwheel on my MTB triple crankset - that has come to my rescue so many times now.
With this DNF I'm keen to front another race start as soon as I can. I've already double-clicked on a new derailleur from Chain Reaction, and entering the Yowie at You Yangs 4th October. Hopefully I'll sneak in a roll down Yarra trails etc asap.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Stomping stoppers.

2011 & it was all about Cyclocross. Everyone wanted in on going muddy-puddle-bashing on drop ‘bar bikes, and for someone like myself who found no wrong with the filthy mash that is MTBing, I needed to get my share. So early 2012 I double-clicked on the cBroadman CX Pro from Wiggle UK & did a little hop for joy when the huge box hit my doorstep. But all was not as it should be. Little did I eventually realize, the standard brakes fitted to this, & many other CX bikes – Avids BB7 cable brakes – were not as ‘premium’ as I originally thought?  I used (still am using) my CX bike as the daily commute in all weather, so my problems were:

·                   Noisy [very] on application in wet and/or muddy going.
·       Quite a bit of travel in the brake lever required to clear the pads from the disk. Hard application sometimes brought the lever down against the handlebar. Any less travel on the lever left the pads dragging on the disk.
·       Frequent wet/muddy riding caused wear, which required adjustment. Adjustment required bringing in the pads at each side of the caliper, but it wasn’t as straight forward as that. Sometimes, an initial adjustment, required fine tuning after a short ride – multiple times, through the evening, and into the night…..
I scoured the ‘web for hints & tricks, all of which seemed to suggest what I had already been doing &, to persevere.

After a year & a half of evenings spent crouched by my brake calipers, I decided to fork out for TRP (Tektro Racing Products) Hy/RdHydro/Road calipers - essentially a hydraulic disk brake that bolts onto the end of the existing cable, in place of the Avid BB7 caliper, in my case. Not cheap at $150 per end AuD$ landed, I was happy to see that they also came with a new 160mm disk too.

I bought mine from Jensons USA, but even though only 160mm disks are specified on their website, I did receive 1x 160mm disk & 1x 140mm disk rotor in my shipment. These Tektro disks were slightly thicker than the Avid disks I ad on the bike, so I really wanted to stick with the recommended set up. I couldn’t fit the 140mm disk on the bike as both TRP Hy/Rd calipers when fitted to the bike, did not suit the smaller diameter 140mm rotor. Email to Jensens resulted in a $50 (US) credit to me with an apology, problem was the disk rotors for the Hy/Rd was unique in the Tektro range & not currently available as ‘rotor only’ in 160mm (or any other size), poo. So I opted for a Tektro Polygon (Auriga/Pro) rotor – because it looked the most like the correct 1x 160mm Hy/Rd rotor I got in the box (still en-route as I type this).

So right now my cBroadman CX Pro is running the TRP Hy/Rd calpier on the rear, with the original Avid BB& still on the front. The difference in ‘performance’ you ask? Well the Hy/Rd does bite earlier, but does not have the drag issues of the Avid BB7s – the hydraulic pistons retract the pads away enough to avoid any ‘sound’ of dragging on the rotors. Also after the ‘bite’, the Hy/Rd calipers do bear down firmer on the rotor & almost feel like they will lock up the wheel (I have already locked up the rear while riding with the Hy/Rd, but being a drop ‘bar bike all the weight it up the front so I can’t claim that they are suer powerful until I can do the same up front).
The Hy/Rd calipers [can] take Shimano Deore XT pads, which I think is a very good thing. At the moment they are running stinther metal equivalent pads. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wombat 100 - 50kms MTB race.

Wombat 100, rode the 50km in vets.
Loved the singletrack, hated the two-track & gravel rd climb.
Munched my drive chain between the cassette & rear hub on a long climb at about 34km mark, reverted to natures toolbox - a rock and a branch to put things right & get rolling again.
Loved the Magellan sprint section so much i rode it again on my ride back home after the event. 
Ran into some 100kms tailenders who looked like thy were in a world of hurt at their 70km point. I don't think my little white lie that the worst was behind them was very convincing.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Early Morning MTB Yarra Flats ride.

Cashed in the extra hour daylight savings gave me when we changed back this morning & took the Specialized Epic out to hit the trails along the Yarra.

Starting from just south of the pipe bridge on the west bank, then crossed over to the east bank & continue upstream past Chandler Hwy, to Dickies loop (between Bulleen Park & Bolin Bolin Billabong). Trails were well worn in & almost scary fast, with banked corners & a firm surface. Also noticed on my ride back home that some new singletrack has been gifted by the trail fairies all the way back down to the Guild Dogs home up against the freeway fence (from where it previously just crossed the sealed path to the riverbank trail which is big with walkers).

This ride was mostly a shakedown for the new groupset I just fitted (new Chainwheels 44/32/22 Shimano Deore XT, Durace chain & XT cassette 32~11), no shifting problems at all from the outset, although I did notice the rear squatting a lot on seated pedaling over really rough stuff, this did go away once I stood up out of the saddle, but I wasn’t entirely sure if that just compensated  by unloading the rear half of the bike. It was a problem only because the pace in some places this day, being a smooth and fast trail, highlighted some front end pushing out on corners. After the ride I checked the air pressure in the rear shock & dampening settings & everything ticked off OK. Hmm.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ballarat Classic.

From Ballarat train station to Federation Square Melbourne, a 150km Non-competitive organized road ride.

That guilty pleasure of doing a ride that’s mostly downhill & with prevailing winds is pretty hard to beat.
Rode the Boardman CX Pro which I normally commute to work on.

Strava stat for the ride.

MAD ride 2013 - 3rd March 2013.

65km MTB loop, organized non-competitive ride. 3rd March 2013.
Rode from Mum & dads place at Bullengarook to start/finish at Woodend. 100kms approx total.

Strava stat for the day's ride.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


11th hour faffing about with my Shimanao XT hydraulic brakes on my Specialized Epic MTB. They felt a little spongy at the lever, so I made an attempt to bleed them. Shimano hydraulic brakes use ‘Mineral oil’ as apart from your regular brake fluid with other brands like Avid or Hope, so that meant a visit to my local bike shop with my quacking wallet in hand.

Shimano hydraulic brake mineral oil was about $35 sold in 1litres bottles. A re-bleed of both brakes would only use about 100mL thereabouts, so the investment in the full bottle would take a few years to recover. Lucky for me my Local bike shop fella could see the doubt in me set in as he handled the bottle & offered to pour me 200 odd mL into a separate container for $5 – phew.

I love working on Shimano hydraulic brakes; the pads come out & drop in easy, the pistons push out to accommodate new (thicker) pads without effort, the pistons retract well after application at the lever so the pads have room to back away from the rotating disk when it use (no dragging), & no special tools apart from the cassette tool for the centre lock rotors.

Back home, the bike is hoisted up on the (homemade) bike work stand, I pop the brake reservoir cap off & place a length of tube on the bleed nipple on the rear calliper, then i extract what I can of the oil in the reservoir & top it up with the new stuff. The existing oil is almost clear, where the new stuff is is blood red, not sure if this means anything. I open up the bleed nipple & pump the lever to draw the new oil down into the brake line, being careful not to empty the reservoir & draw air into the line (that’ll mean a long night if I did).

When I finished & could see the dark red oil coming out the clear tube connected to the bleed nipple on the rear calliper, I top up the reservoir, popped the reservoir cap back on, & removed the clear tube off the nipple. It’s at this point when I am removing the clear tube off the nipple on the calliper, that a stream of brake oil drained out all over the calliper. Sure I grab a rag & wipe it down but apparently that wasn’t enough.

Two days later it’s time to ride the Epic to work & then onto the dirt crits afterwards. As I get to the end of my alleyway the rear brake squeals something chronic & I realise that a good percentage of brake oil has affected the brake pad. I try to not worry about it & let it fix itself, but the whole trip into work it’s squealing, & even thought the lever is firm, it feels like I don’t have the kinda braking I was hoping for out back.

So come lunchtime I head back downstairs to suss out the brake & remove the pads with a multi-tool. The pads are pretty worn, but also pretty dark for oil contamination, so I opt out of refitting them & pick up some new pads for a CBD bike shop & bung them in.

Will be crossing the fingers as I roll off this evening...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Forking oil seals.

Replaced the fork seals ($35) & fresh oil ($17) off the Fox RLC 32 F100 forks on my ’08 Epic the night before ready for a bit of ‘dusting off session’ at the Westgate dirt crits.

Way easier job than I originally thought & offered my services to a mate in a similar state with his forks. Although I must admit, it was pending a proper test ride to cover off the quality of my workmanship, and I'm happy to say they came off a treat. Things I found doing this job:

• Fork oil purchased from a motorbike sho 10wt. Volumes are easily found out on the web, just look for, "Fox forks oil volumes" surprisingly enough.
• Didn’t bother with the ‘Fox Fork Fluid’ in the air chamber (5mL), just replaced the oil bath in the spring & dampener sides.
• Old fork oil was white with water contamination, also was far less than the 150mL & 20mL volumes specc’ed in the service manual. I've never had these forks apart since I bought them new in 2009 (my Epic is the result of parts from various bikes & new parts).
• Forks remained on the bike, just inverted the bike & removed the lowers (2x nuts & a very slight tap of a plastic headed hammer). Oil volumes remained in the top part of the uppers & only drained out when I righted the bike over a container.
• New oil seals was pressed in using a wide plastic conduit pipe section, hammered in with the palm of my hand & finished with a tap from a block of wood.

Fox Forks RLC 32 F100 2008 - Oil volumes.
Dampner side, 10wt, 150mL
Spring side, 10wt, 20mL
Airchamber, Fox Float Fuild 5mL

The big difference was that dampening was far more pronounced & found that I had to back off the rebound & low comp a click or two, also the bounce wasn't as harsh as before, you could feel an easy cush in the first part of the travel which then progressively firmed really nicely.
Something else after the ride last Thursday night, I experienced a fair bit of ghost shifting & really should have looked into it as my Epic had been sitting idle for 6months after a batch of wet rides, which should always be followed by a review of all the cables (inners/outers). Also lost a 'bar end plug wacking a straight line through a curvy piece of trail, boo.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Race faced.

Streuth, it's been almost a year since a race number has found its way onto the back of my jersey. Hardly an auspisious occasion - Thursday night Dirt Crits at Westgate, hardly an auspisious result - DNF on the 3rd of 5 laps in B grade, due to a puncture on the front. I think it was pinch flat from smashing over the disused trainline out on course, as the tyre pretty much popped & dropped all it's pressure all in 2 seconds. I tried my best to run the bike the 200metres back to the start/finish & replace the tube (yes, I still don't do tubeless), but by the time & had the tyre pumped & bike righted, the first of B grade where crossing the line for the last time.
Nevertheless it was still racing & I think that bug has bitten once again....there's always next week...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Forking around.

My leaky Fox Forks (circa 2008 RL 32mm serie2) on the Specialized Epic MTB can’t be put off for much longer, as the oil oozes down the fork leg. No scratches or grooves in the stanchions which is a good thing. Looks like just an oil/dust seal replacement. Astroboy Racer can do them for $145 full service, but I just want to do it myself enough to give it a go. Those Enduro oil seals do look great in dust seal blue, regardless of what Fox officially says about how abrasive they are on the stanchions. With suppling the Enduro seal direct for the US prohibitively expensive I suss out what my local dealer can get his hands on for me.

No problems with fork oil, as I still have 10wt fork oil form a previous change, although ‘Fox Float’ oil is a mystery to me (used in the air chamber 5ml), but Google tells me it’s just a form of synthetic gear oil.

Local distributer of Enduro fork seals :

Time for the ring around.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ride, repair, ride, repair, ride, repair…

After my little MTB ride yesterday my fork seals need replacing on my Fox 32mm RLC series 2 forks which is a bit of an inconvenience.

To do it myself: apparently, locally Fox sourced parts are $59.99 for the pair (2x oil seals, 2x dust seals, 2x foam rings & cush washers). The alternative are Enduro Seals by ‘Real World Cycling’, , $25.99US. But shipping is another $30US on top of that which hurts.

I’ve previously replaced fork seals on a previous pair of RockShox SID Team forks with Enduro fork seals (I like the blue dust seals which make it look really ‘aftermarket racey’). Although I’m not sure if things have changed in the last 3years & it may be better to get it done local.

Just called Astroboy Racer (Paul) who quoted me under $150 for a full service (replace seals too) with about a days turnaround, hmm very tempting as time is impossible at the mo.

Have Westgate dirt crits pencilled in tomorrow for the first time this year (we’re in November) & a MTB ride up at my mum/dads next Monday, so I’ll just bite the bullet & see if Astroboy Racer can do them next week.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

MTB Yarra Bend 20Nov2012 0001

MTB cruise – Fairfield Boathouse to Johnson St bridge, east bank of the Yarra River.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Yarra bank ride, the B line.

Having some leave from work for the arrival of a new family member, even with spare time for riding wanting I have snuck in a few rolls out around town on my CX bike.  One occasion I had noticed some MTBers on the opposite bank of the Yarra River as I rode upstream on the sealed [Melbourne] Capital City Trail , which was odd as I didn’t realise there was a traversable trail there.
So on my next chance out I sort to go where I have never been before, which pretty much was the east bank of the Yarra River, anywhere downstream of the Fairfield boathouse.    
The trails on the banks of the Yarra River upstream of the pipe bridge at Fairfield Boathouse, are well frequented MTB trails, known & loved by many. I was looking at for something new, & kinda closer to home (Melb CBD).

Riding from Kensington on the Capital City Trail, I then rolled off the sealed path just under the Eastern Fwy overpass at Dights Falls & rode out along the various single-track & gravel sections to the pedestrian bridge at Yarra Bend park (off Yarra Blvd.). From here I first rode downstream, hugging the bank but the café here forced me up onto the roadway to Yarra Blvrd. Here at the sectioned off roadway of Yarra Blvd (where they do road crits on Weds evenings) there are a few walking trails which had since been rolled over my quite a few sets of MTB tyres , by the looks, & there are some pretty interesting sections of single-track here. The single-track descent on the east bank of Dights Falls is pretty rocky & quite techy on a rigid CX bike rolling commuter slicks. Following the trail here it then runs alongside the Yarra River downstream, with a sharp drop away along most of it. Steps placed into the trail at places indicates it was primarily built for walkers, so it pays for bikers to play real nice along this bit. Not much, if any room to pass without stopping & someone getting off the 10~20cm width of navigable trail along here. This continues to the Gipps St pedestrian bridge over the Yarra where it then joins the Capital City Trail again.
I doubled back & rode upstream from the pedestrian bridge at Yarra Bend park, on the east side of the river & came across some really nice single-track [sorry – walking trail]. I only did a short ride upstream here due to time constraints, & then rode back to the Capital city trail to loop back via the city to home again.

Endomondo Cycling Workout: was out cycling 39.55 km in 2h:01m:48s using Endomondo.

My intention is to suss out off-road trail between Yarra Bend Park upstream to Fairfield Boathouse, so I can string all this single-track together.

Some of the trails along here are too technical for me to really groove along on a bike like my Broadman CX Pro, even though it is possible to navigate it with some degree of dismount/carry/ride, in places, so I’m building up to putting in a fun hour of MTBing on my Specialized Epic (2009) soon.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A case of a bull & a mouse in a china shop.

After being emailed a link to a bicycle related accident vid from an acquaintance, I then blew about 20mins looking at various bicycle & car accidents linked to that out on YouTube.  I got to tell you, there is a fundamental difference between a bicycle causing an accident & that of what can be possible when cars go astray out on the roads.  After seeing all that, I feel there cannot possibly be any argument that can justify greater control or restriction to bicycles being used on the roads that would do anything to enhance bicycle users & general road safety.
It’s all about cars & other motorised vehicles; it’s in this group of powered, heavy tare gross vehicles that ravage the community creating damage & carnage which mostly originate from simple & many cases minor moments of human error.
The real battle begins with tackling the complacency of motorists out on the roads, many of whom also ride bicycles. 

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Tour de Commute 2012 - Stage 4

Stage 4 – Canning St, Royal Park, Moonee Ponds Creek. 50% road, 50% shared path. 05/07/2012.

In the spirit of the Tour de France in July, I’m attempting to spice up the commute home from work with a new route each day, as much as it is possible, while still attempting to stay in the relative restrictions I have on time/distance due to other commitments (which is approx 45mins and/or up to 25kms).  As is my want, I’m trying to stick to off the road shared paths & relatively quiet roads where I can as it seems to enhance my riding experience – I hate dealing with cars out on the roads.  I’ll be tracking these rides on Strava .

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Tour de Commute 2012. Stage 3.

Stage 3 – City Circle path anti-clockwise. Undulating. 98% shared path, 2% road. 
Cold, & dark. Surface damp in places & mud/leaves on path made for some awkward last minute line selections. 2x path closures with kinda confusing detours got me wandering at a couple of points. 

Tour de Commute 2012. Stage 2.

Stage 2 – Westgate Park: 20.1kms, flat, 70% shared path, 30% road.

Flat stage, very cool & intermittent drizzle. Late start (after 5pm) meant this stage would be ridden in darkness with only the on-board bike lights & other incidental lighting to highlight any course hazards, which did restrict opportunities for outright speed in many places.  Another  congested start with no real opportunity to make a break until the shared path commencing from the Tramcar restaurant heading south towards Pt Melb.  Intervals for acceleration between the various road crossings did keep the pace up until Princess pier.  Turning onto the beachside shared path heading west, rain began & blew cold from the bayside.  Heading back inland towards & into Westgate park the rain stopped, although gravel sections in the park were muddy & proved technical at speed. Out past the Punt & onto the road leg along Lorimar St , it was a god time to get onto the rivet & smash out the watts all the way back to Docklands.