• 12-19-2014
    6 Attachment(s)
    Swapped frames today. Dean titanium.
    I've been commuting mostly on a lightweight aluminum XC-race hardtail. Its predecessor was similar, and cracked after a few years of hard highway training plus some pretty heavy grocery runs. So I know they don't have an infinite lifespan, and would rather not be flying down a washboard gravel road when the head tube breaks off or something.

    So I hunted on Ebay and came across some titanium hardtails, and ended up going for this Dean Scout. I knew going in that I'd need to figure out my own rack mounts.

    Attachment 948347

    I drilled a hole in each dropout, then started tapping the left dropout. OH NOES! The tap snapped off in the frame! Ti puts up a fight. I eventually got the broken tap out with a sharpened punch, using it to rotate the tap by its flutes. Whew! I then went double-or-nothing, getting both sides tapped with no further mishaps, going verrrrrrry slowly and backing up a lot.

    Next challenge: how to attach rack struts. I filed the lip out of a Problem Solvers seat collar that has rack-mounting ears on it, then put this seat collar below the primary seat collar (which has a PitLock anti-theft bolt). The lower collar is close to the seat-cluster welds, so I didn't clamp it super-tight.

    Attachment 948348
    That worked out well

    Attachment 948349
    Reflecto-Bike V giving up its stuffs

    Attachment 948350
    Along the way, I solvent-tanked my drivetrain...

    Attachment 948351
    ...and gave my brakes a much-needed servicing, grease injection, new cables, and Travel Agent rollers in place of the drag-prone V-brake noodles.

    Attachment 948352
    So that's the mechanical stuff. This will be Reflecto-Bike VI, so the next chore is to clean it thoroughly, then plaster it with irrational amounts of Reflexite V82, both as a visibility enhancement and to reduce theft risk by disguising its true nature from the average tweaker. Nevertheless, the next thing on my shopping list is an upgraded U-lock, probably a Kryptonite New York lock.

    The ride home with moderately loaded panniers gave the expected results: the titanium frame isn't as jarring over bumps as Ye Olde Aluminume Frame was, but it is much more whippy with weight in the back. I can't corner very hard on the studded tires, but it seems to handle a little better. Anyway, it should be nice on washboard roads, highly fatigue-resistant, and easy to clean :)
  • 12-20-2014
    Looks great, I love my Ti commuter (98 Litespeed Unicoi)! Glad the rack worked out in the end. When you have a chance, can you show a close up of how you used the travel agent and how it is working out? I have a V brake on the rear, and I believe I have a travel agent kicking around from using one on a rear der (same item??). Thanks.
  • 12-20-2014
    2 Attachment(s)

    Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    Looks great, I love my Ti commuter (98 Litespeed Unicoi)! Glad the rack worked out in the end. When you have a chance, can you show a close up of how you used the travel agent and how it is working out? I have a V brake on the rear, and I believe I have a travel agent kicking around from using one on a rear der (same item??). Thanks.

    Here are close-up photos of the Travel Agents. Their main reason for existence is to increase the cable movement, so a V-brake can be used with a lever that doesn't pull the cable very far, such as conventional road brake/shift levers or old-school cantilever-type brake levers.

    In my case, I don't need the cable-conversion capability, so I just route the cable around the outside groove of the pulley, which rotates on a small ball-bearing cartridge. The bearing cartridge can eventually pack up with dirt, but it can be cleaned out and regreased, so that'll be probably an annual maintenance step for me.

    The benefit is that they have no appreciable drag, whereas V-brake noodles lead a hard life in a dirty location and get draggy, inhibiting the accurate transmission of your braking intentions from the lever to the brake. More sensitivity is better when you're trying to avoid a skid on ice, for example. In this area, hydraulics would be the ultimate.

    Bonus: the Travel Agent adds another barrel adjuster to the system, so I may be able to go through an entire set of brake pads without having to unclamp the cable and take another bite on it.

    Attachment 948455

    Attachment 948456

    If anyone decides to get Travel Agents and you do disassemble one to service the bearing cartridge, be watching for a very thin small washer that will be between the pulley and the body.
  • 12-20-2014
    1 Attachment(s)
    Attachment 948468
    One additional personalization some of you may find interesting:

    The handlebar is an old Titec titanium bar, the straight-gauge 150-gram version. What's special about these bars, is that they are 22.2mm all the way across, using a Delrin shim at the center where the stem clamps on. That allows me to put a set of bar-ends inboard of the controls.

    The inboard bar-ends allow a narrow hand position that's much more aerodynamic at highway-crusing speeds. I estimate it's worth 1-2mph on my summertime highway training rides, where I've only got a trunk bag and can really settle into a cruise (example where I use them heavily: Bike Ride Profile | Downtown + FLT training commute on the 26er near Spokane | Times and Records | Strava ). Obviously this calls for prudence, since there's less steering control and the brakes aren't right at my fingertips.

    Honorable mention in that photo: XTR rear shift pod. They're great for stop-&-go traffic, with the ability to downshift up to four cogs in one punch if I have to stop suddenly, and the ability to upshift two cogs per punch when coming off a stoplight (a capability I use incessantly). I spent $84 on that at Ebay and I REGRET NOTHING :)

    Another personal tweak: the Cyo dynamo headlight is mounted to a 6al/4v titanium plate that's sandwiched between the fork crown and the headset's crown race. This fork (a carbon Trigon from teh Ebay) has no other means of mounting a headlight, being very curvy and with no holes or fittings. It took some serious Dremel action to put a suitable hole in a piece of 6/4 ti, but it worked out well. Main drawback: if the bars spin to the left it can knock the headlight out of alignment.
  • 12-20-2014
    Thank you MechBgon!
  • 12-20-2014
    I like the titanium finish. Clever light mount solution and I bet it was significant dremel work to make. Nice rack, too.