Jake the Snake Buildup, part 1

March 5th, 2009

I had a real hard time finding a cyclocross frame I was happy with.  There are very few currently available framesets that have carbon forks, aluminum tubing and rack mounts.  The choices were down to the Kona Jake the Snake for $399 or the Motobecane Fantom Cross for just under $300.  It was an easy choice, $100 more for a name brand bike, and with better looking paint/graphics.  Finding one was hard.  It seems that Kona only made one batch of framsets and local dealers could not get anymore.  I tried to work with a local shop but they could not get one.  I ended up ordering from bikeman.com .  They were very easy to work with and I’d have no issue using them again.

I’m going to be moving most of my parts from my Scattante R-650 over to the Jake.  The only new bits are :

  • New wheels – the Korso’s on the 650 will not be up for offroading
  • New Bars – I’m going with 44 for more leverage
  • New Seat and Post – the ones on the 650 clash bad with green
  • New Ultegra bottom bracket – the old MegaExo is toast

In the pictures above, I’ve put on the Kenda Kwik Roller Holidays – 700×38 to  check for clearance.

Yet another new one…

March 3rd, 2009

So how do all of these bike purchases start?  I think I’m finally starting to see a connection. I buy things because I don’t have time to enjoy them as much as I want.  Its certainly true for other hobbies of mine, so I guess it applies to bikes.

How did I end up with a ridig 29er when I’ve been all about full suspension? My first mountain bike was an 1990 (I think) Specialized Rock Hopper Comp.  Suspension, even front, at the time was a dream.  I had so much fun with that bike.  I beat it into the ground and it always came back for more.  When the price of full suspension bikes dropped, I ended up getting rid of the rockhopper and going with a full suspension Trek 9100.

Flash forward to a few weeks ago and an itch to look around the performance website. Poking around, the GT Peace Multi looks interesting.  Rigid, decent components (all shimano and easton stuff) and the price is good.   $599.  A coupon drops it another 10%.  Team Points, another 10%.  How tempting.  I read a few reviews and everyone seems to like the bike.  So I ordered.

The bike arrived at my performance in less than a week.  I have to say I am very impressed at the quality of the parts and the frame.  GT does a very nice job of not putting junk parts on their bikes.  Even the hubs and cranks are Shimano, quite rare these days, especially at this price point.

Too much snow so the first real ride will have to wait.

Why Techbargains.com sucks

January 29th, 2009

I’ve been following techbargains for years, it seems. I honestly can’t remember when I first started, maybe it was 2000?

It used to be a place with lots of good deals and no “sponsored” deals. As of late there is just so much crap on there that is NOT a deal. The owners are clearly in bed with quite a few vendors. Dell is the most blatant example but there are others. Then there are the deals the owners think are “interesting” A gas engine for a bicycle? How can you even post that with a straight face.Then there are the repeats. It’s not a deal if it is the same price over and over. I can use pricegrabber to find prices too.

You just can’t call yourself a deal website with this kind of crap going on. Sorry.

RIP: Doritos Fiery Habanero

January 20th, 2009
No more good stuff

No more good stuff

UPDATE: They are back! Same chip, different bag.

I’m not a huge fan of Doritos.  But one amazing snack the Frito-Lay company did make was the Fiery Habanero Dorito.  These were amazingly spicy for a commercial food.  What I really enjoyed was how the heat kept building up.  After not being able to  find them anymore, I sent a mail to Frito-Lay.  Below is the sad response:

Response from Frito-Lay     RE: Doritos, Reference #010401126A

Hi Daniel,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us.  We?re sorry to report that  Doritos Fiery Habanero were discontinued because of slow sales.  While there are no plans to reintroduce this product, please know your comments will be shared with our sales and marketing teams for any future consideration.

When you take into account the tremendous variety of consumer preferences, not every product does equally well, and occasionally one is discontinued.  The decision to discontinue a product is always a difficult call and is made only after considerable market research has shown that sales and interest in the product is too low to keep it on the store shelves.

Thanks again for sharing your comments with us.  We hope that one of our future snacks will satisfy your taste buds.

Best regards,

Frito-Lay Consumer Affairs

New Machine – Blue Screen Fun

December 31st, 2008
Tiger Direct Biostar Combo

Tiger Direct Biostar Combo

I recently picked up a Biostar MCP6P M2+ motherboard with an Athlon X2 4600+ to replace an aging Dell Dimension 2400 desktop I have been using as my main machine.  I snagged a combo at Tigerdirect that included everything I needed to build a new PC for about $110 after coupon shenanigans and NO REBATES!  In fact the deal was so good, I decided to get another one for a family member.  Good thing too.  Not wanting to deal with the hassle of re-installing windows or even doing a repair, I found a guide that showed a few tricks to remove PCI, USB and Video drivers, enabling me to move my copy of windows over.

The first move went great.  A few clicks and a copy of the drive and the machine was up and working.  No blue screen, no anything.  I was amazed.  The second pc, my personal one did not go so well.  BSOD on first boot.  It would boot into safe mode, but not regular mode.  I was perplexed.  I went back and tried to make sure I removed all drivers from the previous image and tried again.  Same thing.  The windows error wasn’t exactly great. “Stop 0x0000007E”  Thanks Microsoft!!!

A search on google yeilded a gem.  I tried all the suggestions, even the MS kb entries, then, losing hope, I saw post 41 then went back to 40.  It turns out that intelppm.sys was causing the problem.  This was sheer luck, but whatever, I was happy to find the answer.  Once I knew which driver was causing the problem, I could search for a reason to satisfy my curiosity and to make sure I wasn’t going to run into other problems.

I found Dan White’s Blog Entry on the 0x0000007E error .  After reading it, it all made sense.  My XP install was originally on a Dell board with an Intel P4 cpu and now I had an AMD.  The other PC that was upgraded was originally an Athlon 800.  I’m amazed I was able to find the answer, I was set to start removing one driver at a time, out of 250ish.  Yeah, I’m that hard headed.

Felt F5 buildup – Finished

September 30th, 2008

So I finished the Felt F5 buildup, I hurried and didn’t snap pix along the way, anyway, its done, here is the damage:

Dura Ace BB 34.34
FC-R700 Cranks 119.95
FSA IS2 Headset 29.99
Ritchey Pro Peloton 59.49
Neuvation R28 299
DuraAce Bits 508.90
(shifters, brakes, cables, and deraulleurs)
BBB FiberRoad 31.25
Ultegra 12-27 59.40
KMC Chain 27.99
Bar Tape 4.99
Cables 16
Fizik Aireone 60
Michelin Pro 2 52
Tubes 9
Grand Total 2062.29

Felt F5 buildup, part 1

September 15th, 2008

After having my Scattante R-650 for a year, have started to get bored of it. Its a great bike, does everything well and is pretty comfortable. However after a year of riding, I wanted something new, so I picked up a 2008 Felt F5 Frame off ebay. While the frameset came with a headset, it was a junker, so I went looking for something else. Apparently there are 50 different headset standard these days, so finding something that worked was almost maddening. So IS-2 headsets are supposed to be tool free installations. Except that you need a tool to press the crown race on. The tool needed is pretty pricey but 10 feet of SCD40 PVC pipe in 1/1/4 diameter is not. I threw the crown race into some very boiling water. Fearing regular grease might compromise the carbon, I used crisco as lube. I used a 4 foot section of the pipe and put the forks in upside down. Two whacks of the pipe on the ground and it was on. I couldn’t believe how easily it went on, I was expecting a fight.

Crown race installed on felt fork

Crown race installed on felt fork

So now the frame and forks and bars are installed. Next step is the shifters and cables. Shimano has some nice docs online, I’ll be using those for reference.

starting to look like a bike...

starting to look like a bike...

For those curious, the size 58 frame weighs in at 1320g and the fork at a porky 470g.  I hope its stiff for all it weighs.

Scattante Americano

May 7th, 2008

Scattante Americano

Scattante Americano by FujiHub RightHub LeftScattante Americano

I noticed that Performance was having another web sale and I was just flipping through the bikes while helping a friend of mine pick one out. I noticed the Scattante Americano. I had seen quite a few single speeds while out riding on the W&OD, and their simplicity had fascinated me a bit. Most road bikers end up spending lots of time shifting back and forth between one of 30 gears. This bike dispensed with that notion. Geared at 44/16, it was similar to my middle ring, 3rd gear up. Not a horrible ratio. Since there was a sale, and a 10% off coupon and then my 10% back in points, I pulled the trigger. I did a few searches online, and there wasn’t a whole lot of information about this bike except for this single thread

After pulling the trigger my main concerns were:

  • Weight
  • Build Quality
  • Actually getting it, apparently stock was spotty

When the shipping confirmation was sent, I nearly cancelled the order right then and there. Listed shipping weight was 32.2 lbs…. EEK. Usually shippers slightly under-estimate weight. Thankfully, this was not the case here. Once it arrived (3 days from Chapel Hill to my local store) I was relieved. Once out of the box and on the scale, it was 21 lbs without the pedals and reflectors. It comes with the bars, stem, front wheel, front brake, seat, reflectors and chain stay unmounted. I also found the rear brakes poorly adjusted from the factory. Overall assembly was cake. Today I took it out for the first real ride. I rode 35 miles with a leisurely 16mph average.

The bike rides great, its a bit more stiff than my R-650 and doesn’t feel quite as agile but its great for the price. I had a blast not being able to change gears. I can’t count the number of times I tried to shift. Something that I do almost instinctively, I can get by without doing. The fit and finish are great, the matte paint is a nice touch. The saddle however is pretty crummy as well as the OEM tires. I ended up not even using them as they were 700×28, a little wider than my taste. They also have a steel bead making them heavy. Two things of interest, the rear hub is double sided and the assembly checklist is Fuji, wonder if that is the maker!?! Anyway, its a fantastic bike for a fantastic price.

Bluetooth Sound Quality Roundup Update

March 31st, 2008

Ailph Jawbone

Last week I got my hands on a Jawbone. I have to say, it is atrocious in the looks department. I really dislike the attempt to make it some sort of artform. However, looks aside, its is an impressive unit. The noise isolation is very effective. The inbound and outbound sound quality is light years ahead of the BlueAnt Z9. While the unit does let some background noise get by, it does it with grace. The user sounds normal. The BlueAnt seems to want to mask any background noise, great if you want to hide where you are at the expense of sounding like a cyborg. So I guess you can take your pick, look like a cyborg (Jawbone) or sound like one (Z9). Check out the update at the BT Comparo 1.1 .


March 21st, 2008

I finally got around to updating my Sprint Mogul. The new ROM unlocks the A-GPS as well as EVDO Rev A. I searched around for a small GPS app that could record track logs and export them to KML files. WMMiniGPS fit the bill. Nice, lightweight and KML exports. Above is the result of this mornings bicycle ride. Its great to finally have a phone, mp3 player and GPS in one unit.