Brian's Bikes



Brian's Bikes
(This page hasn't been updated since 2004)

These are all the bikes I've owned since adulthood.

Haro Impulse 1992 (?)

This started off as my all purpose bike. It's a solid, but heavy frame, with Suntour components. When I grew tired of riding this on long road rides, I picked up the Epic, and this became the mountain bike. I upgraded this for mountain bike use with an elastomer Anti-Gravity brand shock. When I picked up a new mountain bike, this bike got bumped to the commuter/short distance category. Later, I sold it to make room for the other bikes in the garage.

Specialized Epic ('93) Early Summer 1993

My most used bike initially, a road bike with over 10,000 miles. Some of the carbon fibers took a beating when I dropped the chain one time; I'll have to keep an eye on the frame to make sure the fibers don't start peeling and make the damage worse.  So far, nail polish has done a good job of filling the cracks.

I recently upgraded (well, some of you might not call it an "upgrade") to the Shimano 105 8 speed triple group.

This bike got cannibalized in order to use the components on other bikes.  Now it's getting rebuilt again as a bike to leave at my inlaws' in Phoenix. 

Specialized Stumpjumper ('93) Late Fall 1993 - present

I was sort of half-looking for a new mountain bike at the time when I bumped into this when spending a weekend in San Diego. It was a small shop looking to get rid of their last '93 bike so that they could make room for their '94s. I hadn't ridden it too much compared to my road bike, until I had to go to Thailand for work for almost a year. It worked out really great for riding in the dirt roads between the farms (did you expect any singletrack?). It took a lot of abuse, but the silver Toyota Corona (1/2 Camry, 1/2 Corolla) touch-up paint matched the frame perfectly.

This bike has been converted to an all purpose mountain/road/touring bike. For pictures, see that section also.

I picked up some new Rapidfire levers and upgraded the bike from 7 speed to 8 speed.   I took the old 8 speed bar end shifters from the tandem to upgrade the drop bar configuration to 8 speed also.

Now that I have a folding travel bike and a touring bike, this bike was returned to mountain bike service, along with the upgrade to a threadless headset, new shock, 9 speed components, and V-brakes.

POS 10-speed (brand unknown) 1993-1994

At that time I lived a mile from work, but I always got up too late in the morning to walk to work.  It seemed like a waste to drive to work for such a short distance, not to mention the traffic that would pile up when the four lane road narrowed to two lanes to get over the bridge.  So I bought this bike at a garage sale for $20.  I actually got to work faster on this bike than by driving, due to the bridge bottleneck.   Later I sold it to a Dutchman working here on assignment for $20.

Peugeot Tandem ('70s or '80s) Summer 1994 - Summer 1996

We got this tandem used from a couple who had upgraded to a Cannondale tandem. I had really wanted to get a new tandem, but we wanted to see if we really liked tandeming before investing $2000 or so for a new bike. The frame was fairly light, but the mixte style frame was not as stiff as the newer tandems. It was also a little on the small side: a short top tube in the rear, and I needed a mountain bike seatpost in the front. The 170 mm cranks were bothersome up front. After a new paint job and some upgrades, we sold this tandem after we picked up our new Burley.

Burley Duet Tandem ('96) Summer 1996 - present

This is our favorite bike. We've been riding together a lot more since we upgraded and got a nicer tandem. We've got 24 speeds and we've used every single one of them.

The tandem came stock with 54/44/28 chainrings and a 11-30 8 speed cassette.  When we bought the bike, we opted for a 12-32 8 speed cassette instead.   Later, we replaced the 28 tooth chainring with a 26 that I had lying around at home, in order to have lower gears for loaded touring.

The Ultegra brake levers worked O.K. with the cantilever brakes if the wheels were perfectly in true, but if I had to spread the brake pads apart in order to accommodate a slightly out-of-true wheel, it was hard to get decent braking.  Later, I replaced the brake levers with DiaCompe 287 levers, which are designed to pull more cable for use with cantilever brakes.

When we went loaded touring, we realized the 26 tooth chainring wasn't as low as we wanted.  We tried to get a microadaptor so we could get a 22 tooth chainring, but there wasn't enough clearance due to the wide bottom bracket shell.   So we had to settle for a 24 tooth chainring.

After the tour, we decided we were getting annoyed with the huge gap between the 44 and 24 chainrings.  So we replaced the 44 with a 38.  So now we have a much more even spread of 54/38/24 for the chainrings.

Nine speed systems had come out for mountain bikes in late 1998, and they just came out with an 11-34 9 speed cassette, which had the range we were ultimately looking for.  So we upgraded to 9 speed.  The old 8 speed bar end shifters and cassettes didn't go to waste - I used them to upgrade the touring/MTB from 7 speed to 8 speed.

We had a minor problem with the shifting - the upshifts were fine, but the downshifts weren't as good.  We traced the problem to the weak return spring in the stock '96 Shimano XT rear derailer.  Since the Shimano Rapidfire levers are spring assisted at the lever, they don't need a strong return spring in the rear derailer; however, this can be a problem for Grip Shift and bar end shifters.  We solved this problem by replacing the stock spring with an aftermarket spring.

Later, we got frustrated with the quality of the 9 speed shifting and went back to the 8 speed setup.  To get the lower gearing, I added a fourth chainring to the front crankset.

Due to using this bike on fast road rides after work, I later upgraded to 9 speed STI shifting.  The 9 speed Ultegra STI levers shifted a lot better than the 9 speed bar end shifters.  V-brakes with Travel Agents replaced the old cantilever brakes.  I returned to three chainrings in the front. 

Fuji Touring Series III (mid '80s vintage)

I got a great deal on the frame from one of the members of the e-mail list.  Then I got a good deal on a touring wheelset from a local bike shop that was going out of business.  This is my new commuting/touring bike.

The specs are in the table below.  The bike is being built with a combination of parts that came with the frame and some parts I have lying around at home.   A price is given in the third column for items I had to buy (no price is given if I already had the part lying around my garage).

The bike is set up with half-step gearing, with 20/45/48 chainrings and 13/15/17/20/23/26/30 rear cogs.  For more information on half-step gearing check out A Primer on Half-Step Gearing or a more detailed article about half-step gearing, including various charts.

Frame Mid 80s Fuji Touring Series III $40
Brazeons Front and rear racks and fenders, above and below down tube mounts -
Headset Shimano Ultegra $50
Brakes Tektro Mini-Vs with Travel Agents $70
Brake Levers DiaCompe 287V levers $50
Crankset Shimano LX with 24/45/48 chainrings (already had crankset and 24/45 rings, had to buy 48 ring) $15
Chain Sachs MTB -
Bottom Bracket Shimano UN-72 68x113 $25
Front Derailleur Suntour Mountech (works with half-step gearing) -
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT -
Shift Levers Shimano Ultegra 7 speed bar end -
Rear Cogs 13/15/17/20/23/26/30 -
Wheels Shimano Exage hubs with Sun Mistral Touring Rims $70
Tires Continental Ultra 1000, 27 x 1 1/4" $20
Pedals Speedplay Frogs -
Handlebar SR Road Bars, 25.4 mm -
Stem Kalloy Uno MTB, 1" x 150 mm $20
Saddle Vetta Tranverse -
Seatpost Kalloy Uno MTB 26.8 $20
Total Spent $380

Here's a picture of the Tektro "Mini-V" brakes mounted on the bike.  Since they have shorter arms than "regular-V" brakes, they can normally be used with road or cantilever brake levers without the use of a Travel Agent or similar cable adapter. 

However, I ran out of lever travel when setting up these brakes with non-aero road levers.  I believe it was due to the low brake pad mounting on the brake arm, which would require more cable pull than if the pads were mounted on the middle or the top.  So I mounted Travel Agents on the front and the rear, and the braking is excellent.

(Later I got rid of the Travel Agents, opting to simplify the setup by using V-brake compatible levers - the DiaCompe 287V levers.)

The one advantage of the brake pads being mounted so low on the brake arms (or the brake bosses being so high, depending how you look at it) is that the Mini-V clears a 27" x 1-1/4" tire and a fender simultaneously - this can't be done with most Mini-V setups!

The following two pictures show how I mount a 3" amber reflector (better visibility than a red one) and a red flashing Vistalite simultaneously, without having problems with pannier clearance:

I took this bike on my summer 2001 cross USA tour.  While the 20/45/48 half step gearing was fine for commuting, the middle chainring was a little too big for loaded touring, so I went back to a more conventional 20/32/44 chainring setup.  After the tour I got a new rear wheel built, so now I'm running the 9 speed components that used to be on the tandem. 

Fixed Gear (unknown model and vintage)

Acquired in late 2001.  It has its own web page.

2002 Litespeed Classic Road Bike

Acquired in summer 2002.  It also has its own web page.

Bianchi Road Bike (under construction)

I bought this in the Boston area and keep this at my parents' house there.

Bike Friday Pocket Rocket

An EBay find.  I use this as my performance travel road bike.  This bike has its own webpage.

1984 Trek 610 (under construction)

Another EBay find.  I use this as my commuting bike.  A picture from the Trek catalog is here.

1996 KHS Tandemania Comp (under construction)

Yet another EBay find.

Page Last Edited (though probably not for content): 14 September 2010