Monday, January 19, 2009

Big Wheels Rolling

I've been a bit remiss as far as posting is concerned. Usually, I post a couple of times a weekend. However, I've been a bit busy...maybe it's because the Juice is up and running! Yes, I finished the build Friday evening after I returned home from work.

Of course, I had to take my latest creation out for a test drive. The weather has been a bit warmer as of late. The temps were in the 20's Friday night, along with a decently stiff wind. If this sounds chilly, it was -19 last week, with a wind chill in the -40's! Definitely frostbite weather, and not good cycling weather unless you're a polar bear or your skin is leather.

At my first spin down the street, I was sold on the 29'er concept. This thing really rolls easy, and it's very stable. I rode over snow and slush packed streets, including a few short drifts with no problems. My nice, new, shiny, clean bike sure didn't stay that way for long! The Panaracers grip really well and they're plenty fat and cushy.

Of course, there were a few adjustments and one problem, hopefully minor, which I believe I can readily solve either with brute force or a few extra parts ($). The Soma Juice is designed as a singlespeed frame, with horizonal dropouts. When I crank hard on the pedals, especially uphill, the axle in the right side dropout tends to slide forward. Kind of irritating, especially when the wheel cocks in the frame and starts rubbing against the seatstays. However, with a bit of research I found that the 10mm hollow QR axle could be replaced with a solid axle and nuts. You lose the QR capability but the solid axle will hold the wheel tightly in place. Funny, my fixie Quickbeam has a QR on the rear wheel and I've never ever had an issue with the axle moving in the dropouts, ever. Some say older style skewers hold better, and I'm using the XT skewer that came with my hub. Using the brute force method, I put the Juice on the bike stand and cranked it down as tightly as I dared, and I'll take it out for another local test drive to see how well it works. If not, then I'll wait patiently for the solid axle and nuts to arrive. Of course, hub axle replacement is more blog fodder!
My basement is a mess. Mess of bikes, mess of snow, sand, and brackish water being tracked in and out, newspapers thrown down to catch drippings, boxes scattered willy-nilly. I've thrown quite a few boxes out, but it seems each parts order continues to breed them. I'm going to have to take some time for clean up, if I want to keep peace in the family :>)

BTW, Patrick has promised pictures of his new Bombadil frame and build. He e-mailed me to let me know his long-awaited frame is on its way. I'll be posting on his build as well, once he gets the pics to me. Can't wait to see it! A few pictures of my own of course, for your viewing pleasure and entertainment...enjoy! -Dwight

nice and clean

in the garage

drivetrain closeup

inaugural snow ride

want some chilled Juice?


Travel Gravel said...

Nice! You are going to love that bike. said...

I already like this bike, a lot! And I like your Karate Klunker as well...another great find!