Tuesday, March 27, 2012

KHS Urban Uno Review

After dealing with installing a new drivetrain because I had worn the old one out, I was asked by a roommate to reflect on the quality of the bike (he's a Trek guy).  Admittedly, it may have been a bit underdesigned/engineered.  If I had to do it again, I may have opted for a different brand or model.  Allow me to enumerate the issues I've had with my KHS Urban Uno after saying that I have enjoyed riding it as a fixed gear.  I should also say that I probably ride it a bit more than average.  I think an average of 45-65 miles/week sounds fair.

1. I had a crash because my left crank arm snapped in half.  Not sure whose fault that is (I'm ruling myself out)...either Driveline the crankset manufacturer or KHS somehow.
2. I had some squeaking after that crash and at that point I replaced the bottom bracket.  It might have been the frame.
3. After the BB, I replaced the pedals because I still had creaking and the left pedal had been damaged in the crash.
4.  In order to deal with the creak, I replaced just about everything and we realized it was the frame.  I got a new frame and transferred all my components.  It does feel like the soul of a bike is in its frame.  The new frame just doesn't connect with me like the old one did, but at least it doesn't creak.
5.  The bike came as a 3/32" fixed/free setup which I thought was good because I can still use my same chain tool or extra chain parts on all my bikes...well, I don't want to mix my 9 speed chains with this 5-7 speed chain that I'm using for the fixie.  Maybe 1/8" would be worth a shot next time I have to replace the drivetrain.
6.  The gear ratio of 44/15 (16 free which I never use) was good to start out with.  After the crash, I replaced the crankset and got a 48T chainring.  I like the new ratio of 48/15 way better, even for climbing.

I have been thinking that a Trek or a Felt might have been a better fixed gear option, but I got a really good price on the KHS Urban Uno.  I don't think I'd recommend paying full price for it if you plan on using it a lot.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bike with Pi

If you ride a fixed gear, you could make your gear ratio 44/14 in order to have a gear ratio approximating pi.  Happy Pi Day.

Tri the Rez 2012

The date has been confirmed for this year.  Tri the Rez 2012 will take place on October 27, 2012!  Register on IMathlete!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New DiNotte Light

I got a new headlight for my bike from DiNotte Lighting.  Last night was the first time I'd taken it on my regular commute.  The biggest difference is how it lights up the side of my field of vision.  The old 600L model put a nice beam on the ground right in front of me which is great for riding.  I did appreciate the side view afforded by the XML-3.  Another plus that I probably won't really appreciate for a couple months is the extended battery life.  I can run the new light about twice as long at the same brightness as my old light.

The most obvious improvement is the quick release mount.  It's super easy to take on and off and I don't have to move mounts between each of my 4 bikes to allow them to use the XML-3.  Furthermore, the 600L was limited to about 45° sideways movement left and right of center (for a total of about 90°).  The XML-3 is pretty much free spinning although that is limited by the cord.  It's super cool that I can whip it all the way around if desired.

One more improvement is the first flash mode.  The 600L goes:  .....off...... .on. ....off.... .on. whereas the XML-3 goes ...dim..... .bright. ...dim..... .bright. so the light is never completely off in flash mode.

Kony 2012

Have you seen this video yet?  It's about the atrocities committed by Ugandan rebel army leader, Joseph Kony.  The video is a little slow but the message and idea is good.  Well, personally, I think that an elite task force should just assassinate him but I don't know much about the subject.  Give it a watch if you haven't seen yet.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March Spending

I decided to make a Google Doc with my March spending.  I'll share it for anyone who's curious enough.  I think it might be cool to look back on.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Foundation Fixin'

I've currently got some guys from Ram Jack out here to fix my foundation.  It's going to be a bit of a project, involving a mini-excavator, coring 10" holes through my slab, hydraulic pile drivers, ripping up carpet, and lots of $.  I'm taking some pictures as we go along and I hope to post some of the best before/after examples, so stay tuned.  Good thing they could come when I don't have to be at school.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sarah Mac Band Concert

They streamed this concert live.  It's kinda long, but at least listen to the first song.

Live stream by Ustream

Friday, March 2, 2012

Freedom to Spend

So, I spent more money today than I did all last month.  I ordered my bicycle headlight/battery, went to Publix, and donated to the Sarah Mac Band's upcoming album.  Some might ask why I even bothered with FF if I was going to spend all this money today.  Well, I didn't plan on ruining my bike battery.  Once that happened, this upgrade makes sense for me right now (especially since I was able to save so much money last month).  I also decided not to get a new watch.

This is probably all of my spending craziness.  I had been waiting for weeks until today so I could throw my money at the SMB.  I only had to ride a couple days without my sweet tail light but that's OK because I have my helmet mounted tail lights.  I understand that expenditures on SMB are purely discretionary and I could have gotten away with only spending $50 on a new battery for my tail light.

I did surely save money in February, though, when I turned down offers to eat or drink out.  The convenience of paying for fast food is nice, but it really does add up.  Alcohol at the bar is way expensive too.  So is driving.  It's not a big expense for me except when I travel, but think about all the money I saved by riding my bike.  Gas is about $3.69 here these days.  If you say that I'd get about 14mpg in town and only count my commuting to school and Damn Good Bikes (I rode more for things like time trial, visiting Carlos, baseball game, volunteering, and other randomness) then that's about 22 days to school * 8 mile round trip + 4 * 18 miles = 248 miles ~= 17.7 gallons ~=$65.37.  So you see, those bicycle lights will pay for themselves in about 3 months!