Author Archives: dave

Almost Rideable

2014-03-08 00.07.36


Almost there!  Lots of parts have arrived and been installed.

I’m really happy with my choice of wheels – Mavic Crossmax SLRs.  They are lightweight but seem very strong.  The low spoke count (20 each) had me worried, but up close they’re quite beefy.

Now I’m waiting on the XX1 freehub body so I can install the 10-42 cassette.  I laughed aloud when I first saw that cassette.  The 42-tooth ring is ridiculously giant.  Yet Sram’s X-Dome design keeps it lightweight – far lighter than my old 11-36 10-ring.  Instead of each ring fitting snug on the freehub, they are each only attached to the edge of the neighboring rings.  Like a dome, I guess.

Once the freehub comes in, I’ll mount the rear wheel and tune the derailleur.  Then I’m off to a bike shop to pick out an offset or straight seatpost.

XX1 Crank – A Setback

The XX1 group arrived today.  The GXP bottom bracket went in smoothly with a spacer on each side (since the shell width is 68mm).

As I threaded the non-drive-side crank arm, I noticed how little clearance there was between the chainring (34-tooth) and the chainstay.

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As I tightened it, it became apparent that something is not right.  Before even getting near the max torque on the crank spindle, the chainring started touching the chainstay.

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I installed my old 3-ring crank to check whether it would have a similar issue.  Nope.  As is, it could possibly fit up to a 32-tooth ring.  Unfortunately, the two rings I’d swap between are 34t and 38t, so being limited to 32t max isn’t an option.

I’m almost certain I’ve seen the XX1 group on other MootoX’s.  Maybe the chainstay geometry has changed.  This frame is ~7 years old now.

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Replace the 168Q crank with a 156Q crank and add spacers somewhere – on the spindle’s drive-side between the bb and crank arm?  I bet this would affect other things negatively.
Replace the drivetrain with a 2×10?  Expensive and painful.
Replace the frame for a new(er) MootoX?  Again, expensive and painful.


According to the Sram xx1 compatibility spec, each chainring differs by a 4mm radius every 2-tooth step.  A 32-tooth ring would probably fit my frame.  So that’s another option.
I tried shifting both 2.5mm bottom bracket spacers to the drive-side.  The 34-tooth ring fits with ~1mm clearance.  Since chain suck is not an issue with XX1’s clutch derailleur, I think it is enough clearance.

2014-07-10 Update

I now run a 30t ring up front, so can use the spacers as intended.  With the 34t ring, I shifted both 2.5mm spacers to the drive-side.  It ran fine for four months until I voluntarily swapped to the 30t.  I did notice that the drivetrain was slightly louder when in the granny gear with the extra-offset 34t ring.

MootoX YBB: Lefty Installed

The fork arrived in the mail today.  I chose a 2012 Cannondale Lefty Carbon XLR with 100mm travel and a remote lockout.  The fork was bought used, but it was recently serviced and stuffed with the newest internals.  I’ve been impressed by the ability of a Lefty fork to compress even while under lateral forces.  Soon I’ll be able to see for myself on the trail.

With the external cup headset, there was just enough clearance for the lefty clamps to clear the 5 1/2″ head tube stack height (and yes, I measured prior to purchasing the fork).

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Next up – the drivetrain.  It should arrive tomorrow!

I’m Building a New Bike

I’ve been been in pursuit of a used Moots Mooto X YBB 29er frame for many months now – searching ebay, mountain bike forums, and craigslist.  Last week I finally found one for a relatively decent price.


This will be the bike on which I will finish the Colorado Trail.
This will be the bike on which I hope to race the Tour Divide in the next few years.
I’m going to build it 100% myself so it is mine through and through.

All components of my Rockhopper have been stripped and cleaned.  Being a 26er, there are some that obviously cannot be reused (fork and wheels).  Others I didn’t think of – the titanium tubes are smaller in diameter than the aluminum frame, so my front derailleur and seatpost need to be replaced.  I’ll gladly take any excuse to upgrade parts, though.

Hypothetical Build

100mm Lefty – needle bearings just make so much sense.
YBB – duh.

Cane Creek

Avid BB7 – mechanical for simplicity and reliability.

Sram XX1 (1×11) seems so simple elegant but I’m afraid of the limited range of gears, especially for bikepacking.  If not 1×11, 2×10 is the next option.  3×10 (what my Rockhopper was running) was overkill.

No idea yet

Bars & Seatpost
I hear titanium is great, but we’ll see how the budget stands.

Colorado Trail Here I Come

I’m leaving for the CO trail on Saturday, July 13.  I couldn’t find anyone planning to ride at the same time as I have off work, so it looks like I’m starting alone.  I’m probably not going to do any daily blog entries until afterwards, but I will carry a SPOT tracker and upload photos to Flicker.

SPOT Tracker

The Setup
Viscacha seat bag, harness handlebar bag, and gas tank from Revelate Designs.
Rear top tube bag and frame bag from Greg at Bolder Bikepacking.

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28 lbs of bike; 25 lbs of gear; a few more lbs of food/water.

Brief Gear Rundown
85 oz bladder in the frame bag, 2x 25 oz water bottles mounted to the fork, 4 liter bladder in the backpack (that will stay empty except in camp), and an MSR Sweetwater filter.
20 degree down bag, bivy bag, insulated ground pad.
MSR International stove, full cookset. 11 oz fuel bottle.

With only a few days left before my trip begins, I’m alternating between being excited and being nervous/anxious.  All of the unknowns and things that could go wrong weigh heavy on me – lightening storms above the treeline, being uncertain about directions, camping alone at night, etc.  It was the same way before I boarded a bus from Chicago to New Mexico and began the Great Divide three years ago.  I just need to remind myself that once I get to the trailhead and start riding it’ll be just like any other ride.  I’ll deal with the things that go wrong as they happen, if they happen at all, and only worry about the next 50 feet.


Colorado Trail 2013

It has been decided.  In early July this summer I am bikepacking the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango.  The packlist is not complete, but I expect my steed will look look something like this:

The Setup

Except with another (or a larger) frame bag to handle extra food, water, and camping gear.

Great Divide Elevation Profile App V2 Released

A few days ago, I released an updated version of Eat. Sleep. Ride. Great Divide. – an elevation profiler of the Great Divide.
1) Uses the most recent version of the Google Maps API
2) Works 1000% better in mobile browsers
3) Uses a newer set of GPS points
4) Elevation changes are calculated in a smarter manner (so not every bump in the road counts toward ascent/descent)
5) Better graphs
6) Refactored ALL of the code so I can reuse it for the Colorado Trail

esrgd-desktop esrgd-mobile


Spread Too Thin

I’m at my desk writing code for side-project of mine. started as a US paper currency reference website when I was in high school.  It is my goal now to expand it to a web app where people can organize and share their collections. I set launch date for last year.  It and a few since have all passed with nothing to show.

Suddenly, it strikes me – I really should be looking at houses to buy.  My lease expires in a few months and I’d rather figure this out before I have to renew or pay month-to-month.  So I search a bunch of apartment listings in the area.  Maybe copy some listing details to my housing search spreadsheet.  Now, all the listings I see are duplicates.

Maybe I should search for multi-family homes – I’ve been told that living in one unit rent free while one or more others pay the mortgage is smart investment.  After exhausting the listings and noting a few, I realize it’s not so simple.  There is maintenance to consider, dealing with renters, and coping with periods that one or more units remain vacant.  And do I really want to be tied to paying a mortgage over that many years?  Instead of the headaches that accompany this secondary income stream, why not attempt drastically reducing expenses.

Yeah – I’m fired up again about living in a tiny house.  So I boot a Windows 7 virtual machine and load the latest CAD drawings for my custom tiny house.  After some tinkering with the frame, paneling, or windows and doors, I once again get distracted.  Whatever real estate path I choose, it’ll be months before things come together and get finalized.  Maybe it’d be best if I get my web app done.  Then I focus completely on something else…

And so I’m back to where I started.  Until it starts again.

— — —

It always happens.  I’ll focus on something, make progress toward completing it, but then get distracted by a shiny new something.  Round and round it goes and I everything incrementally gets closer to going nowhere.  Maybe I’m spreading myself too thin.  Maybe these branching ideas are my form of procrastination.  I guess it could be worse – at least I’m not vegging out in front of a TV all night.