Monday, May 09, 2022

Bike Decisions ...

I weighed myself the other day, and was surprised to see that I'm down to 215 pounds, a weight I haven't seen in at least a decade. I don't know if that's an effect of the Ozempic, if it's a dietary thing (I haven't been watching what I eat, but it does occur to me that I haven't eaten much pasta lately), or if something else is going on.

Noticing that coincides with some stuff I've been doing with bicycles.

One of my pet ambitions is to turn the old Trek 7000 into an electric bike ... but tearing it down to the frame, fork, and crankset, it looks to me like I'd be in for more than $1,000 to rebuild the bike as an e-conversion. And for that kind of money, I could buy an entire decent e-bike. In fact, even just converting it to a single speed would require not insignificant money. It's a really nice frame, my favorite I've ever had, but I don't know if I want to go in for big bucks and trust my limited mechanical skills to get any of that right.

One way to save money would be to see if I could remove all the guts of my current e-bike and move them to the Trek. I'm skeptical that that's even possible and even more skeptical that I would get it right.

Moving right along ...

My second favorite frame is my Critical Harper. It's a nice large 57cm frame like the Trek, but lighter/thinner. The only thing I don't like about the bike is the wheels and tires. They're thin rims, 25mm tires, Presta valves. I hate Presta valves. Even with little converter doodads, they are a pain in the ass to air up at a gas station.


I see that Critical -- now known as RetroSpec -- has begun selling a "Harper Plus" bike with wider rims/tires that will accommodate the traditional Schrader valve. And they sell the wheelset separately. I hit their support email to find out if the old Harper frame would accommodate the Harper Plus wheel set, and the answer is yes.

I like the gold color (I used to tend toward flat black on everything, including clothing but then woke up one day realizing I'm not a goth kid, so I've been getting flashier):

It's $180, but that's the rims, and the flip-flop hub (in case I lose my mind and decide to go fixie), and 32mm tires. Even cheap tires go for $25 each, and two tubes would be another $15 or so. That's $65 worth of necessary gear I'd have to buy separately if I just bought some other brand of rims/hub. And the only thing I hated about the original rims/tires was the Presta valve thing. Other than that, they were solid. I probably put 1,500 miles on my first set of tires before replacing them (shortly after which I stopped riding until I got the Nakto electric -- see below).

I'd love to get back to riding without necessarily having a motor under me.

And I love the Harper. I've done my longest rides (60+ miles) on it.

And for that matter, the wheelset would work just fine with the Trek frame if I decided to buy new brakes, a new crankset, etc. and go that way instead.

And with the weight loss, I hope that maybe I could ride regularly without blowing out my knees, as inevitably happened whenever I'd put in 100+ miles per week for more than a few weeks straight, leaving me off-bike for a month or more until they felt like they could handle the pedaling again.

But that's the problem: I can't know for sure until/unless I actually do it.

As always, I think it's fun to crowd-source opinions on such things.

There are two ways to opine on this.

One is in the comments; I'll take opinions expressed there into account, maybe ask some questions about them, etc. while I weigh the matter.

The other is for that wheelset to magically arrive at my front door via my Amazon Wish List. If someone feels strongly enough about this to shell out $180, who would I be to say no?

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