Tag Archives: Components

DMR Bikes Vault pedals

DMR vault pedal for bike touring

4 tours of riding clipped in. Two with SPD & road shoes and two with the LOOK style SPD-SL and road shoes. But I think I’m done with that. Not throwing them out, just swapping them out. Next tour I’ll try simple platforms and one pair of shoes for riding and walking. More mobile, less cloppy. I ride platforms everyday already I just hope its good enough for a loaded bike up hills.

The Vault pedal is large, light, comfortable, grippy, way stronger and stiffer than any plastic BMX pedal. The concave shape feels good underfoot. Installs  with a 6mm.

Over the years I’ve tried many brands to find a great platform, so has Joe at BMW. He had a pair of these and i borrowed them for a few days. The feel of the concave and the greater surface area are what sold me.

Tools: 6mm, 2mm for pins


Chris King Headset

chris king silver headset

I got a brand new one in the parts bin waiting on the frame build to be finished. We had more than one discussion about what type of head tube to use on my custom frame. The simple quality of this component helped us decide to skip all the new new stuff and just go 1 1/8″. Of all the bikes I’ve owned this is only the second King headset for me.


August 2013

August 9th

  • I decided on a cassette, the Sram 12-28. Mostly because I think pushing a Z gear of  30×28 will be close enough to a 1 to 1 ratio that I don’t really need a 30t or anything bigger in the back. And when I look at the spread, the 12-28 lets me keep the 16t I’m used to having between the 15 & 17t, but i trade my 21&23 for only a 22t, and on the top end I gain a 28t to resort to when that 25t is not enough. Also it’s a few bucks less than the Shimano Ultegra 12-30t.
  • Speaking of cassettes, I saw a 11-42t 11 speed on the market. I get that its for a single chainring up front but the look of it is ridiculously bad.
  • My friend picked up a Solio BOLT battery pack/solar charger. He showed it to me and said he liked its performance. Small, light, not a ton of money. Might look into getting one for myself later. But for now the components still needed are headset, stem, bars, seat post, cables, & bar wrap in order to get rolling.
  • The thought of going to Interbike and learning about more companies making things in North America. But i’ve never been to Interbike
  • In the future I need to keep track of days I resort to my Z gear. So I’m making a new tag and hash tag #Zgear


August 12th

I’ve made my photo project idea concise enough to talk about it with friends. But still there is a lot to it. Besides all the parts I’d need help with there is the reasoning behind wanting to do something so involved. And of course there is the debate of should I make it a big project I have people helping me with, or should I just do nearly all of the work on my own and keep it to a manageable size.

And its that last part that makes me even wonder if I should even set out to publish anything. For some reason I still come back to the idea of just going on tour. No charity. No blog. No big projects. Just get on my bike and ride. Take pictures, write in my notebook, eat food and sleep in my tent.

To counter that. I want to do something good. I like having a project. I want to take pictures. I want to see new things and meet new people. I feel connected to people who work jobs making things we need. I want to tell some sort of story about why they are important.

But I’m scared. I don’t want to fail. I worry I won’t get into the factories and work spaces to meet the people I want to meet. I worry about so many things. Too many to try to list them.


August 13th

A few things arrived. New cassette but i had to file down a screw on my hub so it could fit. A few things for my daily rider. And  news that my frame might be going in the jig next week. good news.


August 20th

Might be ordering some Snow Peak stuff thru an associate. Looking at tableware things.

Sometimes it feels like a very long time will pass before I leave on another extended bike tour. So much time that it is very possible something unknown could pop up and derail the whole thing out of my future. I guess I shouldn’t think that way..

Need to remember that you land where you look.


August 24th

For some reason I bought an adapter for this old Nikon mount Tokina RMC 135mm f/2.8 lens I was gifted so I could use it with my Canon. That was many months ago. I’ve not shot one picture on film with it yet but I’m gonna start now. Compared to the Canon EF 135mm f/2 its small and light and free. Although no AF and a stop slower.


August 28th

Yesterday I saw a book by August Sander and I was really impressed. This guy did in Germany what I wish I could do here. Many decades ago and on a different continent but I am inspired. I look on the web for inspiration via web searches for images & articles, on sites like CGOAB, twitter and personal blogs but I also see links to way more. facebook, instagram, youtube, vimeo.. there are so many but what is the longevity of them? in 10, 20 years will any of it make it to the surface? Books. I should think about a book.

This August Sander book is titled Face of Our Time and it has an introduction by another person followed by 60 portraits with simple titles. That should the goal, not instagram followers or youtube views. I don’t care about that shit but it is important to lots of people, including some of those on tour. I want to talk with people and make friends. I want to print pictures and hand them to people, or send them in the mail.

My problem is that I am also here using the internet as a way to share, there are difference but it is really just that I’m small time and I like it that way. Money can be made from a busy website. videos and instagrams can funnel hits from other areas on the web to a site of your own. One making money. I get that there are checks to be made from this kind of shit but I think what I want from touring is to be free from that.

I’m going to stop trying to describe this stuff. Just to say, I want to ride my bike far, but to one day come back. And I want a full notebook along with many many pictures I think are good enough to show.

still no welding to happen yet..
still need to sew that other pannier..
not going to Interbike.

Sram PG1050 10speed cassette 12-28t

Sram PG1050 12-28t 10sp cassette
Sram PG1050 10speed cassette 12-28t

A new cassette that will go on my new bike. 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-22-25-28
Heat treated steel. Under 300g.

I think this will work out fine but I think this is a general use range, not especially for touring. I wish I could make my own cassette, it would be close but just a lil’ different. 13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-25-28  its much like my old 12-25 cassette but trading the 12t on one end for a 28t on the other.

Paid a lil’ ova $50 on a deal

Made in Taiwan

July 2013

a few things.

  • bought Schwalbe tires, but not rode them yet
  • my favorite cheap film was discontinued, and did some searching to stock up a little
  • my roommate and a friend left for a 3week tour on the northern west coast. Stoked for them and wishing i could do the same
  • picked up a nice linen travel towel, and have been using it. linen is great stuff
  • thinking about the letters P,B and J. Pictures, Biking and Jobs. I want to tour around and take pictures of people who work in manufacturing jobs. Things like Red Wing or Western Mountaineering.
  • not yet made a decision on a color for my new frame, but heard about a black powder coat that has a spectrum of color reflected in the sun
  • still contemplating options for doing, or not doing video on a future tour
  • also the options for solar charging, or just spotting outdoor outlets
  • reading a book, The Slow Way Down by Gerald Coniel

Thinking more about Pictures Biking and Jobs project idea. The amount of effort i would need to give it. What the main focus would be. Practical aspects like finding and connecting with people while on the road. And how would the stories be told, presented. I believe there are enough people interested in the parts separately and also combined specifically. I would hope i could be reputable enough to be allowed to visit work spaces and learn about the jobs, the people, and the goods they make. And take portraits.

Cant decide what cassette to install. My last tour was 12-25 with cassette cogs: 12,13,14,15,16,17,19,21,23,25

Shimano Ultegra 6700 10-Speed 12-30t
Range: 12-30
Cassette Cogs: 12-13-14-15-17-19-21-24-27-30

SRAM PG-1050 10 speed 12-28t
Range: 12-28
Cassette Cogs: 12-13-14-15-16-17-19-22-25-28

Miche Shimano splined 10 speed 12-27t
Range: 12-27
Cassette Cogs: 12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23-25-27

Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700×38

Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700x38 Wire

Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700×38 wire bead

Because I’m having a new frame built I am mirroring a tire choice on a good friends bike. These will act as the largest tire I’d want to run, with fenders, and let my frame builder use them to make sure there will be clearance.

I like the pattern of the tread. Not liking the reflective strip, I may try to remove it. Probably won’t get any miles on these until after the build is complete so it’ll be a while before I really get to test them.

Made in Indonesia

Shimano FC-7803


Shimano Dura-ace FC 7803 30-39-52 tooth 172.5mm arm length

These arrived today with bottom bracket and wrench. I will prob get a 50t ring for these because thats what I have on my 105 crankset these will replace and i’d like to keep it the same.

NOS on ebay: $249 shipped
Made in Japan

Advice on Touring Bikes

I think just about any bike could be used for bicycle touring. If lots of parts and bits are that important and need to be specific, then you can do what you need to get all those parts and bits. Some of the ones that may or may not be obviously important to a person new to touring are the frame, the wheels, the drive train, and the contact points.

There are millions of bikes out there. It is not crucial that you buy a Surly Long Haul Trucker or any other complete off the shelf touring bike, new or used. But one does need to start somewhere.

A steel frame that is about the right size for your body is the best place to start. New or used, a “touring” bike or just a bike that is a bike, anything in good condition will do. Having a frame made of steel is going to be best because Aluminum is too difficult to repair, Ti is too expensive, and carbon is too expensive and pretty much can not be repaired. If it’s not a pure racing bike there is probably a way to get a rack on it. If it only has 2 bottle mounts that’s fine. Mine does have 3 but i carry peanut butter in the 3rd. And if there were no 3rd cage mount i’d carry that peanut butter in a pannier. Besides that, pipe clamps will do the trick to add bottle cages where there are no mounts.

Wheels. For basic touring, generally people want a bike with either 700C wheels or 26″. Keeping it simple, and speaking about average size riders, 700C will be more efficient and good if more than 90% of your riding is on paved roads. And 26″ will be stronger and better for riding on unpaved conditions. 26″ is also OK for paved roads but will be heavier and a bit slower. This is all important because the frame is made for either 700C or 26″. So this is a choice to make when looking for a bicycle or a bike frame.

My first tour was with an off the shelf touring bike. I wanted to ride across the county so I bought a touring bike. It had the stock, 700C factory built 36 spoke, with a 3-cross lacing pattern. I had not too much stuff but was fully loaded and about 650 miles later my rear wheel broke a bunch of spokes and i could not ride. I was in the middle of nowhere and had to deal with a lot of unexpected to get back to riding.

With that, I do not recommend touring on factory built wheels. Regardless of the wheel size or how many spokes, my best advice is hand built wheels from someone who is reputable and a 4-cross lacing pattern.

It is not only important that the wheels spin true, but also that the tension in the spokes is even. A spoke that is too tight is doing more work than the ones next to it. And a spoke that does too much work will break. And then the ones next to it will be doing too much work. It’s like falling dominos in slow motion. Ask someone you know who has broken a spoke, if they kept riding I’ll bet they broke more than one. So having hand built wheels is a good place to start because the builder should watch the tension to keep it even. And as for the 4-cross, it means the stress of the wheel is sent to a broader area on the hub. Think of it like this, carry a heavy backpack with skinny straps, or carry it with wide straps.

I like to ride on roads, i don’t want to have to work any harder than i need to, and i don’t want problems with my wheels. A lot of touring advice out there says 36 spokes are more than enough. I will agree that a wheel might do fine with just 36 spokes but I know that a wheel with 48 spokes will definitely do much better, and with only a small weight penalty. I said something about spoke tension. A strong wheel with 36 spokes has more tension than a wheel with 48 spokes. With 48 each spoke does less work(because there are more of them working) so the tension does not need to be as high. Or think about it like this, tandem bikes have a lot of weight on them right? Two riders on one bike with just two wheels. How many spokes do tandem wheels have? I don’t want to carry 150 lbs. of gear, but i could. And if i did my 48 spoke hand built 4-cross wheels would be just fine.

Drive train. This is simple. Have a wide range of gears, a new chain (maybe not the cheapest one there is) and if it all works good before you depart, it should work to get you a couple thousand miles before anything major needs replaced. Although if you have to lay you bike on the ground I’d say lay it with the chain side up so your derailleurs dont have the weight of your bike on them.

Contact points meaning saddle, handle bars/grips, and pedals. Unless you have a Brooks saddle already, you should get a Brooks. I know it sucks to look all over the web looking for advice on gear and seeing nothing but LHT, Ortlieb, Brooks, LHT, Ortlieb, Brooks, LHT, Ortlieb, Brooks. They all get a lopsided amount of gushing reviews, mostly by the less experienced. I don’t give a shit about LHT or Ortlieb, but getting a Brooks is a good idea. And preferably one with springs. I’ve done 4 tours, each 2, 3 or 4000 miles and only on my most recent one did i ride with a Brooks. It can be done without one. But after I got one I don’t want to do a long ride on anything else. As for handle bars i think wider is more comfortable with good cork bar tape. And pedals, think about clipping in. It’ll let more of your muscles do work. Or,,, it means a few of you muscles wont have to do all the work.

Ok, any steel frame that fits, strong well built wheels, a sound drive train, learn about Brooks now or later, comfortable handle bars, and efficient pedals. After all that you can think about what stuff to take(clothes, tools, camp set, cook set, notebook, camera) and what to carry it in. Good luck.


Shimano FC 5703

Shimano 105 FC 5703  30-39-50 tooth 172.5mm arm length

I have a good mix of Ultegra and Dura-ace group on my bike. That does not mean that I can’t dip a little lower in the Shimano line and run some 105. The price difference from 105 to Ultegra is $100 easy, for just this one part. That does buy a better set of chainrings, but those are what I’ll have to replace anyway and 105 is just fine. Very good for this purpose because the 105 has a 50 tooth big ring and the Ultegra triple has a 52. I know it’s not much of a difference but it means I’ll be in the big ring a little more often which means I’ll be in the middle ring a little less often. I’m doing the math in my head and it equals a more evenly utilized (worn) drivetrain vs. the more expensive crankset.

Maybe that doesn’t matter but I still saved $100 easy.

Made in Japan


Shimano Ultegra Derailleurs

Pretty simple.
I was thinking back to my first tour, I spent so much time picking out things to have and deciding on what was, or was not important to bring. I have no idea what that stuff was today. I forget it all. Half the reason I’m doing all these reviews is because I’ll be able to remember what I thought was important to bring, or things I didn’t have. Probably lame, I don’t care. This is one thing, two, that I can check off the list. When the list is all check marked I’ll have no excuse not to just go.

Here’s me in 10 years: yep, that’s what my rear derailleur looked like back then.

Made in Japan


Velocity Dyad 700c

Velocity makes a good rim for a fair price. I’ve ridden the Deep-V’s on many bikes. I like the Fusion, too. I also have a set of B43’s that suit a more aesthetic purpose. For touring I wanted a wider rim good for 700×32 tires. Velocity Dyad is a great choice for loaded touring rim.

Not much of a specific review on the rim because there are many things involved in the wheel. Spoke count (48), tires, air pressure, weight, road surface, speed, it’s almost endless. I do know that Velocity USA has very good customer service. That’s enough right there.

I have already put over 4000 miles on the rear and it doesn’t show any reasons to not be happy so far.

Now I have a set and both were handbuilt in a 4 cross with DT Swiss Champion spokes.

Cost: if I remember correct, about $45 ea.

Made in Australia



Panaracer RiBMo 700×32

Panaracer RiBMo 700×32

I feel like a few of pol0 players like these tires. And these are new to me but knowing that a good number of people in New York chose these tires is testament enough. Its not like they all bought the same bike that happen to come with these. this is choosing a good tire that will hold up.

I looked at them and they are a bit pointy. meaning not a softly rounded contact area to the ground. sort of makes me think that these will roll with less resistance than your average 32 size tire.

I used to like the Ritchey Tom Slick. These seem much better.  Probably are but i really cant recall the price difference.

I’ve been riding them on my touring bike for a couple months now. Good so far.

Made in Japan