Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hydraulic road? Yep, employee playing with their new SRAM s700 hydraulic drop-bar setup.

 New shifter/brake/r-der day! I have been waiting for a company to make hydraulic road/cross shifters for years.  Leave it up to SRAM to pull through for me with these guys.  They are the S700 shifters/brakes which are the lower priced version (and no carbon or titanium and is 10 speed rather than 10) of their Red.  I also decided to go with SRAM's X9 type 2 mtn rear der with a short cage (made for downhill but should work swell for a cross/mtn bike).  This has a clutch it in to reduce chain slap and help keep it on the single chainring set up I am using (I have a Wolf Tooth ring up front that needs no guides).
 So my natural reaction when buying new stuff it to take it apart!!! This is all the bits from the front shifter/brake.  It's remarkably simple. 
 I don't use a front der so I kept all the shifter parts out.  This is ALL the shifter parts.  I still can't believe how simple SRAM has made this, especially considering the job it's made for and the reliability it offers.
 My frame was just made with cable stops... They didn't think someone would want to set the bike up with full hydraulic.  Sooooo, I drilled em out, 6 of them to be exact (the extra 2 where the shifter stops on the right seatstay, I figured may as well since I am on a roll).  No, I do NOT recommend doing this, its risky and could force you into a new frame purchase.  I just was willing to risk things on my own equipment.
 New shifters on the bars... may need to get used to the extra large hoods that are needed to fit the hydraulic setup inside.
 The X-9 rear der lookin all good.
 You can see here that the housing goes all the way though what used to be a cable stop.  Since the der, nor the shifter have barrel adjusters I added an in-line one on between the cable guides.  The location keeps if from having a bend and I can reach it while riding.
 All done!
 I swapped the rear rotor to a 140 since the new brakes have so much power (smaller the rotor the less the power/leverage) and I wanted the looks of the little one on the back. By switching from a Shimano 105 shifter, shimano Alfine left brake lever (matches the shifter shape without the shifter bits in it) and Avid bb-7 brakes I was able to shave half a pound off. This bike weighs just a tad under 20lbs (with pedals).
 I fell in love with the shifter shape immediately... The extra room at the top keeps my hands on the hoods when doing steep downhills and it gives a nice stable power position.  Can't fight adding an extra riding position, even if it does look a little goofy.
So, what did I think? First off you should know I am a bit biased... I have been on hydraulic mtn disks since the late 90s and would never dream about anything else.  Every one of my other bikes now uses hydraulic. I love the extra power, the smooth lever feel, the braking consistency (doesn't matter what junk you're riding in, they feel the same), the looks, the ease of maintenance, simplicity of pad removal, ease of wheel removal (no need to disconnected the brakes).  This set-up was no different from what I have fallen in love with.  While riding I am no longer thinking about braking, it just works.  The power curve to these is a little different, however, from most mtn brakes.  It's not as on-off as most but still has the same potential max power.  This is a great things since you have less traction with the smaller tire and need to modulate things a little more.  I am finding myself at higher speeds, using a controlled slide through corners like my mtn bikes, trying more difficult trails and throwing the bike around a lot more.  This is all because I know I can stop quicker every time. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dynamo Lighting Systems


The benefits of using a hub powered dynamo lighting system are well documented, but for some reason have never become very popular in the U.S. Its hard to understand why, when these systems offer better visibility, more theft resistence and freedom from batteries and cold weather battery failure.

To get started we're going to need a front wheel with a dynamo hub. Options for the dynamo hub itself are plentiful with a wide price range from around $40 to around $350 depending on what you are looking for. From there you pick your spokes and rim (or work with one of our wheel builders to find the best wheel components for your needs) and then its time to build a wheel. As a side note, there are also several options for prebuilt dynamo hub wheels which may suit your needs, but a custom build will offer a broader choice of components. We are also more than happy to build a wheel for you ($45-$60 labor per wheel). You will also have to choose your lights. Again, many brands and models are available depending on how much light you need and what types of features you want.

For this project we will be using the following components:

Sanyo h27 hub. This is a great budget minded model for folks who dont have extreme demands on their lighting sytem.

DT Swiss champion spokes. DT ships their black spokes with aluminum nipples, which are okay, but I always encourage customers to spend a little extra on brass spoke nipples, they are less likely to round out or crack during service, they are naturally corrosion resistent and they have a much longer lifespan than alumimum at a small and exceptable weight penalty. Side note: DT silver spokes ship with brass nipples.

We are re-using the customer's stock Alexrims ID-19rim since this bike was only about 1 month old when they decided to upgrade to a dynamo system and the rim is in new condition.

This customer chose Busch&Muller for front and rear. The front light is the B&M IQ Fly RT and the taillight is the B&M Toplight Line Braketec Plus, both great choices for commuters, this headlight has daytime running lights and the taillight has a standlight which stay lit up when you are at a stoplight and also has a brake light which puts out a brighter light when your bike comes to a stop so that traffice around you knows what you are up to. Both add a lot of safety to urban commuting.

Using the Phil Wood spoke cutter

Preparing the spokes with a coating of Wheelsmith Spokeprep

Lacing the wheel

Finished wheel being installed in the fork

Wiring the light can be a bit time consuming if you have never done it before, so give yourself plenty of time, take it slow and pay close attention to how things are looking. Nothing is worse than spending a lot of time on a project and not liking how it looks at the end. You want to make sure that the wiring is secured along the frame, has strain relief where needed and doesn't interfere with any other components or moving parts.
The tools you will need are...
-wire stripper (preferably with metric crimps)

-Shrink Tubing (1/16" and 1/8" optional, but very helpful)
-Heat Gun (a lighter will work just fine)
-Various Wrenches (depending on what type of fasteners your lights have)

Side note: We are always more than happy to wire or re-wire dynamo lights for you in our service department ($17 labor per light).

Mounting the front light

Installing the shrink tubing to protect the wires and plugs

The rear light gets wired into the system

Now its just a question of running the wiring from the hub to the front light and from the front light to the rear ligth. Keep the wire secured to the frame out of the way of any moving parts. Make sure to have strain relief spots near and junctions to avoid damage to the wires.

That ziptie on the frame acts as strain relief. It allows the part sof the wire connecting to the hub to stay loose and flexible so that no stress will be put on the electric components.

Now, its time to go outside and try it....

Even with all the ambient light this headlight still shows up really well to oncoming traffic. You'll also notice the light patch in front of the bike. This really helps illuminate potholes and road debris. This light is fairly average dynamo light, but its performance surpasses all but the high end battery lights.

And here is a picture of the taillight in action.

  And here is a better photo of the light patch.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First in Flight: Hub Team Member and Aerospace Engineering Grad Student Loretta Trevino becomes the Powderhorn 24's first Female Overall Champion.

Photo By Eric Shoultz

The Powderhorn 24 has quickly become one of the premier local races since its inception in 2011, with a unique 24-hour endurance-focused format. Riders compete alone or in teams to complete as many 4.8 mile laps as they can within the time limit, circling Minneapolis’ picturesque neighborhood of Powderhorn.

Only the toughest cyclists dare to enter the race’s solo division, and the 2013 race marked the first time that a woman took first place in that category. That exemplary lady is Loretta Trevino, and she also happens to be a rider for The Hub’s cycling team. We caught up with her during her recovery period, which just so happened to include a grueling rowing practice earlier in the day.

Interview by Zach McCormick

The Hub: What do you do when you’re not on a bike?

Loretta Trevino: I’m a grad student at the University of Minnesota, I’m working on my PHD in Aerospace Engineering. I just moved here last year from Seattle, and I work at a small rocket company there. Jeff Bezos, the guy who owns Amazon, his side project is this rocket company because he wants to make space accessible to everybody. I work for them part time, but my full-time job is school right now. I just finished my 3rd year of what’s normally a 6 year program.

Are you involved with any athletics outside of cycling?

I’ve been rowing since college, and the rowing club here in Minneapolis is really good. The Masters crew wins nationals almost every year, and the ladies are amazing to row with. I hooked up with them when I moved here and have been rowing with them for a couple of seasons now.

Are you fairly active in competitive cycling locally?

I just started getting into the gravel races, my first gravel race was the Gentleman’s Ride last September. That was actually only the second century that I’d done ever, and I was a little intimidated by it. But my commute in Seattle was pretty far, so I got used to being on the bike a lot.  My goal this year was to ride a century every month, so I started in January. It started out as a joke between my friend and I, but by the 3rd week in January we decided we had to do it before the cold front came in. We kept doing it, and P24 ended up being my 11th century.

But I’ve only really just done alleycats and gravel races, I haven’t gone into the big scene in cycling because I wasn’t sure if I was fit enough yet. Or at least, I wasn’t confident enough yet [laughs].

When did you transition from being a commuter to a more avid cyclist?

Probably since I moved back to Minneapolis this past year, in Seattle I really transformed from someone who just cycles to someone who goes on longer rides. There’s so many places to ride in Seattle, with the islands out there. I would go bike camping by myself for 3 or 4 days, I would just disappear and go around the islands. That’s when I started getting a lot of endurance and miles in, because it’s just so much freedom out there and so much to see. Lots of hills, and lots of climbing.

Was this your first P24?

No, actually! Last year I had literally lived in Minneapolis for less than 24 hours and someone dropped out of The Hub Women’s Team last minute. They contacted to ask if I had a bike and would join their team. One of my bikes wasn’t even put together, but we ended up winning by half a lap! That’s when I met The Hub, and I’ve raced for their team ever since.

Did you do any other training regimens outside of the centuries?

I think the rowing really helped me a ton, because that sport is like 80% mental and 20% training. You have to be really focused in the boat, and you go to the point of pain but you can’t lose your discipline. I knew this race was going to be all about keeping focused and not letting my surroundings affect how I was riding, and that’s the same thing I do in the boat. It’s all about running your own race, and not letting people who are lapping you affect how you’re riding. Once you start to get that kind of competitive, that’s when you start to lose, at least in endurance races.

Did you have a support team for the race?

[Laughs] Yes, my boyfriend Paul was my support crew. We had initially bought walkie-talkies so we could signal each other because we knew our phones were going to die, but I didn’t even need that , because every lap he was there asking me with what I needed. Constantly stuffing my back pockets with food or Shot Blocks, filling up my water bottle, giving me drugs when I needed them. I think there was 3 laps where I didn’t see him, and those were towards the end when he decided he needed to rest his eyes. Having his support was essential to doing well in this race!

Did you have a winning strategy going into the race that paid off for you?

I honestly had no idea how to pace myself, I’d never trained for a 24 hour race before. The most miles I’d done previously was 120. So I got myself going to a good cadence that my legs felt like they could do for a long time, and I never tried to accelerate too fast. Through the checkpoints, I never got off my bike, I just worked with the volunteers so that I never had to clip out. The last 6 hours I kept thinking “when am I gonna kick it in?” but I just kept resisting that urge. Finally when I finished my last bonus I had 80 minutes left and could do about 4 more laps in that time, so then I started pushing myself and I was miserable. Just that slight increase of speed was painful, and I wasn’t even that much faster. Then I kept craving Dairy Queen because it was on the corner that I kept passing!

I definitely feel like the last 6 hours were my strongest, because that’s when I started catching up. I don’t think I was in the lead until that afternoon, but I just started slowly increasing my speed and feeling better and better, and I could just see everyone else burning out. I just saved my gas until then end.

Paul kept telling me I was the 4th place lady, and I felt like the three faster ladies could all be top contenders. But then I kept catching up to some of the other guys doing solo and they’d say “oh, I’m in 3rd,” but I had 50 miles on them, so I really thought that for a majority of the race all the girls were winning. I was getting really excited and that was motivating me, but then I caught up to Lee Penn and realized that we had biked the same amount of miles. Then I caught up to Alex Ones and he said “you’re only a lap behind me and I’m in 1st right now!” I just didn’t think it could be possible!

I ended up timing those last bonus stops to where I didn’t have to wait in line, and a lot of the people got stuck at bonus stops waiting for a half hour! I would keep swinging by those stops, and if there was a line, I’d just go another lap. Eventually, there wasn’t a line!

What was it like when you realized that you’d won?

Honestly, the last hour I wasn’t thinking about anyone else. Going into the last stop, everyone was screaming and cheering and I got off my bike and threw it at my boyfriend and just started walking away. I just wanted to get out of my jersey and find a shower, but I had to ask Paul how I did. He said “Yeah, you won” and at first I thought he meant just the women’s division, but then he said “No, you WON” and I realized I had beaten Alex! I didn’t even believe it first, I had to go ask Alex myself! I honestly believe any of the top 3 women could have taken it though, I just had the most discipline.

What bike did you ride for the event?

I rode my Trek Madone. I called it my “car” in Seattle because that’s the first bike I ever bought when I got a job where I could afford one, months before I ever bought a vehicle. It’s a carbon road bike, and I haven’t been riding it a lot around town, my default bike is my All-City Macho Man, but for some reason that week the Macho Man was just not fitting me perfectly. I knew the Madone fit me like a glove, and I knew it would be the most comfortable, because that’s the bike I did all my bike camping on in Seattle. I’ve had that bike for 6 years, and it’s my baby. I thought it might be a little aggressive, and it sort of was because my lower back is killing me, but I just kept taking painkillers and stretching a bunch.

Want to give any shout-outs to your fellow racers?

Alex Ones is just an incredible human being. The whole time we were riding, he’d go through checkpoints and he’d ask the volunteers if they needed anything like “do you need any water? “And he was the one that had been riding his bike! But he was just so encouraging to everybody, even well over 300 miles.

Jessica, who’s won the past two years is also fantastic. She’s my riding partner and my inspiration, and unfortunately she had to drop out early on because of some back problems, but she never gives up. She’s the one who gave me the idea to try and hold back, but never ever stop.

How’s your recovery been?

I was actually fine…okay, my lower back’s been on lockdown but that’s just from overuse. I’ve gone to my personal trainer and they were like “what did you do to your body?” I think I’m probably going to take about two weeks to recover fully, but I’m doing a lot better than I thought I was going to be!

What’s up next for you?

I’m doing 3 gravel races in September, the first one is the inspiration 100, and then the Gentleman’s Ride, followed by Heck of the North. My goal is always just to do a little bit faster than I did the last time, I’m not going to be CAT 1 or anything like that, but I can always get faster!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bottineau Park Bike Rodeo

The Hub helped fix bikes and shared some basic maintenance tips at a great event last weekend, Bottineau Park's Bike Rodeo. Several groups pitched in to get kids on bikes by teaching them how to ride, be safe, and have fun. Check out the video:

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Project Homeless Connect

Every year the Hub donates a portion of its profits to our community through our People and the Planet Fund. We participate in a variety of events and donate to some really great organizations. This week we sent three mechanics to help out at an event called Project Homeless Connect ( We worked together with a people from Bike Alliance MN, Spokes, Grease Rag and other volunteers to fix over 60 bikes! Most of the bikes had seen all kinds of weather conditions and were showing significant wear. We saw everything from flat tires to non-working brakes to messed up shifting. Our goal was to get the bikes as safe and rideable as possible!

We love riding our bikes and know how important it is to have reliable transportation. It was great to hear the feedback from participants who were using their bikes to get around. Having access to a functioning bike can help reduce barriers to education and employment.

Giant bicycles made a generous donation of 100 locks that was greatly appreciated by all the participants (especially those that didn’t bring their bikes because they had no way of keeping it safely locked up!). We also had a donation of helmets from QBP and trail maps from Hedberg Maps that were met with lots of enthusiasm.

We are always excited to help out in our community and Project Homeless Connect was a great way to share our love of bicycling!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Suspension Maintenance Matters

If it has been more than a year since you've serviced your suspension. keep this in mind...
   As robust as your suspension is, it is really quite sensitive to wear and tear from the abuse you dish out on the trail. Contaminated fork oil, damaged seals and worn bushings can all cause serious and expensive repairs or often necessitate replacement of your fork.
   The best way to avoid this costly situation? Regular maintenance. All suspension should be serviced on a regular basis. Manufacturer recommendations for oil bath lube changes can be as frequent as every 30 hours of riding and they want you to have a complete service every 100 hours.

 This may seem crazy, but keep in mind that this fork didn't feel too bad on the bike....
   What's the best plan of action? Check out your owners manual (find it online if you don't remember where the print copy is). The manufacturer will tell you exactly what's needed to keep your suspension happy. Here you will find a table of maintenance intervals. Follow this table to learn what you can do yourself (cleaning the upper tubes after every ride) and what you might want us to do (service damper every 100 hours). If you want to keep it simple just bring your fork in for service once a year (twice a year if you really want to be on top of your game). We'll clean and inspect your suspension components, replace wear and tear parts and re-lube to manufacturer specifications to help ensure you have a long and loving relationship with your suspension.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Let The Patterson Transmission Enhance Your Commute

Patterson Transmission cranks installed on a Raleigh ten speed re-purposed for all season commuting.

   Here at The Hub we love commuting and since commuting and internal gears go hand in hand, why not talk about FSA's new 2-speed internal crankset the Patterson Transmission? FSA is a relative newcomer to the world of internally geared cranksets, with both the Schlumpf drive and the Hammerschmidt having been on the market for some time. The difference, for myself anyway, lies in accessibility.
   I haven't been able to justify spending the money for internal cranksets in the past as both the Schlumpf and Hammerschmidt retail in the $700 range, so i was pretty excited when the patterson came on the scene at far more reasonable $300. I bought it, set it up and have been happily riding ever since.
   First off, i guess it makes sense to talk about what type of bike this belongs on. the important physical restrictions are simple, the bike must have a 68mm bottom shell and fixed chain stays. you need to have down tube cable routing, but if you don't you could always add a clamp on cable stop, so no need to worry about that. This crankset was designed by Sam Patterson (one of the founding members of Sram) for commuting, but could easily find a home on a touring bike, mountain bike, weekender recreation bike or cargo bike.
Bottom bracket shell faced to exactly 68mm with perfectly parallel faces for optimal bearing performance.

  A few things to remember when picking one up. Installation has many facets as you need to have your bottom bracket shell faced (to ensure 68mm which and to give the outboard cartridge bearings a good reference), you need to pick out what shifter you want to use and have that and a cable installed (not included) and you need a few specialty tools (we would be more than happy to install it for you, inquire about service rates at the shop).
   Now for the fun part; what's inside and how does it work?
    Anyone who is familiar with the Hammerschmidt will recognize the similarities right away, a simple planet gear system with a direct drive and an overdrive. The crank's direct drive functions just like any other crank (the Patterson comes with a 28t ring) and the overdrive increases the gear to the 1.6:1 ratio. This effectively gives you a 45t ring!! 
Initial diss-assembly of the crankset.

The function is simple: operate the shift lever to release cable tension and the pawl on the control plate sub-assembly engages a ratchet in the crank which in turn...

...rotates the sun gear, which then rotates the planet gears, and they, in turn, rotate the chainring section of the crankset faster than the crank is spinning. And...

...voila, simply 2 speed planetary gearing!

   Impressions of the crankset so far are very positive. The shifting is super quick and clean (i have mine set up to an old Sturmey Archer trigger shifter). The gear range is wide enough but the jump is reasonable so i don't end up with a lot of annoying recovery shifts (I have mine set up with an 8 speed Shimano nexus rear hub, f.y.i.). the bearing set up is FSA MegaExo, reliable and serviceable.

The cartridge bearings are easily replaced when worn or easily serviced on a regular schedule to maximize their lifespan.

I am one of those mechanics that really appreciates the value of a good overhaul so i clean out my cartridge bearings a bit more often than most, and i have to say, it does increase the lifespan. The non-drive side cup is your typical MegaExo setup. The drive side is another story

The bearing is connected to the crank via a small snap ring and the cup remains empty in the frame.
FSA uses completely serviceable cartridge bearings which can be easily broken down to the loose balls for thorough cleaning and bearing ball replacement.
The picture isn't great, but here we have clean races and fresh grease with brand new bearings.
Align the new bearing balls, re-install the retainer and seals and you are ready to ride!

The chainring is a bit different than the usual fare, as well.

The chainring is held in place by a splined interface
It is held in place by a spiral retaining ring
    Replacement chainrings are available at a reasonable cost, which is good news for winter riders who tear through drivetrains, and for those who prefer to ignore maintenance on their ride until it's pretty much destroyed (though, i would always still recommend regular maintenance to prevent parts from wearing prematurely). FSA also makes replacement parts available for most of the internals, which is good news as nothing lasts forever. And speaking of maintenance, the above photo gives a good illustration of the ports that allow easy access for flushing and lubing the internals with minimal diss-assembly! this keeps maintenance easy and hassle free.

   Final thoughts... The Patterson transmission is going to make the internal gear set pretty excited. With the most affordable 2- speed crank currently on the market there is no reason not to double the range of your internally geared commuting bike, so you can find better gears and ride more efficiently, which means having more fun. Reasonable cost, 165-170-175mm crank length options, 9 speed compatible chain, mountain bike approved... whats not to like?