Tag Archives: Shimano

Bike for Life plus one

I’ll start with the confession. My Bike for Life is now Bike for Life plus one. Yes I have bought another bike 🙂

However, this should not be understood as a failure of my Bike for Life either as a project or the specifics of my Shand Cycles Stoater Plus. In fact quite the opposite!

My Shand is so delightful to ride (while being the most incredibly reliable, low maintenance and practical form of transport ever) that it has kindled more love and enjoyment of just riding my bike. Hence, for the first time in my life, I have joined a cycling club. The Syston Syclers are new this year and have their “Sygnature” rides on Saturdays which suits me very well.

What I have, unsurprisingly, found is that a fully equipped Bike for Life is fine for the slower groups. So I have been one of the ride leaders for the steady paced 30 mile rides where we average around 12mph. The next group up which is now moving to 45 miles and around a 14mph average is rather harder work. On those rides many of the practical, comfortable, low maintenance features of my Bike for Life make it more difficult to keep up with everyone else on road bikes.

If I could be bothered to adapt my Bike for Life it is perfectly suitable for keeping up with these rides. But I would need to save weight and windage by removing

  • steel mudguards (with leather mudflaps),
  • front low rider racks,
  • front handlebar bag rack,
  • rear rack,
  • huge bell

I’d also move to faster tyres than 40mm Marathon Plus and possibly drop handlebars instead of my comfy Jones Loop H-Bar.

Of course that is not practical on a regular basis. So with a big 50th birthday this year, with permission, I started looking.

If money were no object then I’d have gone with a custom Shand Skinnymalinky (custom in order to have hydraulic disc brakes) with the electronic Shimano DI2 gears. That would have given me another beautiful British steel frame but aimed at fast day rides.

I looked at a number of bikes. The Genesis Equilibrium Disc is very nice. I also looked at the Charge Plug (4 and 5) and lots more.

In the end, thanks to a very knowledgeable and helpful lady at Edinburgh Cycle Cooperative in Manchester I looked at and fell in love with a Whyte Suffolk.

SuffolkIt is a British brand even if not manufactured here. It is an aluminium frame which was not my preferred choice (mainly due to higher environmental cost). But it looks great, has unique cable operated hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano 105 gear/brake levers and rear derailleur. It also comes with 28mm tyres with room for bigger and they also have a matching mudguard set.

So I now have three bikes for use each week:

  • Bike for Life: Everyday transport, Leisure, Family rides, Touring
  • Whyte Suffolk: Club rides, fast unladen day rides, exercise
  • Bullitt Cargobike: Shopping, Transporting stuff for work

Surplus to requirements (open to good offers) Giant Full Suspension mountain bike.

 

Why I love my Bike for Life when it is 11pm and I’ve 10 miles to home with strong headwind and heavy rain

It is a long title “Why I love my Bike for Life when it is 11pm and I’ve 10 miles to home with strong headwind and heavy rain” but I feel I need to explain why I had a grin on my face as the rain got a lot heavier as I was riding through Burton on the Wolds last night.

It seemed to me that when you are out riding in bad weather late at night 3 things allow you to grin and enjoy it.

  1. You need to be wearing the right clothes and have the right food and drink at hand.
  2. You need to be confident that your bike can cope and it not going to let you down in any way.
  3. and it really helps if you know that when you get home you don’t need to worry about cleaning the bike or doing any work on it because of the conditions you are riding through.

This is the route last night:

So for me last night I was able to grin because

1. Clothes/Food/Drink

On the top half I was wearing a thermal t-shirt (don’t know the brand, it is old but still effective), a very old short sleeve cycling top and a new Dare 2 Be shell long sleeve top. It was all warm and kept me feeling dry.

On the lower half I was wearing a cheap pair of old cycling shorts and a pair of winter cycling tights from Altura (at least 5 years old). Again very comfortable and warm.

On my feet I was wearing Shimano MW81 Gore-Tex Winter Mountain Bike Boots, these keep my feet dry upto a few hours of riding in heavy rain and usually warm after that. That is helped by the full mudguards and mudflaps which mean I don’t get much water splash onto my feet.

trail42-packflaskTo drink I had just finished some great hot filter coffee (Cameroon Hosnia from tankcoffee) which has been kept warm in a Trail42 Pack Flask. I’ve only had this since Saturday when I used it for the ParkRun support ride. This time I did make sure the coffee was really hot, using the microwave, before putting it in and it was still a good temperature after nearly 2 hours.

Plus also a bottle of water and a couple of energy gels which I ended up not needing.

2. Confidence in the Bike

At that time of night I find it impossible to enjoy the ride, however comfortable I am, if I having any nagging doubts about the Bike. I find it easy to let nagging doubts drag me down and so in the past instead of enjoying the ride I would be worrying:

  • are my lights going to last to the end of the ride
  • am I going to get a puncture
  • am I going to damage a wheel in a pothole hidden by a puddle
  • are my brakes good enough or do I need to slow down on the downhills
  • am I so tired that I will run out of gears uphill against this headwind

I am sure that you are not like me and don’t let these things cross your mind or get you down. But they have spoilt rides for me in the past. If you have to stop to fix the bike or walk home or call home for a lift then you quickly switch from being warm and comfortable to cold and wet.

While I was fortunate and didn’t get a single puncture on my 2012 LEJoG I also knew that Jane was available in the car not far away from me with full tools, parts and even a spare bike. Even so my Trek Pilot didn’t leave me feeling as relaxed about finishing a ride as my Bike for Life does.

The confidence comes from:

  • The Schmidt Hub Dynamo that you know has been so carefully engineered to last and last.
  • LED front and rear lights powered by the dynamo. The only maintenance they have needed since new is to wipe the lens clean.
  • The Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, 35mm front, 40mm rear. Incredibly puncture resistant and big enough volume to not worry about pinch flats on unexpected potholes etc. So far I’ve had no punctures ever on a Marathon Plus.
  • The wheels are handbuilt, they have stayed true for the first 4,000 miles. As I use disk brakes the rim has not been worn at all and it wouldn’t matter if they got a bit buckled on this ride as it won’t affect the brakes.
  • There is nothing better than hydraulic disc brakes for inspiring confidence that they will get you home. You can stop reliably and controllable right to the limit of the tyres grip no matter what the weather. These are Hope Tech E4’s and they have been superb from day 1. I wore out a complete set of new Swissstop brake pads on my Trek in the first half of LEJoG (and I mean fully worn out). I wrote about this in A bike for life: Cascading decisions.
  • As the Trek had got older I used to worry about the Carbon fork a little, you read scare stories about forks breaking. This is one of the many reasons why the frame and forks of my Bike for Life are all steel (although it is a very fancy steel that Shand Cycles use). So the whole frame inspires confidence that it is not going to suddenly fail.
  • One of the beauties of the Rohloff 14 speed hub gear is that I have a mountain bike range of gears (wider than a road bike). It is brilliant because, however tired you are you are, all you do is twist and there is another gear available. It is very rare that I get to use first gear (I certainly didn’t last night) which is great. That feeling when you are in first gear and struggling up a hill against a headwind is a horrible one and one I have never had with the Rohloff.
  • h10_loopbar_alFinally, the Jones Loop H-Bar is also great in these conditions. You can put your hands close together on either side of the loop (depending on how tired you are) getting a much more aerodynamic position than you would expect on a fairly upright bike. I find this makes a huge difference in strong headwinds and is much more comfortable than riding in the drops of my Trek was. This really helps remove the impact of a headwind on my morale.

3. The Bike after the ride.

The combination of Gates Belt drive and the Rohloff means that when you finish a ride in horrible conditions you can simply leave the bike alone. There is no chain to go rusty, there are no derailleurs that are going to have been clogged up. No wheel rims or brake pads to clean or check. Again compare that to the state of my Trek after LEJoG.

It is so nice to ride your bike without having to think about the maintenance you will have to do afterwards. There will be no guilt because you simply put it away and lock it up. Late at night that is a very good feeling which again keeps the grin on your face.

Summary

I love my bike and it means I can be 10  miles from home with a strong headwind, heavy rain at 11pm with a great big grin on my face 🙂

A day for cycling progress

Lots of nice cycling things today.

Some good maintenance/upgrades progress and a nice ride with Jane on her new bike.

The ride first.

We drove over to Rutland to kill lots of birds with one stone. This included a nice ride with lunch.

Or view on Strava.

As proof here is Jane on her new bike (with new helmet from Rutland Cycling as well):

P5170055

For anyone interested that is a Ortlieb Front Roller Plus pannier which is a great size for carrying just a few things on a day out. Sorry for the lack of colour coordinated water bottle 🙂

We had both lunch and a after ride coffee at the Harbour View Cafe 🙂

Anyway, we had a nice ride with only one idiot driver who decided to beep us as he zoomed past on a very minor road.

Maintenance stuff

There were a couple of other reasons for going to Rutland.

First, I had dropped off my Shand Stoater, Bike for Life at Rutland Cycling yesterday. I have had trouble properly bleeding the rear brake. Turns out the hose had got damaged and so was leaking slightly. They are going to replace that and bleed it for me.

Second, I have also been having trouble with the brakes on my Bullitt Cargobike, they have been getting less powerful, more squeaky and hard to bleed. So we took the Bullitt with us, for the first time finding it is possible to fit it in the car:

20130517_115521

That is handy to know 🙂

Anyway the main problem is with the rear calliper which is leaking badly (the front going the same way). I decided to tackle the problem with an upgrade. I don’t particularly like the Shimano disk brakes. They use a very expensive mineral oil and I would appreciate more power when hurtling downhill fully loaded.

So Rutland Cycling are fitting Hope Tech M4 brakes to match my Bike for Life, only on the Bullitt they are going to use Braided Hose which should provide a further improvement.

This means both bikes will need the same replacement seals and use the same brake fluid which is DOT 5.1, available from any garage.

So it looks like my problems with bleeding the brakes are due to hose or calliper problems, future maintenance easier for me to do myself.

Anyway for perspective. We have 3 bikes with hydraulic disk brakes that have done 1,000’s of miles in all kinds of weather. These are the first replacement parts and the 1st professional service ever needed. Still absolutely my favourite type of brake (for power, controllability, reliability and maintenance), especially as it is possible to buy excellent British made hydraulic brakes from Hope Tech.

 

Converted by Breeze

On Saturday, having been encouraged by Rachel (my boss) Jane went on a Sky Breeze ride and loved it. She did 22 miles which included a visit to Thrussington tea shop.

 

As expected Jane was the only person on a bike equipped any of the following:

  • basket
  • skirt guard
  • step thru frame
  • hub gears
  • chain guard

By equipped with “some” of these I mean of course Jane had them all 🙂

The others were clearly highly trained motivators and so Jane came back convinced that she could ride a road bike, that she would be a lot faster and more comfortable on a road bike and therefore that she should get one.

This was not an opportunity to be wasted!

So on Saturday afternoon we went over to both Rutland Cycling stores who had impressive ranges of road bikes for women (mostly Trek, Specialized and Giant).

Jane tested a couple and came away in love with the fully carbon Specialized Ruby (despite only having ridden one that was a size too small).

That left me with the kill joy task of pointing out that she would probably enjoy the bike a lot more if she could have mudguards and carry a few things neither of which are very practical on the full carbon frames.

Anyway today we went on another bike shop visit. This time we went to the Specialized Concept store at Fort Dunlop in Birmingham where Jane was able to test ride a 54cm Dolce. She liked it a lot.

We then had a little distraction when I suggested she might consider a Specialized Tricross to benefit from bigger tyres, easier mudguard and rack fitting, and disc brakes. If the handlebars were swapped for the narrower women’s ones from the Dolce then most of the dimensions were very similar. In the end two things meant that we dropped the idea of the Tricross. The first was that the standover height was nearly 2cm more which Jane felt was intimidating. Secondly the colour scheme was deemed boring.

So in the end we have ordered a very “pretty” 54cm Dolce Elite Equipped which Jane can collect on Monday next week.

specialized-dolce-elite-equipped-triple-2013-womens-road-bike

 

A couple of thoughts on the choice.

I was keen that if Jane was to have a road bike then it should be a good one and there not be any suggestion that she got fobbed off with the cheap option. So this is about the top specification for a women’s road bike with rack mounting points and clearance for full length mudguards.

Secondly, this has Tiagra brake/gear levers. The next specification up from Shimano is 105 and Jane found that the much larger hoods on these were too big for her hands to feel comfortable. So certainly for Jane Tiagra is as far up the Shimano product line as is comfortable. I have heard of a number of people unhappy with Sora (the next level down) and have personally been happy with Tiagra on my Trek for the last 7 years or so.

Thirdly, colour is tricky 🙂 It can’t be too girly (pink bar tape would have been too much) but at the same time it does have to look pretty. Specialized seem to have got it about right for Jane.

With a few days in Derbyshire at half term and a summer holiday in the Netherlands plus assorted Breeze rides and maybe even some with me it should get used a fair bit this summer.

Oh and no she won’t be getting rid of the other bike 🙂 This one is not suitable for riding when wearing a dress or skirt, nor is it as convenient for local shopping. The basket is still too convenient for handbags, bottles of wine, egg cartons etc etc. Plus all those heavy extras make the current bike ideal in horrible weather and on poor quality cycle routes especially when wearing normal clothes.

Review: Hebie Chainglider on a Bullitt Cargobike

A while ago I wrote about my plans to fit a Hebie Chainglider to my Bullitt Clockwork cargobike.

I confess it has not been without challenges.

However, it is now fitted and working.

Initial indications after about 100miles are that it looks like it will be doing the job I wanted. I am now able to ride in normal trousers without clips, tucking them in my socks or anything else. So far at least it appears to be keeping the chain properly clean so I have high hopes that it will mean a longer working life for the chain, sprocket and chainring, all with less maintenance and cleaning by me.

The problems have been about compatibility and fitting.

The obvious problem was that the Hebie Chainglider is available for 38, 40 and 42 tooth chainrings while the Shimano Chainring that comes with the Bullitt is 39 teeth.

No problem I thought. I’ll just put a 38 tooth chainring on instead. The gearing will be slightly lower but that is no bad thing.

However, it was not so easy. The Shimano crankset has 5 arms and a 130 BCD (the measurement that ensures the bolt holes on the chainrings are in the same place as on the crank arms. It turned out that almost nobody makes a 38 tooth chainring for 5 arm 130BCD chainsets . Eventually I found the very nice, heavy duty Surly stainless steel 38 tooth chainring to fit. When it arrived it was obvious why this is not common. The crank arms are so long that there is very little space for the bolts and when the chain is on it nearly bumps the ends of the arms.

This in turn meant that the chainglider also did not fit over the crank arms. It wouldn’t snap closed and the friction was immense.

So I thought again and started looking for a new crankset with shorter crank arms. I soon discovered that as my existing crankset was a Shimano Hollotech II style it was likely that I would need to replace the bottom bracket as well. This was starting to get worryingly complicated (I would have to worry about ensuring the same chainline) and expensive. Also as I looked for chainsets I discovered that 38tooth single ring chainsets are very very rare. In fact I had almost given up when I discovered one from Shimano which is the Saint FC-M810 Single MTB Hollowtech 2 Crankset. Although there seem to be no pictures it is available as a single 38 tooth ring and without the bash guard.

It is supposed to be immensely strong and as it is also Hollotech II the existing bottom bracket could still be used (it comes with a BB anyway so I now have a spare), that also means that the alignment is right.

So in the end fitting the new crankset was a doddle. By the way I did take advantage of replacing the crankset to move to 165mm cranks instead of 170mm, as a recumbent rider I was convinced by Mike Burrows and others of the advantages of shorter cranks and while 5mm is barely a nod in that direction it is one I was happy to make.

The chainglider was then pretty straightforward to fit. As I expected I needed to shorten it a little (designed to work with much longer chainstays). The front fitted very easily. The back less so. In fact I have found that the little pins that clip together the two parts that go around the sprocket are not entirely effective. Also the Alfine sprocket as these plastic rims which the chainglider rubs against.

So I have pulled the two parts a little apart from fully closed. The sprocket is still fully enclosed due to the plastic rims. However, friction and noise is much reduced. I have held the two parts together with zip ties (not worried about this making it hard to get off, I don’t normally carry tools to get the wheel off anyway. If I take tools I take something that can cut a ziptie).

Since making this adjustment the Hebie Chainglider is silent (providing well lubed) and while there is friction that you notice if back pedalling I have not noticed any drop in speed. Anyway for me speed is a lower priority than low maintenance, long parts life and not needing to tuck my trousers in my socks.

Adding more lube is very easy, there is a little hole in the top of the case, put the lube in there (thick stuff is better or it just leaks out of the bottom immediately – I am using a Muc Off Dry Lube at the moment which seems pretty good) while back pedalling and you are done. I do it occasionally before a ride (basically if I can hear the chainglider I add a bit more lube) and after a few miles it has spread enough and stuck enough that you can take the bike indoors without it dripping any oil.

So I am generally very happy. Yes I would prefer it if LarryVsHarry offered a full chaincase as an option. However, at least so far I am happy with this solution for me.

Longer bike rides for work: the how & why. Plus 7 key tips

Yesterday I had 4 meetings and 2 important deliveries to make. So in the morning I rode 8.4 miles and in the afternoon 27.3 miles. My total travelling time was just over 3 hours (it was a beautiful day so I enjoyed it gently).

I am in the fortunate position of working in an environment where I have a lot of control over my diary. Not everyone is in that pleasant situation. I am also based at home and so I can choose to do some work at times that suit me (such as late at night when the rest of the family has gone to bed and it is quiet).

Even so people are often surprised that it is possible t0 ride 35 miles in a day for work, to do so wearing normal clothes (today it was jeans, t-shirt, hoodie) while riding a cargo bike and not be too exhausted to actually get any work done. I would go much further than saying that it is merely possible and say that in fact there are many benefits for employee, employer & the community to be working in this way.

For me the important thing about these rides is to not rush. Allow plenty of time, go slower and don’t skimp on what you need for the meetings (or whatever). Allow yourself to stop for a coffee and cake to re-fuel.

It is good for me:

  • It contributes positively to my fitness and health. Two examples a) I have suffered from fewer colds since I started riding my bike everyday b) I have more energy for the whole of life
  • With a busy diary it keeps space between appointments which is helpful for reducing stress and increasing well being
  • It saves me a lot of money
  • Most importantly when did you last drive 35 miles for work and really enjoy it? These rides are a good and enjoyable part of my day. They make me happier. Would driving do the same for you.

It is good for my employer:

  • Statistically I will have fewer days off sick
  • I am less likely to be ill from stress (sadly that is a common problem in my line of work)
  • The better health, reduced stress and increased fitness all mean that I can do better work
  • It saves them money. Not just because the mileage rate is 20p instead of 40p, but also because it is slower I combine visits into one ride. By car I would have rushed home and then back out again at least once more adding at least an additional 10 miles (plus the cycle route was more direct than it would have been by car adding to the saving).

It is good for the community:

  • I went past several schools as children were travelling to and from them. I did not put any of them in danger, did not delay them with more congestion, did not pollute the air they were breathing, did not consume dwindling fossil fuel reserves that they will need when they are grown up. I also gave them something different to talk about 🙂
  • I supported local shops. If more people rode bikes to and around Ratby (one of the places I went to today) then the bakery might not be shut and boarded up. I would have stopped and had a coffee and a cake there. I did get a coffee and cake at Beaumont Leys. More of my money is spent in local communities which supports local jobs.
  • The wear on the roads from my bike is minimal so saving money on repairs, I don’t contribute to congestion thus making journeys easier for all.

You may say that you couldn’t possibly ride 35 miles in a day or everyday. I agree. I couldn’t do it everyday (at least not without considering electric assistance). On the other hand I am currently averaging just over 13 miles a day for 2011 (total miles now 970 of which 600 are for work) and I couldn’t manage this if I had not spent the previous 4 months gradually building up the miles. It is not something that you can just turn on for tomorrow, it will take time to build your strength and ability to ride further.

You may say (with some justification) that I live in a very flat area. I did only climb a total of just over 1,000 feet today. But not everywhere is full of hills and with a corresponding reduction in distance it is still possible to do plenty of miles.

If you are interesting in riding more for work than you do now then my tips would be:

  1. Commit to riding your bike every day. It does not matter how far, just ride it. You will soon find you want to ride further which is fine, but don’t make that the goal. Keep the goal simple. Ride your bike everyday. I have mentioned more than once the tool that I find most helpful in monitoring this and keeping me going: habitforge.com (I am now at 135 days in a row).
  2. Get a really reliable bike. I have done around 1500 miles on my Bullitt since the middle of September and the time spent on maintenance has been minimal. I haven’t had a single puncture, I have not had to adjust the brakes, I have oiled the chain a few times (and recently replaced it as part of an upgrade to fit a full chainguard so now I don’t have to tuck my trousers in to keep them clean and now the chain can be covered in thick oil, helping it work better and last longer without any of it getting on me or getting washed off in the rain). Things that increase reliability include:
    1. No rim brakes. Use one of hub, roller or disc brakes
    2. Always choose hub gears. They don’t need adjusting or cleaning and last much much longer. The Alfine 8 speed from Shimano has proved excellent for me.
    3. Hub dynamo lighting. No batteries, no maintenance, always there and very efficient
    4. Full mudguards (fenders) keep the bike and you cleaner. Means you can wear normal clothes even when the roads and paths are wet and muddy.
    5. Chainguard. Keep the chain free of mud and covered in nice thick oil. Keep the oil off you. It will last much longer, be more efficient and you stay clean.
    6. Puncture proof tyres with a lot of air in them. Mine are over 40mm cross section.
  3. Get a really practical bike, that means beyond the reliability get a bike that can carry everything you need, get a stand to make parking easier, weight is less important than ease of getting on and the ability to leave it outside in the rain.
  4. Shop around for the right bike. Few dealers in the UK stock the sort of bike you need for everyday riding in ordinary clothes.
  5. Go for the easy wins in terms of converting journeys to bike. Start with short distances where the best facilities are. Go for a long term approach which builds in small increments. Still take opportunities when they come for much longer than normal rides. You will surprise yourself and be encouraged.
  6. Make sure you have completely waterproof means of carrying all you need to take, make sure all the weight is on the bike and not you.
  7. Carry a lightweight 100% waterproof and breathable jacket

Is the Bullitt Clockwork perfect?

Given my raving about my Bullitt Clockwork over the past few months I am a little concerned that you might end up think the Bullitt is perfect. It does seem to be a problem for Kim who is stuck, unable to fit a Bullitt in a flat.

So I thought it was time for a bit of balance. Here are the things that I would like to change about a Bullitt.

  • The front mudguard is too short. It needs to continue forward at the top quite a bit. At the moment water shoots out of the front of the mudguard at just the right height to get blown back onto the front light. It needs to be long enough for the mudguard to curl back down a bit and deflect water downwards.
  • The frame has excellent supports and fixing points for boxes and the like. But at the moment the accessories are too fiddly and slow to fit. The otherwise excellent honeycomb sides that go with the honeycomb base would be much improved if they could be taken off and on much more easily. Ideally I would like to be able to switch between lockable box, open (and very light box) and child transport in seconds.
  • A really good cover to be used for child transport is needed, It should be waterproof, have windows and be easy to get in and out of. I would use this when shopping for groceries as it would allow me to carry more without risking losing bits on the way. It would also shield the rider from more rain.
  • It would be good if the rear mudguard included a built in reflector, I use the seat post for lights and the seat stays are not round so at the moment I don’t have a rear reflector at all.
  • It would be good if the seat stays had mounting points for a rear rack. I can see it being particularly useful if you are carrying a child in the front as it would be helpful to have a rack for extra luggage as the child will not leave a lot of space for luggage.
  • I would really like a full chain guard to protect the chain from dirt and the rider from the dirty chain.
  • At them moment there are fixing points for only one water bottle holder (on the seat tube) but due to the compact frame only quite short bottles will fit. A extra set on the back of the steering tube would be very useful (I have fitted a bottle holder here using the Zefal Gizmo).
  • I have found I need the wheel nuts very tight indeed to stop the rear wheel sliding forward in the horizontal dropouts. It would be good to see a tugnut provided either like the Surly Tugnut or built into the frame.

Upgrades

In my experience a few upgrades are highly desirable for most people. They relate to the 3 contact points.

I have written lots about lighting although in a sense that is not an upgrade but an addition.

Beyond that I have planned to add Brooks mudflaps but have not yet done so.

One day I might like a transmission upgrade. In a year or more when the Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub has been proved in the real world it would be a nice improvement as it gives

  • Wider range of gears. Higher top gear would be handy as I tend to spin out at around 25mph. A lower bottom gear is always handy as I have had to walk up a couple of hills so far.
  • Closer ratios. There are a few times when the gap between gears on the Alfine 8 speed is a bit wide. Not a real problem but closer spaced gears are always good
  • It is lighter. Always good
  • It uses an oil bath which should mean longer life, lower friction easier maintenance. All good.
  • The gear shifter supports changing multiple gears in one action. Very handy for a hub gear that has more ratios that are closer together. Very handy when baulked at the bottom of a steep climb.

Along with the Alfine 11 speed hub I think a Gates Belt Drive would be a nice upgrade. Sadly that either means a new splitable  frame or fitting a S&S joint in the seat stay (probably not possible as they are not round). The gates belt drive would remove the need for a chainguard and would also reduce maintenance still further.

That is all I can think of. H’mm it is a pretty short list of relatively minor items. Obviously the Bullitt is getting quite close to perfection and I might need to follow that with a theological reflection on perfection on my other blog 🙂

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