My Personal Bikes

I get a lot of emails and questions about what I ride so I thought I would just make a page for them.  I ride a lot of country roads, gravel roads, gravel paths, dirt roads and double track so my bikes are set up to best handle those conditions.  I really do not ride many mountain bike trails and really there are not many mountains here in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.  I a lot of rolling hills and farm roads though.  

1980 Trek 412 with Modern Components - As of now.

This season so far my Trek 412 built up with modern components has been getting most of my miles.  I kind of built this bike up mainly because it was in the shop and I also had a Tiagra 9 speed group laying around for two years, the results where stunning.  The bike rides so smooth and fast and is very very versatile.

The Trek 412 has almost touring bike dimensions with long chain stays which makes it very easy to throw on a rack and some bags for travailing.   I love the Ishiwata 022 Double Butted steel, it is always surprisingly light when you pick the frame up and it does not feel as noodley as 531 to me.

I installed a new tall Nitto Technomics stem that really isn't set as near as high as it could be.  New Tektro middle reach dual pivot brake calipers work very well for what I like.  Just random cork gel handlebar tape installed.  I am thinking when this tape wears out which will be soon I may try shellacked cloth tape.

The wheels are Bontrager Race Lite which I believe are Cyclocross wheels, they have been in the shop for quit a while and they roll very smooth.  Whats nice about the Trek 412 frame was it was built for 27 inch wheels with lots of tire clearance, with 700c wheels installed I get even more tire clearance, I have had 42 mm tires on the Trek and probably could squeeze a few more millimeters in there if I wanted.  Right now I have Kenda folding bead 28 mm light tread cyclocross tires on it.  I also have a set of wheels with Ultegra Hubs and very nice rims that take 23 mm tires that I use if I am strictly racing road or the like.

The saddle is a Brooks Standard B-17, it been worn in for about a year now and is almost to that I will never replace again point.

I had plans of brazing water bottle cage bosses and adding brake cable guides to the top tube over the winter but was to busy with customer bikes to get to it.  I was also thinking of maybe adding cantilever brake brake studs and eyelets for front racks.  I am not sure where I stand on the cantilever brake studs now because the Tektro calipers are working very well.  Trek at that time actually charged per braze on so a lot of the Treks from that area are short on a lot of common braze ons.

The Trek 412 started as a see if I could build it up bike to my all time favorite bike, I really don't see ever needing a different main bike again. The ride is kind of like a very fast nimble Cadillac, if that can even be statement. It does all that I want in all my riding.  I hope to get to the brazing and the new powder coat soon.  I love the almost all blacked out look of the Trek 412 too!!

My second bike is a Fuji frame built up as a single speed or fixed gear, it has a flip flop rear hub.  This bike use to get a ton of work, this 2015 season it has only gotten about 20 miles.  No particular reason for not getting many miles, I love the bike and it will be a bike I will never get ride of.  I think I am just a little beyond the fixed gear thing after twenty some years of riding fixed gear.

The wheels are pretty generic wheels with a flip flop rear hub.  Same as the Trek 412 the frame allows for a lot of tire clearance.  Right now I have big Tioga Bloodhound tires, I love the Bloodhound tires, they grip so well and actually are pretty darn fast at 75 psi.

I actually have a set of first generation Dura Ace brake calipers on the Fuji, I am always surprised how well these brake calipers work for the era they where made.  The brake levers are standard Tektro Aero levers.  They work well and have the release button we will call it, that in combination with the caliper release allows me to get some large tires between the pads with out letting air out.

I installed a new Nitto Tall Technomics stem that looks amazing and works very well for me.  With the stem and the Road Champion Randouneur handlebars the comfort is perfect.

Right now I have a Brooks B67 saddle on it, it may be slightly out of place for a single speed but last fall I did a century on it and it just stayed there.

This Fuji single speed always surprises me in how great it rides and how fast it can be.  It goes everywhere I like to go and then some and is actually a very very fun bike to go on all day exploring rides.  I also love the powder coat colors and the looks overall.  I really need to get the Fuji single speed in to the riding rotation.

Click here to see the build of the Fuji single speed.

1987 Miyata Valley Runner Mountain Touring Bike

This is a 1987 Miyata Valley Runner Mountain Touring new addition to my fleet just this June.  I found it at a barn sale with a Miyata Ridge Runner.  I love the early mountain bikes as they where really built as mountain touring bikes.  Basically a beefed up touring bike.  The early mountain bikes had very relaxed touring geometry along with all the braze ons for racks and water bottles and all the like.  They where marketed as mountain touring bikes, to go anywhere you wanted touring.

I love the Miyata Triple Butted Cr-Mo steel, it feels lighter then you would expect  The ride of the slightly over sized triple butted tubes is fantastic, it rides with minimal vibrations and still feels solid.

The drive train has Shimano Deor 7 speed indexed thumb shifter, all time great shift levers!  It has a 7 speed freewheel and a Shimano Light Action derailleur set.  The crank is a beautiful Signature crank with touring gearing over later mountain bike gearing.

The Miyata came with a fine stem and handlebars but I just didn't like the look and feel of them.  I have had these nice Chromoly Bull Moose handlebars for a while and I love them.  Bull Moose handlebars where the standard on early mountain bikes.  I love the feel of them.

Only a Brooks would be right for the Miyata Dirt Tourer, I installed a Brooks Flyer that has a nice combination of comfort for rougher areas but not to large.

I ordered and have some nice 2.30 inch light tread tires to install but first I am going to run these tires into the ground.  They where in ok shape and I want to get all the miles out of them.

The paint color and scheme is just amazing, the paint is a little rough but I cut a few layers with polishing compound that removed a lot of scuffs and staining.  I will probably powder coat a matching color at some point but for now its good.  I installed orange cable housings because I had it around and it actually is a perfect color with the frame.  it reminds me of the old Gulf Racing colors.
I installed a new chain since the photo above, I also installed  a new cartridge bottom bracket and all new bearings around.

I love this Miyata Valley Runner, its not really a mountain bike but a dirt tourer.  I restored the Miyata Valley Runner on June 15th and today July 1st i already have 508 miles on it.  A lot of the places I ride where really wet and muddy the last couple weeks from all the rain so I was taking the Valley Runner out and it performed perfectly!!

Click here to see the Miyata Valley Runner restoration!

My Poor Man's Rivendell Schwinn Le Tour 12.2
This is a build I have worked on for aver a year and half.  Mainly because I get very little time to work on my own bikes.  I have always loved Rivendell bicycles but there essence is really great versatile bikes from the 1970's like the Schwinn Le Tour and the Raleigh Super Course.

I really like the set up, the Albatross handlebars are fantastic!!  The handlebars combined with the 8 speed Barcon index shifting there are few set ups like it.

Right now there is something I am not liking about the bike, I think it is the wheels and when I find some to replace these I will update more.  So far the bicycle only has about 30 miles on it this season and that is where it will stay until I figure out what I don't like about it now.  I really can't figure out what is wrong with it because last year I had over 1000 miles on it in its mock up form.

Click here to see the build process.

I have a three speed bicycle that I ride a lot but its recently been torn down to be built up as a 3 Speed touring bike on a larger frame.  I will post that when the build starts.

That actually complete my person bike page.  it stand at five personal bicycles and is actually the most I have ever had at one time.

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