Sunday, May 29, 2011

Blogging on an iPad

I discovered there's an app for that of course, but it's $2.99. Not bad I guess. I can bypass it with a ghetto work around using the HTML code field. I will see if I can post pics later. Tying on this thing is irritating andc I am getting a headache in the car. Ugh!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Weigh-in

Before ordering the new generation KMX light weight seat, I need to be absolutely sure how much the thing weighs. I've sent an email out to Utah Trikes hoping to get a response later today or at least by tomorrow. I'll rip out the seat frame this evening and weigh it so I have a solid number to compare the new one to.

I'm getting conflicting information.
1. One KMX Viper owner tells me it weights 6.95 lbs.
2. Another says their old steel Venom seat weighs 9 lbs.
3. Utah Trikes claims the new Venom seat weighs 6lbs less. That would mean the new seat weighs 1lb. Highly doubtful.
4. I contacted the owner of BROL to see if he can help weigh the seat since he's reviewed one and has one in possession.
5. I've also contacted another BROL member for numbers. He has the 2011 Venom.
6. There was one more Venom owner (probably the older one) that I emailed just today.

Hopefully these guys can get back to me on the actual weight. I wish KMX was more cooperative and didn't have a dealer take care of all their calls. KMX themselves should have specs of their parts, shouldn't they? Looks like KMX is slowly giving up on their customer and their own brand, looking to dealers to support them rather than the other way around. I don't see good things for the future of KMX. Hopefully I'm completely wrong.

UPDATE: 5/25/11

I removed the seat this afternoon for the final weigh-in to see what the stock seat weighed. While I was at it, I took the opportunity to replace the idlers and clean up the frame. The midsection of the crucifix was pretty dirty.

So how much does the stock seat weigh? Drum roll please...

With the pump, alarm and both water bottle cages, the total weight was 9.2lbs. I should have weighed the frame + wheels but forgot.

UPDATE: 5/26/11
I did it! I did it! I gave in. I ordered the aluminum seat and was able to negotiate for free shipping. I used the fact that I'm using this for the ALC and that some shops offer a 10-15% discount for riders participating in this event as leverage. No tax, but the total still hurts. $200 for the aluminum seat and an extra $50 for the hardware. I'm hoping that the old horizontal bracket under the seat that physically mounts to the frame can be swapped to the new seat. If this works, I won't need the hardware and Matt (Utah Trikes) said that I can return it for a full refund if it's not damaged. I've never been so excited to return something. Hopefully this is the case.

If not, I'll have to grind down the frame to make the new hardware fit. Crossing my fingers hoping this thing goes through. If it does, it'll be pretty darn amazing. The price still seems high though b/c I just remembered that carbon fiber seats are about $350. That's way out of my price range for a stupid seat. Plus I'd have to figure out some way to fabricate brackets to mount from the seat to the frame - all in 9 days (and that's assuming there's zero ship time and the seat can magically appear in my garage). Not going to happen.

I'm really relying on the seat bracket being interchangeable btw seats. I'm desperate enough to figure something out if it doesn't. We'll just have to wait and see.

UPDATE: 5/27/11
I got some exclusive pics taken by Utah Trikes! These aren't published anywhere else. These are spy shots of the aluminum seats! Hush hush.

Looks similar. I hope it's "exactly the same." The intention is to use all the parts except for the cross bracket in the middle of the photo.

If I can omit the furthest piece on the right and replace it with my current one, it'll work. *Deep breath*. I am a bit concerned though b/c it doesn't look exactly the same from what I remember.

The seat's still not here! Ugh. I've been waiting at home when I could be out triking. I'm giving Utah Trikes a call tomorrow to get a tracking number.

UPDATE: 6/2/11
A bit frustrated that the package didn't arrive Tuesday as Utah Trikes said it would and it's now Thursday, I called them back up for a tracking number and apparently it's supposed to arrive today. If I had the tracking number earlier, I wouldn't have waited around to receive the package and could have taken the time to train some more on the trike.

It's 2:26pm and the package still isn't here yet. I'm expecting it before 6pm, but that's a few hours from now.

The scary thing though is that the UPS site says that the package weighs 10 lbs. I really hope that's not true. I'm waiting for a 4lb 1oz item with maybe a pound of packaging material. We'll soon see. The seat should hopefully be installed by this evening.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Shave me

Whoa la! This is the Braun M90! It had only occurred to me a few days ago that I need a shaver for the ALC ride! With 2,500 riders and a few hundred volunteers, access to the sinks will be limited. I figure I should stay away from the cream and blade and go for an electric shaver.

I found one that can be charged by USB, but it got horrible reviews. I found another one from Ross that's super tiny and only $10, but that too got horrible reviews.

I finally found one by Braun, a trusted brand. It's the same manufacturer as the one I have now. The one I've been using works without being plugged in for a total of 20 seconds before it goes dead. The battery's history. This was a handmedown of my dad's from who knows when.

It didn't take me long to find a compact travel sized one that runs on batteries that got good reviews on Amazon. I ordered this one for $18.15 shipped! It's got a protective swivel cover, sideburn trimmer and brush. I hear it gets pretty good battery life on two AA cells.

The design of this thing is pretty good too. The silver part swivels out to reveal and protect the foil. It also prevents it from accidentally turning on while being stored for travel.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

New Wheel Review

Wow! It's either this thing weighs a ton or the 20+mph headwind really whacked me in head. This thing was super slow. I felt like it was worse than when I had the mag wheels all around and the Schwalbe Big Apples on all 3 wheels.

Do the benefits of having a rear brake and being able to climb any hill outweigh the costs? Errr, I'm still thinking about it. It undoubtedly looks amazing now with the matching black spoked rear wheel but boy is it heavy!

The shifter for the hub is now a lot more reliable than what I had on the SRAM 3x7 and looks better on the handle bar but again, I'm not sure it's worth it yet. The weight is a big drawback. I made it worse by using a Schwalbe Marathon tire rather than a Racer tire. Once I get some (hopefully) reliable Qtubes in the mail, I'll put the Racer back on and see if there's a noticeable difference. The new hub is harder to remove and put back on (sorta) so I wanted to keep the rear wheel pretty much puncture resistant. The weight penalty hurts though - big time.

I'll have to take it for another spin on a less windy day to get a more accurate assessment. Hopefully I'll have good news to share. The weight's been hurting so much on this test ride that I'm strongly considering, 85% blowing $163 on the upgraded 5lb lighter weight seat from KMX. We'll see.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Placed Second! last

I attended the race to meet some fanatics and got much more than that! This is me in a Velomobile. It's made of the same stuff kayaks are made from. Super durable and comes in 11 different colors. The dealer brought this one and was nice enough to let me to take it around for a spin.

Here's a little bit of marketing for him. Visit his site and check out what he's got to offer. He's a super nice guy - very easy to get along with.

There were about 29 riders a couple families and friends came, but people came alone for the most part. I guess it's a bent thing. We're kinda weirdos and don't have much company in that respect. Much like magicians I guess. The announcer made a comment about how socially awkward we are. Hahah.

The track is 0.2 miles. Pretty short. But when you're going around 8 laps like I did for the "trike's only" event, it feels much longer. I placed last in that event. Ouch. I'm happy that one of the guys who beat me was riding a Catrike 700 - a white one! Looked great!

Rick pretty much built this thing! He bought the clear cover, but everything else was built with his two hands! That's a grey Catrike Speed hiding in that fairing.

Meet Paul and his faired recumbent. It's got side entry so he can hope into this thing w/o the help of a crew. He took this exact model across the country. Over the three month ride, he covered 50-90 miles/day! That was 11 years ago but still lots to be proud of.

The Mango was one of the favorites. Greg rides this Velomobile as a commuter! Yup, that means every day! The Milkman was also a first time visitor to the velodrome. Covered 57 laps in 30 minutes.

This is what an 80T chainring looks like. The owner built this whole thing himself including the welds. A chainring that big has to be custom built, right? Yup, he built that too! There were a of homebuilts at the race.

I didn't get a chance to chat much with this Cal Poly team, but they had a whole crew representing their HPV group. Here's the front half of the fairing.

And here's the other half. This is the reason why they brought a whole crew. They need one rider, one launcher and about 3 people to catch the Velomobile when it stops at the end of each event.

This is what happens when your derailleur catches onto a spoke and rips apart. As we were watching the 30 minute race, we heard a huge crash from behind us.

Cal Poly's HPV crashed big time. The rider came out unscathed....from what I saw. Here they are trying to straighten the chain out w/o taking it apart. It's harder than it looks. How many Cal Poly kids will it take to do it?

This guy pretty much beat everyone's butt. He's faster than the Velomobiles!

A bit about Velomobiles. They are the jellybean looking things with full fairings where you typically only see the rider's head or sometimes just their eyes. The surprising thing is that even though these things weigh 55-65lbs, the reduction in air resistance or improvement in aerodynamics offsets the increase in weight. These things look like they're hitting the upper 30's in mph. Crazy fast.

This is the start of the elimination round where the last place person in each lap is disqualified until there's on man standing - yes, all the riders are men. No women recumbent riders came to the event. Lots of our wives decided to stay home or do their own thing, as did mine.

I was impressed at the shutter speed of the Kodak Sportplay camera. They're catching these images w/o blur!

Here's one of Cal Poly's rides - the one that suffered a gruesome death at the end (the bent - not the rider).

Here's one of their other ones.

The famous Mango! One guy called it a banana. This thing was fast. It better be for $8,000. Looks really slick. The lines are cut nice on this one. I wish I had a shot of the rear.

The colors were just too cool to not take a pic. I brought my naked trike over for a snapshot. It was a beautiful day!

I should have taken more still photos. It's such a pain pulling them from videos due to the software I use. I would have to convert the video to another format and then make stills. Such a headache. I'll do it later, but not tonight. There was a Catrike 700 out there worth mentioning. It was white too! The rider was cool.

There was a lot of downtime in between races. There were a few surprise events: 60 and older event, 6'-0" and taller event. This gave me some time to take some shots with the others.

The shape of that Velomobile is nice, huh? I like how the rear is carved out like that.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Arm Warmers

ACCESSORY 49: Arm bands, $30 Amazon

It sounds stupid - I know. Arm warmers. Why not just wear a jacket like the rest of us? The advantage of these which I discovered not too long ago is that they can be bundled up and stuffed into your jersey. Unlike a jacket that weighs a lot and is bulky, arm warmers are much more convenient to put away when not in use.

It blends right into the color scheme! Canari had the only two toned arm warmers I've ever seen available online or in a store. They're designed very well. Rubber in the upper sleeve holds it in place. The seams are all of high quality.

I found out the hard way of the disadvantages of a jacket. It was cold in the morning so I wouldn't have left the house without a long sleeve. Later that day it was too hot to keep on. My jacket had removable sleeves and even trying to stuff the sleeves (while wearing the vest part of the jacket) into my bag was a task. These are small enough to fit in the jersey pocket!

Energy Gels

First was the energy drinks like Gatorade, then came the bars like those made by Clif. Now we have energy gels. Having only tried it once, I did some research and found a bit of info. Here's a review of the competitors by once LA local:

My First Trike Race

Driving an SUV (2002 Toyota Rav4) back in the day certainly didn't stop me from racing in the Rallycross events competing with much more nimble cars. The KMX is like the SUV of trikes and that's not stopping me either. I'm racing the 43lb+ monster at the Velodrome this weekend!

What's a Velodrome?

Think of Indy race track for bikes. I'm expecting the riding surface to be extremely smooth like a gymnasium floor. We'll see if I can hit 25mph. That's my goal at least. I'm not sure how the banked angle of the track will affect my riding.

Should I be worried about the tires wearing unevenly b/c of the banked track? Maybe I'll swap tires during the breaks. There are a few types of races going on that day.

200 meter sprints
That's a little more than half the track or 16% the length of the 0.75 mile track I usually ride. It's short! This race won't require a lot of endurance which gives me a chance at a win. With an improved gear range beyond more than anyone would need, I have enough choices to smooth out my acceleration. I'm hoping not to come in place for this event.

Newcomer's Race
4 laps. The thing is only 0.2 miles long. This event is a total of only 1 mile! That's 1.25 laps on the Golden Gate Park race track. Definitely longer than the 200 meter race. This wouldn't be so tough if I wasn't racing against 2-wheeled bents. The cut the wind better and are much lighter. They've got the full advantage. I plan on placing last in this event.

15 Lap Race
There are two races for this broken down to (recum)bents with fairings and bents w/o. That's the equivalent of 4 laps on the Golden Gate Park track). That's a good number. It would take some energy to keep at top speed for this long. This will be a tough race for me.

Trike Race
8 laps or just over 2 GGP laps if at least 3 trikes sign up. I really hope we have at least 2 other trikes who want to race. I'm very excited about this event. Of all the races, I have the best chance at this one.

30 Minute Race
Hopefully this is where my endurance training will come in handy. This event will be the most challenging. I'd be surprised if I came in anything above last place. There's always a chance. We'll see.

I'm never been so excited at the potential to place last. Even if I'm dead last, it'll be loads of fun. It'll give me an idea of the performance of the trike and me as a rider vs the other folks out there. For the past year, the only competition I've ever had for speed I've ever engaged in was the occasional run in with upright bike riders who had no idea I was racing them.

A couple weeks ago, I almost lapped a road biker. I struggled and struggled hoping to do it, but I was about 1/4" behind and it didn't seem hopeful.

3 months ago, it took these road bikers 2 miles before they'd lap me. I'm slowly increasing the gap. It'll be interesting to see how I perform with the other bent riders. I may be the only trike and I'd bet I'd be the only KMX out there on the track. KMX's are named after BMX's. KMX's weren't designed to be familiar with paved roads. They're the durable aggressive counterparts exploring uncharted areas.

I've never raced before, but I'm sure there's more than a handful of things I need to do to prepare for the event.

1. Weight shedding:
I'll have to get rid of some extra weight on the trike especially since I've added about a 1lb from the new rear hub and wheel. The bag is coming off, as is the water bottle mounting brackets. No flag. The old SRAM 3x7 would have been better for racing, but I'm not swapping the wheel again for reasons of convenience and I also want to see how the new setup performs. An argument for keeping the new Sturmey Archer hub though is that it's brand new and spins much better. I have a feeling the SRAM 3x7 IGH (internal gear hub) needs servicing to be as efficient.

2. Car:
I need to borrow my parent's SUV to take this thing out to the track. I'd rather not have my prized possession bobbing up and down on the freeway on a standard bike rack like I've been doing to transport it.

3. Parts and Tools:
I need to be sure to bring extra tubes in case anything happens.

4. Swapping tires:
Putting the Racer tire in the back would probably be a good idea, but that'll require removing the back wheel. If I do that, I may as well swap out to the lighter wheel all together. After a test ride Friday or Saturday morning, I'll make a decision.

5. Camera:
I'd like to record the event but I may not have anyone accompanying me to help out. Hopefully I can befriend a fellow bent rider's pit crew or cheerleader.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Camelbak got me moldy

Yuck! The last thing you want to see from both of your $12/each + tax (Chill Jacket) water bottles is mold growing out of it! Angela warned me to wash it more often and I didn't listen. Guess I deserve it. Getting frustrated and not wanting to buy another two bottles, I contacted Camelbak for some help.

I was hoping they'd send me new ones under warranty, but instead they old me the bite valves can be removed! The mold had been growing from underneath and w/o removing it, I wasn't able to get access.

After prying with a knife, the valves finally came off. Now soaking in soapy water.

Schwalbe Marathon Tire

After getting my first flat on the rear wheel sitting on Schwalbe Marathon Racers during the Bay to Breaker's event, I was even more eager to put on the Marathon tires. The Marathons are significantly heavier than the Racer version and is definitely thicker. Even just after a visual comparison, I'm much more confident riding with Marathons in the rear. I'm hoping I won't have to ever change out the rear tire. Wish me luck with the new setup.

The Marathon weighs a whopping 1.4lbs by itself! 440g which is just shy of 1lb (0.97lbs).

How much did the Racer version weigh? The scale doesn't even read it! That's gotta mean it barely weighs a few grams. The specs say 290g (0.64lbs).

Another reason for running with the Marathon and keeping the Marathon Racer as a backup (rather than the other way around) is that the Racer version is foldable. A folding bead comes in handy.

New Wheel!

A little reminder of how the existing one looks like.

I've been researching for months to get the new wheel together. It was all in my head and even after getting disappointed that City Cycles didn't stock the red nor white spokes I wanted, I was still excited to mount this thing on the trike.

It was 11:50am yesterday when City Cycles called to let me know the wheel was ready to be picked up! They open at 11am, so I never would have guessed I'd be first in the queue and they could finish so quickly. Perfect timing b/c I was just about to take off for lunch. Now I knew where I'd be going for my hour break - City Cycles clear across town on Steiner.

Ian whom I've been working with recognized me right away. Even before I could finish asking for the Sturmey Archer hubbed wheel, he asked John, the builder where it was.

"The small one?" asked John.

"Yeah," replied Ian.

Ian grabbed it from behind the counter and it looked great! It looked exactly like I imagined. The silver nips matched the silver hub quite nicely. I couldn't wait to mount this thing! The only thing left to complete the look was the red reflective rim strips which I ordered that evening. I found them for $12.99 - enough to cover the front wheels too (in case the new red color from a different ebay seller didn't quite match the existing front ones). Estimated arrival date? 5/26 at the latest.

Back to the wheel. I didn't even go upstairs. I took off my jacket, put on some gloves and got to work still wearing my work clothes: dress shirt and jeans.

Comparing the weight of the new wheel to the old one scared me. It was heavier - way heavier. The new wheel is 5.0lbs! And that doesn't even include the tire and tube!

The old one I took off and replaced? 3.8lbs. That's a 1.2lb difference.

With the tube and tires, it's 0.8lbs more for a grand total of 5.8lbs! Ouch! That's more than 13% of the weight just in a single wheel!

As for the original mag wheel? How much did that weigh? 3.8 w/o tube and tire. That's the same as the SRAM 3x7 IGH. All the weight saved by going to spoked rims, went into the hub.

After mounting the tube and new Schwalbe Marathon tire that arrived in the mail the night before, it was a whopping 5.8lbs! The current one was less than 4. That's a big difference for rotational weight.

There was more bling to be added. The new 8-speed cassette was mounted first, followed by the old disk brake I had from my mag wheel. Alas! I have my rear brake back!

Although I had test fitted the hub prior to the lacing of the wheel, I was still concerned about fitment. All this trouble could easily lead to this not working. Looking at the mounting hardware, I got a bit nervous. There didn't seem to be enough threads after mounting the wheel on the frame through the dropouts to secure it.

Lucky me.

It worked. It worked. Well, not quite but at the wheel's at least on the trike. There are tons more components than the SRAM 3x7 wheel - a lot more. If I was worried about dismounting the SRAM 3x7 wheel during an emergency wheel patch on the road for Aids Life Cycle, doing the same with this new wheel would be a disaster. The hardware and mounting just isn't as well thought out on the Sturmey Archer as the SRAM internal gear hub.

I gave the wheel a spin and it there was lag - lots of lag. I'm hoping it was the disk brake that needed some adjustment. The disk was dragging on the brake pads. After some adjustments, I spun the wheel again and Whola! It worked. The wheel spun more freely than the SRAM 3x7! I had yet to take a test ride, but was very happy at this moment.

A hub is no good without a shifter, so that came next. It took me at least 35 minutes just to determine a location on the handlebar to mount it. My original plan was a no go.

I thought about physical locations of the grip shifter, rapid IGH shifter but didn't realize I cannot operate both in the configuration I had imagined. The mirror was also a problem. I needed clearance to operate the rapid shifter and still be able to use the mirror. Even after dropping the brake lever, bell, and grip shift down, there still wasn't enough room. I'd have to figure out a new layout for the left handlebar.

Sliding the components down the handlebar wasn't easy! The bar's definitely not mandrel bent. The dimensions are not only dissimilar throughout it's length, but it actually bulges out above the bend!!!! Horrible quality on this KMX. Not the same diameter throughout!

After the struggle, I finally got it on. The IGH shifter is darn close to the tire. Unless I want to risk stripping a layer of my skin off or lose a finger in the spoke, I definitely have to wear gloves and practice using the shifter in this location.

I'll need to buy new replacement handlebar grips since the one's I have now are too short.

UPDATE: 5/22/11
I took some pics during Race Day, so here is one of them. The other close-ups came out blurry.

Up Until 2:45am Working on New Gearing

I picked up my new wheel yesterday and was so excited to install it! After finishing up the installation, I remembered I needed to swap out my corresponding shifter to an 8-speed (from 7) to operate the new 8-speed cassette. Being me, I didn't want to rest until I finished. Needing at least 5 hrs of sleep to operate normally, I hit the sack at 2:45am.

So how did all this happen?

Assuming products of the same manufacturer would make compatible parts, I tried to get all my components together last night only to find out this afternoon that they do not work together!

The SRAM MRX Comp 8-speed shifter has a 2:1 ratio. The ratio comes from how much tension the cable makes based on a single gear shift of the shifter. The ratio needs to match the rear derailleur that it operates. The derailleur I have is the stock SRAM 3.0. I only learned recently that it has a 1:1 ratio, meaning it is not compatible.

What a waste of $12.

Amazon has some good prices and with the Prime membership that ships stocked items in 2 days, I guess I sometimes get overly excited and button happy - mouse button that is, which translates to quick purchases.

So the question now is do I get a new shifter or a new derailleur? I really like the grip shifts as opposed to the index shifting or rapid shifters, so I'm leaning towards replacing the rear derailleur with a compatible one.

However, I just remembered that Mike gave me a twist shifter a couple weeks ago. I wonder if it's a 1:1 ratio one. If it is and it's an 8-speed, it'll work! It'll be silver and won't match the other side, but at least it'll work - if it does.

On my trip to Monterey to pick up the SRAM 3x7 IGH, Andy also gave me a couple high end shifters (with faded numbers) and a nice derailleur to go with it. Both are supposedly high end and after doing some research found that the components combined are sold for an excess of $120. That's a lot compared to the $12 shifter I got from Amazon, eh?

Spend additional monies and buy either a shifter or a derailleur.

I'll give the first two options a try when I get home and will report back later.


Okay, it's later. I didn't have the parts for Option 1 so I dug up the XTR derailleur that Andy got me and it works! It's got 1:1 ratio. After 40 minutes of adjusting, the chain finally moves through all the cogs. It can still use some tuning, but for now this'll do. I didn't have enough time to take it around for more than a few runs up and down the block.

So far the trike rides fairly well considering the extra weight of the new wheel. I'm pleasantly surprised. I won't be able to gauge the performance difference accurately until I take it for my routine ride. Another variable worth noting is the new Marathon tire that replaced the lighter weight Marathon Racer.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Training Does A Body Good

My weakness is endurance. To improve on this, I'm running as much as I can. I'll post here to keep myself accountable for the remainder of the month. Stats today?

Covered 2.87 miles running 5mph for 30 minutes plus a 5 minute cool down period.
Accessory 47: Airforce flight tab @ ebay $3.34

I've been wanting this ever since I found it on ebay while browsing. I'm not exactly sure how it stumbled upon it, but here it is! The quality of this piece is fairly good. It shipped quickly since I opted to buy this one from a USA seller. From HK, it probably would have taken 2 weeks.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Pedals?

Since learning that rotational weight matters and is very different than just dead weight, I'm looking at other ways to save on rotational weight. What else moves round and round? Pedals! I first chose the pedals I have now based on price, being SPD compatible, being dual sided so friends can ride w/o special shoes and having the cool red accent color to them.

It's been over a year and now that most of my friends who want to ride the trike have already ridden it, I'm not so concerned about the pedals being dual sided with a platform on the other side. This gives me a few more choices.

Not being restricted to dual sided pedals with platforms one on side opens up the range of choices.

I'm considering the Shimano PD-M520. It's got the chrome and black look, very minimalistic, weighs 86g less than my current ones and is priced at only $4 more. Amazon's listing them for $34 shipped.

The 86g savings is pretty minimal though. And that's per pair - not each. That equals 0.19lbs - almost a 1/4 lbs worth of shedded weight.

What does that actually mean relatively speaking?

One way is to find the priciest cheapest pedals and compare those to these 380g PD-M520's. Chainreaction Bicycles however, reports that these are 420g. According to the Weight Winnie chart at the bottom of this post, it's 374g. What's with the discrepancies?

I'm not sure who spends $350 (most expensive price for these is $486) on pedals, but that's the price of these puppies. So how much do these weigh? The weight of a feather? With a price tag like this, do they pedal for you? No and no. They weigh174g. Compared to my current ones at 466g, that's a difference of 292g or 0.64lbs. They're 63% lighter.

These are road pedals though and probably not a fair comparison.

These Shimano PD-A520 weigh 315g and cost $45. That's a 65g difference from the one's I'm eying and a 151g (32%) difference from the ones I'm currently using.

These Shimano PD-MM770 Deore's weigh 350g and Amazon wants $78 for them. This model is a step higher than the $34 ones I want. Difference in weight is only 30g.

Perhaps the best way to find out what the Shimano PD-M520's spec means relative to what's available is to look at the mountain bike racing version.

It's called the Shimano XTR 980 (priced $165) and weighs......315g. These make the PD-A520's look like a sweet deal!

So what does all this tell me?

1. 466g is a lot for a pair of pedals.
2. 86g savings if I buy the Shimano PD-M520's is quite a substantial difference.
3. I could save almost twice that by getting the PD-A520's that weigh 151g (0.33lbs) less than the ones I have.
4. If racers are using 315g pedals and cheap ones are 466g, 390g is right smack in the middle.
5. Remembering that 0.4lbs (181g) in the new rear wheel setup made a world of a difference, I'm thinking that a similar reduction in weight may increase performance on the front end with the pedals.

I guess I'm not the only nut that compares grams of pedals. Check here for a full list.

My research addition continued and I searched for more pedals. This one's impressive. It looks a lot like the Shimano PD-A520's, but these are the PD-A600's. Two-toned and way lighter. That's a 175g or 0.39lb difference compared to my current setup!

First flat on the rear wheel

As I was riding at the Bay to Breaker's event for a good 12 miles before I heard a pop and tssssssss. The tire had blown and it had blown bad. How bad? I quickly steered clear across a group of 7 people towards the curb to find out.

Picking the trike up (which actually did surprisingly feel lighter than before), I set it on the grass up on the curb so it'd be out of the way of runners. Good thing I did b/c not too longer after, a kid pushing his friend in a shopping cart can speeding down the hill grinding the wheels against the curb I had just gotten onto.

No pic, but they looked like they were having fun. It reminds me of the movie, Jackass. I think I remember a scene where they went up a ramp on one of those grocery market carts. Either that or it was just on the regular MTV series.

You can barely tell b/c it's sitting on grass, but this thing was completely flat. Although disappointing, I was a bit excited as this would be my first chance to practice fixing a flat on a trail.

I got lazy and decided rather than risking losing pieces while taking the wheel off, I'd just remove the tire and tube to try patching it.

Prior to removing the tube, I checked the inside of the tire to be sure there weren't any obvious foreign objects protruding. All was clear and that's when I turned to get a closer look at the tube itself.

Finding the hole was probably the hardest part. With so many people around, it was hard to hear the hissing sound of air escaping the tube. I read the night before on Sheldon Brown's site that lips are one of the most sensitive parts of the body and it's a good idea to put the tube up to your lips to feel for air (especially if it's in a loud environment where hearing it isn't practical or possible).

It worked!

I found the hole right at the rubber where the valve was at. I pulled out a Specialized patch I had bought almost a year prior and stuck that puppy on after grinding the tube with the included sand paper.

Pumping air back into the tire was quite a task. I had to hold up the back end of the trike while pumping as to not put too much weight on the tube prematurely. I later found it helpful to move the trike so that the rear wheel just hung over the curb before pumping.

It appears that these Schwalbe tubes are a POS. This is the second tube that's just burst for no reason! This is after I bought 4 more spares! I guess I'll either need them or should buy another brand. I intend on getting some Sunlite tires soon. Schwalbe might make good tires, but their tubes are just pure crap.

Maybe I'm speaking too soon b/c I realized last night that I had never used rim tape. The outside of the rim where the spokes stick out was in direct contact with the tube. I doubt any rubbing caused the breakage b/c again, the hole was found at the tube's seam. I believe it's just poor construction in part by Schwalbe.

Here's a note to Schwalbe,

Stay away from tubes. Don't even think about making them anymore b/c you're just going to leave rider's stranded. Stick with what you're good at and save your time to research and develop improved tires.

There's a chance I could be completely wrong about what caused the flat and perhaps I'm criticizing Schwalbe prematurely. Just before lunch after I had already dropped off the trike at home, I stopped by the local bike shop to pick up rim tape. They had rubber ones for $1 which just looked like another layer of tire tube.

No thanks!

They also had the fabric kind, the type I've seen before. I grabbed that for $5 and was out of there. After getting back home, I put that on with a 1/2" overlap. It's sticky and just sticks to itself. It had a Presta valve hole, but stretched easily to accommodate my Schrader w/o a problem.

The tire's back on and everything's back in good shape - so far. I should probably swap out my tube for a new one, but I'm sticking with the patched one for now to see how long it'll hold up. This time I had used the Specialized patch rather than the Performance Bicycle branded one. The packaging on the Specialized ones and glue seem to be better.