[Doug sent us these photos of his custom, belt drive Surly Cross Check. —ed.]
When I decided to convert a bike to belt drive, something I’ve been thinking about since I first learned about the Gates Carbon Drive back in 2007, a Cross Check retrofit was my first choice. I bought a new 2010 Surly Cross Check frame from Ben’s Cycle in Milwaukee. It originally came in a Beef Gravy Brown color. Dave Wages from Ellis Cycles picked up the frame for me and took it to be dipped and stripped. He then cut the right rear seat stay and installed a Paragon Machine Works stainless steel tube splitter to accommodate the belt installation. This was a challenge as the seat stays taper quite a bit. He had to locate the splitter just below the brake mount. Even then he had to remove some material from the splitter on a lathe to make it fit into the seat stay tubing on the lower side. While he had it, I also had him braze on some low rider rack mounts on the forks (these now come standard on Cross Check’s). After Dave was done, I asked him to ship it to a painter in the Twin Cities area to have the orange powder coat applied. I also used this painter for my Xtracycle conversion back in 2007. I changed the model name from Cross Check to Belt Check. It’s not an official Surly model. Note that I voided any warranty on the frame as soon as Dave cut into it.
I had hoped it would be the perfect winter commuter bicycle with the Gates Belt Drive. I learned the hard way during the first real snowstorm I rode in that the rear sprocket made for the Nexus and Alfine internally geared hubs does not shed snow as advertised. Snow quickly built up on the sprocket and quickly discharged the belt right off. Other winter riders have experienced the same issue when riding in snow with the Gates Carbon Drive. Gates upcoming new Centertrack design should solve this issue. I rode with a chain drive the rest of the winter. Now that it is Spring, the belt drive is back on and I’m looking forward to riding with it.
Some component highlights for this build include:
- Gates 118 tooth belt
- Rear sprocket 24 tooth
- Front sprocket 50 Tooth
- Crank: Sugino double JIS square taper
- Pedals: Shimano PD-A530
- Brakes: Paul Component Touring Canti
- Saddle: WTB SST
- Handle Bars: Nitto Noodle
- Brake Levers: Cane Creek SCR-5
- Stem & seat post: from the parts bin
- Front Hub: Shimano Deore XT
- Rear Hub: 8-spd Shimano Nexus IGH
- Rims: Salsa Delgado
- Fenders: VO Zeppelin 52mm
- Tires Winter: Schwalbe Winter Marathon 700 x 40
- Tires Summer: Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700 x 35
- DT shifter boss covers: Problem Solvers Shifter Boss Covers
- Rear Rack: Civia Hyland
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is set to release the Draft 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) this week. The Draft RTP is the culmination of a two-plus-year planning process and its release triggers a public comment period on the document. The 2050 San Diego Regional Bicycle Plan that was adopted in May of last year is considered an important component of the RTP and the overall transportation strategy for San Diego County going forward:
The San Diego Regional Bicycle Plan was adopted to provide a regional strategy for making the bicycle a useful form of transportation for everyday travel. It was developed to support implementation of the both the Regional Comprehensive Plan (RCP) and Regional Transportation Plan. The RCP calls for more transportation options and a balanced regional transportation system that supports smart growth and a more sustainable region. The RTP calls for a multimodal regional transportation system that includes a regional bicycle network. The Plan provides that network, as well as the programs that are necessary to support it.
Our teenage daughter has been riding a fixed gear bike for transportation the past couple of years. It’s been serving her reasonably well, but she’s been saving up for a road bike with gears so she can participate in road training rides with her mountain bike team and cover more ground with less effort. She decided it would be fun to purchase an older bike and refurbish it as a spring project. By lucky chance, a good friend of ours was selling a 1993 Bridgestone RB-2 in her size, so she snatched it up. We started work on the project today.
The first thing was to take the bike down to the bare frame. We shared tasks, with her working on removing the saddle and bars while I removed the brakes, crank arms, and derailleurs. Once we had all the parts in a box, she cleaned the frame, wheels, and other components as I stripped and re-packed the headset, bottom bracket, hubs, and freewheel. She then removed the old tires and tubes so I could true the wheels. As she touched up and waxed the frame I took an inventory of what we’ll need to complete the project. We wrapped up the afternoon on the computer, ordering the parts we’ll need to finish the bike.
The parts should arrive in about a week. Then comes the best part of any refurb project – reassembling the bike. We’ll report back on how it goes!
[Wow, this has been the month for Gallery submissions. After averaging just a few per month over the winter, this is the 9th submission for April and we're only half way through the month (it must be spring). Keep 'em coming! —ed.]
This entry is from our friend Krishna. He’s getting ready to depart on a springtime tour down the coast from Seattle to San Francisco. After researching and prepping for a couple of years, he decided upon a Rivendell Sam Hillborne for the trip. He recently took delivery of a 56cm Waterford-built Sam with a double top tube and custom paint touches. It’s a pretty bike that should serve him well on his trip. Once he’s back home the Riv will make a great transpo and utility bike for commuting and grocery hauling. We met up today so I could see the bike and take a few snap shots (shown here).
[Full credit for this method goes to Tim Grahl at Blue Collar Mountain Biking. I've only reproduced it here to make sure it's available for our readers. —Alan]
You’ll need a 5mm hex wrench and a Torx T-25 driver. Let’s start with the assumption that the rotor, caliper, and cable are properly installed on the bike, and that the rotor is true.
1. Loosen the (2) black CPS mounting bolts with a 5mm hex wrench to a point where the caliper body can move freely.
2. Loosen the inboard pad adjustment knob using a Torx T-25 driver.
3. Slide a business card between the outboard, fixed brake pad and the rotor (be sure the biz card is between the outboard fixed pad and the rotor, not the inboard adjustable pad and the rotor), then tighten the pad adjustment knob until the rotor and business card are snugly clamped between the brake pads (you should not be able to pull out the business card). This aligns and centers the caliper over the rotor while leaving a business-card-sized gap on the fixed side.
4. With the business card still in place, re-tighten both CPS bolts to lock the caliper in place.
5. Loosen the pad adjustment knob and remove the business card.
6. Tighten the pad adjustment knob until the pad just barely touches the rotor, then back off one click to eliminate pad/rotor contact.
This method is more precise than the method outlined in the Avid BB5 Instruction Manual. It perfectly aligns and centers the caliper body and brake pads over the rotor. I’ve found it to be the most consistent way to minimize lever throw and ensure full engagement when using BB5 road calipers and road levers. And once you’ve done it a couple of times, it takes all of 5 minutes.
[Matt sent us these photos of his Jamis Commuter 3. —ed.]
My name is Matt DeBlass; I’m a musician, journalist and all-around jobler from South Bound Brook, NJ. The bike is my 2009 Jamis Commuter 3. Although it’s a 2009, I got it this year from Garden State Bicycle in Whitehouse Station, NJ, where I occasionally work as mechanic. Jamis happened to have one in my size on closeout (it’s rare, but sometimes being the big guy works in my favor).
About the Bike
- Year/Make/Model: 2009 Jamis Commuter 3.0
- Size: 22″
- Color: Bone/Black
- Stock Component Highlights: Shimano Nexus 8-Speed hub, Tektro long-reach caliper brakes, Weinmann double-wall rims, Vittoria Adventure Touring 700x32c Tires
- Par Swaps: I replaced the spongy cruiser saddle and suspension seatpost with a straight Kalloy post and my beloved Terry Liberator saddle. The spongy stock grips were replaced by Specialized lock-on grips.
- Add-Ons: Trek rear rack, Wald basket up front, Blackburn head and taillights and a Carradice College saddlebag. Electra brass bell. Saddleback Leather messenger bag. Elite Cuissi bottle cage.
- Mods/Fabrications/MacGuyverisms: Homemade quick-release bag bracket, Homemade headlight mount.
- In my saddlebag: Spare tube, Topeak minipump, Crank Brothers Multitool. “Bone” style wrench, Park tire level, extra bungee cords and toeclip straps for tie-downs, a high-vis vest for getting caught in rain/fog/dark, Kryptonite U-lock, Kryptonite cable lock, gloves and a windbreaker.
This bike came set up for short hops around town, but once I got it dialed in and swapped the squishy saddle for something a little more suited to actual riding, it’s been perfect for the 20-40 miles of running around I do on the average weekday.
Because I have to leave it locked up out of sight while I’m at one of my jobs, I built a quick-release bracket for the Carradice bag using some aluminum flat stock, long bolts and an old MTB QR skewer. It’s not a super-strong bracket, but since the bag actually rests mostly on the rear rack, it seems to be working OK. I made a light mount out of some more bits of metal and a PVC pipe fitting, because when the basket is full it tends to obstruct the headlight. The Saddleback bag I use as my briefcase is pretty heavy for a basket bag, so for short hops it’s usually on my shoulder, but it’s nice to have the option on hot days. As some of the pictures show, I sometimes use it to haul my mandolin to practices and gigs (although for non-photo purposes it travels in a padded gig bag) although I haven’t figured out a good way to transport all of my instruments on the bike (the drum set is giving me particular trouble).
I’m not living totally car-free yet, but I got this bike about a month ago, and a week after that the transmission in my truck started to act up, so I may have the decision to give up driving made for me very soon.
South Bound Brook, NJ