Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Monocog is now the Octocog

While doing my long walk-push-coast through the Great Divide Basin in June, I had a lot of time to think about how I was going to rebuild my Monocog when I got back home. The Tour Divide beat the bike up pretty bad and I told the machine "When this is all done, I'm gonna get you some gears." I followed through on that promise and also touched up the worst of the paint dings. The saddle took quite a beating, including a permanent dent to one of the rails (probably from this bumpy landing), so I splurged on a brand new WTB Rocket V. Finally, since many of my miles involve local errands and tours where I may want to carry a bit more gear (things like a tent for two and the Kelly Kettle), I added a rear rack and baskets.

The rack is a Blackburn Ex-1 Disc Rear Rack which I'm sure fits fine on a 26" wheeled bike, but is too close to the tire for my comfort on a 29er. The Octocog lacks rack eyelets but I got creative with some clamps to get the rack mounted with good clearance all around.

The nifty copper baskets cost $6.71 each at the Issaquah Lowe's hardware store . I love re-purposing non-bike stuff as bike stuff. I tied the baskets to the rack with nylon parachute cord. I can strap all kinds of things into the baskets with straps I make from inner-tubes. Anything that needs to stay dry can get packed into a bag before being stuffed in the basket. My faithful RADBOT mounts nicely on the back of the left basket. A single bright rear light is plenty, but for the sake of symmetry, I'll probably add a second one soon.

The Octocog's rear wheel is new, as is the right dropout featuring the dérailleur tab. Both items came from Seattle Bike Supply. The used rear dérailleur cost $7.00 at Bike Works.

My all time favorite shifter is the old Suntour Power Thumb Shifter. I had this one in my parts stash, but I think I got it a few years ago from Bike Works for $5.00. The front handlebar bag is another bargain, a Gap kid's lunch bag that I picked up at a thrift store for $3.00.

One gear up front and eight in the back gives me a wide range of gears. After years of single-speed riding, having 8 distinct ratios at my thumbtip seems rather decadent. Sheldon Brown's handy Gear Calculator tells me that my 32 tooth chainring together with an 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 26, 32 cassette gives me a range from a high of 84.7 inches down to a low of 29.1 inches. That's plenty for me.

The Octocog is now ready for thousands of more miles of adventures. This fall I'm planning on mapping out a Tour Divide-ish route from the Canadian border to the Oregon border via the wildest parts of Washington State. Next year, Christine and I will be touring some rugged parts of Montana. I'm sure I'll manage to find some other interesting trails as well.

Keep 'em rolling,

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA
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