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


Anonymous said...

A Tour de Washington ride/race sounds really fun.

Small Adventures said...

I'm really diggin' the new digs,Kent!!! Really sweet how ya takes non-bike stuffs and makes bike stuffs outta it,I just LOVE that!

Steve in Virginia

Bob said...

Hi Kent,

What made you decide to go for gears? I thought you were exclusively a singlespeeder?


Kent Peterson said...

I've never really been exclusive anything on a bike, but I'll focus on one thing for a while. For the past year it was prepping to do the Tour Divide on a single-speed. The main advantage of gears for me is that it makes it easier to match pace with someone when I'm riding with other folks.


D Housley said...

How do you like the disc brakes? Been wondering about going into disc territory.

Kent Peterson said...

I've become a big fan of disk brakes. Good stopping in both wet and dry conditions and I'm finally not wearing out rims in the wet winters around here.

Anonymous said...

Spoke to the Ranger station here in North Bend where I live seeking information on whether or not you can punch through on Forest Service Roads between Snoqualmie Pass and HWY 410....its a go and they say its beautiful! Parts are arriving daily for my Surly Karate Monkey build and I'll be out rallying these Forest Service Roads looking for adventure.


Anonymous said...

Also, last September did a bike tour up in North Central Washington on some Forest Service Roads out of Omak & Conconully State Park. Beautiful country! You're on to something with this "Tour Dividish Route" for Washington.


chatty cathy said...

nice setup kent. i apprecate that yer not exclusive anything on the bike but i still think of ya as powergrip central. will ya ever go back to them?

Kent Peterson said...

Powergrips are very handy for pulling up on the backstroke and give more fore & aft options than clipless but so far I'm not missing pulling up. I never know what the future holds, however.

Paul said...

Wow, a very nice blog you have here! I love your pictures and your cool adventures! Very Awesome!

Lawrence said...

I think it's great your bike looks so well used! A real testament to it's purpose!

How much capacity do those baskets give you though? Are they not a bit small for carrying touring loads, or is that enough?

Anyway, I like your blog!

Lawrence - The Bicycle Safari

Kent Peterson said...

Hi Lawrence,

You must be new around here! I tour pretty light. I was on the trail for most of June without a rack at all, but I didn't have any cooking stuff with me. With the racks I can carry my Kelly Kettle, a thermos, and things like that, but I still won't be going hauling too much.


Anonymous said...

When you mentioned adding gears to your bike I assumed that you were going with some sort of internal hub. Is there a reason that you didn't go with a sturmey-archer internal hub or the like?

Anonymous said...

Well, I'll be damned.

Hell just froze over, the Pope is a Southern Baptist, and a bear just asked to use my toilet.

Enjoy your gears, you certainly deserve them.

Anonymous said...

"Great Cascades Route" sounds like a great idea. Please publish the route, GPS please.

The new ACA Cascades route looks like a nice highway/paved touring route, but there are a lot of smaller and logging roads and single track. Linking them into a route may be the tricky/impossible bit, as I'm sure you know.

Johann Rissik said...

Way to go, Kent! Keeping it real and down to earth. Thanks for that.

central park bike tours said...

Greetings for NYC. Great blog.

SW said...

The Suntours are also a personal favorite of mine.

But a question: are you using a left/front as a right/rear? Because if you're not, then I am on my 1x8 rig. Not that it seems to matter.

Kent Peterson said...


Yep, I had an odd front Suntour shifter in my parts box. It works fine as a rear shifter over 8 cogs.

Central Park Bike Rentals said...

Is that a sun powered battert in the front of the bike? That will be really cool!