Maple Leaf Test Rides

The continuing saga of test riding a Supercycle SC1800 (Canadian Tire product # 71-1556)

Friday, March 31, 2006

km 1016.0

Applied oil to chain and performed minor gear adjustment.

Running without a complaint now.

Looking forward to aligning dropout and overhauling hubs.

The best part of todays post..these amazing posters received for my birthday. Stunning reproductions of posters that would grace the streets of Paris at the turn of the century. They are on their way to the framers and will be displayed prominently. Thank you Ctos, you rock my world once again!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

km 995.95

Kind of excited to use the dropout alignment kit. It arrives looking like this ^
Front brake lever makes this 'eenkh' noise when it is squeezed.

Drivetrain is getting really noisy, probably time for fresh oil.

The OEM inner tubes hold air quite well. All is is smooth running.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

km 949.99

The return spring on the rear brake lever is working well now. Perhaps it is a temperature sensitive thing as it functions in 10C range but feels sluggish in the 0C range.

Actually got down in to 28 x 28 granny gear today to tractor up a hill. Left shifter requires much force input as the last time it was repaired, the bolt was fastened to beyond torque spec. On the bright side, it hasn't come loose yet.

Monday, March 27, 2006

No mileage today

Instead, test rode a Cervelo Prodigy. It feels rather more efficient than the SC1800.

Picture of it here


Sunday, March 26, 2006

km 917.58

The subject was subjected to a thorough one hour ride in right precipitation last night. The fenders performed adequately, the 20 wt. oil stuck to the chain admirably.

This morning the rear brake lever's return spring was slow to respond as though there is corrosion in the cable again. Other than that the bicycle is performing reliably and smoothly.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

No mileage today

The wee beastie remains parked in the cold, wet out of doors across the street from the shop.

What was intended by 'personal public transit' the other day was that even though riding a bike is a mostly solitary activity, it is done in full view of the public. This makes it a means of ones own that would not be possible without sharing the streets with others.

Truly, really riding a bicycle is a mostly individual thing. (unless it is a bicycle built for two)

Friday, March 24, 2006

km 860.68

Left brake lever makes a barely audible 'eenkh' noise as it gets pulled. The return spring probably requires light lubrification.

Also some noise out of the pedals and rear wheels at low speed, high torque applications such as starting out from red lights and stop signs.

Overall, the rig remains smooth.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

km 835.38

The latest view of the subject of this experiment.

Runs kinda like one's own personal public transit with a relatively low fixed cost to setup with a measly variable cost for maintenance. Also rather like a budget gym membership. The catch - some work must be done by oneself.

All systems are smooth running, only really using four gears for 90% of the riding. With fresh oil on the chain and air in the tires everything will be fine.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

km 822.85

Though neglected the rig remains smooth running.

Not an observation to report today. The fenders rattle a bit going over rough roads and the come bolts are showing oxidization, these things have been noted before.

Able to include updated photographs today. They document the apparent rust. Seems to be surface oxidization on unfinished bolts. Will probably take some time to cold weld and disintegrate.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

No mileage today

And yet again no observations to report.

First full day of spring in the northern hemisphere today!

Monday, March 20, 2006

No mileage today

And therefore no observations to report.

The experiment is still being conducted, there has been a 1/2 week hiatus due to extended distance commuting. It is actually realtively quicker to take the transit compared to riding a bicycle over a 22km commute during peak hours.

Greatly anticipating the dose of endorphins, seratonin and good 'ol fashioned dopamine that goes with riding.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

No mileage today

No observations to report.

Friday, March 17, 2006

No mileage today

Did discover that the BLT light in question is a 'Super Doppler DX' and does indeed retail for $40 at Bayview Cycle in North York. The trick is that is has a lens that accomodates all three diodes such as to make a tunnel-like focused beam of light. Kinda steep cost, at least it runs on regular batteries.

Goods news in that the dropout alignment kit is arriving imminently. It also comes with a few bonus pieces such as a derailler hanger alignment dilly-yo. View the park MK-129 here

haven't tried it should work

Thursday, March 16, 2006

No mileage today

Not a single observation to report.

Chain is still snappy, brake pads still showing grooves. Seems to be some useful service remaining in these parts. OEM grip selection is fantastic! Plenty of life left in that rubber and good adhesion to handlebar.

Fenders have been modified from having 6 supporting rods to 4 supporting rods and are performing flawlessly. They rattle slightly over rough roads, but all of the nuts and bolts are still tight.

Really appreciated the BLT light from Mark. It is a vast improvement over the turtle lights. Can see road signs lit up blocks away. Turtle lights were nice, like when there was a couple of red ones and a couple of white ones all in flashing mode on the handlebars, it looks like police 'cherries'. The BLT light has easier to find batteries (AAA) vs the turtles' (CR2032). The BLT light makes a better flashlight. The BLT light costs more (saw it for $40 at Bayview Cycle) vs. turtle light ($3.50).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

km 799.24

Mounting the rig proved to be a chilly experience this morning as the vinyl saddle can conduct cool temperatures. Other than that the rig is running right.

Brought the beast inside this day for chain oiling and dry storage.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

km 796.04

Observed some surface oxidization on chain and various bolts. This probably has something to do with plenty of rain in the last couple of days and the fact the rig almost never comes in from the out of doors.

Got down into the 'granny gear' a couple of times yesterday, as had to tractor up short mounds. The transmission performed flawlessly. Only complaint is that when upshifting the left shifter such as to get to front derailleur into a higher harder gear, it takes such force input that it affects the steering a wee bit.

Monday, March 13, 2006

No mileage today

No observations today.

Instead did realize how much better it is to be on a two wheeler on pleasant days. This realization came after spending a sunny, warm day stuck inside a four wheeled machine.

A little concerned about having the SC1800 parked outside all the time, as it is supposed to precipitate all week. Perhaps the rust will only be on the surface.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

km 744.66

No observations to report today.

Perhaps did tighten the front derailleurs' shifter with too much torque. Good news is it is staying in place adequately. Bad news is that it takes much finger strength to move it.

Also considering changing the stock tires. They are comfortable and reliable with big knobs. All the same, thought may be able to save a few calories by swapping out to a slicker tread, considering almost all of the riding is on the road.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

No mileage today

No observations on the SC1800 to report today.

Instead, was test riding 'Mr. Pink' of the Pink Lightning Project. That rig runs right, tracks true. Would be fun to clock laps on level, straight roads with no stop signs. On the downside, totally screwed up the cork tape and the rims are not going to last more than two seasons.

This is not a recent photo, it is all we have for now.

Friday, March 10, 2006

km 715.50

No behavioural observation to report today. There is some oxidization occuring on the chain due to the modest amount of precipitation recently.

Riding in the rain is a piece of cake with the full fenders. Only the top of the thighs get wet from moving forward. Perhaps rain pants would be of use to arrive drier.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

km 712.23

Left shifter required tightening. There is a Phillips head screw fastening the shifter assembly, and the torque spec is unavailable at this time. Did observe that if the fastener is properly adjusted that the audible clicking noise from the ratchet mechanism goes away. Seems to be tighten the screws until silence.

On another note, realized that the headset has not required adjustment yet. Seems the factory job is sticking at this point in time. Perhaps having the front fender protect the lower bearing race from contamination may have something to do with it.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

km 691.92

No observations to report today. This means the machine is running as it should.

Other thoughts on the food fueled 1/4hp motocycle aspect - no emissions, no insurance, no licensing, no parking regulations. A freewheeling rig indeed!

Also thoughts on the price - should be $99 plus $50 to have a Shimano UN-52 68x122 cartridge bottom bracket installed. So really $149.

Really enjoying the accessory kit (fenders, rack, lock, lights, speedo). All of these items see useful use every day. Truly a wonder they do not come with the OEM kit of the SC1800. That is to say, if they put these inexpensive bits on already installed, CT could probably charge three times the price and have a healthy margin on this SKU.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

km 670.70

No observations to report today. The gear adjustment performed in the park seems to be adequate.

Thoughts on this as a regular commuter...a budget choice. Cannot compare to the efficiency of road racing or hybrid wheel size, makes up for it in durability and comfort. Ever so good exercise to push a 48lb bike up a mound whilst slightly overgeared. Results in fitness are most noticable when riding the same terrain on a much lighter bicycle.

Recently noticed the 'Made in Canada' sticker on the chainstay. It is heartwarming to purchase locally grown products, because of the smaller footprint it leaves on our planet.

Mentioned it is $99?

Monday, March 06, 2006

km 656.69

Riding is dull and boring these days as nothing as nothing is going wrong. The only item of note is there is this crk-rkk noise that seems to be coming from the spokes in the rear wheel for the first 50 feet of riding and then it becomes quiet.

Wee blue beastie is also receiving a deeper and deeper coating of a blend of road salt on street grit. The surface dirt does not seem to affect performance.

Trying the darnedest to break this rig, suppose it is going to take more mileage. Kind of fun to imagine the subject of this project is a food-fuelled 1/4hp motocycle.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

km 631.81

Performed minor gear work this morning on the way in. The rattling from the maladjusted rear derailleur decreased the calorie in/calorie out effiency of the dirve. Fortunately, this was literally a one minute operation done in a park. The barrel adjuster was out about one rotation.

With the gears dialled in, the wee blue beastie is humming along. Nothing left to do except to ride, ride, ride.

The Toronto International Bicycle Show was a hurly burly of consumerism at it's down and dirtiest. There was also some interesting information being dispensed. A whole lotta fun.

Totally off the topic and completely unrelated to this blog, checked out the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game last night from the 3rd row! Facing Ottawa speedsters like Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza was tough enough, but when couple with a genetic freak like Zdeno Chara, the good guys had their work cut out for them. We lost, as is our custom, but some of the buds were showing heart by digging and grinding. Would love to see Jason Allison and Jeff O'Neill give it up in the style that Darcy Tucker and Tie Domi do. Stay tuned Tuesday March 7th at 1930H as the hometown heroes take on playoff contention with the Canadiens.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

km 617.89

The rig remains humming along. Likely to be another couple of hundred kilometers before next service of oil and air.

Nothing of consequence to complain about. The only marginal imperfection is that the shifting is almost always a wee bit out of adjustment. Adjusted it proper as proper can be not long ago and still am able to hear the whsh-whsh when pedalling, as if to indicate the rear derailleur jockey pulleys are not precisely lined up with the sprockets. In the next servicing, going to upgrade the shift line to compressionless housing and machined ferrules. See for if that helps.

Oooh, bike show today!

Friday, March 03, 2006

km 601.10

Whoa, opportunity to put on 50 km yesterday disintegrated as plans were put off until Tuesday.

The beast is running OK, almost no changes to observe. There is accumulation of salt dust on the frame, probably not a worry as the paint is completely intact. The shifting from the rear derailleur has been slightly audible, a gentle puch or pull on the shifter seems to enquieten it.

Looking forward to attending the Toronto International Bicycle Show this weekend, as there might perhaps be a lighter bike for summertime use in the budget down the road. Plenty of models to look at there, and it will be fun to see what is new in manufacturers' catalogues.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

km 590.04

Lost another crank arm dust cap. That's two dust caps falling off in a week. Must be something to the installation technique.

Put on a pair of Sugino threaded plastic crank arm dust caps, those should stay on.

The pedals are getting smoother as milage accumulates. They were rough at first, and now, spinning freely. Must be magic in the bearings.

Looking forward to putting some real mileage on the rig this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

km 580.35

Good news - nothing to report today! Recent mileage has been quiet and reliable.

Picked up a headlamp upgrade from a friend. On Marc's recommendation, we are going to use a BLT 3 LED head lamp. All we needed to get 3 'AAA' batteries.

Must ride harder tomorrow. More milage planned.