Maple Leaf Test Rides

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It's 1658

Mileage is up, as left the Breezer at work whilst test riding a 1987 Fuji Ace.

So took the SC1800 from home to work today, the left pedal is becoming annoying now. It goes click with every rotation, it is obviously time for new pedals. Would repair these pedals, except that it costs $8 to replace them, becoming less expensive than spending the hour or so to repair them. If they are serviceable at all!

Also, to refresh: drivetrain is toast, brake shoes are worn.

There is always something with the SC1800

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ride real good

The Breezer is such a blast to hop aboard.

A veritable spin class with the compact 42 tooth big ring, it is all the ratios necessary to keep up with downtown traffic.

Only ever had to use the bailout 22 tooth granny one time to get up a 4% grade whilst carrying a heavy load.

Kinda nice to keep it low with all the accelerating at controlled intersections.

And with fresh Prolink 'oil' on the chain, it smooth!

Monday, May 29, 2006


Handed back the tezt ride roday.

Definitely absolutely must have a road bike. Such efficiency it is like person and machine becoming as one. Not like a robot or cyborg, but as a stronger somebody. Words cannot do justice to the splendid way of enjoying a sunshiny day.

Back to the Breezer it is, gotta top up the oil on the chain....

Friday, May 26, 2006

Dramatic differences

Between the SC1800 and the Turbo.

In one corner we have a 48lb monster bike. It is mostly suitable for 5km hops, yet is equipped with a wide 18 speed drivetrain.

In the other corner a sub 20lb rocket. It is the epitome of unrivalled efficiency. It moves like bad stink in a stiff wind.

Oh well, back to the SC1800....

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Took the 2000 Rocky Mountain Turbo for final testing phase today.

Wow it go warp speed. Kinda like the Raleigh Professional from the days of yore, except much easier to push up mounds. The Shimano 105 kit is OK, except it never makes it from the 39 tooth to the 53 tooth on the upshift - lots of chatter and mis-shifting. The wheelset is super awesome value, relatively light, simple to service, not bad brake surface. The best part - paint job is totally 'bling'. The cherry red on white maple leaf stencil fade turns heads wherever it goes, would be big fun to ride on cycling vacations, if being happy to be Canadian is your thing. Sweet cherry-it!

Gonna hurt to give this one back....

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

To clarify

Yes the SC1800 should get new pedals, however since the Breezer is wearing the new VP 565's.

This is due to the reasoning that Thunder makes no sense wearing clip fast pedals, and it is a bother to be changing shoes all the time. Thunder is also getting most of the mileage these days and the SC1800 can probably wait until bad weather season before the pedals become a hazard.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Ooh a fun test ride...

Test riding a road bike today, it is ever efficient!

Here is a picture:

Monday, May 22, 2006

km 1650 something

Yup, indeed, the SC1800 makes an OK foul weather rig. The fenders do help to stay drier. Also, if there is extraordinary depreciation on rims, bearings and brake shoes the replacement parts are relatively inexpensive.

That being said, today there was no rain, so took Thunder in to the shop for a pedal swap. It rides very nicely. Here is a picture:

Friday, May 19, 2006

km 1640 and a bit

That darn left pedal is clicking again!

Picked up a pair of fresh VP 565's, however will not have time to install them until Monday. Gonna have to ride these plastic puppies into the ground.

The tubes are surprisingly sufficient at holding air. Gotta check the back entries, seems like a month or two since had to put air in there. Also (knock on wood) no flats yet, despite plenty of mileage on glass strewn springtime streets. Suppose the glass goes between the knobs, or the heavyweight nature of tires includes, like, some belts or something

Thursday, May 18, 2006

km 1630 - ish

Aha! Something happening!

This time it is pedals. The intermittant clicking noise from the left pedal has developed into a full blown regular tick. Those plastic pedals don't stand up like they used to!

Other than that nothing interesting has happened today (yet).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

km 1620 -ish

SC1800 riding OK. Still saving up the $30 for new chain and freewheel, have some time before chain snaps.

Saw an interesting page on chains here:


And look under the 'tests' section, then in sub-heading '#2'

It rates tensile strengths of various manufacturers and models. Conspicuously missing is the Rohloff SLT-99, wonder if this is any tougher.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

One of those days

Where needed one bike in the morning and a different one at night.

As in slept in late and had to have a speed bike to get to work on time in the morning. Then at the end of the shift it was raining and could have really used a rig with fenders. The ride home last night was rather soggy. So the choice of taking the Breezer in the morning was OK, but made for things getting wet at night.

It was one of those days where it seems like no matter what the choice, the decision was inappropriate.

Monday, May 15, 2006

km 1604.4

Not a lot to report, except that mileage is being split between SC1800 and Thunder.

Left SC1800 outside all day yesterday and yet it goes unvandalized. Truly a tough, practical beater bike.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

km 1588.8

All that was needed to be done was to get on and ride.

Tires hold air, the chain was exactly as remembered.

Maybe was would be nice is to have a fleet such as to have one ready to go everywhere around town.....

Friday, May 12, 2006

Two bike are better than one

When things get wet, am finding it to be advantageous to have a rig with fenders.

Haven't been putting any mileage on any machine due to inclement weather and the beater (the SC1800) is stuck in the shop. It would be nice to have parked in the yard, as it has flat pedals and mudguards.

The Breezer is fine to ride, except that it would be soggy in the rain and necessitates having a change of shoes.

Therefore, it will be a good idea to have two bikes around the house when awaking, depending on weather conditions and kind of shoes worn.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Expanding scope

The SC1800 is in limbo. Althoug it is a wickedly inexpensive beater bike for foul weather riding, there is a plethora of finer bicycles out there. This means that for the summer the focus of the test ride will transfer from the 2005 Supercycle SC1800 to a 1991 Breezer Thunder.

Thunder was acquired from my buddy Bob at the turn of the century. He upgraded to a Breezer Lightning and as such the other bike was offered to me. Small difference between the two models, except the Lightning has thinner walled tubing and is Black instead of Blue. There was also much less mileage on Lightning.

As Thunder had been around the block a couple of times, it was showing appropriate paint chips and the headset was chronically loose. All the same, it was a sensible bike for riding around the neighbourhood and as such was locked up outside of my apartment in Kensington 24/7/365 for a couple of years. It got a makeover of the addition of a rack and fenders. The fenders were from a CCM Breeze and were another shade of blue with pinstripes. The wheels (Mavic 117/Deore LX) were from a friend and assured me they have been built properly. True to his word they remain straight to this day with no nipple twisitng whatsoever. The parts were an eclectic mix of Shimano, Sugino and Mavic with the rarely seen 27 speed thumbie friction shifting. In short, a way fun scoot.

Fast forward to 2003, when the electricity bill was mounting and had to liquidate assets to pay for the juice. My friend Kristen was kind enough to provide a home for it under the condition it not leave Toronto and I have a buy back option when things got flush again. She seemed to receive some practical use from the beast and even left the country with it to take it to the Burning Man festival!

This winter, negotiated the return of Thunder from Kristen. It sat around the shop getting dusty whilst the Sc1800 experiement began. Then it hit me like a load of water from a squirtgun when my roommate suggested to remove the fenders and make it sporty again. He said it would be an OK offroad machine, which would be a nice option as the Team Marin had been sold in the last couple of months. After the Park MK-129 arrived, it was time to give it a total overhaul and pimp it out again. The BB was rusted in a bit and one of the rack bolts sheared. Much to my chagrin, there was found to be serious damage to the lower part of the head tube, the crown race of the fork and the drive side chain stay! Totally wrecked!

Built it up best as possible by using pop can shims in the mushroom shaped head tube and ovalized crown race. Drilled the tips of the crack on the chain stay. Dressed it up again without the rack and fenders and rode it in the 2006 five boro ride.

And still riding it, knowing it's gonna need some brass brazed onto the weak areas. It run OK.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Still riding the competition

Spent the weekend riding the other bike because it runs relatively more efficiently

Also was guided to an excellent document of bicycle advocacy at

Thursday, May 04, 2006

no mileage today

As was out test riding a 1986? Schwinn World Sport.

Quite upright position with short top tube. Easy mounting, quite efficient. Weak wheelset. Exposed gears necessitate an ankle guard. All in all an adequate scoot. Yay, adequacy!

Word of the day: fiesmakker

No further entries until Tuesday, May 9th as we are going away to New York City for the 5 boro ride.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

km 1578.7

Wee beastie running OK. The same complaints about worn drivetrain and pedals, these are tolerable conditions.

Unfortunately for wee beastie, we are fussy (spoiled, perhaps?) here at Maple Leaf. And now the time is prime for riding and there is other rigs to ride. This puts the SC1800 in the shop so the summer bike goes out. SC1800 will still be ridden of course, but not at the same rate as in the winter.

Conclusions so far: SC1800 is a decent candidate for winter riding to save wear and tear on the bikes we love; Weak areas are bottom bracket, drivetrain and pedals; An excellent value at $99, ideal to replace rather than repair department store bikes; Will not put elan in the activity of cycling; The experiment continues......

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A failure?

Might seem the pilot has blown a gasket and sworn off the SC1800.

Got up early, had a cup of a coffee with a friend and rode the long way into the shop.

It was pure bliss travelling without a sound such as to facilitate listening to the red wing blackbirds, warblers and blue jays. It was sort of cool turning heads with style points when they gazed with wide wonder at the darts painted onto the head tube.

Perhaps the SC1800 will not ride again until the rain comes....

Monday, May 01, 2006

Something like km 1550

Put the finishing moves on the summer lightweight. It is a early 90's MTB from the Toyo factory. It rides nicely, especially now that it is a well tuned bike. Summer bike is also substantially lighter than the SC1800. Summer bike probably weighs something like 28lbs, whereas the SC1800 comes in at 48lbs (with the lock and all).

No doubt the summer bike instils a desire for riding. The feel of an efficient machine converting energy to forward movement is gratifying.