Tag Archives: diy

A chill in the air? Get studs for your tires

Seattle’s once-yearly cold snap has me thinking traction. Sure, so far things have been pretty darn easy. Aside from the University Bridge (no, apparently they _don’t_ read the blog), the roads have been in great shape.

But the weather folks tell me this won’t last.We’re supposed to get some snow tonight and maybe tomorrow. Then they tell us to expect the teens to the low 20s (in Seattle!) for a few days, followed by more white stuff.

That’s tempting me to up the ante in the grip department. Studded tires are a logical choice, but hard to justify for two or three days a year. Even if I wasn’t such a cheap bastard, by the time I got around to ordering them it would be 50 and raining.

So what’s a tightwad with a hankering for traction to do?

DIY of course. Chains seem pretty nifty, but the process is kind of  high maintenance, even for me. That leaves self-studding as my only option. You don’t need me to point you to a studding tutorial — the interwebs are loaded with them. Totally cool studding videos are in shorter supply. Luckily, the Google delivers with this awesome video from Finland:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Even Anne, who doesn’t give a rip about studded tires,  watched the whole thing. It kind of makes you wanna grab the cordless drill and a beer, huh? If I don’t get snowed in tomorrow, I think I’ll head to Tacoma Screw for some #6  pan-head screws and give it a whirl.

Do you have some studding plans or experience ? (I can’t imagine what our Google search referrers are going to look like after this post). Let us know how it goes.

-Tim

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Xtracycle Build Details: Stoker Bar

Nitto Stoker Bars on Anne’s rig

This is part of an ongoing series of posts (ok, it’s the first–we’ll see how it goes) on the building of our Xtracycles. We get lots of questions about putting them together so I thought I better start documenting. Normal people would do it in order, starting with the actual kit, but me, I gotta start with the stoker bars. Maybe I just like saying Stoker….

Interested in the build? Read on, then see the blurb at the bottom and watch the “Buildin’…” category.

For our stoker bar setups we used some cheap ebay tandem stems and beer-can shims to mount bars for our passengers. I’ll get to the stems in another post but for now, here’s the scoop on these sylish Nitto “Swept-Back” bars.

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Our (first) Xtracycle on the road!

family on the new xtracycle

Finished Anne’s xtracycle today (actually VERY early this morning, but who’s keeping track?). We are pretty psyched. The kids are digging it already — it’s gone to the store, Grandma’s, and swim lessons.

We still have some finishing touches:

  • rigid fork on order
  • A cushier, upright seat needed
  • Albatross bars on order
  • curvier stoker bars coming (Nitto swept-backs)
  • Some smooth fat rubber (well, I wanted 2.3 but I don’t think they’ll fit the skinny Rolf wheels)

But all in all, this thing is cool. Mine is next!

-Tim

Building the Longbike

I’m slowly putting together longbike #1. I’m going from this:

Xtracyle out of box

To hopefully something that resembles a bike.

For the most part, it has gone together well — at least considering the cobbled together source of parts (ebay, craigslist, parts bins, and even other bikes hanging in the basement). I had some issues with the derailleur hanger being mis-drilled, causing the derailleur bolt to (want to) cross-thread, but nothing a dremel tool can’t fix! I got it on track and props to the xtracycle folks for offering to replace the frame.

When I get this one done, mine is next.

More later!

PS — a photo of the derailleur issue:

xtra-de-hanger-w-notes.jpg