Friday, November 16, 2007

The Lung's machine


Rider height:  1.73 m (5' 8")
Rider weight:  63.5 kg (140 lb)
Seat tube length (c-c):  362 mm
Seat tube length,- (c-t):  462 mm
Top tube length:  589 mm (horizontal)
Saddle height, from BB (c-t):  710 mm
Saddle nose tip to C of bars:  562 mm
C of front hub to top of bars:  673 mm

Frame:  Specialized S-Works Epic team-only edition, size M
Rear shock:  Specialized AFR w/ Flow Control valve
Fork:  Rock Shox SID Team prototype, 100 mm travel

Bottom bracket:  Specialized integrated
Cranks:  Specialized FACT Carbon integrated, 175 mm, with 24/34/44T Rotor Q-Rings
Chain:  Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7701
Front derailleur:  Shimano XTR FD-M961
Rear derailleur:  SRAM X.0 BlackBox mid-cage
Front brake:  Magura Marta SL with 160 mm Carbon-Ti titanium rotor and EBC green compound pads
Rear brake:  Magura Marta SL with 160 mm NoTubes coated aluminum rotor and EBC green compound pads
Brake levers:  Magura Marta SL
Shift levers:  SRAM X.0 trigger
Rear sprockets:  Shimano XTR CS-M960, 11-32T

Wheelset:  Specialized Roval Contrôle XC Race Disc
Tyres:  Specialized Fast Trak LK, 26x2.00"

Bars:  Specialized S-Works Carbon Fiber 31.8 mm XC Flat, with Specialized C1 Carbon Overendz bar ends
Stem:  Syntace Force 119 MTB 31.8 mm, 100 mm x -6°
Headset:  Integrated
Tape/grip:  Specialized Sidewinder

Pedals:  Shimano SPD PD-M959
Seat post:  Specialized S-Works Carbon MTB
Saddle:  Specialized Phenom SL, 143 mm
Bottle cages:  Specialized Rib Cage Pro Road
Computer:  Specialized Turbo 2 Elite, stem mount

Total bike weight:  10.07 kg (22.2 lb), with computer, without seat pack

Cross-country race bike of choice for 'The Lung'

By James Huang, Traverse City, Michigan

Living mountain bike legend Ned Overend continues to defy the laws of time. At 52 years of age, the Durango, Colorado resident landed a sixth place finish in the Pro Men field at the Iceman Cometh, an end-of-season 43.5 km (27 miles) point-to-point classic in northern lower Michigan whose perpetually rolling terrain doesn't particularly cater to the former world champion's strengths. In addition, much of the course is laid out on relatively wide-open doubletrack, paving the way for road race-like speeds and even road race-like tactics, such as double- and single pacelines.

More here.


Anonymous said...

I heard from a friend who's a reader of your blog that you have a new custom frame coming in. Could you tell me more about it?

-ben said...

Oh, it's just a frame with a geometry suited to my longer-than-usual femurs. I.e. shallower seat tube angle.

Anonymous said...

Who's building it?

-ben said...


Anonymous said...

That's nice. I'm looking at a steel tourer in the next couple of years. Am trying to decide on something affordable, like a Velo Orange, or Ebisu. Or something ridiculous, like a Weigle or Toei. Do you have any leads on a tandem sized for 170 / 161 cm?

-ben said...

Thanks :-) Steel is a good choice as builders have a lot of experience with it, relative to other metals. That, and it lends itself to many long-established methods, e.g. fillet brazing.

Off the top of my head, IIRC,

Don't go lower than Chromoly 4130. Butted, double butted, triple butted, tubes are good. Tange (Japanese), Reynolds (British), Columbus (Italian) are very reputable brands. Internally butted profiles are better, IMHO. as external butting changes the outside diameters and may complicate things when you slide clamps around.

Seamless tubes are also better. Seamless tubing is made by forcing a slug of hot metal under extreme pressure through a mandrel such that a tube comes out on the other end. Think of a pasta machine. When the tube cools, the grain of the metal is homogenous.

In comparison, seamed tubing is made by rolling the 2 edges of a metal sheet until they meet, and then welding them together, and then grinding down the outer weld until it is flush with the surrounding metal. A ridge of metal remains on the inside, presenting itself as a stress riser. More importantly, the grain structure of a tube manufactured in this manner is not homogenous (i.e. weld zone versus rest of the metal sheet) and may lie perpendicular to the length of the tube.

The legendary Reynolds 853 is very good as it is supple, springy, but extremely strong. However, if you live near the sea or in a tropical environment, this steel is notorious for its low corrosion resistance. Going bonkers over every scratch in the paint job is not my idea of recreation. Now, if I lived in Arizona...

Aluminum tandems exist, but they tend to use really large diameter downtubes. Some think they are pretty, others think sewer pipe. I think "thin wall, large diameter tube = easily dented."

I really like the new Reynolds 953 super steel. It is even stronger than 6AL-4V titanium (which is VERY strong), but suffers none of the corrosion susceptibility of Reynolds 853. In fact, it is stainless. Due to its strength, the metal can be drawn into very thin walled tubes that are almost impossible to dent under normal use / crashes. The super thin walls however, make it a challenge to weld without burning through.

Transporting tandems can be difficult. You might want to consider specing S&S couplers for the frames. Utilizing the concept of the Hirth Joint (which Campagnolo is now using for their Ultra-Torque cranks), the S&S couplers are extremely strong. That way, you can easily transport your tandem. S&S couplers can also be fitted to existing bikes if you should be so lucky to locate a pre-owned model that fits you and your partner.

Last, but MOST IMPORTANT of all, fit.

If you are going to invest in a custom frame, please get a bike fitting. Knowing the height of the cyclist is inadequate as inseams can vary wildly even between individuals of similar height. The length of your upper body, coupled with the reach of your arms determine the top tube length. The length of your femurs (thigh bones) determine the seat tube angle. And so on. The information derived from a good fitting is worth more than gold. E.g. you know what fits you and what doesn't, so high pressure sales tactics from shady bike shops won't work on you.

As I have never purchased a tandem before, all I can offer is general advice. Perhaps you could look for forums dedicated to tandems (maybe on Road Bike Forums?) I hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the details. I've done the research and made inquiries on just about everything you mentioned.

The only trouble now is finding someone who can build that tandem. Bob Brown has declined, Mariposa has not replied (and I don't think they will), Alex Singer doesn't do it anymore, and Bilenky doesn't do the sort of work I want.

953 is a fair bit more expensive to build - I've checked.

S&S couplers can be installed in Singapore, as Sulaiman is now licensed to do the work. Depending on who builds the frame, it might however, be better to install it as the frame is built.

853, or lower grades of steel are preferable. And I definitely want the bike painted, and it would be a pity to paint over 953.

In the meantime, I'll go do more homework. I'm looking for something along the lines of Singer, Herse, Follis and Toei.
Not the KHS or Santana kind of tandem.

But of course, given my budget and location, I can't afford to be that choosy either.