How did you like your cruiser bike?

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Elliot
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How did you like your cruiser bike?

Post by Elliot » Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:23 am

As some of you know, I have a small fleet of bicycles that I lend out to camp mates and other friends. In 2006, I started out with all “mountain bikesâ€

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ygmir
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Post by ygmir » Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:29 am

I would vote for lower gearing.
IMHO, it's more important to get going, and keep going, than to go more than 10 mph or so.

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Post by C.f.M. » Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:32 am

100% serious: If I could have kept the bike you loaned me, I would have. It rode like a dream.

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Post by ygmir » Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:40 am

C.f.M. wrote:100% serious: If I could have kept the bike you loaned me, I would have. It rode like a dream.
why do I always think of salacious humor when you post?
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Post by C.f.M. » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:02 am

ygmir wrote:
C.f.M. wrote:100% serious: If I could have kept the bike you loaned me, I would have. It rode like a dream.
why do I always think of salacious humor when you post?
Image

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Post by Bob » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:32 am

Don't know how your bikes were set up, but mine was a Schwinn cruiser w/ a Shimano 3-speed hub. We're going to set it up with a bigger sprocket for next time, only requires removing a snap ring. Manoevering around hippies at slow speed is a bigger priority than getting anywhere fast.
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Post by ajs » Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:10 am

My Walmart-bought crusier (I had the $75 cranbrook model that was quite popular this year) was perfect out of the box. I'm not in great shape, but had little trouble getting going, and wouldn't have wanted to trade down maximum speed. On the other hand, surface conditions were favorable this year; had there been more dunes, a lower gear would have been advantageous.

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Post by MrMullen » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:01 am

My cruiser was awesome this year. The wife and I have used mountain bikes in the last few years, just become we could get them for really cheap, and you are right, the added complexity of gears and harsh environment of the Playa means they break down quick. This year we resolved to get cruisers that would not only be simple to rid but also comfortable. Our beach cruisers were fantastic and we loved them. However, you are correct about the gearing. Women beach cruisers on the Playa need a lower gearing than mens and both need fat super comfy seats.
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Post by EmilyD » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:26 am

We bought folding cruisers from Camping World and they worked GREAT! But they were single gear like yours and I did find it tough going sometimes, especially in high wind and soft sand. Having the gear set higher would have been much better for me. Not sure if my husband needed it. I added padding on the seats and handle grips for both of is. It was definitely good to have.
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Post by Elliot » Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:20 pm

:D
Hub gears are indeed a good idea, but new ones don't quite fit my budget for a dozen or more loaner bikes. I do have a couple of vintage ones I may install on select bikes, but some of those old ones are fragile. And even hub gears add complexity.

Please keep the feedback coming. I'm shooting for 15 loaners next year, and I want them to serve the users well. No point in bringing them otherwise.

(Wide comfy saddles -- you bet. I do spend money on those -- as necessary as air in the tires. I'm no great fan of "Wallyworld", but they do have good prices on Bell and Schwinn brand comfy saddles. Buy smooth surface saddles -- NOT velvet/suede surface, which soon tears.)

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Post by EmilyD » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:08 pm

Elliot wrote::D
Hub gears are indeed a good idea, but new ones don't quite fit my budget for a dozen or more loaner bikes. I do have a couple of vintage ones I may install on select bikes, but some of those old ones are fragile. And even hub gears add complexity.

Please keep the feedback coming. I'm shooting for 15 loaners next year, and I want them to serve the users well. No point in bringing them otherwise.

(Wide comfy saddles -- you bet. I do spend money on those -- as necessary as air in the tires. I'm no great fan of "Wallyworld", but they do have good prices on Bell and Schwinn brand comfy saddles. Buy smooth surface saddles -- NOT velvet/suede surface, which soon tears.)
I noticed since getting home that our bike chains are corroded already. Any advice as to care for that?
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Post by teardropper » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:10 pm

ajs wrote:... On the other hand, surface conditions were favorable this year; had there been more dunes, a lower gear would have been advantageous.
I found the deep playa soft with some large dust traps and I had fat tires (2.125"). 'Course I rode a lot at night, maybe I could have avoided some if I could have seen them.

The one speeds I saw all had far too narrow tires for my taste. My cruiser has rear gears and cable brakes. All need work this winter. I would like the simplicity, it would have to have fat tires, and a low gear would be best for me.

I started the Burn with a nice, thick wooly lambskin seat cover for my cruiser.

Someone stole it.
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Post by bluesbob » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:01 pm

After losing my mountain bike to an accident on the way there, I was given/borrowed/loaned/found eight other bikes during my time there. They were equally divided between mountain and cruiser. I would definitely say I liked the cruisers better. Rode just as well, even if it took a little more oomph to get anywhere. Less to worry about.

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Post by Sail Man » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:24 am

ygmir wrote:
C.f.M. wrote:100% serious: If I could have kept the bike you loaned me, I would have. It rode like a dream.
why do I always think of salacious humor when you post?
Because your a horn dog? :lol:
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Post by Sail Man » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:29 am

I also used a cruiser style bike I bought before the last burn at a regional big box store and it has worked great two years running. I did take it into the bike shop before this burn for a tune up and I had no problems with it. I also added a wider seat which my butt cheeks greatly appreciated. :lol:
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Post by ygmir » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:35 am

Sail Man wrote:
ygmir wrote:
C.f.M. wrote:100% serious: If I could have kept the bike you loaned me, I would have. It rode like a dream.
why do I always think of salacious humor when you post?
Because your a horn dog? :lol:
No, I'm sure that's not it.
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Artemis
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Post by Artemis » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:17 am

I love my single speed cruiser, which I've had for 2 burns. It's super easy to operate and I don't have to think about the gears and all that jazz.

I DID wish that it was in a different gear (better drive ratio) because it was hard to get started. I had to get the pedals set just so and stand up in order to get started. I will confess that I only ride a bike a few times a year and so can't remember if that means I want a lower gear or a higher gear.

I coped with it by spraying everything with WD-40 with bike upside down, pushing pedals while spraying. I did this whenever it got sticky, about every other day. I know that someone else suggested that you don't want to oil up anything because it attracts more playa dust, but I don't know what else I could have done. It felt soooooo much better after the WD-40. It also helped to adjust the seat throughout the day. (After doing lots of yoga it was better higher, in the morning, lower).

Elliott - Is changing the drive ratio something that can be done quickly or is it a more complicated fix? I ask because I fly in from NYC and have about a day of running errands before I head to playa. If it's something that can be done in an hour or so, I'll consider dropping it off at a bike shop next year.

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Post by bud buddah » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:48 am

Well I brought a mountain bike for my first burn, since i had one handy. It worked well for getting around and I had no technical problems. But I REALLY wished I had a cruiser with high handlebars so I could sit up and look around while i was cruising. My neck and shoulders were really sore after a couple of days of cruising around craning my neck to look around. And yeah, a softer seat would have been much appreciated. So I'd say cruisers are the way to go.
Did anyone have chunky tires that worked well in the dust? My smooth tires were mostly good, but out in the deep playa I was wishing from something with some mud tread.
Bud

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Post by Bob » Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:24 am

I don't think knobbies help, you just plow up more dust and drag it along with you, making bigger dunes.
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Post by Eric » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:13 pm

I did the reverse of most people and switched from a cruiser to a mountain bike this year, and other than the fact I had some gears stick at the very end of the week, I thought it was perfect.

I'm keeping the mountain bike as my main one, but making some modifications- higher handlebars like Bud Buddah said and a better seat for my old hiney; as well as bring some chain lube, which I never needed on my old cruiser.

I always thought the shocks on the frame would be silly for the playa until I had a bike with them- I barely felt all the pot-holes and bumps I went over. I didn't realize how nice it was until I had lent my mountain bike to a friend for the evening & then decided I wanted to head across town to visit some friends. I used the loaner cruiser I had brought for a friends, and my ass was hating me by the time I got from 3:30 to 7:30- I felt every jolt & bump, and didn't get across the dunes any easier than I did on the mountain bike.

Further proof that there is no "one size fits all" for us. More confusion for the newbies next year. :wink:
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Post by Artemis » Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:10 pm

FYI, if anyone else is interested in the question (and multiple answers) of "to lube or not to lube"

http://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic. ... ht=#532883

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Post by Elliot » Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:33 pm

:D
Great input; keep it coming!

Artemis, yes a competent mechanic should be able to change the ratio in less than an hour. Of course, this depends on having a suitable sprocket on hand.
Either sprocket can be changed; the front sprocket can be replaced with a smaller one, or the rear sprocket can be replaced with a larger one. Either way, the length of the chain will need to be altered. No big deal.

I will be back later with handlebar height and other aspects of this discussion. For now... most of my mountain bikes have tall BMX handlebars.

:D

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Post by FIGJAM » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:05 pm

Elliot I think the half fast bike would be perfect.

Top speed would be about 10mph and peddleing around the streets at 5mph a sinch and like you said "easy to do".
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Post by Elliot » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:19 pm

:D
Hey, it was nice to meet you in person, Figjam!

Half would be too slow. I'll count teeth and divide them out once I get all the bikes unloaded. Then maybe use the easiest factory ratio as the standard. Or one or two teeth easier than the easiest factory one. I'm accustomed to working with Gear Inches, so I'll figure it out.

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Post by oscillator » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:12 pm

Yup, after breaking a pedal powering thru a dune in 2008 on my vintage Hercules, I found a used Macargi Panther, added some ape bars, a kustom cree headlamp, and playafied the kickstand with an old Odwalla bottle top.

Brought back all the memories as a kid - how to brake with the right, so the left is set to go.

The best hoopty ride on the playa!

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Post by Elliot » Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:00 pm

:D
All right, I counted the teeth of three dusty cruisers of recent manufacture.

The Next LaJolla has 36 and 16, for a ratio of 2.25 (58 Gear Inches).

The Huffy Cranbrook has 44 and 19, for 2.3 (60 G.I.).

The Schwinn Legacy has 44 and 18, for 2.44 (63 G.I.).

I have not taken any of these apart, but it looks like the rear wheel sprockets all mount the same old way with a spring clip. I see I have some 19 and even 20 tooth ones laying around, apparently from junked kids bikes. They look interchangeable.

If you put a 20 tooth rear sprocket on that LaJolla, you wind up with a 1.8 ratio (around 47 G.I.), which would be a substantial "easification" of pedaling.

I'll probably start by putting 20s on my Schwinns, since they need it the most.

Thanks for all the input!
:D

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Post by Elliot » Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:10 pm

:D
Almost forgot about the tall handlebar thing.

Image

This is a bit of an odd duck bike -- it's not actually a mountain bike but an old road bike that I put mountain bike wheels on. But the point is the handlebar. That tall bar comes from a kid's BMX ("stump jumper" type) bike. It requires a spacer sleeve to mount on many normal bikes, but I just make those from the old flat handlebar.

Now I suppose I'll try how these work on cruisers.
:D

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Post by stiles » Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:59 pm

I ran a 7 speed internal hub and drum brakes on my cruiser, which worked great, but those things are cost prohibitive in volume.

I definitely used the bottom 3 gears the most; getting going is the hardest particularly in poor conditions.The extra wide tires helped a lot, as did the very upright seating position, wide bars for stability, and big cushy saddle. I'll probably add a suspension-type seat stem for next year to smooth the ride a bit.

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Post by Frankenstipe » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:37 am

I didn't have a cruiser bike I had a mountain bike but I definitely want a cruiser for next year. I would prefer one with gears as opposed to none, getting stuck in deep playa is no fun, 10 speed would do just fine I think.
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Post by misfit » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:04 am

i use a 2 speed kickback with a skiptooth chain ring on an old 49' straight bar frame. heavy, but works...
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