Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy 40th, Pac!

Circa summer 1979.
Hard to believe, but each of these cool guys ended up with a doctorate in one thing or another.

The shortest kid in these pics didn't stay short for long. Happy birthday, big guy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Quick DIY top tube frame pack

The pack took about 90 minutes to make in total, from measuring the frame to strapping it on.
After finding out how convenient frame packs are for carrying things, I had been wanting to construct packs specifically sized to other bikes. To this end, I put together a simple top tube frame pack, using materials that I had on hand for this first tester example. The pack is made of about 1/2 yard of cordura pack cloth that's been in my sewing kit for 20+ years, an old steel YKK 19" zipper, various scraps of Velcro, and some 100% polyester upholstery thread. I didn't produce detailed instructions, but if you are interested in building a similar pack, it's a simple process if you have at least proficient sewing skills. The design is essentially a box, shaped to fit the inside of the frame, with a zipper installed on one side.

Cardboard template for the frame pack.
To begin, I took a piece of cardboard, a pen, and a utility knife, and constructed a template of the inside of the front triangle of my 2002 58 cm Surly Cross-Check. The cardboard template guides the shape for each side of the pack. I made sure to mark the locations of cable stops, housing, bottle mounts, etc. so that the Velcro straps cleared them. To connect the two sides of the pack, I used strips 3" wide. On each piece of fabric cut for the project, I added .25" all the way around to account for the seam edge. I also constructed a flap over the zipper, to help protect it from rain, etc., though this pack is by no means waterproof.

The pack easily holds my trusty Stanley cook pot with enclosed pop can alcohol stove and fuel, among other items.  It's big enough to be useful for a picnic, a camp outing, or a small grocery trip.
The pack turned out fairly well, and fits the frame exactly as intended. The design worked well for fabrication, though I won't use the same materials for the next one. The cordura material is quite sturdy, though it's not nearly as light or water resistent as similarly sturdy modern materials, such as Dimension Polyant X-Pac. The steel zipper works well enough, but it's heavy, and its action is not as smooth as plastic. A modern water resistant plastic zipper will be part of the next pack I make. In the end, I learned a bit about how I'll make subsequent packs.

The pack is not wide enough to get in the way of riding.

The right side has no zipper.

The left side has a zipper. Why the left? I'm left handed. Make your own pack how you like.

With the pack installed, there's still plenty of room for water bottles below.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Public service announcement: 1991 Diamond Back Master TG seatpost size

Yep, it reads 27.0 mm on that Avenir 4130 steel seatpost.
 Per request from a reader, here are some images of the seat tube cluster on my 1991 Diamond Back Master TG. As these bikes age, there are likely still many usable frames out there in the wild. A critical element of putting one back together is to source the correct size of seatpost. As this type of info can be difficult to find elsewhere, I'm posting it here. For the record, the frame requires a 27.0 mm seatpost.

If you're here for the purpose of rebuilding an old Diamond Back road bike, you may be interested in learning more about my pepto-pink '91 Master TG, which I discovered nearly unused a few years ago. Good luck with your project!
Seat cluster from the back...

...the left side...

...and the right.