The bikes I own(ed)

Start-Shosse | Nakamura hybrid | WMTeam 26" | MTI titanium | Nexus-7 tandem | Nexus-7 26" | Touring/road | Nexus-8 26" | Rose roadbike | Cube 29"

Start-Shosse, a race bike from 1970-s

[This was a roadbike from 70-s] Touring bike, build up on an old road (~1970) Cr-mo frame. In its latest incarnation equipped with Shimano 8-sp. MTB drivetrain and Campy Ergo-9 brifters. This was my first "serious" bicycle, on which I rode my first long-distance rides back in St. Petersburg. Before that, I did my trips on a single-speed general purpose bicycle with a coaster brake. Originally this one had tubular wheels, leather saddle, downtube friction shifters and 2x5 speeds, which was a fantastic upgrade after the single-speed. Are you feeling nostalgic?

Eventually I replaced literally everything one-by-one, except the frameset, which I was quite happy with. It was not as light as modern frames, but it took 37mm tyres and racks. It was also repainted and scratched, which made all bike look like a very low theft value -- great feature for touring. There is a dedicated page in Russian about the upgrade process and its technical particularities.

This bike ended its life after trip in the Alps (2005). Returned home, I noticed that the seat tube was cracked under the top tube lug (picture). Funny thing that I did not notice anything wrong in the trip and do not know how long have I ridden with such "suspended" frame.

Nakamura hybrid

[Nakamura hybrid] Basic hybrid, my first acquaintance with the world of modern bicycles. Worked for me quite fine for 3 years, although had not seen serious distances. Sold to a colleague, whom it still hopefully serves well.

The thing I liked about it is the adjustable stem, which is a nice way to find your preference in the fitting of the bicycle. I found my own limit of handlebar position (about 5 cm under level of the saddle) and selected non-adjustable stems on my future bikes accordingly.

WM-team 26"

[WM-Team bike] Bought used at a moving-sale price. Had "full German" equipment, including Sachs drivetrain and Magura HS-33 hydraulical rim brakes, of which I have mixed impressions. 19" frame was small for me. Obviously too long seatpost was the reason for the seat tube cracked at the weld with the top tube. No injury happened to the rider, i.e. me: I just heard squeaking sound while pedaling, thought it was coming from the saddle. Only inspection at home revealed almost a 180 degrees slit. I wonder how did it keep from complete failure during the rest of the ride.

The frame was re-welded, now this bike is in use by my wife, whom it fits much better.

Russian titanium custom-made (but not for me) frame MTB

[MTI titanium custom frame] After breaking the WM-team frame, I was looking for a replacement. My requirement was solid fixtures for the rear rack. Surprisingly, it turned out to be very difficult to find a decent frame designed for racks! By a coincidence, a friend of friends was selling his titanium frame with a custom rack. The frame is made at MTI (Masters of Titanium Production) Russian factory. We were of almost same height and weight, so I took the chance to buy this frame, and found the frame+rack combo perfect for my needs. I did not need titanium at all and would be never paying extra for it (I do not believe in folk tales like "aluminium harsh ride"), but this frame turned out to be also cheaper than frames of comparable weight I considered, like Surly or Thorn. (Later I found, making nice and affordable aluminium frames for conventional or Rohloff hubs. That would be my choice now.)

The rack is just the best one I ever saw. It is one-piece welded titanium, which makes it much more rigid when fixed on the frame than "one size fits all" racks, connecting to the seatstays via thin sliding pieces.

Most of my kilometers come from the daily 17km (one way) commute to work. For folks in, "commuting bike" means a roadbike, but in my conditions that is nonsence -- MTB with good suspension beats roadbike in the city in all aspects.

After a long service, the bike was given away to a friend.

Nexus-7 (!) tandem

Nexus-7 Tandem drivetrain

This monster has own page. It is a department-store 26" tandem, which is barely acceptable for two strong adults, but it was intended as a machine to carry 7-year old child. Equipped with kidback, this is one of my projects I am really proud of.

We did a number of long-distance family trips (Aland islands, Curonian spit, Bavaria) and lots of in-town riding with one or two children. The time flowed, children grew up to their own adult-size bikes, and I sold the tandem to a friend who had his own two kids of "tandem age".

Nexus-7 26"

[Bike on Nexus-7] In Finland, internal gear hubs are quite popular. It is mostly "grandma's bikes" which feature them, but high-mileage cyclists also discuss their drawbacks and advantages up to the point that I wanted to try one. I got salvaged old steel frame with horisontal dropouts (rarity nowadays), unfortunately it was again under my size. 400mm seatpost and extra-long high stem from St. John's Street Cycles made it possible for me to ride it more or less comfortably.

I have not became an advocate of Shimano Nexus-7 hub. Generally I liked everything in it, except that it can not downshift under load. So while climbing a hill, you must unload pedals for a moment to reduce the gear ratio, which overweighted advantages like immediate shifting and lower maintenance.

As all of my bicycles took too much space in the bike storage room of our house, I put back original 7-speed equipment plus some upgrades and sold this bike to a friend at a bargain price.

2Danger crossroad

[2Danger crossroad]
[Hybrid incarnation of 2Danger crossroad]

After the frame of my first and only road/touring bike cracked (picture), I started search for a touring-like bicycle with the following properties:

  • Drop handlebars
  • Shimano brifters other than Sora. There is nothing wrong in Sora. It just has different "interface" than other groups, and I wanted to compare them all; I already was quite happy with Campy and Sora brifters.
  • Option to install tyres up to 35mm
  • Option to install fenders
  • Fixtures for the rear rack
  • Low gears down to 1:1, preferrably even lower.

Unfortunately in 2006 road groups down to 105 became 10-speed, which sounds like a big obstacle to me: there is was by that time no 10-speed MTB cassettes. Also the "added value", 16 tooth sprocket, is a nuisance; I can believe that pro racers may benefit from it, but for me that's just a redundant click plus more expensive consumables.

There is the classic touring Cannondale T800 satisfying my requirements, although a way overpriced with no visible reason (like Cannondales normally are). This was a fallback solution; fortunately after long search I found the pictured "cyclocross" bike, with price half of Cannondale's and higher parts group: last-year 105, still 9 speed! The low-gear condition was not met though, it has lowest standard road 39/26 combination. But the left brifter is triple-compatible, and the upgrade to reasonable crankset, like 26/36/48, could be done at quite modest cost. Long live

The previous frame was definitely on the small side for me; now I again wanted to test the other extreme and ordered 62cm center-to-top frame size. After the first test the stem was replaced with shorter and higher one, just as I expected. In that setup, I rode quite comfortably 300 km brevet and 800 km ride over central Europe (2006), so I consider the question of fitting as "solved".

Later when I got another "real" road bike, I replaced the handlebar for a straight one. Some people find drop bars convenient also for touring or city riding, but I'm not among them; I understand drop bars only for riding very fast (races) or riding very long (brevets). For all other usage, my choice is straight bar.

Nexus-8 26"

[Nexus-8 26inch bike]

I heard many times that the Nexus-8 hub is a major improvement over Nexus-7. Once offered a 26" wheel built on Nexus-8 premium hub for the price less than hub alone in other shops. I could not resist a temptation to buy it, rationalizing that this may serve as an upgrade for our tandem. Before the next tandem season, I got for free a throwaway steel frame with horizontal dropouts from a local small bike repair shop, and installed the hub there in a similar manner as on now sold-out Nexus-7 26" bike.

My straight feeling: I did not found any "major improvement". The hub has the same problem: downshift under load does not happen. Some jumps, notably from 5 to 4, are better than others, in the sense that they shift already under slightly relieved power. Others are just like in Nexus-7, i.e. complete release of pedaling force is necessary.

The bike is still in occasional use; this un-shifting is not crucial for commuting. But of course it does not make riding more pleasant. As I did not have any problems other people have with external deraileurs (like freezing in winter or just bad working), I see no benefit in planetar gear hubs for myself.

Rose roadbike

[Rose roadbike in snow]

Some time ago I joined a local cycling club. Their rides sometimes were a challenge for me, the question was often "to drop or not to drop". Although I'm riding just "for fun and fitness" and do not have any plans to compete (at least by now), the desire to not give others handicap has overweighted my unwillingness to buy things which I do not necessarily need. This gave a way to the carbon roadbike.

There are lots of roadbike models on the market, so after deciding on the price category, it was necessary to do the selection. My criteria were:

  • classic frame, without any unneeded (and unesthetical, in my opinion) bends;
  • Sram groupset - just because I tested other two vendors and now wanted to try the remaining one
  • repairable wheels, which do not require proprietary or straight-pull spokes

These requirements reduced the selection up to point that it was easy to choose, which run their own brand and allow full customization of the purchased bikes. I also found their price/quality ratio to be among the best.

Frame number: HR103813.

Cube 29"

[Cube LTD SL]

Black-blue-white Cube LTD SL 29", 2014

Numbers on the frame: WOW08819, HG1013M, EN14766

Konstantin Shemyak ( / Cycling / The bikes I own(ed) Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS!