Friday, July 23, 2010

Upgrades to Downtube 8H.

Hey all. Wanted to post a picture of some upgrades I’ve done to the Downtube 8H and explain them. Really enjoying the bike thus far. No problems yet. Still looking for a replacement front fork. Like I mentioned before, the Zoom fork doesn’t give as much as I’d like. It’s more of a road dampener.

Here’s the pix and what I’ve done.

New front ring: Ended up swapping out the front ring for a 38T ring (it came with a 46T front ring). I think the stock gearing on the 8H is a little high. There are some steep hills in my area that I need some help with in the form of a lower gear. If I lived in a flat area, I wouldn’t have done this upgrade.

Chainguard: You know I use my bikes for commuting in dress pants and khakis. Thus, I consider a chainguard a necessity. The stock 8H comes with a bashguard chain cover ring, that is ok. But as you ride your bike, the wind WILL whip your pants into the chain giving you some stains. The chainguard eliminates these problems. The chainguard brand is SKS. It fits front rings up to 40T. Also, the rear part of the chainguard expands and contracts so you can adjust it to fit. Also, you have to remove the bottom bracket to loop this chainguard around the front part.

Fenders: As I mentioned, the 8H comes with a rear fender only. And, the stock fender gives you 25% or so in coverage for the rear wheel. In the rain, this will give you some coverage, but not as good as a 50% coverage fender. I got that in the Planet bike 20” recumbent fender. The front fender is a Planet bike 20” front-wheel recumbent fender. The Planet bike fenders also have a very cool looking rubber slightly upraised flaps at the ends.

Pedals: Swapped the stock Wellgo folding pedals for some BMX-type pedals. The pedals are slightly lighter in weight (they are clear hard plastic) than the Wellgos and are wider which gives you more area to put your dogs on them. They also have upraised nubs that give you traction.

Rear rack: I took off the stock rack because it rides too low and close to the rear wheel. This causes heel strike if you use side pannier bags (which I often do). I installed an old “Performance Bike” rack that rides higher and eliminates the heel strike problem. I had to bend the rack extensions somewhat. A plus for the 8H is that it has plenty of holes to add another kind of rack. In a way, I hated to do this upgrade because the stock rack is custom designed for the 8H and is very aesthetically pleasing.

Reflective strips: Added some reflective strips for nighttime visibility. Although you can’t tell from the picture, the strips are red. The camera flash made it look a different color. I got these strips on ebay. They are plentiful there in all the colors you can think of. Shipping is low for most of these reflective strips since sellers can just put them in an envelope and ship them to you for the price of a stamp. I may have paid $2-3 total for these strips and had some left over.

That’s about it. Let me know if you see an old Downtube front suspension fork. I'm looking for one.

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