BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: road bike

Wabi Cycles Lightning RE First Impression

“It is the most comfortable bike that you would ever ride”

That is a big claim for bike that will cost you about 2 grand. Did I mention that it was steel? oh yes, but not just “any” steel but Columbus Spirit Steel.

(Disclosure: Wabi cycles sent us a Lightning RE for us to review.  Moe has accepted to do the review because he is roadie, loves bikes and he is just plain awesome. -RL Policar)

If you follow us on Facebook, you would have seen some of the teaser shots from the un-boxing of the Lightning RE to its first 18 mile ride to the beach. Here is my first impression of the bike:

For starters, the bike came well packaged and protected in a box via Fedex.

2015-11-26_09-13-59

It is also worth noting that the bike was pretty much 90% assembled, a simple hex tool was all I needed to put the bike together.

2015-11-26_09-15-01

As soon as the bike was assembled, I couldn’t help to notice how beautiful the bike is. The frame is traditional with a carbon fiber fork, the parts are polished and that Red… quite captivating. The bike got a few compliments as I was riding the bike to the beach, it is definitively a looker.

2015-11-26_09-16-25

There is one thing about this bike that I’m still on the fence; the Microshift Centos shifting components. I’ve never heard of Microshift before, a quick google search yielded few results, some of these results comparing this grouppo with Shimano 105s. Well, my current bicycle is equipped with 105s so a comparison will be a must.

So what about that claim that this is going to be the most comfortable bike I’ve ever ridden? So far it is totally true. The bike blew my mind, I just could not believe how different the ride is from my Giant TCR SLR 2.

The ride to and from the beach is relatively flat with minimal shifting and braking so I still need to put the bike through some uphills and descents. Stay tuned for my full review.

Repainting a bike.

Ever wanted to repaint you bike? Maybe your bike’s got too many scratches or maybe you’re just tired of the color. I know I’ve had that feeling several times. Being a frequent Craigslister, I’ve owned a few bikes that I wish had a different color–the bikes rode great but the color was sometimes just drab or depressing. So, when I became a writer for this site, I had to come up with ideas for articles and repainting was one of them. So here it is! After getting over my fears, I now can share my experience of how I repainted my bike.

About a year ago, I bought a “parts bike”–a bike to harvest parts from–to install on another bike. Since then, the bike has rarely been used and as a result, it’s just sat in my garage.

I went on YouTube, and asked RL, to get a better idea of what to expect. The process (which I’ll break down later) was surprisingly easy.

I went online and followed the instructions I found both from mtnbikeriders.com , ehow.com and a couple of youtube videos. After disassembling (which was not as easy as I thought), I read the instructions on the paint stripper can and it was scary! I had to use a mask to not inhale dangerous fumes and use solvent-resistant gloves! Using a putty knife, I easily removed the paint. But since the previous owner just painted over the original paint of coat, I had to use two cans of the paint stripper. After sanding down the frame with fine and extra fine sandpaper, I was ready to paint. The sanding was very cumbersome because of hard to reach parts like where the derailleur cable goes but it only took about eight hours spread over a couple of days. After that, the repaint was easy–laying down plastic to make sure that the spray paint doesn’t get all over the place, I sprayed four coats over four hours (that means, 4 coats with dry times of 1 hour each). And since I used a spray paint that combined the primer and paint in one, I was able to skip 2 coats of primer making my job a little easier! FYI: the guy at Home Depot just suggested the primer/paint combo without a finish to be sufficient.

One minor setback happened–some debris made it onto the paint in the threading where the rear derailleur goes so when I attempted to reinstall the rear derailleur, it was at an angle. This damaged the first 2 or 3 threads so I tried to thread it in between the drop outs, as opposed to outside of the dropouts hoping that it would fix the thread. It didn’t so I was off to the bike shop. Now the bike shop didn’t have a metal tap or heli-coil to fix the stripped threads so I was advised to buy a bolt of the same size as the derailleur bolt from a hardware store to fix the thread so I did. I screwed in the bolt from the inside (in between the drop outs) and it fixed it! I installed the rear derailleur and put together the rest of the bike.

What’s needed:

Klean-Strip Paint Stripper

Flat Black Spray

  • Paint Stripper (about $7)
  • Paint (about $7)
  • Tools: Crank Remover (If you don’t have one, they’re about $8 on Amazon)
  • Monkey wrench/Spanner Tool
  • Hex Keys/Allen Wrenches (I used 5mm, 8 mm)
  • Socket wrenches
  • Cable Cutters (if necessary)
  • Gloves and breathing mask

I also used, a painter’s sheet of plastic (1.50 at home depot) which I recommend but it’s not necessary.

Here are the steps!

1. Disassemble Bike

Remove crank, fork, pedals, wheels, brakes, cables, derailleurs, seatpost and handlebar.

Bike Before Disassembly

Kept Crankset On

Covered Headset w/ Painter's Tape

Covered Crankset w/ Tape and Grocery Bag (Not the prettiest thing but it gets the job done)

2. Spray paint stripper on fork and remove paint using putty knife. Repeat if necessary. Sand down to get a smoother finish.


Hung the fork on metal hanger

3. Spray paint stripper on frame and remove paint using putty knife. Repeat if necessary. Sand down to get a smoother finish.

Sprayed a pretty thick coat!

4. Re-paint!

Eventually took off crankset to get easier access to the bottom bracket

Beautiful!!!

5. Assemble again!

Ta Da!

Day6 Bicycles: Dream Update

It’s been a few weeks since my first mention of the Day6 Bicycles, Dream. I’m quickly starting to fall in love with this bike. Not only is it a great comfy ride, but the bike it self gets plenty of attention while I’m on the road, I figure, the more people checking out the bike, the better…why? It means they are seeing me.

Just because the Dream has a recumbent look and feel, it doesn’t mean that its not practical for daily riding or using for errands. Just today I spent the afternoon with my kids riding bikes and we even went out to get some ice cream.

The Dream has been pretty durable considering that it has been able to handle the abuse I’ve been giving it. Yah, you can easily bunny hop this bike…
day6 bicycles

Just look at the beefy tubing that this bike is built with…that speaks longevity to me.

One of the fun factors about this bike is that you can really lean into the turns. All I had to do was use my hips and the bike followed.


I was basically riding on the sidewall of the tires…

Even my 12 year old has been enjoying the Dream.

Another great feature that I mentioned last time was the built in bag/pannier that the Dream comes with. You can pretty much see it in this photo, but I kept my camera, keys, wallet and bike lock in it the whole time.

Remember once we’re done with this review, you do have a chance to own it. We’ll provide more details as time nears on how you can own this particular Day6 Bicycles Dream.
day6 bicycles

Our Second SweetskinZ Winner

We’d like to congratulate Sara Palmer of St. Petersburg, Florida — our second SweetskinZ raffle winner to claim her prize of two 700c “Hazarea” tires.

Here she is with her prize:

We have another WINNER!!!

Sara commutes to and from work and school on a purple bike…these new tires are going to look AWESOME on that machine! We’re going to try to profile Sara and her daily commute soon, so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, congratulations again, Sara — and thanks for entering our raffle!

The Bike That Kept Coming Back…

A couple weeks ago, my friend Davey called me and said that he was bringing a couple bikes down for me to use as projects — a fairly new Trek 4500 mountain bike that had been slightly damaged in a car accident, and my old faithful, a 1984 Trek 460 road bike.

The odd thing about the Trek road bike is that I’ve owned this bike FIVE times before…and it keeps coming back to me! Here’s the story so far:

I moved to Florida in 1992 with $70 in my pocket and my only possessions being a suitcase of clothing, a box of bike tools, a rusted-out International Scout and a 4-year-old Schwinn High Sierra mountain bike (in classic “smoked chrome”). Within the first year, that Schwinn was stolen out of my garage — I lived in a really bad neighborhood in Sarasota, and things had a way of disappearing around here unless they were within eyesight.

A coworker at the health food store I was working at told me he had an old Trek road bike that he’d sell me for $75.00. I really needed a bike to commute to work and to the beaches, so I jumped at the chance.

This is how the bike looked when it was new (from a page scan from the original Trek catalog):
Trek 460

When I got the bike, it was in virtually new condition — the paint was pristine, the decals and headtube badge were intact, and the components were in good shape. The bike had been somewhat clumsily converted into a 1×6 drivetrain when the previous owner lost the shift lever for the front derailleur.

This Trek is a bit unusual because it represents one of Trek’s first forays into foreign production. From 1984 until 1986, a factory in Japan produced several models for Trek. This is one of those Japanese babies…True Temper tubing, clean lugwork and all the bells and whistles one might expect from a midrange road bike.

I rode that bike for most of 1993…numerous trips to the beach, daily commuting to my crappy job, etc. One day at work, I found another bike in the dumpster behind our building, and I converted that one into a commuting machine. Since I didn’t really need that Trek anymore, I sold it to someone for $60. Six months later, that person sold it back to me for $25. Two months later I “leased” it to a friend who had just moved to Sarasota…he gave me $20. Five months later, he decided to move back to NYC so he gave the Trek back to me with $20 and some other incidentals. I sold it to someone else I worked with for $40, and bought it back for $25 about three months later. I just could NOT get this bike out of my life…until a couple years after that, when I cleaned the bike up, rebuilt some components and sold it to my friend Davey for $125.

That was six years ago, give or take a few months. Then the phone call a couple weeks ago…

Here’s how it looks right now:
The frame...

Years of neglect and a poorly-fitting headset locknut allowed sweat and rainwater into the fork, effectively freezing the stem into the steerer tube. The bottom bracket was shot — both bearings and cups were badly pitted. The wheels were shot. The handlebars had a hairline crack in them…and this bike had been repainted a couple times — painted right over the original decals and headtube badge. Ugh.

Don’t look if you’re squeamish:

The stomach-churning news...

I hacksawed the head off the stem and went to work with a 1/2″ drill bit, a hacksaw blade holder and assorted rasps and files to drill out the remainder of the stem’s quill. After literally 6 hours of drilling, cutting and filing, I was tapping out a large piece of aluminum when the steerer tube split right at the keyway, effectively ruining the original fork.

The dead fork:
dead fork

Over the next couple months, I will be rebuilding what’s left of this bike into a fast weekend commuter — stealth-mode all the way with a fixed/free singlespeed drivetrain. Stay tuned for all of that, and remember, if you have a bike with a quill stem, DON’T FORGET TO GREASE THAT QUILL from time to time, or you will be faced with some ugly surgery, too.

By the way, anyone got an old steel Trek fork laying around? You know, one with at least 180mm of steerer and at least 50mm of threads? If so, let me know and I’ll make it worth your while.