2014 Salsa Vaya Build and Basement Workshop

I mentioned in my last post that I recently moved. My new place has a basement that makes for a perfect gear storage and bike workshop. I took advantage of that space to do a frame swap for my commuter. Bye-bye On-One Pompetamine. Your rear dropouts and disc caliper mount were a pain in my ass and it was time to replace you with something that just worked.

Welcome, Salsa Vaya. You sure are a sexy commute bike.

2014 Salsa Vaya 2 Frameset

I brought you home during a bad time. I just didn’t have the space to build you up the way it needed. Unfortunately, you had to sit around for awhile before I could get to the build. Once I got my workshop cleared up enough, though, I got started.

2014 Salsa Vaya Build

Here it was when I first got it assembled. Basically just transferred over the parts from the Pompetamine, with new Midge bars, Retroshift CX1v levers and a 1×10 geared drivetrain. The retroshift levers are basically just the same Tektro brake levers I’ve been using, except with a Microshift indexed thumbshifter mounted on the front. The only part Retroshift actually MAKES is the little red ano cable stop seen here.

2014 Salsa Vaya Build

So far, I like the levers. The shifter just works, and was a helluva lot cheaper than SRAM or Shimano integrated shifters. And, I didn’t have to buy a left-side lever with shifty bits I wasn’t going to use so I could get the same lever feel in both hands. These levers are designed to work with long pull brakes, but Retroshift sells a version for short pull, too.

To further flesh out details of the drivetrain, I used the same crankset and chainring I was using on the Pompetamine. I’ve got some Kona Wah-Wah pedals on now that I won in the Brown County Breakdown raffle.

2014 Salsa Vaya Build

I’ve gone with a 1×10 drivetrain here to give me some gearing options, but still keeping it simple.

2014 Salsa Vaya Build

I’m using a 9spd SLX rear derailleur, a 10spd 11-36 Shimano XT cassette, and a 10spd XT chain. Yes, a 9spd mtn derailleur works with 10spd road shifters and a 10spd cassette. The available gearing here is pretty darned close to what you’d get from a road compact double. I don’t care much about the high end of the range at all, since this bike runs fatter tires and weighs more than most bikes that would get a compact double. At the low end, the gearing works fine now. If I ever wanted to ride to Brown County, I’d probably put a smaller chainring so I could have more low end gearing for the hills.


Here’s a shot on the Pennsy Trail on its maiden test ride. It rode well, but I had to make some adjustments to the handlebars.

After that ride, I managed to drop the handlebars, and rotate them some to make the drops more useable by moving the levers some. I also managed to get my old fenders to install, and get some 700×38 Specialized Crossroads tires to fit inside there with some tweaks.

I think the bike looks better with bigger tires. It should ride better, too.

The workshop is coming together. I still need to work on it…I need more storage for gear (namely, a rack to hang packs and sleeping bags), and I need a pegboard and maybe more workbench space.

Basement Workshop

Basement Workshop

The bike storage works well.

Basement Workshop

It could probably take up less space, though. I’d rather not drill a bunch of holes in the concrete block walls, though. I had to put holes in the block walls in the garage for the canoe rack, and I dulled up a couple expensive masonry bits in the process.

Long Time No Post

It has indeed been awhile since my last update. I’ve been BUSY trying to get my thesis done. I really haven’t done much GPS tracking of any rides lately because I’ve just been riding when I can. And lately, that’s meant lots of commuting duty so I can keep my cycling legs under me.

The Pompetamine has been getting some miles on it lately. It’s also had some changes since I posted up my original build pics. Here’s what I’ve done to it:

It’s the wet season, so I threw on some SKS full fenders so I can keep drier. I also had to get some narrower tires so the fenders would fit. The rear end of this frame has plenty of width, but tire height is a bit of an issue with fenders. I had some 38’s on it, but I dropped down to 32’s. They’re smoother and faster on pavement and can still take a little dirt. But they’re no gravel grinder tire. If I want to do that, I’ll have to remove the fenders to put the old 38’s on.

I put a smaller 42t chainring on instead of the 46t. I found starts from stoplights to be a PITA on the 46t, and I’ve got a bit of a climb on my way home that was just a beast every evening. The 42t just takes the edge off of the climb and starting from stoplights takes a lot less effort. 42×18 works for me on my commute.

I got a Portland Design Works rack just last week. Boy is this thing nice. Bamboo deck, aluminum construction (even bamboo dowels inserted into some of the aluminum tubing), and curvy, sexy lines. This isn’t grandpa’s utilitarian rack. This one has some design put into it to make it LOOK nice.

More reflective tape to increase visibility and a MagicShine taillight.

Now for the pics (and a vid):

On-One Pompetamine commuter

Check out that sexy rack. I don’t have any panniers just yet, though. But you can be sure I’ll pick some up. I’ll probably get a set of waterproof ones. I also want to move the taillight from the seatpost out to the end of the rack, but it’s designed to attach to a round post, not the tab. I have some scrap pvc and I might rig something up.

On-One Pompetamine commuter

Rear view. You can see the round light on the seatpost here.

On-One Pompetamine commuter

I had to get creative for the front fender attachment to get around the disc brake caliper. First, I needed to use a longer bolt with a shim to get the plastic bracket away from the disc tab. Then, I bent the fender stays around the caliper. I did all that bending with just two pair of pliers. A vise sure would have helped out a lot there.

On-One Pompetamine commuterOn-One Pompetamine commuter

Checking out the reflective bits on the bike. You’ll notice something about the rims. I got these wheels built up with Velocity Dyad REFLECTIVE rims. Do you see them reflecting here? Barely. If you notice in the horizontal picture where the light hits the front of the front wheel that maybe 1/4 of the rim is reflecting brightly and another 1/4 of the rim is reflecting faintly. That pales in comparison to the reflective sidewall of my Crucible tire. I’m a little miffed that the reflective effect of the rims is that wimpy.

Here’s a vid of most of the active lighting on the bike (the brand new wheel blinkie is dead…must have blinked in the store for hours or something). Pay no attention to the audio here. That noise is the focus on the camera. I have the headlight on blink, actually, but the frame rate of the camera is too slow to catch it. The taillight is good, and motorists appear to be able to see it in the daylight just fine. I seem to be plenty visible to people around here without extra hi-vis clothing, even. Now, people do drive EXTRA cautious around here, though. I have passed more than one person on my bike crossing the railroad tracks going UPHILL. It seems to be sport to go 10mph under the speed limit. It’s enough to drive you crazy when you learned to drive in big cities and when you get in the car you just want to get somewhere for cryin’ out loud.

Commuting here is spoiling me in many respects. Drivers around here mostly don’t yell at cyclists. I can remember being yelled at once since I moved here in 2008 and I have more road miles here than in any of my previous residences. And even then, it was just dumb kids. No idiot rednecks in pickup trucks (though I do live in rural Texas and there are PLENTY of pickups – none of them care to cause any trouble), no aggressive businessmen in too much of a hurry, nobody’s thrown anything at me, none of that. The worst I get are the clueless students. In some ways they’re more dangerous because they’re unpredictable. There’s a half-roundabout at the main entrance to campus that I use to exit sometimes. It used to be two-way, but it was somewhat recently changed so that it’s now a one-way loop. It really simplifies traffic flow there. But there’s the occasional idiot that enters at the exit in spite of the prominent “DO NOT ENTER” signs, paint on the street, and whatnot. I was waiting at the exit on my bike a few times when people have entered there. It’s quite scary to see headlights bearing down on you head on and you’re just standing there straddling the bike. I do my best to scare the crap out of those idiots. I’ve successfully had one group actually stop and get out of their car. Small lessons, right?

Road Bike Commuter Project #4

My next paycheck came, so I was able to start buying the last bit of parts I need to finish this build. I bought:

Easton EA70 2 bolt seatpost
Sugino 46t chainring
Crupi 18t cog
Tektro RL520 black brake levers
Surly hub spacer kit
carbon headset spacers
red ano bits from Purely Custom
-6mm chainring bolts
-valve stem caps
-cable end crimps
used Brooks B17 saddle from ebay
bontrager buzzkill bar end plugs
-Velocity Dyad black reflective rims
-Shimano M629 hubs
-DT Champion straight gauge spokes
-red alloy nipples
Origin8 centerlock to 6 bolt adapters
Specialized Crossroads 700×38 tires

I’m pretty sure that’s most of the stuff I need. I still need pedals, cables and housing, and a stem just to get the bike rolling. Those things I plan to get from my LBS – pretty sure I’m going to go with some resin BMX pedals, which my lbs keeps in stock. The stem will be the last item necessary to fit the bike, so I’ll have to try different sizes before I buy anything. Oh, and tubes. I haven’t decided if I’m going to try to do a ghetto tubeless conversion with this bike or not. I have the supplies, but I’m not sure how worthwhile it’d be for a city bike.

I’m pretty stoked about the Brooks saddle buy. It was a pretty good deal. I’m well aware how the buzzkill plugs work in theory and in showroom demos, but this is the first time I’ll actually be making use of them on a build of my own. I’m also excited to see how my black/white/red color scheme comes out in the end.

Fenders, rack, and other bits will be added after I get the bike built and rolling.