Upgrading bits on a Viking

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AnnoyingTwit
Posts: 107
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 09:55 am

Upgrading bits on a Viking

Postby AnnoyingTwit » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:14 am

Hi all.

I was desperate to get back into cycling no matter what, but lacked a suitable defensible budget. So, I bought a Viking single gear bike (with fixed gear via flip-flop hub) new from an ebay seller. I knew that it was probably better to wait until a better quality second hand bike became available, but there were few single speed bikes turning up. In the past gears have always been my maintenance bogey, leading to 'not getting around to it' and munched dérailleurs. Most of my cycling is on the flat.

I didn't use the uncomfortable looking seat that came with the bike, but took one off an ex-bike lying around that is very comfortable. Otherwise it is as it came in the box.

As it was a cheap bike, I expected it to be lacking in various areas. However I'm certainly enjoying riding it and it is proving very useful. It's not too heavy as it is, and I have no trouble carrying it up steps etc. The brakes work fine though perhaps the cable for the front should be adjusted a smidgeon as I can get the lever to the bar.

My main concerns are the plastic bits on (i) the front stem, and (ii) the seat post.

My plan was always to develop the bike. I'm wondering about addressing the front stem and seat post issues in the near/medium future/when I get around to it. I've found that there are inexpensive seat posts with some sort of suspension built in. I also note that there are very expensive seat posts with suspension that cost more than my entire bike. Are the cheaper (if not the cheapest) suspension seat posts 'worth it'? I don't find the bike uncomfortable to ride though I do have a well padded saddle which fits me well.

For the front stem, I wondered if replacing the plastic item with an adjustable stem would be one thing to do. I've noted a few stems on ebay, worth buying a good one second hand?

The bell can only be described as a bell shaped object. The £1.50 (or thereabouts) bell I got from Wilkinsons some time ago is an order of magnitude superior. Are there any 'good' bells around, or is this too trivial an item to ask for recommendations?

I suspect that I will eventually want to adjust the gear ratio as while at first I had major muscle burnage on the hills, it's getting easier over time. However, I haven't tried the fixed gear side of the hub, and perhaps I'll be in for a shock when I do.

I don't plan to upgrade the bike immediately (apart from the bell) but intend to improve it slowly over time.

Any advice, that doesn't require time travel, would be greatly appreciated. I wanted to get back into cycling, and now I am. My intention is to find the best way forward from where I am now.

cougie
Posts: 19013
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 22:34 pm

Re: Upgrading bits on a Viking

Postby cougie » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:30 am

I'd not bother with a suspension post. Spend the money on decent tyres - and go up a width if you want extra comfort.

Your stem has plastic bits on ? I'm sure all the functional work is done by metal - so I'd not worry too much about that.

I never bother with bells- I use my voice - much easier I find.

Simon Masterson
Posts: 2488
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 15:52 pm

Re: Upgrading bits on a Viking

Postby Simon Masterson » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:51 am

If you want the real McCoy of bicycle bells, I daresay something like this would be good...

http://www.lionbellworks.co.uk/index.ph ... ort=normal

I might put one on my commuting bike at some point.

AnnoyingTwit
Posts: 107
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 09:55 am

Re: Upgrading bits on a Viking

Postby AnnoyingTwit » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:34 pm

cougie wrote:I'd not bother with a suspension post. Spend the money on decent tyres - and go up a width if you want extra comfort.

Your stem has plastic bits on ? I'm sure all the functional work is done by metal - so I'd not worry too much about that.

I never bother with bells- I use my voice - much easier I find.


You're right. The stem and the seat post 'infinitely adjustable' end are metal. I don't know why I thought they were plastic, I remember them feeling so. Perhaps it's because I was assembling the bike with frozen hands. But on close inspection, they are metal. The stem is by 'Zoom', looking similar to this one but even longer I think. I do remember being surprised by the plastic feel, but I was mistaken.

I may look a fool for mistaking the materials, but I'm not too concerned about that (see username). However, I'm now happier with the bike than I was.

I do use my voice when passing people (which happens frequently as I travel by canal towpath a lot), but prefer to have a bell as well.

On my previous bike of some years ago, I used the stock Kenda tyres for over a year until they started puncturing a lot. I replaced them with some Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres. These never punctured except once when the rim of the wheel broke, but they didn't have as much grip as the Kenda. On one of my first outings I braked hard on ice which would have been fine with the previous tyres and went down. In hindsight I don't think the Kenda tyres were that bad for the standard commuting I was doing. The Viking also has Kenda tyres. I did have a puncture on my second outing with the bike, but nothing since then. I'm a bit concerned as to whether or not any replacement tyres will have reduced grip as the wheels/tyres on my Viking are very narrow. Apart from the early puncture, I haven't noticed anything obviously substandard concerning the tyres. (That may be my fault of course).

@Simon

I very much like the idea of the brass bicycle bell made in the UK. As a family we recently saw the exhibit on local industrial history at the Birmingham museum, including interviews with people such as (if I remember correctly) the current manager/owner? of ACME whistles etc. Buying a 'classic' style bell strikes a chord with me and I'm going to get one.

Edit: Lion Bellworks bell purchased.

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antfly
Posts: 3426
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 15:10 pm

Re: Upgrading bits on a Viking

Postby antfly » Wed Feb 06, 2013 14:53 pm

I would recommend a cateye comet bell, they are very loud.

http://www.cateye.com/uk/products/detail/PB-200/
Smarter than the average bear.

AnnoyingTwit
Posts: 107
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 09:55 am

Re: Upgrading bits on a Viking

Postby AnnoyingTwit » Fri Feb 08, 2013 13:17 pm

antfly wrote:I would recommend a cateye comet bell, they are very loud.

http://www.cateye.com/uk/products/detail/PB-200/


Thanks for the advice, but I'd already bought the Lion Bellworks bell before I read your post.

AnnoyingTwit
Posts: 107
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 09:55 am

Re: Upgrading bits on a Viking

Postby AnnoyingTwit » Thu Feb 14, 2013 09:51 am

I've decided that I don't like my pedals. They have an 'underside' with metal bits sticking out. If I put my feet on the wrong side, these metal bits dig into the soles of my shoes.

Can anyone recommend a decent set of pedals. I can't afford carbon fibre £2200 pedals :), but I'm sure there's something decent out there at a decent price. Something that I can attach toeclips to would be an advantage as then I can try with and without.

On the upside, I'm really enjoying riding my bike, and am much more mobile and flexible than I was. And with cycling plus regular going to the gym, I'm clearly getting much fitter very quickly.


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