Suburban Assault

Posts Tagged ‘Redline Bikes

So I Upgraded The Gearing On My Redline Monocog

with 13 comments

Fix Flat Flowmaster

I’ve been documenting the conversion of my Redline Monocog, single-speed mountain bike, to a street-ready, Suburban Assault machine. Here is the story of my latest upgrade – the chainring.

To sum up, I bought the bike with the intention of getting back on the trails. Somewhere along the line, my taste in cycling has moved more towards street riding and commuting. Wanting to make the best of the situation, I started converting the Monocog to a street worthy machine. I’ve been happy with the bicycle, with the exception of it’s off-road gearing – too slow for riding around town. The ultimate goal was to upgrade the drivetrain to make it work better on the street.

The original set-up had a 32T chainring (up front) and a 20T cog (at the wheel), which gave it a 1.6 gear ratio (please forgive me if I butcher the science of bicycle gearing – my intent is to articulate a general basis of comparison). My first, and cheapest, solution was to switch out the cog from the 20T to a 15T. Click here to read about that. This brought the bike to a 2.13 gear ratio, which worked fine but I could tell I needed more.

Just recently, I decided to upgrade the chainring from a 32T to a 36T. This would bring my gear ratio to a 2.4 – just enough to make the ride interesting, without killing me on my commute to work.

32 to 36

Getting The Part (Sorry, but this is long. If you don’t want to read a rant, skip to the install):
I decided to support my local economy and do this upgrade with my nearby bike shop (which will remain unnamed for reasons that will be explained as you read on). I rolled the Monocog right to the service department so that there wouldn’t be a mistake about what part I needed. Changing out a single-speed chainring would have been an easy upgrade, but I was willing to let the shop do it – again, to support my local bike store.

After standing around for several minutes (they weren’t busy, but preoccupied with their repairs) one of them eventually made eye contact and, I guess, felt obligated to ask if I needed help. After explaining to the guy my intent, he was more than happy to check in the back for an available part. As expected, there wasn’t one available and he would have to special order it. He gave me a verbal quote for the price of the part and I gave him my name and phone number. He told me it would take a week to get the part in. I wasn’t in a rush, so I was more than fine with that timeline.

A week went by. No phone call.

I called them a few times. Although very helpful, none of the employees were able to locate my part. They all kept referring me the person in charge of ordering – who wasn’t available when I called. At the end of the second week, I went by the store and inquired about my part. Again, after standing around for a few minutes, I was eventually helped. They checked and no part. Not wanting me to leave empty handed, he gave me a business card with the name of the parts ordering person and the best time to call.

I managed to eventually get hold of him by the end of the third week. He looked, but couldn’t find the part. He checked his order log, and found no record of the order. He apologized and said he could re-order it for me. At that point, I still wasn’t in a rush, so I told him to order it.

Because it was such a hassle, I talked myself out of letting them install it. All of a sudden, I wasn’t so gung-ho about supporting my local bike shop.

Towards the end of the fourth week, my 36T chainring finally came in. When I went to pick up the part, another person – who was completely unaware of everything I went through – brought me my part. Although it wasn’t his fault, I felt completely deflated when he just handed it to me and walked off. I guess I was expecting another apology or appreciation for my patience. To add insult to ego injury, I noticed the price was $10 more than my verbal quote. I wanted to set it down and just leave at this point.

But, I’m a man of my word. They committed to special ordering that part, and I committed to purchase it. It took longer than expected, but they completed their end of the deal – I felt obligated to complete mine. However, I will not be supporting this store with any future transactions that involve special ordering.

The Install:
Installing the new chainring was pretty easy with just 4 bolts holding the old one on. Since I was going with a larger gear, I had to put on a longer chain. This is where the install got interesting.

I’ve used a chain tool several times over the years, but I have to admit, I’ve never been trained on how to properly use one. This being a topic for another post, I’ll give you the quick version of the story. As I was reconnecting the links, I discovered that I had done it wrong. In my attempt to undo my mistake, I bent the tip to my chain tool. Bad went to worse, and I ended up tearing up my chain – my quick install came to a halt. I decided to pack everything up, take it in and just get it done quickly.

Not wanting to return to the shop where I bought the chainring, I decided to take my bike to the Plano Performance Bike (Note, I am mentioning them by name – it was THAT great of an experience.) instead. I got there a few minutes before they opened, but they were happy to let me in. The service guy Henry, not only salvaged my chain, but he also showed me the proper way to use my chain tool. I even got a replacement tip for it.

Overall, I am completely happy with my upgrade. The Monocog is now a perfect street-ready machine – well worth all the hassle.

The unnamed bike shop did manage to get the part – eventually. Although somewhat friendly, they did fail with their follow-through and customer service.

In contrast, Performance Bike is now my favorite bike shop with their outstanding customer service. They’ve restored my faith in local bike shops.


Written by dickdavid

August 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Redline Previews Their 2012 D-Series Lineup

with 5 comments

Yes, I’m a Redline Bicycle fanboy. What of it? Perhaps it was years of coveting their brand (as well as DiamondBack) of BMX bikes when I was a preteen. After years of riding around on my heavy, department store-bought Huffy, all I could think about was owning one of their cool bikes. My family couldn’t afford it, so it never happened.

Over the years, many newer bicycle brands have popped up in the market and Redline has been overshadowed by some of those other fancier, shinier rides. Redline still has a strong hold on their core market – which is BMX bikes, plus they’ve been offering a great lineup of commuter, road and off-road bikes that come in adult sizes.

However, around these parts, it’s hard to find Redline products in my size – most shops in DFW, just don’t keep enough in inventory. I did manage to pick up a Monocog back in early 2009, with the intention of taking it off road but never have (read more about it here). Because it is one of my favorite bikes, I now have a Conquest Sport high on my wish list.

Redline just released a preview of their 2012 D-Series line up on their Facebook page. The D-Series is Redline’s off-road group that ranges in everything from the simple and economical Monocog, to the fully loaded and pricey D-680. I don’t get off road anymore, so these bikes are low on my radar. However, I would be more temped to get back on the trails if a D610 (or D620) was in my garage.

Here’s a quick peek of the new lineup:

Monobelt 29er © Redline Bicycles

Monobelt 29er
FRAME > 4130 Double Butted Chromoly
FORK > RockShox Reba RL Dual Air 100 mm
DRIVETRAIN > Gates Carbon Drive
Wheels > WTB Laser Disc
Brakes > Shimano BL M445
Tires > Maxxis Ignitor

Monocog 29er © Redline Bicycles

Monocog 29er
FRAME > 4130 Chromoly
FORK > 4130 Chromoly Tapered Leg
Wheels > Alex DH 19
Brakes > Tektro
Tires > Kenda Nevegal

Monocog Flight 29er © Redline Bicycles

Monocog Flight 29er
FRAME > Sanko 4130 Double Butted Chromoly
FORK > Sanko 4130 Chromoly Tapered Leg
CRANK > FSA Maximus 32T
Wheels > Alex DP 20
Brakes > Avid BB5
Tires > WTB Prowler SL

D26 © Redline Bicycles

FRAME > 4130 Chromoly
FORK > SR Suntour Duro 100mm
CRANK > Redline Monster Chromoly 170mm
Wheels > Alex DM 18
Brakes > Shimano BL-M 445
Tires > Kenda K Rad

D610 © Redline Bicycles

FRAME > 6061 Double Butted Alloy
FORK > RockShox XC 28 MG TK29
CRANK > Truvativ 5D 28-38T
DErailleur > SRAM X5
Shifter > SRAM X5
Wheels > Alex DH 19
Brakes > Avid BB 5
Tires > WTB Prowler SL

D620 © Redline Bicycles

FRAME > 6061 Double Butted Alloy
FORK > RockShox Recon 100mm
CRANK > FSA Vero Compact 36 x 46T
DErailleur > SRAM X7 / X5
Shifter > SRAM X7
Wheels > WTB SX 19
Brakes > Tektro Draco Hydraulic
Tires > WTB Prowler SL

D660 © Redline Bicycles

FRAME > R6 Alloy Double Butted,Hydro Formed Tubing, Tapered Head Tube
FORK > RockShox Reba RL Dual Air 100 mm
CRANK > SRAM S 1400 GXP 26/39T
DErailleur > SRAM X9
Shifter > SRAM X9
Wheels > Alex DP 20
Brakes > Avid Elixir 3 Hydraulic
Tires > WTB Prowler SL

D680 © Redline Bicycles

FRAME > R6 Alloy Double Butted, Hydro Formed Tubing, Tapered Head Tube
FORK > Fox FIT 29 RLC 100mm
CRANK > SRAM X9 26-39T
DErailleur > SRAM X0
Shifter > SRAM X9
Wheels > WTB Laser Disc
Brakes > Avid Elixir 7 Disc
Tires > Kenda Small Block Eight

Written by dickdavid

August 11, 2011 at 6:21 am