Suburban Assault

Posts Tagged ‘Redline

So I Upgraded The Gearing On My Redline Monocog

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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

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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

Street Ready Redline Monocog 29er

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Redline Monocog, Single Speed 29er

Stock 2008 Redline Monocog 29er

I was looking for an off-road bike back in late 2008, and decided to go with a single speed 29er. After reading some great reviews in Mountain Bike Action Magazine, I narrowed my choices down to either a Haro Mary SS or a Redline Monocog 29er – both reasonably priced, good performers. Unfortunately, my local bike shops had trouble keeping them in inventory, so test rides were hard to come by.

I finally stumbled across one in early 2009. Richardson Bike Mart happened to have a 2008 Redline Monocog 29er on clearance and was priced to sell quickly. The frame size was actually large and I’m, borderline, sized to fit most mediums – I took a test ride anyway. Sure enough, it fit in both length and height and I immediately fell in love with the ride. It was mine.

Little did I know that my intent to get back on the trails would dwindle as my love for street riding grew. The fate of my new off-road bike was that it never actually got off-road. I still enjoy riding it around town, and with a few tweaks over the years, I finally turned it to a nice street bike.

The first thing that I had to change was the gearing. Since it was an off road bike, it was geared for low-end torque to power through rough terrain and rocky climbs. The stock set-up was a 32-tooth chainring paired with a 20-tooth cog. This sucker was slow on the streets with a 1.6 gear ratio. My first thought was to put a 48-tooth chainring on the front to bring it to a 2.4 gear ratio, but my bike shop guy talked me into a much cheaper solution – replacing the cog from the 20 to a 15-tooth. This brought it to the current set up to 32/15, a nicer 2.13 ratio. Still slow, but for the price of $15, I can live with it for a while.

Update: scroll down to the bottom to see the newest update to the chainring.

20 to 15

The next change was the handlebars. The stock bars on the Monocog are wide – which I guess is standard for mountain bikes ( This is what the stock bars looked like). I prefer a narrow bar to give me quicker, more responsive turns. Instead of buying a new bar, I opted to just take a hacksaw to the stock one. With a little over an inch and a half off of each side and some new Lizard Skin lock grips, my turn was greatly improved.

Update: Scroll down to see how I’ve updated – somewhat reverted –  back to some wider bars.

Riding The New Bike Lane

I’ve changed out the pedals several different times. The first switch was from the stock pedals to clipless, Shimano SPD pedals – which are my default choice for mountain biking. Since I never got this bike off-road, I found clicking in and out at every stoplight quite annoying. Not wanting to completely give up on SPD, I tried a hybrid Campus Pedal from Performance, giving me a flat pedal on one side for quick mounts.

I would have been happy staying with those pedals, but I was lucky enough to win a pair of really awesome VP-Components, VP-001s. Read my review on the pedals to see how much I love these things and why they’re my final choice.

VP-001 on the Redline

Gripping the Road
The Monocog still wasn’t completely street smart, so my next big upgrade was the rubber. The Monocog’s stock WTB knobbies, which were designed for some serious off-road traction, did not perform well on the street. Unfortunately, finding fat 29″ street tires in my local bike shops was next to impossible. I eventually found these Serfas Drifter City Tires at my local REI at a nicely discounted price. I was immediately impressed with the improved performance and traction of these tires. Also, their beefy 2.0 width keeps the pavement cracks and potholes from rattling my bones.


Street Converted Monocog

That’s it for now. Slowly, I’ve managed to get this off-road beast converted to a slick, suburban assault machine.  If I were to make more upgrades in the future, I might look into a bigger chainring and a fancy saddle.

Street Converted Monocog Goodness

Street Converted Redline Monocog 29er

Click here to see all the pics of my Monocog.


Through some wheeling and dealing (via sales, coupons and Team Performance points), I was able to obtain a Brooks, B-17 Saddle for quite a bit under suggested retail. Admittedly, at first, I wanted the Brooks because they look pretty cool. But it didn’t seem very practical having one on a utility, street scooter like this – but rather some fancy, expensive, custom built frame. Plus, having never sat on one, I couldn’t imagine anything built without a pad could even be comfortable. However, everybody that owns a Brooks, swears by them. Because of that, plus the incredible amount of heritage and craftsmanship that goes into their products, I had to take advantage of that special price and try one out.

The B-17 is one of the best upgrades that I’ve ever made to any bike. I was wrong to think that such a nice saddle should only be attached to just nice bikes. This saddle looks good, and improves the look of ANY bike – new or old. The styling is classic and timeless. Also to my surprise, the comfort of the B-17 is amazing, and is expected to get better as the saddle wears in over the years. I expect to upgrade all of my bikes – even the ones that I don’t own yet – to a Brooks Saddle, as soon as I can afford them.

Redline Monocog

Monocog With Updated Brooks B-17 Saddle


Wanting to get more speed, I decided to upgrade my drivetrain again. This time I switched out my chainring from the stock 32T to a 36T. This will bring my gear ratio from the original 1.6 (32 front, 20 back) to a 2.4 (36 front, 15 back). Here is my write up on the not-so-fun experience ordering the part, as well as the unexpected problem installing it.

32 to 36

New Chainring



I was able to pick up another pair of the VP Components, VP-001 pedals – this set in black. Now, Monica is looking like a slick ninja. The old pair of VP-001 pedals went to my other bike.

Redline VP

Ninja Monica


During last year’s work commute, I noticed that my hands were getting numb because of extended periods of time keeping them in the same position. I added some old bar ends back to my other bike, and having multiple places for different had positions seemed to help. Unfortunately, when I ‘trimmed’ the bars on THIS bike, I made them too narrow to add bar ends. I had to get a new handlebar.

I ended up getting a cheap Ritchey Comp riser bar. In spite of the instructions that came with it (see pic below), it was quite easy to install. I’m keeping the really wide stock width for now, but I may end up trimming them a little bit down the road. The new bars, along with some cheap bar ends, definitely gives me more hand position options.

Installation Instructions

Check out the installation instructions that came with these. Wow!

Wide Stance

Put The Old Bar Ends Back On

Winter Riding

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In case you haven’t heard, we got hit by a major winter storm that pretty much shut down the city.

After being cooped up in the house for four days, I decided to test out my snow (and ice) legs before today’s above-freezing temperatures melted it all away. I’ve ridden on snow before, but never snow covered ice. Just in case, I took the Redline Monocog, a single-speed mountain bike.

Not knowing what to expect, I took it slow and steady. Everything was fine – even a bit fun – except for some of the ice ruts on the road, formed by automotive traffic. Stopping on the ice was a bit dicey too.

Fortunately, I stayed upright and the Monocog performed really well. I even managed to grab a few, rare (in Texas) snow pics. Enjoy:

Snow Covered Trail

Snow Shadow

Snowy Bike Route

Ice Spray

Closed Collins Bridge

Written by dickdavid

February 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Redline Urbis Available May 1

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Redline Urbis - Image From Redline Bikes - Please Visit Their Site

You may have read some stuff about the Redline Urbis here and here. I just received a link from one of our readers showing that it’s now on the Redline site. They mention that it will be available for purchase on May 1, starting at $549 – lower than originally predicted.

I’m not exactly why I’m so psyched about this bike. Perhaps, it’s because I’m fond of my Monocog 29er. Maybe, it’s because I’m really liking the simple yet unique configuration. Probably, because I’m just a fan of the brand and I’m glad they’re dipping their feet further into the urban market.

Here are some specs from their site:

Frame: Redline Full Chrome Moly, Double Butted Main Tubes,120mm Spacing
Fork: Redline Full Chrome Moly, Disc Tabs
Headset: Threadless 28.6mm
Frt Der: NA
Rear Der: NA
Shifter: NA
Crank: Redline Alloy 36T
BB Set: ISIS, Hollow CR-MO Axle
Cogs: 16T Single Fixed
Rim: Alloy 36H Deep V
Hub: RL Nutted Disc Frt, Alloy Nutted Fixed – Free rear
Spoke: 14 Guage Stainless Alloy Nipples
Tire: 700 X 35 Reflector Side Wall
Bar: Redline Alloy JR Cruiser 550 mm x 90mm
Stem: Redline Alloy Forged
Saddle: Redline Pivotal
Seat Post: Redline Alloy Pivotal 27.2 x 320mm
Brakes: Tektro Alloy Disc
Brake: Lever Tektro Alloy 2 Finger
Pedal: Polycarbonate Clear
Color: Satin Steel

Written by dickdavid

April 20, 2010 at 10:59 am

Posted in Cool Bikes

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$15 For A New Bike

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Well, sort of.

Last year I bought a Redline Monocog, which was my first bike purchase in about 15 years. It was on mega-clearance, and I had convinced myself that a new single speed, 29er was just the motivation I needed to get back into trail riding. It’s an awesome bike that’s loads of fun to ride, but in the end, it failed at motivating. I ride it, just never off-road.

As it turns out, mountain biking just doesn’t seem as fun for me and my old bones. After discovering the suburban assault, I seem to get more enjoyment out of riding around my neighborhood and town.

This became a problem with having the Monocog. Even though it’s a fun ride, it was geared for off-road pedaling – which translates to SLOOOOOOOOW. If I remember correctly, the front has a 32T crank and the back is configured with a 20T single gear, great for getting the torque you need on the trails but likes to spin softly when on the streets.

Having a slow bike was fine but my new bike had become my back-up bike, forcing me to rely on my old, geared bike for long commutes or group rides. It seemed a waste. My first thoughts were to trade in the Monocog for something a little more street friendly. That just seemed like too big of a hassle, plus I don’t think I would have gotten such a great deal on another bike. The next idea was to just convert the Monocog with some better gearing.

Not knowing the best gear set-up for single-speed road riding, I went to the internet. I compared several single speed road bikes and decided to try out a larger crank chainring. Not wanting to make a big jump at first, I figure moving from a 32T to a 42T would do just the trick.

I talked to Nick, one of the great mechanics over at the Richardson Bike Mart who immediately related to my problem and put me at ease with his “Right On” attitude. We talked about the cost of upgrading to the larger crank chainring, which would have required a special order. In the end, it would have cost me about $40 – 50 in parts and labor, plus a few days of waiting. This wasn’t too bad, but with all the holiday shopping and my crazy schedule, I almost decided to put it off for a few more weeks.

That’s when Nick suggested I try going with a smaller back gear. He had a 15T in a box ready to replace the 20T that came stock on the Monocog. For about $15 parts and labor, he could have me switched out immediately and give my bike the speed it needed. I told him to go for it.

When I jumped back on the saddle, I was amazed at how losing 5 little teeth on my back gear could make such an amazing difference. That little change was enough to turn the Monocog into a nice little ass hauler. It was like having a brand new bike.

Written by dickdavid

December 29, 2009 at 7:05 am

Posted in Cool Bikes

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Redline Urbis – Update

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Image from Redline Bicycles - Please Visit Their Site.

Image from Redline Bicycles - Please Visit Their Site.

Last week, Urban Velo introduced the Redline Urbis and I was more than excited about this. Redline is a brand that I’ve always desired  from my childhood riding days. In my opinion, they’re not a company that thrives on pushing the latest cycling bling, but rather ol’ school, down-to-earth innovation mixed with a rock solid bicycling legacy.

The Urbis is a new bike that proves this. Mixing the trend of fixed geared biking with their proven BMX heritage, the Urbis appears to be carving a new niche for urban cycling enthusiasts. What I find interesting with this bike is the use of a single disk brake in the front, connected by a cable that goes THROUGH the steerer tube – something a free-stylist might appreciate. Although having a disk brake may rub a fixie purists the wrong way, I find it nice.

Looks like the suggested retail will be $750. Being a budget conscious person, it seems a bit high for me. HOWEVER, even though freestyle is way outside of my riding capabilities, I still want one.

Image From Redline Bicycles - Please Visit Their Site

Image From Redline Bicycles - Please Visit Their Site

Here is a quick intro video.

UPDATE: 12/09/09

Bike Commuters has reported some updated info on the Urbis, including a new price point of $549.99 to $599.99.

Urban Velo has reported: the fork has been lowered and they’ve decided to go with with the deep dish rims. The bike will come fixed with a flip-flop hub so the customer can put a freewheel on it if desired. A rear brake will be included, but not installed.

NEW UPDATE: Click here to see a new pic and some specs.

Written by dickdavid

September 29, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Posted in Cool Bikes

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Urban Velo introduces the Redline Urbis

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Just saw this Redline goodness on my Urban Velo RSS feed! Being a big fan of Redline, you’ve got to understand how exciting this is for me. From the looks of the pic, the frame looks similar to my Monocog. I’ll be watching the web for this one.

Read more and see a pic on Urban Velo.

UPDATE: Here are more pics from Redline.

Written by dickdavid

September 19, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Posted in Cool Bikes

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The Bikes Of Suburban Assault

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As with all of you, I’d love to have a garage full of bikes for my different riding moods. Until then, here are the two that get me around town.



I picked this one up back around 1993 (exact year isn’t clear). It’s heavy Cro-Mo, but the frame is nuke-proof. It came with full Shimano LX which is still rock solid. It started as a serious mountain bike, but now it’s my daily commuter.

I’ve added an RST suspension fork, which eventually failed. Now I’m back on a rigid fork. I’ve dropped the fat knobby tires for skinny slicks. I finally switched the saddle and added a rack.

I’m not sure how much life it still has, but I’m going to ride it until the wheels fall off.

Click Here to see a slideshow.



I picked this one up last winter on clearance. I’ve been wanting a single speed for the simplicity and a 29er for the smooth roll. This was supposed to replace RITA for off road riding, but my style of riding has moved me away from the trail.

In retrospect, I should have gotten a single speed commuter style bike with faster gearing. But, in the end, I’m completely happy with this bike. It’s simple and nice to ride. A bit slow sometimes, but perfect for those casual rides around town.

Like RITA, the frame is heavy, yet solid Cro-Mo. Because of it’s low price-point, it came with simple v-brakes, but it’s set up for a disk upgrade. Everything is is basic and no frills – just the way I like it.

Click Here to see a slideshow.

Written by dickdavid

September 2, 2009 at 7:00 pm