I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!
A Stimulus Package CVT Road Bike for Dan
here, which is a pretty good performance review of the NuVinci. My friend Dan mused about using some stimulus money to buy this bike the other day. He expressed interest primarily in the bike's use of a Nuvinci hub, a constantly-variable transmission that uses viscous fluid to transmit power from the cog to the hub body. Way Cool. The bike is a commuter and includes fenders and a rack, as well as a full-coverage chain guard. Dan also mentioned that he'd be really interested in a Nuvinci-equipped road bike, but lamented that nobody was making one. I commented that one could be made and that I was just the guy for the job: "Nuvinci road bike? Why wait for somebody else to make one, when I can make one for you? Just order a Nuvinci hub to my address- they look like they retail for around 350 bucks as a standalone. Here: http://aebike.com/page.cfm?action=details&PageID=30&SKU=HU0104 For the price of a decent used road bike (make sure it has 36 spoke rims), the Nuvinci Hub, and new rear spokes, we could have you up and running in no time." I spent some more time thinking about it last night (I often build bikes in my head to get to sleep) and here's what I have come up with: The Cadillac A-V-T is an aluminum-framed commuter bike that uses the Nuvinci hub and includes typical commuter accouterments like fenders, a rack, and a chain guard. We can do all that, and have it be more like a traditional road bike. I'm going to run down the necessary parts and list them here. The Caddy ships free and costs $899, so I'm going to assume that's the project budget and work from there. So, one possibility would be to pick up a used road bike, cut the rear hub out of the rear wheel, lace in the Nuvinci hub, add a Hubbub adapter to the drop bar for a shifter, a chain tensioner (assuming the donor bike has vertical dropouts, which it probably will), and away we go: The Donor Bike Option: Nuvinci Hub: $350.00 (shipped) Spokes: $ 20.00 (total estimate on my part, there's this guy on Ebay and it's pretty cheap if I remember correctly). Hubbub adapter: $ 70.00 (shipped) Fenders: $ 38.00 (shipped) Rack: $ 45.00 (shiped) Chainguard: $ 40.00 (shipped) Chain tensioner: $30.00 (shipped) Used Road Bike: $326.00 (up to, to stay in the limit) OR Donor new Road Bike $326.00 (shipped, I looked at the Windsor "Wellington One on DikesDirect: The shifty bits are all crap but we'll be removing those anyway) Another option is the Wal-Mart Schwinn Varsity. Either bike would be a good candidate for decal and paint removal and Mother's Aluminum Polish. Total: $899 Boy, those bits and pieces add up quickly. You need the Hubbub to make the Nuvinci work on a drop bar bike, because the shifter is made to fit the diameter of a flat-bar bike. The fenders and all that other stuff are kind of optional, but we want to stay true to amenities offered by the "control" bike. We are also making some assumptions, namely that he rear wheel on our donor bike has the same number of spokes as the Nuvinci has holes. (The Nuvinci comes in 36 or 32 holes, so that shouldn't be a big problem). But man, we are spending almost a hundred bucks on just the rack and fenders! (I won't even go there with the chain guard- these are hideously expensive to buy as a standalone, but to be fair, I'm keeping it in the estimate). What if we found a bike that already had fenders, a rack, and a chainguard? There are a few out there, usually sold as geared or single-speed commuters. I'd love to run this conversion on a Masi Randonneur, for example. (yeah, the MSRP is 1100 on that puppy, but you could find a gently used one for less than half that and be in business!) Nuvinci Hub: $350.00 (shipped) Spokes: $ 20.00 (total estimate on my part, there's this guy on Ebay and it's pretty cheap if I remember correctly). Hubbub adapter: $ 70.00 (shipped) Chain tensioner: $30.00 (shipped) Donor (pre- commuterized) Road Bike: $454.00 (up to, to stay in the limit) Total: $899 What if we built the whole thing from the ground up? This offers the greatest opportunity for customization, but also the deepest traps when it comes to way overspending the budget. We've established pretty well that the hubs and fenders, rack and adapter would only leave us with 325 bucks, and with rims, BB, headset, etc, that will get expensive fast. Still, a Surly cross check frame kitted out with a NuVinci hub would be killer (and the horizontal drops mean we don't need the chain tensioner, the frame offer great clearance for bigger tires and fenders, etc. While i was writing this post, I got an email from Dan indicating his potential interest in the project, so we'll see where this goes. I'm convinced it can be done, and handsomely, for under the price of the Caddy bike and probably saving a few pounds as well. Wish is luck.