(Another) Pinnacle Update

Just following up on the previous installment in the Pinnacle saga/updates.

The Pinnacle chained to it’s “favorite” bike rack…

Despite not being the week that I mentioned in my previous post (although I’m only one day off), I checked the tire pressures and topped them off to their normal pressures (60 front, 65 rear.) The reason I didn’t wait any longer is because the front tire seemed to be getting worryingly low, so I decided to top them off to stave off having the dreaded snakebite flat.

The news is actually fairly good.

Last Tuesday (8/21) I inflated the rear tire to 65 PSI, which is its normal pressure. Today, it was at ~58 PSI, totaling a 7 PSI drop, or about 1.2 PSI lost each day.

Today, the rear tire was around 58 PSI.

Similarly, the front tire was inflated to 60 PSI last Tuesday. Today, it measured in at ~50 PSI, meaning it lost 10 PSI in total. Or about 1.7 PSI lost each day.

Meanwhile, the front tire was around 50 PSI. (As you can tell by this less-than-clear picture.)

So, not nearly as bad as I thought it was. The Pinnacle’s tubes are standard-thickness “Bell” tubes manufactured by Chen Shing Tire. These tubes are typically found at your local Walmart for four Washingtons and some change. (Okay, maybe a Lincoln by the time you pay tax.) A tube is a tube, but some prefer using name-brand tubes for different purposes. No problem with that, but the CST/Bell tubes seem to be doing a good job.

My only worry at this point is that threat of a snakebite flat. It’s still going to be imperative that the tires are regularly checked and topped off.

The Pinnacle itself has been put through its paces. In order to keep in accordance to its name – a “road bike” – the Pinnacle has actually been seeing more pavement than sidewalks. I changed because I feel its better (safer) for both me and pedestrians if I’m on the street, especially since sidewalks around here can get crowded fairly quickly.

The bike itself has been performing decently. Since I’m riding on the street alongside cars that are going twice as fast, it is important to go as fast as you can – at least to try to keep pace and not cause congestion. For the most part, the Pinnacle has been shifting fairly well, although it can be tricky to get “locked on” to a gear since it doesn’t have indexed shifting. (The Pinnacle’s successor does actually have indexed shifting.)

The Pinnacle’s shifters…

Braking is fair. The Pinnacle doesn’t stop on a dime (likely since both rims are bent), but it will at least stop.

The biggest thing put to the test with this transition is the tires. Since I spend a large portion of time in the shoulder of the road, the tires are greatly tested because of all of the trash in the shoulders. Cigarettes, plastic, glass bottles, nails, or who knows what else is typically scrunched in the shoulder, waiting to ruin your day by poking a hole in your tube.

I know that I’ve actually ran over some glass shards and rocks with the Pinnacle. That was back on Saturday. It’s Monday evening and those tires are still holding air fairly fine (refer to the beginning of the post with the experiment results.) The tires seem to be doing a good job at resisting punctures.

Despite the good luck so far (I’m really hoping I’m not jinxing myself now!), I do plan on getting a tube patch kit in the near future. It’s a good idea to carry a patch kit anywhere you go, but in the meantime I don’t go very far.

Another problem with biking on the streets is the condition of some streets. Aside from the junk that can get lodged into your tire, some roads around here are in rough shape and can be hell on your rims. The two rims on the Pinnacle are already shot beyond repair, but I also don’t want to “taco” them. And I especially don’t want the nice, new rims on the Pinnacle’s successor to get damaged. The main thing goes back to tires. A properly inflated tire will protect the rim better than an underinflated or overinflated tire.

Oh, one more thing…

While walking back from a class (I don’t take the Pinnacle if there’s a good chance of rain), I noticed that someone had a bike in a similar color to mine.

When I looked closer, it was a Free Spirit! Just like the Pinnacle, their Free Spirit was in the same color of blue. However, their bike wasn’t a Pinnacle – it was either an earlier model, or a lower end model – as theirs lacked reflectors on the wheels (although they may have broke off) and seemed to have plastic gear selectors instead of metal.

The “other” Free Spirit rolling around campus…

I’ve seen the other blue Free Spirit around campus quite a bit. Whoever owned it still has gumwall tires on it. I would’ve put gumwalls back on the Pinnacle, but I decided to keep the look consistent on both rims – and the front tire was already replaced with the Bell tire.

This is the second “other” Free Spirit I’ve found on campus. The other is a cherry red Free Spirit single-speed cruiser that has been neglected and/or abandoned.

The Pinnacle’s long-lost cousin, a Free Spirit cruiser from the same era.

I’m not so sure about the other blue Free Spirit, but the head badges on the Pinnacle and the red FS cruiser are both similar.

Comparing the badges show they are both Free Spirit bikes made around the same period.

It’s quite a shame about the cherry red cruiser. Some people love those single-speed bikes thanks to their simplicity. No handbrakes, no gears or gear selecting mechanisms to worry about. They’re practically goof-proof. And they’re also the best for making skid marks, that is until you wear the tire out and finally blow the tube. The cherry cruiser is fairly clean and looks like it hasn’t been used much.

(On a short tangent that probably belongs in the Throwback Thursday… but I remember making skid marks all the time with this small single-speed Murray my grandparents had. It was fun, until we wore it to the point where the tube started bubbling out. It sat, and I witnessed my first blowout when the tube decided to let go on that tired tire.)

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