Pinnacle Update: Going Strong!

The Pinnacle has finally arrived to its final home, and has been put through the paces. So far, it has ran fine.

The shifters work good, and the brakes are decent. (Brakes are not perfect, but certainly slow me down.) It’s managed to even find a distant cousin – a Free Spirit cruiser from around the same era.

The Pinnacle’s long-lost cousin, a Free Spirit cruiser from the same era.
Comparing the badges show they are both Free Spirit bikes made around the same period. (Note the picture of the Pinnacle’s badge was taken before I gave the bike a good cleaning.)
The bikes side by side, parked in the rack.

However, despite running fine, the Pinnacle is starting to show its age and isn’t perfect.

The foam on the handlebar is completely cracked, providing an uncomfortable ride.

For starters, the handlebar foam is completely cracked and is starting to separate. While it may not seem like a huge issue, it makes it more uncomfortable as my hand starts to slip around.

The second issue is, unfortunately, the tires. I inflated the tires to 60/65 PSI (60 front, 65 rear) before I moved the bike to my dorm Tuesday. Five days later, the tires already dropped 20-25 PSI. I’m not sure if there is a slow leak, because it usually took the tires nearly double or triple the time to loose that much air, albeit with different tubes. My concern of potentially getting a snakebite flat still stands, especially on the rear tire.

There are other problems with the bike, as I mentioned in this post. The kickstand needs work, and the seat is crooked and needs to be replaced. But the biggest issue is the rims, which I’ve talked about time and time again as the project progressed. The rims are out of shape, rusty, and just plain begging for replacement.

The Solution?

In the past, I’ve strongly opposed replacing the Pinnacle. The Pinnacle is a relic. While it was a lowly department store bike made by Huffy and sold by Sears-Roebuck during the 1980s, and is no Austro-Daimler, it still was well built. It still runs fine, and looks decent. With some TLC and $$$, the bike could be restored to a factory-like condition.

Unfortunately, time and money are not things I have readily at my disposal.

Therefore, I have decided to “end” the Pinnacle project. Sometime later this fall, the Pinnacle will be replaced with a new bike.

When I picked up the Pinnacle from its recent trip to the bike shop to get the rear wheel reinstalled correctly, I talked with the bike shop owner and got his opinions on the Pinnacle and getting a new bike.

He mentioned that the Pinnacle wasn’t worth repairing. Facts and figures I’ve been working with agree with him: the bike would cost more to fix than it’s worth, even more than a new decent bike.

So, he showed me some of the bikes for sale. One stood out.

The Sedona.

The Giant Sedona. The Sedona sounds like some type of luxury SUV or car, or perhaps some type of exotic reptile, but the Sedona is a fairly decent mid-range hybrid bike. The Sedona will provide me with the comfort of a touring bike, the versatility of a mountain bike, and the speed of a road bike.

The Sedona is a 21-speed hybrid with index shifting. This makes shifting much more reliable and precise than the antiquated system the Pinnacle used. Brakes were also much more reliable. The more affordable model of the Sedona that I looked at had “standard” brakes like the Pinnacle, while there is a higher-end model that features disc brakes. The Sedona also has a more comfortable seat positioning.

The Sedona’s aluminum frame is also sturdy. The 26″ wheel/tires allow for comfort. The Pinnacle’s largest problem has been tires: the stock rims couldn’t allow for the proper tire pressure. (Thus the tires have to be underinflated, resulting in snakebite flats.) The new bike completely removes that worry, as the Sedona tires require lower pressures and have newer rims.

In all, I was impressed with the Sedona. Why wait? I want to ride the Pinnacle this fall, and let it go out with a “bang” (hopefully not a tire blowout) before it goes into long-term storage. I’ll keep the Pinnacle, but it will be shelved long-term as a back-up bike/project down the road.

In the meantime, the Pinnacle will continue to be put through its paces.

Update – 8/21/2018

The $4 Bell/Cheng Shin tubes actually hold air decently?

Woah, Pete! Hold your horses!

The $4 Cheng Shin tubes I installed have been working flawlessly, except one small issue: they seem to loose air fairly quicker. Somewhat quicker than any other tube I’ve had installed on this bike. (At least butyl tubes go.)

I inflated the tires to 60 psi in the front, 65 psi in the rear late last week. I’ve noticed the last day or two that the front tire seemed to be fairly low.

I checked today. The front was down to about 30-35 psi, and the rear was down to about 35-37. Unfortunately, these numbers are not exact. They’ve dropped somewhere in the ballpark of 30 pounds in less than a week.

So, that got me to thinking. Let’s do an experiment and see.

Today (Tuesday) the tires were inflated to 60/65 psi, which is where I typically inflate them to. I’ll check in a week, or less (depending on if I feel it is too low), to see how much it has dropped.

You may be asking: “why, Garrett? Why is this important?” First, science. Second, I’m just curious.

Third, and probably the most important, the tires are already underinflated. Because of the rims on this bike, inflating the tires past 65-70 psi is just asking for a blowout. The recommended pressure is ~85 psi on both tires. So the tires are currently only inflated 70-76%. When they drop to the 30-37 psi range, they’re only inflated 35-43%.

Well, this is quite important. One form of a puncture that can damage a (inner) tube is a snakebite flat. This is caused when the wide portion of the contact patch (the part of the tire that contacts the ground) hits the rim, usually because of imperfections in the surface. This can result in two parallel punctures caused by the rim impact. This typically can’t be repaired easy, and you’re better off buying a new tube.

But, wait! There’s more! This can not only damage your tube, but also the tire casing and the rim. While less likely to damage the tire casing unless it’s delicate or you’re riding on a really flat tire, you’re more likely to damage the rim. Specifically, bend it. Both the front and rear rims on the Pinnacle are bent, and it was probably from me not watching pressures closely in the past, coupled with riding harshly (i.e. hitting curbs, don’t paying too much attention to the road surface, etc.)

This goes back to a page on my site that discusses bicycle tires. I’ve learned, through experience and experimentation, that underinflating bicycle tires is not a good idea. Yet you see it all the time. On the other end, overinflating a tire isn’t a good idea, either. There’s a reason most tire manufacturers mold a “recommended pressure” range into the sidewall of the tire. You can experiment within that range to see what pressure works best for you.

For me, it makes some sense to go to the higher end of that range. (Unfortunately, I can’t do that with the Pinnacle.) I’m a heavier rider, and I’ll admit I’m out of shape. A bike with tires inflated to a higher pressure will take less energy to get up to speed on in comparison to a bike with tires inflated to a lower pressure. There are pros and cons of both, and I suggest taking a look at the page I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

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