Tuesday, February 28, 2017

It's not only about the Porsche bikes, part 2

Earlier this week I mentioned riding Porsche bicycles long distances isn't only about bike preparation. In that blog post I talked about the yoga I do to ready myself for a 100+ mile Porsche bike ride.

Today I wanted to share the winter training I do to prepare myself for a spring launch into the long ride summer season. Living in Truckee near Lake Tahoe at 5,000 plus feet above sea level, the winter is not condusive for outdoor winter training. Frequent snow and below freezing temperatures keeps me training inside. 

So I make the most it. I have set up the ultimate Porsche cycling hibernation camp possible. My stationary bike is surrounded by a plethora of Porsche paraphernalia including a 2001 triple black 986 Boxster, a 2006 Carmona Red 955 Cayenne S, an all original 1996 Bike S, a modified 1998 Bike S, an all black 2004 Bike X and Porsche flags, posters and parts. I even have a portable heater and a place for my computer to update this blog while I ride. 

With a 2017 goal of riding a 2004 Porsche Bike X for the entire five mountain pass, 129 mile Death Ride in July, I'll need all the training I can get!

I would rather ride my Porsche bikes outside for sure, but this is the next best thing. Last winter this inside training worked well and provided the fitness to achieve my summer 100 mile long distance goals. If it works, why change it? So, again I'm spinning many, many miles on my garage stationary bike within full eyesight of all my Porsche vehicles, bikes and paraphernalia.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Porsche Votec bicycle elastomers

When it comes to keeping a 1990s Porsche mountain bike performing well, it's all about the elastomers. The Porsche Bike S, Bike FS and Bike ST had front shocks built with an internal spring and with as many as nine small, cylindrical elastomers (see photo below) on each side. But what is an elastomer anyway?

Wikipedia says:

An elastomer is a polymer with viscoelasticity (having both viscosity and elasticity) and very weak inter-molecular forces, generally having high failure strain compared with other materials. The term, which is derived from elastic polymer, is often used interchangeably with the term rubber.

The two things to understand from this definition is Porsche/Votec used the elastomer inherent elasticity for front shock vibration dampening and the other is the high strain failure.

Back in the 1990s this is how mountain bike shocks were made. Cutting edge technology. Today, no one makes shocks like this anymore. Why? High failure rate due to strain - and more importantly, time. 

Mix strain and time together and all of these nearly 20 year old Porsche bicycles have a pending elastomer failure to deal with. The clock is ticking. The elastic polymer starts to dry out and lose its elasticity. Then they crack and ultimately break apart leaving a mess inside the shock housing and making the bike unrideable. This can happen slowly over time, or in some cases the shocks just collapse all at once. 

Even though the Porsche Bike S and Bike FS can be frequently found on both the US and German eBay sites, these bikes were a limited run and really aren't that many around. Porsche enthusiasts and investors, rather than cyclists bought these up. So today it is easy to find a Bike S or Bike FS in pretty good condition. Albeit with elastomers about to fail. 

Although that seems like a bad deal to most, that can also create an opportunity for others. I bought a Bike S from a pawn shop in Florida off eBay for only $600 because the seller said "the bike was unrideable because the front forks were broken and no parts are available." He offered it for sale as a display piece. I knew exactly what was wrong with it. Spending $100 on new elastomers and some garage time and now I have a great Bike S in excellent shape - even rode it 100 miles in one day last fall. Considering you'll find 1990s Porsche bikes ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 on eBay, $700 was not a bad deal. 

How can you do a Porsche shock rebuild yourself you ask? Well, it's not that hard if you have the parts and know what you're doing. 

For starters, it's easier if you order the elastomers pre made and precut to fit. The online bicycle elastomer sales website www.suspensionforkparts.com is the best/only place in the entire world to buy these specific elastomers. Get the kit that includes the lube - very important. 

As for knowledge, this Porsche bike blog covers what to do. You may have to dig through the site a little or you can post a comment and just ask me. I love working on these bikes AND freely sharing what I've learned. 

So, if you want to buy an old Porsche bike, or already have one, and are afraid of the pending shock failure, don't be. This site can help you rebuild your bike into original and amazing condition - which will last for another 20 years. 

It's not only about the Porsche bikes ...

Riding Porsche bicycles long distances isn't only about bike preparation. Particularly at my age, preparing the body is important too. This week I plan to post what I do to get myself ready for a 100+ mile Porsche bike ride.

To start each day, I do a special "yoga for cyclists" routine I found on YouTube. This 22-minute video was uploaded to YouTube by Yoga with Kassandra and is labeled as Yoga Stretch for Cyclists - Yoga for Open Hips & Quad Stretch.

I looked through YouTube for other yoga videos but I think this is the best. It's not too short, not too long and the moves feel the best focused for cyclists.

I find this video useful to keep me limber and loose and prevents me from getting overly tightened which could result in pulling a leg muscle. I usually turn on my gas fireplace to warm the room for better stretching too.

Almost every morning, I watch the sunrise through my 2004 Porsche Bike X and preform the yoga moves looking outside at the snow. A great way to start the day and a good way to stay limber for an afternoon training ride.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Dennis Yee shock rebuild, part 4

New York Porsche friend, Dennis Yee sent me a few photos of the upper steerer tube assembly. This is a nice little piece of engineering but if not removed or assembled property can cause a headache and poor bike performance. The steerer tube cover and parts underneath provide projection for the top of the tube as well as tightens the "V" shaped bracket around the steerer tube. The two conical shaped parts (photo below) face conical side toward each other into the metal ring with the bolt tightening the assembling together (photo below). Place the entire assembly back into the top of the open steerer tube. Then tighten the bolt which expands the rings securing it in place. Dennis has been a fountain of new information during his recent 1998 Porsche Bike FS refurbish!



Sunday, February 19, 2017

Dennis Yee shock rebuild, part 3

New Yorker and fellow Porsche bike friend, Dennis Yee, reports in on his front fork shock rebuild. I'll let Dennis update in his own words:

All out! All the old elastomers & spacers are out.

It was a rather easy task I would say. Brut force (pushing the stack down the tube) would have been harder as the elastomers were packed somewhat tightly against the inside walls of the stanchions. Gentle and patience (break them into chunks where they were at the top and pull the chunks out) worked well.

The magic tool is something all of us could get "free" from a paint store. I used the Benjamin Moore paint can opener. It has a wide hook on it and it worked magic in pulling those elastomers and spacers out.

Now all I need is to remove the particles left inside (not much). Fortunately only a tiny bit of elastomers are stucked on the surface so I don't expect much scrubbing is required.

I will pull out my rifle/shotgun cleaning rods and patches with alcohol and run it up and down the tubes . I think they should work well for this task.



Saturday, February 18, 2017

Just when I think I know every Porsche bicycle ...

Update to blog post below:

Mystery solved. I emailed the gentleman selling the below mentioned "Porsche bike made by Votec"on the Germany eBay site.

He said he built this racing bike himself in 1999 with decals (and I'm assuming the visible Porsche crest) from Votec. He ordered the frame in "Porsche yellow" and built the bike for a customer, who after changed his mind to buy a Trek bike (silly dude!)

So, this is not an official Porsche bike. But it is a very well designed and constructed custom Porsche bike. So, it's not a missing link or an early authentic Porsche bicycle. Still rather cool though.

----

Searching eBay (both US and Germany) for future Porsche bicycles to buy, I noticed a Porsche bike I have never seen before. Translating from German to English, the seller labels this yellow bike as a "PORSCHE Rennrad 28", 58 cm - made by VOTEC NOS" but doesn't mention a model name or year manufactured.

Without much detail, I am trying to piece together what this bike is. I think the seller is accurate with the "made by Votec" comment. Even though this yellow Porsche road bike doesn't look anything like the Votec made Porsche Bike R road bike of the late 1990s, the "Porsche" lettering and Porsche crest on the steerer tube look just like the Votec made Porsche bikes in the mid to late 1990s. When Storck took over making Porsche bikes after Votec in 2000/2001, they included the Storck logo on the steerer tube instead of the Porsche crest. So I'd say this yellow Porsche road bike is definitely Votec made.

And even though this bike looks more like a Storck Porsche Bike R than a Votec Porsche Bike R, the Storck made Porsche Bike R road bike had a carbon fiber frame. This rare bike on the Germany ebay site lists an aluminum frame - like the other 1990s Votec Porsche bikes.

I am guessing this is a very early Porsche bicycle. Probably mid 1990s before the Porsche/Votec combo developed the unique frame we are all used to seeing for both the road bike (R) and mountain bikes (S, FS, FS Evo). If that's the case, this could quite possibly be the missing link between the first prototype bicycle built by the Porsche factory (Bike Spyder 9.85) in 1990 and the limited world-wide production run of the now famous Votec series.

I'll email this German eBay seller and see if I can dig up more information. And maybe even buy this rare bike!

Dennis Yee shock rebuild, part 2

Dennis is making rapid progress! Front fork shocks apart and removing the old and crumbling elastomers. The clean up looks minimal.

Porsche Bike S and Bike X

First photo of the 2004 Porsche Bike X and the 1998 Porsche Bike S together. I snapped this pic in my driveway in Truckee, California. Yes, that is snow behind the bikes. The Bike X is a touring bike turned road bike and the Bike S is a mountain bike. Both have a wonderful place on the roads and trails around the Lake Tahoe area. I have posted extensive notes on rebuilding and riding both bikes on this blog.

Dennis Yee shock rebuild, part 1

My friend Dennis Yee from New York, started a front shock rebuild on his 1998 Porsche Bike FS today. Taking the top caps off exposed the condition of the 19 year old shock elastomers. As seen in his photos, the elastomers are breaking down and flattening out. However, they are still holding together well enough he should be able to take the elastomer rod out without too much trouble. Dennis will likely send more progress photos.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Porsche Bike Votec GS4 shock diagram

Dennis Yee tracked down a rare find ... a document sharing the inner-workings of the Votec GS4 bicycle shock used on many Porsche bicycles. The diagram included in the document far surpasses anything I have shared to date on how the elastomers, spacers and spring all fit together inside the shock tube and frame. Although the GS4 is a little different than the GSIII and GS97, the arrangement of the elastomers, spacers and spring are rather consistent from one model to the next. Contact me if you'd like the complete GS4 shock manual PDF.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Global reach!

I've had fun working on and riding Porsche bicycles. I've also had fun sharing all these good times with the entire world through this little blog. I've been posting photos and information about Porsche bicycles since November 2015. In that timeframe, 68 countries across the world and 45 states in the USA have visited this little Porsche bike blog. The site has had 7,314 page views, 2,630 sessions and 1,382 users with 47.5% returning viewers. The most popular was the "Porsche Bike S shocks rebuilt" post back in December 2015.

Considering Porsche only represents less than 1% of all the cars sold, and of Porsche owners only a small fraction own Porsche bikes, this blog is reaching a lot of them. That's pretty cool.

I have another long year of riding planned on my three Porsche bicycles. I'll continue to post information and photos for the world to view.



More snow ...

What a winter! More snow and rain again this week. I'll be in the garage again later today riding my stationary bike. Who chooses cycling as their year around sport living in Truckee? I do. Not the best choice, but an absolutely beautiful place to live.

Today will be another high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout on my stationary bike. I ride for 20 minutes, then do 10 flat out sprints for one minute each, followed by a very slow one minute recovery. Then another 20 minute ride to complete the hour training. Hurts so good.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Porsche Votec GS97 bike shock diagram

This rough diagram shows the inner workings of the Votec GS97 bike forks used on the late 1990s Porsche Bike S and Bike FS. The elastomer posts (1) connect to a metal rod (2) and the entire assembly (3) fits into the fork tube and lower frame. 

The elastomers, spacers and grease can be purchased from www.suspensionforkparts.net

This diagram can help to stack the elastomers, spacers and spring properly on the elastomer post. 

1998 Porsche Bike FS

Good friend Dennis Yee emailed me some photos of his near perfect 1998 Porsche Bike FS. Dennis lives way over on the other side of the country in New York, but even that distance doesn't keep Porsche bike enthusiasts from comparing notes. Dennis took these photos prior to a front fork rebuild. I look forward to seeing his progress. I particularly like the disc brakes on the Bike FS. An upgrade from the Bike S.

Recovery week

Last week was a week to forget. Got a flat tire on the Bike X and crashed the Bike S. And in two consecutive days. This week I’m back on the...