Saturday, February 20, 2016

The One True Bike - Part 2 - Frame

Of the two or three people who still read this blog, a couple have asked for ALL THE DETAILS on this my latest bike project. Be careful what you wish for, losers, 'cause here they come, in as many tediously long parts as necessary!

On my fixed gear bike build, I bought a brand new frame. Nothing fancy, but I wanted true horizontal dropouts and they were hard to find in a local, used frame. On my light tourer build, a used 1980's lugged steel Trek 520 frame, which was lovely. Mutant Winter featured a tough-as-nails Alu Gary Fischer MTB hardtail/dirtjumper style frame. On this, the "1TB" build, I needed a flexible platform for what I am hoping will be my ultimate all-rounder. Most of the bikes I have owned in the last twenty years have been compact and aluminum.

I like Alu mostly for its corrosion resistance since I often ride in wet and even salty road conditions. I like compact frames with their sloping top tubes because they are easier to step over. My physical prowess and coordination leave a lot to be desired, and are, in general, worsening. You know how people swing a leg over and coast in standing on one pedal? I don't do that and never have. In addition, planned rear rack and panniers make swinging a leg over the back of the bike a problem for me.

I needed something with the clearances for bigger tires and mounting points for racks and fenders, and canti studs, because I love those frog-leg style cantilever brakes. I wanted 135mm rear spacing because I was planning on really strong wheels, which are more typically on 135mm hubs. Basically I needed a cyclocross frame. What I found pretty much was one, except for the "cyclocross" designation, since it came from a "performance hybrid" bike.

Behold: A used 20" 2010 Trek 7.2 FX compact Alu frame! Cost: $50

It had some pieces I didn't want still attached when I picked it up, like the crankset, derailleur and some of the headset. I removed those and put them in my spares collection, probably never to be used again. Never say Never, though y'know? I was glad to see the bottom bracket was still in it when I picked it up, because it was most likely the original bb, which meant nobody had tinkered with it and accidentally cross-threaded or damaged the bb shell. I am only wary of such things because I have done such things myself in the past, so no judgement there. BB removed, the threads were fine.

For getting the headset cups out of the head tube, I got fancy and made myself a removal tool by using an old seatpost, a vice, and a reciprocating saw. It felt dangerous/foolhardy while I was doing it that way, despite wearing safety glasses. Foolhardy, however, is my middle name and it worked out OK. 

Behold: The Home-made Headset Cup Removal Tool of Destiny! Cost: the fear of losing a finger or stabbing my jugular vein with a flying saw blade or something.

No more hammer and screwdriver method for me, no sir. I was afraid of damaging the inner surfaces of the tube, although my guess is that it would have been fine. Note: If I had it to do again I would have used a tube of thinner metal than that seatpost. My finished product wasn't as bendy or springy as I would have liked. Worked well though.

As you may or may not be able to see, the frame had a few scratches and scuffs, but that is fine with me; I simply don't care much about stuff like that. I may touch it up a bit, but probably not.

That's it for this installment of The One True Bike Build... see ya later. Please feel free to ask any nebulous bike freak questions you may have. I owe you that if you have actually read this far.

Yer Pal,

PS - As with my Trek 520 build, I think I'll keep a running tally on costs...

Used frame                                            50.00
Headset cup removal tool                        fear (0.00)

Total                                                     50.00

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The One True Bike - Part 1 - N+none

In the aftermath of my latest stolen bike stuff I decided to build one up from scratch again! Oh sweet agony! I have discovered over the last couple of decades, lots of bikes and 2 builds that I am not an n+1 guy. Does that get me kicked out of the cycling community somehow? I hope not.

Of course this may have something to do with thieves keeping me at approximately 1+1 status all the time, but I don't think so. I've always had a favourite bike that I want to ride 99% of the time. I've ridden/owned winter-specific mutant, fixed gear, classic touring, and urban practical with an IGH along with all the other typical bikes one rides as one grows up. I have loved them all, because bikes are just awesome.

mutant winter (retired / disassembled)

Summer, fixed gear (stolen)

Highway (still good)

CUBE City Touring with Dyno Hub and Nexus 8 IGH (stolen)

One type of bike I have never owned is a full-on racer, carbon or otherwise, and I'm still not particularly interested in that type.

Each kind of bike, of course, has its own set of pros and cons. Rather than seeking to have lots of bikes for specific purposes, however, more and more I have become fixated on finding / building One perfect bike for virtually Every purpose. I don't know if I'll ever really get there, but goddamn it I'm gonna try.

The bike I build this time will have the features of all the bikes I have loved most, combined just so, for me. It will take me a long time to build, because I am gonna try not to compromise on anything, which means more money than I've got to spend in one go. I have no doubt that it won't seem all that unique or special to anyone but me, and that's as it should be, since no two bike freaks are alike; we're like snowflakes, or perhaps just flakes, because as I write this I am getting so excited about this bike (that doesn't exist yet) that I can hardly stand it.

Right now I have a frame (used), a fork (new), and some wheels (new), each of which I think quite perfect. I know I am completely self-involved and this stuff won't be of interest to anyone, really, but that's OK. That's what blogs are all about, right? Wait, that's not fair. Some blogs are about being useful to others. MY blog is mostly about entertaining MYSELF, because I am the only person who matters. ME! ME! ME! Yaaayyy ME! Hey, look what I'm doing! Watch me dive! 

Thank you, online attention sources! Remember, without you there would still be ME! ME! ME! Yaaaaayyy ME!