Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blu Bik

It's been a busy few days with lots going on in the day job.

Still, I've started the build on the blue bike. The rider tried drop bars but decided she wants to stick with upright ones, so that's how the frame was built - giving it a bit longer top tube.

The fork is mounted using a nice Tange Levin headset (very durable and classic looking). I first grabbed a Nitto Technomic stem, not really thinking. Put it in the steerer and push down. Whoops, it won't go very far. This is a small frame with a short steerer. The bottom of steerer tubes is butted (its where most of the stress gets concentrated), and a stem won't fit through the butt. Because this steerer is so short, the butt is nearly half the tube and a tall stem like a Technomic ends up sticking way up in the air like a flag.

I have a nice SR forged stem in stock, this has more traditional proportions. Substituting it in gives just the vertical fit I'm looking for. Into this I mounted a Nitto Albatross aluminum bar. This is a big wide bar which the rider likes, even though it's more than is really necessary for the size of loads she'll be carrying.

For the seatpost, we're using a NOS Sugino fluted one bolt. It has a classic look, but is a bit easier to adjust. The lug design looks nice against the front of the post. On top of this we selected a Velo ladies saddle. I can' t say much about this except that its supposed to be comfortable to the rider. She wasn't interested in trying to break in a Brooks.

Brakes are Cane Creek cantilevers, which are now mounted on front and back. With their tension spring adjustments, these are so much easier to balance than old fashioned brakes. I toyed with the idea of using a TT style lever mounted in the end of the bars. But we're using cork grips and I don't like the idea of carving them up to make passage for the brake cable. Instead, we're using a nice old set of Sun Tour MTB brake levers. The rear is connected, using a single long casing routed through a top tube tunnel. It looks like it will wrap nicely under the handle bar tape, routed along the front side of the handlebar. This will give the rider a couple of more hand positions for longer rides, including one that gets her down out of the airstream.

As you may assume, given that the rear brake is adjusted, the wheels are mounted. The rear wheel needs a little work, based on the test fits prior to paint. It is an old 120mm hub with a new longer axle, that is re-spaced to 130mm. The spacers need to be adjusted to move the hub further toward the non-drive side of the dropouts, otherwise the derailer can't move the chain over to the small ring. As part of this, the wheel needs to be redished. So mounting and adjusting the derailers needs to await this change.

Even with all that's left to do, this is starting to look like a real bike now. Tonight I'll pull the wheels and mount fenders, then connect the front brake and finish the handlebars.

Pix soon.

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