Thursday, May 29, 2008

New bikes in the shed.

It's been a busy time lately, between repairs at the shop, occasionally riding my bike, and spending time with Meg, I haven't had much time to update this. Here's the recap.

The big project at the shop for a customer has been Eric's custom powder coated Surly Big Dummy. Built for everything from Japanese Garden maintenance, wood hauling, grocery getting, and kayak pulling, Eric wanted a bike that would serve as his main means of transportation. Fitting this, the bike is spec'd with sound solid parts that will have many years of service before wearing out. The bike build is expensive compared to some, but should serve as a reliable means of alternate transportation for 20 plus years. The bike is built around Rohloff's famous 14 speed internal hub. I've lusted after one of these for years, and this seems the perfect application for one. Surly designed the BD with the Rohloff in mind, and it uses a dropout designed for ease of use. This eliminates all external torque arms required on many frames, and makes the installation of the rear wheel much easier. The cranks are a set of Dimension tandem cranks, to set the bike up for the eventual Stoke Monkey electric motor. These are not available yet due to a design redo, but the bike is set up for it when they are around. Braking is taken care of via a pair of 185 Shimano XT brakes. Plenty of braking power, and really nice modulation and set up. With the new levers, adjustment of the brakes is very simple. This makes it easy to dial in lever feel to be identical, solving one of my biggest gripes with many hydro brakes. Wheels on the bike are built for use, but not over built. The rims are WTB's Dual Duty FR, laced with DT straight gauge spokes. Fat Frank tires from Schwalbe add comfort while balancing out the load nicely. Without further ado, here she is! Enjoy.

I've been really turned off to normal road riding lately. two of my customers have been hit on roads very close to the shop already this year. Many of the roads around Faribault have been turned into construction zones, making traffic very heavy on thefree roads that I usually can commute by. As a result, we've been turning to gravel both as a means to get in shape with less miles, and as a safer route for getting to the shop. This all leads to the fact that my poor Madone has been getting very little riding lately. Frankly, it's too nice, (and expensive,) of a bike to have laying around going unused, so it's going away. I'm sure it will make a good bike for the right person. I have been craving something other than my MTB for gravel road burning. A cyclocross bike naturally falls into position there. As well as being appealing for it's off road tire selection, it will also let me run smooth road tires in the 32-35m range. I've been riding Bontrager Select K 700c X 35 tires on my single speed lately, and I've just fallen in love with them. The comfort provided by them far outweighs the small increase in weight. My searching brought up a very short list of candidates. I wanted a steel frame, big clearance, and disc brakes. The Lemond Poprad and Salsa La Cruz are the off the shelf bikes that would work best. As I had most of the parts, I was just looking for a frameset. While I love Salsa bikes, and have ridden many before, the red metallic paint and carbon fork of the Lemond won me over in the end. I've liked this bike since it was introduced last year, it just really seemed like a good fit. I wanted to build the bike pretty conservatively, as I'd like to have the Madone pay for this bike with a bit left over. The goal was serviceable, classic, and simple. I had some carbon bars and a seat post laying around, but other than those, the parts spec is pretty plain. Wheels, post, stem, bars, and saddle are from Bontrager. The tires are some quick Maxxis CX numbers. The brakes are Avid BB7 roads, with Cane Creek Aero levers. The cranks are little 165mm FSA compacts, 50/34t rings. Shifters are Dura Ace down tube, with Ultegra ders handing shifting. All in all, a great little bike without too much pomp and circumstance. I hope to have a lot of fun with this one.

Work has also started on the huge street redo in front of the shop. Full street, water infrastructure, curb and gutter, and all new sidewalks. Yay for having the street closed for 8 weeks! Oh well, it'll be really nice when it's done.

I'm going to Pofahl's house after work tonight. Phase one of the 36er redo is complete. I'll have a sneak peak tomorrow. Cheers.


Joe said...

Nice Dummy there! I'd like to get one from the next batch, but I'll keep the factory green color.


Guitar Ted said...

You ought to come and ride that nice LeMond at the GTDRI this summer Ben. Great looking rig there!

Anonymous said...

Hey! Are you near the old Dusek's bakery?