Archive for December, 2012


Eight Tubes, Part Last: it’s Love!

We’ve bonded; it’s love.

In other words, No. 2 is done enough to test ride, and I have done so. Like the early phases of any serious relationship, the first ride on a newly-completed bike are a bit exciting and, yes, scary. Nothing like throwing a leg over a bike frame that you have just finished building and heading out on the road knowing that if you screwed up it could really, really hurt.  I mean, having a joint fail or the fork collapse at speed just doesn’t bear thinking about. So the cautious ( I.e “smart”) person would first do a series of gentle tests rides to see if the newly completed frame and fork were of a mind to kill or maim before taking the show out on the road.

Of course, I didn’t do that.

I put down the torch the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, built up the bike, and rode it up and down the street in front of my house a couple of times.  After that less-than-rigorous shakedown I decided to show it off, taking it out out for a ride with the guys on Thanksgiving morning. We got in 25 or so admittedly easy pre-turkey miles, and the bike miraculously did not fall apart or kill me.

Best of all, it rode like a dream.

Before we get more heavily into that, lets talk a little about the jobs that still needed doing before I could ride. Basically, all that remained to be done was to attach the little braze on parts like the brake bridge, cable stops and the shifter bosses. This has turned out to be one of my favorite jobs to do. Apart from figuring out where they all should go, the other really tricky bit about braze-ons is figuring out a way to hold these bits and pieces in place while you braze.

Being a clever sort, I made a jig/holder out of a hose clamp and an old spoke to hold the cable stops. Actually, I made two jigs ; one for the cable stops on the big tubes, and a smaller one for the cable stop on the chain stay for the derailleur. This is what they look like:

The head of the spoke fits into the slot of the cable stop.  Just don't solder the spoke to the stop and you will be okay.

The white goop is cooled flux. This is the chain stay.

I also attached the brake bridge and the fancy doo-dads that dressed up the joints.  Holding those in place was pretty easy – all that I had to do was flip the frame upside down and rely on gravity.  The finished job:

We stored our patio furniture in the garage for Super Storm Sandy.  It hasn't made it back to the patio yet.

And don’t forget the bottle cage inserts. They had their own little doo-dads as well:


I had previously taken the frame over to bike shop (Spokes, over at their Quaker Lane store in Alexandria – THANK YOU) and had them run a tap in the bottom bracket threads to clean them up.  I also ran a tap in the bottle bosses and the shifter bosses (an M5, for those keeping score at home), so I was ready to dress the frame…

Ahhh…..the parts. For this I have to thank the VeloCity Bicycle Cooperative over in Del Ray for helping me out (Grazie to my new friend Nick B and the other fabulous folks) with some Cool Parts.  VeloCity has a neat collection of old stuff at very reasonable prices.  My choice for No. 2 is a selection of old Shimano 600.  I scored a neat fluted “arabesque” crank and matching brake levers and front derailleur. Out back is good ol’ Ultegra 8 speed. Downtube shifters are brand new Sora 8 speed units that index nicely with the cassette out back. The wheelset is a pair of Mavic CXP 14 rims laced to some nice old Shimano 105 hubs. New Nitto bar and stem. The saddle is a beautiful green Brooks Team Pro that was in my tool box, mounted on a really funky copy of a classic Campagnolo two bolt seat post by SR. I bought that for $5 from Velocity, polished it up, and it looks nice.

So, here it is:

Sorry, but this bike kicks ass.

Who needs aero levers when you have something this cool?

A Shimano 600 front derailleur, matches the crank.  Spiffy.  Shifts well.

A shameless copy of a classic seatpost.  I have no shame, so it works for me.

Ultegra rear mech.  I have adjuster screws to fit into the rear dropouts once it is painted. Once those are installed, the bike is officially "done."

Shimano 600 "Arabesque" - 52/52.  Has the original rings.

Brand new 8 Speed Sora shifter - indexes perfectly with the cassette.  The only downside is that it has no "friction" mode.

My plan is to ride it around a bit and then – if all goes according to plan – paint it.

As I said, I think that it turned out swell.

Just how swell?

Let’s just say that it made the pretty girl VERY HAPPY.


Thanks for reading!


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