Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer's Almost Here

This might be taking the whole fixed gear thing a little too far. On the other hand, it beats walking.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bike Burrito

I'd been looking for a trad seat bag for a while and hadn't found anything that really did it for me until I came across the Bike Burrito. They are handmade in Long Beach, CA by a woman named Jayme. She was a pleasure to deal with every step of the way and the bag exceeds my expectations. Prompt replies to emails, quick shipping, if this had been an eBay deal I'd be saying "A+ seller, perfect transaction". It's minimalist to be sure so maybe not for you gearheads and Be Prepared Boy Scouts but it rolls up nicely around a minipump, spare tube, tire levers and a mini-tool which is all I care to lug around. It's attached under your saddle with the provided leather strap and even ships with a surprise miniature sample bottle of Tabasco sauce. You don't get that from corporate America folks! So if you're in the market for this sort of bag and if, like me, you try to support cottage industries, I highly recommend the Bike Burrito. Check 'em out here

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Motobecane Update

Here's my 1974 Motobecane Grand Touring fixed gear conversion. It went up on the Fixed Gear Gallery this week so I thought I'd better do a post with the build details for anyone who might be interested. I got the bike from my buddy Tommy in trade for some guitar lessons. Definitely a win-win situation. Aside from the frame and fork, the only original parts are the bottom bracket and headset. Here's the breakdown

Frame and fork: 1974 Motobecane lugged steel Grand Touring
Paint: Rustoleum rattlecan
Bottom bracket: OEM
Crankset: vintage Sugino w/ 52T chainring
Pedals: generic
Chain: generic
Rear rim: Mavic Open Pro
Hub: Formula, 32h
Cog: Surly 20T
Front rim: Mavic SUP
Hub: Shimano RSX, 32h
Tires: Continental Gatorskins, 700x23 foldable
Tubes: Continental 76g
Headset: OEM
Stem: Nitto Technomic Deluxe
Handlebars: Cinelli 66-44
Bar ends: wine corks
Bar tape: cloth
Bell: Velo Orange
Brake: Gran Compe
Brake lever: Dia-Compe
Bottle cage: generic stainless steel
Seatpost: generic
Saddle: Brooks B-17

Most of the stuff came off my Apollo as I've decided I like the ride of the Motobecane better. So I put all my best goodies on this frame. The trickiest part of the build was the cockpit. I spent an hour or so enlarging the stem clamp from the stock dimension of 26.0 out to 26.4 (with sandpaper) in order to mount the Cinelli bars which I find to be the most comfortable and best-looking road bars I've ever used. Sadly, they're out of production, at least the ones without brake cable grooves. Tried to buy a deep-drop road bar lately? I couldn't find one anywhere. All the new ones are 140mm drop which isn't deep at all. The 66-44s are 160mm deep which looks great and feels nice when you get down there. I then took the stem to a neighbour of mine who is a machinist and had him mill the quill down to 22.0 (22.2 was the stock dimension) in order to fit into the French steerer. It all came together nicely. I plan to add a layer of clearcoat to the paint and shellac the handlebar tape but other than those two things, I think she's done. The longer wheelbase of a touring frame combined with the size (approx 61) and the weight of the non-exotic tubing all add up to a very comfortable and stable machine. Thanks for looking.