Monday, September 24, 2007

Alex's Kogswell P/R

This is Alex's Kogswell P/R prototype. I was never crazy about this bike. But now, with the front rack on there, and my having ridden it a few times over a variety of surfaces, I like it. This bike is modeled on a Rene Herse (not, Singer -- thanks Alex) bike from the 50's. It's got a similar geometry to the 1983 Trek, which I think, was modeled on the same Herse bike. But that's just conjecture.

The rack is just super handy. This bike has a front-end geometry that is optimized for loads on the front rack -- it's got low trail. I believe the trail on this bike is 40mm. The low trail is really the defining characteristic of this bike. When I borrow this bike, I commute around the Redmond/Bellevue area. I put my messenger bag (containing a laptop and other small stuff -- 15 lbs?) on the rack and secure the bag with a bungee net. It's nice to carry a load up front, where you can see it, where it's accessible, and where -- on a properly designed bike -- the load doesn't screw the handling, but instead, seems to improve it.

A previous version of this post claimed that Alex built the rack. Actually: Alex and Alistair Spence designed this rack, which fits over a Nitto mini front rack. Alistair built it. Alex has since built a couple/few racks and plans to build more.

I've got a rack in his queue; he's going to build me one that is the same platform-size as the rack in the picture, but it will connect to the mid-fork braze-ons. It'll go on my Trek, which essentially the same bike as the P/R, but with standard gauge/diameter tubing instead of oversized.


Anonymous said...

Just to be fair:
The bike is modelled after a Rene Herse. Singer made great bikes too, this one just borrowed the geometry from a Herse.

Alistair Spence built the rack. I did some of the brazing (under his direction) and told him how I envisioned the morph rack design to work. He did all of the hard stuff like fitting it together, mitering the joints, making the morph functionality actually work. It's great work and got me interested in building, so now I do make racks.

John Speare said...

I knew both of those facts. I'm careless. I'll make them right!

Jim G said...

"I was never crazy about this bike."

Why not? Is it the OS tubing, or something else? Just curious, as I wait for my 700C P/R frameset...

John Speare said...

Jim: yeah. I think it is the OS tubing. Not sure. I remember the first time I rode the bike -- I remember thinking, "this feels a lot like my Atlantis," which is a wonderful touring/loaded up bike, but not fun to ride around the city and doesn't have that "magic" feel.