Sunday, July 11, 2010

Elephant progress II

I dropped in on Glen today to hover about for a while. It's all I can do to keep from bugging Glen daily. I want to know when it's going to be done (goal: go to powder coat this coming Friday), and I want to make sure every detail is right. At some point you have to have faith that you've picked a builder that gets the big picture and will make the right decisions for you on some of the details.

Glen's background is racing bikes, CX bikes, mountain bikes, and fixed gear fancies. This is his first "rando" style bike. I put rando in quotes, because this bike isn't really for randoneuring. It's optimized for the kind of riding I like the most: long rides that will have dirt sections, where most of the load is carried up front. It will also be my daily driver for commuting, some trail riding, and night riding. It will be a good over-nighter bike and will also work for the kind of touring I like (which is self-supported, but not kitchen sink type touring). So it will have integrated lights, fenders, a front rack, and it will be able to take a fair beating.

This is a tall order and I'm a fussy opinionated high maintenance customer. I have literally stayed up late a couple times sweating some small detail. In the end, I didn't bug Glen either time -- I kept the faith.

And Glen is really nailing the details.

To wit:

This picture shows the cool head tube finery. (Note that I've also requested a "real" head badge, not shown). But the money piece here is that little hole just to the left of the head tube. That is the internal wiring port. Yes indeed.

So, Glen was annoyed by the idea of drilling a hole at this particular spot on the frame. This spot takes a ton of stress, and as such it's not an ideal place to drill a hole. His solution was to machine a small sleeve for the inside of the tube to reinforce the area.

Other not so obvious details: downtube shifter mounts, three sets of water bottle rack braze-ons.

Oh yeah: and standard tubes mated to a 1 1/8th" head tube. Everyone hates the way that looks. But I dig the utlity of that set up.

There's a lot going on here. This is a nice one, but the picture doesn't do the bending of the stays justice. Look closely at the other chain stay shots to follow. There are nice dimples here and there that each serve a purpose. We'll get into that more in a future post.

Dig the fillet where the chainstays meet the bb. Glen says that's an old Bontrager trick -- the bb is tig'd, but when the stays come in that close you can't really tig it properly, you'll not be able to actually weld the stays in the middle, so he goes with a fillet there. Lovely.

Two things here. One, for Alex and the other frame nerds: this is Glen's "where do I put the seat/brake stay bridge" tool. We're going for perfect fender line with the Hetres, so this is the tool that helps make that magic happen.

Dig the collar on the seat post. See that blue deep-v rim in the background? That's one of my busted up bikes that Glen is fixing (again) -- busted chainstay and separated coupler. He's also welded up other bikes for me that I've screwed up. The collar on this new bike is so I can continue my dufus-y ways of riding and the seatpost won't split anything open.

Note bends and dimples. It's hard to see the dimples on the outside of the stays, but they're there. Fattest tire will be the Quasi-moto (50 mm). Crank is Sugio PX or TA Cyclotourist or Ritchey Compact (the 94/58 ones). The fat tire + funny crank requirement was a big old fussy requirement. The work here is amazing.

More dimplage. See that faint one on the left? It's for a tad more crank clearance.

Crappy pic of tire clearance, but it's good: about 4-5mm each side for the fat Moto.

See that little tube sticking out near the drop out? That's the other end of the internal wiring tubing. Sa-weet. It will be clipped at some point, but that's the goal: mounting the rear light on the stay or drop out (not the fender, which will be removed when I put the fat tires on).


Unknown said...

Nice? Pick a color yet?

John Speare said...

Ryan: it will be "elephant orange."

Willy said...

Pardon me if I missed this in an earlier post but, what tubeset (or mixture) is it?

...and, what's with the toenails? :)

John Speare said...

Willy: 858 standard.

Maddie does my toenails every summer.

jimmythefly said...


Anonymous said...

After this project is over, I'd like to ask Glen if he prefers customers like John, who know maybe a little too much about bikes, or like me, who know nothing much, but who like to shoot off their mouths anyway.

Or, if he'd just prefer a six pack and silence in the shop.

John Speare said...

Good question Nate, but I think easy to answer: my money is on the six pack and silence. I'm the worse kind of customer: I know some stuff and I *think* I know other stuff.

My experience, is that most cyclists are very opinionated -- and most opinion is based on myth and questionable "experts."

And on the logic that "if it's good enough for Lance, then how can it not be good for me?"

Generally speaking, I'm no different, but I have found what I like (for now) based on a combination of reading, listening, and trying different stuff out. I try to make a point of not making the assumption that my preferences are the "right" way or "only" way, but I know what I want at the moment and I don't hesitate to ask Glen for it.

And as he'll tell you, he's happy to take my money and build/fix whatever whim of the moment is affecting me.