My credit card flexes against the strain, and I make my final push towards completion on my new bike. I got a bunch of really good deals at Citybikes (turns out the good one is the repair shop, not the annex) in the used parts bin, which left me inspired to finish it up quick. If you’re in need of stuff, I highly recommend it. If I had gone there first, I may have kept the original u-brake and saved myself some money. I managed to nab an 8-speed 11-32 Sunrace cassette for $6 (probably closer to it’s actual worth than the $20 they seem to fetch on eBay and the like), a set of 7-speed index-plus-friction Suntour thumbshifters for $8, a pair of good probably-Wellgo MTB platform pedals with clips for $10, and a set of Deore LX blued hollowtech cranks for $20. The rings are a little worn, but hey, it was $20 and they’re light. I can replace the rings (hell, I have some sitting around that came with the frame that will probably work fine). In a fit of mechanical tinkery and obsessive completionism, I lubed up the old Shimano cantis for the front, the headset (it’s missing a ball, actually, but I’m going to just let it ride for now, as I have no huge downhill aspirations for the bike at this point and it seems silly to replace the headset when I’m not planning on keeping the fork), and nabbed some Hutchinson 26×2 tires from my dad (takeoffs from the big slick tire conversion for their bikes). I also followed my own advice and GREASED EVERYTHING, sanded some of the surface rust off the seatpost, did a quick onceover in the seat tube, smeared both with a fistfull of “boat trailer grease” (aka blue waterproof grease) and did the snake dance to get as much goop in the hole as I could. Lubed up the little front derailleur pulley bit and all the threads. Once it got up to standing on it’s own rims with tires and looking like a bike, I got the bug to go buy parts.
I’m going to set it up initially with the Cannondale riser bars I bought a while back on a whim and the barends that came with the frame, as nobody seems to have the Nitto Albatrosses in under $80 here in town, and I want to ride it around soonish. However, I needed cable housing, cables, brake levers (I might have been able to get some at Citybikes, but it would have required grinding off a rogue shifter pod mount, so I didn’t), a new stem (as my older long stem had gone missing, and besides it was a 26.0 so it would have required a shim), shifter cables and housing, some inner tubes for 26 (I have an odd number of 700xrealskinny tubes around, I’m not sure why), and a bottom bracket for the V2 variety of Octalink (I almost didn’t buy the cranks because of this, but they were light and half the price of anything square taper, and much nicer than anything else at the shop). I had tried Weir’s shop (the St. Johns local) for stuff and came away with only the brake levers, so I decided to cut to the chase and go to Performance. Dropped a brace of Hamiltons and came away with just about everything, less the increasingly aggravating bottom bracket.
So, I started getting it set up. It has a really odd stance, something that would have been considered aggressively downhill when I last set up a mountain bike, but now it seems that crowd has left normal bike shapes behind and meandered off into motorcycle territory. The hugely long RSA Mozo Pro forks (I have no idea what kind of travel they offer, but they have about a 500mm axle-to-crown at rest and probably a 480 with me seated on it, so I’m guessing 100-130) are actually kind of a nice color now that I’ve cleaned some of the gick off, the blue of the frame is nicely contrasted by the godawful yellow of the forks. This color combo won’t stick around when I get the Surly Instigator rigid fork to replace it, but for now it’s kind of nice. Depending on how ambitious I feel, I might paint the whole bike, but there is a certain appeal in just smearing some POR-15 on the rusty spots and leaving it ugly.
Once I get some permissions junk figured out I’ll add some pictures of it, but needless to say it really makes me smile to get it up and going, even though I probably could have bought a Kona Smoke or something for about the same price. If I had it to do over again, I’d have definitely looked longer and harder for a square taper crankset. It would have made the difference between having the bike rolling now and having it rolling like Wednesday at best, but hey, them’s the breaks. I may even just steal the crank off the fixed gear, set it up as a double, and put the hollowtech on it, because it should have the right chainline. Dunno, it could happen, we’ll see. I would certainly like to have the funky bars in hand so I can see how much I like them, but if I were a shop I wouldn’t be chomping at the bit to order a $60-wholesale set of bars just so some asshole can mung them up trying them. Meanwhile the riser bars have the right look for the bike as it stands. I can’t wait to get it dialed in and cruise around town on it.
Edit: Hey, figured it out. Here’s the beastie.