Wednesday, October 26, 2011

First Spin on the Colnago

I've been traveling for a few days, but when I got home today, a couple of packages awaited me -- packages containing the last of what I needed to finish up the Colnago build.  I still have to wrap the bars (didn't want to until I confirmed the fit of the stem, which is good enough), and mess around with the fit a little, but I took it for a few loops around my parking lot outside tonight, and my first impressions are really good.  It's light and nimble, but not twitchy -- it feels great.  It doesn't have the stiffness of the Kestrel in the bottom bracket, or the sensational power delivery that bike had.  But even with just a few loops, it feels significantly sportier than my mongrel Motobecane.  Should be interesting to see how they feel during back-to-back comparisons.

The build was a bit of a pain.  I needed to overhaul the rear brake caliper a bit and space it out from the brake bridge, as well.  The bridge is slimmer than the Kestrel's, so the nut was too deep.  And then I had to dig through a bag of spare ferrules (thank you Steven!) to find one that meshed properly with the cable stop on the Colnago's right chainstay -- I'd have been SOL if not for that bag of parts!  And I cut the front brake cable housing about an inch too short and now need to fix that -- boo.  Also, the headset got all chewed up when I serviced it, and now looks positively awful -- the aluminum was just too soft for the stress it was subjected to (it was really stuck).  Then, I discovered the rear derailleur's cable clamp nut and washer are missing, and I have to order new ones (I found a nylock nut and washer that'll suffice for now).  Add the seatpost and binder bolt challenges I talked about last time, and I have the distinct impression this bike just didn't want to go together -- or maybe the Japanese components and Italian frameset have some sort of aversion to one another.

In any case, it's ready for a first ride!  That'll be this weekend if the weather cooperates.  I need to put the pump on and a saddle bag, and tape the bars (in white), of course.  But that's all of a half hour or so of work -- not much.

Can't wait!

All for now,


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Getting There

Everyone, meet my new "fast" bike. It's an early '90's Colnago, built up with the components that most recently graced the Kestrel, whose frameset now hangs over my television in my apartment.  It has a chrome fork, as you can see, and a right side chainstay that's also chromed (along with the rear dropouts).  The head tube lugs are polished stainless, which I think matches the polish of the chrome really nicely!  Otherwise, it's a beautiful Italian red with white accenting clubs and other graphics, including a few fades.  It's a work in progress, as you see it, aimed at getting in a trial run, and not much more.

Tonight I wheeled it over next to the Motobecane to compare its size to what I'm riding right now.  And it's really interesting, comparing this bike's geometry to the Motobecane's. The Moto seems to have a steeper seat tube, a longer top tube and only slightly longer chainstays. The steeper seat tube is a particular surprise, because it's an all-around kind of bike (marketed and branded as Grand Touring).  The bottom bracket looks to be farther forward on this bike, as a result, and the saddle farther to the rear. It's a good illustration of how two frames in a similar size can adopt a few different angles and end up providing very different riding positions.

You'll have to excuse the aesthetics of the current setup. The stem is 3xugly, the curvy bars don't really harmonize with the classic frame layout, and as Italian as the tires are... let's face it -- they're orange.  They do clash less with this red than the brighter red of the Kestrel, I'll admit.

And from a componentry perspective, there are several missing pieces as it sits, right now. There's no seatpost binder bolt, I think the seatpost is slightly undersized, there are no cables or brake levers installed, there are no pedals, and... I think that's it. To fix the stuff that's missing or not ideal, I've got Nitto 115 bars on order (same bars as on the Moto and I appreciate their width and square shoulders), along with a 27.0 seatpost to try vs. the current 26.8, and a pretty Nitto Dynamic 100 stem is also on the way, to primp up the looks and pull the bars in a skosh closer to me. The cables are clear plastic over braided stainless, and the tape will be white to start with.  At some point during the off season, the bottom brackets on this bike and the Moto may trade places as well (Shimano for Phil Wood, with the nicer Phil going onto this bike).

I'd like to take it for a spin on Saturday, without taped bars (they'll be swapped anyway, remember). Let's see if I can get my act together enough to pull that off!

All for now,


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Eight is way too many

On the way back from dinner last night, I did a mental roll-call of the bikes I have in my (good-sized) 2-bedroom apartment and I came up with a crazy number -- eight. I have four, Ava has two, and Juli has one. Plus the trailer bike, which was Ava's, last we saw it.

That's way too many.

I'm hopeful that I can get the trailer bike into my friend Dan's hands over the Thanksgiving holiday, so that'll be one less. And Ava's Fuji will go into storage until she's big enough to ride it, next summer. So that'll get us to six in the apartment. Still too many.

I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to sell the Schwinn, and think I'm going to have to hold off until spring to get what I want for it. Putting it in storage until them will drop us to five. Still too many.

I'm in the process of building the Colnago, and should have it ready for a ride this weekend (that's the goal, anyway). And once that's done, the Motobecane will be broken down for a thorough cleaning and refresh (every time I touch it, post-rainy PMC, I get covered with grime). Through the winter, one of those two needs to be on-call for outdoor and training roller duty, so one of those or both will need to hang around. Still at five.

Then there's the Paramount, which I may yet use this fall. But once the first snow lands, it'll go into storage, which will get me down to four.

Four I think I can manage, but I'm going to need to make a decision about the Motobecane in the spring, I think.

All for now,