An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
Comments welcome!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Buried treasure -- rummaging through the parts bin

Every once in a while I dig into the parts bin. Seems every cyclist who's been riding for more than 5 years has one -- that tub/box/area of parts that were taken off a bike for upgrades, or a broken frame, or somehow just accumulate.

Maybe they're breeding when the garage lights are turned off.

I'll admit that I've got some OLD stuff in my garage. I've culled it down significantly in the last few years, casting off pieces that would clearly see no road time on my bikes. And even at that, I've built up more than one bike from a bare frame just by raiding the parts bin. I've resuscitated many other's bikes as well with choice pieces from the archives.

Sometimes the impetus behind digging into the bin has nothing to do with cycling. Like when my wife declared that "the only thing I want for Christmas is to park my car in the garage." Well, clearly she didn't mean the ONLY thing. But I digress. That one triggered a depth of offload never before seen in my cycling life.

Of course it wasn't very long before I was looking for some of the things that were thrown out...

ANYway... Where was I going with all this?

Oh, yeah... In getting my garage (okay, my HALF of the garage) ready to build bike frames, I ran across a set of Ultegra brake levers. Not brake/shift levers. Brake levers. Vintage. Before brake/shift levers even existed. From when 7-speed clusters were the Big Thing, and rear dropouts were spaced at 126mm for road bikes. Now they'd be called single-speed brake levers.

And as I was riding my trainer this weekend, early in the morning because I was otherwise spending any daylight hours helping my mom move to a new and smaller apartment (which in itself triggered a desire to pare down the house), and because it was officially COLD out (14-16 degrees F, well beyond chilly for the Pacific Northwest), my mind wandered to my mountain bike, the one I keep at work, with which I'm still not completely happy about the handlebar configuration.

The SINGLE SPEED mountain bike.


I've got a selection of stems, which were collected in a spasm of thinking towards getting a fit studio going in the bike shop where I work, and I've got a compact drop bar that's awaiting a rebuild of the Barkley Softride (converting to disc brakes and upgrading the fork from the 1" standard, which I've realized is a long ways off, if it happens at all). I've got a set of road-pull disc brakes that were awaiting the same rebuild, or the upgrade of the MTB fork (and a new set of wheels, but that's peripheral).

Why not convert the MTB to drop bars? I've ridden drops off-road before, and it worked pretty well. Essentially I'd be making the MTB into a single-speed monster cross bike. I was putting off getting a fork because I figured I would MAKE one (I've got 20 sets of fork blades in a box that I picked up for a song, just waiting for my torch skills to catch up). Again, that's out somewhere in the future of who-knows-when. I could pick one up for around $60... yeah, looks kind of stupid in that light, eh?

So the final switch that brought that whole idea to fruition was the finding of those brake levers. Which are probably 20 or more years old. And working fine.

Treasure buried in the parts bin.

No comments: