I love all my bikes, always have, always will. I think they're beautiful, and attention-worthy, but they're essentially replaceable tools, to be exchanged for the perfect combination that will both meet all my transport/fun/nerd needs and last awhile. But today (or yesterday, whatever) marks the completion-ish of a project that will test my resolve in regards to resisting material object lust and excessive use of superlatives.
This bike began over a year and a half ago, when Lindsey Howard decided she'd pursue frame building. She was 18 years old at the time and largely taught herself how to build, reading a ridiculous amount and apprenticing at the shop of a semi-retired hobby builder. She's brilliant at most things she tries to do, and manages to cram much more into a day than most. Lindsey wants to build bikes that are long-lasting and practical rather than flashy and expensive, she would like to learn a ton so she can teach people to build their own bikes and have things purpose built to fit rider needs for a long long time.
So she started by building me a completely impractical bike. A true Bicycle Quarterly enthusiast and fan of racks, fenders, and gears, she gritted her teeth and built a brazeon-less track frame with tiny clearances. Sorry, Lindsey.
She ordered some heavy-gauge Reynolds 531, that butts from 9 to 6 to 9 rather than 8 to 5 to 8 (i think?), and joined it with 74.5 degree lugs. The fork is still unfinished, it'll be taller and overbuilt straight-blades, set into a Henry James raked crown.
I thought Lindsey's skill at brazing was extremely impressive for her second frame, and I figured this thing would be around for a while, so I had Greg's friend Lance powdercoat it clear so all the bike's braze, flux, and heating marks show through over the bare metal. I love it, he did a fantastic job. I know the thing's new but I just stare at it, in different light, it has all these subtle underlights and luster from the polished metal.
My cameo on the frame was getting to file out that triangle in the seat lug.
It got my main Brooks Professional seat and the Nitto Pursuit bars I've had on all my fixed gears, which are a little long, so they may change in the final build. I shellacked the bars as an experiment and really like them. The wheels were Chris Ginzton's idea, as the bike's starring in my Don Giovanni movie. He ordered 2.0-1.5-2.0 DT swiss spokes with this amazing rifling on them and we laced my Miche hubs to Mavic open pros for a very light, strong wheel set.
This bike still needs its new fork and a brake to turn it from movie prop to daily whip (for me), but I've never been more enamoured with an object.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Seriously Cool Bike
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