This story is now a few months old (I’m back dating it a little from posting, FYI), but: I built a bike!
By which I mean: I put a bike together!
Obviously, yes, the ultimate goal will be to build the perfect frame for myself out of some rare, durable, expensive metal and ride it until the day I die, but for now, for my budget, I was pretty pumped to build up a bike from a frame, select all the part, turn every screw on that fucker, and am jazzed to be riding it (almost) every day.
It’s all terribly exciting.
I was too pumped to take in-progress photos (also the camera on my phone is steamy garbage and needs cleaning), but here’s one of the frame and fork and such all put together after this fine dude named Peter Mooney over at the shop across the street (which I, somewhat idiotically, never applied to work at, but that’s another story) helped/showed me how to prep the frame:
And then here’s the finished bicycle:
And then here’s me looking too pleased with myself and the bike:
So some details and decisions and such:
The Frame: Surly Straggler — Why a Straggler? I spent a lot of time (too much time. Far, far too much time) mulling over what I wanted to do so far as a frameset. Other considered steels included All City’s Macho Man or Space Horse Disc (this was pre-Cosmic Stallion, and who can afford that anyway?), Soma Wolverine (which my buddy back in Wisco rides and I believe enjoys), and a smattering of frames from smaller companies (Traitor (RIP?), Fairdale, [ADD], etc).
Anyway, wanted to do a 1x and then single speed it for the winter, so this was the best way to do that.
Drivetrain: Sram Rival + Wolftooth 1x — I’ve wanted to play with 1x for a while, if only because Boston is relatively flat (save the hill I have to go up to get home out west), and on my 7-speed road bike I mostly use just the big ring anyway. So, 1x. Did a lot of reading. Seemed like Rival shifters and RD made the most sense functionality/budget-wise, and then I went cheap (sort of) and did an Apex 2x10 crank with a Wolftooth 40 narrow-wide up front. I like the set up really well, although I’m swapping to a 42 chainring because I spend too much time in the lower cogs. Out back is an 11-42, which is definitely overkill, but also p. fun.
The plan is to ride this until the chain begins to stretch, which will hopefully last me most of the summer (OK, it might be two chains, we’ll see), and then single speed the bugger for the winter. Not 100% sure how I’m going to do it (there’s a few options), but it’ll be swell either way, I’m sure. For that may jump to a 46 (!) up front, but we’ll see.
Brakes: TRP Spyre — Mechanical discs are cool, because I know how they work and can fix them easily when I need to. Don’t know how to bleed hydros and don’t care to learn at this moment, and also hydro levers are a pain in the ass. Thus mechanical brakes. Why the Spyres? Because they’re the best mechanical brakes.
Wheels: Shimano/DT Swiss — Was originally going to try and build my own wheelset but I’ll do that later. These wheels are super cool, because they work just fine. Also tubeless compatible, but haven’t done that yet. Hope to before D2R2, however, assuming that ride works out.
Saddle — Brooks C15 All Weather. I liked it so much I bought one for my beater bike. This was dumb and expensive but man does my butt feel good these days.
Other bits — Cockpit and seatpost are Easton EA70 stuff. Why? Becuase I had Easton hockey sticks as a kid and they were cool, and this stuff looked pretty nice. I absolutely love the handlebars, which are the “AX” “Gravel” version, and though the flare is maybe a bit more than I would maybe have in a perfect world, compact drops are a dream (these are my first pair). Stem length stock at 100 was a bit long, went down to 90, feels a bit better. Probably just keeping the stem flipped down (radical, bro) was a bit much for me when I started with the geometry. Three months later, a little adjustment here and there, and we’re good to go.
Fun Stuff — I’ve got a dummy DT shifter on the right side, should my rear shifter ever break (I hear this happens with SRAM stuff, sometimes). It’s mostly for show, but also functional. Didn’t need the other cable stop since no FD, so, this was cool. Also ABUS locking skewers on the wheels and seatpost collar, because Boston (seriously: so many people have been coming into the shop lately with stories of stolen shit).
Other shit — Okay, I’ll admit this post was supposed to be a lot longer than it is. Was going to go more into the thought process, make a proper review of the frame and all, but then I was riding it and that was more fun than talking about it. Also I’ve been working a fuckton at the shop. And trying to write this novel. And read Ulysses. And, you know, some other shit. So: I built a bike, and it’s cool, and bikes are fun. That is all.