Wednesday, September 22, 2010

the perfect bike

I got a new bike not that long ago.  It began by filling out the custom sizing form, taking all kinds of odd measurements that you would never use for anything else in life, determining how it would actually get ridden most and, after way too much deliberation, deciding on a color scheme.  Two months later the frame showed up.
I popped open the box at the shop.  Tingling on the inside and anxious as all hell, I slid the frame out being careful not to accidentally bang it into anything that would mar it's beauty before I actually got it put together.  Next, I started my least favorite part of building a bike:  I Put the front end together with the stem, spacers and cable hanger, being careful not to forget anything.  I marked the steer tube with an awl and then took it all apart so I could cut the steer tube to the correct height.  Once that was finished I took it home.
At home I slid in a seatpost, clamped it in the stand and got to work:  The first thing would be to rub a nice thick film of carnuba based car wax onto the paint to give it that extra layer of protection from nicks in the finish, and to help it shed dirt and rain.  I know, way too obsessive/compulsive.  You're right, but it only takes a few minutes, I'd do it to my car and this bike cost more than some cars, besides, it's my bike, so fuck you.  Next step, I start installing the gruppo (that's a hint, in case you missed it).  Things are moving along nicely, I've gotten past my second least favorite thing about building a bike; making sure the brake levers are at EXACTLY the same height on the bars.  I learn, as I go, the nuances of installing Campagnolo 11 speed:  10mm allen extension for the cranks, peening tool for the chain, etc...  I replace all the little metal pieces with ones made from lighter/prettier unobtainium alloys.  Note:  I'm not a weight-weenie, but I like everything to look just so, and to that end, I replace all the light duty bits with titanium bits, except for the cable ferrules and down tube adjusters, they get brass because I think it'll look awesome (that's further proof that I'm not a weight weenie).
Now the derailleurs are dialed, the titanium touring rack is installed and I am ready to ride my perfect new bike, except for one thing:  The perfect bike is the one that I don't own yet.
It's true, I mean I really love my new bike, but it's mine now and I'm already thinking about the next bike:  Will it be lugged, or maybe fillet-brazed?  Internal cable routing?  single speed?  rack mounts?   drop bar or moustache?  Pump peg?  American or Italian?  And then, I still have to figure out the color scheme...  more pix

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