Saturday, July 21, 2012

Winter bike project, part 1: the frame

 I have always had a crappy steel bike (Columbus SLX) to ride through the winter months. It costs me around EUR 200 to put together, so I decided a while back that if I could build another winter bike on the same budget, I would allow myself to build a new winter bike.

On Monday I came across a cheap second hand vintage steel bike with Columbus MAX tubing. Except for the forks and the top tube that is. I have been intrigued by Columbus MAX tubing and the hype surrounding it for some time now. I have sold quite a few Merckx MX-leader frames, so I know what it looks like. Up until now I never took the time nor did I have the money though to get myself a MAX frame. Seeing as this bike was exactly the price of my current winter bike, I went for it.

I picked up the bike yesterday near Brussels and took it for a quick spin today. The difference with my Duell SLX frame is really noticeable. The frame is much stiffer, especially near the bottom bracket. The top tube is a little bit on the short side for me, but you can't be picky if you can get a bike at this price.

I plan to sell off the parts that are currently on the bike (Shimano 600) and build it up with an even cheaper Shimano 105 7-spd groupset with down tube shifters. With the money I will save, I plan to get the frame resprayed in a single color. The chrome is pretty rusty, so I hope that won't be an issue. I am thinking of going for light blue or green. The guy who is going to do the paint job is on a vacation for the next couple of weeks, so I have some time to think about it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Renovo R1 wooden bike project, part 11: Marmotte GranFondo

Since my last update I have done some serious mileage on the Renovo. The best miles were during the Marmotte GranFondo last weekend. For those of you who don't know the Marmotte: it involves riding over the Col du Glandon, Col du Télégraphe, Col du Galibier and the Alpe d'Huez, which is saying something.

Climbs during the Marmotte were pretty tough, mostly because I did not want to change the original DA crankset for a compact or triple. That is why I ended up climbing every mountain on a 39 up front and a 27 in the back. Descending on the other hand was great. The bike just seems to want to accelelarate all the time, which led to some tricky situations in a couple of hair pins. Fortunately I was on aluminium rims, which provided perfect braking performance.

Here is a nice picture of me on the bike climbing the Col du Galiber.