Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Custom frame is now known as custom bike

Way back in October, I wrote about commissioning a custom lugged steel frame. Tonight was its maiden voyage. It's been a long road with a few building delays, some technical challenges and just plain finding the time, but I eventually got it built up with a carbon CX fork and the components off my Surly Pacer frame (which is for sale wink wink). The frame is just clear coated with Rustoleum Painters Touch Clear which I can't recommend because it creates a finish that is far too delicate for use on a bicycle. Sanding and polishing wasn't as easy as I thought it would be and as a result, it doesn't exactly look like a steel gem. There are also tiny spots of corrosion below the finish, the sort of thing you'd never see if it were painted. The inside of the frame is also coated for rust prevention.

There's only two colors for bike components as far as I'm concerned, black and silver. My black Campy Mirage gruppo made that easy. The front derailer was a bit of a challenge to adjust as the seat tube is a 74 deg, which isn't exactly compatible with the angling of the derailer cage. The first ride went pretty smoothly, and there may be a few small things to adjust (up with the handlebar, down with the seat post, rubbing rear brake pad, etc). The combo of the steel frame, carbon fork and 25mm tires made it feel like really smooth. There are also more handlebar spacers on it than I would like. Maybe for my next custom frame I'll go with a slanted top tube. That will probably be a while off though since I've got more bikes than I need right now in the mean time, maybe this one will take me up the hill to watch Stage 2 of the Tour of California this weekend.

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