Thought it would be good to have somewhere to document the happenings in the bike area of my life;
I've always had a thing for steel, I used to work in a bike shop as a mechanic before I went into engineering and, I'd always sing the praises of steel to customers, especially when they'd cracked another alu/caron frame. For quite some years now I've done a fair bit of fabrication/repairs in my spare time too. Mainly MIG but some TIG too, I've learned lots but it continues to fascinate me, I mean sticking metal together is just cool. And don't get me started on my plasma cutter.....
Anyway, back to bike specific steel, I've had plenty of bikes, mostly steel over the years but have always come back to Reynolds 853. It's just lovely. I thought I was happy with my stable of bikes, a lovely Robin Mather and a Genesis Fugio, both 853 and both ace.
But, I had one of those 'oh shit' moments towards the end of last year when my consultant very calmly told me that the tumour in my femur was growing and, it needed to come out. There was already a risk
(small) that it could have metastasised and leaving it would only increase that chance. So, fast forward to today, I'm 6 months ish post op with a cool af scar from where they cut through my quads, drilled into my femur and scooped out the BENIGN tumour. Since then, my outlook on life has changed, for the better, but changed none the less, I value things more. I'm also conscious that life really is too short, I wasn't really at risk of kicking the bucket thanks to the superb NHS but, a new knee was on the cards. And that really shits you up as a 23 year old.
2 Weeks(?) post op;
The operation and following months of limited movement inevitably screwed up my flexibility and I lost a ruck of muscle, no biggy but it made riding my already too small Fugio uncomfortable. I almost exclusively rode the Fugio, the Mather was too nice to get dirty. So something had to give;
I sold the Mather frame to @SimonC who I've no doubt will make it look lavely, most of the components have gone to other people on the forum.
I snapped up a S/H Cotic SolarisMax frame, I really miss mountain biking, love Cotic's and hey it's 853. More on this later.
But what to do about a road/gravel bike? Some of you may have seen my threads on here regarding a custom frameset, for those that haven't, I ordered a Fairlight Secan.
The Fairlight is due imminently and parts are flooding in, stand by for some updates.
Too many words, not enough pictures. At least post pictures of your scar.
Photos added ;)
The postman brought me some treats for the Fairlight build today;
I actually have a lovely set of CK wheels on my Fugio but, I wanted to run C/L rotors and matchy matchy colours. I couldn't afford CK hubs or Carbon rims so 20FIVEs seemed a good bet plus, I have a lot of love for Hope and their serviceability. I bought them from Sigma, they were a good price but it's been a bit of a headache. I can forgive them for most of it though as I imagine they're struggling just as much as everyone else in this uncertain time.
And a few Shimano bits...
I've heard that the 6800 front mech doesn't always work with the R8000 cranks I've ordered, so it might be that I need to swap it out for an R8000 one. Anyone have experience of this or wanna swap?
Oh yeah, I have wheels for the Cotic sitting in the loft but, as yet no other components. I'm trying to keep the build cost to a minimum as I'm saving for one of those bricks and mortar things.
The rear wheel and tyres came from @PaddleBoat and I managed to source a matching front (albeit TechEnduro as opposed to TechXC) wheel on FB marketplace.
Lovely, now wanna see the full build!
Nice frame! It will look so good with those wheels.
The postman just delivered a few more pieces of the Fairlight puzzle;
I really miss having the use of a bike specific workshop, whilst I'm very fortunate to have a lot of automotive/engineering equipment, I lack a lot of the specialised tools and never bothered to buy them when I worked at the shop. Most things you can do without or adapt other tools to work but, not having a chain whip is a pita. So I treated myself to the Lezyne one.
Time for an update;
Last week was proper shitty for me so little progress in the way of bikes. One upside was that Tuesday saw the delivery of my frame. I've got to say that packaging and finish of the frame is impeccable.
The ongoing wheel saga had yet to be resolved so I set about helitaping the frame towards the end of the week. I went OTT, made templates and spent chuffing hours on it but I'm pretty pleased with the results.
Wheels sorted, set up tubeless and ready to fit;
Now for the fun part of bolting it all together!
Looking forward to seeing the secan built up!
What kind of tape did you use? And was it easy to apply?
Scars and cool bikes, what's not to like? Following this.
How do you even find out you have a tumour on your femur?
Sorry been a bit sidetracked with other less interesting stuff, a bit of an update;
I had planned to use a braze on front mech with a band-on adaptor as I already had them in stock but found the stabilising screw wouldn't make contact so in the end opted for a band-on R8000. With that delivered I finished the build and took it for it's first spin;
First impressions, it's excellent. The slightly more relaxed geo makes it hella fast when you point it downhill and whilst it doesn't climb as well as your weight weenie carbon princess it isn't sluggish on the climbs. As pictured it sits around the 9.5kg mark which I'm pretty happy with considering it's the biggest size!!
Unfortunately, leaky shifters meant I'd have to wait a while for the next ride;
It's not overly clear in the photo but, there's a weep from the reservoir around the bottom fixing bolt on both shifters - weird. I cleaned it all up with brake cleaner but, it reappeared after a short ride so off they came for a warranty job. Usually I'd strip them, re-seal and forget about it but, as they're in warranty it isn't worth the hassle.
I've managed to source some secondhand bits for the Solaris from my old place of work so it'll be running the following;
A bit of a Q&A;
@SWijland I bought a 4" roll of 3M 8671 on eBay, it was old stock so was much cheaper than it should have been but the first few layers were a bit wrinkled from storage. As for application, it's quite easy if you wet the sheets and your fingers first with a very weak baby shampoo solution, this way you can slide it into position before carefully squeegeeing it down;
It does take ages though, I made templates from masking tape having worked out where I wanted the sheets etc. to meet, transferred them to the roll and carefully chopped them out. It takes ages but, I think it's worth it to protect your new investment.
@hippy I was damn lucky. I had some nerve troubles in my right leg which ended up being a result of not having much protective fat on my legs and a tendency to bash them. However, as part of the whole process I had an MRI of both knees to see if there were any obvious issues that could be causing the foot-drop / numbness. There weren't but, it did reveal the tumour in my left femur, at the time, the opinion was that it was unlikely to grow but it would be monitored yearly to be safe.
Fast forward to August last year and I was told by the consultant that it had grown by about 25% and needed to come out asap to avoid further damage and reduce the risk of it metastasising.
A question for the forum;
I want to invest in a tool roll/saddlebag for carrying the necessaries and a bar or frame bag for carrying food/jackets etc on longer rides. Any recommendations?
Fairlight looks lovely, purple hubs work well with it. You can't be far from me, I'm regularly up on the Mynd on my Solaris too (bottom of the Portway as it heads down to Jinlye and the alpacas in your photo?), weather has been so good this week now the wind has chilled out.
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Congrats to Tao on winning the Giro