Varonha Frameworks winter / commuter / beater / touring bike

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  • I'm about to pull the trigger on a new frame from Winston at Varonha Frameworks.

    The idea is to get rid of my current touring bike, which is also my commuter / beater, and get something I can use as a fast-ish winter road bike as well. I'm a fan of classic lugged frames so didn't want to get a mass-produced frame from Genesis, Ribble, etc etc.

    The idea (to begin with anyway) is to put most of the stuff from the touring bike onto a new frame, then use parts bin / secondhand stuff as much as possible for the rest. This way I don't have to spend too much on new parts that will only attract thieves, and the build will already look old and worn out from the start, again good for deterring thieves.

    Wherever possible I will prioritise parts that will help make it lighter whilst still being cheap or inconspicuous enough for a beater. So this is also a kind of very low-grade weight weenie project.

    To begin with, I was looking at Bob Jackson's Audax Club but when I asked around on here I discovered that the smaller sizes have an unusual 76 degree seat tube angle that would need a 50mm offset seatpost to replicate my current riding position. Which is obviously ridiculous.

    So I asked Winston for a quote and he has agreed to bring this in quickly and cheaply - mainly using tubes and bits he already has knocking around to save time and money.

    Just a few details to finalise before he starts so this might be surprisingly quick for a custom job.

  • So, pictures....

    This is the touring bike a few years ago.
    It started life in the 80s as a Dawes Galaxy.


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  • Then I stripped the paint and built it up like a clown bike for a while:


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  • Then the saddle got nicked and the blue plastic mudguards fell apart... so i decided not to have an attention-seeking bike anymore, and instead built it like this:

    The Moby Dick themed 'Ahab' ergostem is my favourite part of this version.


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  • Then, finally, the cheap alloy racks both broke and got replaced. The new rear rack is stainless and is an absolute monster, capable of carrying anything.
    I also wore out the front rim so much i made a hole in the brake track, which lead me to build some new wheels and put on a dynamo so I'd never have to recharge (or loose) a light ever again.

    So this is how it looks today - as far as I can tell it's a fully-optimised, bomb-proof, thief-proof, touring, commuting rat bike thing.


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  • But then I pulled the trigger on a fancy new road bike that I won't be using in winter time, and so (as I have a recently instigated a 'two bikes only' policy), I would like whatever this turns into to double-up as a winter 'training' bike as well. Training in inverted commas because let's face it... training for what?

    And that's where I'm at for now.

  • Here's the build as it is in my head.

    Firstly, all this stuff from the tourer:

    Handlebars: Deda Piega
    Brake levers: Condor branded Tektros with Cane Creek hoods (that last twice as long as the originals)
    Headset: Chris King Nothreadset
    Shifters: grey 105
    Chainset: Deore LX triple with TA Zephyr chainrings (50/40/30)
    Front and rear mechs: Deore LX
    (the groupset stuff will go at some point, but for now they're staying... mainly because I had my cleats fitted to these pedals on this chainset, so I won't have to do another fitting if i keep it)
    Pedals: Shimano M520
    Cages: blackburn stainless
    Dynamo light: BM something or other.

    Here's what I can salvage from the parts bin:

    Saddle: damaged Flite from my old track bike.
    Brakes: I have a front 105.
    Rims: Open Pro 32h from my old track bike.
    Tyres: Conti GP5000 25mm, and I'll keep the tourer's 25mm Marathons for when I go touring. I might just keep the whole touring wheelset for fully-loaded trips.
    Mudguards: suitably battered and modded PDW Full Metal Fenders from my current road bike.

    Which leaves still to get:

    Rear brake caliper: black 105 to go with the front one.
    Front dynamo hub with 32 holes.
    Rear 105 hub with 32 holes.
    Lighter rear rack: probably Tubus Fly, but I'll keep the monster one for touring.
    Nicer front rack: Tubus Duo, as I think it will allow me to attach the mudguards to it when I go touring, thus negating the need for double eyelets on the forks: now that's a weeny saving!
    Stem: some sort of secondhand black quill stem... need to sort out geometry before i know what size, but probably 11-12cm.
    Seatpost: black, 27.2.... maybe even carbon if I can get a battered one for cheap.

  • What a bike, and quite the transformation! I absolutely adore the way it looks now, perfect functionalbeik thingy.

  • Thanks!
    Yeah I'll miss the old bastard, we've been through a lot together.

  • So - first question:

    What dynamo hub should I get?
    Black / rim brake / 32h / good light-but-cheap ratio

  • PM @cornelius_blackfoot - he has one for sale

  • Thanks @Aroogah, looks like it's sold now....

    Decided to keep the current wheels (36H A319 >Deore LX dynamo / 105) in the shed so I can still use them for proper touring holidays.

    I've asked this in the dynamo lights thread as well but... if I get a SP dynamo hub for the new / lighter wheels, will I be able to use the same (shimano) wiring for both wheelsets?

    ie: can I use use a Shimano connector with a SP hub?

    #tumbleweed

  • Why not just get a shimano dynamo?

  • I think they are really similar shapes and are interchangeable. IIRC I have seen this elsewhere.

    The grey bit (Shimano) and the same one from SP look identical where it matters

  • Good detective work

  • Nah. More of a half remembered comment from somewhere around here. I'm sure that by retaining that vague memory it dislodged some really important piece of information.

  • Yes. The connectors are basically the same. Not sure if SP fits on Shimano, but Shimano fits on SP.

    Also, how long is that Salsa stem and where is it going to live now?

  • SJS Cycles have a 11spd Di2 Disc Alfine hub reduced to £99 If you buy it and have your frame altered for discs it will save me buying it and having it lying around for years.

  • Black / rim brake / 32h / good light-but-cheap ratio

    DT Swiss R460?
    https://www.bike24.com/p2123285.html

    Not super cheap, not super light, but a decent balance and from a quality manufacturer. Otherwise have a look at KinLin for something that fits - I think XR31T is the one most go for now. Also tubeless compatible for future proofing.

  • Well yes, there is that. I need to get a new dynamo hub anyway if I'm keeping the Beast Wheels for holidays... and I might as well get something a little lighter if I can find it for a good price.

    I'm sure someone on here did a budget weight weenie build where the rule was something like - "no more than 50p per gram saved".

    I might introduce a similar rule for this if I can figure it out.

  • Cool, so the consensus seems to be it's fine. Thanks all : )

    The Salsa is 8cm / just past 90 degrees.
    It'll be going in a sale thread, I also have a 9cm and a 10cm, PM if you're interested, although tbh they won't be particularly cheap as I paid a little over the odds for them in desperation.

  • That sounds eminently sensible, I shall do it immediately!

  • Cheers @hugo7 - actually only after the hub (although my comment was confusing)... I have a secret stash of Open Pros I'll be using.

  • Ordered one of these, seemed like a very good deal if anyone else is interested:


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  • And one of these... I'm going to build them up with silver Open Pros and black spokes / nipples, same look as the current Beast Wheels. I might even de-sticker the rims.


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Varonha Frameworks winter / commuter / beater / touring bike

Posted by Avatar for .gaz. @.gaz.

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