A while ago, maybe even a decent while, I picked up a well loved 54cm Spa Audax off here for a few pounds. Was it a good deal? I have no idea, it was less than a quarter the rrp and heck, its 725. How many of you can see that little label and not look a second time. Or a third time. Or just straight up buy it, which I did.
Now, it had 2 major problems, and a few minor problems. Lets start with the major problems:
-I dont need another bike, I have a perfectily serviceable steamroller that I dont ride because its an arse to get out of the shed.
-No matter how I think about it, its still a 54cm
-Its got a carbon fork. I dont really like carbon forks
-Its caliper specific, not so much an issue as a feature, but I want more out of my life than caliper brakes. More like V brakes. Yeah, V brakes.
So, before starting this project I fell for the old looking at nice bikes that arnt mine:
So after a bit of staring at the internet, I decided this frame would be better served as a kickabout commuter- with a basket, some sweet mini V's (everyone loves mini V's, go on, try to tell me you dont, we both know your lying to yourself) maybe some 650b wheels, and mudguards. Yeah. Mini V's.
Now I hear you say, Ph1ll1p, this bike was designed around 700c, why you got to mess with a good thing. This is a lovely bike- someone might love it, stop wrecking a nice thing. Well, you might be right. But, conversely, it sat up here on the forum for like a month without anyone else buying it, so its on you, dear reader.
Anyway, I spent a decent amount of time modeling this bike, Im lucky enough to have access to solidworks in my day job- so I spent a bit of time trying to work out if I could fit 650b wheels into this frame:
Can recommend the pacenti brevet 650 rims. Well impressed with mine
It looks a bit all over the shop, but its got all the key elements that make this project exciting to me. It should, should clear 38's without too many problems, maybe even 45's if I get in on the dimpling. When I made this sketch (May, how the heck did I do this in May) My intension was to use this bike with flat bars to ride the south downs with some friends, do a little camping, a little beer drinking and have an all round good time. This meant I had to get the bike finished as soon as possible, which at the time, to me anyway meant running long drop caliper brakes, so I spent a bunch of time working out if that was even possible, and ordering fork parts off Ceeway to get a fork started.
That opens a whole new can of worms. I decided on making a fork. My first plan was to buy a steamroller fork and add canti mounts, the numbers matched, and I found a few on ebay for somewhere around £80- but there was something in that, that didnt sit right. So I spent £60 at Ceeway and got some fancy nice fork parts. Aside from solidworks, Im also lucky enough to have access to a smick prototyping lab (its got a brazing setup, a tig setup, a really nice mill and lathe, and more importantly, a Clint, a fabricator that knows more about making things that I will ever know). So once the parts turned up I got to work shaping. The setup went really well:
The brazing did not. I didnt actually take any photos brazing the first fork mostly out of shame. Turns out, you cant actually silver solder using bronze, and a gas inline flux. Who knew? Clint, why didnt Clint tell me? He was on holiday, and I was impatient, so I went ahead without him and messed it up. But thats how we learn. And spend more money at Ceeway.
Either way, the due date for the ride came and went, so I rode my other bike. Had a cracking ride, albeit muddy and wet, but fun all the same.
Its a super lovely Pearson I got a while back, the wolverine is my partners. So, another £60 from Ceeway and I had new fork parts, and a whole new attitdue. The brazing actually went really well this time, the fork came together nicely, I even got the mounts on the rear of the frame. I didnt have any canti jigs, and aside from fork jigs, jigs are for suckers. So I just kinda guessed the position.
Either way, I was suppose to make some progress on the bike, but rather than doing anything I bought the second cheapest 650b rims off SJS (some lovely Thorn numbers, they arnt terrible, but following the restraunt rule, they arnt the worst) They were eyeleted, rim brake and black so I figured they would work. I also bought the cheapest 10 speed rear hub (sora, was £19 on sale) and nonseries front hub (maybe £5). So I chucked it all together with some gravel kings, because theres no other tyre worth buying anymore:
Woopee! That looks great! Good job!.
That was 3 months ago, I lost steam as the rona picked up, work picked up too, reaching a break neck pace and that stopped me riding anything other than my mtb, and commuting.
Then, the other day I got a pair of Nitto bullmooses for a song that were destine for this bike. I have a weakness for well made things, and even more so if they are from Japan, so it was a given. But it raised a question I have been pondering for a decent while:
What the heck am I going to do about gearing? I have a 11-42 xt cassette in my bits bix, with a slx derailleur and shifter, which works nicly, but after riding the south downs on the pearson (46-30 with an 11-34) I sorta want that. But with flat bars. I really liked the idea of getting microshift thumbies but either way I see it, im up for £80, and I cant work out what I want more. I have another set of FSA omega cranks (46-30) but I dont have a cassette, and they are too hard to find currently. Then, I also have to get another derailleur. Maybe I can try 1x with the 11-42, but I really like 2x. Its actually really good in most siduations.
Any advice would well welcomed. I have no idea where Im going with this project.
Ohhh mumma, I wish I was fancy enough to spring for those! Plus, when I bought the wheels I wasnt really sure where I was going with this project- so I didnt want to invest too much.
Thats fair. They are pricey, but being able to have the gravel Kings tubeless on my 'rando' bike is very nice.
I like where this is going
So made a little (very little) progress on this yesterday. Ive had a Tubus Tara kicking around for a while and I always go to sell it, but I cant, because.... I dont know. So I figured I would chuck on some braze ons.
Its soaking as we speak, if I get some time this afternoon Im going to wire brush it and throw it in the power coater. Then, I think I might have enough parts to throw this together.
Also, Im looking for a headset, I was going to get an FSA orbit one, as they are fine, but I dont want to pay real money, so if you have one kicking around you dont use and are willing to split with let me know.
Managed to make a little more progress this afternoon, got the fork wirebrushed and sanded back. Its not perfect, its built for function. I also chucked it on the bike with the rack to see what it looks like. I plan on fabbing up a little rando rack at some point in the next few weeks too. Please ignore the massive stack, I have no idea if Ill use these bars or where they will sit long term so I just threw it all together.
Fork looks great! I also have a tara I can't bring myself to sell - just feels good to own it??
Excited to see this done and will be loitering around to do some tyre kicking when you decide a 54 truly is too small :)
Woah! Fork is painted!
I'm in a very lucky position where I have a power coating facility on site, so it happened quickly, but rather unfortunately I didn't specify exactly what I wanted so pre treatment was skipped, and then to make matters worse, a bloody drip of grease fell on it from some fixture! Downside is there's a run on the paint, and it's super rough around the vent holes, but one it's covered in dirt no one will be able to tell, plus this paint was more rust protection than a final finish. If I like the bike, I'll sand blast and wet paint.
Anyway, onto assembly!
Annoying about the drips but the transparency looks cool.
Yeah it looks like it was dipped in wax or something
Great thread. Also very tidy workshop!
Woah. Its been months.
Anyway, I've made a bunch of progress I didn't photograph. Faced and chased the brake mounts, and then threw all the parts I could on. Didn't really pay much attention to the gears and ended up with a 8 speed shifter in friction mode upside down next to the lever. To be frank, it work, but not well. Everytime you grabbed the grips to get roudy, you would hit it and shift down, invariably causing me to almost fall, or have to put in genuine effort, two things I often try to avoid.
But then, in a strike of genius, I remembered I had a set of bar end shimano shifters. 10 speed no less, DuraAce! It doesn't get any better than that. Then the second problem struck, I don't want bar ends on flat bars, I often lean my bike against anything I can, and it might force a shift... So I took em off and put them on the downtube. I'm not going to lie, I really like downtube shifters, you have all the fun of a single speed without any of the downsides.
Shortly after getting it together, I slapped on some mudguards and now this is my favourite bike.
Your too kind, I wish it was mine, its a mates who is far too patient with me!
looks very good!
So I lost it a little. I really liked the setup, but I wanted 47's to fit, for no reason than I had some and figured I could. As you can see from the attached, there's slight contact. It's actually not to bad, the tyre isn't as true as the wheel, so it contacts. I tried dimpling it more but it's not great, and the tube started kinking, so I went for the nuclear option.
I decided I want to cut out the chainstays, and braze in a scollop. Wasnt sure how to approach this, so I decided to freestyle it.
So I used a hydraulic press and a wood form to bend some strips of steel to fit around the tyre, but still be easy to braze. My plan was straight cuts, as that's easier to do.
I ate some lunch and then decided I hated this, it looked stupid and it was stupid so I threw it out. I then found a massive bit of tube and clamped it in place to use as a cutting guide and then wam. Why not just use the tube?
Annoying, this tube was a touch too short to use for brazing, but I have more tube and a lathe, so I figured I would would use this for the cutting and shaping. It was a good plan in theory.
It looks rough, but it actually went really well. I got the tube in there, got the tubes "mitered" and here we are. I've actually made some more changes and cut out the chainstay bridge, tapped the new bit of tube. I intend to braze in the tube, then cut out the section so the wheel can fix again.
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