Monday, 26 June 2006

Solitude Build

As I mentioned earlier, I won a custom built bike frame at SSUK2006 from Alex at Solitude Cycles. I finally got round to filling in the build sheet tonight. Here are my replies to some of the questions. Caution: I ramble.

WHAT SORT OF RIDING WILL YOU BE DOING? (Track? Off-road? 24hr races? Down the pub?)

"Most of my riding is a mix of off- and on-road. I generally ride straight from my front door, on local field-edge bridleways, farm tracks, minor roads and bits of Sustrans routes. I've ridden these with my 1.7"" slick commuter tyres, so I'm sure I'd be fine on a 'cross bike.

Once a month, I ride with the Hamsterley Trailblazers in Hamsterley; I'd probably take my Inbred to these rides, but it'd be nice to be able to take this bike too. I like being the only rigid+Vbrake rider in the group so it would be fun to ride there on this bike for a couple of rides per year. The trails at SSUK are easily the most technical my riding gets and these are the trails we ride in the forest.

My first off-road riding was in Swaledale with my dad and brother. I don't get up there very often, so I'd love a bike that I could ride the 20 mile each way on the road to Reeth and then could handle the old mining tracks.

The Hamsterley and Swaledale riding is what's edging me towards a drop-barred 29er, rather than a cross bike. Possibly somewhere between a Monster Cross and a 29er :)"

WHAT SORT OF EQUIPMENT WILL YOU USE? (Bars, brakes, hubs and gearing…)

"On-One Midge bars set up a la Matt Chester, so I can use the tops and hoods for longer road climbs and cruising, and the drops for off-road.

Canti brakes. I've just been trying to set up a mechanical disc brake on my Inbred; I don't really understand it and wouldn't like to have to try and repair it out on a ride. V brake pads seem to wear out really fast. I understand cantis I'm slow/light enough that they stop me.

Stronglight Impact cranks, with a 36t Surly ring (from HubJub). I rode 32:16 from/at/to SSUK (51.5"" on 26""x1.9), which is equivalent to 36:19 on a 700x35 tyre, so I'll probably make 36:18 my starting point for a fixed gear on this bike, but I'm open to suggestions. I'll probably start with a 35c tyre, but having clearance for about a 2.1"" tyre would be nice.

I'm thinking of either Surly or On-One double-fixed hubs, laced to Mavic Open Sport rims. 18t-fixed and 19t-free (?)"

WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM YOUR NEW FRAME? (Let me know what you are looking for )

"I'd like a bike which is simple and timeless. I don't ride fast or hard, and I'm pretty light, so most MTBs are overkill for me; I don't think I've even come close to pushing the limits of my Inbred or Kona (other than in the load I've put on them with heavy things on the rack). I've always liked that fact that the bikes I've owned could do most things ok, from forest singletrack to loaded up roadwork. I'd like the new frame to do the same.

I'd like to be able to ride a 70 mile road 'tourist trial' one Sunday and then ride on the road to Hamsterley to do a group off-road ride before riding back again on the next Sunday. I'm doing just that on my Inbred over the next two weekend, but I think I'll be wishing for a more road-oriented position on Sunday... I'd like to be able to load the bike up with camping gear, ride to a race, race, and then load up again and ride home :)"


"I like their versatility.

The Kona has a position that I can ride all day, but I start wishing for a change of hand position after a while. The bars were a bit too low for off-road use, but I raised them a couple of cm recently and they feel a lot better. I ride this Mon-Fri for getting to/from work (2.5 miles each way sprint through traffic each day, plus another 4.5 miles each-way journey to another school on a Tuesday afternoon). Riding with my hands resting on the ends of the bar, in what I imaging would be their position on a Midge bar, is really comfy.

I'm much more confident on technical off-road on the Inbred, but I feel like the position is too upright (or maybe it's just the wider bars?) a lot oif the time. Part of this might also be just being more used to the Kona."

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