Saturday, May 11, 2013

Announcing the "Gravel Mutt Project"

Charles Showalter's whacked "mutt bike".
I've decided to get going on a certain little project bike I have been putzing around with since last year. A former co-worker of mine stopped in one random summer day last year and bequeathed his old 90's vintage steel, lugged Trek 520 to me. It was complete in almost stock form. The owner estimated it has 45,000 miles on it!

Well, over the years it has seen nicks, scrapes, patches of rust, and re-painted sections here and there. I had to sand down to bare metal right away when I got it to ascertain whether or not the frame was still good to go or not. (It is good) So, I have torn it completely down and have been "hen pecking" at it all Winter. Now that the temps are warming up, I am going after it full bore, or as close to that as possible.

The Theme: So, what's the deal with "mutt bike"? Well, it has, and still is a "gravel grinding tradition" to use a pieced together, mid-quality frame, (generally steel), in a "parts bin" build for a gravel grinder. The paint doesn't have to be great, but it just has to be functional. It doesn't have to be light, but it has to be durable and tough. The over riding mantra here is, (to paraphrase an auto racing maxim), "One must first finish to finish first, or place at all!" Your bike is ultra-important, and in the self supported events, it has to be dead reliable in all sorts of conditions.

With that as a back drop, I have chosen "mutt bike" to describe what I am doing in honor of Charles Showalter's T.I.V8 finish on a bike that his friend Craig Irving described to me as a "mutt bike". Even though Charles' bike died at that event, it epitomized the "mutt bike" in my mind both aesthetically and mechanically. My Trek 520 build will both be aesthetically "mutt-like" and mechanically diverse. The finish is going to be right out of a spray can, the build right out of the parts bin, with a few decent bits thrown in.

Stay tuned......


Ari said...

Will it have any carbon fibers??
can we donate parts for the project?
Name your poison.

Guitar Ted said...

@Ari: No carpet fibers on this one! All alloy and steel. I'm pretty sure I have everything I need for this one in the parts bin, at least that's the goal here!