Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Time For A Concept Bike! Part V

Last week was the last time I mentioned this concept bike business and told you all that some things were going to be decided upon when I was up at Milltown Cycles last weekend. Well, I didn't forget, and Ben and I sneaked away from  all the hub-bub long enough to settle on a few things. We even know who is going to build these!

The concept from Ben's end is to have a bike that does the following:
My intentions are very similar:
 *The Racer brake would be under the chain stay in the rear, and also used up front.

Okay, so just what is "Classic road bike geometry" anyway. Well, it isn't anything like what you'd find at a bicycle shop these days, I'll tell you that much. Ben and I differ slightly on what constitutes the "ideal" but we struck on a great compromise that will work just fine for the both of us. Here's what was semi-decided upon. (These things are not graven in stone, so don't get yer hackles up. It's only two bikes, after all!)

  • 71.5 degree head angle. (Could go to 72, but we'll see.)
  • 73 degree seat angle.
  • 50mm offset fork (Could change)
  • Low bottom bracket height. (Something around 75-80mm drop)
  • Not touring length chain stays, but not cyclo-cross short either. 
The frame will be constructed of steel. I am for sure going with fillet brazing. Ben was toying with a lugged idea. The fork, if we can manage to talk the builder in to this, would be a Type II style fork with the Paul Racer Brake studs brazed on the crown portion. Other details would be hammered out after we get rolling on our individual frames.

Looks like my frame/fork may get started this spring, perhaps. In the meantime, I'll be amassing parts for it. It'll be a 2X10 road bike type drive train with some stout wheels, of which Ben and I have pretty much figured out already. White Industries hubs, some Hed rims, and Sapim spokes. Possibly a White VBC crank will go on this as well. Oh! And the color? Green, maybe a blue of some sort. I'm leaning towards a Kelly Green.

And the builder? Yes, I met him and spoke with him. He's excited about it too. More later....


Unknown said...

sounds like a very fun project!

Wally said...

Like you say, nothing earth shattering there. I'm smitten with the classic road bike geo so that I can understand. I can't wait to see the racer brake application out back. I'm liking the fillet brazing too - lugged is cool but fillet brazing with good paint looks so good. Any idea of which bars you might run? HT height?

Guitar Ted said...

@Wally Kilburg: There was talk of handlebars. FSA and Bontrager have shallow, constantly varying radius bend drops that we liked, but I have been spoilt by Woodchippers. I can't hardly bring myself to ride traditional road bars. When I test ride repair bikes with them now they feel awkward and very uncomfy.

Head tube length was extended, but nothing radical. Bar tops at about seat level.

mw said...

my blue bike's bb drop is 70.

Ari said...

I don't understand the Racer Brake under the Chainstay. What about endless amounts of soupy gravel, mud, sticks and all the junk that would accumulate there?
Otherwise I am envisioning a bike like Fausto and Gino used to ride.
best of luck in the project. We do need a better bike out there.

Captain Bob said...

I'm not a geometry expert at all. Question though, is the h/a with the 50 offset quick? Sounds like it to me. What is the normal offset for a bike like this?

Guitar Ted said...

@Captain Bob: Most road bikes have far steeper head angles with a 45-50mm offset fork. So- 73-74 degree head angles mixed with those offsets= quick handling bikes. Keep in mind as well that fatter tires also increase trail figures, so with the combination of 71.5 degree head angle, 50mm offset, and 42mm tires, this would handle far tamer than a typical roadie rig.

@Ari: In T.I.V6 type conditions, yes- it would be bad. I will not be riding in stuff like that- ever- with this bike. For 95% of my gravel rides, the under the chain stay brake will not be an issue at all.

The Rider Formerly Known as VR Captain said...

So you guys just basically took the exact geometry of the Vaya Ti and added a spot for a "stupid for soupy gravel" brake and you call that custom?

Captain Bob said...

Makes sense Gt. Thanks. So what's up with these brakes? I don't know much about them. Are there pros/cons vs some good canti's? I have a really nice set of canti's at home waiting for a bike just like this. Getting excited about this bike and looking forward to more posts.

Ari said...

I guess I am always thinking of abismal conditions.

Guitar Ted said...

@Captain Bob: Paul Racer brakes are a take off of Dia Compe center pull road brakes. They are quite powerful, and have great clearances for big tires and fenders if you want fenders. The idea we are using will be "racer brake specific" and so will not take any other brake but the Paul Racer.

@VR Captain: Yes, I am calling it custom. The Vaya is a disc brake bike, and by design has to have heavier tubing to deal with the braking forces of the caliper, wherever it is mounted on the frame or fork. Besides this, the geometry of the Vaya, while nearly identical, is not identical. ;>)

As I stated to Ari, I won't be riding this in inclement weather much, and even if I did, the racer brake has plenty of clearance for "soupy gravel". (Yes- I have ridden in torrential down pours on Iowa gravel, so I do know what I am facing out there).

Finally: This is a bicycle "I" want. I never said it would suit anyone else.

Make sense?

Unknown said...

VR Captain,

Though you could use the steel of Ti Vaya for this type of riding this bike differs in many respects. First and foremost it will likely be fillet brazed and made by a close friend and very experienced builder right here in river city. That alone makes it vastly different than the Vaya. While the geometry will be similar, the chainstays will be shorter, the headtube in relation to the TT length will be longer, the seat tube will be taller, the tubing will be selected tube by tube for Mark and I's weight, and the location of things like bottle bosses and cable routing will be different. So yes, you could say this bike is Vaya like, but it actually differs in almost every respect.

The idea behind a custom bike is to have every little detail made to your specs based on your experience and personal preference. It is not necessarily to improve on the performance of an off the shelve bike, nor is it to detract or say that said off the shelf bike is lacking. Fact is we all could get by with riding any Surly with basic parts. Most of us don't for various reasons. GT has spelled out those rather well.

As to the brake, I intend to ride this bike as a road bike without limiting myself to pavement. If it's sloppy and wet, I'll stick to the roads. I very rarely ride soupy, nasty gravel. If I do, I have another bike for that. A full coverage fender will also be used on my bike, keeping much of the road grim, dust, and some mud away from the brake anyway.

Guitar Ted said...

@Ben: Thanks for chiming in.

@VR Captain: (and everybody else) We are in no way disparaging the Vaya. It is an awesome bike for gravel road pursuits, and I for one would love to own one at some point, but as ben put so well, it just isn't quite what we will be doing with this project.

And it may all fail in the end as well. That's a risk I am willing to take, and that I do not believe will happen. But it could, and if you or anyone else laughed and pointed at me I wouldn't blame you.

In the end it is just another bicycle.

Ride On!

Erik said...


I tripped over another off-the-rack frameset that meets a lot (but certainly not all) of your requirements: the Civia Kingfield.

Horizontal drops (with mech hanger as an optional part). Low BB (75). Slack(ish) angles of 72ha and 72.5sa. 44 chainstays. Canti bosses. Lots of tire clearance.

Probably lighter weight tubeset than a LHT. Would need to ask about that.

$495 MSRP for the frameset. Can't beat that deal IMO. Worst feature is that gawdawful mud collector, err, kickstand plate.

I'm all on board with your custom plan but for them's that are sweating the sheckels, the Civia might be a workable solution.


ps. my word verification for this comment was "grograwl". Good name for a bike. ha.

MG said...

I'm all for a project bike, but that said, I like more time for riding, so with great bikes out there (like the noted ti and steel Vayas, Civia, Surly and others) that are so well-suited to gravel grinding that I'm more inclined to saddle up on one of them and get more time on the roads, as opposed to time spent pining over numbers...

... but that's just me. For as much as I like to talk about bikes, and write about bikes, ultimately, I like to ride bikes the most.

Have a great weekend. Hope you're able to get out for some super awesome rides!