Saturday, May 25, 2013

Gravel Mutt Project: The Front End

I started working over the fork for the Gravel Mutt. At one point, I was going to be getting a Surly Cross Check threadless fork and a new headset, but......that isn't the "mutt way" to be doing things, now is it? No. It is not the Mutt Way. The Mutt Way is using the binned parts and cheaply gotten bits to build a workhorse bicycle.

Using the original fork and headset would be fine, but this presented a bit of a problem. The "old way" of doing a stem, (quill style), generally doesn't use a face plate. When they do, they are ug-a-leeee! Plus, I may end up with a 31.8mm handle bar, so this made me go the route of a quill adapter.

The quill adapter is clean looking, and allows me several choices in stems which can suit any drop bar handle bar, and look pretty good doing it. Cheap too. Besides, it isn't a new idea at all. Early mountain bike builders would do a similar thing but would actually braze in a stub into the steer tube that extended above the threaded head set. A "clip on" stem would then be used, and the top cap? It usually was a coin! Modern adaptations are similar, but look more like a standard threadless steerer.

As I am sanding down the paint for priming and finishing, I note that the drop outs are Tange ones on the fork ends. Probably a Tange fork too, I am guessing. That's nice. The frame tubes are True Temper. All steel means a solid gravel grinder base. Abuse friendly, no worries about scratches, dings, or damage. If I like it so much when it, if ever, needs repair, it can be done at a reasonable cost.

Random thought: Paint frame and fork flat black and call the bike "Crow Molly". 


Quill adapter
 Hopefully I will be making some major progress on this over the three day weekend. I would like to throw on some paint, and if it goes well, I might be able to assemble the thing in a week or so, once the paint cures.

Then the build should pretty much go quickly. The plan is to go with a 1 X 9 drive train. One bar end shifter, a set of Tektro RL 520 levers is sitting around here somewhere, and I may need to score some better cantilevers.

I found a nice Ritchey seat post in the bin, and to top that off I want to get a B-17 or possibly a Flyer. The handle bars may be something I have laying around, or a new set of Cowbell 2's. I really like Cowbells! They are the bars I use on the BMC. Wheels will be the aforementioned XTR/Salsa Delgado hoops shod with whatever tire I need to be riding at the time. (The bike will be used for testing stuff for Gravel Grinder News when necessary.) Otherwise I plan on just using this one for the 3GRs and maybe some night time riding this summer. Bad weather will see this one on the roads as well. Hmm.......maybe it needs fenders too.....

The bike will then get outfitted with a frame bag, a top tube bag, and a couple of bottle cages so it'll be ready for long or short distances at the drop of a hat. That's about it, but before I get there, I have a lot of work ahead of me. Details to come. For now, it's sanding and painting time.

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