Friday, October 24, 2008

About the commuter bike.

My hacker commuter bike started her life as a 10 speed French Mixte, about 30 lbs with steel wheels, 27 inch tires, and steel accessories all around. She's a 1976ish Motobecane Mirage, originally sold in the Peddler bike shop in downtown Huntsville, Alabama, which was then in the location of the Kaffeeklatsch bar. A friend found her in a thrift store for $20, rode the crap out of her, bent the wheels, and eventually gave her to me.

Now she's a much lighter, faster fixed gear. It's been an evolutionary process, scouring and picking up parts as I could find and afford them. The only new parts on the bike are the wheels and the seat post, everything else has been scavenged, mostly from a shop called Outdoor Omnibus in Huntsville.

I dug around in the parts bins to put together a functional french thread bottom bracket, finally scavenging an old Nervar crank axle, which is presently attached to a very light 170mm Nervar crank set, with the original 52 tooth chainring attached by shorter bolts. The wheels are Mavic Open Sports, laced to Formula hubs, with classic looking gumwall 23c tires. I found an old Sekai stem and handlebar, and that's bolted on, with some cushy black cork tape and a pre-aero Shimano 600 brake lever that runs to an antique sidepull brake, maker unknown but it had just the right reach to work with the 700c rim on a 27 inch frame. I replaced the old fashioned seatpost with a Kalin, since they are cheap and available in many sizes. I got the closest one, but still had to ream the seat tube a bit. It works great now, attached to a nice Sella Italia saddle with prostate relief and titanium rails.

On the back is a Delta rack, which I use to strap down extra layers of clothing, and to carry some cheap but functional Sunlight panniers, though I usually use one of my Timbuk2 bags, a medium for most day, and an XL for grocery shopping.

There's an SKS raceblade rear fender on the front, which I'm about to extend with mudflaps. I may end up getting some Planet Bike fenders, but I'd rather just keep it to this one little fender. On the front is a vintage headlight from a generator setup that I'm converting to a slf contained battery powered LED light.

I'll post some pics soon.

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