Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bored as Hell

When things are slow at the B-43 International Headquarters, I tend to wander around the garage looking for some bicycling-related projects. After the immense lovefest I gave y’all about Goose, you probably figured I only have one bike. There are currently 7 bikes, one almost-built up frame, and two unicycles at our location. There is also one frame on the way, but I’ll probably get into that subject at a later date.

Anyhoo, I was standing in the garage staring at the fleet like I often do and I decided that a project was in order. You see, I have my beloved Goose, which has been my racer, trailbike, and all around bad-ass mountain machine. A year and a half ago, I bought a hardtail Trek (on the cheap I might add) to use as a commuter/grocery getter bike. It had a rigid fork, knobby tires, and v-brakes. I thought it would be perfect for riding around town, with the occasional long road rides. I added some Kenda Flame smooth tires so I could ride faster on the pavement. Being a mountain biker first though, I ended up putting a squishy fork on it after a brief period pf ownership.

I rode the shit out of that bike, doing everything from urban mountain biking to 20+ mile road rides. I added some bar ends for the road action, but I knew eventually I would end up with a road bike. I found another killer deal on a Trek road bike, and that was the end of my pretend roadie adventures. All my road rides would be on a “real” road bike from now on. The unnamed commuter bike was parked in the garage, where it proceeded to collect dust. It caught my eye the other day, most likely because it looked so lonely. I brought it outside for some fresh air.

Look at my seatpost, “jacked to the max.”

I started thinking about how a lot of the local riders around here have different bikes for different kinds of riding. I figured with the Winter Short Track Series coming up in January I could use a “short track” bike. All I had to do was round up a few spare parts from the B-43 warehouse.

Some of these parts look very familiar. Hmmmm.

These small yet important upgrades could make the difference between a piece o’ crap and a race-winning machine, at least that’s what I told myself. I grabbed the usual hoppy beverage, and I was ready for some installing. First to go was the heavy-as-a-lead pipe seat post. I replaced it with my favorite, the Easton EA50.

Still “jacked to the max.”

I had to make sure the seat was in a comfortable position.

Next up was the cockpit. A shorter than I like flat bar and some tree-catchers were unbecoming of a short track bike, at least in my not so expert opinion. I needed something that said,”racer bike,” for all to see. Upon further inspection of my spare parts, I realized those words weren’t printed anywhere on them. Maybe I don’t need to change anything at all. Let’s see if there is anything like that on my current setup.


While bar ends are relatively easy to remove, the grips on this bike were a little more of a challenge. As much as I like to swap around parts, I finally switched to lock on grips to facilitate the easy removal of components. The commuter bike wasn’t equipped with such easily-removed grippy goodness. I would have to resort to the standard grip removal tactic.

Yep, a little compressed air is all it takes.

After a small battle with the air compressor, I managed to get both grips off of the handlebars, and they are still in good enough shape to be used again. I just tossed them in the spare parts bin, since I had some lock on grips for this particular project. I grabbed the Easton EA50 low-rise bars (yes, from here), and adjusted the position. I was hoping to get a perfect fit the first time. So far so good. I slid the shifter pods on, tightened the grips, and I was ready.

Much prettier.

At this point, it’s looking to me like I’m making some progress. While these are indeed small modifications, it’s still fun doing some bike wrenching. I just enjoy swapping around parts and fixing mechanical problems. It soothes my soul. Well, that and a few beers, but whatever. While I would love to keep this post going, I’m going to stop here. Today is the anniversary of the day that I arrived here on Earth, so I’m not trying to overwork myself. I’ll go out and get drunk or something (isn’t that what people do to celebrate their birthdays?) I’ll finish this awesome bike building seminar next time. Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion.

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