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Sunday, February 19, 2012


Friday I picked up the FrankenSurly. I bought the frame last summer to replace the bent frame on the Foolkiller. The Foolkiller is the 1993 Diamondback Cross Campus I bought off a band mate (for fifty bucks) almost three years ago with the crazy idea that I'd ride Bike MS. An event that sounded, to my ears at the time, as extreme as Race Across America.

According to my obsessively maintained cycling log, I put 8,207 miles on this bike, and while I referred to it often as my $50 bike, I upgraded a few things as they wore out along the way.

But while I love the Foolkiller, I put a bend in its bottom tube crashing it into a wheel-eating grate and ever since, I've been urged to quit riding the thing before the bend becomes a crack.

After 5,095 miles, I promptly acceded to these urgings. It only took me six months to get the funds together, figure out how I wanted it finished out and who by.

I moved my Brooks, my wheel set, fenders and racks over from the now officially retired Foolkiller (I think I'm going to make it a garden bike). Also my brass bell, handlebar flower, and cycling computer.

Crankset, pedals, cassette, derailleurs, shifters, brakes, bottom bracket, headset, handlebars, pretty much everything else involved in a bicycle was new. Some of this was me upgrading from stuff that was frankly worn out: last time I had the Foolkiller overhauled, the mechanic pointed out that nothing could be done about the wobble in the crank because of wear, and my derailleurs were hit and miss because of springs that had been sprung and whatnot.

Where thing weren't necessarily whipped, there were good reasons to replace anyway: my old cantilever brakes were a pain in the ass to change pads on. It's a two-tool, three-hand job and frustrating enough that it was worth it to let bike shops install them. The new brakes should be easier for me to service, and what I save in shop labor will pay for them in a year or two. My seat post was the wrong diameter, so things like that couldn't come over, either.

And these funky looking handlebars are my best guess at what will keep my hand numbness/wrist pain at bay. If these don't work out, I may try mustache or albatross bars, the other designs I considered, but after a bit over fifty miles in the saddle this weekend it seems they'll likely work as planned. I'm not quite as upright as the Dutch, but it's getting close. I may need to find a way to get another inch of elevation, but I may be able to tweak my saddle angle or something instead.

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