As we start our fifth season on this bike here are some developments and thoughts triggered by a website upgrade that forced me to touch the original page again:
- We’ve flown with this bike (Scotland, France, Yukon) and we’ve done some strenuous tours on it (Wallowas.) the bike has performed well.
- It came with alloy spoke nipples (red to match the paint job) and in the first couple hundred miles we broke six spokes – all at the nipple. The guys at R&E graciously replaced all of the nipples with standard brass and the problem went away.
- We got the bike with 36 spoke White Industries daisy hubs. In our second season, a week before some event, we hit a pothole in Georgetown and trashed the rear wheel. I wanted more spokes so R&E stole a wheel set from an in-process build and gave us 48 spokes. The rear hub of that wheel set was configured for a disc brake – and since we had the mounting tabs on the frame I had them install an Avid BB70 controlled with a stoker barcon. The only drawback to the retro installation is a full housing all the way to the rear dropout.
- At some point we replaced the rear derailleur with a tried-and-true Deore. Later we replaced the front derailleur with one from microshift that seemed to have a little more range. The front one made a big difference, the back one less so.
I’m thinking that for its tenth anniversary we’ll get the bike repainted. At that time I’ll see if they can add cable stops for the drag brake to eliminate that long floppy housing run. I’ll also likely have them add the mid-fork braze-ons that got left off of the original fabrication. The front segment of the boom tube got dented by a set of stairs in Scotland – we’ll have to see if there is anything to be done about that.
The other thing I’ll probably do at year ten will be to switch to compact gearing. Basically I’m mainly riding in the middle ring and using the 56-T big ring to keep pedaling a little long before we spin out on descents. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to carry that chainring around for such limited use – I’d be better off with something close to 50-40-30 and I’d spend a lot more time in the big ring that way.