Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Tale of Two Wheels.

Actually a tale of 2 wheels told twice over. Spring is on its way, or so I tell myself, and while I get an early start on my spring cleaning I came across a couple pairs of wheels I built. I wanted to try Sturmey Archer's new 3 speed coaster brake hub, their 5 speed drum brake, and their Dynamo front drum brake hub. I'm already familiar with the front drum brake and love how it looks with it's sheriff's star cut-outs so I built a front to the 3 speed with one of those hubs. I planned on building a his & hers city bikes but haven't found frames I felt were worthy of these wheels so I decided to get a couple of custom frames made my way to roll these wheels on. Future blog entries will follow the design, frame building, parts and accessories selection, how and why I decided to do what, and how it all turned out. A little peak into the ideas about the bikes is his bike will have a frame built around the British influence of old Raleigh and Phillips bicycles and have the Sturmey Archer X-RD5 5 speed and drum brake rear and the X-FDD Dynamo front hub with drum brake. Both wheels were built with DT spokes and Ambrosio Excellence black anodized rims. His bike has 700 x 38c Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. Her bike frame will be built as a Mixte with the design influenced from French Peugeots and Gitanes with Sturmey Archer's SRC3 rear hub with 3 speeds and a coaster brake, or 'back-pedal' brake, and X-FD drum brake in the front. Those wheels were built with black spokes just because that was my mood when I built them. I like the contrast of the black spokes against the (somewhat) polished aluminium hubs. Because her bike doesn't have a Dynamo or electricity generating hub it will receive a "bottle generator" either on the frame or fork. Her bike has 700 x 38c Duro Protek "Puncture Protection" tires in case He isn't there to be chivalrous and fix a flat (but future blogs will have a how-to on fixing flats and other maintenance because knowledge makes for confidence and confidence is sexy) . While I think Schrader valves, the type that is commonly found on cars and can be pumped up at most any garage, are more convenient my choice of rims doesn't allow for the larger valve and so I installed Presta valves. Presta valves require a special brass adapter or a floor pump that can handle both common types of valves. I chose internal gear hubs for both bikes so that there wouldn't be any chance of chains falling off on potholes (of which my city has lots and lots of!) or on country roads. Also by not having derailleurs makes it easier to fit a chain guard to protect pant legs from getting dirty and will add more style to the bike. It's fairly flat where I live and the gear range offered by 3 and 5 speed hubs should be good enough for comfortable riding on more than 90% of the roads here. As for the rest of both the bikes they are only thoughts and ideas but will most definitely have fenders, comfortable seats, front and rear lights, baskets and/or racks, kickstands, and bells. After all, it's only sensible!

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