Saturday, September 6, 2008

In other news... My new Alan cross bike

I am suffering from something like an embarrassment of riches at the moment. First, there is the bike I just made. Then, due in a month or so, is the Velo Orange randonneur I've been waiting for for a year. And a few months ago, I bought this NOS Alan cyclocross frame.

I've finally got it all built up. It's come together very coherently for a bike whose parts all were discarded from other projects. For example: the wheels. I bought the incredibly beautiful black Mavic Paris Dakar hubs thinking I would maybe use them on the VO, but then decided they were just too funky. The rims, Mavic Reflex tubulars, I bought about two years ago thinking I might some day want road tubulars — something I've since talked myself out of. Anyway, the hubs set up the rest of the components: I tracked down a matching headset, which is probably my favourite part of the bike, and then repurposed some other Mavic parts I had sitting around (I really like Mavic stuff!).

The Mavic drivetrain is also discarded from the VO. I tried the 801 derailleur out on my "placeholder" Fuji randonneur a few months back and couldn't get it to shift onto my 26 tooth big cog. So I decided to track down an 840 rear derailleur, which I knew would work, and thought I would use the 801 on this bike. (Two days ago, when setting up the 801, I realized how to set it up, and now see that I could easily have used it on the VO...). When I eventually found the 840, it was listed on eBay under "Mavic diraller plus extras" or something equally badly spelled. The 840 was (and is!) absolutely mint, and the "extras" were a NOS set of Mavic non-aero levers. Because of the bad listing, few were watching, and I got them both for a very very good price. Those are the levers on Alan (his full name is Alan Zachs, for those who are paying attention.)

The tires are rebranded Challenge Grifos. I "glued" them on with some Tufo tape — I know, I know. Well, it was easy and fun, and the tires seem to be sticking on so far.

I've been riding Alan in a nearby park for the past two days — I have a little course that goes up some steep hills, through some woods, and across some grass flats. It's fun, and great exercise. Alan is a very able performer. The shifting is obviously friction, but I've gotten good at that, so it's more or less intuitive. The gearing is 46-34 on the front and 14-24 (6 speed) on the back, and is great. The big gears might be too big, but the small ones are perfect. I haven't noticed the famed Alan "flexiness" yet. I have noticed how light Alan is.

Also: looking at these photos makes me see how I've split the rear derailleur cable loop. My next repair! (Well, that, and applying the bartape — black cloth Cateye.)

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