Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pretty and Ugly Things

Let's begin with the ugly thing.

That is my first, and very poor, attempt at brass-brazing a lug. I carried out this monstrosity yesterday, during my first visit to the shop where I will make a few frames this winter. Olivier and I were only really intending to look around, see what tools were present, and work out a schedule.

But we ended up making one such hideous joint each. We used 1 1/4" straight-gauge tubing and Ceeway practice lugs. It took an hour at least using files and a die grinder to open up the sockets in the lug wide enough to accept the tubes. Then we make the hand-miter with an undersized file, so the fit was a bit crude. Then we drilled a vent hole and did what we could with the torch. Brass certainly doesn't flow as nicely as silver. But then I intend to use silver on my frames, so I didn't take it to heart.

Now, the pretty things.

#1. Shimano BL-1051 brake levers

I bought these this week from someone on Craigslist. The anodizing is a strange colour, and it looks nice with the white hoods. These are very early aero levers, also, and have a weird SLR system. It's pretty difficult to explain, but the spring feels a bit stronger. I think I'd rather have the silver version (or some early 600 aero levers), but these are nice. If anyone wants to trade...

#2. Shimano RD-A551 rear derailleur

This is for my "city bike," the second one I want to make this winter. A simple, clean-looking derailleur that will no doubt work very well. It has the "normal" spring for immediate, jammy Uniglide-friendly shifting—but was made in 1997. I just tried polishing off the logo and a bunch of anodizing came off with it, so I may need to sand and polish the whole thing.

#3. The Selle Italia Flite saddle box

This box is incredible.

After a very comfortable ride in the Hell of the North last winter on a Flite, I'm considering using one on my randonneur. Weight savings of 350g (175% the weight of a Flite) over a Brooks Pro, so I'll give it a shot. Some people find these just as comfortable, and perhaps I'm one...

If only I could ride the box! Or a Concorde!


Erik said...


Just stumbled across your blog. Although I'm not interested in trading for the 105 levers (I never liked this color), I do have a matching set of mid-reach calipers if you are interested in trading for them.


AH said...

Hmm, I think I'm more likely to trade than keep these levers, so I'll pass on the offer, but I do appreciate it.

Yeah, I find the colour more "interesting" than strictly desirable. But I bet someone out there is dying for white hoods + weird blue anodizing!

By the way, if anyone ever wants to email me to discuss trades, etc., my email is ahammondcycles, and it's a gmail address.