Final tweaks - Choosing What's Next - CycleBlaze

November 21, 2022

Final tweaks

Ready to roll!

AS USUAL WHEN A NEW BIKE ARRIVES, there were some small tweaks to be done and accessories to be added by way of personalization.  The most significant tweak was to get the steerer riser cut to a length such that I wouldn't impale myself on it.  

To determine the desired length was a matter of trying different handlebar heights, by shifting the stem and half a dozen aluminum spacers around and testing the result.  Since I had access to the back room at my preferred bike shop, I could (and did) also experiment with stems of varying length and degree of rise.  Ultimately I went with a 120 mm stem with 6 degrees of rise, in place of the stubby 80 mm stem with 10 or more (it wasn't marked) degrees. 

It's the Three Bears problem, all over again.
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After quite a bit of twiddling I arrived at what I think is the desired height, then disassembled the stack, marked the target length, pulled the fork, and mounted it in what amounts to an angle grinder blade in a small miter saw frame.  Taking a deep breath- measure twice cut once is a thing, after all- the cut was made.  I didn't think to leave myself a little extra length (like maybe the height of a 10mm spacer) for "just in case" adjustments until after I had made the incision and was irrevocably committed to the length.  Oh well, here's hoping I got it right!

The sweet spot. I hope. There's no going back if I have cut the steerer tube too short.
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Once the fork was reinstalled and the disc brake caliper mount was reattached it was time to move on to adding racks.  For decades I've been harboring a pair of vintage Blackburn front and rear racks; they're just the ticket for the new bike.  Each one needed some "adjustment" in order to fit.  Let's just say that the old saw that "People who love sausage, and people who love the law, should never see them being made." applies to the rack adjustments too.

Blackburn racks from "way back when". Simple, functional, understated.
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Having wrestled the racks into place the next task was to add water bottle cages.  That was a straightforward task for two of the three, but the third one may still need a bit of "something".  It straddles the bracket that secures the front derailleur to the frame, and the bracket is thick enough that it prevents the mounting tabs on the cage from actually reaching the frame.  I'll need to either bend the tabs or build up a stack of spacers / washers between them and the frame, to get a really solid mounting.  Bending the tabs is easier, I think.  

You can see the issue: the derailleur mount and bottle cage fight for control of that space.
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Or, solving two problems at once, I may see if I can find a pump bracket designed to mount between a bottle cage and the frame.  That would give me a home for the pump- something for which I don't yet have a solution worked out- and also provide the thickness needed to secure the bottle cage without interference from the front derailleur bracket.

Still to be done, once my Amazon orders arrive: add a kickstand, phone mount, cyclometer, and fenders (very chic [to me] bamboo jobbies).  At some point I'll also install the mounts for the handlebar bag, then see if there's room to shoehorn in the GPS mount.  I don't plan to install the handlebar bag itself except when touring, but I want to be sure the mounts fit and see how much space is left after that for other items.  It may work out that I have to resort to installing the Towering Stack of Stuff again, but I hope not.

Then, after some riding, consider whether a different saddle would be preferable.

The test ride this afternoon, with panniers in place all around, proved that there is adequate toe and heel clearance, even with fuel bottles in the mesh pockets on the fronts of the rear panniers.

Bagged and bottled up and ready to roll.
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This seems like the obvious point to call this journal "done".  It's been a great voyage through the process, from defining what's important to me, contemplating and weighing alternatives, making my choice, and finally getting the finished product in hand.  I hope you who have ridden along with me have enjoyed the journey.

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Scott AndersonWhat? No name? That and the bottle opener are the only reasons I kept following it.
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2 months ago
Keith AdamsTo Scott AndersonI'm still waffling.

Trooper has conceded a great deal of ground to Endurance. Voyager and Huck are still in the running, as is Clyde. Pudge made a surprising surge today, given that the bike is not svelte or a bantamweight by any measure. Cincinnati is alive but fading fast as we round the clubhouse turn and enter the home stretch. But no final decision has been made, as yet.
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezI'm waiting for the overnight try out! I realize that's difficult this time of year.

Hurray for a new bicycle!
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2 months ago
Keith AdamsTo Kelly IniguezCould be tomorrow night. Depends on how willing I am to deal with cold.
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2 months ago
Kelly IniguezThis is not the time of year for a camping trip, not even in Arizona! My opinion, of course. A compromise might be to load up for a camping trip, to get the experience of carrying the gear, but to stay in a motel room. You can be warm and cozy, dreaming of a camping tour!
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2 months ago
Keith AdamsTo Kelly IniguezGreat point Kelly, and well worth considering.
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2 months ago