The choice is basically made - Choosing What's Next - CycleBlaze

September 10, 2022

The choice is basically made

In the end it was not a terribly difficult decision

LAST TUESDAY I sent an opening email to Rodriguez Bikes (really, Rodriguez/Erickson or R+E) of Seattle, providing sizing information and outlining what I was after.  Of all the vendors I considered, theirs is the one that most closely matches what I have in mind, either "off the shelf" or listed from among the options they already offer.

Yesterday we had a follow-up phone conversation, and I was left with a very definite sense that (a) they thoroughly understand what I'm going for, (b) they've done this many times before, and (c) my preferences fall well within the line of their own personal tastes, preferences, and philosophies.  In other words, we're in complete agreement and harmony.

It's still "custom" from the standpoint that I have started from one of their standard model specifications (the Phinney Ridge) and then chosen a specific-to-me collection of goodies, but those selections fall into the "one from Column A and two from Column B" sort of customization.  There's nothing odd or unusual going on, which makes me happy.  It also substantially reduces production time.

What that means to me is that I've basically "colored between the lines" and not created a Frankenbike of oddly mismatched bits and bobs which may or may not play well together as a unit; if R+E offers the things I'm interested in as part of their standard packages and options then I feel reasonably confident that it's been time-tested and will work well as a whole.

I'd been thinking initially about a paint scheme that loosely resembles the custom finish I got for my upright tandem back in the late 1990s, but this morning I reconsidered.  I'm now thinking that it would be altogether fitting and suitable to approximate the colors and layout that appeared on the long-departed Scout.  After all, I've come to realize that what I'm basically doing is attempting to reconstruct and reconstitute that riding experience of 30 to 35 years ago, with slightly modernized details.

At the moment, this is where I stand:

Baseline model: Rodriguez Phinney Ridge (I think specifically the Phinney Ridge Classic)

Options, extras, and goodies:

  • substitute bar-end shifters for the stock integrated STI
  • Upgrade to White Industries XMR disc brake hubs, with standard quick release (no through-axle)
  • Upgrade from purely mechanical disc brakes to the cable/hydraulic  hybrid disc brake
  • Upgrade to a Phil Wood sealed bottom bracket
  • Add kickstand mount and stand
  • Adorn with R+E on-frame bottle opener option
  • Add front, rear fenders
  • Paint upgrade to PPG metal flake finishes
  • I'll likely replace the stock "placeholder" saddle that R+E will supply, with either my current mid-80's vintage Selle Italia Turbo (a seat I've ridden happily for 30+ years; this particular one is actually the one I moved from Scout to Odysseus but it's starting to show some signs of wear so I may have to find another) or a Brooks leather jobbie (which will require the usual breaking-in period, and which would be my first foray into the all-leather saddle subculture).

I'm not sure yet which wheel size it'll have (26 or 700c), nor whether the wheels will be 36 or 40 spokes.

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Comment on this entry Comment 6
Mike AylingHi Keith
That is a nice looking bike.
If you specify a frame that accepts 622 wheels and fit 559 there will not be a problem if the supply of quality 559 tyres runs out in the future.
You could add six 559 tyres to your order now!
Number of spokes - our Thorn tandem with Rohloff runs 32 fore and aft.
We would be about 145 kg for credit card touring.
Your decision should be influenced by your own weight and whether you are going credit card or fully loaded for camping.


Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Keith AdamsTo Mike AylingI'm something of a believer in overbuilding. You may already have noticed. 😁

R+E hand builds their wheels and guarantees them for three years. They have my weight and my typical gear weight already, so I'm going to leave it to their experience to choose the spoke count.
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Kelly IniguezCurious minds would like to know the spoke count they decided on!

I went from riding stock wheels and breaking spokes on almost a daily basis, to overbuilding and buying a tandem wheel set (48 spokes) for my bent. Those wheels were almost as heavy as some bikes! I settled in the middle, with 36 spokes. That seems to be a happy spot for me.

I like your brake choice.

Noted that you went with the bottle opener. We will have to have a photo of you giving it a try!

Have they given you a delivery date?
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1 year ago
Keith AdamsTo Kelly IniguezHi Kelly

There's been some back-and-forth with them, so no delivery date yet since the order is not placed.

The current quote appears to have the purely mechanical disc brakes. I am mulling whether to stay with those (TRP Spyre) or splash out the extra cash for the mechanical/hydraulic hybrid type. I have no experience with either so it's not an informed decision.

Spoke count has not been specified. I need to ask.
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1 year ago
George HallSomething to consider; the spoke count doesn't have to be the same front and rear. I have a 40-spoke rear and 36-spoke front wheel setup on my touring bike, but the number of spokes you need will depend on your loaded weight and will likely vary from my needs. Since you will have more weight on the rear, it makes sense to build a stronger wheel for the rear.
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1 year ago
Keith AdamsTo George HallRodriguez hand build their wheels and guarantee them for three years. We'll see how that goes.
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1 year ago