I rebuild the fast bike

I'm in the middle of my first major surgery on the fast bike.

In the past, I've put on new wheels, replaced the front fork when it got trashed, and put on aero bars. But none of those things really touched the purpose of the bike. Now, I'm taking a Trek Madone, the bike most associated with Lance, and building it up for the least likely thing that it's plausibly suitable for: randonneuring.

That's right: a plastic rando bike. Randonneurs ride steel. (Except the few who spend for titanium.) Randonneurs are required to have fenders, and my Madone doesn't even have the braze-ons to mount conventional fenders. Randonneurs need to carry supplies and spare clothing, sometimes lots of it, and there is basically no way to put a luggage rack on this bike.

So bad idea? Maybe. But I know this bike well. I like the way it fits, and it likes me back. It's been a good ride for 8,000 miles, and I frankly don't think I have time between now and August to build up a new bike from scratch and get it dialed in the way I'd need it. Sure, I rode 100 miles on this bike the morning after I bought it, with a "fit" that was literally by eyeball. But 100 miles isn't very far by rando standards. When you are going to be on a bike all day and all night, you need to be comfortable, and you need to ride and react with the bike as one unit. I'm just not ready to start another relationship like that.

What I've done so far:
- 42cm (2cm narrower) bars (should have done that a long time ago)
- 2cm shorter stem
- aero bars off since the French don't allow them
- Luggage (!) fore and aft
- 26mm tires run at a mere 80psi, replacing 23mm tires at 120psi
- rear fender
- an LED headlight close to what a motorcycle has.
It's a little like an F1 car with a ski rack.

I haven't taped the new bars yet, still tweaking the brake lever position. I need to redo the rear fender and add a front one. I need to redo how the lights are mounted. It's the same bike now, but also very different.

1 comment:

Erik Nilsson said...

Update: finished the rebuild job and rode this bike in the SIR 200K. I have no complaints. I have to investigate a possible bearing issue and I have to redo the front shift cable, but I've ridden this bike the equivalent distance (and elevation climb) of crossing the United States. Three times. Then taking a trip to Los Angeles. So some maintenance is warranted.