Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A New Scorcher is Born

One day, last week, one of my buddies at work approached me and told he had picked up an old steel Specialized Rockhopper for parts, and then asked if I wanted the frame. Of course, I said yes.

"Well, I've got it with me," he said.

I just pointed to my bicycle, leaning against the wall in my cubicle.

"Oh. I'll drop it by your house, the next time I drive past there," he said.

I thanked him for both the frame, and the offer to drop it off.

A few days later, after I had forgotten about that conversation, I came home and found the frame leaning against the corner of the shop building. It was actually complete with fork, headset and bottom bracket. I threw it in the shop, and went tinto the house.

The next day (Wednesday) was warm and nice. When I got home, I let the dog out, and then went into the shop with the intention of working on a 3-speed I'm building for the wife of another co-worker. The red Rockhopper frame was sitting there, so I decided to throw some wheels into the dropouts and hang it from hooks to get it out of the way. One thing led to another and, 2 hours later, I had wheels, tires, crank, stem and handlebar hanging on the frame.

I found an old Specialized seatpost quick-release, probably the same age as the frame, and shimmed a 26.0 mm seatpost into the frame, threw a seat on it and, finally, hung it up out of the way.

Today, I came home from work, early, and decided to actually build the Rockhopper. I overhauled the bottom bracket (one of the old Specialized cromoly bottom brackets) and the headset. Then, I drilled the fork crown for a brake and mounted up an old Weinmann center-pull to reach the 700c wheel.

I removed the crank I had originally put on it, and replaced it with the mis-matched Stronglight crankset which had done duty on the original Cafe Bike, sized a chain and test rode it. I decided I didn't like the stem, so I swapped for another one.

Eventually, I ended up with the build you see here.

The pedals are some crappy plastic MTB pedals which came with C's new bike, but went into the box o' parts rather than on the bike, so they will definitely go away. Soon. Probably tomorrow. The tires came off of the LeMond, and they have about as much clearance in this frame as they did on the LeMond. I can't fit fenders onto the bike, with these tires, so they may go, as well.

The wheels are the set I had on the GT 29er, last summer, so that I could ride fixed. I had respaced the rear hub to 135mm to fit a mountain bike frame, therefore they mounted right up to the Rockhopper.

So, it's pretty much a junkyard dog, but it is a close copy of one my favorite builds I've ever done. I built a black Rockhopper up, a couple of years ago, pretty much just like this. It is the bike in the "FIXIE" sticker ad on The Fixed Gear Gallery. I ended up selling it to a local customer, who has since become one of my bike buddies, and I've kinda missed it ever since I sold it.

I think I probably put 200 to 300 miles on it, while it was for sale. It was a nice riding bike, and I suspect this one will be, as well. I'll take it to the coffee shop, tomorrow morning, and ride around a bit to sort things out. (I'm still not sure about the stem or the bars.)

I'll probably list this one as FOR SALE on the website, and use it until someone bites, just like I did with the other one. I might paint it, as the red paint is pretty beat up. Or, I might powdercoat it (if I decide to keep it). Or, I might just leave it just as it is and put a bargain price on it.

Stay tuned.



At 8:47 PM , Anonymous red light green light said...

Nice Jon!
I'm glad to see that vintage MTB's are finding a good use rather than being sold to a scrap yard :^)

FWIW, I just picked up a 1989 Specialized "Rock Combo", which I've heard that they only made 500 of and it was possibly the first ever "cross bike".
It is an exact match to this one:

Except mine still has the MTB bars and original Suntour group. Do you run plastic fenders??

At 9:55 PM , Blogger Jon said...

My old boss at the bike shop was a sales rep for Specialized in those days. He says they only made a few of those because they couldn't sell them.

If I had one, I'd throw on a pair of mustache bars and road bike brake levers, install some bar-end shifters and make it even more similar to a Bridgestone XO (one of my all-time faves, unfortunately too collectable for me to buy and ride).

Basically, my "Miami Vice" bike is set up like that, except for the fact that it's fixed gear.

I do use plastic fenders, even though I prefer the alloy. My 3 speed retro "Clubman" will have alloy fenders, of some sort, when complete.

At 12:43 PM , Anonymous nick said...

woo hoo!! new bike. best. feeling. EVER.


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