Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Tape and Seat On 650B Stumpy (Plus some general ruminations on bikes)

Of course, click the photos for BIG...

As per Apertome's request for more daylight (better) shots of the 650b Stumpy, I submit the latest set-up. I replaced the black Brooks B-17 with a vintage Brooks Professional. It is dark brown, rather than the honey brown, but I think that it ties in nicely with the black hoods and tires. (And, my camera makes it look a bit darker than it is, for some reason.)

I wrapped brown cloth tape over the cork, and then put on a layer of shellac to darken it a bit (and protect it from moisture/make it more durable). This is how I always wrapped the old Scott AT-4 bars, back in the day. I like the added cushion of the cork, but it is pretty fragile for off-road use. The cotton tape gives a nice grippy surface, and armors the cork against damage in the frequent, small crashes that epitomize my mountain-biking "style".

It's funny that, back when I started riding and all I could afford was a steel frame (aluminum was still pretty exotic, then) and there were no widely available suspension forks, I dreamed of an alloy bike with suspension. As the equipment progressed, and I started working in a bike shop, I built a new bike every year to take advantage of the "latest and greatest" that the bike industry had to offer.
I had a Specialized S-Works FSR in '94, DiamondBack V-link Pro in '96, a Klein Mantra in '97; all full-suspension bikes. In between, I had M2 alloy hardtails, alloy this, alloy that...always with a suspension fork.

Now, I seem to have come full-circle. I really enjoy the added challenge of having to pick the smooth line, and the consistent geometry even under braking that a fully-rigid frame affords. The 650b wheels seem to roll a bit more smoothly than the 26" mtb wheels, but are a bit less difficult to spin up to speed than my 29er.
Now, if I was a serious racer, I would certainly be on a full-suspension rig with 4 or 5 inches of travel fore and aft. You have to ride that kind of bike to compete with all of the other guys who are riding those (all else being equal). But, I'm not a serious racer. I'm barely a racer at all, any more. So, for recreational trail riding, I see no need in riding the high-zoot race equipment.
That's pretty much my outlook on the road, as well. Heck, I don't even have a dedicated multi-speed road bike. This bike, with the road tires mounted, is as close as I can get to that, right now. And it serves me well, for the riding I do.
For that matter, the fixed gear bikes serve me well for 95% of the road riding I do.
As of right now, I am pretty satisfied with the bikes I have. If anything, I might have to thin the herd, a bit. I have one more project coming up that, depending on how it turns out, might allow me to get rid of a couple of bikes and make some room in the shop (and put a little cash in pocket, hopefully). Watch this space.


At 4:19 PM , Blogger frankenbiker said...

Stumpy looks much better with the brown bars and saddle,the brooks pro is one of my favorites.I finished the front wheel drive/rear steer recumbent.It rides great!,comfortable too kind of like pedaling a chair.LOL.

At 8:45 AM , Blogger Brad said...


One of your best!! Hands down.

I'll have to get the B-stone rolling and we can go get them dirty.


At 5:52 PM , Blogger Jon said...

I'm looking forward to that, B.

At 10:56 PM , Blogger Apertome said...

I love this bike! It really does remind me of the Rawlands.

You've done a truly awesome job with this build. Interesting commentary on the shellac-covered cloth bar tape over cork. I like the padding provided by my cork tape, but it is indeed a little fragile. I haven't done the shellac thing this time around, because it wore off too easily before. Adding a layer of cloth on top might be just the ticket!

At 6:17 PM , Blogger Wilkie said...

I have a very similar bike and set-up, but with 26in wheels. What brakes have you used to give enough reach from the 26in cant-post to the 650b rim. Great looking bike by the way !!!


At 8:05 PM , Blogger Jon said...

Wilkie: I used Performance Forte' v-brakes. They had enough adjustment to hit the rim, on the rear, by running the pads at the top of the adjustment slots.

On the front, I used some adapters that I made out of 1/8" steel stock.

I went back to 26" wheels when I sold the bike.


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