Two Wheels - Six Strings

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

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Metisse (noun): A woman of mixed ancestry. Colloquially used to describe a "mutt".

A truer metisse could not be found in the bicycle world. I looked at the Ghetto Commuter, the other day, and decided I needed to repurpose it. So, after a bit of scrounging through the parts boxes, the Metisse Crosser was born.

I've always been fond of the bar and stem combo on this bike, so I left it in place. I really wanted to build the bike completely out of spare parts, so using a mustache bar and bar-end shifters was out of the question, anyway.

I dug out some old six-speed thumb shifters, and knocked the RapidFire shifter mounts off of these brake levers. getting them positioned correctly on the bend of the bar was a bit of a challenge, but it ended up working out nicely.

Being as this was originally a RockHopper, with 26" wheels and under-the-chainstay U-brakes, I had to get creative in mounting a rear brake. I couldn't utilize the cross-brace, because I had radiussed it to accept the fenders when it was doing duty as a commuter. So, I disassembled a couple of centerpull road brakes and fashioned a "clamp" to hold the sidepull brake on the seatstays. This particular brake will actually open wide enough to allow wheel removal, even with the big cross tires.

Of course,the brake is largely ornamental, as it does little else than slow you down when you pull the lever (no skids on pavement). I will try some newer, softer brake pads and see if that improves things, any.

I dug a couple of old Suntour cable guides out of the small-parts bin, and clamped them onto the top tube to reroute the brake cable from its original downtube position.

The SR crank came off of the bike I refurbished for Tiffany's birthday. 53/42 rings.

The Ultegra-hubbed rear wheel was a yardsale find, a couple of years ago. It's been pressed into duty as a singlespeed wheel, a couple of times. Now, it has an 8-speed cassette on it, made up of parts of a 9-speed cassette and an actual 8-speed.

Oddly, using the indexed mode of the shifter seems to work fine for cruising around. If I was going to run off-road with it, I'd put an 8-speed mountain cassette on it and run friction. But, I didn't have an 8-speed cassette in the parts box...

After I rattlecanned the frame, last spring, I put one of my GrinderBikes stickers on the headtube. But, it wanted to peel up, so I pulled it off to put another one on. When I did, the paint pulled off around the original Specialized logo, and left this. I think it's cool, so I left it like that.

The tires are some Ritchey cross tires that someone (Dave? Brian? I can't remember. Somebody tall, anyway...) gave me, a while back, because they had gotten new tires. The tubes were already on the bike, as was the cyclometer, which is glued to the handlebar, since I broke the mount when I endo'd the bike on the way to work, one day.

I didn't quite get the entire bike built from the junkyard parts, though. I ended up having to use a new rear derailleur cable and a rear brake cable. I didn't have a used example of either which was long enough to reach from the more outboard position 0n these bars.

I rode the bike down to the coffeeshop, this morning, and it performed admirably. It's basically just a home-made Specialized CrossRoads, now, but I like the junkbox provenance more than I would like a purpose built CrossRoads.

Now, what to do with it? I think I'll post it on the Daily Grind as "For Sale", and just use it as a knockaround bike until someone buys it. May not last long, as it will be relatively cheap to buy.

I kinda want to go do a mountain bike ride on it. Oddly, I like the big fat tires on the road, and the little skinny ones in the dirt. I'm a bit backward, that way.



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