Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Fashion vs. Function.

I like to think of my Bianchi Conversion as functional.
I built it with the sole intent of commuting to work on.

I had this idea that it wouldn't be flashy, and would be rock solid.
I like the idea of beater looking bikes that perform flawlessly.

So where did I go wrong?

I guess it started when I was stripping the original champagne paint off my bike.
I sanded it really well, primed, painted it black, then shot clearcoat.
The clearcoat reacted with the last coat of black, and it bunched up. I resanded and started again.

What I ended up with was a glossy black frame that looked much better than I originally thought.

I threw whatever parts I had on it, to get it going.
Nice wheels, scuffed up crank, rocket ring, female saddle etc..

Sure, I rode it like that, and it IS functional.
I put some full fenders on it, and they work really well. I even trimmed down the support stays so they're flush.

..Then I guess I got carried away. It was starting to look pretty.
I started sewing colour matched top tube protectors.
I put a Brooks saddle on it..

Sure, all these items ARE useful, but surely not NEEDED for a commuter.
If I was really in it for the commuting, I'd put a rack on the back, and invest in some kind of Xenon/Lithium Ion lighting system

I must be a slave to fashion.

I saw a Shimano 600 ring, with the ovals cut out, and decided I must have it. My rocket ring was okay, but ugly for sure. This was a switch from 41T to 40T.. which gave me significantly less skid patches.

..then I saw some 600 pedals on Craigslist and I had to have them as well. They're about the most uncomfortable clip/strap pedal out there. Its just one bar for the foot to rest on. I don't really use them too often for that reason. And grinding up the hill from Marine Drive is MUCH easier with SPDs. But the hot leather foot bondage wins aesthetically.

This weekend I picked up ANOTHER chainring. This time in Gold. Yes gold. Its for a reason though. Its back to 41T, and this is NOS (New Old Stock). THeres something about using NOS on a bike that feels good. Like a tie to the past.

Now I've gone too far.

I needed a change from the bullhorn bar I'm running.
Why? I don't know. Its perfectly comfortable, and offers me many hand positions, and is great for getting the weight forward in a skid. Not to mention the Time Trial lever on the end means I've got lots of brake if needed in an emergency.

I just need something different. Something more fun.
I dug out an old North road style cruiser bar I had in my parts bin, and put it onto a long stem.. upside down.
Oh yes. This will look hot.

However, I need to do something about the brakes.

I went to Dream, and Darren convinced me to run a straight lever across the stem. I guess this is the old school track method, as you can add these levers without messing up your bar tape.

I have to say, it really looks great. Very oldtymey.
HOWEVER, My braking is a little compromised. I'm just so used to having the brake at my fingertips, so having to move my hand slightly will increase my reaction time a couple milliseconds. As well, my braking hand is now near the stem, so I won't have the steering torque available before with the bullhorns.

..and the worst part about this, is that I now don't have a place to mount my front light. The brake lever effectively takes up the space on BOTH sides of the stem.

My bike seems to be getting less and less functional each day.
I'm going to have to draw the line somewhere.


midnightmass said...

I love the upside down cruiser bar - Kim and Dylan from OCB used to tag team it, and it looks so hot.

I've got that set up on my backup beater bike. I call 'em bomber bars.

((lyledriver)) said...

Nice. "Bomber bars" sounds so much better than 'upside down North Roads'. Once my cheap cork tape comes in, I'm officially going to switch over to the bomber bars.