So, yeah – the Raleigh Twenty (or Triumph Traffic Master, if you’re being pedantic) is now pretty much assembled, and had it’s first test run this morning! Naturally, things didn’t go quite to plan..
As the front brake isn’t set up (the brake blocks are too close to the rim, and rub like nobodies business), I was relying on the coaster brake working.. which it did! It’s actually quite a good brake, although it’s a weird experience not being able to align the pedals. If I align them for a dismount and coast, I can’t brake! If I brake, I lose alignment.. I’m sure there’s a knack to it, as fixed speed must be even more difficult to stop, and plenty of loonies ride fixed. I’m not sure that I’d like to lose the front brake entirely, though. That just seems like an accident waiting to happen.
The coaster brake can also be quite powerful, I found. Or at least, it felt like it was powerful as I braked and the handlebars swivelled forward! I knew they’d be the biggest potential issue, but I’d hoped I’d managed to tighten them enough. The stem I’d bought was supposedly for 22.2mm bars, but it didn’t seem to want to grip the bar properly. I tightened it up some more on the train, which resulted in the bolt snapping in half, so I think I can safely judge that it’s actually intended for 25.4mm bars. 😛 I’ve ordered a shim, but I’m not sure where I’m going to find a replacement bolt. I’m sure I must have something in all the spares that I’ve got at home.
Everything else worked alright, though! It’s a weird old thing to ride.. the crank is in front of the saddle, rather than underneath it, so my riding position is very laid back and relaxed. Getting up on the pedals makes it feel more BMX-like, with it’s short wheelbase and low center of gravity. I can’t work out if 18 teeth is right for me or not.. it’s alright for cruising, but pedalling is a bit frantic when I’m standing up. I reckon a 16 tooth cog might be better, but I’ll give it a while. It was hard to get a proper feel for the bike when the handlebars kept pitching forward. 😛
The current plan is now:
- Fit shim to handlebar
- Fit new bolt to stem
- Fit a headset spacer (there’s a 2mm-ish gap between the clamp and the nut, so it’s not as tight as it can be)
- Sort out the front brake (it doesn’t seem very adjustable. Tempting to swap it for a dual pivot or center pull)
- Strip the paint
I should proooobably have stripped the paint before I assembled it, but I’m not blessed with that kind of patience. Instead, I’ll probably end up stripping stuff I wanted to keep, and painting stuff I didn’t want painted. I still don’t know what colour to paint it!