I suppose I should set aside a post to share some info on the bikes that I’m abusing..
First up is my current steed; a Specialized Hardrock XC.
Suffering from new shoe syndrome! Hope they don’t stay pink.
I bought it new back in 2004, and it’s served me well over the years, despite my neglect. Back down south, it was only really used for jaunts into the New Forest and around Dorset. I never really took to cycle commuting, as I lived in Southampton, but worked 25 miles away, in Salisbury. Too far for my liking, and taking bikes on trains was too hit and miss.
Up north, my commute is way more manageable, so it’s been getting much more use! It felt a bit slow at times, so I bought the other two bikes to improve my commute times, and I intended to sell the Hardrock. I didn’t really want to, though.. I bought it new! It was mine! Plus I might get the opportunity to go off-road again, someday.. maybe when my son is 6 or something.. So, when I realised that the racers weren’t too well suited to icy roads and snow, I had a good excuse to keep it! Not just keep it.. I changed it to a singlespeed, as I’d found I really liked the feel of riding with just one gear. It’s slower, but it’s more fun!
I bought this in September this year, with the intention of modernizing the components, and then using it as a daily commute bike instead of the MTB. The frame was entirely chrome, but it had seen better days, so I decided to get it powder coated. That required taking all the bits off, and as I researched how to get bits off, and how to upgrade said bits, I started coming across talk of singlespeed bikes.
I’d heard of singlespeed before, and pretty much ignored it as the domain of people with more sunglasses than braincells. But from what I was reading, normal people were using them too. People were being converted, saying it’s something that has to be experienced. I wanted to know what they meant!
And so, the plan changed, and I made it a singlespeed instead. I managed quite a few commutes before the front wheel started making an awful noise (cheap wheels – bad idea!), and the singlespeeders were definitely onto something!
It’s off the road at the moment due to the aforementioned front wheel. I should probably take it to the bike shop to get them to fix it, but then again, I could always try and do it myself……
Next up is the unknown Carlton.
Does the fork look bent in this photo? :s
I’d bought a lot of components before the Cobra plan changed, and I still wanted to see how fast a geared road bike would go. That seemed like a good enough excuse for buying another bike. 🙂
And so, I ended up with a Carlton with no name. The only things I know about it are that it’s a 1974 Carlton, built in Worksop, with 531 tubes. I’ve searched all over the place to find a frame that exactly matches it, but I’ve never found one. There are many 531 Carltons of that era, but every one I’ve seen has a bridge for the rear centrepull brake cable. Mine doesn’t. It’s possible that it was a custom build, and it never had a name. It’s kind’ve a shame, really. Bikes should have names!
The bike is pretty much built, but I need to take it to a bike shop to get the seat tube measured. In theory, it’s either 27mm or 27.2mm, as it’s 531 tubing, but I tried a 27.2mm post in it, and it looked like it was 4mm too large. That’s worrying, as the previous owner had cracked the tube slightly from tightening it too much, and I suspect he did it using a powertool. What if he managed to bend the tube into an oval? :s
So those are my bikes. If I knew what I know now, I wouldn’t have bought bikes that were practically just frames. Components are expensive, and I could’ve bought brand new bikes for the amount I spent! They wouldn’t be as swanky, though.. if there’s one thing I hate about new bikes, it’s all the logos and silly technology that they’re splattered with. And oval tubes. And no lugs. And deep V rims.
Money well spent, then!