Old 05-23-20, 02:16 PM
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cudak888 
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Apparently, I didn't remember that I had a 73mm bottom bracket installed in this thing...and the LBS did have a 73x113 Shimano UN55 in stock. The cable also arrived, so after a bit of soldering...

...first test ride! Also, first ride ever. Since the original AW wouldn't engage when I bought it two years ago, this is the first time I've ever ridden it (!).

None of the neighbors were out, so I was able to run a couple of loops for pictures sans-mask:


First impressions: The front end of this thing is fantastic. Obviously, it is slightly whippy given that the headtube and stack is so tall, and the bars so narrow, but nothing worse than what you might find from, say, metric 531. I've never ridden a PX10, but I've ridden the 1979/80 PY10 NY International Bike Show prototype, and the front end handling feels very much like that.

It feels surprisingly stable at the top speed I brought it up to (19.5mph according to the phone GPS) even with one hand. It does tend to shimmy if you're being sloppy with the handling, but I'm certain that is the the fork return spring playing silly buggers with the handling and not the inherent geometry of the design itself. The spring will cause the front end to oscillate unnervingly if you attempt to ride it hands off, but - once again - not a geometry issue. Given what I built this for, I'm glad to give up no-hands riding for the benefit of the spring keeping the fork straight when the whole thing is parked.

This said, it is also extremely smooth and maneuverable at low speed. It is not skittish and doesn't at all resemble a stock Twenty. Nor does it resemble the next thing I own in the small-wheeled department - my 18" Birdy BD-1 (which is more skittish than a trapped rat). As a matter of fact, it is the first small-wheel bike I've ever ridden that feels as if there's a 700C up front, but without the extra rotating mass.



A few things that need to be addressed at the drawing board:

-- The FD isn't quite there yet. I tinkered with it after putting the 113mm bottom bracket on (which fit perfectly), but the lockout lever still remains just shy of pulling the right amount of cable. It also takes so much force to engage it that it slipped on the bars. I may resort to a Suntour bar-end shifter, as I don't think I can fit a thumbie on the curved part of the bar.

-- I think I could improve on the current gear ratios. I know I can crunch gear inches all day on the computer - and I did before building this thing - but what I'm feeling doesn't necessarily match the actual use it'll get in the field. Either that, or I was testing it wrong.

-- As I suspected, the Sunlite dual brake lever is beyond garbage. The front cantilevers close first as their springs are softer than the rear. After that, the rear dual pivot closes up, and the lever then continues to place all braking power on the rear dual pivot. The front cantis are barely given any opportunity to grab. I'm looking forward to the alternate lever that I ordered. It's not the Paul unit, but it'll allow me to adjust the application of both brakes to my liking.

-- Front fender has a mind of its own and occasionally rubs the tire just a tiny bit. Doesn't play nice no matter what I do with it. Might have to secure it to the brake stiffener.

-- I received an Ursus Jumbo 80 from Amazon today - the 300mm unit, as the 275 is nowhere to be found in the US. Sure enough, it arrived with a chip in it, so the kickstand install will have to wait until Sunday...or longer, if they send me another damaged one. At any rate, it appears as if the 300mm stand will work just fine.



I particularly like this warning on the box:



I guess that leaves me out.

Anyway, once all the kinks are out and the Brooks is on, it'll be time to work on the fun stuff: Making the custom mounts and throwing various lensy things at it.

-Kurt
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