Building From Scratch (Part 1)
The great thing or perhaps the not so great thing about cycling is that it gives you time to think and so while riding my Cannondale and getting soaked in yet another Spring deluge my brain dialled into the need for a second road bike with guards for wet weather and winter use. This developed further to become an audax type light touring bike with titanium frame.
The first step was to sell the idea to my wife but I had no chance while I still had my Boardman Hybrid sitting in the garage and so a listing on E-bay saw a good price realised. Another bike was now on the radar.
The web is a wonder for research and a request to Mr Google for “Titanium Bikes” produced 8,850,000 results to sift through, needless to say the search needed a bit of refining for more detailed information. I have always found blogs to be a great source of information for reviews and with no allegiance or manufacturing advertising budgets to protect you tend to get an honest assessment from people with hands on experience.
My love affair with titanium was further fuelled on a recent club ride when a member arrived with an offering from Van Nicholas and I have to confess that I was smitten with bike envy at the sight of this well finished machine. A search on E-bay revealed several of the marque that fitted my requirements so after a bit of lurking I stepped forward to bid. To my amazement the prices realised we just short of a new machine and considerably more than I was prepared to pay for a second-hand bike. I reasoned that if I was going to pay a lot of money for a titanium bike it had to be right, I also liked the thought of building it myself and so with the manufacturers specification and customizing options I set about pricing and sourcing the parts.
Talking through my requirements with a Van Nicholas dealer I settled on the Yukon frame that would accommodate up to 28mm tyres for winter use and had mudguard attachments.
After a series of e-mails and phone calls I located a 52cm frame at Fatbirds and struck a deal for a frame with a set of Kinesis DC07 carbon forks and an FSA Orbit headset. Fatbirds were extremely helpful with advice and also fitted the headset bearings to the frame before sending it out. I had also placed an order with Van Nicholas for titanium seat post, clamp, stem and handlebar
The following day the carrier knocked on the door with a large box from Fatbirds, the build was about to start but my enthusiasm was checked by an e-mail from Van Nicholas telling me the parts I had ordered from them the day before would be on a seven week delivery !!. How a manufacturer runs out of standard components that would be necessary for every bike they build is beyond me and I was pretty annoyed that I was not advised before I placed the order. I now have to decide whether to wait or source alternative parts but this has given me the opportunity for yet more research, this time courtesy of Youtube, of which I am becoming a fan, it really is a great resource for instructional videos on bike building and just about everything else as well. I am now hoping that Summer has arrived and I will not need my wet weather bike until at least September, well I like to try and stay positive or is it deluded.