That’s the forecast maximum temperature here today, so it’s time to get riding early, taking Cecil for a speedy spin The heat is coming from the inland heart, so it’s dry and draining, but not like the sweaty sea-breeze humidity more usual at this time of year.
And Cecil’s configuration is settled – for the moment – with the fitment of the original alloy front wheel and a salvaged steel rear one. I have decided to postpone a new rear alloy rim until I get a feel for how much I will use the bike.
Unlike some of my other bikes, Cecil wants to just go and go, having a more loose and temperamental feel. It doesn’t like being parked ( no kickstand either ) and wants to run off from where ever I leave it, like an edgy racehorse …
It likes to go fast too, and seems to turn just by thought, rather than by any physical effort. The B17 “titanium” saddle was quite unnoticeably comfortable from new, at least on the c. two hour rides I have so far done on it, I’m impressed.
The whole bike has a very free-running nature, though I still have some derailleur fine tuning to do. The steel rear wheel hub was actually 125mm ( not 120mm ) over the locknut width, so I cut 5mm off the axle and the hollow locknut spacer with a hacksaw, leaving the locknut on the axle in case the threads needed help afterward. This has properly centred the rear wheel in the frame, but of course requires re-setting all of the derailleur stops ! The steel wheel adds to the weight and well negates the minuscule titanium saddle advantage, but who’s that serious about such things anyhow ? It’s still the lightest bike I own and I’m not a boy racer …
The smallest cog is now quite close to the dropouts and is giving some adjustment trouble that I haven’t been able to sort yet. I could do with some gel grips on the levers too, as they become hard to hold after a while, and the drops have the most comfortable grip position for me, so I change hand positions quite often, unlike the all-day easy grip of my swept back roadster bars…
For those wanting for a good non-gumwall 27 X 1 & 1/4″ tyre, have a look at the Bontrager “select K”. they ride pretty well and are a modern looking semi-slick kevlar design that works well on older bikes too.
Finally, what is perhaps the best thing about riding a well made old steel framed road bike ?
You can go relatively fast, but don’t feel obliged to wear all that lycra advertising – I mean really, when you, the rider, have to pay good money to buy gear that overtly advertises corporate brand names ?
Why doesn’t some clever person make lycra that looks like normal clothes ? Perhaps a safari suit and tie, for example ?
Just kidding, but that’s the modern world for you !