After looking over many advertisements for all kinds of super nice looking vehicles I’ve decided to go with this baby:
It was custom built for me by my eldest son, he spent a ton of time on it and the result is really quite nice. I had a whole pile of weird requests so buying a bike off-the-rack was out (I did quite a bit of shopping around but I could not find anything with these specs).
The demands were:
really good all weather braking
light (or as light as possible)
The first he solved by getting some pretty weird brakes, a hybrid mechanical/hydraulical brake set. I never even realized such a thing existed! The idea here is to have very good stopping power regardless of whether or not the rims are wet without the downside of using disc brakes, which work well but are super maintenance intensive and tend to go out of whack at the slightest disturbance. Definitely impressed with these brakes, if you hit the front wheel too hard without thinking about it you’ll be flying, and in the rain they work very well indeed.
As for speed, I like to go places when I cycle, not stand in one place so I like the old fashioned racing bikes a lot. This decided the basic geometry of the bike, a regular racing bike set-up with curved handlebars. I’ve had it up to 44 Km/h and for an old guy like me that’s reasonably ok. (And let’s not factor in the two week recovery period afterwards ;) ).
The bike is strong, the frame is very stiff and it has 32 spoke wheels for lots and lots of kilometers without having to worry too much about things coming out of alignment due to potholes or other disturbances.
It’s pretty light for a bike with all the trimmings and this level of strength. The frame is recycled, carbon/aluminum, strong where you need it and light where it matters (bought on the local equivalent of ebay for a song), the rest was bought new from a variety of bike parts stores.
Being street-legal is a must, I know that you can get away with a lot (especially in NL), but I like to be seen (lights) heard (bell), to have fenders (because it always rains) and I like to be able to go out in the evenings. Besides it being good that it is street legal from a fines perspective it is also simply good to be able to see and be seen.
It’s comfy because it has a very nice saddle and cushy handlebar tape, it also works well with my posture.
I’m still going to add a pack carrier, and maybe a secondary one in front.
All in all, a super bike and I’m totally happy with it, when I held my newly born son in my hands what feels like only a very short while ago I never anticipated that one day he’d build me a bicycle. I always felt pretty good about letting him loose in the workshop when he was still small and it looks like that confidence and trust has paid off.
Thanks son, well done!