The Bikes

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The Bike. It is the central tool in pursuit of our craft. A Velominatus meticulously maintains their bicycles and adorns them with the essential, yet minimal, accoutrement. The Rules specify the principles of good taste in configuration and setup of our machines, but within those principles lies almost infinite room for personal taste.

It seems in some ways like a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, the way we honor our machines. We love them to a point that lies well beyond obsession. Upon these machines upon we endure endless suffering, but also find an unending pleasure. The rhythm, the harmony between rider and machine, the outdoors, the wind in our faces and air in our lungs.

The Bikes is devoted entirely to our machines. Ours, The Keepers, and yours, the Community. It features articles devoted to our bikes, and proves a forum for uploading photos of your own machines for discussion. We will be harsh, but fair; this is a place to enforce and enhance our observation of The Rules.

If you’d like to submit an article about your own beloved bike, please feel free to send it to us and we’ll do our best to work with you to include it.

  • Rule #12 and the Cascade Effect That is a very reasonable opening salvo for the Rule about bike ownership. Three is good and certainly a minimum, and we are talking road bikes here, if there was any doubt. They naturally become ordered: the #1 is ichi-ban, top dog, go-to bike for every and all rides. #2 was the old #1, it ...
  • Guest Article: Black Is Not The New Black  @kogalover is singing my song here. Bikes are beautiful. ’nuff said. VLVV, Gianni With all those posts on riding in winter and being visible, either by putting Eyes of Sauron or other car melting devices on one’s steed, or by even considering a YJA instead of donning plain black kit, it was about time to finally get ...
  • Dialing in the Stable This was going to be an article about Rule #45. It is amazing how much time is wasted and matches burned when professionals stop for that second bike change to get back on their #1. With all the jigs available to team mechanics it would seem they could set up five bikes exactly the same. And ...
  • Matching the drapes to the rug As a longtime titanium bike owner, I’ve always been jealous of a beautiful painted frame but Ti and carbon frames don’t need paint like a steel frame needs paint. But I want some painted beauty. It’s like buying a white car; I can’t do white, need some color. So between a Ti frame and a ...
  • Festum Prophetae: Waiting for the Hour Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. – Mike Tyson The one thing everyone should always plan for is that however well-conceived a program might be, things will never go to plan. The high level plan for my Festum Prophetae Hour Ride was as follows: Have a custom Hour Bike built by Don Walker. Because reasons. Reasons like custom ...
  1. Raleigh USA apparently decided to bring framebuilding back in house and Don was asked to build the track bikes. Super cool, getting back to old-school contract frame building like in the old days. I really hope this trend continues.




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  2. @Buck Rogers

    What the fuck is that thing on your seat post? I just watched LIFE and I’m afraid it might be that alien that killed Ryan Reynolds.




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  3. @frank

    What the fuck is that thing on your seat post? I just watched LIFE and I’m afraid it might be that alien that killed Ryan Reynolds.

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    Why are you sitting around watching Ryan Reynolds movies?




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  4. @Buck Rogers

    Much class. What a beauty. Love it. Cheers




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  5. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    What the fuck is that thing on your seat post? I just watched LIFE and I’m afraid it might be that alien that killed Ryan Reynolds.

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    Oi! When you are purposely heading out in the rain on an 8 C day for a heavily graveled ride, someone who has actually changed out a tub on the road before and who is packing a pre-glued spare knows that you need to cover it up from the muck. So that is the tub inside a gallon-sized ziplock taped to the seat tube. One of those days were a flimsy toestrap just would no cut it!




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  6. @Randy C

    @Buck Rogers Much class. What a beauty. Love it. Cheers

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    Thanks Mate. My total dream bike finally realized.




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  7. This really isn’t a The Bikes post, but don’t know where else to put it. A little shameless self promotion. My review of Primal Inertia QX5 kit for PEZ.

    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/technspec/primal-qx5-inertia-jersey-bibshorts-review/#.WUEwx2eR6Ra

    To make it semi-relevant, a pic from the article with my bike as a prop.




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  8. This year’s team car spot…….




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  9. @Teocalli

    This year’s team car spot…….

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    Dear GOD, where did you see this??? This is an AMAZING car! Hell, I would drive that as my daily commuter if I had it!




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  10. @Buck Rogers

    That was in Bakewell, it’s up at L’eroica Britannia this year. Mavic have a stand there.




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  11. First ride on the new bike a day after I purchased it and I got a flat. maybe Ill take a better picture sometime down the line.




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  12. No introduction needed……




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  13. Advice please. Thinking of buying a cheap 2nd hand tandem so we can take the tiddler out on rides more easily and more safely than with a tagalong. I’ve seen this one on the ebays. WTF is the thing on the back wheel? It’s not hub gears, you can see a RD on the other side, and there is a normal brake caliper so doesn’t seem to be brake related either.

    Any ideas?




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  14. @RobSandy

    I’d bet money saying that’s a secondary brake installed later when they found out the canti’s weren’t up to the task when bombing a big heavy bike down a wet hill. Just a guess on my part. ??




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  15. @Randy C

    @RobSandy I’d bet money saying that’s a secondary brake installed later when they found out the canti’s weren’t up to the task when bombing a big heavy bike down a wet hill. Just a guess on my part. ??

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    Yup looks like a drum brake




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  16. @Teocalli

    @Randy C

    @RobSandy I’d bet money saying that’s a secondary brake installed later when they found out the canti’s weren’t up to the task when bombing a big heavy bike down a wet hill. Just a guess on my part. ??

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    Yup looks like a drum brake

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    Ta both. No experience with drum brakes – would it have any bearing on what wheels you need?

    Also, looks like the bike was designed for calipers originally.




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  17. @Teocalli

    @Buck Rogers That was in Bakewell, it’s up at L’eroica Britannia this year. Mavic have a stand there.

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    Bakewell?That’s where the tarts come from, isn’t it?




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  18. @wiscot

    @Teocalli

    @Buck Rogers That was in Bakewell, it’s up at L’eroica Britannia this year. Mavic have a stand there.

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    Bakewell?That’s where the tarts come from, isn’t it?

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    The eternal fight as to whether you are a Bakewell Tart man or a Bakewell Pudding man (they are different).




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  19. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    @Randy C

    @RobSandy I’d bet money saying that’s a secondary brake installed later when they found out the canti’s weren’t up to the task when bombing a big heavy bike down a wet hill. Just a guess on my part. ??

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    Yup looks like a drum brake

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    Ta both. No experience with drum brakes – would it have any bearing on what wheels you need? Also, looks like the bike was designed for calipers originally.

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    My (limited) knowledge is that it is built into the hub (not a bolt on) so yes it will have a bearing on the wheels – and a goodly number of spokes might be advisable as your braking would be from the hub and needs to be transferred out to the rim.




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  20. @RobSandy Oh yes as it is retrofit, I have no idea whether that has any implication for the chainstay as there seems to be a bracket added there to ‘fix’ the hub brake.




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  21. @Teocalli

    I’ve had a look around and a lot of the tandems I’ve seen of this type (Dawes Super Galaxy) have em so either it’s as fitted or they are generally required.

    Looks like I’m buying it, anyway. £250.

    Fortunately the LBS saved my No.2 so no new frame was required. I’ll have a tandem instead, please.




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  22. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli I’ve had a look around and a lot of the tandems I’ve seen of this type (Dawes Super Galaxy) have em so either it’s as fitted or they are generally required. Looks like I’m buying it, anyway. £250. Fortunately the LBS saved my No.2 so no new frame was required. I’ll have a tandem instead, please.

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    I’m sure they are generally required, that’s for sure!




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  23. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @Teocalli I’ve had a look around and a lot of the tandems I’ve seen of this type (Dawes Super Galaxy) have em so either it’s as fitted or they are generally required. Looks like I’m buying it, anyway. £250. Fortunately the LBS saved my No.2 so no new frame was required. I’ll have a tandem instead, please.

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    I’m sure they are generally required, that’s for sure!

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    Sheldon Brown reckons braking should be fine if the cantis are adjusted properly.

    Also, the plan is to have the little one on the back so it’s not going to be as heavy as if it was carrying 2 adults.




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  24. @RobSandy

    V brakes work a treat, but cantis just aren’t up to the job in my experience. I had XTR ones on mine and they were crap. Even when set up well…..




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  25. @RobSandy

    Advice please. Thinking of buying a cheap 2nd hand tandem so we can take the tiddler out on rides more easily and more safely than with a tagalong. I’ve seen this one on the ebays. WTF is the thing on the back wheel? It’s not hub gears, you can see a RD on the other side, and there is a normal brake caliper so doesn’t seem to be brake related either. Any ideas?

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    Over this side of the pond we call it a drag brake. There is usually an indexed lever on the handlebars that lets you set it on a few levels of friction, and when the descent is over you release it. It’s in addition to the standard rim brakes.




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  26. @litvi

    Mine just work like normal brakes off the left hand lever. Seem to work ok.

    I have another question though – the brake levers are Weinmann and the right hand brake lever operates the front and back cantilever brakes. Again, this seems to work ok.

    The levers themselves, however, are in a bit of a state and very uncomfortable. I was hoping to replace them with something more modern but how easy is it to get brake levers that can pull 2 cables? Would I be better sticking with what I have (perhaps replacing the hood cover)?




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  27. @RobSandy

    On the drag brake front. Before fitting one one our tandem, my experience on steep descents was:

    1. Feel the friction on the brakes change as the blocks start to melt

    2. Smell burning

    3. Stop in fear of blowing out the tyre

    4. Burn finger touching the rim to test it.

    Highly recommended.




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  28. @verytallguy

    @RobSandy On the drag brake front. Before fitting one one our tandem, my experience on steep descents was: 1. Feel the friction on the brakes change as the blocks start to melt 2. Smell burning 3. Stop in fear of blowing out the tyre 4. Burn finger touching the rim to test it. Highly recommended.

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    Can’t wait!!




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  29. @verytallguy

    @RobSandy On the drag brake front. Before fitting one one our tandem, my experience on steep descents was: 1. Feel the friction on the brakes change as the blocks start to melt 2. Smell burning 3. Stop in fear of blowing out the tyre 4. Burn finger touching the rim to test it. Highly recommended.

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    Holy Smoke – a drum brake overheating the rim – surprised the spokes didn’t melt!




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  30. @Teocalli

    @verytallguy

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    Holy Smoke – a drum brake overheating the rim – surprised the spokes didn’t melt!

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    Think he was saying that the rim brakes overheated so he fitted a drum brake to prevent that in future.




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  31. @RobSandy

    @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    @verytallguy

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    Holy Smoke – a drum brake overheating the rim – surprised the spokes didn’t melt!

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    Think he was saying that the rim brakes overheated so he fitted a drum brake to prevent that in future.

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    Ah yes I see that now – but I did like the concept of glowing spokes………..




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  32. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    @verytallguy

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    Holy Smoke – a drum brake overheating the rim – surprised the spokes didn’t melt!

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    Think he was saying that the rim brakes overheated so he fitted a drum brake to prevent that in future.

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    Ah yes I see that now – but I did like the concept of glowing spokes………..

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    I don’t! LBS solution is to replace the shitty Weinmann cantis with some new V brakes and disconnect the hub brake. Getting brake levers with a double pull is tricky and messing about connecting 2 cables seems a pain.

    I wont remove the rub brake for the time being though. Could add an extra lever on the rear bars for my Velomini to squeeze if he’s nervous.




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  33. @RobSandy

    Could add an extra lever on the rear bars for my Velomini to squeeze if he’s nervous.

    Or if he wants to see his dad suffer harder (call it the “V-squeeze”).




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  34. @KogaLover

    @RobSandy

    Could add an extra lever on the rear bars for my Velomini to squeeze if he’s nervous.

    Or if he wants to see his dad suffer harder (call it the “V-squeeze”).

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    I’m not going to give him that idea. I used to tow him on his own bike, which had a rear hub brake activated by back pedalling. Every now and again he’d casually spin his legs backwards and I’d come to a shuddering stop. Normally on short steep hills.




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  35. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    @verytallguy

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    Holy Smoke – a drum brake overheating the rim – surprised the spokes didn’t melt!

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    Think he was saying that the rim brakes overheated so he fitted a drum brake to prevent that in future.

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    Ah yes I see that now – but I did like the concept of glowing spokes………..

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    I don’t! LBS solution is to replace the shitty Weinmann cantis with some new V brakes and disconnect the hub brake. Getting brake levers with a double pull is tricky and messing about connecting 2 cables seems a pain. I wont remove the rub brake for the time being though. Could add an extra lever on the rear bars for my Velomini to squeeze if he’s nervous.

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    V-Brakes sound fine, as long as you’re changing your brake levers anyway. All the rest sound like terrible ideas. 1) if a single rider on a 1 bike with 2 wheels can overheat rims on long descents, imagine what 1.5 riders can do on 1.5 bikes with 2 wheels. This is what drag brakes are for. 2) Operating front and rear brakes separately helps you modulate much better; that’s why it’s still done on bicycles and motorcycles. 3) an extra lever on the rear bars means unpredictable slowing, and possibly rear wheel lock-up. Neither of you are mind readers, so only the pilot gets to control the brakes.

    My recommendation: leave the drag brake (the hub brake) mounted, and connect it to bar-end shift lever or an old bar-mounted mountain bike shifter. You can use derailleur cables here because you’re not putting a shit-ton of tension on it. Use the friction setting most preferably, indexed only if you absolutely must (the stops for shifting may be not match up with the brake’s modulation).




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  36. i was curious as to what a drag brake is, after reading this. i found this, from the Santana website, illuminating: http://santanatandems.com/Techno/UnderstandingBraking.html




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  37. @Cary

    i was curious as to what a drag brake is, after reading this. i found this, from the Santana website, illuminating: http://santanatandems.com/Techno/UnderstandingBraking.html

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    Sounds like Santana’s 10″ discs are a winner… for new tandems. For old frames where discs are impractical or impossible, sounds like V brakes for handling control 99% of the time, and a drum drag brake for long descents is still the way to go




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  38. Teocallis interpretation of my post is, alas, correct as I rather like the idea of red hot spokes.

    My drag brake is operated from a standard brake lever on the stoker’s bars. I had kiddycranks fitted once velomini #1 was four, and found he was quite reliable operating the brake when asked.

    On one memorable Cornish holiday I had mini #1 stoking, mini #2 on a child seat on the rack and mini #3 in the trailer behind. 1:6 descents were ok even in this configuration, though I dread to think how many rule violations that involved. Happy days.

    Mrs Tall now has control back of stoking duties with mini #3 outgrowing any desire to be embarrassed, and the kiddycranks are no more.




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  39. @Verytallguy

    Teocallis interpretation of my post is, alas, correct as I rather like the idea of red hot spokes. My drag brake is operated from a standard brake lever on the stoker’s bars. I had kiddycranks fitted once velomini #1 was four, and found he was quite reliable operating the brake when asked. On one memorable Cornish holiday I had mini #1 stoking, mini #2 on a child seat on the rack and mini #3 in the trailer behind. 1:6 descents were ok even in this configuration, though I dread to think how many rule violations that involved. Happy days. Mrs Tall now has control back of stoking duties with mini #3 outgrowing any desire to be embarrassed, and the kiddycranks are no more.

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    That’s the approach I was planning to take (minus the extra tiddlers). I’m not too concerned with long descents – I don’t know of any. Stopping power is more critical and the LBS were pretty convinced I’d be fine with a decent set of V brakes.

    We shall see.




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  40. Someone PLEASE buy this bike!

    https://sciacallobikes.com/products/sciacallo-bacio-kiss-bicycle




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  41. So I wanted to get a bit lower at the front, so I bought a headset cover from Slam That Stem.

    Fitted, there seems to be a very big gap between the top of the frame and the bottom of the cover. Is it too big? Will I trash my headset if I ride like this in wet weather?




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  42. @RobSandy

    Have you tensioned it down with the top cap or is there something stopping it sitting flush in the head tube?




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  43. @chris

    Tensioned down, that’s how it sits. Part of the headset stands up about 1mm from the rest, nearest the steere, and that’s what the headset cap is sitting on.

    I have thought of a solution but it involves filing the hole in the headset cap slightly larger.




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  44. @RobSandy

    So I wanted to get a bit lower at the front, so I bought a headset cover from Slam That Stem.

    Fitted, there seems to be a very big gap between the top of the frame and the bottom of the cover. Is it too big? Will I trash my headset if I ride like this in wet weather?

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    Arrrr, which is the head set cover from STS?

    headset cover from Slam That Stem?




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  45. @sthilzy

    Are we talking like pirates? Cool.

    Arrr, tis being yon bit referenced ‘B’. Me heartie.




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  46. @RobSandy

    So I wanted to get a bit lower at the front, so I bought a headset cover from Slam That Stem.

    Fitted, there seems to be a very big gap between the top of the frame and the bottom of the cover. Is it too big? Will I trash my headset if I ride like this in wet weather?

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    Some headsets need to be snapped in. That looks like one of them. Take it apart. Re-assemble the bottom race, fit the steerer through the head tube, fit the top race on, and with fork in proper position, push down on upper race cap until it clicks flush.

    Also, if that is a carbon steerer tube, you have too many spacers up top (unless you have a 5 inch expander plug). The 2 stem bolts need to be grab where the expander lies in the steerer tube.




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  47. @Buck Rogers

    Been trying to find a way to get some of my Hampsten Ti build up here and finally found a way to get a few. Frame is Ti made in Kent Eriksen’s shop with Steve and Andy Hampsten’s designs and measurements after I met up and rode with Steve last year. Handlebars are fi’zi:k Cyrano “00” with matching stem–saddle and handlebar tape is fi’zi:k as well. Seatpost is a Ti Eriksen “Sweetpost”. Headset and seatpost clamp are Chris King. Cages are King Ti cages. Groupo is complete 2015 non-electric 11spd Campag SR (Ti cranks) with 53/39 and 12-28. Wheels are Ambrosio Nemesis with Royce hubs with FMB Paris-Roubaix tubulars. Skewers are old Campag SR. Pedals are Speedplay Pave’.

    I have been riding (somewhat–who am I kidding–not really) competitively since 1988 and no bike that I have ever swung a leg over has come close to this ride. Even with the heavy, bombproof w

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    @Buck Rogers

    Perfect bike! I know you waited a long time for it. Really the one bike you would ever need.




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  48. @RobSandy

    @sthilzy

    Are we talking like pirates? Cool.

    Arrr, tis being yon bit referenced ‘B’. Me heartie.

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    Top fucking marks! +1 Badge to you.




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  49. @fignons barber

    Also, if that is a carbon steerer tube, you have too many spacers up top (unless you have a 5 inch expander plug). The 2 stem bolts need to be grab where the expander lies in the steerer tube.

    As per @fignons barber comment, ’tis be critical! Savvy!

    By th’ way, I make me owns stem covers ‘n starnut bungs t’ ‘ave th’ stem clamp on a solid, Savvy!




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  50. @sthilzy

    @fignons barber

    Also, if that is a carbon steerer tube, you have too many spacers up top (unless you have a 5 inch expander plug). The 2 stem bolts need to be grab where the expander lies in the steerer tube.

    As per @fignons barber comment, ’tis be critical! Savvy!

    By th’ way, I make me owns stem covers ‘n starnut bungs t’ ‘ave th’ stem clamp on a solid, Savvy!

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    Be it for @RobSandy




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