Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Stable

I've got a few personal mottos, one of which is: more bikes equals more happiness. I don't drive, which not only keeps me in shape, but lets me feel free to be as extravagant as I want with my human powered vehicle collection.

My current collection of bikes numbers 7, including such exotics as a Brompton, a Santa Cruz Blur with Jones Bars, and an M5 Carbon Lowracer. Those are all bikes with rather narrow specializations, though, and I would like to introduce you to the bikes I use for the Long Haul. I'll do so over a few posts, and I'll start with a bike that I have great deal of love for, my Bacchetta Aero.

William Tell

William Tell is my custom titanium Aero, generously supplied by my sponsor Bacchetta. I've pretty much customized every component on it, with the exception of the headset, brake levers, and rear brake. It is shown here in brevet configuration.

The Aero is a wonderful, versatile bike. It's handling characteristics are everything you could ask for; I've ridden major miles on 3 different highracer designs, and Bacchetta's geometry blows them all away. The bike has turned me from a mediocre descender into an enthusiastic one. It is simply planted in the corners at the same time as it swoops through them. The bike is also slippery as all getout.

As I say, it's versatile. In its brevet configuration, it features a Schmidt hub with twin E6 headlights, an Avid disc brake, and (soon) fenders. Outfitted thusly, it is perfect for the long night miles and lousy weather that one can frequently encounter on brevets. With the addition of Radical bags, I have even done light touring on the bike.

At the other end of the spectrum, the bike is quite a capable racer, and in its race configuration, weighs in at right around 22 lbs. I don't keep it in this configuration as a rule, but when I need to break out the secret weapons, the Aero sports a carbon fork with a caliper front brake, HED Alps wheels, 23 mm tires, and a closely spaced 11-23 Dura Ace cassette. Doing most of my riding with the heavier equipment makes the bike feel much faster when I break out the high zoot stuff, and preserves expensive gear at the same time.

(The picture above is courtesy of Joey Grimaldi.)

To facilitate re-configuring the bike, I've used a combination of a DaVinci cable splitter on the front brake and TerraCycle cable guides/stops on the stem riser. This lets me switch front forks by simply loosening two 5mm allen bolts and unscrewing the cable splitter, sliding the new fork in, tightening the bolts and headset, and connecting the brake cable on the other fork (which has its own half cable that ends in a splitter) up to the half cable attached to the brake lever. Since the front fender, the cable disc brake, and the lighting system (the hub, wiring, and lights are all contained by the fork) are all entirely of a single piece with the brevet fork, it makes completely changing the character of the bike a snap.

Here's the complete component spec for William Tell:
Shimano R700 compact crankset (50/34)
Shimano Dura Ace bottom bracket
Shimano Dura Ace front derailleur
Shimano Dura Ace rear derailleur
Shimano Dura Ace bar con shifters
SRAM PC-89R chain
Terracycle over/under idler
Avid speed dial SL brake levers
Bacchetta dual pivot calipers
FSA Orbit headset

Race configuration adds:
Shimano Dura Ace cassette (11/23)
HED Alps wheels
Michelin Pro Race 650x23 tires
Speedplay X5 pedals

Brevet configuration adds:
Harris Cyclery High & Wide cassette (11/28)
CXP-33 wheels w/ 105 hub (rear) and Schmidt hub (front)
Avid BB-7 disc brake (front)
Terry Tellus 650x28 tires
Crank Brothers Eggbeater pedals

You can see pictures of my long haul bikes in this flickr gallery.


Blogger Vik said...

Great bike and nice blog. I enjoyed the 400K report a great deal.

Can you point me towards a US or Canadian source for your Radical Designs Lowracer bags?

3:43 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Sure thing, vik. I believe that Calhoun Cycles carries them in stock. I think the Hostel Shoppe may also be a dealer for Radical, though I don't find any evidence of it on their current Web site. Finally, you can also order direct from Radical themselves.

Thanks for the kind words!

3:56 PM  
Blogger Vik said...

Thanks. HS does not carry them anymore due to importing costs. Calhoun had them so I ordered a set.

I am setting up a Volae for my local 2007 brevet series. If you wouldn't mind me asking you a few questions I would appreciate some tips as I am new to randoneering and most of what info I can find is about DF bikes.

My email is threeohm at gmail dot com.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice bike, that Aero. I'm just finding out about recumbents and randonneering, both are on the short list for 2007. If you don't mind, what front fork(s) are you using on the Aero? I see a front disc in one picture, first Aero I've seen with one.


11:50 PM  
Blogger Michael said...


The fork with the disc brake is a Giro 26 fork. They are available from Bacchetta fairly inexpensively. As I describe in the post, I have the bike set up to switch between that fork and a carbon race fork fairly easily.

9:53 AM  

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