January 7, 2008

Reynolds 953 – second attempt


Some of you may remember my old 953 blog – you’ll notice that it hasn’t been updated since November of 2006. There are a couple of reasons for that, first that the first frame had some wicked seat tube and bottom bracket distortion issues (to the point that I couldn’t get a BB in without almost wrecking a set of taps to re-thread the BB) and second that Reynolds changed their recommendations on joining the tubes after I’d already built half a frame (you’ll need to read through the whole thread to see why I was upset). Needless to say, given that I was out over $600, I wasn’t too pleased, so I sold off the remaining tubes and gave it up as a waste of money and time.

Now after more than a year has passed, Reynolds somehow got around to reading about m y griping. I guess 953 isn’t exactly taking over the framebuilding world right now, for obvious reasons, but in any case, they made me a very nice cheap offer for some (aged) tubes to try the whole deal again. Hopefully this time I’ll be impressed, and my yacking on the world wide web will convince other fools to jump onto the 953 bandwagon. Well, ok, why not.

This time around, I’m making some changes:
1: No more stainless fancy bottom brackets. I’m using my good old 4130 ones from Paragon. Yes, they can rust. No, I don’t care. I’ve never managed to rust out a bike enough to worry about it, and I see no reason to use a shell that I’m going to have a ton of trouble with (and pay a lot for) when the 4130 ones work perfectly.
2: Sleeve the ST before joining it (thus hopefully preventing too much distortion). I’ll probably make the shim/sleeve out of 4130 as well, because dealing with stainless on the lathe sucks. What’s that? I’ll have to paint the frame? Yup. Not a problem for me. It’ll get powdercoated just like anything else. I can deal with 100 grams of powdercoat.

I’m still planning on doing a non-suspension corrected 29er singlespeed, so I’ll use my usual Paragon SL slider dropouts and such. It’ll *probably* be the first actual 953 mountain bike on earth, though Bob Brown has done one that might as well be a mountain bike (it’s a ‘cross bike with loads of tire clearance) already.

Latest word on other silly projects:
-Belt drive is still on hold until Spot comes up with a belt and sprocket thingies for me. Last word I heard was February. Then again, I’ve heard “just another month now” for a while. My guess? There are still unresolved problems with the whole system. Spot made a HUGE impression with these at Interbike, from what I’ve read, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t be selling them now if they were ready for primetime.
-Ski bike. On hold as well. Probably to be canceled because Sarah and I are going to try to scrounge up some backcountry ski stuff and just go regular old skiing. I like the idea of skinning up more than skiing back down, honestly (my knees are pretty bad ) but I’m sure it’ll be fun both ways.