August 10, 2009

Should I build myself a new frame?

So based on the responses to my previous post, it seems that folks don’t mind that I’m kind of a smelly guy who rides a beat-up bike. Which makes me very happy. But I was sort of hoping that I’d get some responses which would give me an excuse to build myself something new.

Here are my complaints about my current frame (pictured here in all it’s dirty glory after a race), both important and trivial:

-It uses cheapish cromoly tubing. At the time it was built, nice heat treated/OX platinum (I love you HOXPLAT13!) 29er downtubes didn’t exist. So it’s arguably heavier/weaker tubing than optimal. There’s nothing unsafe about it, certainly, but I would not build a bike for a customer (or myself) with those tubes today. Annoyingness: 7 out of 10.

-It has Paragon sliders, but single-bend chainstays. This means that I, captain duck-foot, have scraped all the paint off of both chainstays with my heels. This was the first bike I ever built with the paragons (and one of the first 10 or so ever done with them, to my knowledge) and I didn’t realize that s-bends would be a better way to go. Annoyingness: 6/10.

-It doesn’t have a cool seat lug. I’ve only been doing these for about 18 months, but I ALWAYS do them now – they’re super strong, the same weight as a standard externally butted tube, and just plain neat to look at. I’d really rather have one on my bike. Annoyingness: 4/10.

-The sliders are the old-style non-relieved models (all that was available at the time). So they’re 40ish grams heavier. Does this matter much? No, not really. But I pretty much exclusively use the “SL” model ones now, since they’re just as strong and a bit lighter. Annoyingness: 3/10.

-Tire clearance isn’t outstanding. I’m not the type to run 2.5s in the rear, but with the sliders most of the way forward, there’s only room for a 2.1, really. I wouldn’t mind either A) more tire clearance, or B) a bit shorter stays, just to see how that would feel (if it felt crappy, I could always slide the wheel back a bit). Annoyingness: 4/10.

-You can’t run a belt drive. I’m on record as saying that I think the belt setup is pretty dumb, but since I’ve never actually ridden a belt drive setup for any significant length of time (or on a trail) I really should keep my mouth shut. I could easily use a bolt-on seatstay to make the bike belt-compatible, just to try the system out. If the belt sucks like I think it will, I can always swap back to a chain easily.
Annoyingness: 5/10.

So what say ye? Should I build myself a new frame? Or should I stay “core” and keep riding what I’m on?