A "utility" bike
By terryh on Jul 07, 2005
Chris's blog entry about his ideal winter bike struck a chord, as I was thinking along somewhat similar lines myself while out riding yesterday. There are things I can't or won't do with Son of Plastic Fantastic. I won't tow my trailer, or take it to the shops. I can't fit fenders (or mud guards, as I used to call them back in the Old Country), or big tires. I won't ride it in actual falling rain (although we don't get that much round here), and I'm loth to ford running water.
I already have a titanium cyclocross frame, which is built up with a Dura Ace triple group. The frame has eyelets that would allow fenders to be fitted, and sufficient clearance for big tires. Unfortunately, the frame has a 135 mm rear spacing (mountain bike standard), but the gits who sold it to me supplied a 130 mm rear wheel (modern road bike standard). I recently bought what will be the third fork to be fitted to this frame, it's a Nashbar (in other words, anonymous Chinese manufacturer's) Cyclocross fork with disk tab. If I were to get a new pair of wheels built, using mountain bike hubs, I could get an Avid mechanical disk brake with the road-specific cable pull, put a disk on the front wheel, and leave the cantilever brakes on the back (since the frame doesn't have a disk tab). Then I'd have wheels which fit with nice big tires, a disk brake for those winter floods, and a bike which would still be light enough to not be a chore to get up hills.
I'd also like to fit lights, because one of these days I'm going to do a double-century, even if it takes me 17 hours. Since riding after dark is not a regular thing for me, I'd stick with a battery-powered system, rather than a generator. Oh, and I'll take a Fizik Aliante for the saddle.
I'd really like to get this going, since there are a number of jeep trails I'd like to explore, and I find them a bit sketchy with my 700x23c tires. One thing we have lots of here is sand, and wider tires roll over loose surfaces better.