Monday, November 9, 2009

Just a little longer...

I thought I was going to bring home my new/old bike today; the still-unnamed synthesis of my beloved and wrecked Specialized and the Corsaro frame I picked up on Craigslist. As it happens, there were complications with combining the two bikes into one, and it may be another four days or so before it's ready.

As everyone but me probably knows, putting together two different eras of bicycles leads to complexity.

The Specialized 700 wheels wouldn't fit on the Corsaro frame -- axles too wide. The rear cog from the Specialized wouldn't go on the Corsaro 27" wheel -- cassette vs. freewheel. The Specialized's brakes wouldn't work with the Corsaro either. And, because the Corsaro cog was a six speed, there were issues adapting the seven-speed shifters. Same with the front, where I ended up with a three-ring shifter for a two-ring bike. If that wasn't enough, the SKS fenders (size 45) wouldn't fit either.

So, where now? Well, I ordered 35 SKS fenders for one thing. Next, the very patient Tyler at Peak Adventures walked me through a number of options before I opted for restoring the stem shifters on the Corsaro. This should eliminate the shifting problem, but may create a new one, because I remain a bit of klutz when it comes to friction shifting.

When it's all done, there will be very few traces of the Specialized on the Corsaro frame. Handlebars, rear derailleur, brake levers, bottom bracket. Visually, it'll be a completely different bike. On the plus side, I have a box full of components waiting for another frame, another chance.

Here's the Corsaro with the Specialized handlebars and rear rack. Those big black shifters will go and the bars will be much cleaner with cork grips.


  1. How many speeds can you use? My first bike was a single speed Schwinn used bike with which I delivered the Chicago Daily News for four years. green with fenders and big basket up front. work and pleasure as a kid. In high school I bought a Raleigh Lenton sports with 3 speed S.A. hub plus a front derailleur. a six I guess. (yah a hybrid of sorts I do not think they made this for long 1963 or around then as I remember) I do not remember derailing much. flick shift trigger was enough and quick. In 73 purchased a Raleigh DL 1 roadster with rod brakes his and hers as a newlywed. Still have hers and mine was stolen 10 years ago. I use mostly 2 gears is the point. usually med. and high with the 3 speeds. I converted a Trek 400 light weight frame to a Sears (austrian origin) 3 speed and later to a fixed gear. I enjoy the fixed gear lately they really come alive when you round corners and expect to coast. No way! I find on the hills I am winded with the 3 speed and also with the fixie. Hills are work either way. 52/15 cog ratio is too high with 630 mm rims. The corsaro could be a cool fixed wheel save the parts off a few bikes and you will make an assortment of rides. Buy a couple of wrenches and go for it! Flip the North Road Handlebars on a Raleigh and see how much it looks like a Pashley Guvnor. Watch it on turns however with the knees and bars . Thanks Eduard tinkering with anything removable off a few relics and some original still/nothing with more than 3 gears however.

  2. Great suggestions Ed! Thanks very much!

  3. To answer your question, Ed, I live in a pretty flat part of the world. My only "hills" are the ones I climb to reach the levee and ride along the river. So on an average ride, I'm probably only using a low gear for those brief climbs and then a middle-ish gear for almost the entire rest of the ride. I did a quick 10 miles today on a three speed and the levee bit was a somewhat tougher in first gear (not as low as the low gears on the 10 or 12 speeds) but very manageable!