only bright evening in Oregon for six months

Half-pimped Trek Belleville

Swapped out the cranks on Angelina’s new Belleville, and added her Wald fold-out baskets to the sweet rear rack. The stock cranks and pedals are horrible. When I mentioned that we could lower her seat 5mm, because the stock cranks are 170s and her old Ritcheys are 175s, she was like, “Oh! So that’s why it feels like my legs are spinning tiny circles!”

trek belleville, folding pannier baskets mounted

Seriously – I’ve had arguments with people who say you can’t feel 5mm of crank length. If my wife, who likes her bike (Angelina “do you like kids?” my dad: “I like my kids…”), but appreciates most bikes at a remove (because I like them, analogous to the way I know what a peplum is), can tell the “microscopic” difference in cranks, then those people can just STFU appreciate their lack of hyper-sensitive OCD detail-noticin’.

Next up – the saddle. I need to re-mount her B66 leather on a new sprung frame. By new, I mean used and free, from the RBW list charity drive. And I’m totally stealing Jim’s white rubber block pedals… how’s he going to know?

Published by


UI/UX Designer, bike nerd, artist.

6 thoughts on “Half-pimped Trek Belleville”

  1. Did you say you were putting old saddle leather on a new frame? That’s magic! I have a nice B72 frame on which the leather failed. I would love to reapply a new swatch of leather to that lovely frame. Is there a book for this magic to be found somewhere?

    1. Hi Scot,
      My situation is really good leather, and two broken rails. I patched them both with aluminum sleeves, but then the right one failed entirely, with parts coming off in the road. I don’t know of a book on Brooks saddle leather replacement, but I asked around the iBob and RBW lists (Google Groups), and someone had some good advice, and someone else had a ripped seat he sent me for nothing. I also emailed Wallingford, who was extremely helpful and pleasant. I think I bought my green B17 from him at a really good price when I first got the Quickbeam.

      The best advice I got was from the hardware store. I went in with the saddle in my hand, and the guy talked me out of a pop rivet gun, and into a handful of 20 cent rivets. He said the pop rivets have a hole, and often a sharp edge that you wouldn’t want to sit on. He liked the copper rivets they carried (“they just smoosh down like butter”), but for some reason thought the steel rivets would work best, “as short as you think will work.” He suggested using a nail set or something with a point to get the rivet started peening over, and you don’t really need an anvil – just a heavy table. All according to him, I haven’t tried it out, yet.

  2. Hmm, well this sounds hopeful! I had planned to take it to a local (horse) saddle repair shop, but was afraid of sticker shock. If I could get a few rivets, then find me some leather, I could use the old remaining leather as a pattern, and maybe make it work. Maybe craigslist/freecycle has some off-color leather someone’s trying to unload? I sense a spring break project shaping up.

    I loved that B72 while it worked. Split right across the nose of the saddle. Thanks!

    Really like the blog.

    1. That. Is. Cool.

      I especially like his countersunk bolts (since I already have the blocked and formed leather part), but wish they didn’t need machining to end up like that. He seems to be pretty screebajeebalin’ (has a “Boy-Scout-like preparedness for all things), with vacuum chambers, machine tools, bead blasters and chrome platers. The Berthoud saddles gain points with me for their removable “rivets.”

      I hope you do something similar!

  3. The leather on the B72 donor frame I have is ripped straight across the nose, too. True Value has rivets in bulk, both steel and copper, as does Bill Laine (of Wallingford) said the copper ones are easier to install, but still something of a chore.

    I have never heard of anyone taking fresh leather and stretching a new saddle on an old frame, but I think it’s a fantastic idea, and I can’t think of a reason it shouldn’t work. They might shape it on a form first, or something.

    Hey, look what I found! A tour inside the the Brooks factory, courtesy of Wired of all people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.