The Belleville turned out to be a success! It’s dialed in for fit, and function, with a couple of “form” tradeoffs*. Angelina says it’s heavier than the old bike, but “feels sturdier,” and she loves the dynamo lights. It’s a huge relief not to worry about batteries, or turning the light on. I’ve seen her rolling along at dusk, too, and they’re pretty visible.
Despite all the goodness, Angelina kept riding her old bike, because it had the baskets. She uses the bike as transportation, so she needs to bring things home. I moved the Wald folding baskets to the new bike, which was good, but she didn’t like having to bungie things onto the front rack. I balked at moving the front basket, though, because it didn’t fit the rack or the bike’s aesthetic. After she threatened to wire the old basket on with whatever twine or baling wire she could find, I went to Goodwill, determined to get something basket-like. Wicker picnic baskets (hmm, not bad), heavy storage basket, suitcase… and this. It looks like it might have had a laundry-room or dishwasher function, but it fits the rack almost exactly, and is cut down in back to go right under the bar! Perfect. Plenty of room for a half rack of beer. It even had wire “ears” on the bottom I used to attach it to the rack , through the magic of ‘bending.’ One broke, so a single hoseclamp replaced it.
The stock saddle turned out to be really comfortable, but not at first. I flipped the saddle clamp around, so the post is in front of the clamp, instead of behind. This gives more setback, but also more leverage on the saddle to knock it out of angle, so you have to tighten it like mad. I’m cautious doing that, though, since I snapped the bolt on the Brooks 2-rail clamp (the Brooks bolt had two weak, flat sections, which is really stupid), and had to replace it with a much sturdier Chinese part.
I was a little worried about installing the repaired Brooks, since the Trek Eco saddle has been so comfortable. But I did the work, and it’s a great seat, and I can always put the Eco seat back on. This Brooks has the same flipped clamp, which gives 1/2″ more setback, which surprised me.
The grips are hard plastic, held on with screw-clamp ends, and have to be rotated on the bars so the indentations to line up naturally with the hand. One almost came off in an intersection, and the cap part disappeared, so I replaced it with a cork. And tightened up the little allen bolt. I may leave the Steyr out in the sun, so I can slide the old grips off and use them on the Belleville.
I bumped up the handlebar height about an inch, with spacers. Chris King red, brown and blue spacers would be dynamite, but black goes with everything.
The cranks are 175mm Ritcheys she’s been riding for a few years on her old bike, and she said they made a HUGE difference in comfort. The tread is also much narrower, and the left arm almost hits the kickstand. I think the chainring’s the same size. The white pedals are borrowed from another Austrian-built 3-speed my friend asked me to fix up for him. All I’ve done so far is pull the front wheel off, spin it, wince, and put it down. And steal the pedals.
It looks like I need to get some zip ties to corral that wild shifter cable. There are brazed-on lugs for the zip-ties, which is pretty cool.
I took these pictures with my new camera and old, old lens. Some are nicely focused, some not. More practice!
*The baskets are dumpy, but the cranks and (stolen) pedals are prettier.