A Signal across the ocean

We got a letter from a recent customer that we wanted to share. Chris lives in Scotland, and we built him a sweet geared cross frame and fork. It's a little hard to put so much time and love into a bike and to send it out, likely never to be seen again. But it feels good to know that he's getting a lot of enjoyment out of it! (despite a "hang" up)

Hi Matt and Nate,
I hope you are both well, I’m finally getting round to putting some thoughts down about the bike. First up a big thanks for being super helpful, trust me I did shop around and the response was at best fair but mostly non existent. So thank you, I guess some folks maybe wouldn’t have taken the request from Scotland too serious? Maybe? Either way, thanks.
The build.
I was fortunate enough to have access to a friends bike workshop while he was out of town, this made it a whole lot easier, I switched off the phone and set about it. The only glitch was the drive side BB which was super tight, I had to give it a good clean through with the tap to get the cup to fully insert but like I said that was my only hold up, everything else went straight on and held in place so pretty sweet. As I probably mentioned I built the bike with a new Chorus 11speed group, still not 100% if this was a wise move (more later) but there is no denying it is a beautiful and affordable set up from Campagnolo. The combination of all that carbon, black and polished alloy, really set off the red frame, the colour of which is stunning, something that really becomes apparent when I get the bike outdoors. Sometimes it looks like the most vivid almost blood red and others it’s a deep autumnal orange, I love it so pleased with the aesthetic.
The super clean lines of the bike never cease to put a smile on my head, I was at a cross race this weekend and while there are plenty of pretty bikes out there the current crop of oversize carbon and alu bikes are just ugly and clumsy looking. I won’t ponder too much on the lovely brazing, the clever cable routing, the awesome rear brake hanger or in fact those dropouts, all that needs to be said is I approve. The fork considering how little we discussed turned out exactly how I wanted it, I’m so happy I opted for a matching steel fork, while the weight saving of a carbon fork would be noticeable, I think for completion alone the steel fork just looks right.
The ride.
First rides on new bikes are always tentative experiences, I had laid down some fairly serious investment in this and obviously wanted to be happy but also at the back of the mind is the what if? My first ride was a beautiful autumn day, crisp and dry underfoot with a good bite in the air. There was a lot of stop starting fiddling with saddle, gears, brakes and more fiddling but those moments in between were a simple pleasure, the first hints at what lay in store were being realized and I arrived home very happy. It climbs like a demon, the tight rear end noticeably bites in when the gradient increases, climbing more like a finely tuned road bike than a CX machine. And the fork again, seriously I think this really finishes the handling of this bike, none of the carbon brake flap, positive steering and super comfy, huge mud clearance, I can’t praise it enough.
Glitch 2.
The seatpost was slipping, I reached for a long allen key and gingerly wrenched it tight, so far so good and I haven’t had to adjust it since, always a little wary of over tightening a brazed seat clamp for fear of deforming the top of the tube or worse snapping the braze altogether, but like I said no issues since.
The heartache.
I had been having a terrible week at work, stuff seemed to be piling up and really getting to me, when finally I cracked I headed out on a real stinking wet and wild day to sneak a ride before darkness fell. A quick espresso at the local bike shop and I was into the woods on some of my favourite trails, the stress of the week was working loose and my sanity was coming back, I headed up the Craigower fire road and with two clicks at the rear the whole drivetrain ground to a halt. I leapt off and looked down, the rear mech had exploded and was wrapped around the chainstay, the chain was like a length of liquorice rope and the mech hanger was bent right back on itself, fuck. An overwhelming sense of panic took over me and I wretched at the mech to straighten it out, and then sense kicked in what the fuck was I doing. I stood back, with only a basic multi tool I was screwed. I had to call in help to get home and coasted back to the main road, the week finished as low as it started.
That weekend I turned into a monster of misery, having borrowed a dropout alignment tool I managed to straighten the hanger no worries but the threads wouldn’t allow me to tighten a mech onto it. Not that I had a mech to tighten as it was savagely ripped apart. I put the whole lot out of sight and tried to enjoy the rest of the weekend with the family, I was struggling to cope to be honest. That week I dropped off the bike and a new Athena mech (no carbon parts!) to my good friend Carl at Bikelove in Glasgow with the words fix it, I sped off. Later that day a call announced the bike was working and good to go. The threads were screwed so he fitted a drop out saver or helicoil and everything was running sweet.
First race.
Having not ridden any bike for 2 weeks a result of work and bike anguish I set off for a cross race fairly locally. It would make or break me. I won’t bore you with the details but the bike was fantastic, accelerated, braked, tracked and looked stunning with a thick layer of mud over it. The Athena mech feels a lot crisper than the Chorus. Often the way with Campag the cheaper components have a more defined character. A new confidence was built with the bike and I had a blast, 20th place in my category put me mid pack and not too far off the pace of my peers, roll on next Sunday.
I conclude, thanks guys, this really is a special frame that I know I will be having some good times on.
A wee pic from the weekend, hopefully better ones from the beaches at Irvine this weekend,it's going to be cold, wet and brutal

Take it easy,

chrisD