Hello folks. Been a while. So what have i been up to? Well i've been busy tweaking the DHO and riding it. That's what...
After an initial ride on an XC loop in the build as it was when i bought it, I 'needed' to tweak a few things. First were the mahoosive 48 tooth chainring and the knee smashing triple-clamps. The rest of the stuff i did was icing on the cake.
I stripped the beast down for a check over and used this opportunity to touch up the paint a little and assess the dents in the top-tube (from a little mishap a previous owner must of had). The paint on these old Raleigh's is tough as old boots but no match for a bit of abrasive application. I was unsure what i'd find under the paint in the bottom of these dents to be honest but was pleasantly surprised to see that there were no obvious cracks. So, dents checked, i began work on priming the worst affected areas of paint damage - obviously where i removed paint for my inspection, the drive side chainstay where there had been some chainsuck, where the tyres had rubbed the frame, some disc rotor scuffing and, finally, a few assorted chips in random places. Not very exciting pictures, but i've dropped a couple on to show the extent of my priming.
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Next up was colour matching. Instead of popping to the nearest motor factors for a colour match touch up paint i broke out the Humbrol model paints. I didn't quite get the match right but it's good enough for me and looks better than rusty steel! No pictures of the finished results though (I forgot in my haste to get on with the build).
Component swaps were as follows:
Manitou Sherman Slider triple clamps for Suntour Durolux RC2 forks (don't groan folks - more info to follow),
Shimano 48 tooth chainring for a a smaller 36 tooth chainring courtesy of Blackspire (always like their stuff back in the day),
Kore Torsion Bar handlebar (800mm wide!) for a more usable for my needs Easton EA50 bar,
X-Lite Clikon super short seatpost for a very long unbranded job (that fits witout resorting to a shim),
FSA Chain Pimp chain device and bash guard for a Superstar Components Plasma chain device,
& finally some lighter Schwalbe tyres to replace the super heavy Nokian Gazzaloddi's but i might put the heavy tyres back on!
There are some other changes i want to do still but this will do for now. I finished building it up very late on a Saturday night (whilst the missus was out on a social). I was quite chuffed with the end result... so i guess you'd like to see a picture of the final result... Oh OK go on then if I must... (before and after pictures provided for your viewing pleasure)
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So how does it ride? Different! It's got a really tall bottom bracket at 16 inches unsagged and runs with the forks even more raked out than the static angles would suggest. The upshot of all this is that it's a bit of a handful on really tight trails and the weight doesn't lend itself to rapid acceleration on the flat! But it's not all bad... as soon as you get the speed up and/or the trail heads downhill it's a total ripper and really comes alive.
And that accident i mentioned in a previous post... Remember about an hour ago I said I'd finished assembling it very late on a Saturday night? It's first shakedown was a Monday morning commute. During said commute i got hit full broadside by a motorist that claimed they didn't see me and I hit the deck hard! Stem twisted on steerer, chain snapped, lots of scuffing on good as new shifters and lock-on grips, and a slightly buckled front wheel. Oh, forgot to mention the bent mech hanger! I was really luck and got away with a few bruises. The front bumper on the car was a mess! At least the motorist stopped. We exchanged details and they paid a trivial amount to cover some of the repair bill - which i was content with to be honest since i was OK and i'm not into this cash for crash litigation culture. Simply it was one of those things. Needless to say i was gutted that the bike had only been re-built for less than 48 hours! Thank goodness the frame is steel as my local bike shop was able to straighten it out for me.
Since the repair and my recovery (a week of tenderness), i've been out on the bike a few times and all seems OK.
Safe trails (and roads) folks.