This really should be subtitled 'The intended cheap hack that may well turn out to be anything but...!'
Let me explain (so long as I can get away with this without my other half looking over my shoulder at some point and realising what I've been doing with all my hard earned!
This past August we went for a short camping break - cue atmospheric night shot to support this
...during which I would keep track of my overdraft, sorry, e-Bay watch list, on my Blackberry - top of which was a very original (bar the fork) Cro-Mega LX. e-Bay listing screen shots follow
The seller was very honest re the overall condition of the bike ('pix make it look better than it is...') and the original forks were included, and of course I really wanted it - I mean REALLY
wanted it, having done what many here did BITD and sold one to finance it's replacement some 18 years ago. Back then I had the plain white frame without the neon fade, but I did fit purple ano canti's and a Flite. If I remember right I built it up as an eight-speed with STIs - unfortunately I no longer have any pix
Anyway, the bidding was going somewhat higher than I had anticipated and as we were going down to the beach I put a much larger bid on than I had intended (did I mention I really, REALLY
, wanted this bike?), closed down the phone before 'anyone'
noticed and went off to do the obligatory holidaymaker bit for the camera - say cheese
When we got back to the tent I fired up the Blackberry to find that the bike pictured above was indeed now MINE
You will, of course, forgive me if I don't say exactly how
much over £200 I paid for it ("Yes Dear, I know - it's just a story I'm writing to illustrate my bike here on retrobike
to make it sound more interesting. You know how boring you find my bike stuff - yes, I'll put the kettle on - yes, now, not in half an hours time..."
As luck would have it one of Royal Mails finest arrived with a rather large cardboard box for me on one of my rare days off during the week. I quickly assembled the bike out of the box and smuggled it into the gazebo out of sight of enquiring eyes before they got home from work
Now, as I already had a red bike (my Explosif) and a recently acquired white bike (Team Banana Falcon) it wasn't that difficult, given the typically female disparing attitude toward my collection, for me to wheel out the Cro-Mega onto the patio and work on it within full view of the kitchen window without arousing any suspicion that the collection had grown still further!
It was my original intention to just build the bike out of the box, re-fitting the original cro-mo blade in place of the Rock Shox Jetts they were replaced with, and ride it as it was. Yeah, right...
How often have you heard THAT?
The first spanner in those particular works was that, with the passage of time, I had forgotten that Alpinstars' used 1 1/4" headsets - DOH! to fit the Jetts a reducer headset had been installed so all I had left of the original headset was the bottom race on the cro-mo's steerer - well that bottoxed(sounds like
...) that idea!
My saviour in this respect was that, despite her ambivalent attitude towards my interest, my other half actually wants to come out with me occasionaly so I had to build her a bike too...
...the fact that her last bike was a Moulton 'shopper' and she'd never ridden a 'proper' bike before goes some way to explaining the somewhat 'interesting' geometry of the Rockhopper above (shown in its 'Mk1' incarnation - future 'post' to follow...), wearing my favourite P2 fork which it was about to donate to my latest project in exchange for the Jetts (and I absolutely refuse to post a pic of a blue bike with orange forks, red brakes and pink grips - rest assured it is in line for a serious
makeover - as a teaser it will be wearing neon pink Halo Twinrails!!
At the same time I changed the bars because, although it was wearing its original 'fat' bar, the stem didn't fit properly- zoikes! (hmmm, closet Scooby Doo fan too...)
Cue my favourite Brahma bar (yes, I have one on my red Explosif too...) robbed from my brothers bike cos he's hurt his back and wanted a riser bar - that'll do nicely - I also filched the stem (well I did build it for him myself afterall...).
Anyway, that should have been that - but wasn't... I had the bike, but now I realised I wanted something to go on it I couldn't afford BITD - Maguras
- neon yellow
Maguras! Now I was really on a roll...
Courtesy of a very nice Italian eBayer I spotted on the Auction Watch here I was very soon in possession of a complete set of excellent working order, if slightly tatty, HS33s - which I soon complimented with a blindingly bargain priced EvoII booster/mounting kit.
I should at this stage point out that I was yet to discover retrobike
so I was completely ignorant of the outrage that would be provoked by the fitting of the seat in the photo below!! I can own up to this now because I have since replaced it with a Flite
though I am resolutely sticking with the seatpost that replaced the one in the photo and you're not going to approve of either...
Things were progressing nicely but something was still bugging me? The fork just didn't look quite right? Ah, it's the wrong colour! A rattle-can paint job and a set of retrobike
decals later and I was happy - that's more like it... But then I noticed the scorn regularly heaped upon the original Exage 500LX groupset - oh bugger! More expense...
Back to eBay in search of some nice retro LX componentry - work in progress photo below...
As you can see, despite the rather naff photo quickly taken to MMS to my son, the build at this stage is very nearly finished - just the front brake to fit and it's done. Uh-huh, you think? The above is what I would term the 'Mk3' incarnation (Mk1 was out of the box, Mk2 was with standard P2 and awful seat...) - I'll take some decent pix of the 'Mk4' and post them ASAP because I've now completely changed my mind over which direction this is going to go
AAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaarghhhhhhhhhh - PHUCK!! Why did I have to buy that 1 1/4" Chris King headset? WHY
To be continued
So, to update;
Having decided I wanted to radically customise my recently acquired Cro-Mega I found I couldn't do without my neon-framed bike either!
My initial idea was to source another frame, build two bikes and just swap components around depending which bike I wanted to ride - hmmm...
Luckily, trolling back through the 'for sale' section I spotted HC's bike and it still seemed to be available? A quick PM confirmed that yes, it was still for sale, but someone had just beaten me to it with the PM!
Hells teeth! Still, I had second bite so fingers crossed...
Fast forward a couple of weeks and HC's Cro-Mega is now sitting in a box in my kitchen courtsey of my other half...
(it wouldn't still be boxed up were it not for the fact I contracted food-poisoning last weekend, wasn't at work when UPS delivered it on Monday and haven't had time since!!
) So, shortly I shall be unboxing my new steed and introducing it to its stablemate (too many metaphores?) for a couple of pix to keep the punters happy...