Saturday, November 8, 2008

Soul Cycles Build

The fine people at FedEx came through and a sweet pile of boxes with frames, wheels and parts showed up at my office on Wednesday. I had a group CX workout/ride/slugfest Wednesday night, so the best I could do that night was lay out the pieces and take a picture. It was probably for the best, because starting a project like this at night could have led to trouble. The good news was that I have more vacation days left than I'll be able to use and I was able to take a half day on Thursday. My first stop was Home Depot, so I could build a ghetto headset press that I saw on the internet. Gotta love the world wide web, it isn't just for porn you know.

Ghetto headset press ready to go, I got to work installing the headset. It wasn't without its challenges, and I'll probably just go to a LBS next time, but I really wanted to build up the bike on my own. With the headset in place it was time to deal with the fork. I've never taken a hacksaw to a perfectly good fork, but after some measuring, headset spacer shuffling, and Sharpie marking, I was ready to let 'er rip with the hacksaw. It was actually pretty easy and after a little sanding I was good to go. I'm probably going to end up lowering the stem some and I'll bust the hacksaw back out so I don't end up with two inches of spacers above the stem, but I wanted to play it safe until I figured out handlebar position, etc. Setting the star nut deal into the fork was a little challenging without the proper tool, but again, I was able to get it in ghetto style. That's another item that a LBS could take care of in about 2 seconds, but I had to do it.

Fork and stem in place, the wheels, handlebars, brakes, and lock on grips were pretty much a no brainer. Avid is kind enough to send the brakes pre-bled, so short of zips ties and bolts it was already good to go. That kind of made my day since I haven't bled brakes in a long time and wasn't psyched about the idea.

Next step was to install the bottom bracket, crankset and chain. Again, it was pretty straightforward. The eccentric bottom bracket made tensioning the chain fairly painless, so it was time to steal some pedals from one of my CX bikes and ride around my driveway in the dark. On a side note, my old lady and I have lived in our house for about 3 and a half years, and we don't really know any of our neighbors. I'm reasonably certain they must think I'm insane after a few years of watching me roll out in the rain, snow, dark, and then ride circles while trying to pop wheelies in my driveway at 8:30 in the evening. I don't think any of them will be inviting us over for dinner any time soon.

I'm racing tomorrow, so I probably won't get a chance to really ride this thing in the woods until next week, but I'll keep you posted. All indications are that it should be a lot of fun. I've never owned a single speed, so it will be interesting to see how long it takes for me to lose the urge to shift. Even riding up my driveway I kept thinking I should grab a gear or two.

I'll provide more feedback on the bike, and some pictures of it once it had some mud on it, but first impressions are very positive, and the paint, fit and finish are impeccable. I also have to add that Chad at Soul Cycles was great to work with and provided plenty of options and advice for the build up.

Drumroll's bike is in the process of being built up, so keep an eye out. Maybe he'll even have a SS race report.

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