I finally finished putting together the bike for which I built the frame, my first frame. Written about here, here, and here.
I rode it to work several days this week, taking it over broken streets, across railroad tracks, over rough unpaved roads with large gravel-filled potholes and exposed railroad ties, and up and down steep hills. (That's the ride from the heights of West Seattle to Pioneer Square, via the railyards servicing the harbor.)
To my utter surprise, the frame didn't fall apart. In fact -- although this may be the blind love of creation speaking -- it's just about the best riding bike I've ever ridden. I just can't get over it.
Notice the drawn-in front end. That's the 74 degree head tube angle. Yet, there is sufficient fork trail that the bike is not twitchy. It's very stable. (By comparison, the Specialized Allez Elite I have built up has a mind of its own.)
It also tracks straight, although it's a little hard to tell with a fixed gear.
To finish the bike, I sprayed it with a light coat of metal primer. Hopefully, this will let me see any flaws that develop. I had to file one of the rear dropouts a bit to get it to accept an axle.
I built the rear wheel with a 36-hole Alex DM 18 rim, Surly hub, and Sapim 14g straight spokes crossed 4x, and mounted a Panaracer Ruffy Tuffy tire (from Aaron's, who first alerted me to this tire). Front wheel came off my pile of front wheels. I added an IRD bottom bracket (also from Aaron's) and a Pake track crankset (46t). Rear cog is 18t or 19t. Brake calipers are old Campy Athena from a bike I had 20 years ago, paired with new Tektro levers. Saddle, stem, headset, seatpost, and bars are just stuff I had lying around.
Well, I'm hooked. I'm planning my next frameset, perusing the online catalog of Nova Cycles to see what frame materials are available, and how much they cost. I'm in the process of arranging access to welding gear at Pratt Fine Arts' sculpture studio. And I'm enjoying the challenge of devising ways to build the frame without $5,000 worth of jigs and fixtures. People keep saying that framebuilding is all about problem-solving, and they're right!