This bike started with the idea of a classically designed steel single speed road bike. It would have traditional performance road geometry, clearance for 28c road tires, and it was to be painted school bus yellow to match my 1988 vintage Pofahl drop bar mountain bike. After fitting Mark to his current road bike, we used that as a basis for this built. All designed and plugged in to Bike CAD, here's what we ended up with.
The bike features a slightly sloping top tube, fairly short chain stays, and a slightly lower bottom bracket to match the larger 28c tires. All in all it's a pretty standard road bike with a few retro twists. The frame, fork, and custom stem were all going to be fillet brazed.
Here's the finished product. The stem is flipped to the positive on the real bike, but the rest is just as pictured above. The fit and finish are spot on, as is the original design. To quote Mark when he came back from a 20 minute test ride, "It's perfect." Hard to sum it up better than that.
The parts used for this build are a mix of new and used parts. The foundation of the build lies in the White Industry hubs and freewheel. Especially on a single speed, these are critical components. We laced White Eno single speed hubs to Hed Belgium rims with standard butted spokes and brass nipples. Along with their classic look, these wheels should provide years of untouched good service.
The rear drop outs are from Paul Components. These feature built in, finger operated chain tensioners. They are classically designed, and functionally perfect. I love the length of adjustment these provide as well as the ease of chain tensioning. They are a perfect choice for this build.
Up front the bike wears a Pofahl stem to match the gorgeous fillet brazed, unicrown fork. The headset is a subtle Cane Creek 100 in black. It's one of my favorites, the no logo look matches well with the clean classic build. Really clean fillets and head tube enforcing lugs round out the front end of the bike. The fork is cut long for fine tuning of fit. It will be cut a second time once Mark arrives at a happy spot.
On of the key components of this bike is the tire selection. These are Schwalbe Ultremo ZX tires in 28c. These are impressive tires to say the least. They are among the highest performance road tires made, and are really, really light. Mounted on Hed rims these measure out to be an actual 31mm at 90psi! It's hard to fully describe how big these are. I love them. They are enough to make a guy consider new road bike possibilities for sure. As light as they are, and as high quality as they are, imagine what these would ride like on a pair of Hed Ardennes or a similar really light set up!
The tires really fill up the fork and brake nicely. More than a little gunsmithing was required to modify these brakes to clear the tires. A set of vintage single pivot Campagnolo or Suntour brakes with non aero levers would look superb on this set up while providing perfect clearance for the tires. The adjusting barrel on the brake is tightened all the way up to prevent the bike from rolling for these pictures.
The hourglass seat stays are one of the finer points of Mike's construction of this bike. They just flow to the drop outs. Super clean, the thin tubing further accentuates the considerable girth of the big Schwalbes.
I love the profile of this bike. It's one of those that definitely just look right. It is poised and composed as a modern bike, but elegantly constructed with classic looking parts. I think we really achieved exactly what we set out to with this build.
We wish Mark many happy miles on his new bike. It was a pleasure to work on this from start to finish. I couldn't be happier with the result.