Blog 05-05-23

Way back in December 2014 – my goodness, that’s almost 10-years ago – I purchased a bicycle frameset, a Genesis Day One 853, a premium lightweight, stiff, yet supple steel frame, made by the famous Reynolds company. The intention was to build a sub-10 kg lightweight single speed bike. For those who do not know what a single speed bike is, it’s a bike without gears, it just has one single gear. I wanted something lightweight, pure and simple. However, I never really made use of the bike and it was stripped down for parts and the frameset languished forlornly in the attic for years, gathering dust, getting scratched and generally being sadly neglected.

But the other day I came across the frameset and decided something had to be done. I would build another bike. And that soon evolved into a custom paint bike project. I’d come across a brand called Spray.Bike who produce cans of spray paint, or rattle cans as they are often called. The paint is different to the usual spray can paint in that it’s a dry matt powder-coating style paint but without requiring subsequent heat-treating and is also less prone to drip, dribble, spurt or run, though you still need to take care when applying and adhere to the guidelines. You get a nice gloss finish by spraying on a top coat, if you prefer. Looking at all the examples on the website and online was very inspiring, hence this project.

At the moment, the frameset is at Pentland Powder Coatings for sand-blasting, a relatively expensive method of stripping paint, but far easier, more effective and far less messy than using nasty chemical paint strippers. The paint has been ordered and is winging its way to me via FedEx, hopefully arriving sometime today. The frameset should also be ready today for collection. Also in the order is primer and gloss transparent finish.

The paint range I’ve gone for is the entire fluorescent collection of six colours, a range of “blisteringly bright neon’s for both intense colour and reflective safety use”, along with black and white as well. The colours are fluro yellow, fluro orange, fluro magenta, fluro pink, fluro green and fluro light blue.

The reason for choosing all eight colours was down to the wheel rims which I’m also painting. The rims are 32-hole and 8 divides into 32 nicely. Oh, better check that, 32/8 = 4. Yes, that’s correct. (And I didn’t use my pocket calculator!) My initial thought was for eight panels of colour using all 8 colours. However, I had the idea of doing four quadrants, two in black and two in white which would be quite eye-catching*. But we shall see. I’m also painting the handlebars. S0, hopefully, should be ready to start painting by this weekend. Just need some nice warm dry weather. All the other components will remain their original gloss black. The overall colour scheme is various blocks of different colours, possibly with white or black separating borders.

Of course, the paint job is just part of the project. I also need to decide exactly what style of bike to build, as well as decide exactly what I’m going to use the bike for. I already have two bikes, the Surly Ogre which is my general purpose do-almost-anything road bike, particularly turfing. Then there’s the Surly Pugsley fat bike, which I built for sandy beaches and coastal dunes, winter snow and soft terrain like the boggy grass-covered hills of the Southern Uplands but it does make the most amazing cross-country trail bike as well.

Option One, is a minimalist street bike, single speed gear, flat handlebars, skinny 35mm wide tyres, disc brakes and not much else other than a bell. I’m tempted to keep the bike “naked”, no luggage, bottle cages, carriers or the like, intending to use a small rucksack for anything I need to carry. Option Two, is veering towards a minimalist off-road bike, 8-speed hub gearing, same flat bars, 38 mm tyres with a good tread pattern (widest the frame will accomodate) and the remainder as above. Again, keeping the bike “naked” for ease of use in difficult terrain, for example, turfing the zones around Dalhousie Castle or along the River North Esk. However, plenty of time to change my mind and make a final decision. In any case, the painting will take some time, so no rush to decide.

It’s quite an expensive project this when compared to purchasing a bike ready built. Going the single speed route would cost about £650. Opting for the 8-speed hub would add another £200 to £250. Compare this to buying a new 0ff-the-shelf bike. The single speed Genesis Flyer comes in at around £600 if you shop around and go for an earlier year’s model. The Genesis Day One with an 8-speed gear costs about £900. However, neither would be as good a specification as my own build with the Reynolds frameset and neither would be exactly as I want. Out of interest, the Genesis Day One 853 frameset I’m using cost £400 back in 2014. Today, a similar frameset costs £1100. That’s inflation for you.

Anyway, off to the shed to work on the Surly Ogre. A few weeks ago I was in Mutts Cycles in Newtongrange and Scott noticed my front tyre was on the wrong way round. A school-boy error on my part. Same with the rear tyre. So, back home, I set about swapping them about. Then yesterday I noticed that the rear tyre was the wrong way round. Now, either some mischievous Bicycle Repair Goblin has been at work or I removed the tyre and re-fitted it again the same wrong way round. Must have been the first option. Well, could not possible have been the other one! More soon.

*This has me thinking about a second project, perhaps with one of the Swifty kick scooters, using an alternative colour scheme with only black and white.

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