01 January 2008

Project Part Shuffle

As these things usually do, this project started with a deal that was too good to pass up. In this case, it was actually three deals an a bit of luck. I've had this titanium Raleigh cyclocross frame since living in Nottingham (home of Raleigh) several years ago. I'm not sure what the complete story is- it may be an old team bike or a one-off, but it certainly doesn't come across as a production model. There are Raleigh Special Products stickers here and there, the serial number is obviously hand-stamped, and the stays are a bit oddly shaped, requiring a very wide bottom bracket. It came from a guy named Chris T. who, at about 5'8, swore that it was cursed, as he kept crashing it. Turns out that the crashes were to be expected- it has a 56cm top tube. After my ride was stolen (my flat was broken in to), Chris T. took pity and traded it for some pre-production Shimano carbon mountain shoes that didn't quite fit me.

Initially, it was built up with a flat bar, wrapped in black electrical tape, and saw service as my messenger bike. A couple of years later, it was transformed back to a road-ish cross bike, with an '03 Ultegra kit, and it's seen road and commuting use ever since. Recently, I came across a barely-used '02 Trek 5200 frame that had been traded in at a local shop. Soon thereafter, I came across a similarly under-used 60cm Cannondale R5000 with full 9 speed Dura Ace and cosmetically (I hope) damaged Cosmic Carbone wheels and a pimped out On-One il Pompino single speed. The Dura Ace kit came off of the 'dale and, along with some nice parts off of the Raleigh, went on the Trek (right). Dan hooked us up with an Eccentric ENO flip-flop hub, and the Raleigh became a fixed gear. Our test Cayne Uno was also cannibealized, and all of the loose ends went on eBay and Craigslist. This may not be a break-even project, but it'll be close, thanks largely to the On-One.

There are deals to be had out there, and taking advantage of them requires a bit of luck and the willingness to pull the trigger when they present themselves. As a rule, I try to only buy things that I wouldn't mind being stuck with. Sometimes it all works out, sometimes it doesn't. As a result of this little project, we'll have the chance to review some bits that we otherwise wouldn't. Look for White Industries ENO eccentric hub, Sun ME14A rim, Paul canti brake and a handful of other reviews in the near future. I will say that the eccentric hub is pretty darn cool so far...



Matt said...

Hell YEAH!!!!!!

Awesome build Marc. A ti SS roadie has been on my wish list for a while now. I've gotten the Bianchi all roadied up a few times, but it's heart is still a cross bike. I mean it's still a 22lb bike with only one gear. Your Raleigh is looking wicked!

I'm thinking of doing the same thing with the Felt F 45 - not ti - but a al/carbon mixed material frame. It just has that super nice Campy Chorus on it and it would be a sin to put that stuff in a box.

marc said...

Thanks! It came in at 18lb, by the way, with pedals, kevlar belted tires and a bunch of Stans in the tubes. Rode it for a couple of hours yesterday and it sure was nice... There are so many nice kicking around frames around these days that you should have plenty of options.