...this is the kind of stuff I'd post on it.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Reunited (and it feels so good)

After finishing my R-12 quest back in December, I got a little lazy with my rando riding, and the Mercian fell into a bit of disrepair.  A snapped rear Honjo fender all but guaranteed that I wouldn't be riding this bike until it was re-fendered, since we're in the midst of another rain-filled winter here in Seattle.  When I finally got my act together, and decided to get the Mercian back on the road, I rounded up a few parts and headed to the basement.

After having used the 28mm Grand Bois Cerf tires for the past year and completely falling in love with them (ask any randonneur, it IS possible to fall in love with a tire), I wanted to step it up and try the 32mm Grand Bois Cypres.

crappy cell phone picture #1
It took some sawing, filing, and some hammering, but I managed to squeeze in some 45mm VO stainless fenders underneath the Tektro R538 sidepulls that I have on the bike, with plenty of clearance for the 32mm tires.  I've learned quite a bit about installing metal fenders, having done a few pairs now, but they're still tricky to get right.  I found Jan Heine's article in the Winter 2010 issue of Bicycle Quarterly to be full of really great tips for not only mounting metal fenders, but mounting them properly.  Unfortunately, the article isn't available online, but you can always pick up a hard copy.  The fender article alone is worth the price of admission.

crappy cell phone picture #2
My frame is setup to use every last millimeter of the Tektro's 57mm reach, and I squeezed every last bit of clearance I could out of this setup. I honestly don't think anything larger would fit comfortably.  Over the years I've learned a lot about what I want out of good rando bike, and someday in the future I'll start over with a blank slate and build up my "ultimate randonneuse".  In the meantime, the Mercian is pretty dialed, and these Cypres tires are sublime.  I know that this machine will be able to take me though a busy randonneuring season, all the way to Paris-Brest-Paris this summer.

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