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  1. #1
    Reeks of aged cotton duck Hydrated's Avatar
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    A Kogswell Odyssey

    I know that the bike that I'm discussing isn't really C&V, but you guys and girls think the way that I do... plus I figure that someone in here will have the answers to my questions. Anyways... Kogswell is no more. So that makes their frames instant C&V candidates, right?

    I've always had special feelings for useful bikes. Yeah... the zippy bikes with miniature bags are cool and all... but give me a bike with a big honkin' rack... maybe some panniers. Yowsa!

    So I eyed the Kogswell frames (especially the PR) for years, but never pulled the trigger on one. Then when Mr. Grimm and company called it quits I just figured I'd lost my chance at a brand new Kogswell. Then in steps fate.

    I was down at the LBS a couple of weeks ago, and one of the young mechanics there was complaining about a funky frame that he'd come across. He said that it was a 650b specific frame and he didn't want to build up wheels just for this bike... but with either 700c or 26" wheels he couldn't get brakes to fit correctly. He told me that he planned to build it up as a fixie and ride it without brakes.

    So I asked him what kind it was... he said he'd never heard of the brand before, but he brought it out from the back room:



    A brand new Kogswell PR MkII!

    The thought of this bike ending up as a 21 year old's fixie made my eyes water, but I kept a calm demeanor while I got the whole story on the bike. I knew there had to be something up... mainly because this kid is a racer type who only rides CF high zoot gear. How did he come across this frame??

    Turns out that this is probably one of the very last frames that the Kogswell team shipped out before they closed up shop. This kid had a friend who bought a PR from Kogswell, and when his frame arrived, it was the wrong size. So he contacted the boys at Kogswell and they shipped him the correct sized frame and told him to stand by and they'd give him instruction on how and where to ship the returned frame. So he built up his bike while this frame sat in a corner of his garage.

    After a couple of weeks, he had heard nothing from the company about where to send this frame, so he called. Phone disconnected. Nobody home. So the frame sat unused.

    Finally the guy gave the frame to this kid... and I talked him out of it for a song. He wanted cash (what 21 year old doesn't want cash?) and he isn't into practical bikes... so I gave him some cash.

    Now then. My plans.

    I'm going to build this bike up as my "Super Cruiser"... using great quality parts. I plan to ride this bike for a long time, so I want nice gear strapped to it. I'm shooting for a bike that is a pleasure to ride, while being useful.

    Here's what I have planned for parts:
    • Velocity Synergy rims
    • Chris King headset
    • Schmidt SON28 dynamo hub
    • IQ Cyo LED headlamp
    • Shimano XT rear hub
    • Sugino XD600 triple crankset
    • Phil Wood bottom bracket
    • VO Porteur rack
    • Brooks B17 saddle
    • VO Elk hide sewn-on bar covers
    • Ultegra front and rear derailleurs
    • SRAM PG990 11-32 cassette
    • Nitto Randonneur drop bars
    • Vintage Suntour Power Ratchet bar end shifters
    • Thomson Elite seatpost
    • Thomson Elite stem


    Now I need some help from you guys. I've never owned a 650b bike, so I have a couple of questions from anyone who has 650b experience, and Kogswell owners in particular.

    First question:
    Tires. I'm torn between the Pacenti Pari-Moto 38mm rubber and the Grand Bois Hetre 42mm tires. Which would you run on a PR? Fenders are not a factor... I'm going to run her without fenders. I already have a rain bike, so this one won't see the foul weather days very often, if at all.

    Second:
    Frame pump. This frame has a pump peg behind the seat tube. And I think that behind the seat tube is the coolest place to store a frame pump. Ever. The problem is finding one to fit there. The gap measures 36cm... and I can't find anything that size! Where can I find a quality frame pump to fit that gap??


    And lastly:
    What can I expect from this bike and from riding 650b in general? I've ordered my parts and I'm waiting for them all to arrive, but I'm excited and I want some stories and opinions from 650b riders and Kogswell owners. Fill me in on your likes and dislikes while I wait for the UPS man to come to my house!
    "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." George Orwell

  2. #2
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    I'm presently building one. A couple things to keep in mind:

    1. Some people report shimmy problems with the later generation frames with lightweight tubes. I've read it might be more common on the 700c version, but I'm not sure. If your tubes are oversize (31.8 top tube and downtube) you have a Stout, which supposedly doesn't suffer from this affliction. However, you might consider a roller bearing headset instead of the King. I installed a Miche with roller bearing on the bottom, bearing ball on the top, but I understand there's a full roller bearing version available (I can dig for it if you're interested). I can't say I've experienced shimmy, but that's because I'm having other build fits (chainline and crankset choice), and haven't ridden it more than 1/4 mile.

    2. Brake chatter/shudder is common on the front. I think the fork is just overly flexy. I experienced it using Tektro CR720 brakes and Kool Stop salmon MTB pads. Changed back the smaller Tektro holders and Kool Stop salmon inserts and the problem seems better. Getting squeal now, though, even after spending lots of time adjusting and re-adjusting pad alignment, toe-in, straddle cable positioning, cantilever tension. There's a fork mounted cable stop available, which I bought, but it will interfere with the fork mounted front rack I bought (you may not have this problem). It's worked for me in the past to resolve chatter issues.

    On the tires, the point of 650b is fat, cushy tires. I'm going with 42 Hetres and fenders. Why go any smaller?

    Anyway, sounds like you have a great build plan. I'll be curious to see how it progresses.

  3. #3
    Senior Member southpawboston's Avatar
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    nlerner had a Kogswell PR2 at some point, but sold it. He'd be able to give you the complete lowdown on this frameset.

    Firstly, I would suggest bringing the frameset to an LBS that has the experience and proper tools for checking out frame alignments. I had heard that the PR2s had some serious production issues, leading to frames that were shipped with bad alignments and frames that wouldn't track straight when built up. Since you got this frameset for a song, I'd spend a little money and have all that thoroughly checked out before you put a lot of money into it. If it checks out, then you've got a really nice 650B frameset to build up!

    I like your proposed build list, but if you're going to go with a 9-speed cassette, I'd consider going with modern shifters, and possibly indexed. I'm running an 8-speed cassette with a vintage derailleur and Suntour bar-cons, and I find that tiny movement of the shifter can result in chatter or ghost shifting. These shifters were designed for much narrower 5- and 6-speed freewheels with wide spacing between the cogs.

    For wheels, I have the 650B Synergies and they're great. I bought them from Anthony King/Longleaf Bicycles and had him build them up around an Ultegra rear and Shimano dynamo hub front. I'm running 42mm Hetres on them and love them!

    From what I've read, the Pari-motos are wonderful riding, fast road tires, but have very little tread depth, and wear out very rapidly. They're made more for single, long events like PBP, then get thrown away. The Hetres should last a lot longer, can be used on gravel and dirt trails, and since the PR2 frame can fit them just fine, why not?

    By the way, here's my 650B wheelset on a frame that I converted from 27" to 650B:

    Last edited by southpawboston; 04-13-11 at 08:46 AM.

  4. #4
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    ^ As Anton noted, I'm a former Kogswell P/R MkII owner. I sold it because I bought an Ebisu 650B frameset (plus it was too long in the top tube for me). I never experienced shimmy and had the bike set up in various configurations over three years: randonneur w/ a triple crankset, bar-end shifters, and 8-speed rear end; porteur with upright bars and front basket; single speed with drop bars. That bike and I survived the western Mass D2R2 a couple of years ago (and my poor aching neck hasn't been the same since!). It's a very versatile bike, but as Anton notes, the frame alignment might be off and some threads might need to be chased. Enjoy!

    Neal

    p.s. There's still a semi-active Kogswell Owners Group site: http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/KOG/

  5. #5
    Reeks of aged cotton duck Hydrated's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkYardBike View Post
    2. Brake chatter/shudder is common on the front. I think the fork is just overly flexy. I experienced it using Tektro CR720 brakes and Kool Stop salmon MTB pads. Changed back the smaller Tektro holders and Kool Stop salmon inserts and the problem seems better. Getting squeal now, though, even after spending lots of time adjusting and re-adjusting pad alignment, toe-in, straddle cable positioning, cantilever tension. There's a fork mounted cable stop available, which I bought, but it will interfere with the fork mounted front rack I bought (you may not have this problem). It's worked for me in the past to resolve chatter issues.
    Oh man! I should have consulted with you guys BEFORE I ordered my parts.

    I bought Paul Neo Retro cantis for front and rear. I understand that they're pretty powerful brakes... now watch me yank on those brakes and fold my fork in under my downtube!

    And you have convinced me... it's gonna be Hetres!
    "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." George Orwell

  6. #6
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Well, Neal didn't mention brake chatter, so maybe you'll be okay. Also, if you're not using Kool Stop salmons, you may have no trouble. They tend to be a bit grabby. I've got a Synergy rim on the front as well, with the non-machined surface. I bet if they were machined the pads wouldn't stick. My first test was to swap the crappy Tektro pads in, and that did the trick. But those pads eat rims in my experience, so I put in some Kool Stop Salmon inserts. If it develops brake chatter, I'll try the regular Kool Stop black pads.

    Didn't mean to rain on your parade. I'm sure it will build up nicely!
    Last edited by JunkYardBike; 04-13-11 at 09:27 AM.

  7. #7
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    One question: what front derailleur do you plan to use with the XD600 crank? I went with a bigger 48T chainring on the same cranks (making for a 36-48 jump) and the Shimano 105 triple FD I have on there doesn't like it at all. I'll either have to increase the middle ring size or go back to the 46T big ring.

    I'm sure Neal will say he used a Campy Valentino successfully.

  8. #8
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    I initially used Shimano BR-550 brakes and didn't get any chatter. Some Kog owners have reported reach problems with those brakes, however (it seems the canti posts were mounted without a lot of QC). I didn't have a reach problem, but they also only gave mediocre performance, and eventually the rear snapped off at the spring that goes into the canti-mount. I ran a mix of old-school Shimano LX brakes after that, and those worked much better (still no chatter). My one problem is that I was never able to get the stock headset tight enough to eliminate slop in the front end. That didn't seem to affect ride performance, but made running a steerer-mount decaleur fairly impossible (the decaleur and bag would swing around).

    As far as tires, if you're not going to run fenders, you should be able to fit the 42mm Hetres no problem. You can't go wrong with the 38mm Pacentis, however. They are very nice tires.

    Neal

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkYardBike View Post
    I'm sure Neal will say he used a Campy Valentino successfully.
    Hah! That one's sitting in a box after taking it off of my Ryall, JYB. Yours if you want it!

    I ran some sort of Shimano Deore FD, a DX or LX, I think, made for MTB triples. Worked great with barcon friction shifters.

    Neal

  10. #10
    Senior Member bobbycorno's Avatar
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    I built my P/R mk2 (64cm, 700c) with Shimano BR550's - absolute WORST brake in the world. Shudder like crazy, zero stopping power, mushy... I could go on, but you get the idea. Replaced 'em with Tektro mini-v's. Still mushy, but at least they stopped. And no shudder. Replaced those with some used Radius high profile canti's from 'bay. Aaaahhhh.... Third time's a charm. Rock solid, no shudder, good (tho' not outstanding) stopping power. So my recommendation: get old school / cyclocross style hi-pro cantis. They are the ONLY way to go.

    SP
    Bend, OR

    ps - if you don't want to run your rear wheel all the way back in the dropouts (why would you?), Surly "Monkey Nuts" (r axle stops for Karate Monkey) do the trick, if a bit pricey ($25ish a pair)

  11. #11
    Senior Member southpawboston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbycorno View Post
    I built my P/R mk2 (64cm, 700c) with Shimano BR550's - absolute WORST brake in the world. Shudder like crazy, zero stopping power, mushy... I could go on, but you get the idea. Replaced 'em with Tektro mini-v's. Still mushy, but at least they stopped. And no shudder. Replaced those with some used Radius high profile canti's from 'bay. Aaaahhhh.... Third time's a charm. Rock solid, no shudder, good (tho' not outstanding) stopping power. So my recommendation: get old school / cyclocross style hi-pro cantis. They are the ONLY way to go.

    SP
    Bend, OR

    ps - if you don't want to run your rear wheel all the way back in the dropouts (why would you?), Surly "Monkey Nuts" (r axle stops for Karate Monkey) do the trick, if a bit pricey ($25ish a pair)
    Although I have no way of knowing whether these would work well on a Kog PR2, my experience with Shimano's original hi-profile canti (BR-MC70) is that they're *wicked* powerful, even with the original 25-30 year old pads! I've had them on two bikes, and never had shudder, squeal, or poor stopping power.

    bobbycorno, are those monkey nuts anything like this axle stop? These came on this frame and I never understood why the frame maker didn't just source DOs with adjuster screws... seems it would be cheaper?


  12. #12
    Reeks of aged cotton duck Hydrated's Avatar
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    What about the frame pump? Anybody got some ideas on what kind will fit and where I can find one?
    "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." George Orwell

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hydrated View Post
    What about the frame pump? Anybody got some ideas on what kind will fit and where I can find one?
    Do a search on the KOG group I linked to. It's been discussed in that forum.

    Neal

  14. #14
    Reeks of aged cotton duck Hydrated's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
    Do a search on the KOG group I linked to. It's been discussed in that forum.
    According to the KOG, a Zefal HPx1 will fit right in there.
    "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." George Orwell

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    My friend has a P&R as his main ride. He really had a love-hate relationship with his bike, switching between noodle bars, albatrosses, 3ttt city bars, mustache bars, and finally VO porteur bars. What finally made the bike ride right was the Hetre tires. I rode it in all of his configurations and I agree. They were a vast improvement over the Panaracer Col de la vie as well as Riv Maxy Fasty tires.

  16. #16
    Reeks of aged cotton duck Hydrated's Avatar
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    Well... I finally finished:

    And before anyone says it: Yes... the rack is level when the bike isn't up on the kickstand.



    I have only logged about 100 miles on her to date, but so far I can say that I love the way she rides and handles. This bike has the best balance of utility and performance of any bike that I've ever ridden. I think that it's the combination of a relatively light and stiff frame... only high quality parts (especially any part with bearings)... and the wheelset. I built the wheels myself with a SON front dyno hub, Shimano XT rear mountain hub, DT Swiss Revolution butted spokes (2.0/1.5 butts), alloy nipples (blue ones!), and SRAM PG990 alloy cassette. They're light and responsive with Grand Bois Hetres on them. Those big tires are AMAZING!


    I learned some things during this build:
    • The 650b hype is true. I'm a 650b kool-aid drinker now.
    • Be careful what tubes you use with these great big tires. I went through 3 Schwalbe 650b specific tubes before I went to 26"x1.9" MTB tubes for dependability. Every time I pumped the 650b tubes up to max pressure of 75 pounds they sprung multiple pinhole leaks. I suspect that they aren't meant to go as big as 42mm.
    • If you set out for a ride on a new bike and hear a strange noise... pay attention! Don't just think "Hey... it's just a new part that needs to break in a little."
    • It takes about 20 miles for an ill-fitting ESGE Pletscher kickstand making a strange noise to rub completely through the sidewall of a brand new $80 Hetre.
    • A Dremel tool is great for shaving down an ill-fitting ESGE Pletscher kickstand and creating clearance for great big 650b tires.
    • Running barcon shifters with the cables underneath the bar wrap requires extra long cables... I used stainless tandem cables.
    • When set up and adjusted properly, Paul Neo-retro cantilever brakes with Kool-Stop salmon pads will stop you so fast that it'll detach your retinas!

    I'm going to get some longer rides logged on her, then I'll report back.

    Stay tuned!
    Last edited by Hydrated; 06-11-11 at 11:15 AM.
    "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." George Orwell

  17. #17
    Senior Member fender1's Avatar
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    Nice job! Just wonering if you are going to add fenders? 9spd friction?

  18. #18
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    Beautiful!

    Cheers,
    Chris

  19. #19
    Reeks of aged cotton duck Hydrated's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fender1 View Post
    Nice job! Just wonering if you are going to add fenders? 9spd friction?
    No fenders for this bike. I have Honjos on my '84 Trek 520... that's my rain bike.

    And I'm running 9 speed friction on this one. I actually have 9 speed in friction mode on three other bikes already. I don't mind trimming gears... after 30+ years of riding, trimming after a shift is second nature anyways.

    EDIT: I actually have 9 speed friction on two other bikes... my Surly Pacer has a 10 speed friction drivetrain.
    Last edited by Hydrated; 06-11-11 at 10:15 AM. Reason: info
    "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." George Orwell

  20. #20
    Reeks of aged cotton duck Hydrated's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkYardBike View Post
    One question: what front derailleur do you plan to use with the XD600 crank? I went with a bigger 48T chainring on the same cranks (making for a 36-48 jump) and the Shimano 105 triple FD I have on there doesn't like it at all. I'll either have to increase the middle ring size or go back to the 46T big ring.
    I used a new Ultegra triple FD even though it isn't spec'd for the rings on the Sugino XD600... the jump between the big and middle rings isn't big enough for that FD. So if you set the FD up with correct clearance on the big ring, the FD inner plate won't clear the middle ring. I just set the FD up a little higher so it clears the middle ring and it shifts just fine. The extra 2mm clearance on the big ring doesn't hurt a thing.
    "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." George Orwell

  21. #21
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    That looks great! I'm a former Kogswell P/R owner, one I sold primarily because it was too big for me in the top tube, but I did like the way it handled. My only quibble: You'll be putting a great deal of side-to-side stress on the bracket that goes from the fork crown to the porteur rack. If it's good and beefy, that likely won't matter, but it something to keep an eye on if you'll be carrying big loads up front (for which the P/R geometry is ideal).

    Neal

  22. #22
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Hey, it turned out nice! Glad you didn't have the fork shudder problem. You're probably a genius for ordering Paul's. Even though they are more powerful, they probably have more precise, even spring tension on each side. The Tektro 720's I have were woefully uneven right out of the box. I had to tweak the spring on one to increase the spring tension, but I still don't think they are close enough. I've changed my front pads to shorter V-brake type with Kool Stop inserts (vs. the longer Thinlines and MTB variety) to alleviate shudder. I can almost feel it sometimes if I'm coming to a stop on a very steep hill right before I come to a stop, but it's not a big problem (yet). However, I've traded that for occasional squeal problems, usually when it's humid out. I'll take the trade-off.

    I ended up going with a Campy triple braze-on FD I had, mounted to an adapter. Shifts like a champ, so it stays.

    Avoid fenders if you can. The kickstand platform (which you have put to good use) really makes things tight. I'm sure even without a fender, you have to deflate the tire to get the rear wheel out. Would have preferred vertical drops in the rear, but I suppose this was designed to take IGH hubs, too. But you'll see in my pic below what the kickstand bracket does to fender line. I should have mounted the fender in front of the bracket rather than behind it.

    I agree with your assessment of the ride on Hetres. Very lively and light feeling. I wish, however, that my build was a bit lighter overall (it's about 31 lbs as pictured, including bag and some tools inside) to help on the hills. Maybe I'll build it again with carbon fiber bits! Or maybe I should consider reducing the weight of the engine first.


  23. #23
    Senior Member mudboy's Avatar
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    Welcome to the 650b club...there is something different about the tire size, especially with big fatties pumped up to 70PSI

    "Dos" says hi!


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