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.
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.
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??
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!