Some weeks ago fender1 snagged this Raleigh Portage frameset that happened to be my size. I convinced him I should own it and he gave me a very good price on it. It had been repainted and came as seen here, with its original sealed bearing hubs laced to 26" MTB rims.
I started gathering parts for it. A little later ColonelLoyd informed me of a set of 650b wheels off of a Rivendel someone was selling on his local CL for a good price. He was nice enough to pick them up for me and ship 'em too. Most of the rest of the parts I had, though Nlerner sent me some suntour bar ends. This forum is the best eh? Well some of you anyway...
Well, this past week I got her built up, and today I took her for a nice 25-30 miler. This is my first experience with 650b by the way.
So, here's the bike:
Here's the build list:
-45cm nitto b115's
-sr 77mm stem
-green newbaums cotton tape
-brooks pro, big copper rivets
-older blackburn front rack that will be getting swapped out of a better fitting Vo or Nitto soon
-650b velocity rims laced to deore hubs. the front will be switched to a switchable VO dyno very soon. 9 sp shimano 13-34 cassette
- suntour xt rear mech
- suntour lepree front mech
- TA cyclotouriste running 48/32 rings, 170mm arms.
-38mm Panaracer Col de Vie's
-nos black bluemels
in short, it is freaking awesome! Why? Because it is fast, stable, comfortable, and floats over crappy road conditions, which we have a lot here.
Fast because it keeps up just fine with people riding 23mm tire road bikes. Easily cruising at the same speed I cruise on riding my racier bikes. Say 16-18 mph in flats for example.
Stable because it's a touring bike with super long chain stays with fat tires( with low rolling resistance - bought and shipped for less than the price of one Hetre, low road noise too) and predictable steering.
Comfortable because you can run the tires at low pressure for that cushy ride, even over dirt roads and heavily damaged roads like this:
or textured bridges like this:
It climbs very well and doesnt feel sluggish even with lower pressure tires. The frame does have some flex, but I don't feel that has a negative effect.
How about toe clearance? Yeah, we got that, even with fenders, and size 14 feet!
the gearing is awesome, you spend most of the time in the large chain ring. You have a low gear of 24 inches (which gets used around here) and a high of 96. The 9 speeds to pick from in the rear allow me to always match the cadence I'm looking for. The TA crank allows me to have full range of the cassette from either the large or small ring.
the cockpit is super comfy too with the wider nittos, the wide hoods and levers on the tektros, and the "naked" cotton bar tape with a little extra. The extra is some padding I made under the tape by cutting up an old tube and taping it to the bars before I wrapped them. I got the idea for the inner tube from fender1. I rode today with no gloves as I usually do, no numbness at all.
So, clearly I love this thing. Out of the box, right after the build, the only changes I'm making are ditching the front rack for a better fitting one (this one sits too high and doesn't allow my bag a very graceful interface)
and I have to make some minor adjustments to the front mech to get it dialed in. The TA cranks don't leave a lot of room for outter adjustment without having the cage hit the inside of the drive side crank arm. You have to use a mech with a flat outter cage too.
the fenders need a little bit of work to get a better chain line as well.
and the seat post binder bolt was bottom out before it tightened enough so I threw a temp replacement in until I get the right one.
So overall I'm very happy. This bike suites me very well for 90% of the riding that I do. If I were to scale down my collection, this one will always be in it. In fact it would be a strong contender for THE BIKE if I could only own one. Take that De Rosa Atantis!!