I just received another batch of photos from my builder, Bob Brown... you can see them here (pages 4 & 5 specifically)
For those more prone to instant gratification here are 2 for you...
#1 This is a shot of the downtube, headtube, mudguard and fork crown (which was made by hand). I have clearance for 2.35 wide tires with mudguards... even wider tires without mudguards.
#2 This photo is of the whole cycle as it stands today build-wise. A few things to note... the front rack (which looks a bit angled down but isn't... the Plescher kickstand is elevating the rear end of the cycle forward & down) was a long process for me as I wanted originally to go with a Nitto front rack. Two problems arose from that goal... one, there wasn't any available in the States and wouldn't be for quite some time and two, it weighed much more than another idea I had. The "other idea" I had was to take 2 designs I favored and somehow join them. Out of that idea came the notion to take a Tubus Duo rack and a Nitto mini rack (which was & is easily available) and fabricate them together as one. Next problem, the Nitto is satin polished stainless steel and the Tubus is black powdercoated Cro-mo (together they would look, umm, rather odd). So I suggested to my framebuilder-Bob Brown-that we could sandblast the Tubus. No dice... by doing that we would need something on the Tubus to prevent rust from forming and all we could do is wet paint it which of course would make it more likely to chip & nick when getting panniers on and off and bam-here comes Mr. Rust once again. Basically what I was shooting for was a lighter weight rack that had the lowest center of gravity for my front panniers BUT also had a shelf. Nothing existed, no one makes one. On a strictly cosmetic level I was trying hard for polished silver (to one degree or another) components including racks but that wasn't working either. So it was time for a new plan.
After realizing that I would never carry much more than a stuff sack or some other fairly lightweight items on the shelf area Bob immediately suggested a fantastic idea. Stay with black for the racks as they tend to melt into the background of a paint scheme anyway (after seeing these photos I would agree with him 100%. Plus, with panniers on no one will see the racks anyway and if I want to truly show the cycle off, remove the racks altogether!); the powdercoat on the Tubus will keep the rust away as well as under warranty and try to find a NOS lightweight aluminum rack (hopefully in black!). Bob laughed and said that he had one... an old Blackburn Mountain bike rack with a half-sized shelf just like the Nitto mini. Perfect! He did some bending to the aluminum and some welding and bam... he created a front rack that is exactly what I was looking for but didn't exist. It's low center of gravity, very lightweight (even more so because of the aluminum), installs on & off in seconds, gives me my shelf that I longed for and... again, on that cosmetic tip-is one color throughout. Also, because of how he designed it, it won't void the Tubus warranty.
And in case you notice... the rims differ. The front is a Velocity Deep-V (same as I have on my Atlantis) and the rear is a Sun Rhinolite. Originally I opted to go with Velocity Deep-V's for both front and rear as I have had nothing but trouble-free experiences with the set on my Atlantis. So Bob got the parts and built them up. 2 days later I changed my mind (changing ones mind in times like these can be rather costly) so while I had to keep the Velocity's and the front Phil hub (built up and unridden is still "used" you know!) I ended up with something different that I wanted more. The Sun rims. So anywho, the rear has been built up with the Sun rim in the photo but the front hasn't yet as Bob is waiting for the Schmidt SON Dynohub I ordered to arrive. BTW, why did I want the Sun rims "more" than the Deep-V's that I've had no problems with? Easy, they are wider which will work better with a variety of tire widths (especially if I go over 2.0's in width, the Deep-V's are a more narrow rim), they have a shallow profile so spoke repair/tweaking/replacement will be easier than on the very high profile of the Deep-V's and last... on that ever-present Fashion Ho' note, they are totally satin versus the Deep-V's which are black with silver sides.
Also, in all fairness... the Sun rims have an outstanding rep for hardcore touring as well as tandeming... so they are very beefy & bombproof indeed.