SF Cyclotouring

Ride reports and other ramblings from a San Francisco cyclist.


Kogswell Update -- Perfection is Hell

So here's the latest goings-on with the Kogswell 700C P/R build.... I've been somewhat stalled the past few days; I was vacationing in Napa over the weekend, and since then just haven't felt like wrenching on bikes. Been in a bit of a funk I guess.

Anyways I threw the seat on, it's a Selle An-Atomica that a friend gave me, it'll be my first trial of a leather saddle. I'm already weirded out by it because just sitting on it with my meager 145lbs, the saddle bottoms out against the top of the seat post in spite of the fact that I've got the tension bolt cranked almost all the way down!

I also spent some time experimenting with the brakes, trying different lengths of brake-straddle cable and the associated height of the straddle-cable carrier...I wanted to see first-hand how that affected the brake's mechanical advantage and lever feel. On the front brake, I started with the carrier near the fork crown, and then tried a couple other positions roughly 2cm and 4cm higher than that, making the straddle cable longer each time to accommodate. While the brake lever feel got progressively firmer with the higher carrier position, it wasn't as dramatic of a change as I'd expected. I ended up mounting the carrier near the lower headset race, which is about 110mm above the canti studs. That makes the angle of the straddle cable a bit tighter than the recommended 90-degrees, but I think it improves the lever feel/travel and the brake pad clearance. There is good info on the web with general recommendations on cantilever brake set up, but no one publishes recommendations with hard numbers (e.g., "for this brake on that bike, make your straddle cable XXcm long"), so canti-brake setup is still a bit of a crap shoot, IMHO.

Furthermore, I had a ~90-degree, 120mm stem mounted, but that felt rather long, so I swapped it with a ~100-degree, 100mm stem. This bike has a HUGE head tube -- 40-50mm longer than my Fuji CX, and on top of that I've got 40mm of spacers. Even though the bars are set 30mm higher than on my Fuji (which sports the highest handlebars of any of my current bikes), they don't feel excessively tall. Just to try it out, I'm going for bars-about-level-with-saddle or thereabouts, but I also don't want to use a decimeter of headset spacers. The facts that I'm using an unfamiliar saddle and that the angles of this frame are quite different than any other bike I've got are conspiring against my finding a good first-guess at the user-interface. I think I'm just going to have to iterate through a few cycles of "bolt some stuff on, go for a ride, tweak" before I do anything brash like cutting down that ungainly steerer tube.

And oh, almost forgot, swapped 'round the tires, too: they're now 700x35 Panaracer Paselas. They measure 34mm on the MA-3 rims; they're new rubber so they might stretch out to the full 35mm, but whatever.

More photos here , here, and here.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that they are even 34mm on MA3 rims, those are fairly narrow rims.

I don't like tons of spacers either. If I were building my Kogswell P/R again today I'd use an upsloping Origin8 or Dimension stem instead of the fancier but flatter Nitto lugged stem.

I look forward to hearing your comments after putting some miles on the bike.

alex wetmore

3:02 PM  

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