Thursday, April 28, 2011

Brooks Leather Has Arrived

Some of these most recent posts are a little backdated I must admit, but the leather accessories I have order have arrived.

Brooks B17 Narrow Saddle

As soon as the Leather Saddle arrived with the Proofide Saddle dressing, I oiled the saddle up as well as the other items, put the saddle on the scratched up seat post and put it on the bike. While it's already on the bike, I don't have any pictures yet since the bike shop is evaluating the damage for FedEx (keep an eye out for new pictures tomorrow when I pick the bike up tomorrow).

Brooks Saddle Rain Cover
Brooks saddle rain cover, for when  a plastic bag isn't handy or stylish enough, this black raincoat like cover with a zip cord will stay on the seat, keep the water from getting the seat all wet and your butt from turning brown (or black depending on the color) due to the leather.

Brooks Proofide, Brooks D Saddlebag, Brooks Leather Handlebar tape and Brooks trouser strap.

Here are all the accessories in their boxes before you get to see them outside, the Brooks B17 Saddle Box as a nice base to show who makes it all. The Brooks Proofide, Brooks D Saddlebag, Brooks Leather Handlebar tape and Brooks trouser strap.

Brooks D Saddle Bag - Brown

The bag isn't really tiny, but it isn't huge. It's enough to hold the previously mentioned saddle rain cover as well as the trouser strap, however, after that the space is pretty limited. Could probably hold some sort of power bar in the leftover space. If you're not planning on doing some commuting, but exercising instead you could definitely get rid of the trouser strap and may possibly be able to get rid of the rain cover to stock up on snacks.

Brooks Trouser Strap

The whole purpose of this item is to keep your pants out of your chain. Plain and simple. Alternative methods include rolling your pants up past your knee or tucking it into your sock Mormon bike-rider style (no offense meant)... or a hardly noticeable strap that goes around your ankle keeping the pants snug and the fabric out of the chain. It's the same concept as those stiff bracelets kids have, where you slap it against your wrist and it wraps around. Amusing even if you're not using it to keep your pants out of the chain. Clearly not needed if you're going for a racing ride in shorts.

Brooks Saddlebag

Here's the saddlebag a second time. The part in the rear is the outside part hanging from the saddle hooks, whereas the front part slides in and out of the outside part with a little leather tab that hangs out and can be secured to the outside part. When first separating the two parts it was a bit difficult to remove one from the other even after unfastening the leather tab. Required running my fingers between the inside and outside to separate the leather which had gotten stuck together a bit after some time and heat, then some forceful pushing out out it came. I oiled all these items as previously mentioned, although I do recommend oiling the inside of the outer part of this bag set. That way the part with the tab that actually holds the items will be oiled and the outer shell it goes into will be oiled on the inside allowing you to slide it in and out more easily.

Brooks Handlebar Tape

Lastly, here is the handlebar tape with cork ends with the Brooks logo on the end. I feel like the cork ends give a nice finishing touch to complete the classic / retro look to the handlebars. This is being added on by the bike shop while they're doing the evaluation. As nothing is being asked for by FedEx on those parts it's fair game. The seat being switched shouldn't cause any problems either seeing as how the other seat is just sitting here.

Anyway, once I get back the bike from Wally's Bike Shop and once FedEx checks it out hopefully, I can get it powder coated regardless of whether or not they are paying for it. Just for anyone in McAllen, TX there has been only one bike shop for a really long time in McAllen, TX called Bicycle World. Every experience I've had there has been terrible. Never been asked if I needed any help, when I approach the staff generally they are quite unhelpful as if selling something to me were a bad thing. Needless to say, Wally's is the new kid on the block and when I went yesterday after I had already dropped off my bike, and asked for them to estimate the damages to the bike for FedEx, they were extremely helpful. Wally came out, gave me his personal e-mail to forward before pictures and said he'd have me taken care of by tomorrow. Brandon the bike mechanic is a really cool guy, sat there talking with me while he worked on a customer's bike. They sort of have a bar-like set up where the bike being worked on currently is behind the bar on a clearly visible and elevated bike stand with stools on the other side of the bar. On the left of this bar is a room with glass walls that serves as Wally's office and he seems to be on the floor as much as in the office, talking to customers, ringing them up at the register and helping them out in any way possible. Highly recommended!

The Bottle Cage Question

Generally, the rule of thumb is metal water bottle, plastic cage. Plastic water bottle, metal cage is OK. Main reason being metal on metal will scratch each other up leaving your water bottle worse for wear. Being that I plan on twining and shellacking my metal water bottle, this leaves me open to choose either a plastic or metal cage. I'm not such a fan of plastic, once broken, all you can do is replace it or super glue it, but then it's not it's original strength anymore. It puts off a lot of chemicals to make and recycle, it fades and quite frankly I'm a bit of a clutz so it's more likely I'll destroy it. So metal is my preference and the VO Moderniste Cage is my choice.

Velo-Orange (VO) Moderniste Cage

In terms of the style of the cage, I wanted it to complement the bike's geometry. Being that the cross bar has a curve, a curved cage would mimic that look. Additionally, as I may simply wrap the twin around the bottle or make a decorative knotted line with the twine vertically down the bottle, I wanted a cage with an empty space down the middle. At the same time, I wanted something sleek, but retro looking and not big and clunky like a lot of metal cages. The VO Moderniste Cage is meant to fit the 27 oz normal Klean Kanteen (the Reflect is a Special Edition 27 oz), which means my Klean Kanteens will fit. All in all a good choice. Cost about $15 without shipping from Velo-Orange. After some searching I was able to find them for less than $30 with shipping and taxes included. Now just to wait for the cages and the bottles to arrive.

Klean Kanteens

As crazy as it sounds, the little details matter the most. Even my water bottle choice. I went for something that will last a very long time, made without any sort of plastics and yes, bamboo. Klean Kanteen has come out recently with a stainless steel canteen made with food service grade steel, food service grade silicone top liner and a cap made of stainless steel and bamboo. While stainless steel isn't exactly the most environmentally friendly thing around, it can be cleaned thoroughly and reused for many many years. It's not made of aluminum which can leech into your liquids giving you things you don't want as well as change the flavor of whatever you're drinking. It has no plastics which can leak out BPA into whatever you're drinking, which as we all know is no good for us and gives things a plastic taste. I went for two of the Klean Kanteen Reflect brushed finish, which should not be as likely show fingerprints or scratches, although the mirrored finish is also very pretty.

Kleen Kanteen Reflect - Brushed

Kleen Kanteen Reflect - Mirror Finish
Following receiving these I plan on wrapping them with twine and using amber shellac to make a solid grip that will keep the temperature changes down in the bottle, keep the metal from getting scratched as much, provide a nice grip to the bottle and just make it look better in general, blending into the leather accessories of the bike to begin with. I'll show the progress on the project whenever the time comes.

Been A While

So after a longer than expected break from blogging, I'm back to give some details on the bike build. After finally arriving back in the country and being able to examine the newly arrived bike myself, there were quite a few surprises. In order to give some preface, the bike got "lost" in transit and ended up crossing the state lines of Idaho/Utah 4 times before finally making it's way to Texas. It was signature only and while it was signed for, it was not signed for by me and was delivered 10 houses down the street to my grandmother with Alzheimer's house and signed for by an older home healthcare worker who (1) barely speaks English and (2) has no idea about checking a package for damage and .. (3) oh that's right, she's not me and she's 10 houses down the street. Anyway, needless to say hopefully FedEx will redeem itself and pay out (since the package was insured for $1500).

"Package Found At" - Enough Said
As you can see the "Package [Was] Found At" where ever, hence the reason it was going back and forth causing extra damage.

Box picked up two additional handle holes and a mouth on it's corner.

As you can see the box has two large holes in it's side like a large projectile was shot through it and a hinged corner. What you don't see in this picture is the other holes:

Those two scrapes at the bottom actually go all the way through making two smaller holes...

And on the other side another two holes, a bit smaller than the ones on the opposite side.

The seat now has a mouth.

One shifter is missing it's cover and the other shifter cover... well, not so pretty anymore.

Seatpost now thoroughly scuffed on one side.

Carbon fiber fork scuffed heavily on the inside. It has an aluminum steerer so this might just be able to be painted over. The outside of the fork on this side also has 2 chips.

Other side has a 2-3 inch long scrape as you can see.

Only one pedal... honestly, what am I going to do with only one?? I'm assuming that the two pedals in the extended transit and rough handling were knocked loose causing the chips all over the frame and the scuffs on the fork. I guess it's a blessing in disguise that one fell out so less damage was caused. All the packing material also made it's way out via the many holes in the boxes. So all in all we're looking at:

  1. 15 Chips on the frame (not going to overwhelm you with pictures), 2 of which were originally there, this includes the 2 scrapes and chips on the fork. (~$100 repaint, ~$120 bike shop disassemble/reassemble, fork touch up ~$50 or ~$250 replacement)
  2. Seat has a big hole now. (~$100)
  3. Seatpost has some scraping. (~$15)
  4. Only one pedal in a set of two. (Speedplay Frogs: $125 MSRP)
  5. Only one shifter cover in a set of two, one pretty beat up. (Ultegra Shifter Covers: ~$15)
  6. Skewers/adeles/axles are a little beat up as I'm assuming the holes in the box let them poke their heads out and get beat up. Also missing one of the springs to go with it. (Ultegra Skewers: ~$35)

Shipper/seller opened up a claim with FedEx which maybe 2-3 days late after the 21 day post-delivery limit to open a claim. My position is that as it wasn't delivered to the correct address or signed for by me, they have no grounds to stand on and whenever the bike actually made it into my possession should be considered the "delivery" date. As of now it's a good thing it was insured, and the damage is looking at $560 or $760 depending on whether the fork simply can be touched up or the bike shop determines it would be safer to replace the fork. Bike shop is giving a repair estimate, which will be sent to FedEx tomorrow and they should be sending someone next week to check out the bike and box.

Stay tuned, more to come shortly, new accessories to follow.

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