Saturday, July 4

Frankenbike, Weekend Warrier

Frankenbike is an odd fish. It started out as a low-mid circa 1970 Falcon, complete with tubular tires and low end Campy components. Then it mutated. Currently featuring Shimano 7sp Nexus gearing, it features components from Belgium, China, England, Italy, Japan, Korea, and the United States. It also has different size wheels just to keep things from getting boring. Both tires do use the same size tube, however (I may be dumb but I'm not stupid!).

I've thought about a rack for Frankenbike, there's one out in the garage and it'd certainly be convenient for runs to the gym, but the Nexus drivetrain already weighs a ton & with a rack, there'd be little reason for me to give my wife's bike any exercise. Still, reading some of these other blogs, I may be seduced into yet another Frankenbike mutation. What do they say, wire is real?


Rat Trap Press said...

Go for it, add the rack, and while you're at it add a basket.

That is a really creative solution for mounting the shifter.

Steve A said...

Who says a cheap, Wallyworld mountain bike (the donor for the shifter mount) isn't good for anything? Besides, it fits the bike's theme. After reading about Rantwick's "pink" bike, I'm contemplating installation of pink cable housing, which'd really repulse any prospective thieves.

Rantwick said...

That thing is dead groovy, and I agree on that shifter coolness. I've been toying with using internal gearing on my Winter bike, for obvious muck reasons... can I assume you like it a lot? I've been reluctant to spend the money.

Steve A said...

I will plan on doing a specific post on the subject. In the meantime, a few tidbits. Mine is a Nexus 7 speed, which has better ratios than the 8 speed versions (visit Sheldon Brown for details). It works good - if you remember those old Sturmey Archer three speeds, this is light years ahead. All I have to do is keep the chain lubed. Just don't get a flat when things are coated with ice and it's dark out. I do have a solution for that scenario, but ice isn't a big problem around here, especially not right now.

I run Armadillos on it and have not had a flat yet in who knows how many miles. I used it as my main commuter bike before I got Buddy at the end of January. After some initial fiddling, I concluded the only time you need to adjust the Nexus cable is if you remove the wheel.

I've acquired the bits necessary to convert the shifter to a touring bar end arrangement. It'll require some "Goldbergery" to make it work. One advantage of the 8 speed is purpose-built road shifter solutions are beginning to appear, and they won't work well for the 7 speed. If you've got a flat bar bike like "Pink," none of the above matters & just read SB for the 7 vs 8 speed.

I often downshift after I've stopped at a traffic light. Try THAT with a derailleur! Around North Texas, I've never used low gear after my inital road tests, and I can't think of any occasions when I've been topped out in 7th. Mostly, I run in third or fourth gear. Second going up the steeper hills or into a stiff wind.

Steve A said...

Almost forgot. I got mine used off of eBay (from someone who LOVED reflective tape on the wheel) - and remember, besides being better for many uses, the 7 speed is cheaper than the 8 speed. I think the 3 speed ratios are a bit wide for more than casual commuting, and I've never seen anything about how to regear those puppies.

ChipSeal said...

Armadillos are the bomb!

Chandra said...

Nice post, Steve A! I have contemplated gear hubs for a while now although I do not worry about the weight of them much. They seem so hassle free and somewhat maintenance free!

I am considering getting a Rohloff 14-speed hub sometime next year. I might put that on a mountain bike such as the Tout Terrain Silk Road (

Now, this is assuming my wife won't kill me :)

Is there anything that you do not like about these hubs in particular?

Peace :)

Steve A said...

The only things I don't like about gear hubs are:

1. They're heavy. Frankenbike's CG is now about where the seat tube is. It may not be a big deal unless you need to lug it up the steps of one of the old TRE train cars.

2. They make changing a tire harder. I've not had to do this on the road, thanks to the Armadillos. I highly recommend you pick a bulletproof tire if you're going to run an internal gear hub.

That being said, the things ARE hassle and maintenance free, at least as much as any such thing on a bike can be. However, I also think a Rohloff hub is overkill for Dallas streets. My 7 speed Shimano has more range than I need and it's not only MUCH cheaper, but lighter to boot. For around here, it's actually better than the 8 speed.

Chandra said...

Thanks, Steve! If I get the Rohloff, I will ride to some place farther and grander, on a bike tour. You are absolutely right. Rohloff is pricey. I think the Rohloff is about $1400!

Steve A said...

LisaB had a different perspective over on CommuteOrlando - search trek commuter

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