A victim of these lean times has been the bike stable. I have the Curtlo Cross, and the Fuji carbon bike and I used to have a Curlto Singlespeed mountain. That had to go by the wayside so that I could buy Bridget a blingy Fuji full carbon job last month. Before you think that that this was a big sacrifice on my part to sell the sweet custom Curtlo, I will say that the wife is super happy with it and she has lost 7 lbs during the time that she has had it. And frankly, I will take the hot/sexy and happy wife over a bike any day. Especially when it was the least used of the three bikes.
Anyway, so down to two bikes and both of them are raceday bikes. Since it is cross season, the Curtlo stays dressed for race day, not for commuting. So the Fuji got fenders on it and became the $$$$ commuter. I had a good attitude about it for a while. I rode it no matter what the weather was like. And it got dirty. I cleaned it and then the next ride it would be just as dirty as it had been before. A couple of creaks started up after the weather turned sour. I would strip stuff down and fix the creak. Then another one showed up. Then I was done with it all. I needed a crap bike to take the abuse instead of worrying about the spendy one wearing out. One that I could ride to death and not worry about creaks, scuffs, dirt or grease. Oh and it had to be cheap. What to get...?
Requirements: Cheap and it has to be a singlespeed ready bike with canti brake mounts.
Surly? Yeah, a Cross Check would work. I checked stock...none available.
Pake Commuter? Super cheap, but again none available in my size.
Salsa Cassarole? Sweet, a little more money, but do-able. But again none available.
See a theme here?
I tried looking for a SOMA Double Cross and found one my size, but it wasn't really singlespeed ready. So I continued my search.
Packfodder Jim tempted me with a Felt Breed Singlespeed cross bike. That was really tempting, but too much money. Oh man is that a sweet ride though.
Hmmm, what about the Voodoo Wazoo? Frame was a little spendier than I wanted but I looked around the garage and the shop for anything that I could use to build it up that I without spending much more money. I found some crap wheels in the garage, a discontinued crankset, $5 canti brakeset (that's total for both front and rear), crap headset, and other stuff out of the garage. Stuff that I probably couldn't sell to anyone else. I also figured I could transer the lights from my Fuji as well.
Yup, the Voodoo would fit in the budget I set for myself. After some momentary waffling I pulled the trigger.
Here is the result:
I rode it to work and back today for its first ride. Gearing is 42 x 16. I wish I could run a 14 or 15 cog instead of the 16 because I spin out on a slight downhill a little too easily. But climbing the last mile or so back home is brutal as it stands with the 16 tooth rear cog, so until I get stronger the gearing won't be changing.
The bike rides great for the most part. The fork seems like it has a bit too much rake for my taste, but by the time I was riding home it felt fine. The steel frame ride well. My initial impression is that it offers a fairly stiff bottom bracket, which is a good thing for a singlespeed to have. The steel gave a good feel on the road. How much was from the frame and how much came from the Continental Gatorskin tires, I don't know. This is my first set of Gatorskins, which really feel much slower than the Continental Grand Prix 4000 tires. But if they provide a flat free commute--I will take the trade off. The sliding dropouts were easy to use with the singlespeed set up. Oh, and it is disc brake compatible for those who care.
I will give more updates later. But, on the whole the bike is sweet, especially considering the money that I have in it. It is probably the cheapest bike I have had in a decade or more. For a $#!% bike, it sure seems pretty.
Frame weight was 4.9 lbs. Fork weighed 760 grams. Both are porky. For comparison my steel frame Curtlo weighs 3.55 lbs and the Alpha Q fork weighs under 500 grams. But whatever, that was not the point--having lightweight frameset.