project british eagle completed

Today I added the finishing touches to the blue bike, effectively completing the restoration and the transformation, chrysalis-like, from elderly MTB into a nice British touring bike.

Here she is six months ago, a very tired looking clunker which I tended to use to go to the pub on, and little else.

Before the surgery...

Before the surgery...

Yesterday saw the fitting of a new chain and carrier bolts, which stopped the problem where the bolts were fouling against the chain.  Today I fitted the saddle, a honey-coloured Brooks B17 which on first impressions is supremely comfortable.

The finished bike

The finished bike

The bike looks a stunner, I have to say.  I’m going to give the gears a bit of attention as the indexing is a bit out, but it’s ride able.

That lovely saddle and bag

That lovely saddle and bag

I’ve tried to use British bits wherever possible, excepting of course the Japanese running gear and brakes.  So the saddle is a Brooks and the saddlebag is a lovely cotton duck Carradice, the design of which hasn’t changed for years and years.  Both should improve with use and age.  I also fitted a pair of ergo grips which can be adjusted via allen keys on the bars, and a Cateye Velo8 computer, the same as I have on my road bike.

So, a running report to follow once I get sorted out and go for some decent rides on her.

For anybody who by their very nature tends to see the bigger picture, and wants a closer look, click here for the full size photo.  Or, click here for the full set of pictures on flickr.

Postscript, later the same day:  A short test ride and she rides beautifully.  New bearings and chain mean that the rear mech is totally silent.  Handles and stops beautifully and the gears aren’t too bad, but will get them fettled anyway.  Mark says his Brooks now squeaks like hell when he rides, and that the saddle oil is v.v. costly.  Damn, didn’t budget for that.

If you use a Brooks saddle, then you might like to read this.


One response

  1. Stephen Patnell

    Thank you for the – you might like to read this – link. Your in depth article is a must for anyone about to get a brooks saddle. Until I read your ‘Is oil bad’ section, I would have killed any Brooks saddle I bought with TLC. I am wiser now.

    My bike is all British, except gears, saddle and rims. I am trying to get it as all british as I can.

    I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Books saddles, and have been thinking about getting one for a while now. I was toying with the idea of getting a second hand one, just to see what they are like. Common sense tells me that, because it has been broken in by someone else, it may never fit me like it should. Am I wrong, or can they be ‘re-broken’ in? If you have a view on this it may be good to cover it in your article. It may stop someone making a mistake, and thinking they are the most uncomfortable saddle in the world.

    I ride long distance cross country, on a San Marco Rolls saddle. It’s very good, but it ain’t British!
    The Brooks may be a little heavier than this one, but, as a wise man once said: “What’s a little extra weight if your back side’s in Hell, and you’re thirty miles from home.”
    How true is that?

    Thanks again.

    August 22, 2009 at 11:34 am

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