The future is red….the future is audax!
As I have posted recently, a sense of anticipation has descended upon me in the past few days since I took the plunge and ordered my new, all steel Thorn Audax Mk3 frame from the makers down in Bridgwater. And so it was that, last night, I made periodic visits to the computer to use Parcelforce’s tracking service to watch the progress of my delivery.
Mid afternoon, scanned in at the Exeter depot. Now, when you consider the distance by road from Exeter to deepest Suffolk by road, via Parcelforce’s hub in Coventry, it’s some trek. So, it was 10pm before the magic update told me the package was in the national hub, and by breakfast this morning, I learned that it had arrived in Ipswich at 3.30am this very morning. So it was that the boxes I had waited for so eagerly were delivered mid morning today, my Thorn having theoretically covered the distance of several Audax rides already….
I carefully extricated the frame, which was impressively packed in foam tubing that I shall keep in case I ever have to travel with it. Immediately, I was put in mind of a scene at the start of Alex Cox’s 1985 film classic, Repo Man, as the full intensity of the redness of the frame leaked out into the atmosphere.
And thus, I have in my spare time today busied myself in doing the build of the bike – the second box contained the Panaracer Pasela TG’s, the Shimano A550 brakes, with a reach long enough to cope with the more spacious frame geometry, and the SKS mudguards, which I have to observe have been the biggest and fiddliest challenge so far.
Everything I have handled today screams of over-engineering – from said SKS mudguards, through to the gorgeous quality of the frame and fork itself. Here is a bike designed and built with every eventuality in mind – quite a big deal when you’ve spent the last few months on a super tight road bike with room for nothing except a couple of bottles….
So, what I now have is somewhat further advanced than what you see above. I have now added brakes, bars, mudguards, tubular rack, rear mech, seat and SQR bracket. I have to wait until tomorrow to get the hollowtech BB out of the old bike, and then I can fit the compact 52/39 Tiagra chainset. I need to find a smaller diameter front mech band, as the road frame was oversized, and a new chain. Then, I hope to get a trip to Madgetts in Diss for a spot of fettling and a good check over before I take to the roads and find out at last what a proper steel bike is like.
I shall update this post as and when exciting things happen, and of course with real world riding impressions as they happen.