One in, one out.

Well, I’m sure you’ve all been on tenterhooks waiting to find out what I decided to do about the bike issue. New ride? Or replace £200 worth of bits on the Condor, only to have it go wrong again two months down the line?

In the end, I went for the former option. Meet Evelyn:

It just made sense. Condor quoted me £170+ to replace my forks, headset, brake and handlebars. (Not that I’d have got them to do it, but y’know.) So I got in touch with a friend, who sold me her old frame, along with forks, headset, bottom bracket and clip-n-flip bars, for £85. Chain and brake lever were £20. Stem, brake and bar tape came to £45. (All from Brixton Cycles.) I used the front wheel from the Condor, and the rear wheel from my beloved Surly Steamroller (2007-08, RIP). Seatpost and crankset were from the Surly; saddle and pedals swapped over from the Condor.

So, that’s effectively a completely new bike for less than it would have cost to repair the old one. Well, sort of.

What’s more, it’s the first bike I’ve built up all on my own. I’m feeling slightly proud of myself, but no more than slightly, because it turns out it’s actually quite easy to put a bike together when there aren’t any complicated bits like gears to worry about. You just have to know where everything goes, and how tight you’re supposed to screw it. (I’m going to learn to build wheels next though – now there’s a challenge.)

(I still felt dreadfully embarrassed asking all my stupid questions in Brixton Cycles though, when I went in to pick up the bits I’d forgotten, and had to admit I didn’t know how to use a torque wrench in front of all stony-faced men queuing up behind me. But then on my way out I came across the same stony-faced men asking each other how to use the track pump, and realized that they were probably far more embarrassed than I was. And decided that I’m just not going to bother being embarrassed in future. The only way to learn is by asking stupid questions, fucking things up, and then trying again and getting it right. And in fact, Lincoln may or may not remember my dropping in on my very first ride on my Dawes Giro, back in 2006, and asking him to explain how to change gear. Oh, how far I’ve come already!)

So. It looks like the Condor’s no longer with us. To my surprise, I think I’ll miss it. It’s been nearly three years. I never liked it much, but we’ve been through a lot together.

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12 Responses to “One in, one out.”

  1. marchapple Says:

    That Condor was some bike ! Having supported you through the many challenges of life on the roads of London, it now offers its bits for a new build and submits to the humiliation of being paraded, naked and broken on your blog ….. RIP Condor …… we love you !!

  2. EoD Says:

    Building wheels is really easy. The only difficult part is withstanding the tedium of it. Thankfully road wheels don’t take as long as 48 spoke BMX wheels.

    Make sure you make yourself a big cup of tea to sup as you start lacing – it’ll help ease the boredom without being too distracting. George French told me that

  3. EoD Says:

    Also once youve built your wheels, do this: http://www.gsportbmx.com/2006/01/wheel-fiddling/

  4. welshcyclist Says:

    Lovely looking bike you’ve put together there, hope you enjoy the ride and it gives many years service. I’m hoping to convert an old frame of mine to a singlespeed soon.

  5. Andrea Says:

    …there’s lots of those old Condor Pista still going on, but think I know that one! 😉

  6. Susie Says:

    Mmmmmmm… nice bike. Let’s hope the Condor’s wheel doesn’t whisper curses to the rest of it!

    Hope you two are happier together than you were with the Condor. And that there are fewer punctures along the way.. 😉

  7. Chrissy J Says:

    Ahh… reusing the good bits from the Condor on a new frame, was a third option that none of us seemed to think of…

    Love the colour BTW!

  8. Alastair Humphreys Says:

    I always get intimidated by the atmosphere in bike shops, despite probably having ridden more miles than everyone else in the shop put together! I’d love to find a non-arrogant, non-rip-off little shop…

    • thatmessengerchick Says:

      Hmmm, Brixton’s pretty good, but I think everyone in any given bike shop is paranoid that everyone else knows more than them about bikes. (This probably includes the staff.) There’s definitely a market for an approachable, non-patronizing bike shop. Anyone?

      • yohabloespanglish Says:

        Troy of Get a Grip! on Lavender Hill. He’s been super helpful and friendly and he’s also been able to either assist with fixes or do them straight away. And he’ll tell you what he’s doing.

        Also: It makes me so sad to see Evelyn pass on (what are you going to do with him?) even though I feel somewhat for him like you felt for the Condor. Evelyn was the first frame I bought for myself after my beloved Bianchi was stolen. I liked him but I didn’t LOVE him as I loved my bella ragazza…

    • Andrea Says:

      Well, Bike shop’s staff are there to sell. I reckon that if we were there, we would be encouraged to do the same; on which “level” depends from the managers, some places do really push sales, but not all. And obviously everything in central London has to generate revenue every day, if you don’t want to shut the door for good in less than 2 years :\
      I too don’t like when shop’s staff will try to sell me something (as I’m VERY picky), but on the other hand I never found a shop where someone’s was behing the door with a knife and waiting for me… 😉

  9. Simon Says:

    Great looking new bike, just built up an old Russian track frame, but couldn’t have done it without the help of my LBS – Harry Perry bikes in Woolwich – he’s very helpful, doesn’t mind all my stoopid questions and will explain everything in a way that even I can understand!

    He re-cut the threads, fitted the bb and managed to cobble a headset together out of spares – in order to marry the unoriginal fork to the strange russian sizes – all for £20!

    Brixton’s great too, Nhatt once left a sarky note on my receipt saying “headset drama” which made me think I was being a hypercondriac – but when I went back to pick up the bike, she was very nice and explained the wrong headrace had been fitted!

    With regards to the Condor, what’s happening to it – wouldn’t mind rescuing it if possible?

    Stay safe,

    Simon

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