merry Crustmas to me

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It’s the day I’d been waiting for — my ScapeGoat had arrived. Sure I’d been riding the (awesome) prototype Darrin made for me for a couple of years now. But theres nothing like opening the box. Especially after all the back and forth with Taiwan; design and redesign, drawing after drawing. And now l have a shiny (actually it’s matte) new, beautifully dark-red frame. Adorned with custom artwork and logo designed by my good friend ariel.

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Indeed it was so beautiful and exciting, that l was almost afraid to touch the frame; Fortunately, l also had a large pile of boxes – full of parts new and old – which need assembling and modifying. So I started there, separating the shiny bits from the enormous amount of packaging. Fondling all the beautiful, slightly esoteric and carefully chosen bits of metal that would soon come together to make my bike.

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It was late and my niece was sleeping, so l built and trued several sets of wheels (the bike needed testing in various configurations) and called it a night. In the morning I started with the easy things, headset, fork, stem, and bars… except l didn’t have any. I’ve long been partial to H-bars as designed by Jef Jones – the problem being that he doesn’t make *quite* the shape l like any more (and hasn’t for a long time). So l scoured the property, calipers in hand, looking for scrap metal of the requisite dimensions; Eventually finding the pieces l needed — and after a little angle-grinder-mitering and stick welding, had H-bars l wanted.

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The next stumbling block was brake caliper adapters (they hold the brakes in place) and l had neglected to order them — several visits to the hardware store later l had cobbled something together, and the build was on the home stretch. An hour or so later, and with some trepidation I took my new baby for its maiden voyage. And l’m happy to report it rode just as well as I’d hoped.

So… l immediately took it apart. And spent the next couple days trying crank, gearing and wheel combinations. Taking measurements and photos and short test rides. Discovering a few exciting things: that 5in tires (on 80mm rims) fit in the rear triangle (just barely) and that l could get 6 or 7 cassette cogs to work with 4″ tires (including wide-range 11-42) which really opens up gearing options for the bike. Scientific investigations complete, l built it up in single-speed-touring mode, and headed out for some real world testing on the Great Divide Trail.

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