Friday 14 July 2023

Trigger's broom

rigid forks new handlebar grips

My Kona Blast mountain bike has been altered again. Regular readers will know I have had it since late 2009. It was second hand but an improvement on the Peugeot I had ridden for three years.

There have been many changes: bigger brake discs now gripped by hydraulics, handlebars to better allow a bag for touring and upgrades as consumable items wore out. New wheels were the biggest investment. The only parts that remained were the fork and frame. 

It's no longer used for slogging through mud and bouncing over rocks. I now ride mostly on the road, to commute to the office or for coffee in Westerham on a Sunday. Maybe a bit of light off road and last month for bikepacking. 

The suspension fork isn't sophisticated, it's very heavy and I just don't need it. So when an opportunity came to buy a secondhand rigid version I went for it. The bike weighed nearly 15 kg, it's now lost over 2 kgs. I also bought second hand wheels as part of the package. They are lighter and have better hubs.

carbon fibre and logos on view

The fork is made from carbon fibre, but was a bit tatty so I spruced it up.

painted forks
watching paint dry

 Combining bright orange paint with a metal flake top coat. Should I have left it showing the magic material?
The handlebar grips were worn out. Ross Cycles had some orange ones. With the clamps sprayed to match I think they work well.


The cassette was worn; the new set of sprockets are from a road bike. Losing the lowest ratios means that the jump between each one is smaller. I can select a comfortable cadence that helps to maintain speed. With three chainrings up front I can still find a low enough option if needed.
I now have what could be called a flat bar cross country/gravel/touring bike. The amount I spent is much less than buying a new bike. And it's way is better for the environment.

It climbs better and accelerates faster. I rode a gentle off road section and it coped well with the few roots and rocks I encountered. In fact the test ride confirmed a suspicion I had about the springs. They were too stiff for someone of my build. Only hitting a big bump at speed would cause any movement. 

Don't ask me to paint your bike. It didn't turn out as well as I'd planned. While the metal flake was wet, it looked terrible. Once dry the appearance improved, so that was a relief. The masking had also missed a few bits. The instructions said no primer needed and that I should have had enough for a frame and fork. The white logos took a lot to cover, so I used the whole can. I still have plenty of the sparkly top coat so I'm now looking for something else that needs this treatment.

From a distance the fork looks okay, I'm generally pleased with the result. I'll have to work on my technique if another project looks likely.

With regards to the blog title. I'll give you a clue: Only Fools & Horses. If you know, you know.