Friday, November 16, 2012

Bicycle improvement

My beautiful koga miyata has been californiafied, thanks to Marten of M-gineering!

Photo from spring, the last time the sun was out.
The bicycle came with some very tough gearing. The front chain ring is a 52 and the second is maybe a 42... the cassette in the back is 14-24.

How great is that for speeding up while flying downhill?
Awesome! Scary! Have I ever done it? No!

How great is that for a moderate climb while carrying bags?
Ugh. I maxed out in Arnhem one time. Arnhem.

I asked at my local shop if they could add a triple ring in the front (The back cassette is tougher to change, my hub has an non-standard spline or something), but no... it wasn't advisable, it wouldn't fit, it wasn't possible, why not overhaul the whole thing with some bling, etc.

Luckily, I was familiar with M-gineering from a wheelbuilding workshop almost two years ago, as well as by running into Marten at various fietswandelbeurs events. We even have some friends in common. Small country.

On his website, there is a "hard to find"  TA triple converter for vintage bicycles. Hurrah!
We headed up there on a Friday and had a lovely visit in Marten's impressive new workshop. It's a nice place to hang out. There were apples and bicycles everywhere, plus a very sweet kitten.

And, my bicycle got exactly what it needed.

Bottom bracket replacement. Longer axle required.
Where's my bottom bracket?
Triple chain ring installed. So shiny.
New chain and a welded elongated front derailer cage!

(So you know, there is a limit to what I will do... I want to keep it as unchanged as possible while being fully functional. I know it will never be as sturdy as a modern tourer, or as light and fast as a road bicycle. My main goal is to be able to ride it on long day trips around the area of Santa Barbara and "wine country" with bags -- gotta carry the wine somehow.)

I'm ready for some more than moderate hills.

Thanks Marten!

(Uh-oh, I forgot about downhill and improving the brakes... )


  1. Wow, very impressive. Custom bike. And actual customized parts, not just paint and tinsel. That's one cool bicycle, vintage and versatile.
    So you're ready for some uphill. That may take some getting used to, but mountains obviously won't keep you from cycling. And the average mountain road is still more friendly than the headwinds by the coast. Plus you get to go downhill.
    Those flower pots are so tall, I can't be sure the trees are in them, they might be behind the pots. Maybe I can find them on a Google satellite photo, just to be sure...
    Nevermind, they look great, that's a funny art installation. I knew plants were big in the Netherlands, just I thought that was a metaphor.

  2. Those giant pots are awesome! Your bike looks tiny.