The first batch of Ironweed trunkbags should be done this week. Hopefully, we'll have them up in the webstore by this weekend. Price will be $75. We're trying to decide if we should give it a name or just call it trunkbag... the latter option seems to be winning out.
The weather was nice on Saturday and I finally got out for a decent ride. I took the Surly 64cm Long Haul Trucker (LHT) out for its inaugural spin and it rode well - very comfortable.
I remember when the LHT first came on the market, I was pleased that Surly had decided to make a good production touring bike with the features and geometry that I would select if I were building a custom touring bike. Until recently, the biggest LHT was a 62cm, a little too short for me. A few months ago I noticed they had introduced a 64cm. I immediately snapped up a frame to build up as a winter project. In fact, the 64cm LHT geometry is pretty close to my custom-built Mercian.
Speaking of my Mercian, a few weeks ago I purchased a set of Velo Orange Campeur racks. I thought I’d install them on the Mercian, replacing the Surly racks that I’ve had on it for the past few years. The Surly racks are unapologetically over built and I like them. But I was really intrigued with the VO Campeurs and purchased a set. The French-inspired VO racks are prettier and a few pounds lighter.
So far, all I’ve done with the Campeurs is get them installed. I haven’t used them on the road fully loaded. They seem pretty nice, but that should be expected at $350 for the pair. Unfortunately, the rear rack came without some of the hardware bits. I was able to work around it, but I’ll be checking in with VO to see about getting all the hardware just in case I decide to install them on a different bike.
Back in December I purchased a 1965 Moulton "F" frame. I bought it from a women in Houston just a week before the passing of Alex Moulton. I began my search for the Moulton back in the late summer and finally found one that seemed to have potential.
My particular Moulton was imported by Huffy back in the 60s. Apparently, one of the distinguished features of the Huffy imported bikes is the detachable real carrier. From what I understand this feature came on the Stowaway model. The Stowaway could be broken down into two pieces and generally came as a single speed.
My Moulton has a 4 speed Sturmey hub and came with a front carrier, which, despite crappy paint, was very true. While I was in the market, I noticed several Moultons with front racks that looked like divining rods pointing straight into the dirt. I'm sure this was the function of an enthusiastic child attempting to hitch a ride. So finding one with a decent front rack was a plus for me.
The one thing about the front carrier that you notice straight away is that it doesn’t track the front wheel. That’s because it is attached to the frame, not the fork. It does take a bit of getting used. You have to pay attention when maneuvering the front end through close quarters.
Anyway, I bought this thing sight-unseen and the seller didn’t know much about the bike but she assured me it was totally rideable and all there. All I had were pictures, a promise, and a reasonable price so I went for it. Thankfully, it was the right choice. Below are some before and after pictures. I really just cleaned, greased, and tuned. The frame and fenders are straight and the paint is about a 7.5-8.
It rides really well. This was the first time I’ve ever ridden a bike with a Sturmey 4 speed and I am pleasantly surprised at the range and how well it shifted. I’m not sure why the 4 speed didn’t become more pervasive. I stopped by a neighbor's place yesterday. He has a 1965 Moulton SpeedSix hanging up in his garage. He jumped on my Moulton and took it out for a spin. As I was leaving he was talking about getting his out of the rafters and ready to ride.
Worked on the the 1965 Moulton”F” frame yesterday. I think I mentioned this in my previous post, but everything on this bike was made in England. I do not have pictures of the final product. It was dark by the time I took it out for its maiden voyage. The verdict is not in yet, but the early indicators point toward big fun on small wheels.
Speaking of gratuitous pics of sweet bikes donning Ironweed bags, check out this 1959 Schwinn Tiger. Interestingly, I think of the Schwinn as the quintessential American product. However, unlike the Moulton which is 100% British, if you look close, even the 1959 Schwinns had stuff that was not made in the USA. There are at least two components on this Tiger that were rebadged as “Schwinn Approved” but came from elsewhere. Can you identify the components and their country of origin?
In other news of the week, the nice people at BicycleSPACE in our nation’s capital did a very nice review of our panniers. Thanks for the kind words!