What is the sound of one piston slapping?
What is the sound of one piston slapping?

Fine.

Just fine.

I awoke to the replacement handle bars propped up against my front door. The chrome ones I wanted are still “on the way” so I popped downstairs, stripped the drop bars off, and got the new bars assembled. I went ahead and replaced the brake pads and cables too, cutting the new cables to match the old even though it made for an odd fit.

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Illustration for article titled First ride of the $20 bike was...

Then I went for a test drive and it was... fine.

Certainly some problems

  • I am deeply unfit, far more than I realized. After just a few blocks my muscles awoke from their slumber and started asking very pointed questions about what, exactly, the fuck I thought I was doing
  • I don’t like the new flat bar, but I do like it more than the drop bars. The geometry is just slightly not right for me. I’m considering going with larger drop bars, but not rushing to make that decision until I get more accustom to the bike and riding again.
  • The brake pads I had on hand are not great, so I have new ones on order
  • My feet/posture on the pedals is wrong such that if I do a big wheel turn the front wheel hits my feet, resulting in sudden unexpected wrongness
  • The bike’s lowest gear isn’t very low. Going up even a moderate hill is a bit much for my weak self
  • There is a 1/rev bump I can feel through the saddle. I assume this is an issue with the rear wheel/tube/tires
  • The welded on kickstand is beyond useless
  • Standing up and pedaling is terrifying

But in good news

  • I like the bike overall and will be keeping it as is for the time being (AKA it is being spared Craigslist or the 2-stroke treatment). I like the silent movement compared to even a mountain bike, but certainly compared to the cruiser bike
  • After some adjustment the friction derailleurs work more or less perfectly. Shifting the front cogs sometimes results in a jam, but otherwise no issues
  • My butt hurts, but not as much as I was expecting it to
  • All the bearings I replaced seem to be working as intended

So... overall I’m calling this project a win. I think this will be the last post on the matter unless I switch back to drop bars. It has been a fun project and I am interested to see where it takes me, but the “project” portion of it is mostly over.

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Thanks to those who helped out! We will now return to our regularly scheduled car content.

Illustration for article titled First ride of the $20 bike was...
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