Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hunqapillar ... The Arrival and Build!!

As mentioned in my last post, a new bike was finally shipped to my door.  And now it's time to reveal the details. It came from the brilliant and good folks in Walnut Creek, California ... better known as Rivendell Bicycle Works.  The bike is a 48cm Hunqapillar frame with a carefully-chosen component group, expertly assembled by the team at Rivendell, then expertly packed for shipping and sent to me.  Upon the arrival of the UPS truck (which is always met with great excitement by our two dogs, who just KNOW it's UPS approaching and find some kind of thrill in attacking the door), I was presented with this:

And just in case I was confused as to which way was up, it was clearly labeled for me:

I already had all of my assembly tools prepared, along with a detailed step-by-step assembly list to prevent getting off track in my excited state:

So I began by opening the box ... CAREFULLY.  I didn't want to take any chances of making the slightest scratch on anything inside.

It turns out I had nothing to worry about.  Inside the box, every part was secured with zip-ties and dense foam. Every tube on the bike was covered in bubble wrap.  No chance of anything moving or being improperly jostled in transit.  NICE!  It is rumored that the packing team at Rivendell takes 2 hours to partially disassemble and pack a complete bike for shipping ... and from what I can see here, it's no joke.

The next step was to get the bike out of the box, which meant first removing all of the foam blocks that were glued in place to secure the frame.  Not the easiest task, but I managed.  This particular piece puzzled me ... and made me grin with a Beavis and Butthead laugh.  I mean, just look at this thing ... the foam has a woody!

These are the pieces removed and saved for ... well, I'm not sure what for, but I saved them anyway.

Okay ... now it was time to pull the bike from the box. This is what came out, all in one piece:

See all those zip-ties?  Next step was to cut them and free the secured parts. Good thing I had all of my tools prepared ... diagonal cutters ... check.

Okay ... next was to temporarily put the handlebar/stem assembly into the steerer tube (to be properly adjusted later).

Then I installed the prepared front fender and rack.  I've installed some fenders in the past.  It's never quick and easy.  This time, however, all the difficult setup was already done, and I simply had to connect the bolts.  Thank you, Rivendell!  After the rack and fender were attached, I put the front wheel in the dropouts and attached the quick-release skewer. Then I removed all of the bubble wrap from the frame tubes.  Such a great deal of work they put into that!  Starting to look like a bike ...

The next step was to secure my new saddle to the seatpost, make sure there was a bit of grease in the seat tube (always use Phil's ... the best), and put the saddle/seatpost assembly in the seat tube of the bike. Now it's getting exciting ...

Then it was time to attach the rear rack.  This is a Tubus Cosmo stainless steel rack that I already had ... waiting for an appropriate home.  I like that it has both an upper deck for a trunk bag and lower rails for panniers ... because you know I likes to do me some heavy touring with a massive load of baggage. Okay, not really ... but at least there are options ... and it looks cool, too.  Hey ... dudes like shiny things, too.

After the rack was installed, it was time for the trimmings. I'm trying these here pedal thingies from Fyxation, called the Mesa.  They're very strong Cro-Mo (a technical term for steel) spindles with heavy-duty sealed bearings and impact-grade nylon platforms.  That means I can really bash on them. Dudes like to bash things.  Really, it means they're strong and durable ... and the nylon spiky things won't chew up my shoes like metal spikes do.

I also put on some King Cages Iris stainless steel water bottle cages. These are the best ... seriously ... the BEST bottle cages ever.  They're really strong, and they really hold a Klean Kanteen tight, with no rattling.  That's important, because real dudes use only stainless steel water bottles.  And, of course, they're shiny and pretty.

And then the final adjustments were made before the first test ride.  Adjust the handlebars for proper height and angle ... check.  Attach the brake cables ... check.  Make sure the brake pads are aligned ... check (and perfectly, I might add).  Pump up the tires ... check.  By the way ... these are Schwalbe Marathon Dureme 26" x 2" folding tires.  AWESOME!!!  More on them in another post.  Check the wheels and quick-release levers for secure attachment ... check.  Put the bags on the racks and put the tool kit inside ... check.  READY TO GO!!

I immediately went out for a quick spin.  And by "immediately", I mean that I didn't change into my usual riding shorts, socks, shoes, sweatshirt, and so on ... I left the house in my cut-off sweatpants, Birkenstocks, and sunglasses.  Style be damned!  And it was ... the most AWESOME 15 minutes on a new bike EVER.  Why only 15 minutes?  Well, since I'd gotten the bike into a ride-able state, I just couldn't wait any longer for the remaining step to finish it, which would mean not being able to ride it for at least 24 hours ... but I didn't want to get the cork grips all sweaty and grimy, so I kept the ride duration brief.  Make sense?

Okay ... the last step in finishing the build was to add some cork-look-alike bar tape to the front curves of the handlebars, where the secondary hand position is ... and then apply some Zinser Bullseye Amber Shellac (2 coats for the grips, 3 coats to the bar tape for a good color match).  The shellac will keep it from getting nasty with hand sweat and dirt, while simultaneously making it look ... well, warm and authentically aged ... and ... yes, I'll say it ... pretty.  Hey, dudes like pretty things, too.  And here's the result:

Notice the little copper bell?  Nice sound, a great functional warning device for people walking their dogs or tandem baby strollers occupying the entire 2-lane bike path, and ... pretty. There's also a German-made mirror on that bar ... works well ... but while not ugly, it is not pretty.

Now complete with bags attached to carry camera gear, repair kit, cell phone, keys, and whatever else I may need, the final build looks like this:

I am thrilled and honored to own this bike.  The photos don't do justice to its in-person appearance.  But, while stunning to look at, the ride is even better.  Smooth and stable on any surface ... and amazingly comfortable on rides near and far.  More to come ...

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