"My Dad is a TV repair man, he has the ultimate set of tools...I can fix it."
Monday, November 23, 2009
Saturday morning, sitting in the kitchen giving the Big Dog all my bank information. We're setting up college mutual funds, life insurance policy (for me) and some other "adult" type stuff. He brought he boys over while Michelle was off riding Schaeffer with Mrs. Outlaw and a host of ladies. As the kids destroy the house, Darius and I attend to our serious work when the doorbell rings. The FedEx guy has a big box, a frame sized box in hand, with a discrete Spot Brand sticker next to the shipping label.
All thoughts of serious business get pushed aside and I'm like a kid on Christmas morning. Tearing into the corrugated box like it was the seasons "must have" toy. Christmas came a month early to my house in the form of a shiny new frame from the boys in Golden Colorado. In all honesty, this wasn't a complete surprise. Gavin from Spot called last week to inform me the frame was done and ready for shipping. He then asked if I ran a chain or belt drive on my old frame. An odd question seeing that they had my old frame and it clearly did not have the split dropout required to run the Gates belt drive system. "Uh, chain" was my reply and he asked if I was interested in going to a belt. You see, Spot has changed all their dropouts to a Paragon Slider style with a split in the seat-stay. They have done away with the simple horizontal drops in favor of the more versatile Paragon sliders. Needless to say, I was very excited about the "upgrade".
One thing about my old Spot that always bothered me were the tabs for the disk brakes. Seems they were a bit behind the competition when it came to the design and engineering of these tabs. The old design was a throwback from original disk tabs where you had to remove the brake caliper in order to remove the rear wheel. Rather shoddy design for a "premiere" builder if you ask me. I was able to work around this design with the liberal use of washers to shim up the caliper, however, that came at the price of pad contact. I never had 100% pad contact with the rotor, although I never had a problem with rear braking power.
The new drop-outs, however, are Spot on perfect (pardon the pun). It's hard to beat Paragon drops for ease of adjustment and clean looks. With a split in the seat-stay, my new bike is ready for the Gates Carbon Drive belt system. Gavin offered me a special price for the Gates system and I jumped at the chance to try something new. Even at the reduced price, it ain't cheap going to a belt drive and I hope this stuff holds up for a while. I will say the machine work on the cog and chain-ring is exceptional. The same level of quality can be seen in the Spot Brand spacers and cog flange. The Gates Carbon Drive belt, well, that remains to be seen. If a belt is strong enough to push a Harley around, they must be robust enough for my weak-sauce self.
So, we drooled over the frame for a bit, finished up the paper work and headed over to pick up Michelle. In the parking lot the ladies had just finished their ride and offered us cider, hot chocolate and cookies. I'm sitting their chatting everyone up, trying to be social, while all I can think about is the Ernie orange Spot frame waiting to be built up. After a nice lunch at Red Robin (thanks Darius), I rushed back to the house and began to strip down the Vassago. This frame, acquired from DKEG who got it from the Outlaw, who got it from Vassago as the second replacement to a frame they sent him for review, has been a great bike while I waited to hear from Spot. I thought its days were numbered when I slammed into a tree a month ago, but, the frame has held together and will be regulated to "spare bike" status as I get reacquainted with the new bike.
It was almost a shame to install my old weathered parts on this pristine frame. The orange powder-coat blazing like the early morning sun. I'd like to say I did my best to clean the old parts before hanging them on the new frame, but, who am I kidding? I just wanted it in one piece so I could take her for a spin. Without instructions, installing the belt system required a little bit of trial and error. The usual BB spacing is different and the front chain-ring needs to be installed in the outside (big ring) position. The rear cog also needs to be run at the outer-most position on the freehub. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, however, my normal chain whip doesn't work with a belt drive cog and an emergency visit to Lowes for a strap wrench delayed the build by 45 minutes or so. After all the details got hammered out I had the Carbon Drive system installed and turning. Smooth as butter, quiet as a ninja and totally clean. I can't wait to get this bike on the trails.