Building up the Boulder has been, in many ways, a very different experience for me. For all of the vintage road bikes I’ve worked on, it’s been a little intimidating to find myself doing a frame up build with mostly contemporary components. My experience with indexing, for instance, is pretty minimal. More than once over the past weeks I’ve threatened to switch over to friction mode and abandon any further fine tuning of the index shifts. Just about the time that I think things are all dialed in, the rear — frustratingly! — begins to ghost shift.
A couple of days ago I began to hear some alarming creaking sounds coming from the rear. I worried that my inferior adjustments were somehow damaging the mech or cassette. Putting the bike back on the stand, I went back through everything, carefully adjusting the high and low adjusters. It all seemed to shift flawlessly, with no creaking, grinding, or any other disastrous sounds emanating from the drive train. But back on the road, the racket was back again — and worse than ever. As I torqued the crank, the bike seemed to groan at the top of each revolution… but, dammit! The mech seemed to be shifting smoothly, so what the hell was going on?
I pulled the rear wheel and snugged up all of the points where the fender bolted down. And that was that: a nearly silent ride. Why hadn’t I double checked the fender in the first place? How agonizingly stupid could I possibly be?
To be entirely candid, the Brooks Flyer still makes a little noise. Especially when I hammer, the springs tend to creak occasionally as my weight shifts in the saddle. I intend to hit the springs with a little lube at some point — no doubt I’ll get around to it when the bike is on the stand and it actually occurs to me to do so!
I’ve ditched the Keene commuter shoes I rode on over the winter. They don’t breathe well and they’re heavy. Shimano mountain bike shoes fit the bill much better.
The Boulder is shaping up to be everything I hoped for. It’s a very comfortable ride and feels like it’s going to make a great long distance steed. The fit is spot on. The gearing is pretty close to where I want it to be.
Weather is getting nice. It’s been great getting up and hitting the road early. And the last couple of days I haven’t worried overmuch about shattering the morning quiet with a squawking fender.