One small change demands yet another…

This is a gratuitous sketch from a ride last week. Today was simply too nice to stop long enough to scribble out anything on the Moleskin sketchbook I had stuffed into my pocket.


Some things just need to change.

The black Brooks Professional and cotton wrap I’d used on my 80’s Katakura Silk really looked classy, but something was amiss. Something was bothering me about those finishing touches. For some reason, the British saddle just felt out of place on this bike and (unusual for me with a Brooks) I just couldn’t dial in the fit: I needed it to set back a bit further than the geometry allowed me to do. Solution? The brown Selle Regal I used to have on my Boulder Brevet.

So the fit was better, but the aesthetics worse. Brown saddle and black bar wrap? Unthinkable!

As always, one small change demands another small change, which, in turn, demands yet another small change. Pretty soon, you’ve got an entirely new build.

I like the feel and (relative) longevity of Salsa wrap. I have this same stuff on my Boulder and with over two years and around ten thousand miles of gripping it, this wrap has far outlasted anything I’ve ever used except for cotton tape coated with shellac. I sure wish that dumb little pepper logo wasn’t on there, but I can live with it I guess. For a bit of added diameter I simply wrapped over the black cotton Tressostar. This is a bit of an experiment that accomplishes two things: (1) It adds some cushion and (2) if I grow weary of the current look, I can simply unwind the tape and voila! Perfectly wrapped black cotton!

Normally I don’t concern myself with the added cushion. Fact of the matter is that I actually prefer the narrower and more tactile grip of cotton wrapped Cinelli bars.

I swapped out tires a month or so back for these Vittoria tires that are 700 x 25, and which I really like. I had also installed my Carradice Super C bar bag for a while, but I find it too distracting having the bag attached to the bars themselves. I also don’t like that the bar bag is positioned so much higher than the front bag of the rack-and-decaleur-mounted Swift I have on my Boulder. I’m actively looking to trade the Super C for a similar quality Carradice saddle bag instead.

My first inclinations were to pair the chrome of this bike up with either black or red: brown never entered into the equation. In my mind, brown seemed a bit wishy-washy. Non-commital. Milquetoast. But for the moment I’m rather liking the laid back look of earth tones over the chrome. And because we’ve a forecast for sunny skies and 55 degrees, I believe I’ll not dwell too much on aesthetics.



11 thoughts on “One small change demands yet another…

  1. The Regal was my go-to saddle until I bought my first Brooks. I still have one on my mountain bike. IF/WHEN a Brooks doesn’t work for me on a bike, I’ll be right back with another Regal…kindred sit bones!

      • My wife and I each tried to be a tester for the Cambium, but no luck there. Despite the price, I like the idea of the saddle for my mountain bike and my touring bike.

        Any more longer term thoughts about the comfort, fit or durability?

      • Oh yes, quite a lot, actually. I’ve made numerous follow ups here on The Early Morning Cyclist, but you might want to visit BikeForums for the running commentary I began back in June:

        Lots of opinions about the saddle, the price, etc. Obviously, any time you read a public forum there’s going to be some folks with opinions and absolutely no factual basis upon which they are formed, but there are mostly well thought out responses posted. If you go to about page eight or nine, you’ll be able to read some of the comments I’ve made about durability and comfort after the first 10,000 kilometers.

        My take on the saddle is that it maintains comfort and appears to be a winner in terms of durability. Mine is showing some wear of the top fabric – this appears to be from constant leg rubbing. But no fraying at all, and I will wager there will be years and years more road riding ahead.

  2. Dennis O says:

    Like the Katakura Silk bike. Bought one and how do I guess at the year. Not high end, cottered 2 ring crank, no name brakes, 10 speed, light/pale “green”, seat says Silk. Came with 2 big wing nuts on the wheels, no hex nuts. Also have 86 Schwinn Voyageur and 87 Sch Voy. Like your web site.

    • I tentatively dated mine by dating the components. Also, after having chatted with another chrome Silk owner in Japan, I feel confident that I’m within a year or so of the accurate date. Do you have photographs you would share of your bike? Since yours has a cottered crank I’m thinking it’s going to be somewhat older than mine. Dating the rear derailleur and (possibly) the crankset may help to get in the ballpark on time frame though.

    • I’ve no idea how to react – your Katakura is completely outside my experience! It appears to be an entry level bike, given the components. I’ve never seen that particular crankset before…it’s pretty industrial looking. The stem shifters also scream entry level to me. Some Asian bikes were still using cotters into the 80’s so I suppose it could be as late as that. On the other hand, Velobase shows the V-GT rear derailleur around as early as 1972, so that leaves an entire decade. My gut tells me your bike is probably earlier rather than later – so maybe early to mid-70’s, I’m guessing.

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