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Ellis Cycles frame #8, making some changes to the original build.

Posted Jul 22 2009 10:47pm
I was very excited in April when I had finished building up my Ellis frame. I had gotten the finished frame back in October, just weeks before breaking my arm. It had been a long wait to finally get the bike built up, my arm rehabbed, and the first ride in. The first ride was great, the frame was amazing, but a few things about my choices of components had bugged me a little. Over the next few rides those couple of little things started to really annoy me. To the point where I stopped taking the bike out for rides. For awhile I didn't admit it to myself that I was annoyed by my choices of parts. After all, I had spent a lot of money I didn't have to make this dream bike happen. I just made excuses for why I wasn't riding this wonderful new bike. But I finally came around, decided I'd be happier if I made some adjustments and changes. Those changes came last week. And now, I feel like I have an entirely new bike!! It rides so much better now. So what did I change? If you remember, I had Honjo Fenders beautifully painted to match the frame. I wanted to run 700 x 32 mm tires. The fenders were 43 mm wide and should of had enough clearance for 32 mm tires. I never got the tires to completely clear the fenders. The clearance was so tight. The tire would bang on the front stays on every bump.....very annoying. Perhaps the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires I chose run a little wider than 32 mm, I don't know. I don't have a caliber to check the actual width. I tried to live with the banging and the slight rubbing of one of the mounting screw heads, but I couldn't take it. Either I had to go to a lower volume tire, or take the fenders off. I have a set of 700 x 28 mm tires with about a thousand miles on them. I was going to mount them with the fenders, but at the last minute decided to take the fenders off for now.

Next was the shifters. I decided to go somewhat retro with downtube friction shifters. I used to race in the seventies with downtube shifters. Thought it'd be fun to have them again. I hated them. Plain and simple, couldn't stand them. Seemed like I had to move my knee out of the way every time I wanted to shift gears. And on top of that I wasn't finding all the gears on the first try with the friction shifters. I had a mixture of 8 and 9 speed drivetrain components. I thought an eight speed cassette might be easier to find the gear than with a 9- speed cassette.

Last week I upgraded to a 9-speed cassette and chain so that the entire drivetrain is 9-speed. The Silver Shifters got moved from the downtube to the bar ends. As long as I had to re-wrap the handlebars, I moved the brake levers higher up on the drop of the bar. This was bugging me as well. I thought I had them where I liked them, but somehow I missed.
To my amazement, the 9-speed drivetrain is working flawlessly with the friction shifters. Not a single missed shift in the first two rides with over a hundred miles of riding (except for one time when I started out on an uphill and tried to shift before I really got going). I love the Silver Shifters mounted on the bar ends.

Next? The Phil Wood free hub. I have always wanted to have a set of wheels built up with Phil Wood hubs. I just couldn't justify it before until I got this bike. Problem was, I've never ridden with a Phil Wood hub before this. I had no idea the free hub would be so gosh darn loud when you freewheel. To me it was insanely loud. It drove me nuts. I stopped coasting and would just soft pedal when I would normally be coasting just so I wouldn't have to listen to that free hub. One group ride I did someone made the comment, "Hey, where's that chainsaw noise coming from?" I had to say it was my Phil Wood hub.

All of a sudden this weekend it was either quieter, or, I'm getting used to it. But I think it is quieter. Do they break in after awhile? Does anyone know? Whatever is the case, I'm much happier with the Phils now and will definitely be keeping them.

That's it for the annoying stuff. I was so happy this weekend to be riding the Ellis. It was the first time I was able to settle in and really enjoy the ride of this amazing frame. In fact, I can't wait to get out on it again....and again....and again.
One new piece of equipment was added last week. I added a stainless steel Tubus Cosmo Rack. It is more rack than I really need for this bicycle, but it is such a nice rack. I couldn't find another rack that fit my requirements for this build. It has the typical Tubus quality in stainless steel. I thought it was perfect for this bike. I purchased it from Wayne at The Touring Store dot com. If you would like to get some top quality racks or panniers for touring or commuting, check it out. Wayne will set you up with what you need with great pricing and free shipping on most items.

So there you have it. And oh yeah, the fenders. They'll be back again in the future sometime when I decide to go with a lower volume tire. It'd be a shame not to use them now that I have them.
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