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braze-ons, or no braze-ons????

Here’s something I’m struggling with a little bit…. In the past I’ve always pretty much agreed with Grant Peterson of Rivendell when he talks about the madness of bikes not having rack-mounts or clearance or eyes for mudguards. It seemed to make sense to me. For the additional cost/weight/whatever, why not just bung ’em on. It’ll make the bike waaaaay more useful throughout its lifetime. Maybe not to begin with if we’re talking about a spanking new superlightweight race bike, but surely in a few years, that top of the range Tour De France replica will be just an old bike. Ideal to stick a rack and mudguards on and use it for commuting or winter training or going to the shops on.

But here’s the thing….
I’m in the middle of building a lightweight, fast steel frame. I know this bike’s only going out a couple of times a month on nice sunny days and almost definitely only for 3-4 hours at a time at most. So I’m thinking I’m not going to put mudguard eyes or rack bosses on it. And I really think it makes a difference when I look at it. It just looks better without them. I’m now thinking that I might not even put bottle bosses on it. The cable routing’s internal and I’m really digging the clean lines. Am I mad? What’s happened to me?

I think that the thing that’s bugging me is this. If I put all the braze-ons on, just in case they might be needed/wanted later, and make sure there’s enough clearance for wide-ish tyres and mudguards, why don’t I just slacken the angles a little bit. Just in case it might want to do some light touring at some point in the future. And come to think about it, maybe I should add a kick-stand mount and a dynamo fitting as well!! You never know…

And so before I know it, every bike I ever build for anyone will be exactly the same but in a different size. In fact, I’ll just make them all the same size. Quite small but you can always put on a long seat post and a big old bonzo stem.

posted by steven - July 12th, 2006