Friday, December 11, 2009

Bike Check: Chris' Couplered Bare Knuckle

I just recently had some work done to one of my favorite bikes, and it's almost like New Bike Day for me. So, I'm going to take the time to show it off on the internet, which is of course solely what the military and universities collabo'd with Al Gore to create it for.

I started off with a 54cm EAI Bare Knuckle track frame. This is a great mid-level steel track frame, the tubeset is double butted Deda 12.5 COM. It's got a super high bottom bracket which makes it size a little funny, but it makes it an ideal frame for the track or street. 1-1/8" steerer is much more convenient than a 1", and it's of course "laterally stiff and vertically compliant".

Bilenky Cycle Works did a fantastic job with a S&S Machine BTC (Bicycle Torque Coupler) retrofit, and they did a dent repair and repaint at a really reasonable cost. S&S BTCs are growing in popularity as an alternative to a folding bike when traveling is a concern. I'm about to be bouncing around the world, and after driving 3 bikes to Vancouver from Maryland, and then hauling 2 back on the plane, I really wanted an option that would allow me to fit my bicycle into a 62 linear inch case, which is under airline regulation sizing for check-in luggage.

You can see that the frame has 2 lugs near the seat tube on the top and down tubes - those are the BTCs, and that's where the frame breaks in half. The limit is the size of your wheel, in my case a 700c track wheel.

I've spec'd my frame with some top notch stuff from Chris King, Nitto, SRAM, Phil Wood, MKS, KMC, and Selle Italia. When choosing parts for this build (which has admittedly appeared in several iterations of varying practicality and utility), this time I went for comfort and durability. All the bearings are high quality sealed cartridge type - from the headset to the outboard bearing bottom bracket, which is crucial for Vancouver weather (see: rain, rain, and more rain) in the winter. Risers make for a comfortable ride and keeps my head up for good visibility when negotiating city traffic.

A few other options come straight from the factory spec'd with couplers - Surly's Traveler's Check is a Cross Check that's had BTCs installed,

and the Ritchey Breakaway frame is a road frame with Ritchey's proprietary Breakaway system, and comes with a Ritchey bag. One thing I've read on the interwebz is that the Ritchey bag is actually 64 linear inches, which makes it 2 inches oversize, so you may or may not run into trouble with that. Packing your bag so it's definitely underweight should mitigate any snobby airline worker's wrath, but who knows - that's always been a toss of the dice for me. Cool frame though.

At BKLYN Bicycles, we're Euro-Asia Imports dealers, as well as Chris King, Phil Wood, and all your favorite companies, and we can spec your bike exactly like mine if you're into that. We can also easily get our hands on a Traveler's Check or a Ritchey Breakaway frameset and build it up for you. It's super convenient for me to be able to haul my favorite bike along with me when traveling, and I don't have to pay oversize or bike charges to the airlines. FIGHT THE POWER

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