Let's go with "interesting". Have you ever heard Tri-hards referred to as "elbow steerers"? Well it turns out steering with your elbows is a touch more difficult when the elbow pads are set closer together than your own nuts. Seriously the thing was twitchier than a Jack Russell on crack. But quick? Boy oh boy yes. There is some serious speed waiting to come out of that bike, and given i got 54kmh out of it with barely any effort and everything held together with electrical tape i'm feeling pretty good for the weekend.
I've already got the elbow rests moved out, so now it just needs bar tape, some minor tuning, and a shallower front wheel to make it a little less boisterous in the crosswinds i'm expecting.
It's been a rather rocky build this one, thanks to the wonders of the Chinese Lucky Dip. When you're getting a pair of handlebars for $9.80 delivered there's no guarantees they will be perfect, you pay your money and take your chances. On this occasion i lucked out, getting a pair of bars that were something like 1.6mm undersized in diameter.
That meant that the internal brake levers i had actually spent a reasonable amount wouldn't fit, so i popped into the nearest bike shop to see if i could get another set of bars. Sure, for $120.... Another shop found some old stock ones for $60, but to suit an oversized stem. Suddenly i realised i needed to check what size bar the aerobars i had were for and yep, standard only.
So after a bit of thought i realised the only option for the time being was to use the "special" Chinese bars with different brake levers. Into the parts bin, and a set of 1970s Weinmann brake levers go on without trouble. Then it was time for the aerobars, but the clamps for those weren't as forgiving of the undersized bars as the brakes were. Or to be more precise, they wouldn't clamp on at all. Not to worry, a beer can shim or two will do the trick.
FORTY FOUR shims later, but hey at least the aerobars are secure. Now that all that is out of the way the rest of the bike was fairly straightforward. The only other fly in the ointment was when i bought the bar end shifter thinking i was getting a pair because the photo showed 2. Well no, it was the same shifter from different angles, and the description was actually very clear that it was one shifter. This is the point at which i start getting a concussion from banging my head against the wall.
I shouldn't need to change chainrings often, so any old shifter will do. I ended up putting a plastic friction thumb shifter from a Big W clunker on the bullhorns, which works very nicely indeed but does look dodgier than a $20 Rolex.