Saturday, August 7, 2010

If it gets any better than this...

I gotta say I had my doubts about this project when the owner presented it. However, in the end, this has to be one of the most incredible bikes to come through the work stand. The bike started off as a v-brake equipped WTB titanium Phoenix. The owner had a vision and I have to say, the vision turned out way better than I expected thanks to the help of a couple of pretty incredible guys - Steve Potts and Charlie Cunningham.

The frame was first sent to Steve to have the seat stay mounted canti brake bosses removed and roller-cam bosses added to the chainstays. Cable stops were relocated and the frame was treated to a fresh bead-blasting giving it a like-new appearance. While it is a WTB ti Phoenix frame, the "Steve Potts" decal on the down tube is appropriate since Steve made the frame originally (he made all the ti and steel Phoenix frames) and did the modification to it. The frame does retain the original WTB head badge.

After Steve performed his work on the frame, it was sent over to Charlie Cunningham along with the Fox suspension fork. At Charlie's workshop, a roller-cam brake was converted to a toggle-cam, the bottom bracket cable guide was created and added, and the mud guard was crafted and installed. Pretty standard fare. Although the cable guide is pretty damn cool.

Then the magic happened. Although, I'm sure Charlie doesn't see it as magic, but a simple design that has been perfected and incorporated into its present configuration. The front brake is a one-off custom lever-link brake. Well, actually a two-off brake as Charlie made one for himself that he installed on one of his bikes with a suspension fork. When I visited him last week, he commented that the addition of the lever link on his bike with the suspension fork transformed the ride of the bike. This version of the lever link brake is one of the most incredible feeling brakes. The feel through the brake lever is of a brake that has virtually zero friction. The brake's power and modulation are well beyond what one feels on any disc brake. I'd go so far as to say it's probably the most outstanding brake I've ever felt.

After Charlie crafted the front brake, modified the rear brake, and made a new fixed angle seat post, it all came to me for final assembly. I feel incredibly honored that Charlie entrusts me to finish the assembly of the brakes and dial in the bike. In the end, the bike turned out incredible. Not enough adjectives to describe it. Friggin' awesome.

Lever link brake

Lever link brake

Lever link brake

Cable routing

Lever link brake

Toggle-cam

Toggle-cam

Dropout

Funny that out of 112 links the connecting pin is pictured here.
Dropout

The bike just looks so right.
Potts / Phoenix

(What's playing: Elton John Someone Saved My Life Tonight)

6 comments:

Bushpig said...

In the future, please listen to Black Sabbath, at least, when discussing my bikes. ;)

Ben said...

There are so many stunning details on there it's nuts. A fine job sir on the assembly. It's just gorgeous.

Guitar Ted said...

I agree with Ben. A stunning example of rim brake technology and a cool frame to boot.

Wally Kilburg said...

That is just amazing. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful build.

Gary Lawson said...

That is a thing of beauty. Especially those brakes.