20130107

The Takhion That Isn't: Part II

Some time ago my dad suggested that I put together a bike out of spare parts to leave back home, as we've gotten in the habit of riding together and he didn't want me to have to constantly lug a bike back and forth.  I've written a little bit about this bike when it was in its final stages, and now I'm back to finish the story of the Takhion That Isn't.

Despite the utter mish mash of parts, I think it came out quite stylish.

Bikes are interesting.  I've ridden bikes that had thousands of dollars poured into them; every detail fine tuned and perfect.  Some of those I've hated.  

I've also ridden some pretty gnarly-amazing-gaspipe-garage-sale-wonders, and some of those I've loved.

I'm convinced that it's not just about components, but something in the way a bike comes together that makes it fantastic.  And though this bike was a total nightmare to build, the end result is a bike that I'm almost tempted to bring back here to have, because it's a freaking blast to ride.

I actually started building this way back before the idea of a timeshare bike came around.  I took the frame and headset down to the local shop one day to get the headset pressed, as I hadn't added a press to the arsenal yet.  That was when I found out that not only was the fork completely borked, the headset was some strange standard that none of the mechanics could figure out.  It wasn't 1". It wasn't some special Italian or French.  It wasn't, well, anything, and unfortunately the only fork compatible with it was buckled and had no chance of ever taking the crown race for it.  Don't overtighten your quill stems, folks.  

We tried a combination of headset parts with no avail.  I kept all the parts around, because now it was personal.

It was almost a year later when I again attempted to get a fork on this frame.  I had toyed with the idea of selling it, but I really did love it and I'm a terrible packrat, so I wasn't quite ready to give up on it yet.

Armed with a plethora of headset parts, a spare Nashbar fork, and some shiny new tools, I attempted to find the combination that would unlock forkage.  It took hours, lots of swearing, and possibly some alcohol, but finally - success!

After the fork, there was the issue of the wheels.  The track fork ends were old Keirin - 110mm.  Finding hubs was hard enough, let alone wheels.  I didn't feel like spending money on a set of ultra nice/vintage/NOS just to lace the wheels for this bike, but out of the blue I got lucky and found a guy who had laced some and abandoned the project, and was now selling them.  I managed to get the wheels, tubes, and tires for less than I would have paid for one hub!

Everything else was standard found-in-the-workshop fare: a spare English threaded BB, a bizarre set of Nitto bars I had acquired and wanted to put to good use, a track crank that I had somehow come to own, a spare saddle from a donor bike (which turned out to be kind of rare and incredibly comfy). 

The last, and weirdest/hardest part was the seat post.  At one point, I would like to assume that the seat tube was a sort of standard 26.2 mm.  When I received the frame, it was a sort of oval shaped thing that *might* have been that at some point in its life.

Eventually, I managed to muscle a 26.2mm seatpost I had lying around into the frame, taking care to make sure it wasn't buckling or being damaged.  A spare front brake, some bar wrap, and voila!
I think it's festive.
And with that, a strange frame with Keirin track fork ends, an English threaded BB, and a ????? headset became a pretty fun little fixed gear for me to kick around my hometown.  

Now, to reiterate - I might be wrong here, and if I am and you know it - please, please correct me!  But this is not a Takhion.  It's a frame that was restored and rebranded as such.  But to my knowledge, Takhions were made of Columbus tubing, have 120mm fork ends, Italian threaded BBs, 1" standard headsets, and a distinct BB cutout. Not to mention serial numbers, of which this frame has none.  Not that it's not a great frame, but it's no Takhion Aero :]

Whatever it is, it's proven to be an awesome ride that I've come to love and look forward to riding. Despite the utter vomit of parts, I think it looks great, and I've got a nice cruising around town ratio on there for some fun riding.

So the next time you have a bizarre frame that you're about ready to throw off a cliff, give it one more chance.  You might end up with one of the best bikes you've ever ridden.  

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