15 years was a good run…

So the other week I was griping about a few little problems I was having with the 1×7 skipping the chain and the headset still rocking. On my way home from work Friday I had an epiphany. Take a few links out of the chain, the derailleur will pull a little harder on the links and no more drops. This weekend I took it down in the basement to test my theory. After cleaning the drivetrain I picked up where I left off by trying to tighten up the headset a little bit. There I was with my wrench when an all-to-familiar scenario began to play out. One of the worst feelings is when you’re tightening something that is getting progressively harder to turn and all of the sudden gets progressively EASIER to turn. The threads on the fork were a little munged from the first headset and the top nut just couldn’t hold on. I pulled out the loctite and tried my little band-aid fix that I did with the old headset last year hoping it would stay together for a while. It lasted for a total of 1 full days before it started to rock again. Damn shame because the chain fix worked perfectly. I’ve had this bike for 15 years and replaced every part aside from the stem but this is it. I’m not buying a new fork for it, and I’m DONE with threaded headsets. FOREVER. Luckily it didn’t completely disintegrate underneath me, so I can just keep riding it until it gets to that ‘sketchy-loose’ stage. I’m mad because I just about had it dialed in perfect for what it was. Now I’m back to square 1 again. It also leaves me with the question of how to get to work and back in the future.

  1. Mountainy bike – Having a replacement that has braze-ons everywhere for all kinds of brakes, racks and parts makes sense to me. If I buy something with 26″ wheels, I can just pick up where I left off by bolting my old fenders and stuff on. The worst part of this for me is all the cool stuff I have like my Schwalbe Big Apples, My Nokian Studded tires and my recently built wheel that I like so much. When it comes to parts I could do a frame-up build aside from a seatpost, headset, spacers and stem – although I’m not sure I’d want to considering how much it would cost me to buy a frame, seatpost, headset, stem AND a pro headset install. (no more basement hackery for me there thanks very much…) That orange calls to me. aLOT.
  2. Cross bike – As mentioned many times, I could really get behind the versatility of this machine. There’s a bunch of ways to build it up and like the mountain route, I still have 88% of what I need. Kind of makes more sense because it’s a little more skewed towards pavement, and my riding has definitely skewed more towards paved surfaces in the last few years. Buying something with 700c wheels would require a total liquidation of my mountain bike parts stockpile. This goes completely against my obsessive-compulsive hoarding nature.
  3. Ride the trucker as a commuter – It makes sense because it’s 4.5 years old and already ‘broken in’ by several thousand miles so there’s none of that worry about leaving it outside. On the downside, 1) it’s my long distance machine right now and I don’t want to remove the brooks saddle, re-rackify and flat pedalify it. 2) I really am not all that crazy about riding it short distances in the city. It’s just not as fun to knock around town when you aren’t hopping curbs and railing around corners.

While I’m cleaning house (and of course I need money now too since I stupidly blew most of the bits I’d saved since 2009 from my annual bike allowance for commuting on a fun but very frivolous impulse buy) there’s this…

I looked up at it while I was putting some clothes in the dryer and realized that there’s no way to get a decent full set of fenders on it, no place to bolt a rack,  I haven’t had it out in the past year, and even if I had an opportunity to ride singletrack, this would be overkill for how I would want to ride it. It wasn’t the smartest purchase years ago when I brought it, but letting it hang over the dryer isn’t the smartest thing to do right now either. Clearly I have some decisions to make, but one thing cannot be disputed… The Chameleon should find a new home.


6 thoughts on “15 years was a good run…

  1. 15 years is a good run, but if you’re like me, you’ll still miss it.

    If I were in your position, I’d probably go for the Troll, move the parts over, and give/sell the frame to a good home.

  2. Hey David, I already do miss it. Still rides, but it’s not as much fun when you know it’s on its last leg. Thanks for the vote. It’s a tough decision as I want to make sure I’ve got my riding needs covered, I’d like to ‘downsize’ by 1 (n-1), and don’t want to lay out a ton of cash since I’ve got bigger plans for the future.

  3. The troll would give you a commuter/tourer/dirt machine and then, as hard as this is to say…sell the Trucker and buy a Pacer-like bike for your rando-riding. You have most of the parts; you just end up swapping frames around.

    • Possibly… Rando bike is part of the equation, but it it still too soon for me to make decisions based on that. The LHT was the perfect bike for me at a place in time – most notably when I was 270 lbs and needed something that would take a real beating, but it will stay with me for some time as the next step on that side is not going to be compromised and hopefully will be permanent. Much of this depends on if I can sell the Chameleon for a half-decent price. If I don’t get any takers, then I might end up parting it out which means my 26″/700c decision will be made for me since I’ll have LOTS of 26″ stuff to use. Also on the table, but not discussed for the sake of brevity is the super-cheap route of piecing together something from an ebay/nashbar/performance closeout frame, but I really don’t want to do that since I’ll be riding this bike every day for the next 10 years and might as well like it a LITTLE bit.

  4. I suggest commuting on the LHT and putting together a lighter rando rig. I love commuting on my LHT, anyway, and you can still hop curbs and ride down stairs and stuff. I do it on my 700c LHT.

    • Thanks for the vote Michael, and nice photo site too… I’ve commuted many miles and hopped a few curbs (but no stairs) on the trucker – and it does seem to be the most sane solution – but there is a little zip missing from the ride. Can’t explain it perfectly, and it’s not a speed thing either. The rando bike has to wait a little more, so if the wheels fall off the 1×7 and the Chameleon doesn’t sell, then the Trucker will just have to perform double duty for a while. (this is starting to sound like the script from a soap opera)

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