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Sunday, November 6, 2016

An Overhaul (part 2) - Frame and Fork

It's no secret that I love my Black Mountain Cycles gravel bike.  For the rough road riding I enjoy, it's   a magnificent fusion of form and function.  Hard to imagine anything better for me.

Now, after over 30 months and 12,000 miles of rough roads in all kinds of conditions, it's time for a complete overhaul of everything.  That includes the frame and fork.  So, I carefully remove the components, then scrub the bare frame and fork with a soapy toothbrush.  Next, a close inspection.  I hope to find no structural damage, but know full well the history of all those miles.

There's a keeper.
Relief.  I discern no cracks, dings, bends or other post-fabrication structural modifications.  The frame and fork look good.  Very good.  Good for another 12,000 miles at least.

I spot a couple of superficial issues.  The underside of the down tube appears, at first, to have suffered a substantial number of paint chips.  However, almost all turn out to be grimy splotches of petroleum-based somethings that eventually clean off with the right solvent and some elbow grease.  I did find a half dozen or so actual paint chips, primarily on the frame on the drive side chain stay near the crank set.  That's not unexpected nor uncommon.  I patch those with hobby store enamel.

I also find some paint rub where the Revelate Designs frame pack contacts the frame, but only enough to slightly dull the paint in a small area in a few places.  "That's just normal wear and tear, dude."

The graceful curve of a steel fork helps smooth out those rough roads.
No need to replace this frame or fork.  Not yet.  But if I did, it would be for the current monster cross from Black Mountain Cycles.  Mike Varley recently tweaked this beauty by slightly increasing the fork offsets and the head tube height, adding a third set of water bottle bosses, and changing to a Pacenti fork crown with even greater tire clearance.  A fine bike refined.

I'd like a new one just to hang on the wall, although not riding it would be a crying shame.  So, no new gravel frame or fork for me.

Addendum 1.  I did not remove the Velo-Orange Grand Cru head set.  There's really not much to do with this, other than clean it up a bit and confirm that it's working properly.  Again, no issues here.

Addendum 2.  This is a rim brake only, steel frame and fork, which for me is a major advantage in ride quality.  I do not find disc brakes or carbon anything to be an upgrade, contrary to conventional marketing.  But that's beyond the scope of this post.

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