Monday, July 18, 2022

Bye Bye Rivendell Clem!


My Rivendell Clem is on it's way to Connecticut, where I hope the new owner will love it's smooth ride and easy step through design. I liked the wide low double gearing - something that may grace my next bike! Panaracer Pasela tires are old favorites, plus the new Soma Oxford bars were A-1 comfort, a definite improvement over the stock Boscos.

Trying to make the Clem my forever touring bike, though, had it's drawbacks. It's long. It's heavy. In the end, those two factors were not something I could live with and avoided even riding the Clem, barring a multiday trip, where low gearing was needed. In the future, I will never order a bike online - especially an expensive one - without trying it first.

I do have a replacement in the queue, building from the frame up - first time for everything! I won't be doing the work myself but rather providing input. Light wheels for starters. More on my Beaujolais babe later.

For now, goodbye Miss Clem. May you provide the next rider with lots of smiles.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Reimagining a Randor Terrain Buster Mountain Bike


Randor Terrain Buster, a tank in this condition.

Our son recently acquired his grandfather's bicycle, a Randor Terrain Buster. A Randor? Both my son and I Googled the brand, only coming up with several Randor BMX bikes, but there is a distinct lack of information on this particular model. We knew it was most likely some low end department store brand, possibly that didn't catch on in a sea of  better equipped Treks, Bridgestones, Marins, Gary Fishers, etc. What caught my son's eye, I presume, was the slack 80's geometry, square fork crown, and bullmoose handlebar. The clean frame - nary a scratch - made it all the more attractive for the bicycle's age. I'd been eyeballing the bike for years, and enough time has passed since my father left this world, that my brother was finally willing to part with it. 

Initial inspection in the basement, our son loved the head badge, "Randor Par Excellence". He removed the wide sprung saddle, composed of at least 20 small steel springs. It must've weighed 5 lbs.! He discovered the steel wheels, and at first glance liked the pattern stamped on the brakes. He noted the rack had to go. My son had a vision, but he's a man of few words.

I figured it would make a great simplified commuter bike for him - he already had 26" winter studded tires. I didn't doubt he would fix up the bike to his satisfaction; what I couldn't foresee was all the amazing details and effort he would put into his grandfather's bicycle to make it his own.

The gorgeous Terrain Buster! 

The bicycle disappeared for a month, stored at the shop where he's a bike mechanic. Without updates along the way - I think he wanted to surprise me - he'd come home late almost every evening. He stripped the bike to the frame and fork, in the end those were the only original parts - as he built wheels, had eyelets brazed by a coworker, set up a dynamo front wheel, added cantilever brakes, and red bling up the wazoo! His coworkers affectionately called it the "Terrain Buster" - one of those silly names for mountain bikes (like my Trek Antelope) that made you laugh. I never imagined the effort he would put into a seemingly low end frame, yet like his other bikes, he spares no expense.

I have to admit, the end result is sweet!

He is not stopping there, it seems. There are and will be more improvements. He's since swapped the brakes for ones with more efficient braking. He's considering a handle bar extension to lift the bars a bit higher. Technically, the frame is too small for him. He's continually learning and experimenting.

I know my father would've been proud of his grandson.