Some of you know that I have been considering a custom bike for next spring. It has been a somewhat tortured search, because of my pickiness when it comes to things like lugs and stylistic detail. Basically, I want the mixte to have the classic twin lateral stays (as opposed to a single top tube), and I want it to be fully lugged (which is nearly impossible to achieve nowadays, as mixte lugs are no longer made). To get the kind of bicycle I want, I basically had three choices : (1) to go with a builder who can hand-make the lugs, (2) to go with a builder who can alter lugs meant for diamond frames into mixte lugs, or (3) to find a builder who has a stash of NOS (new old stock) mixte lugs that they would be willing to use. All three choices are rather costly, and I am not sure whether I am in a position to commit those kinds of funds to the purchase of a bicycle. A more economical option like Rivendell was not possible, because although beautifully lugged, their mixtes are the type with the single top tube.
announced in their recent blog entry the release of a fully lugged mixte with twin lateral stays. Thank you, Mr. Kulczycki! The photo above is a prototype frame.
Here is a close-up of the lugs. The projected price is $700 for the frame and fork (!), and the anticipated delivery date is January 2010. Three sizes will be available: 50cm, 54cm, and 57cm, making it accessible for both short and tall riders.
What I love about this frame:
. the lugs,
. the classic construction with the twin stays,
. the choice in sizing (54cm should be just perfect for me),
. the 700c wheels (larger than the wheels on the Betty Foy, which I found too small)
. and the excellent price.
What I don't love so much:
. the colour (if I order it, I would definitely get custom colour or have it repainted),
. the way the rear stays connect to the seat tube (I think this could be more elegantly done),
. and the fact that, like the Rivendell Betty Foy, it is made in the far East.
So what do you think? Regardless of whether I decide to go for this bike, I am very excited that this product has appeared on the market. Now, if only I can persuade VO to alter the rear stay connexions and change the production colour...