Viva la Shinytouch

This isn’t an equipment blog. I spend too much time thinking about the stuff of biking as it is, I don’t need to indulge myself by writing about it, too. And besides, every bike has a story, usually interesting only to its owner.
I got a new cross bike. This one has been six months coming, and I’m so glad I got to ride it this week that I just gotta share.
Late last fall, I became aware of the reincarnation of Spooky bikes. Apparently the original company came and went during the ten-year period starting in the mid-90s when I really wasn’t paying attention to cycling. Now, Mickey Denoncourt, a self-described “underachieving overachiever” out in western Mass, is bringing it back. His commitment to domestic manufacturing really caught my attention. He wants to bring production jobs back to Massachusetts. As a guy who pushes bits for a living, that somehow struck home.
In January he announced that he had 2009 team framesets for sale, so I called him up and we talked a little bit. He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse on a frame, fork and headset. I paid right then, but didn’t take possession of the parts until early May. On the bright side, I did get to talk to Mickey once a week for status updates. I kinda miss that.
While I was waiting, I had the idea of getting the frame polished. I’ve been easily distracted by shiny objects since I was a kid, staring at pictures of P-38s and B-29s in books, so “shiny” means “speed” to me. In fact, it wasn’t so much an idea as a vision – polished frame, blacked-out fork, wheel sand other parts. I hate it when I get an image like that, because it usually causes me all kinds of trouble and a pile of cash. But making it real is the only way to get it out of my head.
I poked around the Internet a bit and came up with Mirror Finish Polishing. He had a picture of an MTB frame he had done, so I figured he knew what he was getting into. He quoted me a six-week lead time. I sent the frame off in the third week of May, figuring I’d get it back toward the end of June and would have plenty of time to get it built up. Well, estimates being estimates, I actually got it back while I was away at the PMC. But Tony did shine it up quite nicely.
Once I had the frame squared away I could focus my compulsive behavior on components. I recycled levers, derailleurs and crank from my road bike, but I needed to scrounge chainrings. Cyclocross-appropriate chainrings for Campagnolo cranks are hard to come by. After a few evenings of searching, I ended up calling Zank and getting a set of 36/46 PMP with the Campy-specific not-quite-110-BCD-drilling rings from him. He also saved my bacon when I hesitated on buying another Record/Reflex wheelset and suddenly couldn’t find hubs in stock anywhere in the US.
A few late nights of bolt turning and cable cutting, and, behold, the Shinytouch!
Spooky Supertouch
Click through for a few more pictures.
Best of all, while lots of other riders are still getting their race rigs together (sorry guys), I got to ride mine twice this week! One nighttime park-and-neighborhood session on Thursday night, and a full-on cross practice Saturday morning. Cross newbie Scott K brought his new Major Jake down to the local middle school and we stomped down the wet grass for a couple hours. The bike did pretty well. I got the front brakes squeal-free on the first try, even. The front end might be a little light, so I may need to find a bit more drop or reach, but the drivetrain is race-ready and the saddle position is just right.
Less than two weeks to Quad Cross now. The first and last time I did that race, 2006, I didn’t do well with the backside of the run-up in the woods. I’m much better with the skills now, we’ll soon find out if I’m good enough.

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