Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Going back to 2009: The Handsome Devil build

Make:  Handsome Cycles
Model The Devil
Year: 2009 (July)

Through most of the 2000's I was  wannabe roadie wearing kit like "the cyclist who must not be named" and lusting after carbon fiber.  Then in 2008-2009 I stumbled on to Rivendell and later Velo Orange and I started to realize that maybe I should give steel a shot, especially since I am never going to be a 130 lbs. Colombian climber or any kind of racer for that matter.  For those that are built for them I am sure Carbon fiber is great but as a "Super" Clydesdale, when I look at Carbon bikes these days I swear I can hear them whimper " no way big dude you'd break me like a stick".

So anyway it's 2009 I am in a loving Steel phase (that is still going strong in 2013 btw) and a Rivendell would have been awesome but they were out of my price range at the time.  So I looked around at Surly's and a few other brands and then stumbled across a fairly new company out of Minneapolis called Handsome Cycles.  The bike frame business was a recent offshoot of their long time bike shop "The Alt" bike and board.

I liked the look of the frame and price was right so I ordered away once I had the $$$ and the day it arrived was pretty cool-kind of like Christmas morning for an 8 year-old.

 While I was waiting on the frame I had also assembled some nice bits for the cockpit
 Crank, BB and pedals
 And the drive train- only Dura-Ace I have ever owned; bar end shifters.

After I started putting it together I realized I might need a few more spacers
But other than that it felt like the bike was coming together.

There were a lot of first for this bike and one of them was having to apply the decals myself.  I was a little anxious about this but taking my time and being patient it ended up working out and I liked the whimsy of some of the decals too.

I was lucky to have a cyclist neighbor who was willing to loan me his Park work-stand to finish the assembly job, having an icy Portland Brewing IPA didn't hurt on a warm July afternoon either.

One thing I have enjoyed about this frame over the last, almost, 5 years is that it is so versatile.  The basic stuff; Brooks saddle, Nitto Rando bars, bar end shifters and Deore RD, have stayed constant but the crank has gone from an IRD compact, to a Sugino triple, to the current 36t single crank for a 1x9 set up with an 11-36t 9 speed cassette.  It has also evolved from 700x32c tires to 700x38c with Fenders to the current 700x47c Continentials tires that have pushed aside the fenders 'cause they are so damn big- as seen here in my first post 
 Got the bike done back in 2009 in time for a little celebratory birthday ride to the neighborhoods French bakery.
 While camping with the family in the north cascades that summer I got some good rides in -compact double configuration.
 By 2010 I had added VO fluted fenders, a rear rack and switched to the Sugino XD-2 triple crank.  I also got rid of the canti brakes from the original build, which I had a tough time adjusting, and switched to V-brakes which I find much easier to work with.
And as it sits today with a 1x9 set up; the 11-36t 9 speed cassette and 36t chain ring gives me the low end to get up hills in West Seattle and the 700x47mm conti's are just plain fun.  It commutes, its a good shopping rig, its taken me bike camping (S24O) and basically any time I need a bike to hop on and go this is the one I choose.  

As always Ride. Smile.Repeat


  1. It sounds like a good friend, one who's tolerant and adaptable to your moods. I have a twelve speed that I ride where I only use one front chainring. I totally understand using fewer gears.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Annie, I do find simpler is a nice way to go. I don't have the fitness or geography to go single speed but Nine is Fine.

  2. Versatility is a wonderful thing in all things along with bikes. I really like the different hats that this frame has worn for you. In the 2000's if you had plunked the money down for a carbon-fiber wonderbike you would have a fine road ride that does one thing, go fast on smooth pavement. Your decision gave you many years of fun riding in all conditions. Nice job.
    I know everybody is different, but I would much rather own my GMC pickup instead of a Porsche. The Porsche would be a blast to drive but into the garage when it rains or my neighbor needs his couch hauled away!
    I know this must be a sweet ride for you when you have so many bikes making a stop in your stand and you have a choice, and it continues to be part of your stable. Good write up.

    1. Jim, Thanks for the kind and wise words and thanks for dropping in. I have a scheme to try out some mustache bars on this bike so the evolution may continue. Speaking of go fast I did actually strip it down once and use it as a "go fast" and it even did that decently. Shes a workhorse my little devil.


    2. A handsome devil, indeed. We must somehow broaden your readership: you deserve it. Bicycle Times, maybe. Me, I seem to be tapering off and as I become more and more embroiled in the workaday world and my panicky hopes to escape it yet again, writing about...whatever it is I write about becomes less and less important and while I cut boards and nail them back together I dream a little and I realize my ass ain't gonna make it to the finish line unless I pull a rabbit out of my hat.

      So I gotta go hat shopping and hopefully the rabbit part will follow without any animals being harmed.

      This all makes sense in some alternate universe somewhere but ultimately I think you should get yerself published over there. (Bicycle Times, not an alternate universe). Or not. You have sketched enough stuff here at your booger to show that you have an article. I'll help if I can...

      Man! I'm tired. Have a hella turkey day! I'm gonna ride.


    3. O yeah, just email me if ya wanna talk about it.

    4. Hey Tim Joe glad you stopped by and thanks for the kind words, I'm not sure more readers are necessary but I appreciate the thought. Hope you find the perfect Hat brother, I will drop you a line in email.