"Out for delivery" is one of my favorite phrases. Today UPS delivered my Windsor Clockwork single speed track bike from BikesDirect.com.
The bike comes stock with a 46t chainring and a 16 tooth freewheel cog. After doing some research on gearing, I learned that the stock setup (with 700 x 25 tires) would yield 75.8 gear inches. This seemed a bit high for the rolling terrain of my area. I don't mind coasting on fast downhills, but I really need a reasonable gear for climbs. So I decided to remove the stock cog and install a 17t in its place during initial assembly. With 700 x 23 tires replacing the stock 25's, the Rabbit calculator tells me that I'll have 71.1 gear inches with this setup. 46/17 is equivalent to 50/18.5, or a little harder to pedal than the 4th largest cog with the large chain ring (a 50/19 combination) on my Specialized Roubaix road bike.
I have numerous other replacement parts arriving in the coming days, but the cog is the only thing that made it in time for initial assembly. Rather than endure the pain of waiting until everything is here, I'm going to put the bike together in its stock configuration and ride it. That way I can have a basis for judging how well my planned modifications improve the bike. I'll install other parts as they arrive.
Here's how the parts look when the box is unpacked:
The rear brake was attached and connected, but the front brake was not. The cable was attached at the lever end, routed under the (already wrapped) handlebar, and coiled up. It simply had to be terminated at the caliper end. I found that the Tektro brake calipers are a bit clumsy compared to Shimano 105. The quick release lever apparatus is not as smooth and definitive, and there is a bit more play overall in the parts. But I managed to adjust them reasonably well.
I had to visit my LBS for help removing the 16 tooth cog. It requires a special removal tool, and my attempts to formulate an inelegant solution were not successful. Otherwise, the bike went together fairly easily. The wheels are not 100% true, but they are very close. I may have that looked at if it starts to bug me.
BikesDirect says that most assembly of their bikes should take 20 minutes, and that might be true for a person who does this every day, but I think it's well worth spending a leisurely hour or two to ensure a clean and reliable job. Their claim that a bike arrives "90% assembled" is a rather optimistic estimate! I'd say it's more like 75%.
The bike is a beautiful bright orange! No question about that!
I installed the stem upward to afford myself a more upright riding position, which helps my lower back (I have herniated lumbar discs).
I took her for an 8 mile ride during the waning sunshine of the day, after which various parts seemed to seat themselves a bit better, so I tightened things up. Compared with my carbon bike, the steel frame absorbs the road very smoothly, and has a comfortable feel. The stock saddle is quite comfortable too; that was a surprise. I don't like the curvature of the handlebar drops, but that's being replaced with a Nitto Noodle anyway. The weight appears to be in the 22 lb range according to my bathroom scale. I can't wait for tomorrow, more parts arriving (Brooks saddle?), and another ride.