Over the weekend I put the finishing touches on a 650b “Rough Rider” for Rick at Colonel’s Bicycles here in Fort Worth. During the planning/design stage of the project we bounced a lot of ideas off each other of what kind of bike would really suit Rick’s style of riding. He essentially wanted a bike that could be ridden on just about any terrain, especially gravel or dirt roads, and would be comfortable for long days in the saddle.
The large diameter of the 650b road tires along with the release of the Pacenti Quasi-Moto 650b off road tire made the wheel size a cornerstone of the design. This essentially allowed us to build a bike that would be just as happy on or off road. A lot of time was spent working the numbers to see what the effects of switching tires would have on the ride characteristics of the bike. For off road, we wanted a much higher bottom bracket, and for the road a lower center of gravity. We also wanted a tire clearance and a longer wheel base for when the bike would be ridden off road.
The bike is built from Columbus Zona tubing with other frame parts being from either Paragon Machine Works or Pacenti Cycle Design, along with a pair of NOS Campy rear drop outs. The frame is fillet brazed, with a twin plate fork crown, S-bend chain stays and single bend seat stays. The overall style of the bike is reminiscent of the early Tom Ritchey and Bridgestone mountain bikes that Rick used to race on back in the early 90’s. The horizontal top tube gives it that classic mountain bike look but the bent stays and Pacenti fork crown give it a modern touch. The top tube will also help keep the frame from looking too small when it is set up as more of a road bike. The Campagnolo drop outs give the adjustment to the wheel base that we need when switching tire size/style.
The frame will be built up with lots of early mountain bike era NOS parts that Rick has been searching for and stashing away while I’ve been working on the frame. But with the versatility of the design I am sure this bike will see several transformations of components.