When I picked this junk up a little over two months ago my feeling was that I wasn't sure it was a brilliant bike, looking at the components this is almost certainly a bike that was built with budget in mind, and maximum profit from minimum outlay. I was right, this was built to be as cheap as possible, it was built to be good enough, not brilliant. That being said, I don't hate it, and I think it could be made to be a nice little ride. It puts me in mind of the Magna Fugitive that have, a bike that about a year ago I decided to try and make better again, and have not touched since, and I really need to drag it out of my collection and ride it again. Anyhoo, much like the Magan Fugitive it could be better, and despite really knowing that what I need to do with it is set it free again, I can't help feeling it's here to stay for a while atleast.
After my first failed attempt at riding it I thought that the first thing I needed to do was address the saddle and seatpost issue. For whatever reason it had been fitted with a childs seatpost and saddle complete with a Batman logo. OK, I'll admit it, I did think that it looked kinda cool, and liked the idea of having the Bat saddle under me. But, it was way too small, and it felt much more like I had the Bat saddle in me, and I'll be honest, I'm just not all that into that. So with that changed I figured that I'd head out to see just what this junk was all about. With the new saddle under my bum instead of in it I felt that it was a far more comfortable ride, and frankly transformed what this bike was all about. Sure enough it's not the best ride in the world, but it is at the very least... Average! Make no mistake, the components used on this bike are the very cheapest, of the very cheap, and I think, that much like a great deal of the junk bikes I collect this is their biggest problem, a half decent frame, with cheap ass componenets that spoil the bike, but I guess thats how you keep a bike in budget. my feeling is that when new this was a sub £100 bike sold in somewhere like Sports Direct or something like that. To be fair to it, I think that had I been looking for a bike and saw it for sale new in Sports Direct for around £100 I think I would've gladly paid that for this thing, infact about 15 years ago I bought a very similar Dunlop bike for her Worshipfulness from Sports Direct for less than £100 and it was... Erm, adequate, but adequate was all her Worshipfulness needed at the time, and it served the purpose.
As good as adequate is however, I feel that I need more, and I wanted more, the bike that I bought for her Worshipfulness 15 years ago served its purpose, it got her back out riding again, even though she only actually rode that particular bike twice before having me dig her old Muddy Fox Courier Comp out of her Grans barn and overhaul it for her. I also rode the Dunlop bike just the once before thinking that it needed to be better, and I had other junk to ride so I just left it in the back yard until the frame actually rusted through, that's not going to happen here, and so the first thing I need to address is the pair of holes that some genius had drilled in the crossbar.
I had to go and see one of my friends who pretty much always has a welder in his hand anyway, and so I figured that I may as well take the Evolve with me for him to have a go at plugging the holes. Ten minutes later the frame was looking far better, and I was squirting some paint on it to offer it atleast some protection from the weather. I didn't have the correct colour, or even anything close, and so a colour called 'C614 Sparkling Purple' was selected from my arsenal of aerosol cans, and applied over the primer that was applied over the freshly repaired metal. With that done I looked at my handiwork, not a great match, but it does kinda put me in mind of the StreetKa Named Desire, I just need to get some metallic grey on this thing now! Hmm... I wish I hadn't said that, now I'm thinking that, this is what I need to do, strip the bike and re-paint it to match the StreetKa... That might have to wait.
With the frame repaired, and after a quick lube up I headed out, and to be fair to it, it really wasn't that bad. Easily on par with the rest of the junk that I ride when they join my collection, and much like stuff like the Magna, Univega, et cetera I started to think that there's room for improvement. The trouble with thinking this is that this tends to mean that yet another bike has joined my collection, something that, if I'm honest I was really trying to avoid as I've got more than enough bikes already. But the seed had been sown, and I headed home to start making improvements.
Just lately, in my collection I have been stripping a few bikes to a bare frame. The bikes I've stripped are bikes that I don't want to sell, but I don't want to ride at the moment either. So I've stripped them, and put them in the loft (Shh, Mrs Clint doesn't know). Actually I've not put them all in the loft, only the frames, and I'm storing them there until I want to bring them back out, re-paint them, and re-build them with new, or better components. The components I've taken off have gone straight into my stash, or, onto this bike, and others that I am currently building.
I'm sure you recognise the tyres already, right? But not only that the brake levers are from the Univega too. The saddle and post have come straight from my stalled Hill Street Cruiser project. The Handlebars and Vee brakes came off an Apollo Plateau frame that I dragged out of a skip a couple of weeks back, only because I wanted the forks to replace the forks on the Kalkhoff that still sits unfinished in my hallway, and will be probably be the grounds for my divorce (if I'm extremely lucky). But even with just these few mods this bike already feels like a better bike. Making it more comfortable to ride, and making it stop better go a long way to making this a more enjoyable bike to ride. So is this as far as I'm going? Nope, of course it's not. I keep looking at the forks from the Real Easy. I've got it stripped to just the frame, and I've put the original ridged forks back on it which means those forks that were on it are just sitting there in my stash waiting for their next build. Admittedly I think that they're really no better than the forks that this thing has already, and they're really not that good. But I think the forks that I've had on the Real Easy look pretty damn cool, and really should be on this bike, so I'm going to atleast try them. Besides, it's not like I'll ever be caning this thing through the woods on some sort of down hill course. This, much like all my other bikes will probably see most of it's use on paved surfaces, and for that cheap old Zoom forks will be more than adequate. Further more I may well end up using the crank, and chainwheel from the Univega as it's an old Biopace unit, and I kinda like them on my bikes, even though I know that for this particular bike it's far from era correct? I'm pretty sure that Shimano stopped making the Biopace cranksets years ago, but does anyone still make ovoid bicycle chain rings these days? Maybe I need to look into that. So there's still plenty of mods planned for this little beauty, hopefully it'll respond well to whatever I try to do with it, but only time will tell. But what I can say for sure is that short of someone stealing it from me, I have no plans to get rid of it, it's junk from the cheap crappy end of the bicycle spectrum, but that's just my type of ride, and I love it, so for now atleast, let's ride!