The saga of finding a suitable bike for use on the central London part of my daily commute continues...
Back in August 2014, I had identified five options:
1. Find an old frame and build it up with parts already to hand;
2. Use an existing 'old' bike (of which I had one but wasn't quite prepared to 'sentence' to year-round all-weather theft-risk use);
3. Buy another (complete) 'old' bike that I didn't have qualms about;
4. Wait and buy a new bike via Cyclescheme; or
5. Buy a really cheap, new bike "for now".
At that point, I had tried nos. 1 and 3. After setting out my options as above, I went with no. 5: the Viking Bromley.
That experiment taught me a lesson: cheap bikes just don't work as well. (Well, d'oh!)
My latest venture is in fact a combination of option nos. 1, 2 and 3:
This is Phase I of the Puch Princess Body Swap.
Yes, this is Lorelei, my beloved Puch Princess -- or, at least, it's her frame! (Plus headset and mudguards.)
All the drivetrain components (chainset, bottom bracket, front and rear derailleurs, wheels, freewheel, brakes, bell) came from the Puch Princess I bought a few months ago, which was in superb original condition.
The handlebars came off the Bromley, with the Shimano brake levers (fitted just a few months ago, originally fitted to Lorelei back in 2010 in a previous incarnation) still attached; likewise the Blackburn rack.
The original 27 inch wheels from the second Princess are now shod with Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres.
The black Puch-branded handlebar grips were sourced from ebay.
The saddle came off an old commuter bike of Adam's.
I have been riding her in London for the past month and can't believe how pleased I am, with the bike and her practicality. She looks trim, tidy and cared-for but doesn't attract attention.
The only downside perhaps are the steel rims of the wheels. Of course she will never stop on a dime in the wet and cannot compete with disc brakes, but my experience has been that rim brakes on steel rims work sufficiently well, provided they are well maintained and adjusted and if you adapt your braking technique to keep the rims clear. Modulation is the key. I have ridden several days in driving rain with no issues -- including a couple of emergency stops! This brake + wheel combination is much better than what were on the Bromley!
When I purchased the second Puch Princess last spring, I intended to stagger the "body swap" so as to complete the 'modern road bike' build first. But the summer flew by and as autumn approached, my priorities shifted to getting a suitable London Town Bike up and running. The Road Bike Build is now well underway and I hope to share full details of both builds shortly.
For now, the puzzle is: which bike gets the name Lorelei??