Welcome to the first blog post from us at Beacon, Seattle! Throughout these blogs, we'll document bike builds, bike rides, bike camping trips, and stuff that's even non-biking related.
For this first post, I'll be talking about a Velo-Orange Neutrino that I just built for myself. Yes, outside of bag designing and making, I enjoy building fun bikes! Enjoy.
I decided to build up a Neutrino because throughout all the write ups it has these past years, I've always been curious about if I wanted to own one because they looked too damn fun to not. Years later, I finally pulled the trigger and bought the frame. It is a size S, I'm 5'7" - a little smaller than they recommended on getting, but I'd say it fits like a glove.
With this build, I wanted it to be a "Mamachari" bike which is Japanese for mom bike. Mamachari bikes are basically a city bike with a basket for groceries and such. I have a few other bikes (don't ask me how many), but this is the only bike I will own with a basket.
From the start, since it is a Mamachari, I wanted it to have some old Japanese parts on it. Not only that, I wanted to only use old caged bearings inside the bottom bracket and the headset. You can call me old fashion, but it is just so much smoother and fun to work with when building bikes. Plus, it's a good excuse for any bike mechanic working on it to get their hands dirty.
The bottom bracket is an old three piece by Sugino from Japan.
Same with these amazing 165mm Mighty Tour Sugino cranks. The chainring is a 42t narrow-wide 1x from Velo Orange. As for the chain guard, it's a 42t cover by Rivendell. As for the pedals, they are MKS Sylvan pedals, from Japan of course.
For the brake levers, I went with a classic silver by Dia-Compe. Also on the bars are the very luxurious Bio-KORK Ergon grips. As for the headset, it is an old school BMX Dia-Tech "D-Cup". I love the look of them and the steering is as smooth as butter.
Continuing on with the brake system, what's paired with the brake levers are the silver edition Road Avid BB7s (Shoutout Bio-pace Steve from Bike Works Seattle) which comes with titanium hardware. The stopping power is insanely BUFF.
By now, you probably get the picture. But we're not done yet, we haven't even talked about the drivetrain! So I didn't want to go overboard with having a mean expensive drivetrain, I wanted the cheapest and most reliable out there.
I opt for a dinky 8 speed Shimano HG 11-32t cassette with a Shimano Altus derailleur (discontinued). I decided on this cassette mainly because it had the cool Shimano HG sticker on it. Also, the Shimano Altus derailleur has the smoothest shifting EVER, which is why I chose it and it has the bigger pulley which helps with climbing! I'd say it's one of the most underrated derailleurs out there.
Let's move on to what makes the bike roll - the wheels. As for the tires, I had a tough time figuring out which tire I wanted for this bike. The max tire width Velo Orange recommended was 20" x 2.3" but I always tend to go a little wider than recommended on most of my builds. So I opt for a set of BMX tires by Eclat that are 20" x 2.4". I'm a sucker for weird typography and the font used on the tires are way too sick.
The current wheel set is Sun Ringle Rhyno Lites that are eventually going to be replaced by a set of Velocity Cliffhangers with a Dynamo hub. And you already know I had to get fenders for a Mamachari bike so I went with the Velo Orange 20" fenders that were basically the same width as the tires.
I've been riding this bike for about 3 weeks now and it's been way too fun commuting to work everyday. It's so easy taking it out the apartment. I love just pulling up to a grocery store and throwing a big frozen fish in the basket. I don't even use a grocery basket anymore, I just roll my bike through grocery aisles and throw whatever I want in the front. The staff seem to not care, they are too mesmerized by the sparkles shining off my bike. I love this thing.
I just want to shoutout Bike Works Seattle for providing me 75% of the parts on this bike.
Remember to keep having fun and stay inspired, maybe it'll inspire others to be inspired then inspiring others? I don't know. During the dark times, there's always a light. I don't know why I just said that, I'm two beers deep on my day off. I'm not sorry though.
Much love, peace, and happiness.