All You Haters Dig My Platypus!

Further to yesterday’s post, in anticipation of resuming work on my new bicycle I perused Grant’s platypus propaganda:

Some things I learned:

  • Platypuses are venomous
  • Female platypuses don’t have nipples
  • Male platypuses mate indiscriminately and do not help care for their young

On top of that, they look like they were assembled with spares from the parts bin, and while Rivendell may donate $25 for each Platypus sold to conservation efforts on behalf of their animal namesake, to be perfectly honest I came away with the sense that these creatures are assholes and that if they go extinct that’s their problem.

Hey, someone had to say it. If Rivendell are vested in the future of the platypus, they might want to consider leaving out any actual information about them, or else substituting this literature with something completely made up that makes the platypus sound like a delightful cuddly creature. As it is, they’ve totally turned me against these creepy rat-ducks forever.

Well, sort of.

My enthusiasm for my own Platypus however was not diminished, and as soon as I got the kids on the schoolbus I got down to business:

My hope was that I could complete the bike in time to go for a ride before the schoolbus returned, which of course was foolishly optimistic. Overall things went smoothly (my ineptitude notwithstanding), but every bike build has its tricky parts, and in this case there were three:

  • I didn’t have the right kickstand bolt for the one Rivendell sent, so I cannibalized an old crappy kickstand from the Electra Amsterdam that, incredibly, I still have. (Though it is not rideable and needs to be recycled.) This was more complicated than it should have been for reasons I won’t bore you with. I will obtain the correct bolt for the nice kickstand as soon as I can, but the idea of not having a kickstand at all in the meantime was unacceptable to me.
  • The chainstays on the Platypus are so “epic” in length that when I went to install the chain I found it was not long enough. Fortunately I have many years’ worth of chain bits and pieces, and was able to lengthen it via judicious application of various spare links and quick links, though it was a time-consuming process and I prefer not to contemplate the modified chain’s structural integrity at this time.
  • I ran the shifter housings under my grips, which was a bit of a process, and at one point my bar-end shifter pod came apart and almost got stuck deep in the bar. (I got it out with needle-nosed pliers.)

Other than that it was fairly straightforward, though by the time I was finished the return of the schoobus was imminent, so I headed over to the park for a quick shakedown ride:

My first impressions were as follows:

  • The color is absolutely beautiful in the sunlight (my crappy photos do not do it justice).
  • It feels fantastic–very smooth and very fast. I’m not going to attempt to parse the differences between it and the Homer after 20 minutes of riding, but the bathtub full of warm mac and cheese feel is all there, plus it seems like it especially wants to roll over rough road due to its generous proportions.

Of course I’ve still got to make adjustments, and I’ve got a front rack I need to install, and so on, but I’ve completed the broad strokes and am ready to enter the getting-to-know-it phase:

By the way, if you’re wondering about the size, it’s a 60cm, as per Grant’s recommendation. Here’s what Rivendell say about the Platypus and sizing (basically you can go big on these):

50cm (650b)
PBH range 74cm to 81cm
SADDLE HEIGHT 65cm to 70cm.
55cm (700c)
PBH 82 to 87cm
SADDLE HEIGHT 71cm to 76cm.
60cm (700c)
PBH 87 to 96cm
SADDLE HEIGHT 76cm to 95cm.
You can fit a bigger Platypus than a Homer or a Sam or Altantis because there’s no top tube to hit your crotch.

Let’s say you’re 5-7 with a PBH of 85. You can ride either a 55 or a 60. With the 55 you might ride a higher stem with a longer extension (let’s say, a Nitto Tallux 11cm raised to the Max Ht line). Well, on the 60 you could get a similar position with an 8 or 9cm stem sunk deeper into the frame. The location of the handlebar will be the same.

Clearly, the 55 will ultimately allow a lower bar and the 60 a higher one, but these aren’t low-bar bikes from the get-go, so who cares? The MAXIMUM allowable handlebar height is more of a matter than the MINIMUM height.

Makes sense to me. There’s not a lot of seatpost showing on bike, but it feels perfect, and it gives a nice comfy bar height without having to expose a huge amount of quill.

Anyway, the Platypus LIves, and I’ll keep you posted whether you want me to or not.

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