This morning I undertook my first actual ride on the Platypus, and by “actual” I mean there was more pedaling than fiddling:
You may be wondering why I needed another Rivendell when I already have a Homer Hilsen, with which I remain quite smitten. Well, obviously I didn’t need it, but while the Homer is a more-than-capable all-terrain rambler I find I use it more as a “road” bike:
So in the Platypus I saw the potential for a bike that would be more trail-oriented while at the same time a little more suited to grab-and-go riding (taking the kids to the park, for example), and to that end I’ve got a front rack and basket I’ll install as soon as I have the time. I should also talk about the top tube:
Like a lot of people who come from a race-y background, I was never particularly attracted to “step-thrus” or “mixtes” or whatever you want to call them. However, that’s changed in recent years, and I’ve come to appreciate ample top tube clearance, especially when mounting and dismounting loaded bikes while wearing “regular” clothes. Form follows function, and similarly what you find aesthetically appealing about bikes changes once you understand the function of a certain design and it becomes relevant to your life. (Being able to hop off a bike by swinging your front leg over the top tube can be extremely satisfying.) All of this is to say is that I’ve found myself coveting bikes with ample crotchal clearance as of late, and so the Platypus called out to me with whatever sound platypuses make. (Kind of a farty purr, at least according to this video.)
I also rationalized my Platypus acquisition by telling myself I could finally use all those spare parts I’ve been hoarding. While I did use stuff I already had to the extent that I could, I still needed enough new parts that I can’t really be too proud of myself. For example, if you’re going to build a Rivendell you need a suitable cockpit, and while I have roughly a million road and mountain bike bars I didn’t have anything appropriately Rivendellian, so I got these Tosco bars:
As for my own contribution to the cockpit, I supplied the grips, the brake levers, and the shifters:
Those are 10-speed Dura Ace shifters with friction mode, a rare and pointless item I went out of my way to find back when I was building my travel bike. (I wanted 10-speed so I could switch wheels with my road and cyclocross bikes, and I wanted friction mode in case something got damaged in transit.) I’m using 9-speed on this bike, but obviously in friction mode the shifters don’t care.
I also didn’t have a pair of suitable wheels, so I put in a request for “nothing fancy” and got these:
I then wrapped them in these Bruce Gordon Rock n’ Road tires I already had, which so far feel like a perfect fit for this bike:
The Tektro V-brakes are from Rivendell though–I have lots of spare cantis, but chose not to use them.
The drivetrain was all mine, including the rear derailleur that originally came on my Homer, and the pedals I got for Christmas:
Speaking of those pedals, Crust Bikes now has them in various color combinations, and I was really tempted to buy a pair of the black-body-silver-cage ones and do a mix-and match thing, but I didn’t:
They’ve also got a complete Platypus, by the way:
The all-black components are very un-Rivendell, but I happen to really like it.
Platypus frames come with headset, bottom bracket, and seatpost, but somehow I wound up with a fancy Nitto two-bolt number, which I assume is Rivendell’s way of telling me I’m heavy:
And of course that chamfering could only be the work of notorious gangster Eric “The Chamferer” Murray:
In fact, that’s the saddle he made for me when I finally met him:
How many people can say they’ve held their saddle in their hands before it left the Brooks factory, as the very person who chamfered it contemplated shanking them with the tools of his trade?
Anyway, I’m extremely pleased with how the bike turned out:
Granted, it doesn’t have the insouciance of the Rivendell staff bikes (“What, this old thing? I just threw it together with all the vintage Suntour stuff I happen to have…”), but it felt fantatic on the Ol’ Croton Aqueduct, and all indications are that it will be exactly the go-anything do-anywhere rambler I hoped it would be.