Ready to go

Well I’ve been out for the first proper test ride on what I’m now affectionately calling the Carrera 01 (as in the first Carrera I’ve refurbished). I deliberately booked a day off work to give it a go and it’s actually reasonably good to spend some time on.

It has been built from the remains of an old steel framed Carrera Instinct pretty much from the ground up. The frame has been taken back, primed and sprayed, components have been replaced and re-specced where necessary and I’ve managed to get the set up about right now. There were some final tweaks to the riding position with the saddle height and a new stem, the brakes are now much better than the old Altus centrepulls with some V Brakes running Clarks Elite pads and I’ve adjusted the front mech upper limit stop to prevent an annoying bit of chain rub in top gear.

It’s been designed and put together with a few basic principals. Low cost, reasonable performance, comfort and above all, reliability. I will after all be spending eight days in the saddle clocking up over a thousand miles come July of this year.

To that end the derailleurs and shifters are simple. Not bottom of the line, but pretty close. Tires are slick, the crankset is cheap but sturdy, the tri-bars mean I can vary my position, it only has 21 gears, which is plenty for the road, and their pretty low ratio. Why low ratio? Because I’m going to be carrying the better part of my own body weight in kit over those eight days in July… It doesn’t need suspension, it doesn’t need hydraulic disc brakes, it doesn’t need 27 gears linked to XTR mechs and shifters. The frame is sound, the bearings are new, clean and greased and everything works. About the only thing I would change if I could is the wheel size – the bigger the better. But the Instinct was a distinctly entry level mountain bike back in the day so 26″ wheels it was.

There’s still the odd nod to its past – the rear cable hanger being the main one, but all in all it holds up fairly well. The only original parts are the frame, forks, bottom bracket, seat post bolt, headset (but not bearings), the STX RC front derailleur and some of the cable outer. But all of that only cost me £6.50!

I’ve got another bike to fix up – an old 14″ frame 26″ wheeled X-Rated, but I can take my time with this one.

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