im - 12/19/2006 12:10:00 PM
Tuesday, December 19th, 2006
I had the steering geometry of the Big Dummy radically adjusted for me, yesterday morning, by a Minneapolis motorist in her late-model Chevy Monte Carlo.
Ms. Smith ran a red light driving north on Nicollet just as I entered the intersection on green (going west on 60th St.), to make a left turn south on Nicollet. The Big Dummy and I T-boned her car hard enough to bend the fork from 45mm of offset to 5mm or so. Plus, it bent sideways and twisted. The handlebar and stem twisted 90 degrees from the impact, but I managed to keep the bike upright. I moved the Dummy to the grassy area next to the sidewalk and ranted at the offending driver, at high volume, until the authorities showed up. I'm not proud of that; it's just my natural reaction when somebody almost kills me by doing something stupid and avoidable.
Two Minnesota State Troopers (who were very helpful) were on the scene immediately. They just happened to be driving by immediately after the accident occurred. Two witnesses stepped forward and gave their account to the troopers. I gave my info and proceeded to assess the damage to machine and body.
My 26 x 3.0 Gazzaloddi was torn, but luckily didn't puncture. My Large Marge/New Hub wheel stayed true. Not surprising. The fender was bent. And my knickers and tights got ripped. The Big Dummy frame seemed fine, so I removed the fender and disc brake caliper and clamped the wheel in the fork so it would clear the legs and allow me to pedal the remaining 17km to the office.
After the accident report was written and a citation was given to the driver for running the red light, I took off toward the office with my wheel jacked in the dropouts
leaning 15 degrees toward the non-drive side of the Dummy. Needless to say, the new angle and decreased offset created some interesting handling characteristics
especially in the corners.
I finally got to the office and my left knee, the one that took the brunt of the impact, began to throb and swell a bit. I'll probably have it checked out by the doc tonight, just to be safe. I was in better shape than the Big Dummy. After a careful examination of the frame, I found a crumpled spot under the top tube. Damn. I had hoped the fork had taken enough of the impact to spare the frame. I wasn't surprised, but it bummed me out. Ol' #1 got taken out by a distracted driver. No bike deserves to go out like that.
With a new fork, Big Dummy is rideable
the beauty of steel, but its days and miles are numbered. I'll switch my parts over to a new frame when the second generation of samples arrives in a couple of weeks. Ol' #1, refitted with the bent fork for effect, will probably become a nice conversation piece in my garage unless I decide to repair/replace the front end and put it back into service some time down the road.
We got some sample non-offset-to-the-drive-side 100mm O.L.D. Pugsley forks last week, so I installed one of those on the Dummy to get me home. The cantilever bosses are spaced for a Large Marge rim, so I didn't have to lop the bosses off another 1x1 fork.
Ahhh, another experiment with trail. Going from the 413mm axle-to-crown 1x1 fork to the 447mm axle-to-crown Pug fork was interesting, but not unpleasant. It's better at high speed, but wasn't unstable enough at low speeds to warrant concern. Obviously, we didn't design the Dummy around a 447mm fork (it's spec's with a 425mm unit) and 26 x 3.0 tire. But it works. In fact, I've found that I can get used to just about any fork/wheel/tire combo that yields a trail number in the 50mm to 80mm range. I'll probably install an Endomorph, in the same fork, on the Dummy when/if we ever get snow.
The new Pugsley forks won't be available for a while, so please, please, please don't pester us about them. More testing must be done. You'll get an ETA and more specs here, when we have information to give you. That's another blog posting.