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13 Dec 2012

My Pioneer

I don't write about him often. And there you have it. My Pioneer is my only bike that has no female name. The name 'Lobbes' just came to me when I was on my way to collect it from it previous owner. Lobbes. A big and friendly pal, like a large dog.

Three years after I'd rebuilt it from a horrible state, the odometer reads 10.450km. A 'bent with two big wheels had been on my list for quite some time. Just as an extra bike, I thought. To wander about on small paths.

I removed rust and gave it 6 layers of quality paint, with a brush. Most components where replaced too. Years of abuse and neglect had taken their toll. The frame however still was intact. I poured alcohol in the frame and set fire to that. That cleaned it up very well. The blue flame also made a cool sound.

The first 2000km or so I used a Nexus 8 hub. When I replaced that with an AW3, I gained 10% in cruising speed. Not much later I mounted a very common 3x8 derailler system. Now it was ready for some serious distances. That was 20 months ago. Since than I rode close to 7000km. (and more on my other 'bents of course)

More than just local rides without a destination is what we ride together. To work, to a wedding, 2 vacations, at night, alone, with a group. Werther I was stressed, happy, tired, confident, in doubt, slow, fast, weak or strong, for nearly every occasion and for every mood, Lobbes is ready. There are only 2 things that are not in my Pio's abilities. That are racing and snow riding. For the latter, spiked tires help. For racing, he's just not fast enough.

On the photo, that I took today: it's current set-up, pretty much exactly as it should be.

Though a Pioneer can be quite fast. When the city is asleep, and the roads are empty, you can ram a Pioneer forward at, relative, scary speeds. Why? Handling and stability. It doesn't care about how the road it. And despite mine being of an older, heavier generation, it corners brilliantly. It's like dancing. After some corners I wonder how I took them.

My cruising speed is about 28kph. Up a hill, 8. Down a hill, 76. Flat, no wind, 52. Flat with wind, 62.

So what is he now? Mostly a stock Pioneer, like one could have been bought nearly 11 years ago. I've placed the seat under a lower angle, narrowed down the handlebars, and mounted a Fuego rack, to replace to large steel one. I might even change that rack again, back to stock. It's tyres are common too. 40mm Marathons. Mud guards, a large bell, a very bright home made head light are key ingredients to the success too.

There are only 2 'sexy' components on it. A Shutter Precision dynamo and a TC Sports idler. Both are more smooth and efficient than the competition.

Now my 10k is peanuts. Pioneers are quite often used by true Globetrotters. Except for Antarctica, every continent has been visited several times. A friend of mine used his for the same things as I do, only more. That odo approaches 70k.

Yes my K is much, much faster. And my Fuego is just faster and more exciting. But without my Pioneer, I'd be nowhere. 

More photos

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