Will and Roman here are bar-flippers, not out of dissatisfaction, but they don't mind the hassle and they like to switch it up and see. (They often to back to the original Albatross or whatever.) Changing IS a way to give yourself a new bike, kind of. Nothing makes a more dramatic difference in the feel and position. The ride is affected less, but at the extremes (going from drop to Bosco) the weight distribution changes, and with that, the ride. Higher bars mean less pushing down on the front wheel, and like a light touch on a pencil eraser, it seems to lighten steering.
A heavy front load does the same. So does lighter wheels. I'm off track here, but it's a fact, not just my opinion and not something I'm able to feel that you can't, that any combination of heavier wheels, lower bars, and more front load slows steering, and the opposite quickens it.
Usually in a bike context slow is bad, but tell that to the guy whose bike is all over the steep and twisty road at high speed and in the wind. Slower reacting often means less nervous and more relaxing.
Back to the bars, and this isn't a sneaky trick to sell more handlebars. Will's 67 Homer had had a few different bars on it, same with his Quickbeam, and mostly they end up with uprights--Bosco, Albatross, and sometimes a rogue. He's had drops, too, but they were always short-lived experiements, and yet here he is trying them again. He's going to put them on his Quickbeam (one-speed we used to make), but wanted to get a feel for them, so put them on his Homer and rode around carefully.
Short-reach bars, stubby 5cm stem--similar, I think, to what the legendary D.P. Jones of Colorado ride in the snowy mountains on his not-recommendable-for-most-but-works-for-him fixed gear bike.
Will is also putting together some bike for a friend, and Mark donated these brake levers to the cause.
They're Shimano 600 (later grew into Ultegra), and for a couple of years there they came in a painted-gray version. You can see Mark's fingers wore off the paint from braking, revealing a perfectly good silver finish beneath.
Tricky-Slick Rak-n-Fendering by Mark
I don't know how this happens, what the conversation was like, but Mark was mounting a Mark's rack on BG's Homer with fenders, and it works fine without this trickiness, but Mark did it this ultra-slick way this time somehow for some reason, and it was worth a genuine film photo:
Look at the fender surgery by the brake, too. Sometimes these things happen and they don't cost the customer any more, but that doesn't lock us into this for no upcharge forever. In a normal case, the combo of Homer-Fender-40mm tire-Mark's Rack is harmonious nirvana, but in this case, BG wanted a 42mm tire, and that wasn't working so hot without Mark's Mod. Now that we know it can happen and considering the extra time, Mark'll do it for you too, for another $85. It takes more than an hour, but even so, you gotta get all the stuff here. But the point is--now that you see what it looks like, you can probably figure it out yourself. Mark used Shimano CX-50 hardware parts, including concave and convex spacers and washers, and some normal star-washer things from any old brakes. You could do it with Ace Hardware stuff and creativity, though.
We're continuing to slowly work on our site, front end/you side and back end/ours. We're getting rid of old items, options that one person in five years would take us up on, scouring the back end garbages "so that we might be of better service to you and continue to be worthy of your high esteem," and spiffing up the photos a few by a few, going away from quick digital images and more toward laborious film ones. They're all going to be squares. Here's one Roman took of Will and a seat post:
Will was pretending to be sommelier.
Here's Will's of Roman in a hat:
And here's a pump. Since all the pictures are square, it would've looked weird to show the whole pump.
Those of you who also read the Rivendell Forum (it's a Google Group of Rivendell friends talking about Rivendell matters, not monitored by us, but certainly endorsed and appreciated)--are aware that the biggest news in a long time is that a Sam Hillborne was locked to a pole in Portland for several weeks, until finally a fellow who thought hmmmm about it, cut the lock and is trying to find the bike's owner--thinking it was stolen and abandoned, and that the owner wouldn't do that.
The news of this led to a lively discussion on whether he was right or wrong to do that, and it's a near 50-50 split—consensus-wise. Is it theft? Does intent count? It will not be resolved that-a-way, but if you're in the pacific NW and had a Sam stolen, let us know and we'll let other people know and you may get your bike back. You'll have to identify it--size, color, bar tape, quirks, and serial number. Maybe just the last, and when you got the bike we sent you the serial number. People often throw those out and think we can find it with a flick of the wrist to set the Cray computer here humming, and an instant there it is. Not the case. Anyway: Your Sam?