Tuesday, June 16, 2009

You're so vain, you probably think this post is about you

A funny thing happened when I built up my latest bike, a Shogun 600 from the 1980s. I usually build my bikes entirely around function and as for looks I often say "the grungier, the better. Less likely to get stolen." While I appreciate the function of lugs on a frame, I don't really have any fondness for a lugged frame over a tig-welded one. But there's something about this Shogun.

The bike was pretty rough looking when it came in and it came stock with 27" wheels. I'd been thinking about making a simple, single speed roadster for a while and knew that going to 700c wheels would give me a better selection of tires. 700c wheels also give four more millimeters at the rim to allow both fenders and wider tire to coexist. The wheels I happened to have for this project were, well nice, a Bullseye hub rear, and Campy hub front and the brakes I found to fit the wheels, well they were nice as well, some old Shimano Tourney centerpulls. Then the Origin8 bars turned out to not only look good, they're actually really comfy.

I guess I should have known on the day that I masked off the lugs and painted the frame, that I was building myself a nice bike. Later, I knew I might have gone too far when Suzanne Carlson, Bike Works original Executive Director, who was back in Seattle for a visit said "wait, that's an old, spray-painted frame? I thought it was something really expensive."

Sure, I could've made the bike grungier with some coroplast fenders, but when I found this set of perfectly good, used Planet Bike fenders in the Bike Works attic, well I can't pass up a bargain. And those Dimension Cork Grips well they were a really good deal as well and they're very comfy.

Riding the Shogun is wonderful. It's efficient on the climbs, stable on the descents and comfy all day. The bike is quick enough to get this 50 year old man every paved (or mostly-paved) place he needs to go, but not racy enough to make me want to chase down every lycra-clad team in town.

In short, the Shogun is a great bike. If it's got a shortcoming, it's that it's too nice. It's a good thing bikes can't read or have egos, because if they did, the Shogun would probably become so vain and think this post is about it.

Keep 'em rolling,



Anonymous said...

Is that Kobuta Garden in the background? How very apt for the Shogun.

Kent Peterson said...

It's actually the man-made waterfall at the base of the Montreaux climb on Cougar Mountain.

Jansen said...

Very nice looking bicycle. What size ring and cog are you running?

BrianB said...

What?!? No chloroplast?

GenghisKhan said...

For a blog post that was all about me, there sure wasn't a lot of talking about me... ;o) Nice bike!

Lief said...

Are you going to ride your Shogun on the LiveStrong Challenge?
It looks like you have been up Montreaux with it so...why not?

Kent Peterson said...


The Shogun has a 42 tooth chainring and a 17 tooth freewheel. I can JUST get it up the steepest part of the Montreaux climb on a good day. By mile 80-whatever on the Livestrong ride I may be weaving or walking but the Shogun is the bike that's going on that ride.

Kent Peterson said...


Yep, the Shogun is the bike I'm taking on the Livestrong ride. Full report in a week or so.

Anonymous said...

Planet Bike fenders on Kent's bike!?!? What next, will you tell me that Sandiway Fong is no longer a weight-weenie? Oh, wait:


Bob M said...

OK Kent,

Just man up and admit it - you now own a pretty bike made of quality components and you like it!

The first step to overcoming a problem is to admit it.


rob hawks said...


If that bike is from the 80s, it is from the very early 80s. It looks a lot like the Shoguns I assembled working for Allied Cycle in Detroit in the late 70s.


Anonymous said...

Tol'ja; although I did edit out the bit about the Planet Bike fenders looking particularly sharp on it - that just seemed self evident.

Keep the bike. There is no shame in having just ONE "nice" bike (especially if it got that why by your own work on it).


Greg said...

Greg Fisher, the inventor of the Animas Quadracycle invites you to check out his electrc-assist/peddle-pwered tandem.