The bicycle I’m developing is a fast cross-country machine sometimes called a Randonneur, the type of bike good for a quick 150-mile overnight tour, good for carrying a sandwich, sleeping bag and clean bike shorts or just a credit card…or maybe not stopping at all.
The first production bike will be a special edition, dedicated to Phillip T. Hodge. Honoring the crazed genius of the Illinois Prairie Path’s Volunteer Bridge in Wheaton, who taught volunteers to weld trusses and pour concrete from a crane. It’s his spirit that fuels Illinois Trail Corps, and and I want this bike to embody that.
It will be Trails for Illinois green—Pantone 577, thanks for asking—and while its heritage reaches back to the fast French light touring bikes of the 1950s, its components will be modern with brake lever shifting, disc brakes, and a 10-speed compact drive train. The front rack, appropriate for a sleeping bag and/or six pack, is included.
While I will use this effort to create a new line of fast touring bikes, there will only ever be one Phillip T. Hodge edition, and it will only be available as a premium for donating to Illinois Trail Corps, so stay tuned.
Please join me in launching this effort by contributing to Illinois…
I’ve compiled some basic specifications: You can see and participate in a running commentary on my favorite Bicycle forum, The Chainlink
Double Butted Chromolly TrueTemper (made in USA) Main tubes – Road Oversized
1 1/8 Steerer on a brased lugged fork
TIG welded frame – with the geometry to allow the possibility of lugs
Two sizes to begin with – 53 and 56 cm (c-c)
0 degree top tube, around 73 degree head tube, around 100cm wheelbase
Shooting for square geometry – so 53 seat tube and 53 top tube (c-c)
Low trail – its main take-away from the Historic French Bikes
650b Wheels w/ 43 – 45mm tires – Best fit for these two frame sizes – it limits options, but they are getting much better.
Disc Brakes – Advantages in keeping away from sloppy trail conditions, higher performance on quicker rides and with a little added weight. They are also a little more convenient when (traditionally) you are loading most of your stuff right at your fork crown – it can get tight with rack, bag, fenders and light.
Lighting: Dynamo Hubs would come standard on these bikes. Bright Busch&Muller LED headlight and tail light with a rider supplied battery back-up. The Front light will be attached to the front rack and the rear to the fender.
Drivetrain: We wanted to have options – so this will be a deraileured drivetrain. 2 x 10 at the most and 1 x 8 or 9 at the least. Options for STI, bar end or down tube shifters. And definite possibilities for a internal 8 or 11 with belt drive.