The Golden Wrench

A blog about bicycle repair and maintenance by the mechanics at Freewheel Bike.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Big Bike. Short Arms.

I have to admit that a reverent hush settled over the parts room when I discovered this little blue box. Here it is, folks, the Nitto 66 Crystal Fellow Pillar. [lights dim, a solitary cello begins playing aria lines] Nitto is famous for making some of the most elegant, beautifully finished parts in the industry. Since they are Japanese, their naming conventions probably involved selecting words at random from a Japanese-English dictionary purchased at a steep discount, but the Nitto elves certainly knew a thing or two about making aluminum into beauty. This "Crystal Fellow Pillar" (which, in Japanese, is a rough equivalent of the title of a children's song about "a swarthy and resourceful husbandman who built split-level ranch out of icicle") is about 210 mm long, requires 65 mm of insertion, has close to two inches of set-FORWARD, and was cold-forged on a press which can put out roughly the pressure of a zillion elephants trying to stamp out a campfire, or the pressure you feel when trying to ride someone else's well-broken Brooks saddle (it's a close call on that one). Just look at how the light dances on that silky finish: it's enough to make a man take up sonnet-writing.

Various companies tried to copy the elegant one-bolt design of the CFP, but they often failed to use aluminum that was hard enough to withstand activities such as cycling while seated. When I was a lad, I had a Kalloy version which used the CFP design, but featured little notches in the mating surfaces of the clamp and the top of the shaft. Despite this clever attempt to provide positive engagement between the two surfaces, the fact that Kalloy had made the thing out of aluminum which had once been gummy worms rendered the thing stripped and useless within a month.

Did I mention that it's a 27.2 diameter? You've probably got a bike this post would fit if you're 5'5" and attempting to build a 58cm LeMond up as a fixed-gear, or you hanker to put aero bars on a frame that's way too tall for you. Perhaps you just wanted that "seat real low and way out in front of my pedals" look on your current steed. Here's a piece of classic bling to make your short-top-tube dreams come true.

You had better hurry, because we're down to two of them! So if you wanted to shorten up the reach and inseam of your tandem...