“A little learning is a dangerous thing.
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring;
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
and drinking largely sobers us again.”
You see the words Shimano Dura Ace, the phrase tubeless tires; you think to yourself, ah, now this will be a bike. And you’re not wrong. But it may not be the bike you’re expecting.
If you’re the kind of person who judges a bike by its parts, this is an interesting one. Besides sporting the most beautiful crank arms of the 1980s or any decade since, this bike also has tubeless Panaracer Gravel King tires in the recently introduced 700×50 size, Shimano SLX hydraulic brakes and a Biologic generator hub.
But if you’re the kind of person who judges a bike by its frame, this is not the kind of bike you usually judge. For this is a Walmart-dispensed Mongoose Deception. That’s right, the kind of thing you’d call a BSO (bicycle-shaped object), an aluminum recycling project, a nightmare.
And you’re not wrong. But it was the frame I had to work with.
It was easy enough to pull off the original parts: the stamped steel crank, the brakes, the chunky suspension fork with minimal travel.
The only part I kept besides the frame was the headset. It was, you guessed it, the headset I had to work with.
It was a little harder to strip off the enormous green decals, and I still haven’t removed all the stickum that held them in place.
(By the way, Deception. Is that not the worst and, at the same time, the most ironically honest name for a big-box bicycle?)
After disassembly, I had the basis for a 29er. I bought a fork and one-speed hub from Surly. I was gifted the hydraulic brakes. I already had the lights and generator hub. The tubeless-compatible Hayfield rims, abandoned for lighter fare, came from the latest-generation Specialized Sequoia, an adventure touring bike no longer offered by that company.
I’ll use the bike to commute to work along the relatively flat Rock Island Trail/Greenway from the Dunlap library to my job at Bushwhacker, the local outdoor store/bicycle shop. I’ve been waiting for a bit warmer weather and a whole lot drier trail.
In the meantime, I’m using it for midday coffee runs. The 40-year-old Eclipse pannier up front–modified with an Arkel cam-lock hook kit–is just the right size for a book, notebook, tools and pump. (I wrote about converting the Eclipse here.)
It looks like the Eclipse brand still exists, though the company has migrated to motorcycle accessories.
I, on the other hand, am pretty happy with the old designs.