I think I enjoy the tinkering and spannering on bikes nearly as much as actually getting out and riding. To me there is an inherent appeal in taking something, making it completely individual and capable of doing something far more than it was originally intended for. See my Condor in #dirtybitch mode below for example.
The brakes were originally cantilevers and therefore inherently rubbish and I always regretted not getting the disc brake version from the start. I’ve now bought a disc brake fork from Condor and had the guys at Bikefix in London braze on a disc brake mount at the rear. They did an excellent job for a fair price and I would definitely go back there for further work beyond my skills/toolbox. They also rivnutted an extra bottle cage mount below the downtube to be more #adventure. The brake upgrade of course is brilliant. I am using TRD HYRD cable actuated hydraulic brakes and whilst I was sceptical they are fantastic. Loads of feel and power in any weather condition.
All this has allowed me to run 650b (27.5) wheels with disc brakes and pretty big tyres (2.1 inch at the back and 2.3 inch at the front). The result was predictably hilarious and brilliant fun. I got a few funny looks on the ride out of town but it was really bloody good. I think I am sadly becoming a bit of an off road fan but at least by using what is essentially a road bike I might be able to avoid being entirely uncool.
The downside of muddy, offroad riding is of course cleaning the bastard when you get back. I then decided to return her to full road mode by popping on some gorgeous 38mm 650b Compass tyres which are super supple and really fast. (A 650b rim with 38mm tyres has the same rolling radius as 700c with 19mm tyres). Looks pretty sweet in my opinion.
So what is next for the Condor? Well.. I am waiting on my other set of 650b wheels to be rebuilt with disc brake hubs (a saga involving a duff Son hub..) which will be my road set to avoid swapping tyres. After that and sometime in the new year I will replace the drivetrain with new Tiagra 4700 shifters and derailleurs with a Sun XCD chainset (44/28 or 42/26 for the Divide). Other than that I am probably going to try a Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost for offroad and need a new Nitto front rack that works without canti mounts. Finally I will be able to rock the Gilles Berthoud bag I always wanted!