By Ben McCoy

 

When Chris Cleveland, founder and owner of Speedhound Bikes, offered me a great deal on a 61 cm Only One™ frameset, I knew I had to take him up on it. As it turns out, there aren’t many people looking for a 61 cm frame. So my tall, lanky physique made me a prime candidate.

Ben McCoy: Self-portrait with Speedhound

The ‘small print’ was that the color was already chosen – TiS Gray – as the frameset had been assembled once as a show bike. But all of my beloved bikes (with one exception) have either been gray or green, purely by chance. And Chris would even help me build it up once I found all the parts. So it was a very fortunate proposition.

Some of the parts I gathered for my new Speedhound

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve traditionally been a fixed gear commuter, but I saw this new bike as an opportunity to ride longer distances and possibly do some towing and/or traveling, with it. So I wanted versatile geared bike that would be fun to ride. Beyond that I was open.

 

 

Armed with a vast knowledge and infinite patience, Chris provided expert consultation and advice as I mulled over all my options.  And at the end of the day, he helped me put together a beautiful road-inspired bike with a classic sensibility.

 

Once I had collected all the parts, Chris invited me down to the Speedhound space – inside the venerable confines of Peacock Groove – to put it all together. Chris had me tape and set up the wheels while he prepped the frame for the seat post. From the wheels, we methodically worked our way up the frame – bottom bracket, crank, stem, handlebars, and brakes.

 

It was at the brakes where Chris learned not to tell me to just “crank down on it” if he didn’t also want to “save my bacon.”  So it was at about this point that we stopped for lunch.

 

After lunch, we started connecting the dots, including the drive train – front and rear derailleurs, plus cabling – and brakes.  Fortunately, this took almost no time at all. In fact, Chris was beside himself that the SRAM Force derailleur set-up was basically plug-and-play. Once we got everything tied together, it just worked with virtually no adjustments required.

Chris shows Ben how to get the bar tape tight and right.

With the bigger components in place, we worked our way through the final components – saddle, seat post, pedals, and bar tape – before making all the final adjustments.

 

In approximately 5 hours my new Speedhound bike was complete and being walked out to my car by Erik Noren – the Peacock himself.

Ben and bike ready for a test ride!

Now I look forward to putting some miles under me, working out the kinks, and bringing it in to Chuck at Behind Bars for its first tune-up. Chuck isn’t a Speedhound bikes dealer, but he’s my local go-to guy and mechanic. Plus, I know he owns as least one Peacock Groove bike, so I can’t wait to get his reaction.

 

Big thanks to Chris Cleveland for both his offer and his assistance all the way through the process. You are a good friend with a great product. And special thanks to Erik Noren – the best frame builder in Minneapolis with a heart as big as his mouth! Keep doing it right, fellas. BIKE LOVE!

Chris holds Ben's new bike

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Ben McCoy is co-founder of Bicycle Theory, Inc., a brand-focused graphic design and Web development shop in Northeast Minneapolis. He is also co-owner of MPLS Bike Love, a leading bicycle forum and resource for the Twin Cities cycling community.