Monday, September 23, 2013

Handsome Devil All-Rounder

When searching for an all-rounder bike I discovered lots of options.  I wanted it to be fun to ride unloaded, come as a complete bike, fit big tires with fenders and have the potential to add racks and carry a load.   I first thought the Surly Long Haul Trucker or Novara Safari would fit the bill, but they were both more heavy duty than I needed.   The Specialized Tricross was nice and had a great price, but I found the ride and look to be meh.  I really liked the Novara Randonne but I can't get over the amount of seat post that shows on that sloping top tube.  Rivendell Bikes are nice but out of my budget.  I was looking for a bike with a different look as well.  The Handsome XOXO was on the short list but I was looking for something more on-road than off.  I read about the Handsome Devil right here on these pages and in Momentum Magazine. It seemed to check all of the boxes, but I would need to order it sight unseen.

When I saw that the Handsome Devil went on sale I pulled the trigger.   The next day I had a voicemail from Jesse asking me about my build.  We talked about how I would use the bike and picked a local bike shop to do the assembly.  A couple of weeks later I was rolling out of the bike shop with my Devil on 35c tires (Jesse thought I would like them better than the 32mm stock ones).   The shop employees were a little perplexed, "I suppose you could commute on it."   Heck yeah!

So fast forward 6 months and I've made some changes.  I ditched the bar-tape grips for shellacked cork.   All transportation bikes should have fenders, so I installed SKS Longboard fenders.   A Velo-Orange Pass Hunter Rack holds a Wald Basket.  I scored a Nitto R-14 rack on Ebay and my wife got me a Rivendell Large Saddleback for Father's Day.  I call the bike my "Riven-Devil."

The steel frame has a nice springiness about it and the powder coat looks great. The steering on the Devil is quick, but some weight in the basket quiets it down a bit.   The cyclocross geometry does not lend itself to weighting up the rear without a load up front.   You can set up a Devil for touring as long as you spread out the load.  The geometry prefers a front load; however, the frame lacks a threaded boss above the front dropout (but there's one mid-fork).  Handsome now has a version of the Devil with a Porteur Rack, but they drill out the tangs for the axle and (I presume) use a longer skewer.

The Devil is set up with 1x8 gearing with a 44T chainring.  It's perfect for my flat-to-rolling commute.  I'm not sure the drivetrain is ready for a loaded tour without replacing the double 150bcd crankset --the gearing would be too hight evening adding a second chainring.  A low-double or triple would probably be better for biking up hills with a full touring load.  With a nod to versatility, the Devil has semi-horizontal dropouts for internal hub builds.

I've enjoyed the Devil and I would recommend working with the Handsome Cycles folks on your search for your Bike For the Rest of Us.

1 comment:

Freewheel said...

Nice set-up! I like the springy leather saddle and front basket.