Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

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europa
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Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby europa » Sun Feb 27, 2011 3:16 pm

Actually, Paul Hillbrick doesn't have a model called the 'roadster' - this is what resulted when I took my needs and desires to him, talked on the phone and by email for some time, revised, revisited and hacked about at the specifications and then left the lot in his capable hands.


She's FINALLY HERE!


Ahh, you want the piccies first don't you (so you can ignore my rambling and justification).

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Well there she is.

Fixed gear.

Columbus Zona, double butted tube, lugged steel frame with lugs and dropouts chromed.

Miche Primato cranks - the chainring has 'Hillbrick' cut into its surface (top as you look at it here) - 48x18 gearing.

Miche Express wheelset - impressively built wheels if you believe the advertising blurb.

Miche Primato brakes front and rear driven by Tecktro levers (and lovely levers they are too).

Pro Vibe7 Compact S bars - a new bend based on their anotomic bars but with a constant curve rather than that horrid flat spot - very comfortable.

Brooks B17 saddle of course.

And lots of other little bits and pieces.

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The office ... from the wrong direction.

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Yup, I need that carrier - I commute on this bike and she's a working bike outside of that, panniers > backpacks anyday.
To date, she's done over 200km (not all commuting), and every one of those kms has had a pannier on back. I'd itching to see how she goes without the stupid thing.

Naturally a Brooks B17 - my bottom deserves the best.

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Told ya it was by Paul Hillbrick

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And there's the protection against my dodgy memory - I really do not know what the Europa's made out of, apart from it being steel.

It's 'Asymetric Double Butted tubing' - what makes it 'asysmetric'?

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Miche Supertype seat post - really sexy ... so, of course, I cover it up with the holddown strap from the saddle bag.

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The front end showing the lugs, headset and bars.

Believe it or not, that is a threaded headset. Those bars are oversized and you can't get a quill to take them, so we've used a quill adaptor and an a-head neck. It certainly doesn't look cobbled together and does, in fact, look more deliberate than many stock setups.

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Miche Primato brakes - lovely brakes ... and they stop the bike nearly as well as your average brick wall.


You'll notice I haven't mentioned the pedals. She's got the GR-9s which are a nice, platform pedal but are too narrow for my feet - my big clompers hang over the side and I get hot spots. For the last two years, I've used Shimano M324s modified for toe clips - these are a lovely pedal (rebuildable if you're stubborn) and fit my foot well, so that's what I'll be doing for this bike when I get the time and energy. No, I don't use clipless (took them off both the Jamis and the Europa) and have no reason to go back to them.


This project started back in July 2010! I'm not kidding, I still have the original email from Paul where he says 'yeah, we can help you'. As it happened, the road was a lot more tortuous than maybe we both thought, but the result is well worth it.


I wanted a fixed gear, steel framed, lugged bike to replace the Europa (who's now 35 years old).


Being an oldish bod, I've found over the years that I need the bars up at saddle height (seriously), something aggravated by a motorcycle prang years ago that mucked up a shoulder. This resulted in the largish frame, mainly to get the bars up high enough without stupid necks.

I also need the saddle set back a bit a little and have trouble getting that with most bikes, so Paul relaxed the seat tube angle.

This bike will be an urban warrior so I didn't want any toe overlap - tight turns in traffic are not the time to catch a toe clip on the front wheel (remember, it's fixed so you can't avoid the pedal being forwards sometime). Paul has designed her with a bare 1cm of toe clearance.


BUT HOW DOES SHE RIDE?

Be patient Shaun, I'm getting to that.


She's lovely.

Comfortable and smooth on rough surfaces. I'm only using 23mm tyres yet she's more comfy on the rough (such as the Major's Rd 'bikepaths') than either the Jamis or the Europa, but it's not a spongy feel, she feels tight and springy, you're aware of the rumble of the tyres but not of any vibration in the saddle or the bars.

She's stable and predictable to ride, quite relaxing, yet reacts like a scalded cat to any steering input. Super tight in turns but responsive as well. This and the comfortable riding position is why I'm describing her as a 'roadster' rather than a racer or balls out sports bike.

The brakes are brilliant and need very little input from those comfortable Tektro levers (a copy of the Campy levers I believe).

Climbs well and charges downhill well. Being fixed gear, you have to spin with her. I have sustained speeds of over 50km/hr (cadence 150) on the bottom part of Expressway Hill but find her easy to maintain a more moderate speed higher up (steep down hills are the downside of riding fixed). Standing on the pedals and climbing is so beatifully balanced compared to other bikes I've ridden (despite feeling odd when I first did it) and suddenly, I can stand and climb for extended periods as opposed to the short runs before. I'm not sure why but I'm not complaining.


She's a lovely bike, both to look at and to ride. She's not for everyone, maybe few of you will understand the concept, but she's exactly the right bike for me and has already started commuting duties ... but not on the recent wet days.
Last edited by europa on Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby im_no_pro » Sun Feb 27, 2011 5:13 pm

Looks nice! Love that seatpost....
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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby Mulger bill » Sun Feb 27, 2011 6:43 pm

europa wrote:Be patient Sean, I'm getting to that.


Thank Gawd for that, I was getting into a War and Peace zone for a while there... :P

Mate, she is one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a long while, huge kudos to you and Mr Hillbrick for turning those long held dreams of yours into a stunning reality. I'll even forgive you the lack of a cream coloured shed door :wink:

I've seen and drooled over those Supertype posts before. Now I've seen one up close, I've gotta have one for the roadie. (conditions apply)
A coupla questions: Where did you score it? and how long is the machined out section?

I won't have to say this because I know it's already happening, but Enjoy the ride :D

Regards
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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby PeteV » Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:14 pm

Beautiful bike europa, hope to see you around SA some time to see it in the flesh!
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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby familyguy » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:16 pm

Its utilitarian. And so right.

im_no_pro wrote:Looks nice! Love that seatpost....


I second that.

Mulger bill wrote:I've seen and drooled over those Supertype posts before. Now I've seen one up close, I've gotta have one for the roadie. (conditions apply)
A coupla questions: Where did you score it? and how long is the machined out section?


No, wait...I third that. And the answer to this interests me greatly, also. I want one, and they even make them in 27.0 for us slightly lower level steel users!

Jim

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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby europa » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:28 pm

Thanks for the kind words, I'm rather chuffed with the result and she rides a dream. I'm looking forward to a few happy decades with her.

That seatpost is a Miche item. Paul Hillbrick sells them - Miche Supertype Seat Post.
Looks like they're only in 27.2mm though - you can always ask.
The machined out section, from the top of the circular cross section (top of my seat post, it narrows above that) to the saddle rail, is roughly 9cm - is that what you wanted Shaun?

They have a funny clamping system. Basically, it's what you're used to but there's a small plate that screws onto the back of seat clamp locking it in place. It's got a nice, fine adjustment which is rather nice for us Brooks users.

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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:36 pm

That's exactly it Richard, thanks.
27.2.... may need some shims, off to the shed.
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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby sogood » Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:37 pm

Welcome back Richard! :D
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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby k3bab » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:25 pm

Very nice bike you have there.

I've read the blurb and some reviews of the wheelset, and I'm considering buying a pair for a fixed gear conversion, as they're probably better than what I can build up myself, and not too bad in terms of price. What are your thoughts on them?
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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby europa » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:56 pm

k3bab wrote:Very nice bike you have there.

I've read the blurb and some reviews of the wheelset, and I'm considering buying a pair for a fixed gear conversion, as they're probably better than what I can build up myself, and not too bad in terms of price. What are your thoughts on them?


Hard to tell at this point - 360kms.
They ride very well.
They're straight ... and are still straight (as they flamin' well should be at this stage).
Another poster reported having done 5,000km without an issue.
Those stickers apparently come off easily.

They're an interesting cross-section, with rather a sharp ridge in the middle. I think they look rather good. I ride some rough roads and they handle that well. The hubs look really nice and spin very smoothly (mind you, Hillbrick might have adjusted them before delivery).

I see no reason NOT to buy them ... it's too early in the relationship to recommend them, but by cripes they're doing well.

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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby europa » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:58 pm

k3bab wrote:Very nice bike you have there.


Ta muchly.

I knocked the first bit of bark off her today. Muffed a stop and wound up on my ear - never done it with clipless pedals and now I've managed it with toe clips. Just a scrape on the carrier, so it's nothing upsetting, and now that I've got the first scars, I can relax.

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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby k3bab » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:53 pm

They ride very well.
They're straight ... and are still straight (as they flamin' well should be at this stage).
Another poster reported having done 5,000km without an issue.
Those stickers apparently come off easily.

They're an interesting cross-section, with rather a sharp ridge in the middle. I think they look rather good. I ride some rough roads and they handle that well. The hubs look really nice and spin very smoothly (mind you, Hillbrick might have adjusted them before delivery).

I see no reason NOT to buy them ... it's too early in the relationship to recommend them, but by cripes they're doing well.


Well I ordered them, all accounts are they're good, I'm now anxiously awaiting their arrival...
Peace, man.

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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby yehuwdiy » Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:54 am

"...to replace the Europa (who's now 35 years old)" WHAT! Naysayer, blasphemer! My Europa is going on tour this coming school holidays (teacher not student). Can't imagine 'retiring' her :P Although, if Thorn did a version of the Sherpa with lugs as beautiful as this 'brick of yours I WOULD be sorely tempted.

But seriously, beautiful ride Europa, it's not the only thing around here that is green :mrgreen:

Y.

p.s. Don't be down on the saddle bag or rack/ panniers, the bike has a function, is used for a purpose and is designed perfectly for both. This just makes it even more beautiful.

p.p.s. I ended up ditching my saddle bag and putting it in my panniers, just so I could strap the Brooks rain cover under my B17. Upside is that it looks neat (as in both cool and anal-retentive).

p.p.p.s. I agree that climbing single/fixed does become fun and standing does become second nature. I recently converted my Europa back from single speed to three speed with friction shifter. While doing my weekly Black Mountain ride I stood and rode out of the saddle. After about 3 minutes of this the person I was riding with said, "Why don't you just change down a gear?" My response was, "Errr...forgot I had them." Was also thinking, "Because I'm not a lazy Roadie," but didn't say it. :oops:

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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby europa » Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:49 am

Thanks mate.

The original plan was to build this as a toy and keep the Europa for commuting.
Then I realised that if I built this, I'd want to use it, so she got the rack and was slated for commuting duties as well. The plan then was to set the Europa up as a wet weather commuter - I've still got the mudguards I fitted when she was new and with a set of Randonneurs :wink:

Trouble is, now I'm thinking ... well ... why shouldn't I ride the Hillbrick in the rain?

The other plan is to return the Europa to original - I've still got the alloy 27" wheels, the dreadful diacompe brakes, the Ofmega bits and pieces, though I can't use the front dr as the bracket is broken. Hmm, when would I ride her if I did that?

Richard
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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby yehuwdiy » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:26 pm

Heh, well if there are any bits 'n' pieces that you need let me know, have a fair collection here as well that would be period correct for your Europa. From the sounds of it you are in the same place as me, finding it hard to justify all of the bikes. I've gone from 12 down to 4, and that will become 3 in the next couple of weeks.

Still, you've had that Europa for many years, is there a part of you that could just never part with it?

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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby munga » Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:30 pm

build her back to period and put her in the back room mate.
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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby MichaelB » Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:02 pm

That is a very sweet ride the Richard - glad that it does what you want of it, and add aa +1 to the many re the seatpost.

Love the chromed lugs.

Classic indeed !!!

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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby revilo » Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:24 pm

hi Richard,

that blue europa of yours... i found one the other day in white. nice bike solid build - never seen one before was hoping you could give me some info

cheers

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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby rebelcontender » Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:47 am

Advanced apologies for the tread revival.

Stunning bike, that is by far the nicest threaded to threads setup I've ever seen.
Do you still happen to know which specific adaptor was used?

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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby HappyHumber » Sat Jun 27, 2015 12:37 pm

I'm guessing, though I could easily stand corrected; it's actually a 1" threadless headset, allowing the use of a 1 1/8" threadless fork (and thus spacers & stem) in the older standard diameter headtube, Not sure if many company's still make them, as they were a bit of a cross-over period product, but I have a NOS Cane Creek one set aside for a similar conversion.
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Re: Introducing the Hillbrick Roadster (fixed)

Postby europa » Sat Nov 28, 2015 1:02 am

Wooooooooo zombie thread :)

I didn't see this earlier.

Firstly, yes, said Hillbrick is still being ridden and is still the bike I go to when 'just reaching for a bike' and is still more or less as shown in the photos (I'm pretty sure it's only the pedals and clips that are different, I now use the MKS Urban pedals with double gate clips).

Anyways, the bars.
Originally, I specified a traditional quill headset... and the frame was built to take one. Then I got 'the phone call' from Paul Hillbrick - he couldn't find any bars to match to the shape I'd specified (similar to my Europa). Hunting around, I found the S7 Vibe which has that flat top with the curved drops. Unfortunately, it's an oversized bar. Actually, not 'unfortunately' because I've learned to love the extra thickness, but it was never going to fit into a quill, so Paul fitted a 1" to 1 1/8" adaptor which is essentially a quill stem without the stem bit, it's just a vertical post. You then add a modern neck to that. Five years later, I love the bars, especially the extra thickness (I've got big paws), love the look and it hasn't given a moment's problem. No creaking. No flex. No issues... and people have to look really closely to realise something is different.

Were I building the bike again, I'd think closely about getting an A-head set up (though they annoy me intensely because anytime you touch the neck, you have to adjust the headstem which is just stupid). On the other hand, if I had to use an adapter as I've done with the Hillbrick, I wouldn't think twice because they work well and give no problems.
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