Sunday 27 March 2016

Operation Body Swap: RESULT

Yes, it's done! And yes, it is a complete success. 

Lorelei is the London Town Bike, on the road the whole of this past winter. She's a pleasure to ride and completely reliable, having needed not so much as a brake cable adjustment in the past five months. 

Petra is the Modern Retro Road Bike, on the road for the past two weeks and just a dream to ride. 

Lorelei has the original factory-spec Simplex 10-speed gears (48/42 crankset with 14-28t cassette) and Weinmann brakes. Wheels are 27" x 1-1/4" shod with commute-proof Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres. Stem and handlebar came from the now-decommissioned Viking Bromley. Saddle came off another de-commissioned bike, Adam's old commuter. Mudguards are SKS Chromoplastics; the rear rack made by Blackburn. Lorelei's pedals are just about the biggest platform pedals you can find (like BMX pedals but without the spikes). 

Petra has a semi-hybrid groupset:  a 50/34 compact chainset with 160mm cranks from Spa Cycles, a 9-speed 12-28t cassette, Shimano Tiagra front mech and Shimano Deore rear mech. Wheels are Mavic rims in 700c with 28c wide tyres (Vittoria Rubino on the front, Conti Gaterskins on the rear). Stem and FSA Compact handlebar came from the Surly Pacer that I sold in 2014. The Selle SMP Extra saddle was sourced from Ebay. The mudguards are Madison's Primoplastics.  Petra may get a rear rack at some point. Pedals are touring pedals, possibly the most elegant I've ever seen (brand unknown). 

Each bike performs beautifully and each plays its own unique role in my 'stable'. I would be very pleased to have either of them on its own. But having two like this -- identical from the factory yet now so different from each other, yet each perfect in its own way -- gives me a great deal of pleasure. We have at least two re-location upheavals ahead of us in coming years and there may be some difficult decisions about which bikes to keep and which will need new homes, yet I see these two both staying with me. 


  1. I have been cycling for two whole months, and I have been silently adoring mixte frame bikes for one whole month. This post made my day (well, a combination of this post and a great ride this morning :) ).

    1. Doug, your comment here has made MY day! I vividly remember the first time I saw a mixte. It was from the top of a double decker bus in London. I had been cycling just a few months. I bought Lorelei a few months later, in May 2010. I am totally in love with this style of bicycle.

      If you haven't found it already, there is a Facebook group called Mixte Heaven and several groups on Flickr too.

      If you get a mixte yourself, please do let me know and share photos if you can. :)


  2. Like two peas in a pod, and green too! It must be a wonderful feeling to have this experiment work out so well.

  3. It's wonderful to see them side-by-side like this. Beautiful bikes, and so useful!

  4. Those sage green Puch mixtes are gorgeous in any iteration. Makes me miss Vienna, and regret not getting one when I lived there. Enjoy both of these beauties!

  5. Note to myself until I get around to writing a proper blog post...
    2022 changed handlebar to FSA Wing Compact 40mm (like this one: with Shimano Tiagra shifers.


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