Carrie, my wonderful wife, hasn’t had much luck with the frames I’ve made her over the years. In 2008, I made her a touring frame set she named Dilby. Carrie rode Dilby into a moving car and the car won. Carrie came out of the crash with just some scrapes. A few years later I made her Dilby II. Dilby II was an excellent companion until he was stolen while Carrie was grocery shopping.
Carrie uses her bike for transportation, day rides, and unsupported touring. She needs a bike that can brave all weather and carry heavy loads while handling predictably. Since she’s 5’2″, Carrie has had issues with severe toe overlap and front end instability with the production frames she’s ridden. She’s also a cautious descender. At the end of long descents her hands and upper body are fatigued from keeping her speed in check.
Although 26″ wheels aren’t popular these days, they’re a great option for shorter riders and tourists looking for strong wheels. I designed Dilby III for 26×1.8 tires and 60 mm fenders for maximum coverage. The smaller tire size also limits the impact of toe overlap.
Carrie likes using flat bars. More recently she’s enjoyed the excellent Jones Bar. However, the loop in the Jones Bar blocks access to a handlebar bag. Instead, Dilby III sports the Velo Orange Crazy Bar. The Crazy Bar has the same 45º swept back position as the Jones but goes one step crazier with the addition of bull horns. Since the Jones and Crazy bars sweeps back, I was able to push out the front to totally eliminate toe overlap.
To combat upper body fatigue on long descents, Dilby III will be sporting hydraulic disc brakes. Carrie will only have to use one finger on each brake to easily control her speed.
Using hydro brakes on a touring bike isn’t common because most tourists don’t want to deal with the hassle of bleeding brakes or a cut brake hose while on tour. Since the reliability of hydro brakes has improved dramatically, I’m not worried about any problems while on tour. I’ll plan to bleed the brakes before any long tour as part of routine bike maintenance prep.
Dilby III also has integrated dynamo lighting. A majority of the wiring runs inside the frame tubes to prevent damage and to keep the bike looking tidy. The B&M IQ-X headlight mounts to the custom front rack while the B&M Toplight Line Small taillight will eventually attach to a Tubus Vega rear rack.