This is my daily rider. It is Pelican prototype number 1. It was built in the winter of 2007 by Ahren Rodgers of Banjo Cycles to my design and specs. As I have said previously in other posts, the Pelican was initially conceived of as a low-trail all-rounder. A bike that could be a lot of things, commuter, single speed, mixed terrain bike, touring bike, or a randonneur. The frame was designed to be be dressed up as any of those iterations, but with low-trail geometry and traditional design features. The original design was supposed to be a bit open ended, not the refined randonnuer frameset that the current Pelican frames embody.
This frame sports a fork built with a Pacenti PBP crown. The original fork has disappeared into the attic here at the shop, or into my parts closet at home. I had this fork built to see if we wanted to use the Pacenti PBP crown. I liked it, we built a run or two with that crown. Then Pacenti stopped production for some reason, and we were able to source the Imperial Oval crowns and fork blades from Japan, and we haven’t been happier.
The bike has seen a variety of handlebars over the years. I have been mainly experimenting with different promenade bars. I think I have finally settled on the Grand Bois Champ Elysees bars, very similar to the Velo-Orange Porteur bars, but wider by about 3cm and made in Japan by Nitto. The other promenade bar I really like are the Nitto b2522, sometimes know as the Jitensha Promenade bar. What I really like about the GB bars is that I get a lot of grip area and hand positions without having the brakes or the bars get in the way of my handlebar bag or whatever load is placed on top of my Pass and Stow rack. Which is a great rack for commuting and for overnight camping trips into the Marin Headlands or Mt. Diablo. This rack happens to be one of the first racks Matt made in silver, and with integrated light wiring.
This Pelican has also been my main touring/camping bike. It’s done numerous overnight and week long camping trips. For the longer trips I switch front racks to a Nitto Campee, swap the promenades for drops bars using Ritchey cable splitters, and maybe add a back rack or saddle bag support for the tent. This was the setup I used on a recent camping trip up in Humboldt’s Lost Coast. Otherwise the bike has always sported downtube sifters, in this iteration Dura-Ace 9 speed, a Schmidt SON 28 generator hub, a Busch and Muller Cyo front light, Honjo fenders, and TA Pro Vis 5 cranks (44/28). It used to have some NOS Mafac Cantilevers, but I pulled those off for a forthcoming project and put on the Paul Touring calipers I had laying around. I also switched to some Schwalbe Dureme tires for this recent trip and haven’t taken them off since. From my experience, these are durable but nice riding tires, similar to the Paselas, but with much stronger sidewalls and tread. It is too bad Schwalbe has discontinued this model.
I ride this Pelican almost everyday and the only configuration that I have not built it up as, is as a single speed. I just like riding it geared too much. I commute on it, ride fireroads and single track, tour with it, and have done some brevets on it too. While I do enjoy the prototype’s versatility, I have come to appreciate bikes that are designed to excel at specific purposes. Luckily, low trail integrated randonneur bikes happen to be versatile in their refinement. I realize this can sound a bit like double speak. I enjoy the versatility that is inherent within refined and integrated low-trail randonneurs. It has been great riding the prototype daily over the years. It has given me a platform to base the refinements of the new Pelicans on. Putting so much time on a bike has allowed me the clarity to see what direction and refinements need to happen for the frames. Though, I love this bike as it is.