Last fall I gave my KHS Solo-One 29er frame a rattlecan paintjob; it was the first step in turning it into a "beater" errand bike. Nearly all the parts on the bike are from my parts bin, inexpensive, or purchased used. And that's what a beater bike is to me... something that I wouldn't worry about locking up while I'm at a bar or running errands. It's not flashy and doesn't have a lot of brand names plastered all over it. It's a bike that I don't worry about riding in the crappy conditions we regularly get in Mpls during the winter and spring. It's simple. Reliable.
A beater bike is something I shouldn't care much about. And that's the thing, I've started to really like this bike...
With the weather being the way it's been, this bike has seen the most miles so far this year. Granted I'm not typically going for all day rides on the thing, but it is fairly comfortable and fun to ride. I've added lights, a horn, fenders, a stem pack, and a saddle trunk. All these things make it more utilitarian, but at the same time make it more of a pain to lock up.
I get asked about the horn a lot. It's a Delta Airzound horn... 115 decibels of total obnoxiousness. Damn, is it loud! I use it maybe once or twice a year, but when the occasion presents itself where you want to get the attention of someone (even if they are inside their car or running with headphones), it'll do the trick.
I've had the On-One Midge bars for a couple years but could never get a comfortable fit with them on other bikes. The long steerer of the Kona fork and a high-rise stem made the bars work. The short drop of the bars allow the brake levers to work with the mtb disc calipers. It all just works.
Last week I picked up a used disc caliper, so it now has front and rear discs. I also switched out the Kenda Nevegal tires for some 35mm Ritchey Speedmax cross tires. Both changes were cheap/free, but those are the types of changes that make this bike more and more fun. Which makes me like this bike more and more. Which then turns it into less and less of a true beater bike. Oh well.
I'm perpetually working on bike projects, so it's hard for me to abstain from tinkering with this bike. Especially since I've been riding it a lot. One last thing I want to change is the seatpost clamp. I'd like the added security of a bolt-on seatpost clamp... and I think I might just have one in the parts bin.