I finally got the conversion finished – it turned out to be a bit trickier than I’d anticipated. Because the cables went through the inside of the tiller, I had to disconnect everything to get the tiller off. It also turned out that all the cables were about 4 inches too long for a neat and tidy finish, so I had to shorten them all. Gear cables were fine, but this meant the hydraulics needed new olives and inserts.
I got everything I needed online and off I went to get everything reconnected, except the rear brake hose was wider and a larger bore than the standard Shimano hose. The olives I bought wouldn’t fit onto the hose and the inserts were too loose. I am assuming this is because the cable is a tandem hydraulic cable as the Shimano stuff isn’t long enough, but I never thought to check before ordering. I eventually decided I’d had enough of buying bits and pieces online and took the bike to the ever excellent Bicycle Works in Edinburgh instead of trying to fudge it myself, and they turned it round in a day, perfectly set up and with the gears nicely tuned as well.
So the bike is now finished…. I still haven’t been able to test ride it due to the snow and sludgy salty mush that covers all the roads right now. I’ve had it on the turbo during my TrainerRoad sessions and got it all dialled in ready for action, so as soon as it’s dry outside I’ll have it out for a test. My feeling is that visibility over the bars will be slightly reduced compared to the tiller, but going by the height of the headrest and top of the bars, it will be just fine as it’s pretty much the same as the Quetzal (which is higher from the ground and therefore even more restricted visibility) which I have found not a problem at all.
One thing I would say – this is the large frame, and I am fairly tall (6′ 2″) with longish arms. The reach for me is fine, but if you had shorter arms you may struggle to reach the bars comfortably. I haven’t compared distances with the medium frame, so it’s possible that the distance from the seat to the bars is greater on the large frame. Perhaps on the medium the whole thing is a bit closer together and would work fine for shorter armed riders. I wouldn’t want to try this bike if my arms were more than about an inch shorter than they are though, it would possibly be a bit too much of a stretch.