Sunday, May 20, 2018

A test ride and Sunday musings


I wanted to ride the new toy to the Market today as a sort of test ride, but I had a short list of things I needed to do first:

  • Swap out the front tube
  • tighten up the rear brake cable
  • tighten up the rear shift cable
  • remove the toe clips and straps
As it turns out the presta tube I had knocking around the parts bin was a Specialized brand one.



The simple tube swap was not to be, the narrow tire that was on the bike so tight I ended up yanking both it and the flat tube.  Many moons ago my neighbor gave me a barely used Panaracer  Pasela 700x32c that he had and wasn't going to use, so it and the replacement tube went up front.  I had to deflate it to fit it past the brakes but it went in and now I only have to order one more to complete the set.

For the rear brake, it turns out the brakes work much better with the quick release closed...so no other adjustment needed.  And snugging up the loose rear shift cable solved the poor shifting.


I am a flat pedal guy these days so the clunky plastic toe clips and straps needed to go.  And after a little work on the small bolt and nuts...


Revealed the "bear trap" platforms,  I like the look of these pedals and see no reason to replace them.  After a little research I found out they are VP 707 pedals which were apparently big with the BMX crowd.   I knew the bar tape was pretty tired but as I was working on the other items I also noticed something else..


One bar end was missing a cap which made it look even more ragged than it already was, so


..since I have oodles of spares I couldn't resist popping one in.



And with that I was ready to take the short ride to the Market, to be very clear I am NOT suggesting using 20 year-old consumables on your bikes for long rides!   This is a 2 kilometer round trip so at worst this would have been a stroll pushing a bike, but it was fine.  Observations from the ride:

The bad
  • The saddle, needs some adjusting or replacing but not a great first impression of the stock Specialized.  Many options here so I am not too worried
  • I was fine for this short ride but I could feel alot of weight on my arms like most of me was pushing forward.  I think saddle adjustment will help and the stem might be able to come a bit more too.  The current stem already has good length and I would be a bit worried too much more length would make the handling squirrely but that is also an option.
The Good
  • I liked how this bike moves forward with ease, one pedal stroke had me gliding across a parking lot.
  • The triple, spun me right up the initial incline with no worries.
  • The pedals; nice wide platform, didn't even think about them -which is a good thing.
All in all it was definitely different.  I have ordered a second Panaracer and some bar tape but I am going to hold off on doing any more tweaking for now as I want to get back to working on the Moto_GT and the Cresta GT so I can have them both available for summer riding.  Worse case scenario I learn that 56 cm bikes don't really fit and I break even and pass this nice Allez along, but I am a long way from that.



I wasn't going to go all the way to the market and not have some beer!  I led things off with a Shame Spiral Imperial IPA from Cloudburst in Seattle, that name seems appropriate as I look out on my once empty porch. 


I stayed with the Imperial IPA for my second choice a Champion Juicer by Matchless in Tumwater WA, Tumwater is where Olympia was brewed, my dad was an "Oly" guy when I was growing up and I have driven by that brewery countless times (just off I-5).


It seems a shame to have this much choice and only Order IPAs, so I decided to break out of my comfort zone.


And I ordered a Transfiguration Saison style sour beer from Holy Mountain in Seattle.  I can see how this style would be refreshing on one of our rare 'blistering" 85 to 90 degree summer days.



For next time I will have hopefully have opened this box from Japan and will know if  I have unblocked the work on the Nishiki Cresta GT.

Ride. Smile.Repeat.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Allez Allez!



Back in about 2010, as I was making my transition to loving Steel bikes, Specialized came out with a throwback Steel Allez 14 speed road bike (Pictured above) which I was intrigued by.  It was tig welded not lugged like its classic predecessors from the 80s and 90s but it caught my eye.  Then as I got more into vintage road bikes I thought someday I might find a Japanese built red Allez in my size.

CL ad

So I was looking on Craigslist.....sigh,  And I see this Allez sport for $80, hmm, I occasionally look for  vintage Specialized Allez and Sirrus models and they are rarely under $200, so of course I sent an email to check availability and size.....


A few hours later and 4 crisp $20s lighter I was wheeling my own Allez back to the car, its teal and made in Taiwan rather than red and made in Japan but I am intrigued by its possibilities.


Its a 56 cm frame so a step down from the size I normally look for in a vintage bike but I have actually been wanting to try something out in a 56 just for comparison, and its a more sporty geometry than the current stable but its still a triple which I like these days.


It also features panographed fork crowns which I have always loved the look of but somehow never had a bike with them.


Lugged steel with cromo tubing, chain hanger, pump peg, fender and rack eyelets all the goodies.


Between the color, 700c wheel-set, and the Shimano RX100 drive train I am guessing this bike is from around 1992 plus or minus a year. I'll try and narrow that down before too long,


The Allez will need a full tear down but I might swap out the front (flat) tube and adjust the brakes and shifting and ride it to the market tomorrow just for the heck of it.   The Moto_GT and Cresta GT are still at the head of the spa treatment queue but I have been out sick for a week and have some catching up to do.


Its starting to get a bit crowded out there again so I need to slow my roll, oh I may not have mentioned that I essentially traded the (sold) Motobecane Mirage for a 1985 Trek 420....but that is fodder for another post.

85 Trek 420 CL ad
Ride, smile, stop acquiring bikes, Repeat.

EDIT: I did some digging and it is almost for sure  a 1992 Allez, built by Giant in weeks 7-8 of 1992 based on the Serial #.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

A lazy productive Sunday, Spa treatment part II: Moto GT


Earlier in the week I got the frame and fork washed and applied the first coat of wax, Meguiars paint cleaner.

 Since I was going to be restoring 2 frames I stocked up on wax supplies so I would have clean applicators to put on the wax and a clean microfiber towel to buff with.



After the initial wash and paint cleaning wax I knew the fork was going to need more help so I brought out the big guns.


And with judicious use of rubbing compound this..


improved somewhat to this.  I started looking more carefully at the frame and despite the initial cleaning I had lots of "dirty" spots in the frame so I started tackling spots like this...

Note the spots below the made in France...


Now they are gone.  You have to be careful with rubbing compound because too much or rubbing too hard can rub old paint right off but it sure helps clean up the blemishes.  It won't be perfect but its much improved and I moved on to the second Meguiars step of Paint Polish.


Before I move onto the final Carnauba wax phase I thought I would use some "frame saver".  I don't know if this stuff does much but I had it, the frame is apart so now was the time to use it on the inside of the tubes.  The frame will sit on the porch to dry for a day and then I can do the final coat of wax.


It was too lovely out to only work on bikes so I rode the Handsome Devil to the market.


In addition to my normal tasting I finally bought a Crowler, at 32 oz. not a big as a Growler but more than just a bottle.  And the cool thing, for me anyway is the can starts out looking like a cup, they fill it ...


..and then they cap it right there for you using that machine that looks a bit like and espresso maker.  Very industrial.

In the coming week I hope to get the final coat of wax on the Grand Touring, finish cleaning and then reinstalling the headset and fork, and maybe even the bottom bracket.  Then on the weekend we'll see where we're at.

Until next time. Ride. wax on/wax off.Smile.Repeat.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

A new project 1987 Schwinn LeTour


Having finished all my projects bikes and down to just my own quiver I was itching for a project.  I decided that for the time being I am taking a break from turkey levers, cottered cranks and stem shifters.  I was looking for deals on CL, always a bad idea, and I came across a Schwinn LeTour.


It wasn't the Tenax tubing that I enjoyed on the 1986 Passage, but 4130 chromoly steel is solid, it's what the Handsome Devil is made out of.


Bold Schwinn late 80's graphics, solid Shimano drive train spec, Sugino crank, Weinmann alloy wheels.



The sharp eyed may notice the lack of a rear brake, I could have probably used that fact to haggle a bit but at $50 I felt like I was already getting a decent deal.  I  should be able to get a replacement Dia-Compe 500 side pull from Bike works.

It's probably a good thing that this is a 21 inch frame and therefore 2 sizes too small, if it were a bit bigger I might do something silly like try to turn it into a fendered commuter.  The Sugino crank is set up stock as a double but can also be adapted to be a triple..



..so it would be a great candidate to turn into a 46/30 double or a triple with a nice low granny ring.  I am leaning, however, towards doing a tear down and rebuild as is, just replacing the consumables.  The tires appear to be in decent shape so I will probably use them.   All that said the Schwinn is not distracting me from my primary goals of rebuilding the Cresta GT, and Moto_GT.   I have been working on the paint and cleaning up the headset for the Moto_GT so I should have a post on that soon.


Ride.Smile.Repeat.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Sunday, April 29, 2018

LBS to the rescue! Spa treatment part 1.1 Moto_GT


I don't recall a lock ring on the adjustable bottom bracket cup ever defeating me, plenty of non adjustable cups have refused to budge but never a  lock ring...until yesterday.  I had the Moto_GT nearly all the way apart but the stinker of a lock ring wouldn't budge so I stopped.

I did some research, assured myself via Sheldon Brown 's bb crib sheet that regardless of whether it was French or Swiss it was going to be lefty loosey as it was a right hand thread.  I tried again and succeeded in mangling one of the notches in the lock ring.   I give, it was off the Alki bike & board and the wrench had it loose before I could see what he was doing or what tool he used but as you can see from the gap above it was LOOSE!


If you look at 10 O'clock on the circle above you will see the notch that is deformed, by yours truly...sigh.   This is one reason I am going so slow on the Cresta GT, I don't want to mangle stuff.  With the lock ring off that meant....

...the adjustable cup is out along with bearings and spindle.  I still have no clue if the fixed cup is right threaded (French) or left threaded (Swiss) and according to Velo base NOTE: French and Swiss-thread variants are BOTH marked 35xP1, with no markings indicating thread direction -nice.   I tried rightly loosely on the chance it was Swiss but it wouldn't budge, I may try some more but I can do a rebuild with the fixed cup left in.


With the bottom bracket out, I removed the fork and  turned my attention to the headset cups.  They didn't take too much persuading and finally after road blocks on two straight bikes...


I was down to a bare frame, except for the stubborn fixed cup but he can stay if he wants.   I think the paint is going to require some work, the bike felt dirty even after a wipe down with armor all wipes.  Since it is totally stripped I think the 1978 Motobecane Grand Touring has jumped the queue on the Cresta GT, so I will try and do as much as I can with it before the last tool arrives for the Cresta headset threaded spacer and then see where I am at.



I did ride to the Market but instead of beer I drowned my sorrows at my favorite local steak house with a MAN-mosa accompanied by steak and eggs.  Yum.

As always; Ride. Use your LBS when the need arises. Smile. Repeat.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Spa treatment part I - a guest post by MotoGT_78


Bonjour, I am back to post again, you may recall me from my previous post.  The old Dude is making good on his claim to give me the Spa treatment, not actually sure what that means but is sounds good eh?  We started the day with me in the work stand, a place I rarely spend any time.

And before I know it my wheels, they are off,  I guess I won't be doing farmers market duty tomorrow.





Then he lays out the tools for the day, the two wrenches that will do most of the work and a bottle of something he calls a patience enhancer  (thanks Anniebikes).  It looks a lot like beer to me.


And then with a few twists of his Y wrench my brakes are off, and the rack.   I guess the Old Dude is not messing around.  I notice he has a box for all my parts to go in as they come off, he better not lose any!

Then my handlebars and stem come off, he always talks about the greasing of the stem and seat post but he may have forgot my stem.  I am sure now its off the bike it will get a good cleaning.

Ah and here is my brake lever with the dry cracked hoods that embarrass me, I am sure he will replace those.  He also said something about turkey levers, maybe I am not translating that right?, but I think he wants to get rid of that red piece that sticks out too.


The shift levers have come off so they can get a good clean and lube and the frame underneath hasn't seen the light of day in 40 years either.


My Japanese cable guide goes sayonara and will spend time in something called a sonic cleaner and come back shiny and clean.



And now my derailleurs are gone, they could both use a good overhaul as my shifting has been clunky, or maybe that was the chain? or the cables?  No matter they are both gone and will be replaced by new ones.  This is starting to feel very real.



In no time my cranks are gone, although he needed a special tool for that and the pedals, how many tools does the Old Dude have? 


My seat post, which was greased, saddle and binder bolt are gone now too.  I am starting to feel very au naturel maybe this is a spa day.



There is the parts in box I spoke of earlier and my wheels, was that really all hanging from me a few minutes ago?  Merde!  The old Dude  hasn't even listened to the whole James Brown CD yet and Papa's got a brand new bag already. Yes he is the god father of Soul even in France.



And VoilĂ  I am down to the essentials, I have not been this bare since I was in la belle France.  I know old Dude could take my fork off easily but he's keeping me together while he figures out the bracket in the bottom.  I hear him muttering is it French, is it Swiss!?  I think he will do some research so as not to mess things up.  Anyway I hope I get a hot soapy bath and a rub down soon and maybe something to give my paint some shine.

Love your old bikes mon ami, we deserve a spa day every few decades.