Sunday, July 8, 2018

A tale of 4 bikes...and Clunker Challenge shake down cruise

Allez Sport

On the 4th, I rode to my second baseball game in a week.  I had noticed on the Allez that I would get some upper back tightness on rides longer than about 20 minutes, so I swapped out the cockpit and I'm giving the new Nitto/Tektro combo intended for the Cresta GT a dry run.

I was also tired of the super crooked rack so I removed it.

And replaced it with a recently acquired Banjo Brothers Barrel bag.  I had one and used it for many years but it got sold with the Passage, and I found I missed it so I ordered one up.

Ah much better and the barrel bag still fits a mini u- lock as well as all the emergency kit.

You really can see Mt. Rainier from the top of the bridge.

1978 Schwinn Traveler III (aka the Campus bike)

Even at a bargain price this bike has been languishing on CL, but I had a recent inquiry  I felt good about so I put it in the stand to give a once over.  Air in tires, I tightened up the brakes a bit and in doing so noticed that the chain was slack in the small/small combo.  I used my last ^%$# pin connector style chain on this project but I had recently purchased a package of quick links so removing a few links and reconnecting the chain with a quick link was no big deal.  My prospective buyer showed up and bought the Schwinn so it has finally left the apartment.

1978 Motobecane Grand Touring

I finally got around to pulling off the rubber so I could tackle the hubs and clean up the rims and the FW.

I got the very dirty FW off to give it a clean.

After lots of elbow grease and Simple Green you can see its gold again.  I also dribbled penetrating oil into the seam in back and let it soak in, then spun it to spread it out inside.  The FW spins nice and quiet now.

While cleaning the rim I discovered the rear wheel had a broken spoke so before I work on the hub I am going to take it to the LBS for a new spoke. Not in my wheelhouse....yet.

I moved on to the front hub and while it still had grease it was a tacky syrupy feeling grease.  The axle and cones will need a long soak.

The cups are now clean and I dribbled 3 in 1 oil onto each spoke nipple so when I get around to truing the wheel they will (hopefully) not be frozen.

1990 Bianchi Ibex (aka Barney)

I got the Ibex in the stand so I could give it a thorough going over before I rode it.

I have an 8 mm wrench but sometimes that isn't small enough and the tiny adjustable wrench comes in handy.

No more clips and straps just a nice flat pedal.

I also removed the rear fender since the challenge is going to be done during the summer months.

And I replaced it with a Blackburn rack I got from the co-op for $5.51, so I still have $14.49 of wiggle room if I need a tube or cable or something.

While the bike was in the rack I not only checked for braking and shifting etc. but I did a bit of sleuthing.  The front and rear brakes are mismatched, rear are Dia-Compes branded like the derailleurs (XCE) and the fronts are Shimano Alivio.   The shifters are also mismatched, rear shifter is Suntour XCE the front SRAM X.7.

And the water bottle cage is broken but still usable.  Throw those things in with the mismatched wheels and tires and this bike has had a life, which I kinda like.  It was finally time to throw a leg over and do a shake down ride to the market.

After all that work I treated myself to a Nitro pour of Rasputin Stout.  With the market ride I am now 2.5% done with the mileage portion of the challenge. I did end up raising the saddle and had the following observations; in the ballpark for fit, wouldn't mind a taller stem, the rear brake is a bit mushy,  and with a 1.25" front tire the handling is a bit twitchy at low speeds.  I am not sure about how the saddle will do for longer rides but I have a few other choices in the parts bin I can assign value too if it becomes and issue.

I have plotted out some rides that involve bike paths and breweries that I think will get me to 100km, kind of a beerneuring clunker challenge.

Ride. Smile. Repeat.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Clunker Challenge 2018, whose it gonna be?

The Bike Forums Classic and Vintage group has a quasi annual Clunker challenge, long story short- find a bike and get it road worthy for $100 or less and ride said bike for a total 100 kilometers, all within 100 days.  The clock started on July 3rd,  I toyed with the idea last year but the Motobecane Mirage was too small for me, this year it occurred to me that I  ridden quite a ways on on the Specialized Allez that I paid $80 for but I replaced the tires and if that hadn't blown the budget, Paselas, I have been using my Brooks saddle and VO seat post not the ones the Allez came stock with, so that wasn't going to work.  Stuff from the parts bin, aside from grease, has to be assigned a cost, so you really want a functional bike as found or it had better be free if it needs consumables.

I have been passively looking for an 1980s MTB to replace the sadly departed 1986 Miyata Trail runner. so it occurred to me I might kill two birds with one stone.  With that in mind I started searching CL for mountain bikes under $100 and I found 4 likely candidates.

Contestant #1.

A Specialized Rock Hopper, can't tell if its lugged but it is the right size and has the top mounted thumb shifters I would like, and its only $50.  The downside is that it would be a 4 hour round trip to get this bike and I never got a response on my inquiry so no Rock Hopper.

Contestant #2.

A Sekai Mountaineer SL.  I know from my inquiry that it has the thumb shifters I want, and that the owner would take $40 for it.  Bad news its hi-ten steel frame (low end), not lugged and its about a 3 hour round trip to get it.  Hmmm.

Contestant #3.

A Univega Alpina Country,  I have not worked on a Univega yet so that is intriguing, good size and it has a rack.  According to the ad it has a new saddle, chain and pedals.  The downside, not lugged, not sure about the shifters and while the seller was willing to come down a bit its still $80 and its a 2.5 hour round trip to pick it up, if traffic isn't a bear.

And finally Contestant #4.

A 1990 (I think) Bianchi Ibex.  Its lugged!!! and its 10 minutes away and I have never worked on a Bianchi before.  It is $80 which doesn't give me much wiggle room, but it did have a tuneup in the last year, and it has trigger shifters which I am not wild about.

Whose is it going to be?

Yeah, I am a sucker for lugs and it was basically in my back yard so I went and got it tonight.  At first glance the tires, cables and chain look fine.  I did notice the wheels, tires and tubes (presta and shrader) are mismatched but otherwise it appears mostly stock.

Suntour components would indicate to me that its not much newer than early 1990s and I don't believe there were many lugged steel mountain bike past early 90s either.

Both front and rear derailleurs have cabling that runs along the top tube and then down which will be a first for me.

Seven speeds in back, haven't had the wheel off yet so I am not sure if its a FW or Cassette.

And as I said a Bianchi is a first for me, albeit made in Taiwan rather than Italy.

The dark blue paint gives off a real Purple vibe in person so I am going to name him Barney.

One good thing about this challenge is that I am essentially forced to ride the bike as is, so I can find out if I like it, if it fits, if it feels right before I go fill an Amazon cart full of tires, pedals, cables and chains etc.  100 kilometers ought to be far enough to figure out if the Ibex is a keeper.

Ride. Smile. Repeat.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Incremental progress on the Moto_GT and Ride me out to the Ballgame Year 2

I was hoping to complete the Moto_GT rebuild in June, that did not happen but I did make some progress.  It was shifter day recently, I carefully took apart the Suntour power ratchet shifters, one side at a time documenting how all the parts went together. I am pretty sure I got them all back in the right order, we'll find out when I run the cables.

When going through the shifters piece by piece I came to realize something my readers have long suspected, I had a screw loose!  The smaller screw, near the rubber cover was present only on one side of the shifters, so I need to get to the hardware store and see if I can find one that matches.   Won't be the end of the world  if I don't, but I would like them to match.

Back on the bike and ready for cables.  I had cleaned up the cable guide earlier so...

.it is also back on the bike and ready for the cables to come too.

I also wanted to get the Pedals cleaned up to complete the cranks.  RJ the bike Guy has a nice Youtube video for cleaning up Atom 440 pedals, however that all starts with removing the dust caps and the ones on my pedals were on tight!  I tried a big screw driver, a small screw driver, a dental pick and a knife blade and all I got for my trouble was a nick on my finger from the knife.  So I contented myself with a sonic bath and some brass wool clean up (finished pedal on the right above).

The pedals actually spin nicely as is and if I ride this bike allot I would probably put MKS Sneakers on it anyway but a simple screw driver slot on the end cap would have made this much easier.

With the pedals back on the crank-set is complete.

And here we sit, I need to service the hubs, clean the freewheel and the rims and then we will be ready for new cables and chain.

Ride me out to the Ballgame 2018.

Last year, inspired by the A few spokes shy of a wheel blog  I decided to ride to a Seattle Mariners game which I wrote about here.  I have been doing alot of short 20 and 30 minute rides lately for exercise and one of things I wanted to do for a big boy ride was go to the ballpark again.

On a good day you can see Mount Rainier from the summit of the bridge, but today was overcast and in the low 60s, nice for the ride but no mountain.

The ride to the Safeco Field takes me through the industrial part of the city and the shot above is downtown through the lens of the port.

I like this shot because you can see Smith Tower, the white building with the pyramid top, once the tallest building west of the Mississippi, against the more modern Columbia tower - the really tall black glass spire looming behind it.

And now in the home stretch I can see the Safe, which turned 20 this year.

A respectable number bikes in the bike locker for today's game.

Including this vintage Motobecane, a Grand Record, two up in the line from my Grand Touring and the first time I have actually seen one in person.

I was literally in the cheap seats, straight away center field but I had no complaints, except that I had purchased the ticket in the hopes of getting a unique bobble head to commemorate this story about starting pitcher James Paxton.  I got to the ballpark an hour early only to find out that people had started lining up at 9 am for the 1 pm game to get the prized bobble head,  I was out of luck (Sad Trombone).

I was joking with my seat mates about getting there early only to come up empty handed when the nice folks in front me said they had gotten a few extra and handed me one.  Wow, never underestimate the kindness of strangers!  A great day at the park, the Mariners won their 7th in a row and are in a good position to end the longest current post season drought in Professional sports, 17 years and counting.

My steed awaits

The real beauty of riding to the game comes afterward as thousands of fans sit in traffic trying to get out of the parking garage and then home, I just pedaled by in the bike lane.  I was a bit concerned about the climb back to West Seattle, the  6%, mile long, grade was steeper  and longer than what I had been doing to that point.  If I am honest I will say I was prepared to stop about a 1/3rd of the way up the  hill to go multi modal....and then my bus passed me just before I could get to the stop... so I figured what the heck and put my head down and kept on grinding up the hill.  When I got to the top I looked down while stopped for a light and was surprised to find I hadn't been in my easiest gear, or even my second easiest, I was in the 3rd easiest gear!!  That means I could ride any of my bikes up the hill, not just the triples with the granny gear.  That put a smile on my face but I may have some sore legs tomorrow.  I did notice that my saddle was getting kind of personal near the end of the ride so I need to do some more dialing on the Allez fit before I can really say if its a keeper or not.

Ride to a ballgame. Smile. Repeat.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Drinking beer for the Co-op and Moto_GT drive train day

For the second year in a row I went to the Peddler brewing benefit for Bike Works Co-op.  Its on a Friday so I just drive there instead of going home, maybe next year I will ride.

I drink beer and the Co-op gets a donation, yes please!  Its a very bike friendly place, good beer and I even got to see the Mariners on TV, what more could I ask for?

Bike Works had a few of their finished bikes on display including this Novara Ponderosa steel mountain bike, I would love to find something like this in a more dilapidated state for cheap to replace the Miyata trail runner I had to sell in the spring.

One of my favorite days at the Farmers market, first Raspberries!  Today was the day and they taste as good as they look, yum.

I've been working for the past week on cleaning up the dirty drive train.  The derailleurs were especially filthy and even after an extended sonic bath I had lots of ancient grease to get off the jockey wheels of the RD.

And after some polishing the RD is looking nice and shiny.

I had a whole table full of clean shiny parts so it was time to get to work getting things back on the bike.

First I went with the low hanging fruit and got the RD back on the frame.

I took lots of pictures of how the crank went together, and came apart, so I was equally careful in putting it back together.  Step 1; small ring and spacer/nuts.

Step 2; spider crank arm.

Step 3; big ring

Step 4; bolt together.

Step 5; spacers on big ring.

Step 6; attach bash guard.

Done and ready to go back on the bike.

Crank-set and front derailleur mounted to the frame.  I am starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.