Sunday, August 17, 2014

1977 Raleigh Record LTD Mixte- Campus bike rebuild Part II-nobody said it'd be easy

Well, not everything went wrong...I did get the seat post cleaned up.
a bit rusty
fairly shiny
What the pictures don't show is that I also took apart the clamp, cleaned it up and greased the rails and got it all back together.


I also got the bottom bracket cleaned up and installed.
prepping
Installed minus lock ring
Then things got a bit bumpy.  First issue bottom bracket spindle nuts.  I thought I could just get them at the hardware store...wrong.  I found nuts that were the right size and thread pitch but they were too fat!  no room to get a socket in to turn the bolt.
bigger not better

Issue number two the center pull straddle cable didn't work for the rear brake.  On a mixte the rear brake is a bit funky mounting to a bracket about halfway up the seat tube and needing to go around that tube.  A standard 110 mm straddle cable, I found out doesn't have enough length to do that.
a bit tight
Issue number three was fork steer tube length.  I knew when I ordered the replacement fork that it would be longer than the original and so I also ordered some spacers...just not enough.  I don't have a picture of that, think I was swearing, but imagine the top nut and then a space of threads and then the top spacer.

Issue number four was also fork related-crown race size.  As I mentioned in Part I, a new headset got ordered when I ordered the fork.  Now as you may know for most 10 speed forks there are two sizes of fork crown races either 26.4 or 27.0.  I ordered the new headset basing the size on what a 1977 Raleigh would have come with-26.4.  WRONG.  I should have considered the size of the crown race on the new fork I ordered which was of course -27.0.  It occurred to me I had an issue when I was trying to set the crown race and the damn thing wouldn't budge.
Fork packaging with the determining measurement
Nice ordering you git!
And lastly, I hope, issue number five was the front derailleur.  As I pointed out in Part I this bike lacked an FD, and so I went to Bike Works to pick up a used one.  As you may know most bike boom bikes had 28.6 diameter seat tubes while later aluminum bikes came with beefier 34.6 seat tubes.  The FD I picked out was a SunTour and therefore pretty old so no worries about the clamp diameter right?  Yep WRONG when I got it home and dry fitted it I found it was too big.

The good news is I have figured out work arounds for all of those issues which I will get into later, the bad news is I spent so much time sorting them that I had very little time to assemble the dang bike.
coming along...slowly
So rather than spending the weekend assembling the bike and finishing it on Sunday, I spent my time trouble shooting.  Part III is going to be a bit delayed as I am going on vacation next week so sometime after that I will finish the bike (I hope) and this series of posts.

Until then -Ride. Smile.Repeat.



Saturday, August 16, 2014

1977 Raleigh Record LTD Mixte- Campus bike rebuild Part I

I mentioned back in June that I was going to build up a Raleigh mixte as campus bike for my niece who is going to grad school this fall.  I came into this bike about 3 years ago and in the time since it has lost a few of its original parts to other projects like; the wheel-set, both derailleurs, and rear rack to name a few.  In addition to needing to replace the missing parts I also wanted to use a different handlebar set up, add fenders and a front Wald basket.  Anyway lots of parts to order.  I got the new wheels and tires from Amazon early on so I started with them.

My experience with factory built 27 inch wheels is that the hubs are too tight so even thought these were brand new I still opened them up to add grease (the factory is miserly IMHO) and then adjusted the hub bearings.  With some new rim strips, tubes and tires (fatter 27 x 1 3/8") the wheel set was ready to go.

Unfortunately, I still had a stuck stem to deal with, the same issue that had this bike languishing in my queue for so long.  I got to a point where not only was I still working to cut through the stem remnant but the plug (which was still rattling around in the fork) got wedged sidewise.  After consulting my LBS and figuring out I would have to pay a shop rate of $80 an hour (which I don't begrudge them) for them to try and finish the job, I came up with a new plan.
Turns out Amazon.com sells a Sunlite replacement 27inch fork and so I ordered one.  I had mentioned to the mechanic at the LBS I was thinking of getting a replacement and he wisely reminded me that since Raleigh used proprietary threading I would not be able to use my original headset, so I ordered a vanilla Tange replacement headset at the same time- more on that later.

Since I had to wait on the fork and headset I figured I could pay some attention to the paint.  I used the Meguiars three step process I first heard about over at Hugh's bicycle blog.  I used it on the Fiorelli rebuild and liked the results so decided to try it on the mixte.
Step 1- Clean
Step 2 - Polish
Step 3- Carnauba baby!
Now the this Raleigh frame is nearly 40 years old and shows its age with rock chips and dings but man does that paint shine after this 3 step process!

The Wald basket and the SKS fender-set had arrived, the paint was in as good a shape as it could possibly get and once the spanking new fork and headset came in I would be able to get down to business building this bike up into a campus commuter right.......right?

In Part II of this series I will explain why nobody ever said this rebuild was going to be easy.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Early 80's Nishiki Sport



This Nishiki Sport belonged to my friend Karen, this was her college bike and one I occasionally used when I visited Portland.  On a visit to Portland a few years ago I used it to run an errand to a local bike shop, and discovered it needed a little work.  I started out with a 10 speed and by the time I got back it was a single speed as both shift cables failed, at that point I suggested to my friend that I take the bike home with me and rebuild it for her as a "rain" bike commuter.  I think this is a fine example of an early 1980's Japanese crafted lugged steel frame 10 speed.
4130 CroMo- check
Lovely head-tubes lugs-check

I like the fact that this bike is a step up from an entry level 10 speed of the era, it has a lot of cool features like;  engraved Custom handle bars
Shimano 600 brakes, the predecessor of the Ultegra line
Drilled brake levers
In addition to the normal rebuild activities; bearing rebuilds, new cables, handlebar tape, etc. I also went with some commuter specific add-ons; wider 27x1 3/8s tires (37mm) rather than the standard 27x1 1/4 (32mm), fenders for wet Northwest winters, a bell for crowded Portland bike lanes and some combo pedals to handle clipping in or just stepping on and running to the store.



After riding the bike for about a month my friend realized it just didn't fit right, she has been riding a more modern bike for about the last 7 years (one I also built but that's another story) and after getting back on her college bike it just wasn't quite the right fit.   The Nishiki is now hanging out with me while I try to sell it on Craigslist.


As always, Ride.Smile.Repeat.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Visit to Portland

stock footage Sunday Parkways

I grew up in Portland Oregon and still have many friends and family living there so I visit a couple times a year.  In the summer, I try to time my trip with a Sunday Parkways event  my daughter and I have done this with some good friends and their daughter for the last few years and it's always a blast.  We missed out on doing it this trip but I hope to be able to post about it next year.  Last weekend we were  just in town for visiting but I was struck by how much bikes kept coming up even though I wasn't doing any riding.

My friends live in the Hollywood district of Portland and bikes seem to be all around in their neighborhood.  There are places on the streets where a car parking space has been given over to a "bike corral".


And there are public bike stands with tools and pump if the urge to wrench over comes you.

The Hollywood district is also home to Velo Cult  a very cool bike shop that; focuses on vintage bikes and gear, serves craft beer and coffee and has a stage for live music.  I try to visit every time I stay with my friends and if I lived there I am not sure I would ever leave the shop!

My friends live in a cool "Old Portland" style house with a deep porch that is great for sitting on in the mornings with the paper and a cup of joe watching the world go by.

And their street happens to be a designated bike way, a low traffic street that is part of a bike route, so its great for watching the bikes go by, like being on a canal and watching ship traffic.
I think my favorite thing is that fact that every where I look when I walk their neighborhood I see vintage bikes.  They are all over the place!
Nishikis
Schwinn's
Fuji's
Vintage Treks
Raleigh 3 speeds
Add in good food, good friends, did I mention the beer?  and you have a perfect summer weekend.  As always Ride.Smile.Repeat.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Thoughts on 27 inch wheels

Almost all the old ten-speeds I work on come with, or are set up for, 27 inch wheels.  Since wheel building is not a skill I have acquired, yet, I have two choices when it comes to wheel-sets 1) work with the existing wheel-set or 2) purchase a new wheel-set.
New WheelMaster wheel from Amazon

The good news is that original 27 inch wheels on old 10 speeds, built with steel/chromed parts, are pretty bullet proof and in combination with most of them spending long periods hung up in a garage/shed/barn/basement means they are probably in decent shape.  This means that with some TLC they can re-used.  While I am no wheel smith I have learned some skills to put an old wheel back into service.  My usual process is to;
  • Open up hubs and clean axle, bearings and races.  (replace bearings as needed)
  • clean up rims and spokes -remove surface rust and any grime on braking surface
  • Grease and adjust hubs - no slop-no grind as my friend Hugh says
  • Drop of oil (I use 3-in-1) on the joint between the spoke nipple and spoke to prevent them freezing up
  • Put wheel in truing stand to check for true and adjust as needed
The steps above also will reveal if a wheel has any problems that might have escaped your first look.  I use Zinn and the art of Road bike maintenance as my basis for this work.


The exception to the rule of re-using the existing wheel-set is if a wheel has rust issues, I am not talking about surface rust on the rims I mean deep rust on the inside of the rim (if water has collected there) or on the spokes/spoke nipples.  If you do have rust issues then a new set of wheels is a good idea.  There are pros and cons to going the new route;

Pros
  • shiny and new
  • allow rims, alloy hubs, stainless spokes make the wheel lighter and more rust proof than the original steel wheels
  • factory trued
  • new parts haven't endured the stresses of 30 or 40 years of use
  • not too expensive
Cons
  • Tend to come with hubs adjusted waaaay too tight even a novice could tell that they are tight and not spinning smooth
  • They are miserly with the grease
  • added cost to the rebuild
With new wheels I always plan that I will need to open up the hubs to add grease, which is fine because I would have had to adjust them anyway.  Two birds with one cone wrench.  Since the bike I am working for my Niece had no wheels at all I bought new ones for the her campus bike project.  And of course the hubs on both wheels were too tight and additional grease was needed.  SOP.
Hub tools
And after a little extra work and some new rubber I ended up with well greased and adjusted new wheels for my nieces campus bike project.
new wheels and rubber and some other goodies
Ride.Smile.Repeat

Thursday, July 3, 2014

1978 Motobecane Grand Touring- a few new goodies

Last month,  with my first paycheck from the new Job, I bought a few new pieces for my recently acquired Motobecane Grand Touring.  As I mentioned in my first post on it, this bike came with perfectly good tires and saddle but they were not really what I had in mind for this bike.  So I picked up a few goodies.
Supple tire and  classic look
oh yeah
Now if I was being reasonable I would take this bike down to the frame, like I do for most rebuilds, and take my time and build it back up one step at a time.  Its summer, however, and I want to ride this bike so I am going about things a bit backwards.  The complete tear down will come but not before I do some riding.  First I wanted to see if a home remedy I'd read about would remove the sharpie markings labeling the front and rear gearshifts...and tooth paste really does work with a bit of scrubbing.
one down...
Next step was to get the new tires mounted.  Based on their condition I am fairly certain the tubes that came with the Continental gatorskins that were mounted on the bike when I got it were new so I reused them.  I tend to think a tube is a tube but its nice to know these are Specialized which I think makes good stuff.

newly shod and ready to go
Then it was time for the cockpit to get a touch of class.  A Brooks B.17 Imperial model.
Hello gorgeous
I have used a B.17 for going on 6 years on the Handsome Devil and I really like it and figured that since the intent of this bike is for longer rides having a cut out would be a good thing.  Ironically, I had purchased an Imperial on sale last year but it was a victim of the great sell off while I was between jobs.  No worries, it was brown and I think the black goes better with this bike.  I also took a couple measurements from the Devil; saddle height (center of crank to top of saddle) and the distance from the stem to saddle nose so I that I could set up the Imperial in the ball park of what I know to be a comfortable fit.

My new purchases weren't all about style, I did get some new Dia-Compe "grey matter" brake pads to replace what I suspect are the original Weinmann set.


new stoppers
I have a new wide range freewheel and SRAM chain for the bike as well but I am going to hold off on mounting them for now, the existing set is in decent shape and adequate for the riding I am capable of doing right now i.e. neither far nor fast nor hilly.
these will wait for the fully monty rebuild
So, even though there is plenty more I could (and probably should) do like replace the dried out brake hoods, upgrades are in place and ready to go.

Tomorrow I plan to celebrate this nations independence by going for a short ride in the neighborhood and seeing how the new parts shake out. I hope you and yours have a safe and happy holiday.
with the new toys mounted

Ride.Smile.Repeat