Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Clunker Challenge: Finito

I started the day only needing a 6 mile ride to reach 100 kilometers total on Barney and thereby complete the clunker challenge, but with September quickly slipping away I figured I better get on it with an after work ride.  Because I had stripped Barney of his rack to put it on the Cresta GT I went bike messenger style with a bag to carry my lock and emergency kit.

My ride included Lincoln park which I entered via the back entrance to see the Sun not quite down.

Quiet paths and lots of big trees complement the view of the Puget Sound

And of course a ferry ready to leave the dock.

A 1/2 mile from home I stopped at Zekes pizza for a bit of dinner which of course meant a celebratory beer. A Scuttlebutt Imperial IPA.

Barney has been a good bike for this challenge not much of a clunker at all, that said I do look forward to making some changes now that the budget restriction is off and see if I can make him a bit more comfortable on rides of more that a couple miles.

Ride a Clunker. Smile. Repeat.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Cresta GT: additional touches

I wanted to add a few things to the Cresta GT today but first a ride to the farmers market to get a few more Kilometers on Barney.

I was going to call this post Finishing touches but realized that there is more I want to do but for now I was happy to add a couple bottle cages.

Wrap the handlebars..finally.

And a rear rack, this Blackburn rack has now been on the Specialized, Bianchi and now the Nishiki.  It just seems that a touring bike needs a rack.

I couldn't spend $60 on a FW and not use it so I took off the 5 speed and mounted the IRD Classica 6 speed, and then discovering I needed the extra room I ditched the spoke protector.

After mounting it I found there wasn't enough space between the frame and small cog so I got a spacer (i.e. a washer) an tried it again.

Its a very tight tolerance, I may add a second spacer. but it works.  Next up finishing up the clunker challenge with a 9 km ride and starting on the Schwinn Le Tour.  Possible additions to the Cresta down the road; front rack, fenders and lights.

Ride. Smile, Tinker. Repeat.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sunday Musings and September plans

I decided to give the old workhorse some love and took the Handsome Devil to the farmers market.

Parked near me was a cool lugged Specialized Stump Jumper, probably late 80s, Brooks saddle, fat tires and an enormous saddle bag.

And I had a double IPA -Bomb from cloudburst to round out my visit to the market.

Since I planned on a longer shake down ride I decided to add a barrel bag to the Cresta GT.

I also mounted the cateye wireless computer I got for the Cresta and while I didn't go 5 miles, threat of rain, I did get in 4.  The saddle stayed put and I could shift easily into the small ring, I did find that the handle bars were slightly askew and when using  the smallest cog there was a bit of chain skip so I loosened the cable tension a bit when I got back and fixed the bars.  Still loving the fit of this bike!

I would like to run a front rack on the Cresta and I think the Nitto M18 will fit the bill, you can get struts in various lengths and that should allow me to take advantage of the mid fork rack braze-ons. On bike forums there is allot of talk that a front bag allows for better handling than a rear rack amongst the Classic and Vintage touring crowd plus I can use my Rivendell Sackville Trunk sack that it set up for just such a rack.

September plans

Continue to ride the Cresta GT and maybe even do a mult-modal ride to work.  That might require me borrowing the Blackburn rack from the Trek 420 which I think would be a perfect fit on the Nishiki.

Once I get the bars wrapped on the Cresta GT I would like to get the Schwinn LeTour in the stand.  It won't get the full spa treatment but I will do the following:

  • mount a rear brkae
  • new brake cables and housing
  • new chain
  • wipe down and wax frame
  • tune up; dial in brakes, shifting, true wheels, grease stem and seat post etc.
I am hoping to get it sold while the weather is still decent.

One more ride of about 8 miles on Barney and I will get to my 100km mileage goal for the clunker challenge.  I am also thinking of heading to bikeworks next weekend to see if I can find; a front wheel to match the rear, a different stem and maybe even thumb shifters.

Ride. Smile. Repeat

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Cresta GT: Shifting and Test Ride!

Earlier in the week when I was working on Shifting I didn't like how the stock SunTour RD looked in the small/small combo, chain rubbing on jockey wheel, since I had abandoned the idea of indexing I decided to make a change.

I went with my favorite RD, the early 2000's Shimano Deore LX M581.  I love the CNC'd look and it performs great. I used one on the Passage with a 6 speed FW and it was fine, however I couldn't get the low limit set to avoid over shifting the chain into the spokes with a 5 speed FW, so last night I switched back.

One more thing to love about chains with quick links is that it makes  it easy to do multiple derailleur swaps.  I realized the chain rub was only happening in the small/small combo and was fine for the other 14 gears and that combo is rarely if every going to get used whereas needing to shift into my easiest gear without over shifting into the spokes was going to be very important.  I was able to fine tune the limit screws on the stock RD so that I was no longer over shifting, so I went to bed with the gearing set last night.

This morning the Cresta was practically yelling Ride me! take me outside and lets go ride!

I only planned on a very short maybe 1 kilometer test ride and didn't even take a multi-tool with me.

I probably ended up going 3 or 4 kilometers rather than just 1 km (I didn't set up the wireless computer or use my phone app) because A) I wanted to enjoy the fruits of my labor and B) I couldn't stop smiling!  It fits, it feels good, it just felt ....right.   That was not unexpected but still a relief that after 5 months I didn't hop on and feel meh.  I do have some work to do still; both the saddle rail clamp and the seat tube clamp need tightening and front derailleur needs adjustment to go more easily into the small ring, its close and I could finesse it with shifting the RD but I'll need to adjust the limit screw.   Its an admittedly small sample but I think both the tires and saddle are going to be very good, and I am going to avoid the temptation to throw bar tape on right away and do at least one more ride of 5 miles or so before I do that final piece.

Bottom-line riding this bike puts a smile on my face.

Test Ride your new bike. Smile allot. Repeat.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Cresta GT: Cabling the Brakes

When I cabled the brakes and shifting on the Motobecane Grand Touring it went quickly and I think that was my expectation for the Cresta, but I was wrong.  Threading the brake cable for instance, I probably had 20 to 30 tries each side before the cable threaded through the small hole inside the lever body so it could come out the back of the grip portion of the lever onto the bars.  Its an awkward angle and I am sure there is a better way to do it but it was pretty much blind chance for me.  In the end the brake cable got threaded and I could then run it through the housing.

I would have upgraded the canti's to something newer that was easier to set up and adjust but with the narrow fork of a mid to late 80s Japanese touring bike you can't use modern Canti's as I found out with the Schwinn Passage.

There are lots of moving parts with old Canti brakes one of which is the straddle cable, I was wise enough to keep one of the old cables (top above) to use as a template for the proper length.

And then there is the positioning of the brake cable and straddle wire carrier to get correct.

And then finally you have all the pieces hooked up and you can begin adjusting them.  I have them about 85% of the way to where I want them, enough for a test ride.

For the shifting I can get to 14 of 15 gears, the small/small combo won't work yet, but the main issue is that shifting to the inside -large rear cog - the chain will over-shift and go into the spokes, or in this case -dork disc.   I have adjusted the limit screws but no joy yet.  I tried index shifting briefly but I could only get 3 of the 5 gears with it and I quickly moved to friction mode.

As you can see there is lots of room in back with just the 5 speed FW and if you remove the chain protector, dork disc, then there is even more.

So I impulsively dropped over $60 and ordered an IRD 6 speed freewheel, a 13-32.  I would have tried a 7 speed but no one had them in stock.  14-28t Freewheels are everywhere but to get a 30, 32 or 34 low end you have to pay more.  In addition to helping with the over-shift issue (I hope) I also get more gears and a lower granny.   I will likely do some short test rides to see how it fits and if it really does stop but to do any real rides I will need to sort the shifting.


Monday, September 3, 2018

Clunker Challenge Ride: Baseball Game

With a month to go in the Clunker Challenge I decided it was time to push closer to the 100 km mileage goal and so I got bargain tickets to a Mariners game on Labor day.  It was a nice early September day and I paused at the top of the harbor island bridge to get this shot of downtown.

As with my other clunker rides this one had a beer theme, I am at the ball park after-all, but I didn't take a beer glamour shot this time, however in the lower right corner you can see the top of my can of Red Hook Long Hammer IPA.

I nearly always get 3rd base side nose bleed bargain tickets but this time I opted for the 1st base side and it was kind of fun to get a different perspective and a great view of the skyline.

I left after the 7th inning stretch while there was still a little light and went the multi-modal route letting the bus take me up the last hill.  I did get in enough mileage to get to 90km total on the challenge, so I only need 10 more kilometers on Barney sometime over the next 4 weeks.

I did do some work on the Cresta GT, the shift cables are threaded but the rear shifting, even in friction mode is acting up and the brake cables didn't want to thread easily into the new brake levers so I got nowhere with the brakes.  I will get there and hope to have it done next weekend at the latest.

Ride to the Ball park. Drink beer, Smile. Repeat.

PS The Mariners won!

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Cresta GT: Rear Wheel

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, especially on a 3-day weekend so the first order of business was to enjoy a sunny day at the Market.

I took the Moto GT since it has a chain ring guard which means no need for a rolled up pant leg.  It reminded me I have some tweaking to do on this bike, but the work stand is a bit busy just now.

This cool split window bus was right next to the bike parking, I always liked the ones with front windows that opened - old school AC.  I am also reminded that I could have a much more expensive hobby than vintage bikes.

A hazy IPA, be kind rewind from Cloudburst/Modern times, paired with a market fresh breakfast sandwich had me in my happy place.

And I couldn't leave the market without a little taste of summer.

Cresta GT

This is where I started with the rear wheel, sans Freeewheel, a very dirty hub, and spokes and rim.

After a few rounds with armor all wipes, Simple Green, a tooth brush and lots of elbow grease I got to here.

The free wheel was also a dirty mess..

..that came good in the end.  Speaking of free wheels this one is a SunTour Perfect that specifically works with the accushift system on this bike.  Its a 5 speed with decent range but it made me think I wonder what a 6 speed would cost.  A quick check of ebay revealed that a Suntour wide range 6 speed FW made to work with accushift would cost me over $130!  No thanks. If the indexing works with the 5 speed great but if I end going friction then I will do a IRD Classica 6 speed wide range FW  which is only $48, but that is down the road a piece.

The axle pieces got a soak in the sonic bath and were then clean and ready to go.

Fresh grease, bearings and a clean cover and the bearing cups are ready for final assembly.

Unfortunately the Mariner game going south distracted me and I ended up with this... the spacers for the FW drive side of the wheel are on the non drive side, in perfect order but on the wrong side!  I had to laugh at myself D'oh!

A reversal of my mistake and the addition of fresh rubber and presto the rear wheel is done!

I even threw the chain on, it looks odd with no clearance in the small/small combo but I am not panicking as the are no cables or tension yet, might revisit Sheldon Brown on chain length though just to be safe.

In the past week I also mounted my new Brooks Cambium saddle to the seatpost and installed it.  I could have gone with leather but was intrigued by this saddle, it gets good reviews from Vintage bike folk, no break in and no maintenance, looking forward to seeing how it feels.

In riding the Allez so much this summer I realized I missed having a bell so I made sure to mount one on the Cresta GT.  In this position it doesn't take up any handlebar space.  With Monday being a holiday I am going to use it for running cables and housing, adjusting and tweaking brakes and shifting and hopefully going for a test ride.  We are getting very close to NBD!! (new bike day).

Ride. Smile. Repeat.