Sunday, December 22, 2013

Building it on the Cheap- The Peugeot AO-8

It used to be that when I thought of an entry level Peugeot of the 10 speed Era I would immediately think of the ubiquitous UO-8 which was made by the hundreds of thousands (Millions?).   And Then I started working on the AO-8 that is my current project.
Courtesy of retro Peugeot from '69 French catalog
The AO-8 is the lesser know little brother of the aforementioned UO-8.  And its well err a less expensive, cost conscious, OK I will say it cheaper version of its big brother.   Cheaper you ask?  How is it cheaper Ryan?  Well let me tell you.

Cable routing, Rather than use a solid circle of metal they used little "wings" that bend to wrap around the cables.  I'd never seen this before this bike.
And plastic, lots of plastic, in some interesting places.  Peugeot is of course famous (infamous?) for using Derlin plastic in their front and rear derailleurs all up and down their 10 speed line, although for this bike both RD jockey wheels have lost about 25% of their roundness, so maybe the AO-8 got cheaper plastic?

For the AO-8, however, they added a few "extras".   The down-tube shifters are plastic with a thin metal sheath wrapped around 3 sides, I have actually seen this on a few other entry level bikes but the higher level Peugeot's like the Course (UO-10) had metal DT shifters.

The really surprising place I found plastic was in the bottom bracket bearing cages, also something I had never seen before.
Another classic cost saver is stamped steel rear drop outs

as opposed to forged rear drops.
Courtesy of
The final place that is an obvious cost saver is the replacing the head-badge with a sticker, sorry decal.
Ok I have been making fun of our French cousins with this bike but all the above said I would rather have this bike than 99.9995% of the department store bikes of today.  Hope to have this baby all back together soon so you can judge for yourself.

Happy Holidays to you and yours from Ryan's Rebuilds.

As always - Ride.Smile.Repeat.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Going back to 2009: The Handsome Devil build

Make:  Handsome Cycles
Model The Devil
Year: 2009 (July)

Through most of the 2000's I was  wannabe roadie wearing kit like "the cyclist who must not be named" and lusting after carbon fiber.  Then in 2008-2009 I stumbled on to Rivendell and later Velo Orange and I started to realize that maybe I should give steel a shot, especially since I am never going to be a 130 lbs. Colombian climber or any kind of racer for that matter.  For those that are built for them I am sure Carbon fiber is great but as a "Super" Clydesdale, when I look at Carbon bikes these days I swear I can hear them whimper " no way big dude you'd break me like a stick".

So anyway it's 2009 I am in a loving Steel phase (that is still going strong in 2013 btw) and a Rivendell would have been awesome but they were out of my price range at the time.  So I looked around at Surly's and a few other brands and then stumbled across a fairly new company out of Minneapolis called Handsome Cycles.  The bike frame business was a recent offshoot of their long time bike shop "The Alt" bike and board.

I liked the look of the frame and price was right so I ordered away once I had the $$$ and the day it arrived was pretty cool-kind of like Christmas morning for an 8 year-old.

 While I was waiting on the frame I had also assembled some nice bits for the cockpit
 Crank, BB and pedals
 And the drive train- only Dura-Ace I have ever owned; bar end shifters.

After I started putting it together I realized I might need a few more spacers
But other than that it felt like the bike was coming together.

There were a lot of first for this bike and one of them was having to apply the decals myself.  I was a little anxious about this but taking my time and being patient it ended up working out and I liked the whimsy of some of the decals too.

I was lucky to have a cyclist neighbor who was willing to loan me his Park work-stand to finish the assembly job, having an icy Portland Brewing IPA didn't hurt on a warm July afternoon either.

One thing I have enjoyed about this frame over the last, almost, 5 years is that it is so versatile.  The basic stuff; Brooks saddle, Nitto Rando bars, bar end shifters and Deore RD, have stayed constant but the crank has gone from an IRD compact, to a Sugino triple, to the current 36t single crank for a 1x9 set up with an 11-36t 9 speed cassette.  It has also evolved from 700x32c tires to 700x38c with Fenders to the current 700x47c Continentials tires that have pushed aside the fenders 'cause they are so damn big- as seen here in my first post 
 Got the bike done back in 2009 in time for a little celebratory birthday ride to the neighborhoods French bakery.
 While camping with the family in the north cascades that summer I got some good rides in -compact double configuration.
 By 2010 I had added VO fluted fenders, a rear rack and switched to the Sugino XD-2 triple crank.  I also got rid of the canti brakes from the original build, which I had a tough time adjusting, and switched to V-brakes which I find much easier to work with.
And as it sits today with a 1x9 set up; the 11-36t 9 speed cassette and 36t chain ring gives me the low end to get up hills in West Seattle and the 700x47mm conti's are just plain fun.  It commutes, its a good shopping rig, its taken me bike camping (S24O) and basically any time I need a bike to hop on and go this is the one I choose.  

As always Ride. Smile.Repeat

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

In the work-stand: 1969 Peugeot AO-8

About a month ago I spent part of a Saturday morning helping Bicycles for Humanity pack a shipping container that would eventually go to Africa.  My job was mostly prepping bikes to go into the container which meant; removing wheels, loosening and turning stems and handlebars to give the bikes a narrow profile and removing the pedals for the same purpose.  Old 10 speeds aren't considered very good candidates for rough African roads so not many of them make the trip, as a result I got to take one home (with a promise of a donation to the local non profit bike works) as a thank you for my volunteering since the director knows I am an old 10 speed geek.  I took a long look through the small stack of 10 speeds and picked out this little French beauty. Instead of going to West Africa it came home to West Seattle.

Now you may wonder how I know the year and type of Peugeot, their serial numbers are pretty arcane and they don't always have a model number printed on them.  Based on the excellent site Retro Peugeot  I know the decals on this bike correspond to the period of 1964-1970 and looking at the one brochure of the time period I can find -1970- I know in that year they didn't have a yellow model so I am going with 1969.  As for the model, every UO-8 I have come across has chrome fork tips, the entry level AO-8s cut a few dollars in cost by having painted forks.  I have worked on a few UO-8s but this is my first AO-8.

1970 USA brochure

I didn't think alot about this bike until I pulled it out of the queue and started looking it over.  The first thing that struck me is that under the grime and dust this bike appears to have pretty good paint and decals considering its age.  One major coup is that it has its original french leather saddle in good shape which is a rare find, the saddle is probably worth more than the bike!  I don't think this Peugeot got left out in the rain much.
It also has my old friend the cottered crank which means I get to use the most expensive bike tool in my arsenal -the cotter press.
And then there is the derlin plastic simplex drive train, I kind of like that the front derailleur works with a piston rather than a spring.

And some additional funky French-ness in the form of the patterned rims (rear only the front must be a replacement) that buzzes like a bee when you brake - I think the theory is you get better grip than on a smooth rim....
Also contributing to the funkiness is the Huret wing nut on one side of the rear axle, the Mavic "half hood" brake lever rubber and the very cool "Mafac Racer" brakes which require a special brake pad/shoe which I happen to have laying around waiting on a different Peugeot project.  The Mafac Racers are so retro cool that Paul components has a updated (and expensive) version that you can check out here. I am not sure what keeps drawing me back to old French bikes but I think funkiness is a major factor.

Next comes the actual work so the AO-8 is in the stand and a pile of goodies awaits a (to be) refurbished steed.  The rear tire appears to be an original spec Hutchinson and it even looks decent -no cracking or visible rot, should I ....nah, new Kenda K-36s all the way.I even have a NOS imitation leather saddle bag that I am going to use on this build.
Until next time Ride.Smile.Repeat.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The $5 ride gets some TLC

As you may recall from this previous post I picked up an old Raleigh Reliant for 5 bucks at a University police sale in August.  I initially thought of just stripping it for parts but decided maybe I could make a commuter out of it.  First step was to get into the rack.
While deconstructing the bike I quickly realized that rear derailleur was severely tweaked to the point of being junk.  Fortunately I had a new Shimano 6/7 speed RD that I had picked up on sale.

After about a half hour of wrenching I came up with a frame and a box of parts. (yes I did get the crank off eventually)

Some rusty parts at that.  The seat-post is pretty indicative of what I was up against.  Thank goodness for a Dremel tool and brass wire brushes.

Oddly the most difficult part of this job was getting the old tires off the rims.  I would have expected a stuck stem, seat-post or maybe a pedal  but in this case the rotten shrunken tires were on so damn tight I ended up cutting the wire bead in multiple places to finally get the tires off.
After alot of cleaning, fine steel wool, lube, and brass wire brushing I was ready to start putting the Reliant back together.  I had some fenders and a plescher rack in the parts bin, they went on.  The original seat was trash it got replaced with a new one, stem shifters make me a bit queasy so I put on some cheap new thumb shifters.  The brake levers that came with the bike were busted but I had some nice vintage Shimano  mountain bike levers in the parts bin to use.  I ditched the pie-plate and was able to put a lightly used 6 speed freewheel and chain to upgrade the bike to a 12 speed.  And of course the standard treatment for any bike I refurb gets new; tires, tubes, rim strips, brake pads, bar grips, cables and housing. A brass bell on the stem topped off this build.

We'll see what the craigslist crowd thinks.  Thanks for looking, as always

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mello Yellow - A 70s Raliegh Record FINALLY gets done.

Hey folks this is a special "Oh my god he actually finished a project" edition of the blog.  I feel like this project has been around so long it was almost old enough to vote.  It all started when I found the core of this project on a curbside in late 2011 waiting to be taken away with the trash.

And then after a closer inspection I realized the frame of the bike I found was compromised  so I had to canablize all the parts and find a new home for them.

Then I got started on it and made some progress but for a long time it sat like this.

This past weekend I finally got off my duff and decided to finish this project.  Along the way it got a spiffy new seat (it even has an R logo on it although its not Raleigh) and I used the wheel-set off the Schwinn Mixte I built for my sister in-law since I had upgraded her ride to new alloy wheels. The frame has been spec'd for a cottered crank which I swapped out for the more modern one from the curbside find.

It also got a sweet vintage Nitto "Olympiade" handlebar I scored off craigslist a while back.
The frame and fork got a  Meguiars Deep Crystal 3 step wax process I picked up from Hugh's blog, its still a 40 year old frame with its share of nicks and scrapes but the paint does look pretty darn good after the 3 coats of wax.  And somewhere in my time wasting  important internet research I came across a screaming deal on some yellow pedals.
In the final stages of assembly, of course, I ran into some difficulties with the rear derailleur.  The "high" adjustment screw had a pretty mashed up head so it was almost impossible to adjust and the chain kept coming of the small cog and getting stuck between the freewheel and the frame- not a feature.  The $5 ride came through with a RD I could cannibalize for a new screw that wasn't a whole lot better but at least it was adjustable so I could dial in the shifting.  I sometime lament the amount of space my project bikes and parts take up in the apartment but boy having a "bone yard" sure does come in handy!  Tim Joe suggested a post on my "stable" of bikes but the bone yard might be a more appropriate post...we'll see..
I never cease to be amazed that the difference a Dremel tool with brass brush makes on small parts and super fine steel wool makes on rusty looking chrome wheels.

All it needed was some Yellow bar tape from Bike Nashbar and it was ready for a late night posting to Craigslist to await some tallish rider in need of a solid vintage ride.  With all the "non factory" parts on this bike it could have been called Franken-Raleigh but I kind of like the sound of Mello Yellow.

As always ride, smile and repeat.