Monday, January 28, 2013

Curb Find Raleigh Part 2 -crumple zones? (Jan 2013)

Due to the condition of the frame mentioned in part 1 of this series I had thought of building this bike up as a "stealth" bike, ugly on the outside but immaculate mechanically, or what Randy at mytenspeeds calls a "Junk Bike".  I started by taking it down to the frame set and immediately hit my first ever stuck stem! I tried lots of methods to get it unstuck but eventually I had to amputate.
I was able to get everything else off the bike and eventually came up with a nice box of parts ready for cleanup and reassembly.

The rust spots on the down tube and top tube just behind the head tube kept worrying me though and upon taking the bike to the good folks at Bike Works for a second opinion my concern was confirmed "I wouldn't ride it the frames compromised" stated the wrench on duty.  Sigh.  So I left the frame with them so they could get the scrap value out of it and went to the warehouse in search of a donor frame-set for the box of parts I now had.  It had to be a Raleigh of course because I had all these cool Raleigh  branded parts.  Luck was with me and I found an early 70's Raleigh Record frame-set that I think will do the trick.
As always there are few areas of concern.  With any bike of this vintage you can expect some nicks and scrapes, while the Record is miles ahead of where the Gran Prix was, as far as the paint goes, it does have some rust spots I need to address before I can start spiffing it up.

Also this Record frame is old enough that it was equipped with a cottered cranks as you can see from the legacy Bottom Bracket.
When I tried to upgrade to a cotter-less crank on the 74 Raleigh Gran Prix (Green) I found that a newer BB would not work with the proprietary Raleigh threads.  This time, however, I have the BB from the 77 curb find Raleigh Gran Prix (cotter-less) so I am hoping it will work, if not its off to Bike works for a cottered crank to work with the legacy BB.

Next time I hope to post some actual progress on this build.  By the way that is my brand spanking new Park work stand pictured with the Record frameset,  purchased from Hugh's Online bike shop  PLUG.  The stand kind of makes me feel like a big boy bike mechanic.  Until Part 3...


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Curb Find Raleigh Part 1 (Jan 2012)

I had read on other blogs about people finding bikes in dumpsters, put out for trash day, etc but had never had that kind of luck, until.... I was riding my bike home from downtown when I spotted a Raleigh Gran Prix in front of a pile of garbage and cast offs in the front yard of a rental house.  It appeared that someone had moved out and ditched the bike along with an number of other items and after taking a closer at the Gran Prix I could see why.
I had first thought to "ghost ride" the bike home but after pushing it a few feet I realize it wasn't exactly a smooth roller, so I decided to just walk it as it was only about a mile home.  I also realized that the paint job was a little on the rough side, like someone had put the frame in a cement mixer with a bunch of gravel, let it go for a few minutes and the result was not one square inch of the bike was clear of pits, scrapes or scratches.
Yep it all pretty much looks like this

And the head tube wasn't a whole lot better. I mean how do you manage this kind of damage?
However, there were a lot of cool Raleigh branded Suntour parts that were worth the trouble getting this bike home.
And best of all the famous Suntour power ratchet shifters.
You may notice, as I did that there was a discolored and rusty spot where the down tube intersected the head tube lug and a similar spot where the top tube intersected the head tube lug (look under the rusty broken bell in the picture of the head tube).  Hmmm that might indicate there had been some trauma like front end crash.  Better get this checked out by a real mechanic.  To be continued.....

Friday, January 25, 2013

1970s Tiger (October 2011)

Make: Tiger
Model: ?
Year:  1970 something
Obtained: Sept 2011
Found: Bike Works co-op
Paid: $5.00 (Frame-set plus a few parts)

At the same time I picked up the blue Peugeot UO-8 frame-set at my local bike co-op  I  found yet another lonely frame-set from the island of misfit toys, a yellow, dirty 10 speed with a very cool Tiger head badge.  I had never heard of this brand, neither has the internets, and I ended up getting the same "please take that thing and get it out of here" deal that I got on the Peugeot.
it's grrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat!
So armed with two frames and a couple of used 27 inch wheel-sets I went home and inspected my haul.  After looking at the Tiger I had to laugh, it appeared someone had been in a muddy cyclo-cross race with this bike and then parted it out without ever cleaning it up and to top it off it had sections wrapped in packing tape..WTF!?
Why would you put packing tape on a 10 speed frame I ask?  Why! it took a while but eventually I got it all off and after some inventory realized that I had a BB, cable guides, seat post and faux velvet seat and set of no name center pull brakes to work with -in addition to a used wheel-set.
More importantly I had a vision for this bike.  I had recently come across the Kenda K161 cyclo-cross knobby tire on Amazon in a nice fat 27 x 1  3/8 inch gumwall tire (that equates to 37c).  As it was getting onto the wet season I though this would be a great rain bike build with the Kenda  tires and some fenders.  You can can check out this tire over at bikeman4u here .
After doing some major cleaning and then waxing of the frame it was time to source some parts to get this baby back in the road.  In my parts bin I had; derailleurs, 6 speed freewheel, a sealed bottom bracket, stem and a better seat as using a faux velvet seat on a rain bike is just not done.  I hit Bikeworks for;  stem shifters, handlebars, brake levers, pedals, and a crank-set.  As always the bike got new; rubber, cable and housing, chain and bar tape.  I had been so pleased with how the red accents looked on the white Peugeot that I took a flier and used red housing and bar tape on the Tiger too. I thought it worked out fine.
From ugly ducking to ..well not exactly a swan but at least a plain looking duckling, and it got snapped up on CL by a UW student so it all worked out.  Now I need to build myself a bike around those fat Knobby tires some day.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Secret life of Friction shifters (Old Ten Speed edition)

In my last post I mentioned my good fortune that the 1974 Peugeot frame-set came with stock friction shifters because Peugeot had a unique way of mounting their down tube shifters.  That got me to thinking about all the different ways friction shifting got approached during the bike boom era for 10 and 12 speed shifting.   They are easy to remember because they all have the shifters location in their name; down-tube, bar-end, and stem. 

Many flavors of Down Tube shifters

In my mind the classic old 10 speed has shifters on the down tube of the frame but this was handled in many different ways.  The most common was to  have the shifters mounted on a band that mounts  to the frame above a brazed on lug, apparently in the early days there were no lugs and riders had issues with the shifters, under tension from the shift cables, coming loose and sliding down the tube causing paint damage and probably a few missed shifts. Some builders like to put the lug on the top facing part of the down tube (Raleigh super course shown) and others went with the underside (Miyata 912 shown).
note triangular "lug" below the shifter band

The route that Peugeot took is a bit different, instead of a lug they use a single shifter boss, on the drive side of the frame, and the (rear) shifter screws directly into the boss.  On the non-drive side  the band that goes around the down tube has the (front) shifter mounted to the band-like Shimano, Suntour, Campy etc.  On the drive side of the band there is a "window" cut in the band so it can go around the boss.  Hopefully these pictures will make it seem less confusing that what I just wrote.

Shifter boss on the drive side only of the down tube
Peugeot specific Simplex shifter with window in band to accommodate shifter boss on frame
Simplex shifters on a Peugeot UO-8

For a while in the mid to late 80s you could get this nifty center mounted down tube shifter "cluster" that bolted to the frame  -kind of like like a water bottle cage.  In the grand scheme of old 10/12 speeds these are kind of rare.
The final evolution is having a shifter boss on either side of the frame.  This is how current steel bikes that even bother to consider down tube shifters do it.  The nice thing about this setup is that if you decide to go with the shifters in a different place -bar ends, STI etc you can use the bosses to mount cable routing guides/adjusters.  Here is a Velo Orange frame with just the boss and then one with the shifters mounted.
Bar end shifters 

Like the name says these are mounted on the bar ends.  This type of shifting is popular on touring bikes where riders want the simplicity and bullet proof qualities of friction but don't want to look down to shift.  I like this set up as you can shift with your pinkie while on the bottom of the drops with a bit of practice.  These are also popular on Time Trail bikes because you can mount them on areo bars -facing straight out from the bike-and shift without changing your aero profile.  Yeah that sounds like a blast....

Not old or 10 speed but using bar end shifters

Stem Shifters

Again the name says it all, they are mounted on the stem.  I like these least of the three as they always give me a queasy feeling in the groinal area, must be a guy thing.  Anyway the bike companies marketed these in the mid 1970s as safer and easier than the classic down-tube shifters, but I think it was really a cost cutting move as they didn't have to weld an extra bit on the down tube anymore.  In general you tend to see these more on an entry level bike than on the higher end "race" bikes.
on stem

As if those three weren't enough choices you can borrow from early Mt. bike technology and get some Paul's thumbies (or like products) and mount your down tube shifters on the bars!  As the name implies you use your thumbs (primarily) to do the shifting.
Why, you may ask, why would he ramble on and on about shifters! Well one thing I like about old 10 speeds is you can swap many parts from one bike to another without giving it much thought BUT there are exceptions (see French bikes) and shifters are one.  So this is just a little education for the new to the game.  For example if you get a frame built for a stem shifter set up and decide you like down tube shifters better you may end up with a your shifters slipping down the down-tube if you don't get a lug or bosses brazed on, or you may decide you don't want derlin plastic simplex shifters on your old Peugeot and go with some old Shimano 600's on a band and the realize "Oh dang what the heck where those French thinking with this boss on just one side!!!!!".  Anyway its not rocket science just pays to know what you are facing out there in the wide wide world of old 10 speeds.  As always....


Honorable Mention

For trying to teach an old dog new tricks I tip my hat to Retro Shift ( who've come up, in the last year, with a rather unique way to mount friction shifters that combines old with new.
Part STI part retro all funky, chapeau.

Friday, January 18, 2013

1974 Peugeot UO-8 Blue (November 2011)

Make: Peugeot
Model: UO-8
Year:  1974 (best guess)
Obtained: Sept 2011
Found: Bike Works co-op
Paid: $5.00 (Frame-set plus a few parts)

Once upon a time there was a frame-set, languishing in the corner of the local bike co-op, when the amateur 10 speed refurbisher asked “How much for the tall Peugeot frame”  the wrench said           “5 bucks,  please take it I am sick of looking at it!”.   And thus another frame-set rebuild made its way into my hands.

In just one bike I violated two of my "'guidelines for a beginner old 10 speed wrench"  don't get just a frame and avoid the French bikes.  It was however a good learning experience and although a bit tall (25") the frame, paint and decals were all in good shape.  With some help from the Late Great Sheldon Brown, and Randy's vast experience with Peugeot's over at mytenspeeds.I was able to muddle through and get this bike back up and running.  Thanks again to retro Peugeot for helping me pin down the approximate year of the bike -1974 catalog shot below.
As a combination of frame only and French bike I had a few big issues I needed to tackle; 1) there was no bottom bracket with this bike and 2) while it a had a stem it was unfortunately one of the dreaded AVA "death stems" so I could not in good conscience use it.  In addition to that it was missing wheels, derailleurs, crank-set and saddle.  On the plus side it did have the original simplex shifters which was good because the down tube shifter setup on a Peugeot is unique, I don't have a picture but the band and shifters attach in way that is much different than the Japanese or Italian approach.  Anyway that was one issue I didn't have to address.  Next time I tackle a Peugeot I will try to get a shot of the down tube shifter set up for reference. UPDATE go here to find more info on the Peugeot down tube shifters.
Hey Handsome

If you are smart you get a complete French bike including bottom bracket, because the bottom bracket shell uses French threading a standard English BB will not work, mon Dieu!. If your me and you buy just a frame like a lug-head then, if money is not object, you can buy a very nice French threaded bottom bracket from Velo Orange for 50 bucks, its an excellent component but paying 10 times the price of the frame for a BB seemed a bit much for this UO-8 so I took a different tact.   Amazon offers a nice set of French threaded BB cups with bearings and lock ring from Action for 10 bucks (here).  And I recalled reading on Sheldon's site that you could use a 70 mm (Italian) spindle if you wanted to convert your old French bike from cottered crank to cotterless(here),  another 5 bucks for a spindle (plus end bolts) and I was golden on the BB issue.  The death stem resolution was pretty straight forward, I took a 22.2 diameter Pivo Stem and patiently sanded it until it fit the 22.0 French standard head-set/threaded fork.  If you are going to work on French bikes I would seriously recommend reading what both Sheldon (here) and Randy (here) have to say about the issues you might encounter, it could save you some tears.  That is not to scare anyone away old Peugeot's they are wonderful bikes with some great ride qualities but as they say forewarned is forearmed.(NOTE: after about 1980 most French bikes adopted English standard sizing and threading)
Although it thankfully doesn't look it, underneath the shiny paint and new parts this Peugeot ended up being a bit of a "frankenbike".  The frame-set, front wheel, front derailleur, shifters and handlebars are all original/period correct and everything else is cobbled together.  The rear derailleur is a Shimano 7 speed that goes with a Japanese cotterless crank, parts bin pedals and a used but modern slotted Selle Italia saddle.
I went with white cables because that is what the catalog shows the bike came with originally and I  liked how the blue paint cleaned up after a wash and wax. I think this UO-8 while not 100% vintage turned out pretty good for being a bit of a mish mash.  It got sold to a nice tall UW student.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

1981 Motobecane Nomade II (October 2011)

Make: Motobecane
Model: Nomade II
Year:  1981
Obtained: Sept 2011
Found: Bike Works co-op
Paid: $25.00

This bike is the  slightly cooler version of the entry level 10 speed of the Motobecane line up for 1981.  A little better drive train and some fancier paint essentially.
That was true in 1981 anyway if you wait 30 years you might get something more like this.

It didn't actually come with the wheels I provided those from my parts bin, the bike came with the frame-set, bottom bracket, brakes and a seat-post with mangy saddle all for $25.  At first I wasn't sure what drew me to this one, I mean it wasn't a full bike so I was going to have to scavenge parts and it was not in the best shape but as I thought about it I realized that it had a lot of things I liked in an old 10 speed that I had not really put into a list before.  I discovered I really like; paint jobs where the head tube is a contrasting color to the frame, chromed fork tips, cool head badges (and the Motobecanes is great), and its French which gives a certain -how do you say?-je ne sais quoi.

Looking back I realize that I didn't really know what I had with this bike and didn't really do it the justice it deserved.  I was thinking "its just an entry level bike"  get it cleaned up, rebuilt and road worthy and sell it on Craigslist.  I had mistakenly ordered some black-walled tires (read the description don't just look at the photo of the item!) for a previous build that I didn't really like but were new and perfectly good so I slapped them on the Nomade II.  Never again its always gum-walls on old 10 speeds from now on, or cool colored sidewall just not black.  I had purchased an Italian bike that ended up being too big for me and sold it as a frame so its derailleurs and brake levers came over the Nomade.  I got a few blue items to accent the frame, an Origin 8 saddle since the original was toast. and brake cables but didn't do much to add "zing" to the bike like it deserved. 

The thing is once I had gone through the bike and cleaned it up and repacked all the bearings and actually rode it I discovered that it fit like a glove! I mean it just felt so right that I briefly considered not selling it but discarded that idea because it was "just an entry level bike".  I took careful measurements thinking that someday I will find a Grand Jubilee or Grand Touring in the same size but I think I missed the point.  I was being a label snob and not listening to my inner cyclist, I read a great post by Randy on mytenspeeds (Here) where he talks about finding the joy in a "mundane" road bike.  And I never really understood what he was talking about until this Motobecane, instead of asking if it had Reynolds or Vitus tubing I should have been thinking about how it fit so perfectly and brought a smile to my face just pedaling it down the street.  One of my test rides was with my neighbor on a beer run and even he commented that the bike looked like a perfect fit.  After riding so many bikes in the last couple years I realize now that there are bikes that fit good and then there is the rare bike that fits great and you shouldn't dismiss the ones that feel tailor made.  Anyway, I was apparently not the only one taken with this bike as it only lasted about an hour on Craigslist after I put it up for sale.


PS The need to find a Grand Touring in this size never faded and in May of 2015 I finally found one (blog post here)

Friday, January 11, 2013

1979 Miyata 912 (May 2011) the one that started it all

Make: Miyata
Model: 912
Year:  1979
Obtained: April 2011
Found: Garage Sale
Paid: $25.00

If there is a bike I can point to as the start of my old 10 speed obsession it would be the Miyata 912.  I had spent the winter and spring pouring over Randy's excellent Mytenspeeds site and I think by that time I had discovered OTSG and Hugh's bicycle blog as well.  Yes I had come down with the old steel 10 speed bug big time.  In April there was a local garage sale where a block had got together to raise money for the Japanese Tsunami disaster relief.  I thought it might be a chance to try to find a bike and practice my garage sale skills.   I arrive and find myself in a big backyard with wall to wall "stuff" none of which is a bike, so I wander into the garage where there is even more stuff but again no bicycle...until I look up.  Hanging from the rafters is what appears to be an old 10 speed!  I was so excited I didn't really even inspect it (Dumb) but found the lady who appeared to be in charge and asked "So is that bike in the garage, the one in the rafters, for sale?"  she says "its my husbands but he told me I could sell it, how much?"  I answer with the first number that comes into my head "how about $25?" she gets a great big grin on her face and says "That's great!".  As I am handing over my $$ she explains her husband used to commute on it a "few" years ago.  After paying the nice lady I go claim my prize and based on the dust on the frame and the cobwebs in the wheels I realize a "few" years ago might have been 20.  Once I am in the light I start seeing things that make my 10 speed nerd heart race; forged not stamped drop outs, gold lug lining, aluminum wheels, and -be still my heart- Shimano 600 Arabesque down tube shifters - YAHOO!
When I got home I did a bit more research and found that the Miyata 912 was a solid middle of the Miyata range sport-touring bike.  (1981 catalog shot -oldest I could find)

In addition to the normal dusty-musty-needs-alot-of-TLC factor this bike does have a few issues.
Its brake hoods are beyond salvation- my neighbor (a cyclist) described them as looking like "old bacon" apt.
While being stored upside down in the garage moisture had collected between the rear brake cable (running the length of the top tube) in spots and caused the paint to bubble and start some surface rust.  The crank was a funky triple combo of 48/46/28 which I found out from my LBS was called a mountain triple back in the day with the small ring as a bail out for hills.  That wasn't going to fly for the riding I intended, oh I forgot the best part -the bike was MY SIZE! I would discover in the coming months that finding a bike that really fit was not so easy. 

I spent the next few weeks very carefully disassembling the bike while referencing Zinn and the Art of road bike maintenance (my shop manual), Sheldon Brown and Mytenspeeds websites for instruction and inspiration.  carefully sanding the rusty blistered spot on the top tube and painting it -thank god for black!  I finally had it taken apart cleaned up and ready for being built back up.
I went with a cyclo-cross compact setup of 48/34 using the original Sugino crank.  I was inspired to spend some long hours getting this bike together so I could ride it on a fairly flat metric century I had promised to do with a friend in Salem Oregon in early May.  The bike rode like a champ and got some nice compliments.
I made several changes over the next year to the Miyata; a longer stem for better fit, wider bars (vintage Cinelli Giro D' italia), a new freewheel rear hub wheel-set from Velo Orange (the original rear came with an odd freewheel/cassette hybrid that started to fail), a nice brooks saddle and some spiffy whitewall red tread Panaracer tires.  Its probably a bit over the top but the least I could do for the bike that got me hooked on old steel.