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.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Velo Orange Rando

So last winter something that rarely happens occurred- there was a 1/3 off closeout sale on a bike frame that A) Was new, B) Lugged Steel, C) a color I liked and D) it was actually my size!   A-C happen frequently, D never happens.  Velo Orange was closing out the last of their Rando framesets and the ones left were 59cm! I have an issue with having legs too short for my height (according to bike fit standards anyway) but I compensate with an extra long torso so this bike had the length I needed and who says you need to show a fist full of seat post?

Oh and I got a few goodies along the way-thank you 10% discount on components with frame purchase.  Now one minor gripe I had was that this bike had a decal instead of a real metal badge, but I was in luck as VO had just introduced metal head badges on their bikes and when I asked if they could send me one they very kindly did. They even checked to be sure it would cover the decal before sending it.  Good folks at Velo Orange.
I did have a few issues along they way.  I had intended to go old school with down tube shifters like this
But I had an issue with the right side shifter boss in that the threads wouldn't allow the shifter bolt to go in all the way so instead of taking it to a shop to have the threads chased I tried to do it myself  with a stainless steel bolt...bad idea.
Hey bar end shifters work great! I had a less dramatic problem with the headset and steerer tube.  I didn't really want to cut the steerer tube but something seemed wrong when I got it all assembled....
Yeah gonna need some spacers but I was in luck as VO had some cool knurled ones.  I had this bike most of the way assembled months ago and then for one reason and another it sat for a long while.

I recently came to the realization that I was bike rich and cash poor so I decided on a bit of whim to list the Soma Smoothie I had just built to see if I got any takers.   I did, good for my pocket book but I did really like how the Soma turned out and was sad to see it go,  but I realized I had a pretty darn cool bike that was mostly finished if I would just get off my duff.   So I put the Rando back in the stand to get the fenders mounted and then to finish it off.
I love the fenders but man they had to be the most time consuming PIA part of this project.  One of my favorite parts of this bike are the lugs-they are gorgeous.
BB cluster and cable guides

Seat post lug- love this one!

There are even details on the inside of the fork blades
All in all I am really happy with how it came together.  I still have a few things to dial in and a front rack I haven't mounted yet but this is one bike I plan to hang onto and hopefully do some credit card touring with.  Now I just need to start riding it!

Until next time ride smile and repeat.