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