Monday, March 17, 2014

Hybrid Encounter; 1995 Diamond Back Approach

As you probably know if you have looked at more than two of my posts I have a thing for bike boom era 10 speeds and I rarely get out of that "wheelhouse".  Last week, however, my buddy Charlie asked me to take a look at his bike.  Charlie knows I am a bike geek and also knows I am looking for employment so I traded some bike tune up time for a few coffee cards to our mutually favorite coffee shop.

Charlie has a 20 year-old Hybrid Diamond Back Approach, near as I can tell its a 1995 model -thanks in Teal.  The bike has been under some cover but stored outside so it was in need of a dose of TLC.  First some clean up.
bath time
I had noticed upon pumping up the tires that the front wheel had the distinctive hiss of a punctured tube.  After washing the bike down I discovered the "all original" tires needed to go.
Factory Original 700x41c Avenir Lakeside tires
Sure, you could ride on them...

But not a good idea
In this part of the world even chromed steel doesn't take long to get rusty when stored outside.

But a little time with the brass wire brush equipped dremel does wonders

Taking care of the bike was pretty straight forward as I was looking to do some weather proofing and basic maintenance not a frame up rehab.  I gave it following TLC:

  • Washed the grime of the bike and then wiped it down with armor all wipes.
  • Attacked rust where I found it and then applied a light coat of 3 in 1 oil on the affected parts, not a perfect fix but it will delay the rust process.
  • Replaced the worn out tires and tubes with a new set of tubes and some used but in good shape Panaracer Pasela tourguard 700x35c tires I had in the parts bin.  
  • Since the front tire had been flat water had gotten into the rim and caused some rust and corrosion on the aluminum so I went to work on that with the dremel and brass wire brush
  • Removed and regreased the seatpost and stem, the two areas I always worry about seizing on old 10 speeds.
  • Cleaned and lubed the chain and rear cassette - yep its a 7 speed cassette hub, probably one of the first years they used a cassette instead of a freewheel hub.
  • Checked the SIS shifting which was fine -not a fan of grip shifters but these worked well.
  • Lightly sanded the brake pads and checked the brakes for proper alignment - had to make some small changes to the rear brake to get it not to rub.  I am also not a fan of cantis but these were pretty easy to dial in.
Since this bike doesn't get much use I was going for serviceable rather than doing a total refurb for a bike that was just going to go back out the porch for storage.  My friend, however, has just lost 40 pounds and started running again so the bike might figure into his activity now.  I made some suggestions about potential upgrades/replacements if he decides to do some riding.  And that process got me thinking....

The Hybrid bike is an odd "neither fish nor fowl" product of the 1990's, not really a road bike and not really a mountain bike but something of a mix, well Hybrid of the two.  Since they are not lugged they weren't really on my bike radar but getting up close and personal with one I realized they could make an awesome commuter and I know alot folks use them as such.  This example is a no-nonsense mix of CroMo, Tange and "High Ten" (aka gas pipe) steel tubing.

Also since they probably spent 30 seconds putting the frame design in a envelope to send to China they can put "designed in the USA" on it.
But I digress, back the commuting idea.  You have a serviceable steel frame, curved front fork and a TON of room for tires which equals a great commuter platform IMHO.  It also has 130mm rear dropout spacing so you could upgrade to 8 or 9 speeds if you were so inclined.  The nice thing about 7 speed stuff is you can get a new SRAM cassette and chain combo for about $25 bucks before tax and shipping.  As you can see below the 700x35c tires I put on the bike barely make a dent in the available room, I think this bike could accommodate 700x50s without fenders and 700x40s (or bigger) with fenders.  

I have plenty of other projects in the queue but "find a mid 90's hybrid to create monster commuter" has just found a way onto the list of future projects.  I hope you enjoyed this diversion from the norm, should have some progress on the Peugeot Course soon.  Until then please and repeat.
All cleaned up and ready to go


  1. I hope your friend knows what a great deal he just got. A tuned up riding machine.
    You have helped him take a further step to his fitness goals. Nice job

  2. Hey Jim thanks for the kind words, my buddy did me right, I was only asking for 1 coffee card (11 drinks) but he bought me two cards. I should make a sign "will wrench for espresso" Are you still doing the Errandonnee?

    1. I finished up the challenge and turned in my control card, but it is an ongoing thing for me, errands on a bike. That's why the challenge was so easy for me.
      Actually no bikes these last two days, crappy out. 25-25 days. temp and windMPH. Winter is such a drag here at the end

  3. When I first started thinking about fatter tires a year or so ago I wondered about putting drop bars on one of these. Not sure about the geometry but it seems feasible. There are a TON of these available for cheap. I was too poor to pursue it at the time and now I am too busy.

    Still unemployed? I suspect you are enjoying a little breathing would be really cool if you found some kind of cycling-related work. I know I would.


    1. Hey TPC, I am sure you could put drop bars on these, using a Nitto dirt drop stem if nothing else. I am still looking for work and yes I agree it would be cool to get a job that was bike related I see Velo Orange is hiring for their warehouse, if only they were in Seattle and not Annapolis I would seriously think about it.

  4. You actually have the skills to open a shop, it would seem...I wonder how Judi and Dom are doing with Spun Cycles in Cincy? I haven't been to their site in a long time...they have had their store about a year now. Think I'll drop by...

  5. Thanks Tim Joe, I thought about doing something with refurbing and reselling but theres not a ton of money in it, unless gas hits $5 again, so it would have to be part time but it would be fun. At this stage of life though I need more of a standard 9 to 5 white collar Job to meet my obligations but down the road when my Girl is off to college I could see myself living tiny with a small shed shop tinkering with old bikes. Maybe at that cool compound you blogged about a while back....

  6. Unit # 7 will be reserved for the Bicycle Guy.

    1. Just another version of nirvana. part of the day's chores at Comstock Farms....take time to slip by Unit #7 to chit chat and watch Ryan wrench on bikes.

  7. It sounds like fabulous!! I have been affectionate of your blog, I’ll come again to visit more posts. Jimmy

    1. Thank you Jenny I have been working two jobs of late but hope to get back to posting in the new year.

  8. I've got one of these in my shed, had it since new. It's a mess, but I think I'll try and get it operational again. Thanks for the inspiration :)

    1. Your welcome Pete hope you have fun getting your Hybrid back on the road