Saturday, May 17, 2014

1978 Motobecane Grand Touring.....A moment of weakness

I know I said I was going to compare the Peugeot UO-10 (Course) and UO-8 (Sports) in this post, and I will still do a post like that, but something happened this week that I am equal parts embarrassed and excited about.

Just Purchased 78 MB Grand Touring
I just started a new job this week, money is still tight and I should not even have been looking at bikes but I happened to be on craigslist.... and I see this Motobecane Grand Touring, in my size a 23 inch frame, for a reasonable price and think hmmm.  I believe I have professed my love of French steel bikes before and I especially like the Motobecanes.  I occasionally look for them and I find a lot of the entry level Nomades and Mirages, and even restored one,  but very rarely do I see any of the "Grand" series; Touring, Jubilee, Record  and I almost never see a Le Champion or Team Champion the race grade end of the Motobecane line.

1978 Catalog shot
When I saw this Grand Touring and confirmed it was my size I jumped on it justifying it to myself by figuring the sale of the Peugeot Sports (when its done) would offset the purchase of the GT.   Yeah, I got it bad.

Back in 2011 when I restored a Motobecane Nomade II I was shocked by how well it fit and rode and told myself I needed to find a higher-end MB in the same size.  The Grand Touring fits the bill in that the main tubes are a Vitus 172 steel, a step up from the entry level 2040 CroMo tubing but not quite as fancy pants as the legendary Reynolds 531.
what the logo should look like
the remnants of the logo on my GT
There are number of special touches on this bike that I love and are in part why I have been searching for one for a while.  A classic bike boom 10 speed for me starts with a lugged frame and chrome tipped fork.
The original bike shop even did lug lining 

Love me some chromed fork tips

A step up from entry level are the aforementioned Vitus 172 tubing for the 3 main tubes, and then some nice touches like forged not stamped drop outs front and rear.
Huret drop outs

with original adjusters-nice!
A cool engraved alloy handle bar with Motobecane specific "soft stitched sleeve" bar covers.
Cool engraving and a Rando bend

Neat stitched bar covers in surprisingly good shape
I have also always preferred down tube shifters to stem shifters although on this bike I think I will remove the sharpie instruction on which lever does what (LOL)- I just try to remember that "right is rear".
Although the bike is currently rideable I look forward to lovingly refurbing it, cleaning up the paint and making a few changes as I have the money to do so.  I used Continental Gatorskins on my Cannondale go fast road bike and really like them but on this bike I think the Panaracer Paselas would give a more classic look.
Likewise Specialized body geometry line is good stuff but I see a Brooks imperial on this bike (someday).
too cushy?
I think I can sell these two barely used items and offset my costs a bit.  Anyway thank you for indulging me in a gush fest over this new-to-me classic French ride, I'm not sure my 14 year-old self would have loved this bike new anymore than I am loving it 35 years later.  As always Ride.Smile.Repeat

POSTSCRIPT:  I was able to sell the pair of Continental gatorskins and the saddle so that brought my price on this bike down to $75 (120-45).  I feel fortunate to have found a complete Grand Touring in my size for that much and happy someones old Shogun is going to get an essentially new set of tires.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Late 70s Takara Sport 10- Flipped

Make: Takara

Model: Sport 10

Year:  Late 1970s

Obtained:  May 2014

Found: Community Garage Sale

Paid: $10

Asking price

Yesterday was our annual community garage sale here in West Seattle where there were literally hundreds of garage sales going on.  So as I did 3 years ago I went looking for a project, and found a set of Takara Sport 10s, and walked away from first.  The sport 10 is a city bike much like the Raleigh sprite with north road type handle bars and a cushy sprung saddle.  

I looked them over and decided to move on to see if I could find anything better but after driving around for a while longer and doing some thinking about the 27 inch wheels, Sun Tour drive train and Dia-Compe brakes I could "harvest" for a few of the frames I have laying around, I decided to go back.  The bikes had each been marked at $15 so I picked out the one with less rust on the handlebars, from years in a garden shed, and offered $10 and had my garage sale find for the day.
My prize

After getting the bike home though I started thinking that maybe I could just clean it up and resell it, the classic "flip".  I don't consider myself a flipper, I think when you take a bike down to the frame and then clean and rebuild it back up with new parts its a refurb not a flip, but in this case I was willing to make an exception.  First of all the bike didn't excite me much as a refurb project, I guess drop bars make my heart race more than north roads, second it was hi- ten rather than CroMo steel and lastly it wasn't really in too bad of shape.  

There was surface rust on the stem and seat post, but thankfully neither was stuck.

The tires were old but they held air and didn't have any visible dry rot, and the rims had surface rust but nothing a little super fine steel wool couldn't handle.
left side shows what a little elbow grease and steel wool can do

So I decided to give it a little TLC and then throw it up on craigslist to see what might happen.  First I gave a wash to get the dust of a decade or so of garden shed storage off of it.
Bath time
And then I made a checklist of things I wanted to do before listing the bike;

  • Wipe down the frame with armor all wipes
  • Clean and lube the chain and clean the freewheel
  • Check that the shifting and braking work correctly
  • lightly sand the brake pads
  • remove surface rust from rims
  • remove clean and lube seatpost and lube seat tube
  • remove clean and lube stem and lube head tube
  • add cable ends to where they were missing on the front derailleur cable and rear brake

After a short test ride I put it on craigslist for $50 with the admonition that while rideable it could use a tune up and new tires.  I had it sold by early evening.  It didn't hurt that today was a nice sunny day.  My next project will involve actually taking apart a Peugeot UO-8 so the quick and easy stuff is over for now.

Until next time

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

1980 Peugeot Course (UO-10) Part III Back together in much more than 60 minutes

Hard to believe but this is my 50th post, and appropriately it covers the Peugeot course which is a project that seems to have gone on forever! Back in February I covered my process of taking a bike down to the frame-set which I was able to do in under 60 minutes.  This month I will go in the reverse building the bike up from the frame, which takes considerably longer.   After washing and waxing the frame and fork it was time to rebuild the headset; basically cleaning the races, cups and bearings applying fresh grease and then adjusting the headset so you have no slop and no grind.
Pressing in the headset cups after cleaning them up
My next step is to do a rebuild of the bottom bracket which follows the same steps as the headset and with that, half the main bearings on the bike are finished.
Headset and bottom bracket rebuilt
After that its time to clean up and lube the derailleurs.
And then the same for the brakes, and reflectors, including replacing the old pads with some spiffy Koolstop 4 dots.
Brakes added

Its important when you have brake shoes that are open at one end (for removing and inserting pads) that you orient them correctly when you set them up, as the diagram from Koolstop shows, otherwise you may eject your brake pads after a few hard stops-not good.
Next it was on to shifters, cleaned and lubed, and the seatpost binder, rear brake guide and the umbrella clamp for the vintage Zefal pump after some clean up with the brass wire brush.
shifter, seat binder brake cable guide and pump clamp
It was finally time to tackle the last two main bearings, the front and rear hubs.  The front wheel went fairly quickly but for some reason I had an aversion to start the rear wheel.  I probably had all of the above plus the front wheel done by late March but stalled out on the rear wheel until last week.  As it so often seems to go, once I got started it wasn't really that hard to get through it and boy did the rear hub need TLC.  Once I got it open it was pretty dry and dusty, not ideal for a wheel hub and even after some initially cleaning it was still a mess.
Dirty even after an initial wipe down with degreaser
 After lots of attention from degreaser and toothbrush, small brass wire brush on the Dremel and some aluminum foil I finally get it looking like it should.
Finally clean!
With the hubs cleaned, repacked and adjusted, freewheel cleaned up and a fresh set of rubber on the wheels its starting to look like a bicycle again.
Next it was time to get the cranks and pedals back on the bike, because I originally got the bike missing a non drive crank arm the pedals were mismatched and pretty beat up.  I decided to go with a set of lightly used MKS pedals, new toe clips I picked up from Nashbar and set of new Zefal leather straps.

The crankset, while not original to the bike is a period correct pantographed Peugeot set I purchased from Randy at mytenspeeds  back when I thought I was going to build this up for myself as a light tourer.
Crank it up

Getting into the home stretch it was time to get the cockpit back together; new gum hoods for the brake levers and lots of grease for the seat tube and head tube.
Cockpit in place

I did run into an unexpected snag when I started on the cabling with the brake straddle cables.  The brakes on this bike are Mafacs although not the famous Racers.  As I noted in a post on the Racers they have a kind of funky straddle cable that you basically create out of a shift cable.  This center-pull, at first glance, appeared to be a regular double ended cable.  No worries I thought, I have a stock of those, but after looking more closely I realized I had a problem.  The replacement straddle wire I had has ends that are like little hockey pucks whereas this brake takes a wire that has ends that are like ball bearings.
Not the same
Fortunately I had not disposed of the old wires and they were in good shape so I was able to reuse them but its something I will know to look out for in the future.

I had actually searched to find some cables that would play off the yellow-gold of the decals and got a nice set of gold Jagwire cables to do the job, with the cables and chain in place it was just down to some fine tuning of the brakes and shifting before applying the handlebar tape and Nitto bar end plugs.  I always like to leave the bar tape for last to A) avoid getting it greasy and B) allow me to adjust with brake levers after the test ride.  All in all I am pretty pleased with the result.

I am thinking of doing a UO-8 (Sports)  comparison to the Course in my next post.  Until then

Friday, May 2, 2014

BIKE RIDE by Nora Jane Struthers

I came across this on the Urban Velo site and really liked it, I think it embodies my philosophy.  And since this its a lovely summer like day here in Seattle  I will take Nora Jane's advice, I'm goin' on a bike ride.  Enjoy.