Friday, July 11, 2014

Thoughts on 27 inch wheels

Almost all the old ten-speeds I work on come with, or are set up for, 27 inch wheels.  Since wheel building is not a skill I have acquired, yet, I have two choices when it comes to wheel-sets 1) work with the existing wheel-set or 2) purchase a new wheel-set.
New WheelMaster wheel from Amazon

The good news is that original 27 inch wheels on old 10 speeds, built with steel/chromed parts, are pretty bullet proof and in combination with most of them spending long periods hung up in a garage/shed/barn/basement means they are probably in decent shape.  This means that with some TLC they can re-used.  While I am no wheel smith I have learned some skills to put an old wheel back into service.  My usual process is to;
  • Open up hubs and clean axle, bearings and races.  (replace bearings as needed)
  • clean up rims and spokes -remove surface rust and any grime on braking surface
  • Grease and adjust hubs - no slop-no grind as my friend Hugh says
  • Drop of oil (I use 3-in-1) on the joint between the spoke nipple and spoke to prevent them freezing up
  • Put wheel in truing stand to check for true and adjust as needed
The steps above also will reveal if a wheel has any problems that might have escaped your first look.  I use Zinn and the art of Road bike maintenance as my basis for this work.

The exception to the rule of re-using the existing wheel-set is if a wheel has rust issues, I am not talking about surface rust on the rims I mean deep rust on the inside of the rim (if water has collected there) or on the spokes/spoke nipples.  If you do have rust issues then a new set of wheels is a good idea.  There are pros and cons to going the new route;

  • shiny and new
  • allow rims, alloy hubs, stainless spokes make the wheel lighter and more rust proof than the original steel wheels
  • factory trued
  • new parts haven't endured the stresses of 30 or 40 years of use
  • not too expensive
  • Tend to come with hubs adjusted waaaay too tight even a novice could tell that they are tight and not spinning smooth
  • They are miserly with the grease
  • added cost to the rebuild
With new wheels I always plan that I will need to open up the hubs to add grease, which is fine because I would have had to adjust them anyway.  Two birds with one cone wrench.  Since the bike I am working for my Niece had no wheels at all I bought new ones for the her campus bike project.  And of course the hubs on both wheels were too tight and additional grease was needed.  SOP.
Hub tools
And after a little extra work and some new rubber I ended up with well greased and adjusted new wheels for my nieces campus bike project.
new wheels and rubber and some other goodies

Thursday, July 3, 2014

1978 Motobecane Grand Touring- a few new goodies

Last month,  with my first paycheck from the new Job, I bought a few new pieces for my recently acquired Motobecane Grand Touring.  As I mentioned in my first post on it, this bike came with perfectly good tires and saddle but they were not really what I had in mind for this bike.  So I picked up a few goodies.
Supple tire and  classic look
oh yeah
Now if I was being reasonable I would take this bike down to the frame, like I do for most rebuilds, and take my time and build it back up one step at a time.  Its summer, however, and I want to ride this bike so I am going about things a bit backwards.  The complete tear down will come but not before I do some riding.  First I wanted to see if a home remedy I'd read about would remove the sharpie markings labeling the front and rear gearshifts...and tooth paste really does work with a bit of scrubbing.
one down...
Next step was to get the new tires mounted.  Based on their condition I am fairly certain the tubes that came with the Continental gatorskins that were mounted on the bike when I got it were new so I reused them.  I tend to think a tube is a tube but its nice to know these are Specialized which I think makes good stuff.

newly shod and ready to go
Then it was time for the cockpit to get a touch of class.  A Brooks B.17 Imperial model.
Hello gorgeous
I have used a B.17 for going on 6 years on the Handsome Devil and I really like it and figured that since the intent of this bike is for longer rides having a cut out would be a good thing.  Ironically, I had purchased an Imperial on sale last year but it was a victim of the great sell off while I was between jobs.  No worries, it was brown and I think the black goes better with this bike.  I also took a couple measurements from the Devil; saddle height (center of crank to top of saddle) and the distance from the stem to saddle nose so I that I could set up the Imperial in the ball park of what I know to be a comfortable fit.

My new purchases weren't all about style, I did get some new Dia-Compe "grey matter" brake pads to replace what I suspect are the original Weinmann set.

new stoppers
I have a new wide range freewheel and SRAM chain for the bike as well but I am going to hold off on mounting them for now, the existing set is in decent shape and adequate for the riding I am capable of doing right now i.e. neither far nor fast nor hilly.
these will wait for the fully monty rebuild
So, even though there is plenty more I could (and probably should) do like replace the dried out brake hoods, upgrades are in place and ready to go.

Tomorrow I plan to celebrate this nations independence by going for a short ride in the neighborhood and seeing how the new parts shake out. I hope you and yours have a safe and happy holiday.
with the new toys mounted