Sunday, February 15, 2015

1985 Schwinn Ladies Mesa Runner -Reborn

Make: Schwinn
Model: Mesa Runner
Year:  1985
Obtained: Aug 2009
Found: Someones Yard
Paid: The sign said FREE....

This is a throw back post.  I was going through some photos and came across a bike Project that I had not yet posted.  A number of years ago when I was; A) still a speed play using-lycra wearing-Aluminum frame riding-roadie and B) still married, I was out for a nice summer ride when I broke my chain.  I didn't have the right tools for a fix so I was clip clopping home in my roadie shoes when I came across an 80's vintage mountain bike in someones front yard with a free sign on it.
Free - "as is"
And I think to myself appears rideable and since its free I could ride it home and ghost ride the road bike...and with home only about a mile away I figure I can pull it off.  I take off my roadie shoes and use their velcro straps to tie them onto the rear rack and then set off pedaling in my stocking feet.  I could see the chain and freewheel  were pretty rusty so I expected the gravelly sound they made but I hadn't anticipated the ghost shifting which made life interesting on the short slightly uphill ride home.
El Rusto Primo
After getting safely home I did a bit of research and realized I had a 1985 Schwinn Mesa Runner, I knew it was an '85 as that was the only year of the two year run where they made a ladies version.  It had a few issues, the chain and FW as mentioned were rusty, and the shifters weren't exactly show quality.
seen better days

Some of the chrome wasn't in the best nick either.

And it also had cantilever brakes which I have never been the best at adjusting.

I realized my wife (now Ex) had a milestone birthday coming up and this might be a nice present, with a bit of TLC that is.  This project was unique in a lot of ways, its the only ladies mountain bike I have rebuilt and its the only the second bike where I have ever repainted the frame (the first was an old Azuki).  At this point in time I hadn't done much refurbing of bikes so I didn't really have a parts bin, nor was I as well acquainted with bike parts on the internet as I am now.  I did, however, have a Motiv Mt. bike (Costco purchase) laying around not getting any use that I could cannibalize.
not really motiv-ating
I bought the Motiv in late 1999 when I was just getting back into biking and didn't really know any better.  The irony is that at the time my (then) father in law offered an old Hybrid he had mouldering away in his basement.  Unfortunately  I lacked the; knowledge, skills and interest then to tackle a rebuilding project so I bought a cheap Costco bike instead.  Face palm.  Anyway it ended up being a great source of parts for bringing the Mesa Runner back to life.  The first thing I replaced was the rear derailleur.

I also took the combo brake and shift levers to go with V-Brakes which I also stole from the Motiv.

And as you can see I also though slick tires would be a good choice for some reason, well they were more practical for city riding than the knobbies at any rate. And I did splurge on some new parts like some swanky new pedals, a major improvement over the POS "resin" pedals it had before.

And what I discovered later was my most important purchase, a wicker front basket.

It was with this rebuild that I discovered that Ladies love the basket, when I presented the bike to her the very first thing she said was "oh I love the basket", not "Wow you did a lot of work", or "is that even the same bike!".... LOL.  So now when I build a ladies bike I always try to put a basket on it.

My paint philosophy with the 10 speeds I refurbish is to leave it original and use a 3 step wax process to get it in the best shape possible.  If the purchaser wants new paint I leave that to them but once you replace the original paint job you can't go back.  With this bike I decided on painting the frame because A) the paint wasn't in very good shape B) the bike is not a "collectable" and C) I had a vision for this project of a blue frame.  I was fortunate that on the day I was at the hardware store to get the spray paint for this project I had my, then 6 year old, daughter along as my advisor.  I had a steel blue in mind but when I picked it up my little fashionista piped up with "no daddy, not that one" so I asked her what blue she thought mom would like and that is what went on the bike, and of course her mom loved it.

Although the marriage didn't last things are good,  I live 3 blocks away, we get along better now than when married and she still has the bike and takes it  for rides with our daughter so I think this project ended up being worthwhile.  You may have noticed that in addition to cleaning up nicely I was able to the rear rack leveled (OCD) I think it makes things look much nicer.

Until next time. Ride.Smile.Repeat.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

1968 (?) Raleigh Super Course Part I -the before

I corresponded with my friend Joe last year and it turns out he had a vintage Raleigh Super Course hanging in his basement that he was interested in having refurbished.  Having never worked on a Super Course before I was of course(pun intended) interested.   I was in Portland recently to visit my Mom and stopped by Joe's to pick up the Super Course project and bring it back to the workshop.

I haven't pinpointed the exact year yet but I know Joe got the bike in 1970 from the original owner so I figure late 1960's.  Like most project bikes; its grimy, its got some pitted chrome on the front forks and its in need of alot of TLC, so pretty much SOP.  The Super Course came with Reynolds 531 main tubes, quick release hubs (many 10 speeds of the late 60s still had bolt ons), chromed rear stays and a Brooks saddle.  This one came in Coffee Brown, so I guess Raleigh knew it would eventually end up in the coffee crazy Pacific Northwest.
Pitted chrome on front fork with QR
Model B.15

While discolored the leather isn't cracked and doesn't appear too dried out.  One of the things I like about this era of Raleigh are the ornate lugs.
Fork crown

seat cluster

Head tube
This Super Course  also has a different (earlier) head badge than the other Raleigh's I have worked on.  It still has the regal Heron motif but as a solid badge, rather than  one with cut outs.
Cool pre 70's head badge

Another first for me will be working on Huret derailleurs, this bike is equipped with the Huret Svelto rear which has a unique design compared to the SunTour, Shimano and Campagnolo's of the 10 speed era.
Huret Rear

Huret Front
And this vintage 10 speed has my old friend the cottered crank. Which through long experience and a great tool I can handle.

A few things I have learned in working on old 10 speeds will come in handy working on this project.  First of all this Super Course has an AVA stem so I will need to look it over carefully to be sure its not a dreaded "death stem" model.
AVA stem

There is also a tiny brake cable end that fits into the brake bridge, you don't want to misplace this part - believe me.

Don't misplace the tiny parts!
I also have some shifter challenges to overcome although this bike might get configured as a city bike so I would be moving the shifters anyway - we'll see.
So I have added a new project to the queue, I need to get back to work on the Torpado Alpha and I need to revamp the Motobecane Grand Touring but I look forward to getting this Super Course back on the road in style.

Until next time Ride. Smile. Repeat.