Sunday, April 29, 2018

LBS to the rescue! Spa treatment part 1.1 Moto_GT

I don't recall a lock ring on the adjustable bottom bracket cup ever defeating me, plenty of non adjustable cups have refused to budge but never a  lock ring...until yesterday.  I had the Moto_GT nearly all the way apart but the stinker of a lock ring wouldn't budge so I stopped.

I did some research, assured myself via Sheldon Brown 's bb crib sheet that regardless of whether it was French or Swiss it was going to be lefty loosey as it was a right hand thread.  I tried again and succeeded in mangling one of the notches in the lock ring.   I give, it was off the Alki bike & board and the wrench had it loose before I could see what he was doing or what tool he used but as you can see from the gap above it was LOOSE!

If you look at 10 O'clock on the circle above you will see the notch that is deformed, by yours truly...sigh.   This is one reason I am going so slow on the Cresta GT, I don't want to mangle stuff.  With the lock ring off that meant....

...the adjustable cup is out along with bearings and spindle.  I still have no clue if the fixed cup is right threaded (French) or left threaded (Swiss) and according to Velo base NOTE: French and Swiss-thread variants are BOTH marked 35xP1, with no markings indicating thread direction -nice.   I tried rightly loosely on the chance it was Swiss but it wouldn't budge, I may try some more but I can do a rebuild with the fixed cup left in.

With the bottom bracket out, I removed the fork and  turned my attention to the headset cups.  They didn't take too much persuading and finally after road blocks on two straight bikes...

I was down to a bare frame, except for the stubborn fixed cup but he can stay if he wants.   I think the paint is going to require some work, the bike felt dirty even after a wipe down with armor all wipes.  Since it is totally stripped I think the 1978 Motobecane Grand Touring has jumped the queue on the Cresta GT, so I will try and do as much as I can with it before the last tool arrives for the Cresta headset threaded spacer and then see where I am at.

I did ride to the Market but instead of beer I drowned my sorrows at my favorite local steak house with a MAN-mosa accompanied by steak and eggs.  Yum.

As always; Ride. Use your LBS when the need arises. Smile. Repeat.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Spa treatment part I - a guest post by MotoGT_78

Bonjour, I am back to post again, you may recall me from my previous post.  The old Dude is making good on his claim to give me the Spa treatment, not actually sure what that means but is sounds good eh?  We started the day with me in the work stand, a place I rarely spend any time.

And before I know it my wheels, they are off,  I guess I won't be doing farmers market duty tomorrow.

Then he lays out the tools for the day, the two wrenches that will do most of the work and a bottle of something he calls a patience enhancer  (thanks Anniebikes).  It looks a lot like beer to me.

And then with a few twists of his Y wrench my brakes are off, and the rack.   I guess the Old Dude is not messing around.  I notice he has a box for all my parts to go in as they come off, he better not lose any!

Then my handlebars and stem come off, he always talks about the greasing of the stem and seat post but he may have forgot my stem.  I am sure now its off the bike it will get a good cleaning.

Ah and here is my brake lever with the dry cracked hoods that embarrass me, I am sure he will replace those.  He also said something about turkey levers, maybe I am not translating that right?, but I think he wants to get rid of that red piece that sticks out too.

The shift levers have come off so they can get a good clean and lube and the frame underneath hasn't seen the light of day in 40 years either.

My Japanese cable guide goes sayonara and will spend time in something called a sonic cleaner and come back shiny and clean.

And now my derailleurs are gone, they could both use a good overhaul as my shifting has been clunky, or maybe that was the chain? or the cables?  No matter they are both gone and will be replaced by new ones.  This is starting to feel very real.

In no time my cranks are gone, although he needed a special tool for that and the pedals, how many tools does the Old Dude have? 

My seat post, which was greased, saddle and binder bolt are gone now too.  I am starting to feel very au naturel maybe this is a spa day.

There is the parts in box I spoke of earlier and my wheels, was that really all hanging from me a few minutes ago?  Merde!  The old Dude  hasn't even listened to the whole James Brown CD yet and Papa's got a brand new bag already. Yes he is the god father of Soul even in France.

And VoilĂ  I am down to the essentials, I have not been this bare since I was in la belle France.  I know old Dude could take my fork off easily but he's keeping me together while he figures out the bracket in the bottom.  I hear him muttering is it French, is it Swiss!?  I think he will do some research so as not to mess things up.  Anyway I hope I get a hot soapy bath and a rub down soon and maybe something to give my paint some shine.

Love your old bikes mon ami, we deserve a spa day every few decades.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

I am not good at keeping my vintage bike stock...

In my last post I had just ordered a Brooks Flyer Classic springer Saddle and I really thought that would be the last purchase for the GT for a while.   Then I got cranky.  My stated intention was to to rebuild the bike and do enough to make it fit and see how l liked it before spending alot of $$$.   As I started to clean things up while waiting on my headset tool I thought about the pros and cons of keeping things stock, that I was nearly certain I would want to replace i.e. brake levers/hoods.  I would save some $$ in the short run by keeping it stock but I would potentially diminish my enjoyment of the ride and the fit of the bike and I would end up doing some work twice if I decided after the test period to upgrade.   Kind of sounds like a long winded justification to fill my Amazon cart but I did try to think it through.

Which brings me to the cranks.  I got to thinking about the crank on the Passage, it had bio-pace rings, I won't say I hated them but I prefer regular round rings.  Cycloid is basically Sugino's take on Biopace so that got me thinking.

The Cresta, in stock form, has a sensible spread of 48/38/28 for the chain rings but I wanted a bit lower low end to get closer to the Passage gear ratios which I had found to be suitable to my home terrain, my age and fitness level.   I thought of just ordering a new small ring but wasn't thrilled about mixing round and oval chainrings so I have a new set of 46/36/26 Sugino chain rings on the way.  Another learning from the Passage, is that I have taken lots of pictures and I am going to do the crank clean up, chain ring swap slowly and in one go so I don't end up losing any washers or forget how it all goes back together.

I think all the rings should arrive by next weekend so I can have a crank rebuild day.  One of my other intentions for this bike is to try and run it in indexed shift mode to start, just to see how it does, it is an Accushift drive train after all.  I don't think the change in chain rings will be an issue since the derailleurs, shifters and freewheel will stay the same.  I am willing to fiddle with the indexed shift set up a bit but if it gives me any guff I will be quick to fall back on friction mode, which has yet to let me down.

I may not be good at keeping my wallet closed for the Cresta GT but I did walk into the lions den (Bike Works warehouse) and emerged unscathed (no purchases) on Saturday.  I was intrigued by this Raleigh Portage thanks to a fine series on the bike on a very good vintage cycles blog by Josh who sold me the Cresta GT.  The Portage was too small and some other interesting bikes, Treks and Schwinns, were too big so I walked away.  Since I want to finish the projects at hand it probably wasn't the greatest idea to visit bike works anyway but it is cool to be around so many vintage bikes with so much potential.  As always...


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Cresta GT Headset: Strike Two! and Thursday musings

My second tool arrived this week and my second try at the threaded spacers on the Nishiki's headset.  I have a Park BB lock ring tool, the HCW-5,  but I thought this tool, the HCW-17 fixed gear lock ring wrench, would have a shallower curve.

It did not have a shallower curve, and therefore...

Neither side of the tool...

..could get the required purchase to try and move the threaded spacer.  The tool for the final try is on order, and the most expensive one yet.  The good news is that the shipping was free, the bad news is that its coming from Japan, apparently via squirrel post,  The soonest it will arrive is May the 5th, and the latest estimate is May 18th, so the headset isn't going anywhere for a while.

What to do with all that time?

  • Nothing - I am good at that
  • Replace the noisy freewheel on the Campus bike as it sits on CL
  • Lots I could do on the Nishiki; 3 other main bearings, clean frame-set and wax, clean and lube parts, replace brake shoes etc. etc.
  • Put the Moto_GT in the stand for a tear down
  • Scour CL for vintage bike deals? (NO! down boy, bad dog)
We'll see what happens.

Since I had the parts and some time I did a mock up of the new cockpit; 44 cm Nitto Noodles, 70 mm reach Nitto Technomic stem and Tektro RL340 brake levers.  

I am just a touch concerned the stem reach is too short but I did measure the set up on the Handsome Devil that I know I like so we'll see how it works when the bike comes together.

One thing I do NOT regret is going with the beefier brake levers, the Tektro's feel good and substantial in my hand, my paw would have engulfed the stock dia-compes.  Glad I listened to the voice that said gee these feel small when I was cleaning the brake hood.

Oh, and I might have ordered a Brooks Flyer Classic Springer.  I think I am done ordering stuff for the Nishiki, we'll find out next month if I add a trip to the LBS to the tally.

Ride.Smile.Practice Patience.Repeat.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cresta GT Headset Strike One, and Sunday musings

The Nishiki Cresta GT rebuild is currently stalled due to two stubborn threaded headset spacers.  Today I tried my first solution.

I came across a Youtube video of someone using these funky long reach pliers from Mintcraft to remove a BB lock ring which made me think they might work for the threaded spacers,  At $8 I figured it was worth a shot.

It looked good to start but trying to turn with any sort of pressure made the pliers slip out of the grooves.  Strike one on removing the spacers, I have two more options I am going to try, both of them involving buying tools I don't currently have.  If I get to three strikes it will be time to go to a bike shop as I don't want to mess things up.

Sunday Musings

I forgot yesterday to detail how I dealt with the broken rear derailleur cable guide on the Campus bike.

I took a belt and suspenders approach by using both electrical tape and a zip tie and this was after I had gently tapped the cable housing and ferrule into the c-shaped opening.  It doesn't look great but its not going anywhere.

On Saturday we were getting Noah level rain all day, so when Sunday started dry I figured I had better get a ride in to the market.  The Handsome Devil got the nod and on the ride in I felt like was riding through molasses so a trip to the work stand might be in order to check brake pad clearance etc, or maybe I am that out of shape.  Did someone say beer?

I started with a Link In Bio, double IPA from Cloudburst brewing in Seattle.

And finished with a Elixir Breakfast Stout (Coffee style) from Old Schoolhouse brewery in Winthrop WA.  Does that mean my ride counts as Coffeeneuring?   On my way back to the HD I saw not one but two cool bikes.

The first one was a Rivendell Hubbuhubbuh tandem, it has quite a presence being so long.

The second was a Faraday Porteur Ebike, which IMHO is one of the nicest looking Ebikes on the market, but it doesn't come cheap at $3500 retail.  The owner came back as I was taking my picture and I asked her how she liked it, she said she loved it so much she'd bought a second one after her first was stolen, she had goofed and left it unlocked (unintentionally) while downtown for 3 hours.  She also told me she had purchased it  in lieu of buying an electric car so that put the price in perspective.

We'll see how the Cresta GT headset saga plays out.  Ride. Drink IPA's.Smile.Repeat.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Campus bike part IV: Finished! (1978 Schwinn Traveler III)

The correct shim arrived and I didn't even have to give up my kingdom for it, a few tries and..

we have snugly fit handlebars, and we are (hopefully) past the last road block on this build.

It looks good with the bars finally on it, and maybe I'll do just a bit more.

I ended Wednesday night with shifters, brake levers and grips mounted to the bars.

Friday night I ran the shift cables and housing, and did a bit of test to see they worked.

This morning I started with removing the rear wheel to mount the kickstand I had picked up at bike works.  I also ran the brake cables and housing and then made a startling discovery....

at some point I had bought a pin connector model chain!  I hate this style and swore off them years ago.  When I opened the box I was looking for the quick connect link only to realize, with mounting horror, that it was old school.

Note to self; do NOT buy the Z50 model KMC chain again, not matter how good of a deal it is!

I do have the right tool and knowledge for this type of chain and I did get it mounted, I just didn't like it.  While I was not successful building this bike for zero $ out pocket, it did get major donations from the parts bin.  The rear wheel, freewheel, crank-set, brakes and rear derailleur came from the 83 Raleigh Record (Junk bike).  The saddle and seat post came from the 74 Nishiki Professional, the handle bars, grips, rear rack and bottle cage came off the Raleigh Rapide mixte and items like the levers, shifters, pedals and front wheel came from who knows where.  I did end up spending about $20 for; 2 MTB brake cables, 21 mm Schwinn specific stem, handle bar shims and kick stand.

From 10 feet away the bike doesn't look too bad, from 10 inches away the rough condition is pretty clear.

The Traveler won't win any beauty contests but should provide functional transportation.  Finishing the campus bike means all the projects I intended to build for sale are done!  Well, mostly done, the Traveler is on CL, but as I was adjusting the shifting and then wheeling the bike out for pictures I wasn't thrilled with how noisy the FW is.  Bikes don't actually fly off the shelf at this time of year, the Mixte finally sold after about a month on CL,  so I should have time to do a FW swap to see it makes things better.

Packages have started to arrive for the Cresta GT and I received a tool that may solve my threaded headset spacer issue, I'll let you know.

Ride. Recycle old bikes. Smile. Repeat.