Sunday, October 20, 2019

Allez Short ride; first impressions

After doing some prep yesterday I had the Allez ready to go for Coffee ride #4.  After this photo was taken I did some saddle adjustments and after riding the bike I will do some more to dial it in.  I took some measurements last night too so I could compare to a data base I started on the fleet and I noticed this bike has the longest reach - seat post to handle bars of any other bike, so I made a note to pay attention to that when I rode.

I have already talked about the SunTour GPX shifters, derailleurs and brakes on the bike which are stock according the online catalog  The stem and bars should be Specialized but are Nitto and Sakae, the bars are a nice width but unfortunately have a big scrape near the stem.  I have done this before when I didn't check for burrs on the inside of the stem or failed to lube the bars before threading the thick middle through the stem.  I will have to see what some bronze wool does to smooth it out.  Not  a big worry its just cosmetic.

I have always loved an engraved seat stay cap and I am thrilled the Allez has them, just a very cool detail.

The bike would have come stock with SunTour GPX cranks, however Shimano 600 was used on the Specialized Allez Epic (carbon) bike of this year so this isn't too far off.  I have seen many examples of bike with components mixed and matched from the same year amongst models.  My Moto_GT for instance has the wheel-set of a higher end Grand Jubilee.

The purple splash graphics behind the brand and model decals is so 80s and although I usually like something more understated I was a young man in the 80s so I like it more than I am embarrassed by it  and it certainly makes it easy to identify the era of the bike.

The Turbo saddle is stock and in decent shape with a few tears, I did see a throw back Selle Italia model on Amazon for $57 but I will go with the one on the bike for now.

As I mentioned in an edit to another post I caved and ordered the wheels that are exactly what was specced on the Allez in 89, 700c Wobler rims and SunTour GPX hubs with a FW rear hub.  They cost me $90 but I think I can get that or more for the Ultegra/Mavic wheels so the price should be pretty small in the end.   I ordered a 13-25t 7 speed SunRace FW to pair with the stock wheels.  I can get the bike to shift to a 28t cog but its very grindy because the chain, jockey wheel and cog are all so close together, the 25t won't be as hill friendly but will run quieter.

Ok enough about components, the ride was short but good.  The bike is very light and felt effortlessly fast, might be the 23c tires, and responded quickly to pedal input.   The steering felt responsive without being twitchy and the long stem felt fine, not stretched out as I feared it might.  This bike is definitely a change of pace from the rest of the stable.  I am going to need to drop some tonnage to take advantage of it but once the stock wheels and smaller FW arrive I hope to do longer flat rides on this bike to see how my initial impressions bear out. Hopefully I will have a few dry days before winter fully sets in.  I have some 700c x 26c Soma tires that were on my Miyata 912 long ago I am going to run on the stock rims for now, they are red tread whitewalls so they will probably be a bit much but its just temporary.

Ride, Kinda New bike day, GRIN, Repeat.

Coffeeneuring Challenge 2019: Ride 4: Caffe Ladro

I saw a break in the weather this morning and decided to log ride #4, a short hop on the 89 Allez down to Caffee Ladro.

I had a mocha and a very nice cheese brioche, forgot the patches this time -darn!  While I was there I had a food request from my daughter who had been asleep when I left so I got to play not for profit Uber eats on the way home.

The data:
  1. Where: Caffe Ladro, 7011 California Ave SW, Seattle 98136.
  2. Date: October 20th at 10:45 am.
  3. Consumed:  Mocha and a Cheese Brioche
  4. Details:  drizzling, 50 degrees, bike parking right out front
  5. Mileage: 2.0 miles
  6. Bike Used: 1989 Specialized Allez.

It was my first ride on the Allez and although short  i have some thoughts to share which I will do in a separate post.

Ride. Caffeinate. Smile. Repeat

Friday, October 18, 2019

Coffeeneuring Challenge 2019: Ride 3: Olympia Coffee

Ride number 3 I also kept local as the shifting on the Ponderosa is just ok, fine in the big and small rings very sketchy in the middle ring, 

Olympia Coffee is primarily in Olympia WA, the state capitol, but they opened up a West Seattle location in early 2018. I rode the Moto_GT here last year.

I had a very nice mocha and a fabulous cheese crossiant, I almost ordered a second but stopped myself.  I remembered the coffee patches this time, I have a 3rd one somewhere but couldn't find it.  It was cool and blustery but I managed to miss the rain so I am feeling pretty lucky as its been very wet this week.

The data:
  1. Where: Olympia Coffee, 3840 California Ave SW Seattle, WA 98116
  2. Date: October 18th at 9:15 am.
  3. Consumed:  Mocha and a croissant 
  4. Details:  blustery , 50 degrees, bike parking half way down the block
  5. Mileage: 2.4 miles
  6. Bike Used: 1988 Novara Ponderosa MTB

Prepping for ride #4.

I have gone through the 3 bikes that are in CL and were in some danger of not being available, I just lowered the $$ on the Takara and the Ponderosa although I am about ready to either part out the Ponderosa or put on a new chain and make it my winter trainer bike.  I had a nice college kid look at the 420 today and he liked it but is looking at other bikes before deciding.  I think it made a good impression so fingers crossed,  If I am going to complete my theme of riding 7 different vintage steel bikes then the Allez needs to be rideable,  As you know from the last post it now has wheels and 12 functional gears, but the brakes weren't hooked up and it had no pedals.

I cut off the frayed ends of the brake cables and was able to get them hooked up both front and rear which should be adequate for a 2 mile coffee run.

And the Shimano dual side pedals were in the parts bin so I slapped them on the bike as a temporary measure.  The drive side pedal was a bit stiff going on despite my greasing the threads so I may have to check the pedal arm threads when I rebuild the bike,

As I was working on the bike it occured to me just how racy this model is, the 56cm Sport model I sold this summer was more relaxed with a triple crank and fender and rack mounts, this Allez has no braze ones, a fork with minimal rake and a short cage RD that isn't really set up for more than a 25t big cog on the cassette paired to a 52/39 crank.  It would be pretty easy to make this a more hill friendly bike, compact crank, Deore LX RD, 34t big cog in the rear, but I have lots of hill friendly bikes and I kind of like that this is different than the rest of the fleet.  Its why I keep wondering if I should just jump in with both feet and get the spec Suntour GPX wheelset to make it even more stock.  We'll see, lets ride it to coffee first.

Ride. Caffeinate. Smile. Repeat

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Allez Rear wheel

After a long wait, the spacer needed for the 7 speed cassette to mount on the 9 speed hub finally arrived and so I could play around a bit with the Allez.

Here the rear wheel as I got it on the Takara.

In addition to the Ultegra hub and Mavic Open Pro rim it has a rather massive 11-34t 9 speed Shimano cassette and that will not work with the short cage RD currently on the Allez.

With the right tools and a little persuasion the Cassette came right off.

With the cassette off I cleaned the hub a bit before moving on to the next step, appears that the 6600  series is from about 2008 so newer that I expected and will take up to a 10 speed cassette like the earlier 6500 Ultegra, not that I will need that but good to know.  Very solid feeling piece of tech.

The long awaited spacer is in place, it has notches on the back as some 7 speed cassettes have rivets that protrude a bit on the backside, according to RJ the bike guy, but the SunRace cassette is flush on the back so I didn't have that concern.  The main reason for the spacer is that without it the 7 speed cassette would wobble on a 9 speed hub due to excess space.

the 11-28t cassette 7 spd cassette in place and not looking nearly as massive as what it replaced.

With the cassette swap complete its ready for a test fit.  Velo base says that the Suntour GPX RD will only take a max of a 23t cog and still work in index mode, however BF members assure me they run 28t cogs in index mode and it works fine so we shall see.

The other end of the ruler is inside the dropout so you can see in 1989 the spacing wasn't quite 130 mm like modern 9 speed hubs, closer to 126 mm.

However. without much effort the 9 speed wheel with 7 speed cassette and spacer fit.  It even shifted in index mode to all 7 gears! But in the 28t cog there is clatter/grinding as the 28t cog, chain and derailleur jockey wheel are all very close together.  It did do the shift though, so perhaps with a b screw adjustment I would have enough room to quiet the clatter or I could drop down to a 25t large cog cassette. We'll see.  There are all sort of options for gearing but I want to ride the bike and see if I actually like it and how it fits and rides before I get crazy with making alot of gearing changes. (he can be taught! sorta)

There is a further consideration/complication (of course there is) the same guy who gave me the great deal on the Allez tipped me to a Suntour GPX wheelset up for sale on bike forums....

According to the spec sheet online for the 89 Allez the wheel-set is EXACTLY what came on the bike, 700c, Wobler gray anodized rims, SunTour GPX hubs, Freewheel rear hub.  And since its a FW I wouldn't have the oddball SunTour cassette to deal with.  I inquired with the seller and it would be $100 including shipping to get the wheel-set, which is a better deal than most of what I have seen on ebay for a comparable vintage wheel-set and none of those were an exact match to the bikes spec.

I have done nothing yet, the wheels have been for sale since June so I have time to think about it and might be able to haggle a bit.  I do already have a very nice wheel-set that appears to work and with any luck my cost for it will be very close to zero once the Takara sells.  If I did decide to buy the SunTour GPX stock wheels I could always sell the Mavic/Ultegra wheels and I think I could offset at least half the cost.  I am not a die hard for everything being stock but there is something about it that appeals to me for the Allez especially if I ever wanted to sell it.  Decisions.

It kinda looks like a bike now and I am hoping to get a brake or two cabled up so I can ride this bike to coffee as part of my vintage steel Coffeeneuring theme and I am just a bit curious to see how it feels/fits/rides.

EDIT:  After looking on CL for what Mavic rims with ultegra hubs are going for I broke down and ordered the stock FW hub wobler GPX wheels for the Allez.  I will cost me $90 all in and I think there is a very good chance I can sell the Mavic/ Ultegras for that amount or more so I with any luck a stock, catalog match wheelset should cost me close to zero when all is said and done.   

Ride. Overthink it. Smile. Repeat.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Coffeeneuring Challenge 2019: Ride 2: Sound & Fog

A lovely fall day for Coffee ride #2, low 50s, clear and with a lightweight merino wool sweater it was great riding weather.

The Trek 420 was my vintage steed of choice in part because someone *might* be coming to look at it tomorrow.  I have had other people ask about it but no one has actually shown up so I am not holding my breath but better safe than sorry.  It was good I did ride it though as the rear shifter wasn't as tight as I would like and I also realized I need to remind any test riders that braking from hoods is just ok but braking with your hands in the bend really brings the bike to a halt adroitly.

Since I have lowered the price a few times I removed the MKS pedals and replaced them with something plainer and the MKS have gone up on eBay so maybe I will get close to my initial asking price when I add it all up.

I didn't want to move bike bags around and I wasn't feeling like wearing a messenger bag so I used two toe straps to lash a lock to the rack so I could secure the bike while I was in drinking coffee.  I am not a big fan of riding with clips and straps but I find toe straps to be very useful for many things.

Ok on to the coffee part, I went to Sound & Fog which is a nice place in the ground floor of one of the many new apartment buildings in my neighborhood.  I came here last year on the Allez Sport.

The mocha and croissant I had were very good but the shop is bit austere for my taste, still its nice to have so many independent coffee shop options in my neighborhood.

The data:
  1. Where: Sound & Fog coffee/wine/beer, 4735 40th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116
  2. Date: October 14th at 11:30 am.
  3. Consumed:  Mocha and a croissant 
  4. Details:  Clear blue skies, temps in the low 50s, bike parking near store entrance 
  5. Mileage: 2.15 miles
  6. Bike Used: 1985 Trek 420
Ride. Caffeinate. Smile. Repeat

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Coffeeneuring Challenge 2019: Ride 1: Hotwire

Well my theme for this year didn't survive the incubation stage, I was going for NIMBY rides this year but that wasn't the case for ride 1.  I wasn't feeling great yesterday and ended a streak of 16 consecutive days of riding my bike.  I was better today but between not being 100% and the possibility of rain meant I wasn't feeling like a longer ride.  I went with a old stand by in the neighborhood, Hotwire Espresso which started life as a internet cafe, remember those?

I did implement my secondary theme, which I alluded to earlier this week.  It is simply to ride all 7 of the vintage steel bikes I currently have in my possesion during the course of coffeeneuring 2019, and to that end I started off with the Takara.  I am secretly hoping this theme also goes off the rails because 3 of those bikes are on CL and I am hoping at least one sells before I can ride it to coffee.

I am still hopeful of getting a few coffee rides outside the neighborhood but I felt it was more important to get a ride in than to adhere strictly to my theme.  I have a pretty flexible schedule and our weather has been fairly mild for October but you never know what may happen so better to bank rides early.  I plan on taking the Trek 420 for tomorrow's ride.

The data:
  1. Where: Hotwire Online coffee house, 4410 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116
  2. Date: October 12th at 11:15 am.
  3. Consumed:  Mexican Mocha and a tiny donut
  4. Details:  Overcast and in the low 50s, bike parking near store entrance 
  5. Mileage: 2.0 miles
  6. Bike Used: Late 70s Takara Road bike
Ride. Caffeinate. Smile. Repeat

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Finishing the Takara

When we left the Takara it was ready to cable up but of course I couldn't leave well enough alone.

I had a couple kickstands laying around so I put one on to increase the bikes utility.

And I had this  rear fender left over from the Trek 420 so why not put it on the bike to get it out of my way and again increase the utility of the Takara.

And while we are adding utiltiy why not a rear rack?  I happen to have one that I took off the Motobecane Mirage and and never put back on, I did have to spend a few $$ in nuts and bolts but it looks good on the bike and frees up some storage room for me.

Now you can't have a bike with just a rear fender right?  So I was able to find an orphan front fender at Bikeworks and $5 later its a fully fendered rain bike!  Oddly the Takara fender eyelet braze-ons rather than using the standard M5 bolt actually take an M6, fortunately I had some.

I finally got around to cabling the bike up, I reused the shift housing because its that old style braided metal housing and I liked how it looked, the brakes got new cables and housing.  I had to spend time fiddling with truing the front wheel to get the front brake dialed in and the limit screws on both derailleurs took some adjusting but it shifts and stops now which is more than it did when I got it.

I did fight the urge to use a new SunRace claw RD and 34t big cog 7 speed FW I have in the parts bin that would have made this bike a better climber.  Once you start peeling away the onion layers it just never stops and pretty soon you have the bike torn down to the frame, doing a complete overhaul and the best you can hope for on an entry level bike like this after upgrades is to break even especially trying to sell in the fall/winter.

And finally the pre-used bar tape got wrapped up around the safety levers with some tips from RJ the bike guy.

I ended up spending an additional $15 on the bike for the stem shifters, front fender and rack hardware but I think it will do better as the fendered and racked commuter at this time of year.

The bar end shifters ended up selling for $26 on ebay not great but respectable and that lowers the initial cost of the Mavic/Ultegra wheels to $50.

Its a bit of a dogs breakfast as the English would say, with mismatched tires and fenders not to mention scraped and faded paint and decals, but if someone is looking for functional transport they can lock up downtown or at a transit stop without worrying about it, this is their steed.  I have basically priced it to cover costs so I hope someone will see a deal.  That makes three bikes on CL for October and hopefully by November it will be zero.