Thursday, March 28, 2019

Novara Randonee: Epic Fail!

I was making good progress, with a bit of luck I thought I would have a ride-able bike by Saturday evening, like the random Randonee in the shot above taken from the web.

I cleaned up the cranks this evening while listening to some opening day Baseball (my Mariners crushed the World Series champs 12-4!).  After the game I decided to mount them up so I could proceed to other things like chains and cables tomorrow.

Hmm why won't the crank turn freely... oh because the inner ring is right up against the chain stay...wait WHAT! The bb spindle is to short but how!?

I recalled measuring the spindle and it came out to 115 mm so that is what I ordered so I dug it out this evening and yes it did measure at 115 mm.  I recall thinking at the time that triples usually ran wider spindles than that, but hey I measured so it must be the right length.  Sigh.

Upon reflection I recalled that old school 3 piece bottom brackets are asymmetrical i.e. the drive side of the spindle is longer than the non drive side and more modern sealed cartridge bbs tend to be more symmetrical hence my drive side spindle as too bleeping short despite the overall length being the same.  Sigh.  New BB ordered but it won't be here until next Thursday at the earliest so the Randonee won't be done as soon as I hoped.  So much for Prime and two day shipping on old bike parts.

What I through was going to be a simple rebuild has been throwing up road blocks left and right but its not like I don't have other bikes I could ride and if I am a bit lucky the Cresta might even be back on the road before I have the Novara finished.  We shall see.

Measure twice. Think thrice. order once.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Novara Randonee: Drive train and brakes

The Allez wheelset gave me hope of 7 speeds on the Randonee but the 7 speed FW on the stock wheel shows (above) no real clearance for the smallest cog, so I eneded up ordering the 6 speed version of the Shimano Tourney Mega-range FW.

For comparison the TZ30 on the left being the 6 speed and the TZ31 the 7 speed model...

the key measurement was the shorter height of the 6 speed FW which I hoped would allow for more clearance.

And it did add more clearance so I should be able to run the chain without issue and I even had room for the pie plate (spoke protector).   I will probably add a spacer to the rack bolt to bring it in a bit since it sticks out toward where the chain will run.

I was sad the new dual pivot brakes weren't going to work out for the initial build but I got the stock brakes cleaned up, lubed and put on new brake pads so they could get mounted.  Since they are running with the stock wheels there should be no issues.  Note the rear brake has the cable guide arm coming off the drive side where the Tektro dual pivot arm came off the non drive side. so the spacers I added to the rack strut and now superfluous.

Like the brakes the derailleurs got a sonic bath, then I lubed the pivot points with 3 in 1 oil an mounted them up.

I was curious/concerned about whether the stock RD could handle a 34 tooth cog so I went to the web and the website Disraeli Gears gave the answer - the GT version of the Cyclone II can handle 34 teeth at the maximum so it should work, and if not there is always the Shimano 9 speed Deore LX in the parts bin.

I also got the shifters mounted, due to the time crunch on this project and being a bit intimidated I didn't fully take apart the shifters, based on what I have read there are lots of pieces for this shift system and I couldn't find a good exploded diagram to guide me.  I just took out the left screw that holds shifter on and then did a thorough WD 40 flush let if dry, and to finish dribbled in 3 in 1 oil for lube.  Getting  the band the center bolt screws into back on was a bit of a bear but I got it done.  I will know if it is all working well when I get the bike back together.


Searching bike forums I found an exploded diagram so down the road I could take the shifters apart with some hope of reassembly.

Along with the 6 speed FW I ordered a new helmet, the Specialized helmet I was wearing when I crashed looks fine but I don't trust the Styrofoam will do the same job in any subsequent crashes.  I read somewhere a few years back that all bike helmets pass the same safety regulations so the fancy Giro helmet that cost 5 times what the Bell helmet does isn't actually any safer.  I ordered a generic Basecamp helmet and frankly I do like the fit and finish better on my Specialized but the new helmet does have a built in rear light so that is nice and it hasn't been crashed.

If all goes well I will travel to Portland on Sunday to get the Cresta's fork bent back into shape.  Fingers crossed.  In the meantime I hope to get allot done on the Randonee so I will have a touring bike with a nice low gear back in the stable to ride in the Tour De Lopez.

Ride. Smile. Repeat.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Novara Randonee: a very stubborn Freewheel and which wheels??

As I mentioned last time my trusty lever pipe wouldn't budge the FW on the Randonee yesterday.  I was not about to go quietly on that score.

I went to Home Depot first thing and had them cut a 10 foot section of pipe down to 30 inches for me or 3x the length I had before.  I had to pay for the full 10 feet so I could have bought a new rear wheel off Amazon for that, but this was war.  Even with the new pipe it didn't want budge at first, so I dosed it with liquid wrench again, put the old rubber back on the rim and then braced the wheel so it was up against a wall as a brake, and tried again.

Success!! It was an expensive success but it was also very satisfying.  I called the old pipe the persuader the new one I will call Archimedes.

I had finished the stock front wheel and put on the new Pasela 27 X 1 1/4 tire so I put it on the bike.   It wasn't going to work with the fenders (the old tires were 27 X 1 1/8) so I removed them, sigh.  Even after taking off the fenders the new brakes and the new tires didn't play well together.  The  top of the tire rubbed on the bottom of the brake so that is a no go.

The beauty of having way too many bikes is that I just happened to have a 700c wheelset to try (it was on the Allez) and as the picture shows the front was fine...

With the rear brake mounted normally I couldn't get one side to hit the brake wall, it hit rubber, so I reversed it.  The problem I see is that cable routing could be a challenge and using this wheelset is only a short term solution as it belongs to another bike.

So the only option I haven't tried with the new brakes is the stock 27" wheels with the original 27 x 1 1/8 tires which I think would work but a I don't really want to use old tires and I don't want to spend another $50 on a set of new 27 x 1 1/8 Pasela's right now.  So I have cleaned up the original brakes, and now that the FW has been vanquished I can do the grease and bearings on  the rear wheel and then I will do the original wheels with new rubber and the original brakes with new pads - that I stole off the not yet finished LeTour.  And in theory, without fenders,  it should all work.

Dry fitting the Allez 700c wheelset allowed me to see that a 7 speed cogset could work on this bike.

When I get the bearings on the rear wheel done I will mount this new mega range 7 speed FW that I have had for years and never used.  Its possible the stock Suntour Rear Derailleur could balk at handling a 34t low cog but I have a RD that can it that becomes an issue.  That will give me a nice low gear for slogging up hills.

More to come next time.

Ride. Go Archimedes on a freewheel. Smile. Repeat.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Progress on the Randonee

As I mentioned last time the stock bb cups on the Randonee were pitted so I ordered a sealed square taper bb to replace it.  The UN-55 is a bit more expensive ($20) than the UN-26 ($13) but it has an alloy left hand cup rather than a plastic one.  The allow is less likely to deform if it gets stuck, I have had mixed results with the plastic cups.

I often reuse the stock BB because they usually clean up fine but I was reminded how easy the sealed units are to install and set up when putting on the new one.  So two bearings sorted.

I also got the new taller stem and wider bars mounted, I didn't mount the brake levers because although I love the size and feel of the Tektro levers I find it easier to run the brake cable with the lever off the bike rather than on the bars where it can be a real pain.

Got a bottle cage mounted, the bike curiously had none when I bought it, despite having two locations and bolts in place.

I mounted the new dual pivot brakes and noticed in the back the brake arm where the cable runs is very close to the rack strut, the old brakes had a different angle on the brake arm.

So I added some spacers between the seat stay and the rack strut to move it inboard and add room between it and the brake arm and used a section of old old inner tube to make a hood for the brake arm so it doesn't get scraped up during the rebuild.  Don't throw out those old inner tubes, they have lots of uses!

And finally I tackled the wheels,  I removed the old rubber which on closer inspection wasn't too bad so I didn't throw it out just yet, I did get the front hub cleaned up and replaced the bearings and grease but the rear was a different story.

Its much easier to clean the rear hub with the Free Wheel removed and I wanted to see if a 7 speed FW I have with 34t big cog would fit on this bike if I removed the dork disc/spoke protector.  I am sad to report that for the first time in nearly a decade my 1 foot long breaker bar (pipe) failed to give me the leverage to break loose a free wheel, even after two applications of liquid wrench!  Tomorrow I will go to Home Depot to try and find a longer pipe.  You have served me well my stubby friend.

My new to me (refurbished) phone arrived this week so I could take a picture of the phone I had mounted on the handlebars when I crashed the Cresta GT last week.  Yeah pretty shattered, it still worked bless its little heart but it was awfully hard to read the screen and swiping was an invitation to glass shards.

Still hopeful about getting the Randonnee up and running by months end.


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Back in the Saddle again

Que the Gene Autry,  I am back in the saddle.  I took a short ride to the farmers market today just to get back on the horse so to speak.  My left wrist is still a bit sore and I have a bit of a lump on my right shin, but I'm much improved from Wednesday.

I also got some work done on the Novara.

I drank beer and got a mini pie but my camera is dead so this post is a bit dry until my phone comes back.


I was able to revive my phone and got the pictures off it.  I have a new one on order but the crash survivor needs to hang in until Tuesday.

The HD sunning himself before our ride to the market on this 60 degree spring day.

Erin go Bragh

I got a dry Irish Stout to drink to himself, St Patrick.  I also got a mini apple pie with cheese and a bit of Bushmills but that mysteriously disappeared before I could snap a picture.


I needed to address the rust on the seat tube before I could do much else with the rebuild of the Randonee.

A few doses of naval jelly and some dremel work with a brass wire brush took care of the rust and I added some blue nail polish to protect the metal- not a half bad match.

The new seat tube binder bolt seems to work, although the real test will come with riding the bike.

I got the seat post cleaned up and mounted the new VO saddle and got them on the bike.

I got the headset bits cleaned up, installed new bearings and grease and got the fork connected back to the frame.

Starting to look like a bike I can hang stuff on but I need to wax it first and there is the matter of the bottom bracket.

After getting the cups a sonic bath and cleaning them up I found they were pitted and gritty for lack of a better word so a cheap cartridge bb is going on the amazon list along with consumables and a bottle cage.  This probably explains why the crank wasn't turning smoothly.

Cresta GT

I may have found someone through bike forums that can help with the fork on the cresta.

It will involve some bendage to get it back to where it was.  If all goes well I will travel to Portland at the end of the month with the Cresta and we shall see.

Ride. Smile. Repeat.