Sunday, May 27, 2018

Updates on the Spa treatment queue

It was a beautiful Sunday so I had to ride to the market, with the influx of new bikes I felt I owed to the Handsome Devil to get the nod for bike of choice.

The HD is sporting its "new" flat pedals that came off the Trek 420, I was thinking the HD would eventually get MKS sneakers as I was never using the SPD side of the Shimano M324s, and I was tired of always flipping them with my toe to the flat side, but these SR SP 154 alloys are paid for so they will get a trial run.

For about the last year I have been meaning to try the breakfast sandwich stall at the market and when I finally did I was not disappointed, a nice pairing with the Dragon Bloom IPA, from Grimm Brothers brewhouse.

On the way back to the bike I picked up some smoked wild salmon and a loaf of sour dough bread as I walked through the market.  Next week I hope to find Fresh strawberries.

1987 Nishiki Cresta GT

I think I have mentioned that my long awaited Hozan head set pilers had arrived from Japan.  A very nice tool that I am sure I will get use out of but it wasn't the solution for my head set spacer issue.

Since this was my 3rd strike I gave in and went to my LBS, I needed bar tape for the Trek 420 anyway.

I was glad I did as they were successful in loosening the #$%^#@ threaded spacer.  Ironically they used a method I tried and failed at, tightening the race that sits below the spacer, that relieved the pressure on the spacer and that did the trick.   At this point I am just happy its loose.

Once I was back home it went back in the work stand, and I got to work on finishing the tear down.

The spacer came the rest of the way off as did the adjustable race and out came the fork.

Then I knocked out the top and bottom cups to get down to a bare frame.

It took longer than expected but I am finally down to just the frame on the Cresta GT so the rebuild can begin, once I am done with the Moto_GT that is.

After this experience I don't want to deal with threaded spacers again so a Velo Orange Grand Cru 1" headset is on order along with some spacers.

Using a great resource put together by a Bike Forums member I have determined that this bike was made for the US market (W), and was built in 1986 (F), still trying to work out if there is significance to the 5 digit number.

1978  Motobecane Grand Touring.

I was thinking I would start the final coat of wax on the Moto_GT today but I had noticed that there was some rust in the engraved serial number so I dealt with that instead.

I taped off around the serial numbers.

And brought out the rubber gloves and Naval jelly.  I did two stints for about an hour total.

I wasn't totally satisfied with the result so I used the dremel with a brass wire brush to finish the job.

Not perfect but much better, it will need a bit of rubbing compound before the carnauba wax, I also need to finish cleaning out the BB shell and the inside of the fixed cup.

I thought the Moto_GT deserved more than odds and ends from the cable & housing box so I ordered some Ice Grey brake cables and housing, some shift cables and both the Moto_GT and the Crest_GT are going to share the red shift housing, since they are both down tube shifter bikes they don't need a lot of shift housing.   The brake pads and rubber is already new and the original leatherette bar cover is going to stay and I have new brake hoods in the parts bin, so its really down to cleaning components and dealing with bearings.

Ride. Smile. Repeat.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

In which I trade a Motobecane Mirage for a Trek 420

About a month ago I sold the 1973 Motobecane Mirage to a nice college student.  Not long after that for some reason I thought to look on CL for Treks.  Now Trek is the largest maker of bikes on the planet but I have never worked on one or ridden one.  Usually when I have looked at older steel, made in the USA, Treks they are pretty much $200 and up.  That is higher than I like to start for a bike I am going to refurb, hence no Treks have darkened my door.

I am looking on CL and this pops up, its a Trek listed for the same $$ I just sold the Mirage for, hmmm.  Its not too far from where I work so I email the seller and arrange to come see it.

Before that, however, I went to the excellent website Vintage Trek and via their brochures I came up with this being a 1985 model Trek 420, which was in the Sport Tourer line up, not quite a full fledged tourer like its big brothers the 620 & 720.  Interestingly the 520 which I think of as an Iconic Tourer was also a sport model in 1985.  I also discovered that it is most likely a 22.5 inch frame, a 1/2 inch smaller than the 23 inch I usually look for in a Vintage road bike.  I was intrigued to see how 22.5 would fit.

Its made with True Temper Chromoly, not super special but solid.

classic head badge

I made two rookie mistakes when going to view this bike; 1) I forgot to pack tools in the morning so I could make sure the seatpost and stem weren't stuck (they weren't luckily) and 2) well I'll get to that.

I approached the bike wanting to look at the details and confirm that it was an 85, and to see how original it was.

Made in the USA, check, this makes it a bit more collectible if you're into that kind of thing.

Original SR triple crank, still has both bolt caps which is nice,  the SunTour XD doesn't appear to be stock as the catalog says Shimano Z series is what it came with.

Shimano DT shifters -check, they appear stock and I kind of like the look.

Seat stay detail and interesting seat post binder.

Stock Blackburn rack -check, which is nice as the Cresta GT did not come with one, even though it would have one originally, so it might get moved over to the touring bike, we'll see.

Lower head tube detail.

Upper head tube detail, interesting that the catalog says the headset is Trek standard black, this one is obviously not black..hmmm.

One extra was the funky brake lever mounted mirror, I don't usually use one but it might fun to play with.

The Dia-compe side-pulls are stock and perfectly fine, they are also an indicator this isn't a real touring bike because by 1985 that would mean canti-lever brakes like the 620 and 720 models.

And here is where my second mistake comes in, the wheels.  I know I looked at them because I recall thinking the tires were old and dried out and would need replacing, but I didn't see them.  I am fairly sure the front wheel is the stock Weinmann 116, 27".

Not until I got home and I'm taking the bike out the car does it hit me, the back wheel has a black rim, and wait a minute the tire says 700c! and..

man that freewheel is kinda small....that's no freewheel, its a 7 speed cassette! how did I miss all that?  I would have haggled with the seller.  As it turns out I still have a set of 27 inch wheels to spare and they are matched with nice hubs.  This bike would not have come with a 40 spoke touring rear wheel anyway, which makes my oversight slightly more palatable.

So I finally have a Trek, the man who sold me the bike told it was his sons college bike, and it looks it.  The frame-set is going to need a deep clean and some serious attention with rubbing compound and wax,  With two and maybe three bikes ahead of it, the Spa treatment won't come anytime soon, so it may be in the queue for a while.....

And then I had a different idea.  On a recent doctor visit, can I say how grateful I am to have health care coverage again,  we were talking about weight and exercise and he mentioned, not knowing I am a bike nut, that I could get a trainer for my bike and ride while watching TV to get my heart rate up.  A project that involves bikes?   I'm in!  I found a Cyclops trainer for $40 on CL earlier this week and I had just the bike in mind for it, but it would need a bit of work first.

First the hideous and tattered old foam bar covers would need to go.  Shiver.

Foam be gone, that was satisfying, I hate those things.

There was some muck on the bars near the stem, probably tape residue,  I find that getting it wet with something like Armor-all wipes and then using a plastic utensil can clean it right up.

 All clean, I thought that since I was going to be spinning on this bike that some SPD pedals might be in order.

So I took off the flat pedals that came on the Trek..

And I moved the Shimano MD324s from the Handsome Devil to the Trek and the HD got the Treks flat pedals,  I have been thinking of doing flat pedals on the HD for a while to replace the dual sided MD324s.

I can blow the dust off my Keen Commuters for some spin class.

Got the bars wrapped with some Origin 8 black bar tape to replace the awful foam.  I subbed in a Weinmann brake lever as I didn't want to mess with the mirror.

Earlier in the week I ordered a phone mount so I can use the count down timer on my phone while on the bike, the plan is to start with 20 minute rides with some ramp up intervals at 5, 10 and 15 minutes to get the heart rate up.  This will help make doing some road rides a reality this summer.  The phone mount should also be easy to transfer to other bikes so I can use the phones cycle app feature (Cyclemeter) on road rides.

Work done for the day; bar wrap, pedals and phone mount finished.  I have a "spin bike" ready to go and I am planning to test run it tomorrow.

Spin, smile, repeat.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A test ride and Sunday musings

I wanted to ride the new toy to the Market today as a sort of test ride, but I had a short list of things I needed to do first:

  • Swap out the front tube
  • tighten up the rear brake cable
  • tighten up the rear shift cable
  • remove the toe clips and straps
As it turns out the presta tube I had knocking around the parts bin was a Specialized brand one.

The simple tube swap was not to be, the narrow tire that was on the bike so tight I ended up yanking both it and the flat tube.  Many moons ago my neighbor gave me a barely used Panaracer  Pasela 700x32c that he had and wasn't going to use, so it and the replacement tube went up front.  I had to deflate it to fit it past the brakes but it went in and now I only have to order one more to complete the set.

For the rear brake, it turns out the brakes work much better with the quick release no other adjustment needed.  And snugging up the loose rear shift cable solved the poor shifting.

I am a flat pedal guy these days so the clunky plastic toe clips and straps needed to go.  And after a little work on the small bolt and nuts...

Revealed the "bear trap" platforms,  I like the look of these pedals and see no reason to replace them.  After a little research I found out they are VP 707 pedals which were apparently big with the BMX crowd.   I knew the bar tape was pretty tired but as I was working on the other items I also noticed something else..

One bar end was missing a cap which made it look even more ragged than it already was, so

..since I have oodles of spares I couldn't resist popping one in.

And with that I was ready to take the short ride to the Market, to be very clear I am NOT suggesting using 20 year-old consumables on your bikes for long rides!   This is a 2 kilometer round trip so at worst this would have been a stroll pushing a bike, but it was fine.  Observations from the ride:

The bad
  • The saddle, needs some adjusting or replacing but not a great first impression of the stock Specialized.  Many options here so I am not too worried
  • I was fine for this short ride but I could feel alot of weight on my arms like most of me was pushing forward.  I think saddle adjustment will help and the stem might be able to come a bit more too.  The current stem already has good length and I would be a bit worried too much more length would make the handling squirrely but that is also an option.
The Good
  • I liked how this bike moves forward with ease, one pedal stroke had me gliding across a parking lot.
  • The triple, spun me right up the initial incline with no worries.
  • The pedals; nice wide platform, didn't even think about them -which is a good thing.
All in all it was definitely different.  I have ordered a second Panaracer and some bar tape but I am going to hold off on doing any more tweaking for now as I want to get back to working on the Moto_GT and the Cresta GT so I can have them both available for summer riding.  Worse case scenario I learn that 56 cm bikes don't really fit and I break even and pass this nice Allez along, but I am a long way from that.

I wasn't going to go all the way to the market and not have some beer!  I led things off with a Shame Spiral Imperial IPA from Cloudburst in Seattle, that name seems appropriate as I look out on my once empty porch. 

I stayed with the Imperial IPA for my second choice a Champion Juicer by Matchless in Tumwater WA, Tumwater is where Olympia was brewed, my dad was an "Oly" guy when I was growing up and I have driven by that brewery countless times (just off I-5).

It seems a shame to have this much choice and only Order IPAs, so I decided to break out of my comfort zone.

And I ordered a Transfiguration Saison style sour beer from Holy Mountain in Seattle.  I can see how this style would be refreshing on one of our rare 'blistering" 85 to 90 degree summer days.

For next time I will have hopefully have opened this box from Japan and will know if  I have unblocked the work on the Nishiki Cresta GT.

Ride. Smile.Repeat.