Monday, June 17, 2019

What is wrong with me?


I literally just sold the Ibex and like a nervous twitch I have already filled its slot in my over crowded apartment.  Sigh.  Early 90s Specialized Rock Hopper,  Deore LX components, paint and decals in good shape for the age of the bike, matching Specialized wheels seem original, not horrible Performance bike tires.  It was on CL for $85 I talked him down to $65 as it had been sitting about 3 weeks.

Not sure what I was thinking.  More to come after I have actually ridden it and taken a closer look.

Ride.Smile. Ban me from CL and FB market place. Repeat.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

I should 've stood in Bed

With apologies to Bugs Bunny on Saturday maybe I should've stood in bed.  I was going to do so many bike things.....



It started off well enough wrapping the bars on the Cresta GT one side done, right...


Wrong.  I fell victim to one of the classic blunders which, besides not getting into a land war in Asia, is when wrapping bars check your work early and often and certainly before you tape up at the end! Sigh.  So hearing the voices of my parents in my head, Any job worth doing is worth doing right, I unwrapped the whole thing and started anew, this time remembering to check -visually and by feel that the wrap was even and had no gaps.


Ok bars wrapped, lets go for a ride, after all I just got my brakes adjusted so its all good...right?


I'd only gone a few miles when I noticed an odd sound during braking, so I stopped and saw the above (adult language) not the result I was looking for.  I limped home, left it for a day so I could find my zen.




These vintage Dia Compe canti's have a hex nut one one side so you can loosen it to make the pad adjustments and a hex head on the other side which allows for..


The step I didn't do last week (edit coming to that post) which is to use an allen wrench on one side and a box end wrench on the other to get the brake post very SNUG so it doesn't rotate like it did for me.  I thought I had them all tight last time but I went and did the both end snug trick on all four pads.  I hope this is the end of the Canti saga.



The good news is that I rode the Novara after work twice last week and even tackled the hill I had avoided the week before and conquered it.  The bad news is the front shifter was acting up and needed attention.  They do provide a workstand in the bike lock up which is nice but there is no clamp so its tough to much actual wrenching and I also remembered how many little parts the Symmetric shifters had so the bike got a ride home.


I soon realized that even with a proper stand I needed the shifters off the bike to really work on them.  I did this reluctantly because dealing with mounting the clamp for the shifters before had been a real PIA but I removed the cables and forged ahead.  Even with the diagram and multiple attempts I could not get the front shifter secured to the shifter body without a lot of lateral play,  I finally removed a washer and it kind of worked but I had no faith it would hold up and my patience had run its course with the Symmetric shifters.


Ebay provided a pair of banded Suntour power shifters like the ones on the Moto_GT, I would have liked to get them from Bikeworks but I would have had to wait a week to go and there is no guarantee they would have any, and by then the Ebay ones should arrive.  Hopefully the Novara will be back up and running next weekend.  The Symmetrics are boxed an ready to go to a bike forums member for the cost of shipping.



Ok it wasn't all bad, I got the Ibex sold to a nice lady who also has a Bianchi road bike but wanted something to haul kid trailers and take camping.  I rode the Moto_GT to deposit my haul but held back enough to treat myself to an IPA at C&P to celebrate.

Ride. Don't let the turkeys get you down. Smile. Repeat.

Fathers Day Ride to Breakfast.


This was fathers day about 8 years ago on a bike errand to the hardware store.  This year my request to the girl was that we would ride the 1 km to the local junction and have breakfast at the Easy Street cafe.




I knew the last time she rode was in Bend, Or. last summer on rented mountain bikes with a friend which meant the Mixte I had refurbed for her had been stuck under the porch for at least a year so I picked it up the day before so I could pump up the flat fires and give it a once over.


After a wipe down with armor all wipes, air in tires and a check and lube of the chain, shifting and brakes it was ready for the 2 km round trip to breakfast.  I swear I could faintly hear a merci beaucoup Monsieur coming from the French market Peugeot.


Despite a long wait for a table at breakfast it was a good fathers day morning.  The girl doesn't like me posting pictures of her to social media these days but she did relent and allowed me to post a shot of us to Instagram stories so it will only be there for 24 hours.  She did have to show me how to access the stories part lol.  I'll take it.   I think the Schwinn I just rebuilt would fit her so I might have her take it for a spin to see if she likes the faster road bike feel.

Ride. Breakfast with the Girl on fathers day. BIG smile. repeat.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Setting up Vintage Canti's: Dia Compe 962 cantilever brakes


I noticed the other day that the brakes on the Cresta GT were a bit mushy, not as tight as I would have liked.  I spent some time adjusting them, a cable adjustment here a pad tweak here and...not much improvement.  Frustrating.   I found a Park Tool video on adjusting canti's with smooth brake pad posts and although not exactly a vintage guide it gave me a frame work from which to work through more systematically.



Vintage Canti's present a few challenges; 1) the canti post on most vintage bikes has only one hole for the spring vs. the 3 on more modern bikes so there is no option for adjusting the spring tension at the post, 2) the brakes don't have an adjustment screw like the one pictured above on the 1990 Ibex that allows for centering the brake arms. and 3) the pad toe in/out , up/down adjustment  is all the same bolt so its easy to screw up your work with one wrong twist of the wrench.


You also need three, yes three wrenches to do the various adjustments on the brakes and cables; 1) a 8 mm for the pinch bolt for the straddle wire cable, 2) a 9 mm for the bolt that allows you to move the straddle wire carrier up and down on the brake cable and finally 3) a 10 mm for the brake pad bolt mentioned above.  Really guys?


I am no expert and I strongly recommend watching the video I linked to above but here is step one.  You don't want the straddle wire carrier - the triangular piece above- to be too high or low, they recommend not lower than the bolt hole in the fork so I started above that up front.  Mr 9 mm wrench snugged it up once it was in place.


For step two they recommended the brake arms line up so the bolt that the pads go through is roughly above the Canti stud.  If its either too splayed out or two leaned in it weakens the mechanical advantage of the canti arms.  What I had above wasn't perfect but it was on track, in this case having a 4th hand tool like the Park BT -2 would have come in handy, I am cheap so I will probably get the Pedro's version on amazon that is about half the price.  In theory it grabs the cable next to the pinch bolt and with the bolt loosened and allows you to pull the cable in or out to adjust to the desired length with just one hand, leaving the other free to tighten the pinch bolt when things are aligned just right.  Doing that without the tool is a contortionists exercise in frustration but by marking the straddle cable and noting the line up of the brakes to the canti studs I got close moving the cable incrementally.  Planning to order a Pedro's cable puller though.



And finally in step three you adjust the pads, and here was the revelation for me, now that you have the cables set  you move the pads to the rim, you will notice in the shot above this one I didn't even have the drive side pad in the brake arm, you don't worry about the pad set up until this last step and then you make your adjustments moving the pads in or out as necessary.  You may also find that to get the pads centered on the rim that they end up asymmetrical, i.e. your showing more brake pad post on one side than the other, that is ok.


After time and fiddling and deep breaths, and ok some adult language,  I got to the point where the lever pull was where I wanted it and the tire still spun freely.


And then I repeated the process for the rear brake and it eventually ended up where I liked it.  Not an expert yet but having a framework to follow certainly helped.

EDIT:  there is a fourth step that I forgot and it resulted in this

I thought I had tightened all the brake posts after adjusting them but I was obviously wrong about that so here is step four.



These vintage Dia Compe canti's have a hex nut one one side so you can loosen it to make the pad adjustments and a hex head on the other side which allows for..



..using an allen wrench on one side and a box end wrench on the other to get the brake post very SNUG so it doesn't rotate like it did for me.  Do the both end snug trick on all four pads to be extra sure the post is secured in place.


So why, you might ask, don't you quit whining and use some modern canti's like the Tektro CR 720s that have the adjustments you were just lamenting not having?  Well the challenge of a mid 80s Steel touring bike is that the distance between the front canti studs is about 75 to 80 mm which is too narrow  for modern canti brakes to handle, they can't close on the rim and allow the pads to seat properly.  I discovered this with the 1986 Schwinn Passage when I had the idea to use the CR 720s during its rebuild.  On the back they are fine, on the front not so much and that is where most of the braking power comes from.  If I ever do find available modern Canti's that will work I will write about it.

Ride. Stopping is good. Smile. Repeat.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Schwinn LeTour is Finished


I got the LeTour finished and listed on CL today.  This was kind of strange project for me in that I redid all the bearings, took it down to the frame, waxed it, new pads and cables/housing and a new FW and chain combo, but I left the tired bar tape and cheap CST tires alone.  


While a perfectly fine bike the LeTour isn't especially desirable and it seems to me the Vintage bike market has softened of late.  I didn't want to sink any more $$ into the bike that necessary so I could keep the price low and move it on to a new home.


This project was not without its obstacles, it came to me with no rear brake and it took me two tries to find one that had long enough arms to reach the rims.  A Shimano BR-R450 long reach dual pivot caliper brake did the trick, thank you co-op.


I am normally a friction guy as its easy to set up the shifting that way, but my recent experience with the Trek 520 made me decide to try and set these up for index shifting.  I found the shifting on the 520 a nice change of pace and thought this bike would be good practice for the 520 refurb.  The Park Tools video on rear derailleur set up was be very helpful for indexing,  but the process was still very fiddly.  I did finally get it to shift in index mode up and down all gears in both chain rings but I am no expert yet.


One lesson learned on the LeTour is that my enthusiasm for projects on bikes that don't fit me and/or are not for a particular person is on the wane.  I find that without at least the chance a bike my be a candidate for my quiver or its not a build for a friend/family member its tough to stay interested and engaged.  At the end of this project I just wanted to be done and to move the LeTour onto a new home.  I can at least be proud of the fact that a neglected barely functional bike is back on the road and in much better shape.


Although I still have two Treks and a Specialized in the project queue I got a bee in my bonnet to clean up the work-space so I can say it was tidy at least for a day or two.


Ride. Smile. Be picky about your projects. Repeat.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

The forgotten bike


When I stored the Novara Randonee at work my expectations were that I would get in at least one ride a week after work.  For various reasons that hasn't been working out until Wednesday.  I noticed rain in the forecast for late in the week and decided it was time to get a ride in.


There is a rather large hill that would have finished the ride and I wasn't feeling it.  I figured wimping out and driving the short distance to the trail head was better than no ride.  The hill will come in time.


I had a nice 10 mile ride along Lake Sammamish in mild high 60s temperatures.  I wasn't particularly fast but it was just nice to be out cruising down the nice flat trail.


The trail runs along the lake between Redmond and Issaquah, I know the residents in the million dollar lakeside homes don't like having the great unwashed so close to their fancy homes but fortunately the county made good use of the old railroad right of way and despite efforts to block the building of the trail it got done.  It's a very pleasant place to ride.


And after the ride the bike is back in secured bike parking at work, ready to go again.  I noticed on this ride that my right tricep was talking to me on the ride, not a big issue but if we had gone around the lake and done 20 miles it might have become one.  That prompted me to start a spreadsheet of all the bikes in the fleet when I got home so I could list measurements and figure out why one bike felt just fine and another might cause an ache in my arm or neck or between the shoulder blades.  Also when I have all the data on what works and what doesn't it will be even easier to replicate in the future.  I have a rough idea of what works now but I want to hone in on the why.

Ride.Ponder.Smile repeat.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Tweaking the Ibex


As I mentioned the Ibex dropped its chain while a perspective buyer was out for a test ride and since I had previous issues with the FW that I thought I had fixed I decided to pull CL ad and replace the FW and chain.  On Friday night the Ibex went into the work stand and off came the rear wheel.


Since I had the FW off  anyway, I decided to do a quick clean of the hub and bearings (it was 3 bearings short btw) and replace the grease.  This part always seems to stall me on full rebuilds, but it only takes about 5 minutes to get the FW and axle off the hub so I am not sure why I let it road block me.


New FW side by side with the old one.  Different manufacturers - SunTour vs SunRace but the same number of gears and the same spread.  A new 8 speed SRAM chain and the 7 speed FW cost about $25 total on Amazon.


Because the new FW has the same gearing I didn't have to fiddle much with the shifting, however I thought the drive train was awfully noisy and "clattery".  Then I looked closer and realized I had colored outside the lines and routed the chain outside the upper jockey wheel cage -Doh!


Thank goodness for quick link chains!  I had it apart in a jiff and got it routed correctly, surprisingly the drive train was much quieter after the change.  A good reminder that if it sounds wrong there probably is something wrong.


The bike is back on CL and I even already have an appointment to show it tomorrow, so fingers crossed I will free up some room in the stable and the Ibex will go to a good home.  Next up the Schwinn LeTour.

Ride. Route your chain correctly. Smile. Repeat