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Archive for January, 2013

ahhh, green again...

ahhh, going green again…

Everything’s gone green again after days of rain, courtesy of the leftovers from tropical cyclone Oswald up north. I’m riding around on the pink “turbo” mixte to check out the effects …

at swansea heads

wild and moody – at swansea heads

back from the beach

back from the beach

 

alternative header shot, marks point

alternative header shot, marks point

Feeling mellow, so let’s change the blog header…

Here’s some recent bike miscellany :

rat-bike, belmont

loop framed rat-bike, belmont

cecil basks in the previous week's heat

cecil basks in the previous week’s heat

cecil at stockton

cecil at stockton

in the tunnel

in the tunnel

Happy Riding !

 

 

 

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it's built for comfort

it’s built for comfort

The review I wrote on this bike a while back has been one of my most viewed blog posts and continues to be read almost daily. I am pleased that it has been helpful to some, as I more or less bought the bike off the catalogue without much independent advice.

While there’s really not much that needs adding to this bike ( as it’s quite comprehensively fitted out as standard ) here’s a few suggested additions and improvements I have made or considered over the last two years :

Brooks Leather Washer Grips :

the short side

the short side

This was the first alteration and has been mentioned in the original review. The grips are great, though you will need gloves in cold weather due to the metal end caps conducting heat away. After a while the leather washers shrink a little and the grips need re-tightening, an easy job ! The padded leather originals were my least liked aspect of this bike.

MKS3000R Platform Pedals:

oops - wide angle distortion

oops – wide angle distortion

The original Union pedals were starting to get some play in the bearings and they are not adjustable – while they were still quite useable, these serviceable MKS pedals are a definite improvement.

Basil Catania Collapsable Mesh Basket:

that bottom piece holds it all together

that bottom piece holds it all together

I like the look and foldaway feature of this basket. Has a tendency to slight surface rust, which is easily cured with rust converter or fish-oil sparingly dabbed on the spots with a paint brush. When lightly loaded this basket on only one occasion dis-assembled itself, losing the contents on the road after I hit a large bump. The basket is attached with zip ties and adhesive foam rubber to protect the frame paint. I use this basket almost every ride.

Brooks B66 Black Saddle and Millbrook Saddle Bag:

me likee

me likee

I think that the black B66 looks much better on this bike than the aged brown B67 original, though they are almost the same saddle in riding terms. If you have another bike that needs a Brooks ( and who doesn’t  ? ) It’s a great excuse to do a swap. Of course the other advantage is that the black B66 perfectly matches the Millbrook saddle bag.

The Milbrook is a vinyl bag with leather trim and is a very useful size for small items, valuables and tools. The bag rests on the Gazelle’s rack, and as I rarely use this rack I don’t miss the lost space. It’s well made too, and nicely padded inside. There’s a larger “Glenbrook” bag, also modelled on a traditional brooks bag that is a little wider. I believe that “all leather” versions of these bags were – or are – available in limited edition, but the price is very high. I love this bag and it’s reasonably priced for a Brooks.

A word of caution with the original “aged” saddle – use any leather dressing very, very sparingly, as the aged saddles will sag quite easily if it’s overdone.

carry combo

the original, for comparison

the original, for comparison

Zefal Spy Mirror:

at least partially useful

at least partially useful

I like this little mirror because it visually balances the large bell when mounted on the right side, however to get a good view requires taking the right hand off the bars. Not exactly a safety feature !

Nevertheless the idea of a motorbike style stalk mounted mirror doesn’t appeal to me either…

Wireless Cycle Computer:

0-15 km/h ?- not sure what's going on here ..

0-15 km/h ?- not sure what’s going on here ..

This computer’s speedo/odo doesn’t work under 15km/h … go figure ! The most expensive bike clock I have purchased to date – but it does have a nice look about it. I would buy a wired one next time !

Lastly, if you do a lot of night riding in unlit areas, an additional battery light could be a worthwhile thing – or at least a torch for use when you are stopped. Otherwise the standard lights are fine.

Happy Cycling !

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A cool wind change has dropped the temperature – now’s my chance to take CW for a longer ride, to Newcastle and back in a morning. I can only do hermit-like bike restoration for so long before I have to get out and about  in the world :

a bush break at whitebridge

a bush break at whitebridge

And some fun in the tunnel on the way in :

exiting hyperspace

exiting hyperspace

Newcastle is full of bikes and riders in holiday mode – the young girl’s step-through was a refurbished classic small 10-speed. Very cool.

the yacht club at wickham - bike central ?

the yacht club at wickham – bike central ?

 

school holidays means a ride to town - at throsby creek

school holidays means a ride to town – at throsby creek

There’s plenty to see along the harbour : it’s always the same, but different.

the harbour - ever changing

the harbour – ever changing

And I’m getting used to that “flip of the toe clip”, but they can still catch me out. You won’t see me wearing those clipless thingys though – at least I can choose my own shoes with these, not some daggy pseudo-runners.

thanks mr christophe

thanks mr christophe

what-the ?

what-the ?

Can anyone tell me what the above eccentric looking quasi-recumbent bike is ? Spotted leaving the tunnel … it may be home made.

who's that nutcase ?

whose is that nutcase ?

Tunnel’s so bright I gotta wear shades ! But so cool and breezy heading home.

fun in the tunnel

cecil in the tunnel

The Brooks hammered copper rivets do shine up very nicely after a 3-hour bum polishing ! ( Makes note to do that more often ).

home and shiny

home and shiny

The End

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Well, actually, not yet, ’cause I haven’t really ridden it properly, I just couldn’t resist the pun …

swoopy, huh ?

swoopy, huh ?

I probably could have / should have re-painted this one while I was at it, as it’s not really collectable, but then I would have used a different colour, wouldn’t I ? And spoil the overall pink effect, probably …

The bike has been overhauled as a 3-speed, using my well worn Shimano 3s hub and somewhat battered Araya rim, because Cecil stole the 5-speed for himself, so let’s see what we can make of the remains.

These are the other parts alterations :

half a "mo", guv

half a “mo”, guv

Tange moustache bars with reverse Dia Compe levers replace the original randonneur style drop bars. I used Berthoud leather bar tape with twined end supports ( more about that in another post ). Plenty of hand position options without the deeper drop, and I had already bought the levers and bars for a different bike restoration that didn’t work out. I’m really not a great fan of road drop bars, sorry to say.

hands free ...

hands free …

Velo Orange hammered alloy guards (fenders). These come with lots of fitting parts, and are reasonably easy to install.  Extra washer spacers were used to fit the 3-speed hub to this 125mm OLD frame.

the brooks "champion flyer" is simply a sprung b17

the brooks “champion flyer” is simply a sprung b17 saddle

Longer 25.8 mm alloy micro style seat post with Brooks sprung B17 “Flyer” saddle – I’m collecting quite a few Brooks now – they are surely the best saddles of all – in my humble opinion, at least.  The pedals from my Gazelle may be temporary ( I replaced them with MKS3000r a while back).

my diy head badge

my diy head badge

Everything has been dismantled cleaned and re-greased, the new chain is 1/8″ single speed, running on the smaller 42T front cog with a 20T rear cog. I’ll be keeping the large front cog just in case it doesn’t stay this way forever. And new cables too, I also had to shorten the hub gear inner cable to fit the frame design. The trigger and bell are on the quill stem to free up the handlebars.

pink flash

pink flash

OK, so who wants a ride then ?

it's too hot to ride now

but it’s too hot to ride now…

See Ya !

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here comes the sun

here comes the sun

That’s the forecast maximum temperature here today, so it’s time to get riding early, taking Cecil for a speedy spin The heat is coming from the inland heart, so it’s dry and draining, but not like the sweaty sea-breeze humidity more usual at this time of year.

And Cecil’s configuration is settled – for the moment – with the fitment of the original alloy front wheel and a salvaged steel rear one. I have decided to postpone a new rear alloy rim until I get a feel for how much I will use the bike.

Unlike some of my other bikes, Cecil wants to just go and go, having a more loose and temperamental feel. It doesn’t like being parked ( no kickstand either ) and wants to run off from where ever I leave it, like an edgy racehorse  …

IMG_1417

 

It likes to go fast too, and seems to turn just by thought, rather than by any physical effort. The B17 “titanium” saddle was quite unnoticeably comfortable from new, at least on the c. two hour rides I have so far done on it, I’m impressed.

The whole bike has a very free-running nature, though I still have some derailleur fine tuning to do. The steel rear wheel hub was actually 125mm ( not 120mm ) over the locknut width, so I cut 5mm off the axle and the hollow locknut spacer with a hacksaw, leaving the locknut on the axle in case the threads needed help afterward. This has properly centred the rear wheel in the frame, but of course requires re-setting all of the derailleur stops ! The steel wheel adds to the weight and well negates the minuscule titanium saddle advantage, but who’s that serious about such things anyhow ? It’s still the lightest bike I own and I’m not a boy racer …

fill that bottle...

fill that bottle… it’s hot out there

The smallest cog is now quite close to the dropouts and is giving some adjustment trouble that I haven’t been able to sort yet. I could do with some gel grips on the levers too, as they become hard to hold after a while, and the drops have the most comfortable grip position for me, so I change hand positions quite often, unlike the all-day easy grip of my swept back roadster bars…

pavement eater

pavement eater

For those wanting for a good non-gumwall 27 X 1 & 1/4″ tyre, have a look at the Bontrager “select K”. they ride pretty well and are a modern looking semi-slick kevlar design that works well on older bikes too.

smooth and grippy

smooth and grippy 27s

find some shade...

gotta find some shade…

Finally, what is perhaps the best thing about riding a well made old steel framed road bike ?

You can go relatively fast, but don’t feel obliged to wear all that lycra advertising – I mean really, when you, the rider, have to pay good money to buy gear that overtly advertises corporate brand names ?

Why doesn’t some clever person make lycra that looks like normal clothes ? Perhaps a safari suit and tie, for example ?

Just kidding, but that’s the modern world for you !

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