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Archive for May, 2015

some great street art ...

some great street art …

This bike was briefly featured in my recent ‘chuck-out-a-thon’ post having been unceremoniously cast out minus the wheels, all oily-gritty and rusty.

protour crx100 62cm

protour crx100 62cm – as found

I was intrigued, as it has an “Australian Made Frame” decal on the seat stays. It is a large framed hybrid, ( 62cm seat tube C-C, 60cm top tube C-C ), and I haven’t found much on the web about ProTour except that they seem to have been made late 80s to early 90s by Southcotts in Adelaide.

Protour is one of those names that turn up a lot of unrelated rubbish when googled, as you can imagine ! Most of the information came from the cycling forums, with someone suggesting there was a tie in with Ricardo somewhere. South Australia seems to have had a lot of bicycle history happening in the 80s and 90s !

Being a hybrid it had flat bars, a riser stem, and I would assume once wore 27″ wheels, from the brake pad locations. The Suntour Accushift 6sp. thumb shifters are rather plasticky and won’t be re-used. Some band-on Suntour down tube shifters are shown below. Crankset was a fairly heavy steel ringed, alloy cranked ( and worn out ) Sugino “Proto” c.52/40T.

some of the yucky bits from the dismantle-a-thon

some of the yucky bits from the dismantle-a-thon ( and the ‘new’ shifters ).

Front Derailleur is a nondescript Suntour, the rear a medium / long cage Suntour XCM ( MTB ). Brake callipers are recessed ProStars in black. Seat pin is 26.4mm dia. and an italian Vetta saddle was fitted. None of this is of much consequence, as it’s the frame I’m most interested in, for it has the ‘feel’ of decent quality about it.

The tubing decal is missing from the seat tube, but I’m guessing from forum comments it may be Tange 5 plain gauge cr-mo or a higher grade Tange chromo steel. Some forums say Protour used Mangalloy steel, similar make-up to Reynolds 531, (?) I am only guessing here …

The frame would definitely benefit from better components. I see it as a comfortable longer distance ride, and will also set it up with some hill climbing ability in mind. The large frame on a bike like this means ( for me ) a comfortable riding position with higher bars due to a low relative saddle height. ‘Experts’ might tell me it’s too big, but from my experience with the refurbished Giant Boulder 550, I think it will be just fine even with the flat-footed stand-over residual height at zero.

Frame angles look on the steepish side so it should be responsive and yet it will have no toe overlap ( I checked ! ). Large frames like these don’t always make the most graceful looking bikes though.

ready and rolling !

ready and rolling !

Typically for a chuck-out it has 126mm rear dropouts (5/6/7 speed) and a 95mm front dropout width (damn that 5mm). At least they are forged/cast dropouts. The fork had the word ‘Falter’ stamped faintly on the stem. The serial number on the BB shell begins with ’90’ so I assume that’s its year of birth.

super vivid scene...

super vivid scene…

I fitted a new VP head set, re-tapped the BB threads and put in a Shimano UN-55 113mm cartridge BB. Cranks are now recycled Shimano – early105, ( FC-1050 ) 170mm. Chain rings are new, T.A. 49T + 38T, from Wiggle UK.

These are marked 9/10 speed and I wasn’t sure how they would go with a 7sp. Cluster and an 8sp. chain … luckily it’s friction shifting ! I had to fit thin spacers between the spider and the inner ring to stop the wider chain scraping on the outer ring. They now work well, but I won’t try this trick with index shifters !

34T on the back - that's mega alright !

34T on the back – that’s mega alright !

The freewheel cluster is a 14-34T Shimano 7sp. ‘Megarange’ but I can’t use the 14T at the moment, because it won’t let the chain clear the chainstay. To prevent this happening I adjusted the ‘H’ stop screw on the rear derailleur to end its travel at 16T, but this needs further investigation.

The 38T is about the smallest front ring that will fit a standard Shimano road 130mm BCD spider and combined with the 34T megarange rear gives a pretty low bottom gear ( at least for a double chain wheel ), albeit with the next lowest rear cog being 10T smaller at 24T. Shifters are Suntour band-on down tube, and sit on the little ‘heart’ where the cable stops once were.

49×16 is not a high top gear for a road bike, but they are 27″ wheels at least, so i’ll wait for a test ride to see whether it will spin out too easily down hills, etc.

I fitted some new Jagwire cables and borrowed the Genetic bar/stem from the Shogun Samurai with the Cane Creek levers – as that bike is due for a re-assessment. The two-tone paintwork had a lot of rust spots which I neutralised, and I did a bit of touch up spraying.

I confess, it’s a bit rough in places !

head tube & protour logo

head tube & protour logo

Instead of recycling and fitting the black Pro Star original callipers, I used some Tektro R539 dual pivot recessed that I happened to have – for a bit of shine ( and better stopping ). Wheels are the Araya 27″ anodised front one from the L.A. 84 and a Suzue sealed tech 126mm on the same type of Araya rim rear.

It’s getting harder to find decent 27″ tyres and at the moment these are reasonable Kendas, but I would prefer something like a 27″ Gatorskin pair ( I only have one of these right now ). If this bike goes really well then a lighter pair of wheels/tyres may be in order ! Lastly, I fitted some Metallic Blue fizik bar tape, before taking it for a spin …

yee-ha !

yee-ha !

I think it rides more smoothly than the Giant 550, and it’s very comfortable. Reckon I could ride this one all day with the B-17 under my bum !

Happy Retro Re-Cycling !

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as found

as found

This bike is an ideal candidate for refurbishment, showing clues to having been used little and parked carefully. The decals are in good condition and there is little paint scratching. It’s original and complete except for the missing seat post and saddle, and I’ve already dated it from the number ’84’ stamped onto the Sakae Custom-A crank set. Sadly by 1984 some nice Apollo details had been dropped, like the alloy head badge, which has been replaced by a metallic decal. The rims too are cheapish Kin Lins on Joytech hubs – Araya on Shimano would have been more likely a few years previous.

rims gone..

the rims & spokes are pretty well gone..

The main issue for the recyclist is the rust – which is to only be expected from the bike’s location. Swansea is low-lying and surrounded by salt water so the chromed steel rims have gone, the spokes and transmission are rusted up and the paintwork is affected by a few ugly rust spots – though they’re not terminal. The mudguard ( fender ) stays are very surface rust-y although the stainless guards themselves are almost unmarked. I don’t think the wheels had ever been removed, judging by the lack of burrs on the nuts.

crank extractor

the crank extractor

When dismantling a bike for overhaul I like to start with a releasing agent on all accessible threads before removing the pedals, followed by the taking off of vulnerable or clumsy parts like chain sets, rear derailleurs and guards. The guards are better removed after the wheels, and it’s also a good idea to slightly loosen the headset, bar clamp and head stem nuts before removing the wheels, to test that they’re not frozen up.

intersting shifter mount - suntour

interesting shifter mount – suntour friction

Often one of the worst trouble spots is the fixed bottom bracket cup, but that takes longer to get to and is probably best removed from a fairly bare frame to avoid damage to other components. Plastic crank axle bolt covers and steel pedal axles in alloy cranks are possible nightmares too. If the plastic cover breaks rather than unscrews, pick it out bit by bit with a small flat screwdriver. if a fixing has both a hex head and screw slots use the hex head if possible. Socket or ring spanners are preferable to open ended or shifting spanners for releasing tough bolts.

the suntour honor rear derailleur is heavy but reliable..

the suntour honor rear derailleur is heavy but reliable..

If you’re new to this, take photos as you go and keep related components together in separate containers. Replacing nuts and bolts back on removed assemblies can help identify where they go later. For paired components such as brake and shift levers. pedals, brake callipers etc. it’s a good idea to dismantle and overhaul one at a time so that there is always an assembled one on hand for cross reference. Concentric assemblies such as headsets can be kept together by threading onto thin wire and tying together in their order of assembly.
Even though i’ve done quite a few of these jobs it’s amazing how easy it is to lose things or to forget part sequences and more so if I am only working sporadically on a project which is why I like to keep organised.

When the chain is this rusty it’s perhaps easier to cut it off with bolt cutters and shout the poor steed a new one. The freewheel here is a classic Suntour 5-speed ‘Perfect’ 14-28T which has a lovely click to it when coasting. This one was frozen up, but it will free up with some oil. The surface rust is typical from lack of use and is relatively easily neutralised. More importantly, I check that the teeth are not chewed up by the chain. This freewheel is unworn on all cogs but a well used one with no rust could easily be worn out, typically on the middle or small cogs depending on the type of use it has had.

pie-plate and 2-prong suntour 'perfect' 5sp.

pie-plate and 2-prong suntour ‘perfect’ 5-spd.

Take the freewheel off before disassembling the back wheel – if you’re going that far that is ! The wheel rim is used as a lever with a 2-prong Suntour tool held in a bench vice and the wheel nut ( or Q.R. skewer ) tightened onto it. Like a steering wheel the rim is turned anti-clockwise until the threads just let go, then remove the nut ( or Q.R. ) and wind the tool and freewheel off by hand. I then disassembled these wheels by cutting the spokes with a bolt cutter for speed – though I usually remove good spokes carefully with a key for re-use if I am keeping the rims.

joytech hubs - the front is worth overhauling

joytech hubs – the front is worth overhauling

These are all the parts of these wheels that I will keep – the 95mm Joytech front hub, the freewheel and the 126mm rear Joytech hub.( I have better rear hubs so I may not be using this one ). The front will be overhauled and re-used as I have many needy sets of typically 95mm wide ‘ten-speed’ forks not to mention this bike’s !

crank axle complete & in good nick

crank axle assembly in reasonable nick

I was pleased to find a plastic shroud over the crank axle. How many old bikes don’t have these and then need a new BB because crud has fallen down the tubes and contaminated the bearings – OK, so no one services BBs, right ?

I’ve lost count … I mean, how much would it cost any maker to have fitted one of these sleeves ?

i'm still working...

i’m still working…now’s a good time to remove the BB.

P.S.  I’ve been enjoying the L.A. 84 single speed conversion lately – it’s so simple to ride !

yummm !

yummm !

To be continued …

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the L.A. 84

the L.A. 84 originally

as converted - version 1

as partly converted – version 1 – three speed

You may remember a while back, dear reader, that I converted a Malvern Star L.A.84 into a three-speed. Well, there were a couple of issues that have caused me to re-think it.

the new version

the new version

Firstly I might say that the L.A.84 has a rather good frame in springy Chro-Moly steel that is a pleasure to use because of its reasonable lightness and good ride quality. It’s much better if one gets rid of the heavy Takagi crank-set ( see top pic. ) and replaces it with an all alloy model. The Dia Compe model 500 brakes are decent, as are the wheels with their Shimano hubs and anodised Araya rims.The original levers are only so-so, as were derailleurs.

a grey ghost

the grey ghost

What caused me to change it again was the Revo-shifter for the 3-speed Nexus, not because it didn’t work but that it restricted the type of handlebars I could use as it won’t go around bar bends and also reduces the right-hand-grip space which can be annoying over a long period. They really are designed for flat or ‘north-road’ style bars that sit high, and I lament the disappearance of the old trigger shifters. While the Revo-shifter worked with the Tange moustache bars i decided i wanted to refit drop bars again.

sturmey-archer single speed

sturmey-archer single speed

Plus, the coaster version of the Nexus was not ideal for a ‘sports bike’ being a bit hard to deal with in combination with a front hand brake. A non-coaster version would have been better for this bike and i could have done that, but instead of fitting a standard freewheeling 3-speed,  I decided to convert it to single speed using a Sturmey Archer flip-flop hub with only an 18T freewheel fitted. This hub was new and reasonably priced and I matched it up with a 95mm Normandy high flange front hub ( 1975 vintage ) salvaged from the Oxford in the previous post. i love the look of hi-flange hubs and like to combine old and new components too. This French made Normandy now has new cones and bearings and polished up well.

restored '75 normandy hi-flange

restored ’75 normandy hi-flange and classic 50s wing nuts

The rims I used were unloved orphans – the front is a Ukai and the rear an Araya, both 27″ alloy with very similar profiles. i can now keep the other wheels with their original rims for a different project. The new wheels are 3-cross with new 296mm spokes, good practice for my truing jig. The Bontrager Select K tyres were re-fitted. I am sorry I didn’t get more of these at the time as I can’t find any now, they are a nice light and fast rolling 27 x 1 & 1/4″. These rims are also both Schrader Valve holed so i re-fitted the Electra rocket ship valve caps. Ka-bling !

giro, fizik, SCR-5

giro, fizik, SCR-5

The brake levers are Cane Creek SCR-5, these are comfortable and have quick releases ( which the callipers do not ). I don’t mind that they are modern pre-brifter style as they work so well. Cables are Jagwire teflon coated and the bar tape is fizik super light in blue, as it was the best colour i could find to suit. Bars are Cinelli Giro d’Italia 42cm with blue Cinelli end caps. i lengthened the stem to 100mm by fitting a Genetic from my collection. Though this bike has a 59cm seat tube, the top tube is only 56cm, so 80mm was a little too short.

b-17 imperial narrow, SR laprade post

b-17 imperial narrow, SR laprade post

The rest of the bike remains as it was. Gearing is 48x18T which is higher than I would normally use but suits the relative lightness of the L.A.84. The gearing is good between about 20-35 km/h which is where I spend most of my time on the flat. Building up speed is gradual at first so as not to stress the knees, and then it comes into its own at sensible middle speeds. The frame probably wouldn’t suit serious fixed gear use because of the front facing pressed rear drop-outs.

luxury for your chain - a hot bath !

luxury for your chain – a hot bath !

The chain was shortened from the 3-speed version as it had a 22T rear cog, and I treated it in a hot bath of ‘Linklyfe’ after cleaning it. It is now thanking me as i ride ! I may change the pedals to classic cages with straps, but I do like the Speedplay Drilliums…

3/4 rear view

3/4 rear view

i am pleased with both the appearance and the ride, and when i think of some of those multi-coloured urban fixed gear conversions i feel that this is a better way to use an older classic frame without destroying all its history in the process.

noice...

noice…

Happy Re-cycling !

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