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Archive for November, 2015

 

This is my ‘go-to’ bike, for when I am in a hurry to get somewhere, and it’s also one of the bikes I actually paid good money for ( ! ), due to it having an ideal personal frame size, the paintwork’s excellent condition for age, and its curious mix of components.

a previous incarnation

a very slightly previous incarnation

After spending some time on a bike, I like to think of ways to improve and / or personalise it, and so it was with this one, as follows :

600ex arabesque

600ex arabesque chainset & fd

I swapped the crank set from the lone Shimano 105 Golden Arrow 52/42 ‘Bio-pace to Shimano 600EX ‘Arabesque’ ( early 80s ). This required a change of bottom bracket from 119mm to 116mm for chain line, and so I fitted a new Shimano cartridge BB.

The Golden Arrow and Arabesque designs are two wonderfully decorative Shimano series. The Arabesque chain wheel retains it’s original “W-cut” 52T big ring but I had to replace the worn inner with a T.A. 39T.
I retained the Arabesque front derailleur and also the RX100 rear derailleur. I thought of fitting an Arabesque rear derailleur as well, but so far have retained the RX100 7-spd., and even though it isn’t as good a visual match, it works effectively. RX100 sat between the 500 Exage and 105 series from the late 1980s – for those who care about such things !

rx100rd

rx100rd

The down-tube shifters were changed to Dura-Ace 9 speed as I don’t have any indexed 7-speed ones. This may be temporary as the indexing is not correct in the larger cogs, though I can use them as friction shifters, if necessary, for hills.

is red faster ?

is red faster ?

I’ve tried a couple of sets of wheels as the original Mavic MA40s seemed a bit heavy so I tried Ambrosio Extra 19 Elites ( which were definitely lighter ), then finally ( ? ) the pair of greenish bronze 32H Arayas from the Shogun. The front is re-laced to a new Shimano 105 – 5700 hub while the rear is a Shimano RX100 – because it is the correct width ( 126mm ) and takes a 7-speed cassette which is the theoretical max. for 126mm dropouts. I fitted a 12-28T cassette to replace the 13-23T on the old 6-speed threaded hub. I prefer the look of silvery rims to the black/grey Mavics on this bike too.

The single pivot 1990s Campagnolo Veloce brakes were swapped with the RX100 dual pivots from the Shogun, and there’s no comparison – the RX100s are great stoppers with better modulation.

The older EX Arabesque levers with round drillings also feel better in the hand than the original ‘newer’ 600 slotted models, and are more reasonably comfortable without their gel hoods. This bike is easy for me to ride and brake in the ‘drops’.

swoopy b15

swoopy b15

The saddle is a beautiful Brooks B15 Swallow ‘select’ which is the ‘sportiest’ and least restrictive Brooks, yet it still has a decent amount of ‘give’ in the leather.

brooks & cinelli

brooks & cinelli

I replaced the Cinelli XA 80mm stem and ‘Criterium’ bars with the more comfortable ‘Giro d’Italia” bars and a Nitto 100mm stem for a better personal fit. The new red Jagwire cables are a spot on colour match ( i.m.h.o. ! ).

giro d' etc..

giro d’ etc..

The bar tape is thicker Cinelli Gel Cork in Natural finish – it’s easier on both the eye and on the wrists than the previous white tape.

moon comet rear

moon comet rear

With the little Brooks saddle bag fitted, I had trouble finding somewhere to fit the rear light so I went for a Moon ‘Comet” rear light that comes with a saddle rail bracket. It’s very discreet when off and very bright when on, and it has a nice permanently integrated appearance on this bike, albeit being a bit difficult to access.

I also had a brainwave to use the Soma bar end flashers for an extra bit of bling-y-ness ( pretend read : safety ! ).

Tufo ‘tubular clincher” tyres complete the build, and if you haven’t heard of these, they are a tubular style integrated tube / tyre that fit a normal clincher rim and therefore don’t require tub tape, or glue, or even rim tape !

c-hi tubular clincher

c-hi tubular clincher

when is a tub not a tub ?

when is a tub not a tub ?

I decided to try these because I was so impressed with the S33 24mm tubulars on my Shogun. Though maybe not quite as ‘floaty’ as the pure tubulars they are very supple for a 23mm tyre and, in common with other Tufos I have now tried, they change direction effortlessly and quickly, and are very fast rolling and confidence inspiring tyres. The ‘C Hi-Composite’ version has a higher casing thread count than the S33 which means it should be relatively more supple.

underneath

underneath

The restrictions being the recommended rim sizes ( these ‘C-Hi’ also come in 26mm for wider rims too ) and that you need ‘thumbs of steel’ to initially fit them. The only way to repair a puncture is with sealant so they may not be for everyone but I do recommend trying them. I’m running these at 90 psi rather than the recommended 115+ and they seem fine at this pressure…

Also with these tyres there is a rubber lip that sits atop the rim walls and this needs to be kept clear of brake pads.

As it stands now, the Vectre is my best ‘long distance’ steel road bike, along with the smaller, slightly lighter Shogun Samurai and it’s quicker than my larger and heavier ( but comfortable ) ProTour. I just wish I knew more of its previous history…

See Ya !

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conqueror loopy

conqueror loopy

I recently had the kind offer of a bike to restore from reader Justin, in the shape of a ladies’ Conqueror loop frame. Just like yours truly, he didn’t want to see a bit of Australian history just thrown away in his local council chuck-out …

stencilled and lined...

stencilled and lined…

It seems that Conqueror was a company from northern New South Wales but there is little info on the web, as is typical with many things ‘old Aussie bike’. I spotted only one other, a red diamond frame 3-speed in the web forums.

Interestingly when I googled the brand, I came across one of my own photos from the 2013 Newcastle Tweed Ride !

another one seen at the 2013 newcastle tweed ride !

another one seen at the 2013 newcastle tweed ride !

This bike is very complete, and that’s mostly what appealed to me. It is also in pretty reasonable condition for age, and sports an original Bell ‘Lady’s’ model 80 saddle which bears a close resemblance to the current Brooks B18 ‘Lady’ leather saddle.

made in oz

made in oz

bell 'lady's'

bell ‘lady’s’

Serial number under the bottom bracket shell is V59158 and the Czech ‘Velamos’ 40H coaster hub is stamped ’58 10′ so I assume the bike was finished in 1959. This hub is virtually identical to the Favorit and Renak European coasters of the period and is very weighty compared with later 70s Shimanos.

can you believe it ?

can you believe it ?     – the original colour

As with my Speedwell loop frame the original colour was completely different to now, showing the remarkable fading power of our southern sun on bright 1950s paint. Seeing is believing – the original main colour was a bright candy red as is shown under the chain guard bracket.

The bike must have been truly spectacular when new !

lovely lining work ..

lovely lining work ..

There is a gold coating under the transparent red to reflect light through it, though it has now all degraded to a very sedate ‘vintage port’ colour. The seat stays are bolted on, much like Speedwells and Malvern Stars of the period.

Given the lovely hand-lining details it would be crazy to repaint it, still, the paint is oxidised and quite fragile.

There are hooks for a skirt guard under the back axle nuts, and the matching holes are drilled in the guard. The plastic coated wire basket has a support on the fork crown that doubles as the mud guard fixing.

an old 'woods' valve

an old ‘woods’ valve

The 28 x 1 & 3/8″ rims are Australian made and painted & lined to match the frame, the front hub is a German Durex ’55’ – 32H – in very poor internal condition. I have a much better almost identical hub shell in my box of tricks, so I should only need cones and bearings to make it go again.

'three arrows' crank set

‘three arrows’ crank set

The 37-642 tyres are one Australian made Dunlop Atlantic and one later Vee Rubber ( Thailand ) though it’s more rounded in profile than the current ones.

Stay tuned for another restoration …

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