Archive for the ‘bike wrecks’ Category

Life is short, as we know – but the re-cycle-athon goes on forever …

Welcome to ‘Re-Cyclocross’, a fun outdoor event for amateur re-cyclists. Here is a typical re-cyclocross bike :

oxford international

oxford international

This event traditionally begins at “Chuck-Out Time”, the twice yearly hard waste council pick-up event that’s coming to a suburb near you …. ( OK, so some councils have sadly done away with this tradition but it’s still going strong around these parts ).

This is basically how it goes :

A provincial sport based around finding as many classic ten-speed bikes as possible in a given time, hoisting them over one’s shoulder and carrying said ten-speeds to a waiting ute or van, to then be whisked off to the re-cyclist’s grotto for assessment and / or repair.

I would note here that unlike regular cyclocross where the bike is shouldered to surmount steep hills or obstacles, in re-cyclocross this is usually done because the found bike has no wheels… and I’ve noticed this de-wheeling happening a lot lately. In some ways this is good because the average tyre-kicking citizen is less likely to pick up and keep an incomplete bike.

protour crx100 62cm

protour crx100 62cm – a decent frame

One begins by parking at an appropriate location considering carefully the age demographic of the chosen suburb. For example, new estates are generally a waste of time as the residents tend to only chuck out outgrown kids’ bikes.

no-one wanted this - not even me !

no-one wanted this cheap hybrid – not even me !

Hmmm, then again, the humble kids bike need not always be overlooked as they can be a useful supply of 110mm coaster brakes and 95mm front hubs, often only lightly used. These can be  laced into classic 27″ rims if 36 hole. However I don’t always pick these up as it’s a shame when the bike is complete, as these 16-20 inchers usually are.

hi-stop 110mm coaster from child's bike

hi-stop 110mm coaster from child’s bike

Nevertheless, it’s the classic ten speeds that are the main appeal, like this just found beauty, an Apollo ‘Capri’ ladies 27″ —- cool bananas !

bike find of the week - rusty but straight, paint is reasonable

Often to be found in the older areas where they have had plenty of time to age and rust quietly unused in the garage for a few decades while their owners are otherwise occupied with life. I say ten speeds because one is lucky to ever find a three speed anymore, they are quite rare.

apollo capri

apollo capri – classic !

Anyway, after parking the van the sporting method is to mount one’s bicycle and set off on a block by block time trial around the suburb, carefully balancing the need for speed with the subtle skill of picking out a handlebar or other clue whilst whizzing past countless piles of the once loved leftovers from our culture of materialism.

aha-there's one -- and no, i left it there

aha-there’s one — and no, i left it there

20km/h is plenty fast enough for this section, unless one is being pursued by scrappies or the council truck…this time though, I see less scrap merchants around. Falling iron ore prices, perhaps ?

At least one need not be concerned about other cyclists, they are generally in a different race, busy minding their own business or strava-ing away.

roadmaster gx10 k-mart -  too heavy !

roadmaster gx10 (k-mart) sports – too heavy !

The usual opposition are those scrappies and tyre-kickers driving around in their trucks, utes, 4WDs etc. They will think nothing of snaffling one’s ‘new pride and joy’ while one is engaged in a sprint back to one’s van … ( whew, that was lucky ! ).

Being able to judge bike quality quickly is a skill I’m still working on, because I prefer to swoop quickly and then examine the spoils afterward, at leisure.

speed star single speed - interesting, but poor quality

speed star single speed – interesting, but poor quality frame

Sometimes one sees a lot, sometimes little. Even a single wheel can be useful if it’s the right kind. People don’t generally throw out perfectly useful bikes though, there is always something wrong, however minor.

My best find was a nice silver Shogun Samurai a while back.

a nice find if i do say so ... shogun trail breaker

a nice find if i do say so … shogun trail breaker

This time the best find was probably this Shogun Trail Breaker MTB with Shimano Exage 400 LX components. Many parts will need to be improvised though.

yay, replaceable chain rings and a quality frame !

yay, replaceable chain rings and a quality frame !

All in all I guess the event is a combination of orienteering, time trialling, sprinting, cyclocross, and ‘couch potato in the auto’. ( The truly dedicated would probably use a bike trailer or bakfiets to do the pick-up, adding to the difficulty and immediacy ).

And remember, if that neglected Tommasini or DeRosa has been gazzumped when one returns, it’s only a game … and one should have carried something that good away on the bike immediately … sigh.

off track

But wait – don’t relax yet, the event isn’t over !

The final stage of re-cyclocross is the ‘dismantle-athon’. There are a couple of reasons for this, one being the need to store the useful bits away in as little of one’s limited space as possible. The second reason is the ‘partner factor’ i.e. ” Where did that come from ? You have enough bikes already !!!! Grrr !
Needless to say, the speed of the dismantle is paramount, adding haste to the re-cyclists spanner-work skills !

In this way one can chuck out one’s unwanted bits at one’s very own chuck-out a few weeks later, while appearing as a non-hoarder by actually getting rid of stuff and re-cycling useful scrap metal. Ahh, such subterfuge – I love it !

Happy Re-Cyclocrossing ! ( and don’t forget to smell the flowers when it’s over ).




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Ironically, I saw this bike thrown out on the footpath – together with an old iron gate – on my way to work the other afternoon. Making a recyclist’s mental note I returned at midnight after my shift to find it was still there !

pace citation

pace citation- love the chromed forks – lol

It’s called a Pace “Citation”, but try googling those key words and all sorts of irrelevance comes up. It was sold by Hadley’s Cycles, so someone at the bike shop may remember something of the brand’s history.

a mystery to me ...

a mystery to me …

It’s very neglected but was probably a decent enough bike in its day ..

or magic ?

or magic ?

Originally a 12 speed, the front wheel has a classy Mavic “Module E” 700C alloy rim, albeit in corroded condition, but the rear has been replaced by a heavy steel 27″ Femco.

The chromed fork is heavy-ish and very rusted, and the frame is described as “Cro-moly” but is not particularly light. in weight.

can you see what i mean - to be continued

can you see what i mean ? – to be continued

Partly cleaning the rusty fork has given me an idea – it was so evenly rusted that I will keep some of the rust as an alternative coating finish …

There are signs of minor frontal impact damage on the down tube. This frame is a step up from the very basic 10-speeders as it has decent rear dropouts and an independent derailleur hanger. Due to the fairly small frame size and the degree of neglect, this one might be best dismantled for parts. Rust and white paint aren’t such a good look !

with the rusty apollo II

after phosphoric acid rust remover and with the rusty apollo II

head tubes

a couple of head tubes

I was amused by the handlebar which is a steel Hsin Lung, but with a cosmetic alloy sleeve as the visible ( non-bar taped ) section – cute but rather dodgy dressing-up ! Still, and all, alloy components can have a more limited life due to the long term stress cracking that steel doesn’t suffer from.

sadly, i can't free the pedals

sadly, i can’t free the pedals

The chain set is a Sakae SX, and would be worth re-using if I could remove the pedals – and that’s not a given, due to the dissimilar metals welding together tightly …oh well – I suppose if it were too easy then people wouldn’t throw their old bikes out !

Derailleurs and downtube levers are Shimano SIS.

dia compe levers and vanguard callipers

dia compe levers and rough vanguard q.r. callipers

Dia-Compe alloy levers usually have the date of manufacture stamped on them, which is a very useful thing. These are from 1989 and the cables exit at the bar – worth re-using also, I think, as they don’t have the typical suicide levers and feel comfortable to the hand’s grip.

The missing bidon cage bolts indicate that the owner probably bought a new bike some time back and left this one to the elements …

Back to project Sportstar :

they came up ok

they came up ok

as found on the sportstar

as found on the sportstar

Above are the callipers from the Malvern Star Sportstar, they are Cherry brand  ( model 730 ? ) – Dia-Compe knock-offs, made in Japan. They look OK and are certainly useable, if not state-of-the-art. They were heavily oxidised with some nuts missing, so a few brake nuts were salvaged from the recyclist’s box of tricks. They should work well fitted back onto “Project Sportstar” with the above Dia-Compe levers….

top secret - every recyclist needs one of these !

a box of tricks – every recyclist needs one or more of these !

some vintage bits

some more vintage steel bits !

Another plus for them is that they will reach 700C rims if I decide to fit them to the Sportstar frame. It now looks as though I will be replacing most parts on this bike.

A brass wire brush and steel wool on the brake arms worked pretty well to remove the oxidation without too much collateral damage. I replaced the end copper washers, rubbed “dri-lube” on all the mating faces and fitted new pads.

Another little piece in the puzzle done !

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i think i'm going crazy...

i think i’m going crazy… check the mummified snake combination lock

Something about this frame I found at the local bike hoarder’s yard appealed to me — perhaps it was the rusty orange patina, chrome fork lowers, decent lugs and the traditional Apollo head badge, harking back to times when there was a little more prestige in bicycle making.

I think it’s of 1981 manufacture, but it does look older because of the horrendous condition. It isn’t anything exotic either, being your typical mid-range ten-speed ‘sports bike’, not particularly lightweight and having those trendy (at the time)  useless little cut off mudguards with no stays.

Some times I question my own sanity, but I do like the perverse freedom of a hopeless bicycle repair challenge.

in fact i'm sure ...

in fact i’m sure …

I inquired about the price – “Two dollars is OK, but it’s no good for anything but maybe parts … !”

sigh ...

sigh … that was chrome

Then – “Wait, just take it no charge, it’s been sitting in the yard for 15 years … ! ”

So I may make this an occasional project to illustrate some problems in getting an old ten-speed up and running, though not necessarily in it’s original form. As you can see, the stem, bars, brakes and gears are missing and the rear wheel is a very rusty non-original single speed coaster that has been bodgied into the rear dropouts.

Armed with a can of the excellent  “PB blaster” penetrating spray, and a few well chosen tools, it looked like this after a short period :

the nitty gritty

the nitty gritty

The Sugino double chain set has heavy steel rings with forged 165mm alloy cranks.  I still think it’s a lovely shape for such a basic model.

lovely shape with the guard ring ...

puller still in — a lovely shape to the guard ring …

Removing taper square alloy cranks should be done with care, as it’s really easy to strip out the threads that the puller engages. First disassemble the puller and screw the big thread in by hand first, and then by spanner once you are sure the threads aren’t crossed. it needs to go in as far as it can before the centre pin is screwed in. Make sure you have taken the crank nuts off first (with a 14mm socket spanner generally). In this case both cranks came off very easily – that’s not always the case ! The well greased bottom bracket came apart easily with a c-spanner, a pin spanner – and my Cyclus BB tool for the drive side cup.

there's the nut

there’s the nut – is that 1981 ? – probably

then the puller

then the puller

fork talk

pretty sad

I need to think about which wheels to use, as one of the problems with these old ten speed frames is that the forks are designed for front wheels with spindly axles and being around 95mm width over the locknuts as well – whereas most new wheels are 100mm – you can widen the drop-outs by hand and force them in, sure, but it isn’t good practice to do that.

The “U.V. free” fork stem paint gives the best look at an original colour :

stamped "tange - japan"

stamped “tange – japan”

Also, the rear dropouts on this are around 120mm across, which is too wide for coaster hubs and too narrow for modern derailleur wheels (130mm) – without some modification.

More on this later …

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Here’s a couple of wrecks found in my travels through Swansea, a town that is almost at sea level and prone to storm/tidal floods. I actually wonder if Swansea will still be there in a hundred years, what with the sea-level rises predicted.

dragged from the undergrowth

dragged from the undergrowth

Anyhow the bikes are fine examples of the effects of salt on steel and alloy. The steel rims had rusted away leaving hub and spokes, and the stepthrough was completely un-salvageable. Even the intrepid recyclist walked away…

check the chainwheel - and walk away

check the chainwheel holes – and walk away

shame about this one - though it's nothing really special

shame about this one – nice,  though it’s nothing really special

I managed to save a nice Sakae Ringo 60mm stem from the Univega, and an alloy Hsin Lung (Taiwanese) drop handlebar. Sadly the duralumin cranks were no good. I got the left one off, but the threads on the right were too far gone. That’s the down-side to square tapered alloy cranks – once those internal threads are gone the crank puller can’t do its job. Ah, well.

this SR stem cleaned up OK

this SR stem cleaned up OK

The only way I was able to save the alloy stem is that it was  inserted only just above the wedge so wasn’t electrolytically corrosion-welded to the steel steerer as is usual – amazing ! Lucky the previous owner didn’t injure themselves though…

yikes !

yikes !

Here’s a sneak preview of the Repco on the header shot, that I’ve been re-working. To be featured next time.

forever swansea ...

forever swansea …

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