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Archive for the ‘kuwahara road bicycle’ Category

as bought – “before”

as is now – “after”

I bought this one locally, but it turns out it’s come a long way – from North End bicycles in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada !  Well, it was sold there 30 years ago, at least. I wonder if the shop is still trading ?

Researching the model on the internet shows a couple of others that were listed in Canada, and I haven’t seen many Kuwaharas in Australia as it seems Apollo is the common ‘Kuwahara’ made brand here. I’d rather fancied a higher end Apollo ( IV or V ), so I guess this is sort of… ‘it’ !

sugino vp110

It’s a 57 x 57cm c.t.c. frame, a good size for me. Running gear is Sugino VP ( cranks and seatpost ), Suntour ( alpha-5000 derailleurs & shifters, 6-speed indexed ) and DiaCompe (brake levers and callipers ).  The Dia-Compe callipers are labelled to match the alpha-5000 Suntour gear.

yum ! ishiwata cro-mo..

Frame tubing is Ishiwata EX triple-butted cro-moly and the frame is quite light and has an appealing ring when tapped. The Tange fork sings like a tuning fork, in the same way, so I’m hoping it’s a really nice ride. The wheels were Araya 700c with Suzue hubs and a not-so-flash Selle Anatomica saddle was fitted.

i couldn’t help a little bit of lug-lining

The head tube paint was chipped on one side as though it’s been given a rough ride in the back of a ute, but the frame is straight and looks in good nick otherwise.

On dismantling, the bottom bracket is in great condition for a 30 year old, and the reason is that the cups have rubber seals for the spindle and there is a plastic seal between the cups – brilliant !  So it’s a clean and regrease only, plus ‘routine’ new 1/4″ ball bearings – yay.

I did myself a favour and reassembled the BB with copa-slip for next time. There was one crank spindle nut cover which I had to drill out, as the metal cap had fused to the crank, and the allen key hole rounded off. At least you can break the chromo-plastic ones and chip them out…    It’s a good idea to re-fit these covers’ threads with a little anti-seize as well.

The steering bearings were also straightforward, cleaned and re-greased.

A few mods. seemed in order, starting with the cranks – I happened to have a similar crank set in 110mm, so I swapped it for the existing 130mm Sugino VP so I could fit smaller rings. The 52/40T has become a 46/34T. This sounds drastic but it’s not as severe as one might think.

I first fitted a set of old Campagnolo record hubs with Nisi rims, but the notched braking surface on the rims does not make a happy noise when stopping, and also, I sadly couldn’t get a small ‘hop’ out of the rear rim. Hops can be quite annoying when noticeable.

sadly, these nisi rims didn’t work for me — note the nicely brazed-on brace for the seat stays

So I decided to use a set of 32H new Mavic Reflex rims on a Shimano RX100 7-speed hub rear and 105/5700 on the front, and these wheels ride nicely and brake quietly.

Tyres are Tufo S33 tubulars in 23mm.

105 front hub, with RX100 skewers & mavic reflex rims

I kept the original callipers, front derailleur, shifters, and seatpost and changed the levers to a set of drilled TRPs. These levers are modern non-brifters and ‘aero’ cabled with a dog-leg partway down the lever. They look good and work pretty well, but I really think that while the ‘dog-leg’ levers may be better suited to braking from the hoods than traditional levers, perhaps they’re not as easy when braking from the drops.

drilled TRP levers

I was told by the previous owner that this bike was once used by a female triathlete for training, which could explain the short 60mm ‘Win’ stem. I replaced it with an 80mm Genetic stem, and 44cm Cinelli ‘Giro d’Italia bars replaced the Win Kusuki bars that were on it. The Cardiff leather tape seems more comfortable than the Brooks equivalent, but I think that all leather tapes come in too-short-a-lengths !

hot summer = a sweaty rolls

New brake and gear cables, and chain fitted, and the rear derailleur has been changed to a Shimano tricolour 600, now working friction mode on a 7sp. 12-28T cassette.

i decided to go with this better condition r.d.

One might think that 46 x 12T is a low top gear, but I rarely find myself above 40km/h, so I really think it’s plenty. The 34 x 28T bottom gear, however, will be very useful.

how she rolls – just don’t sweat it !

Though I’m normally a confirmed Brooks person, I fitted a San Marco ‘Rolls’ saddle, though I find the suede finish is prone to getting very wet with perspiration in hot weather-  ( today’s ride temp was at 35C degrees, for example, according to the Garmin – somewhat different to that of Winnipeg ! ). The Rolls is pretty comfortable, and a great looking saddle too, but in the end I may still go back to a Brooks.

Happy Re-Cycling !

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