I’ve mostly enjoyed the time spent riding this bike and have taken some time to make a few needed improvements to it. The general idea is for something that can be easily ridden at a steady 25 km/h or so, all day, in decent comfort as it’s not going to be a very light bike – no matter what lightweight accessories are fitted to it.
It has a strong frame with no noticeable flex and a very comfortable ride, but with responsive steering for such a large frame – its 61cm seat tube is technically ( but not practically ) too large for me, but this allows a traditional low seat relative to the bars resulting in a very comfortable ‘distance’ riding position.
Have a look at some distance racing bikes from decades ago – such as long distance record holder Beryl Burton’s – the saddles are only around an inch higher than the bar tops … and in my case the drops can become the default position with the hoods and tops giving an ‘almost upright’ position that’s great for traffic or scenery watching.
This Protour also takes most bumpy asphalt – even in corners – in its sedate, unwavering stride.
What I felt really needed changing were the tyres, the shifters and, now since I’d found a decent triple chainset that suited, then I would try that too.
I finally located a second 27″ Continental Gatorskin tyre to replace the previous sluggish Kenda ’27 inchers’ — hooray ! These tyres are hard to find now in this size, but at 85 psi they roll further, grip better, don’t squirm when cornering and are comfortable at 32-630 ETRTO – or 27 x 1 & 1/4″ size.
The Shimano Ultegra 8 speed bar end shifters were just the ticket because down tube shifters can be a pain to reach on large frames like this. Surprisingly the indexing seems to work nicely on the 7 speed cluster – I did think I’d be using it in friction mode ! These shifters aren’t cheap but they do come with all cables and fittings, and are pretty good value as such.
As there are no braze-ons for down tube shifters I used old style 10 speed clamp-on cable stops instead of the supplied down tube adjusters.
The front derailleur doesn’t really need the adjuster ( friction ) and the rear can still be adjusted at the derailleur end, as well as at the cable clamp itself. The only real difference is having to stop to adjust the indexing – if ever needed.
So far the indexing hasn’t missed a gear which is more than I can say about the front friction shifting, at least while I’m acclimatising to the changes on the triple !
Speaking of which, the previous derailleurs were replaced with the Shimano Exage 400 long-cage from the Shogun MTB chuck-out I found last year. The chain rings have been replaced with T.A. 48/38/30 and the cassette is a 13-28T which should cover any hill in my area. The 110 mm PCD Exage 400 crank set would have allowed a ( 74mm PCD ) 27 or 28T inner if I had wanted to go that low..
As the bottom bracket from the donor Shogun was shot, I had to invest in a 122.5mm Shimano cartridge to suit.
Lightweight mud guards would be nice on this, but I cant seem to find any that clear the Tektro R539 brakes.
The bike rides like new – as it should when nearly all the bearings and components have been replaced or serviced. In this case it was worth it for such a competent frame to be given a second life.
Other things that have happened recently –
1) the Wheels on Wheeler event was a fun day, though I thought it would have been really brilliant if it were on the same day as Olive Tree markets at least as far as numbers go. Ah, well…
2) I’ve discovered Lycra (!) and it’s comfortable – but I still don’t ride in it everywhere, and I’m pretty fussy about not trying to look too much like a road-geek !
Well, I can always put my baggy shorts over the top of my Funkier gel ones when I get off the bike. Along with my budget Aldi jersey and $10 Salvos Fila shoes I’m well ahead in the comfort and dollar stakes, though I am looking at better Morvelo & Maloja gear online as well. Nothing ‘team’ for me though, readers !
Oh, and rear jersey pockets are great for wallets ( compulsory I.D. in N.S.W. — groan ! ) but where on earth is one supposed to put a decent camera ?
Happy Re-Cycling !