Archive for the ‘vintage/classic bicycles’ 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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speedwell special sports

speedwell special sports

This frame, presumably a ‘Special Sports’ model was overlooked in my post ” A Brace of Speedwells ” as it came without a fork and with very sad original paintwork. Sometimes the appeal of a bike takes a while to grow, and also a little thought is needed as to how to proceed with its conservation or refurbishment.

I visualised this one as a kind of semi-sporty 3-speed fitted with some non-period components. I decided to add these components to give the bike a bit of shine and to make it a nicer user. There are parts spanning over different decades, starting with a new ‘reproduction’ chromed steel fork and a new alloy threaded head set.

Note – not having the original fork gave me the perfect excuse to modernise the bike guilt free, but I won’t be repainting this or any of the other Speedwells – except the ‘Flash’ of a couple of posts ago which had lost all its original finish after a previous owner’s repainting.

character !

that’s character !

The new fork steerer was a bit long, but instead of shortening it again I’ve added several spacers to get the bars a little higher. They were going to be 42cm steel randonneur bars in a Soma “Sutro” 80mm stem at first, as shown in these photos.

However, after some initial rides on it I began to suffer dull aches and stiffness in my forearms and hands, which became quite unbearable both on, and finally, off the bike as well…

I put it down to the narrow diameter and very rigid bars, a problem made worse with the thin leather tape. The combination had no give at all. I now conclude that the beautiful and tactile Brooks bar tape is only suited to drop bars if there is  a deal of compliance in the bike as set up, unless the tape is heavily overlapped and/or the riding position is quite upright.  In this case even overlapping the tape more didn’t help.

I’ve since changed to Tange moustache bars after unsuccessfully trying thicker tape. The pain has now subsided and yes, I can feel some flex in the much wider bars as weight is applied to them – a good thing in this case !

I’m now using Cardiff cork grips on the ends but would like to add some bar tape around the levers as well. I’m still trying to figure out what to use so that it doesn’t look silly, however at least the bike rides well now !

Wheels are 27 X 1″ alloy presta valve 36 holed rims with a Sturmey Archer high flange front hub (new) and the compact Shimano 3S hub that I restored some time back ( Yes, I know it’s not period or marque  correct, but… ).

well at least the front one is a sturmey-archer !

well at least the front one is a sturmey-archer !

Using the new fork meant that I could also use a more modern 100mm wide track style hub – yay !

Brakes are modern Tektro R559 ( nutted ) extra long drop with Dia – Compe levers. The Tektros work much, much better than what would have been the original callipers, and they are great for older frames with large clearances or where 27″ to 700c conversions are being contemplated when standard road brakes just won’t cover the 8mm smaller diameter .

They don’t really have a classic appearance but are at least nice and shiny, and actually stop the old bike rather well.

New Jagwire brake cables were fitted, and an original Shimano 3S click shifter has a jockey wheel mounted near the bottom bracket. The top tube cable clips are re-cycled Shimano ‘Dura-Ace’ … Cool Bananas !

a cable jockey tucked away

a cable jockey tucked away

The Shimano click shifter works pretty well but is a bit plasticky looking compared with period Sturmey Archer triggers. The moulded face-plate doesn’t survive outdoor neglect as well either.
I like the way this gear cable runs along the down tube as it means the top tube isn’t visually overloaded with cable and it hints a little of the old Sturmey Archer cable jockey wheels – albeit at the opposite end of the seat tube.

miche xpress chain set

miche xpress chain set

The BB is a Miche Primato sealed 107mm with a Miche X-press chainset ( JIS ). The X-press chainset has quite a classic style – for a modern crank anyway, and I think it suits this bike.
Gearing is 48 x 21T – i.e for second or ‘normal’ gear, a little lower perhaps than for gearing a single speed. Tyres are Continental Ultra Sport 27 x 1 & 1/8″ – I didn’t know these were available until recently as they are also hard to find.

what's left of the down tube decal

what’s left of the down tube decal

I’ve learnt that with the old Speedwell paintwork a rub over with a beeswax leather dressing will help keep the paint together and also bring back some colour and lustre, whereas a glossy clear coating is rather more final and not as natural looking.

seat tube decal

seat tube decal

It would appear that this frame has faded from a purple-red originally, with the down tube paint stencilling of the earlier Special Sports seemingly replaced by a different style of decal to the other examples I have. This makes me think that it’s a later model than the others, as is suggested by it not having a bottom bracket oiler – but again I am only guessing.

The frame number is W(?)23725 – I’m not absolutely sure of that ‘W’ though.

The shine of alloy and chrome helps lift the dull paintwork and yet makes it more subtle at the same time.



It’s a responsive but not overly quick handler that can do a surprising turn of speed for an oldie – especially in a tailwind !

Happy Re-Cycling !

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Or should that be a swarm ?

not so 'flash' - at the moment, anyway.

not so ‘flash’ – at the moment, at least – also, this saddle isn’t the original.

I’ve recently acquired a number of Speedwell frames and associated parts from a down-sizing collector, mostly of the ‘Special Sports’ model but also including this roughly re-painted (but at least straight-framed) ‘Flash’ model.

pretty rough..

interesting, but pretty rough..

The Flash has a mix of components – a Speedwell stem minus the red “rocketship” end plug, a lovely Pelissier ‘Plume’ high flange alloy rear hub on a 27″ Mavic alloy rim and Weinmann 610 “Vainqueur 999” centrepull brakes are some of the interesting parts.

pelissier 'plume' french made hub

pelissier ‘plume’ french made ’36H flip-flop’ hub

after some effort

and again, after some effort..

appears to be a replacement ? - an atom front hub

appears to be a replacement ? – an atom 36H front hub

From a recyclist’s point of view the Special Sports models have the advantage of a solid brake bridge and properly brazed on seat stays which means that a coaster rear hub isn’t necessary, however the rear spacing is the same 110mm as the Popular so it will take either a period fixed/free hub, an internal gear hub or even a coaster if desired.

The bikes have rear facing horizontal dropouts – i.e. ‘track style’ ends – rather than the cheaper style pressed down ends of the Popular.

this green one is in the best overall condition

this green one is in the best overall & original condition

At the front end, the forks fit the typical 90-95mm hub with a 5/16″ axle, the same as most old Aussie bikes. Older models have the fork tips that must be pulled wider to allow wheel removal, due to the flange on the cone ends that mates with the drilling out of the fork tip.

Sort of early “lawyer tabs” I suppose .. The dropout and front axle widths also mean that modern front hubs can’t be used without modification. Modern track front hubs have thicker front axles and are 100mm O.L.D. , and the rears are at 120mm over the locknuts.

this one had been re-painted with new repro decals

this one has been re-painted and has new reproduction decals

The Special Sports rims are 27″ chromed steel with 40 hole rear drillings, which makes life a little difficult if one wishes to convert to alloy rims while using the original hubs. 36 hole rears would have made things easier – ah well.

On the front the hole count is 32. The 27 inch ( 32 – 630 ) rims at least have a basic but decent range of tyres still available (including Conti Gatorskins if you can find them !) which is a definite plus when compared with the 28 x 1 & 3/8 ” ( 37- 642 ) size of the populars.

the oldest one is my favourite, but it has damaged forks

the oldest one is my favourite, but it has damaged forks – note the different down tube stencil to the others, and the chromed fork legs.

i love the flag decals

i like the colour and decals on this oldie

The blue one above looks to be mid 1950s and is the only one to have the older style flared head tube – the remainder have removable cups for their loose 1/8″ bearings.

I have a feeling that the flag and crown motif somehow relates to the coronation of Q.E.II in the early 1950s.

AW-63, SW-57, SW-59

AW-63, SW-57, SW-59

A number of 40 hole Sturmey-Archer hubs were purchased with the  frames, including a 1971 coaster, a 1966 FW 4-speed , a 1963 AW 3-speed and 2 x SW 3-speeds ’57 & ’59 – apparently a somewhat unreliable model that did have some good points, but was fairly quickly dropped from the S-A catalogue after 1959 or 60 !

The early SW (centre) has the double indicator rod with left hand window. Note how much more compact it is than the usual AW model due to having one less planet gear (i.e. 3), and they also have slightly wider ratios than the AW.

Sheldon Brown’s site has quite a bit of info on this somewhat obscure hub. They should make for some curious tinkering fun down the track…

the typical later down tube stencil

the typical later down tube stencil

seat tube decal 'made in sydney'

seat tube decal


the top tube decal is - at this age - usually badly worn

the top tube decal is – at this age – usually badly worn

There are also some fixed/ free ( or flip-flop ) rear hubs, including some Speedwell branded ones and also a single sided Brampton freewheel hub in fine shape.

Front hubs include a rough BSA, an excellent condition Bayliss-Wiley, some Speedwells and a Phillips – all 32H, and the chainsets are all cottered Williams 5-pin.

The Special Sports models feature the lovely hand applied pin lining and the typically detailed decals of the era, and would originally have been very brightly metallic coloured over a gold or silver coloured base – that is until the Australian sunlight typically faded their brilliance – however that deterioration now tends to complement the bikes’ age and grace.

a nice patina on the red one ..

a nice patina on the red one .. flashes of the original brilliance here and there

They would have come with mudguards, I think (?), but not many guards will have survived after 50 odd years. The above red frame came with a pair, at least.

Perhaps my favourite is still the early model blue one with the flag decalled and chromed forks, and even though the paint is very worn on the top tube, and the forks somewhat bent, I would still like to try and repair this one later on.

I can’t show them fully in the space of this post, nor do I have the space or time at the moment to build them all up, so I shall be selectively presenting their progress in future posts.

And Happy Re-Cycling !

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This one was something of an exercise in how to refurbish a bike without making it look refurbished.

The longer I go on bike restoring, the more I like to take the softly softly approach, at least with bikes that are in original condition. I don’t see the point in repainting and re-chroming things unless there’s a very, very, good reason for it. So often the new bit will look out of place..

Of course I always like to make sure that everything is working as well as possible mechanically, as that’s half the pleasure of riding a bike.

There are a few things I like to do cosmetically like neutralising the worst rust, brightening up the paintwork, chrome, or alloy – in this case I merely applied a liquid wax to the paintwork so as not to damage the hand lining. On a bike that will be garaged and well maintained, a small amount of surface rust can be tolerated.

It’s a slight shame the head and seat tube decals have almost disappeared on this bike. Sometimes I will clear-coat the decals to prevent further deterioration. Stencilled or hand-painted graphics such as on the down tube generally last better than old decals.

i think it looked better dried out !

i think it looked better dried out !

Mechanically speaking, the steering head was overhauled with new 1/8″ loose bearings, the bottom bracket was re-assembled with new 1/4″ bearings. New cones and 3/16″ bearings were fitted to the ‘new’ front hub shell, and then the rear coaster brake hub was overhauled.

the 'new' hub

the ‘new’ hub

Thanks to good sealing on the old coaster hubs the bearings are usually in good shape, with the common exception being the bearings that run inside the outer drive screw of the coaster brake. As these only operate when the sprocket turns they’re not super critical, and I have replaced the pitted caged bearings with loose new ones sometimes, if needed.

something old, something older

something old, something older

I had to change the chain set as the right hand crank was bent, so I used the one off ‘loopy’. Finally a new chain and rear track cog – 19T. Bikes with chain guards need a good gap between the crank and chainwheel and not all cottered cranks are suitable.

reversed surly cog & a lock ring

reversed surly cog & a lock ring

Though it probably doesn’t appear so, I dismantled the wheels and re-spoked them. I used the original spokes to rebuild them so that they still look authentic ( Plus, 312mm spokes aren’t that easy to find anymore ! ).
It’s also much easier to clean dismantled wheels than built ones and I find the result makes the extra time worthwhile.

Upon cleaning the rims I found they were stamped near the valve holes with “Dunlop” and “Made in Australia”. They seem to be date stamped too, but I can’t make out the numbers.

I decided not to re-fit the front basket as it was broken, and so the bike looked a bit bare when re-assembled. I fitted my grandfather’s old Miller light set ( which should be roughly period authentic ) and I think this gives it just enough decoration along with the de-rusted bell. The lights do work, by the way, and I may fit a rear rack too.

ta-da !

ta-da !

I used plastic zip ties for the lamp wiring so as not to damage the paint with metal clips – not quite authentic, but there you go.

Happy Re-Cycling !

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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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loop frame - as found

The last day of the spring heatwave and I’m out early, spinning on the Shogun, before the worst of the furnace.

It’s still chuck out season here, but there’s slim pickings so far. Yet something made me double back, and in the last dead end of the last street, with council pickup trucks circling ominously, I spotted this bike.

graceful curves

a graceful curve – if one ignores the lever

Always a sucker for an old loop frame I did the time trial thing back to the van and, dripping with perspiration, returned to the scene.

no-name centrepull

no-name steel centrepull brake

It was still there !

original bayliss-wiley hub with oil port

original bayliss-wiley hub with oil port

Sadly, it has been repainted and covered with cheap looking “Belmont” decals, so I may never know what it was. It is a typical old Aussie bike with 28″ ( that’s the 642mm version } 700A wheels.

While the front wheel is 32H the rear is a 36H, rather than the typical 40H, and sports a Shimano coaster brake. The rims and other chrome have been silver over-painted.

mid 70s shimano coaster

mid 70s shimano coaster

The frame looks pre-1950s to me and I wondered if the wheels were updated later, yet the front hub sports an oil port, and the locking flanges match the fork perfectly.

this is an obvious addition - as there's no hole in the bridge !

this is an obvious addition – as there’s no hole in the bridge !

I’m certain that both the hand brakes are late additions, and of course the plastic saddle and  the chromed fenders are too.

In fact, I’m beginning to think that the old bike was refurbished around the mid 1970s and given a new back wheel.

The front hub is a Bayliss-Wiley – probably original – and there is paint on the rim underneath the silver that is not present on the rear.

never seen one of these - in aluminium !

never seen one of these before – in aluminium too ! i’ve no idea if it’s original ..

looks like a williams but with no markings ...

looks like a williams, but with no markings …

Other interesting features include a patterned cut away aluminium ( ! ) chain guard, the unusual horizontal rear drop outs, the elegantly curved handlebars with their dainty short cut-off and stubby green Italian plastic grips. The seat stays are bolted to the drop-outs but fixed to the seat tube. I have seen similar drop-outs on 1930s bikes and I’m now thinking that this frame may be the oldest one in my collection.


old style loose ball brampton headset

As a project it will be a lot of hard work, but could make a great looking ride once I lose that horrid blue house-paint colour !

Already I’ve had to drill out the frozen cotter pins and the fixed bottom bracket cup ain’t goin’ nowhere either… but it does look to be in good shape at least.

vintage drop outs, these - and i assume that's pet hair on the chain !

vintage drop outs, these – and i assume that’s pet hair on the chain !

Thinking, thinking …

See Ya !

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the vectre

the vectre

The young woman from my local antique shop tapped on the van window as I was parked nearby – “I think the boss wants to show you a bike” … “Uh oh”, I say to myself , ” Not another bike, I’m flat out re-cycling as it is. ”

“OK, I’ll have a look then, thanks”. It was nice they remembered me at least, though I have purchased a few bikes there previously, including the Malvern Star LA84 and Speedwell Classique 3.

So out the back of the shop I go.  He says ” I was going to keep this but don’t think I’ll ever get to ride it so I’m selling – asking $X for it. Thinks “Vectre, Vectre .. doesn’t ring a bell” so I googled it later, but with no result.

“The owner had it up on his wall, it’s from a deceased estate” . I was struck by how clear and clean the rich red paintwork was, surely this bike had hardly seen the Australian sun since the mid-80s when it was new. Well, unless it’s a repaint that is …

Also it’s a 59cm seat tube and 57cm top tube, a pretty good size for me ( meaning that I don’t have to stoop to the drops as with some smaller of my road bikes. So, I succumbed…

non-drive side

non-drive side

The Component List :

Frame and fork : Unidentified frame tubing, Columbus dropouts front and rear.



I haven’t fully dismantled the frame, so it’s hard to gauge it’s actual weight, but the quality of fittings and finish,  braze-ons and lugs suggest it’s pretty good tubing. No identifying stickers observed.

Head-set : Shimano – I can’t identify the model on Velobase, plastic covers in grey with no major lettering but definitely Shimano.

criterium 65 bars

criterium 65 bars

Stem and bars : Cinelli XA 80mm alloy quill, Cinelli “Criterium 65” – 42cm c-c alloy drop bars.
The Cinelli Criterium bars are still made, though the current milky anodised finish is slightly more matte looking than these.

criterium 65

criterium 65

Seat post : Unidentified with black fluting and clamp, c. 27.0mm , Zeus seat post clamp pin.

Saddle : Iscaselle Tornado dark brown mottled leather covered. Now replaced by B17 Imperial Narrow due to my personal riding preferences.

golden arrow

‘golden arrow’ logo, some fine scratching

Crank set : Shimano FC-S125 ( i.e. 105 ‘Golden Arrow’ ) This early 105 version gives a visual nod to the more decorative 600EX Arabesque group, but is not as obvious by having a simpler motif. Fitted to it are Biopace 52/42T elliptical chainrings. I very much like the look of the “Golden Arrow” group, later named  “105” ( which is still Shimano’s current third level down from Dura-Ace and Ultegra (formerly “600” or “Ultegra 600” in the 1980s ). I haven’t been aware of this early 105 group until now.

Hubs : Shimano HB6207 600 series Q.R. They’re running smoothly, though I’m sure a re-greasing will add to their longevity. ( Now done ! )

mavic ma40

mavic ma40

Rims : Mavic MA40 box section anodised grey, eyeletted, with the red diamond trademark ( pre 1988 ). Strong looking 700C clincher rims, and rather difficult to get tyres onto and off !

veloce callipers - a tight fit

veloce callipers – a tight fit

Brakes : Campagnolo Veloce side pull callipers, Shimano 600 levers — no Q.R. on either ( curses ! ). A nice looking ‘Campagnolo’ script graces these basic brakes. They have a respectable stopping ability on this bike, even with their original pads.

Front derailleur : Shimano 600EX Arabesque.

Rear derailleur & shifters : Shimano RX100 SIS with Z series freewheel cluster 13-23T – 6-speed SIS ( indexed ). SL-S434 indexed shifters.

The RX100 series is also roughly equivalent in level to Shimano’s 105 group which superseded it.

shimano 600 series pedals

swoopy – shimano 600 series pedals

Pedals : Shimano PD-6207 with toe clips.

Extras : Zefal fpX4 long frame pump ( presta valve ). Neat old school – Park Tool does a similar new version of this full frame pump.

And 2 x Duro IRC “triathlon” high pressure 27 x 1″ cotton gum wall ( ! ) tyres. New old stock. I’m wondering why not 700c ? Maybe the Mavic wheels are more recent ?

The tyres will come in handy for some other wheels I have.

This bike has very little in the way of patina, it looks so new. Cared for and ridden little. Dare I say that it’s lacking in visual character ? Red isn’t my fave colour either … ah, well.

A stored bike that is nearly 30 years old is bound to have dry bearings, and so it was that the steering failed the “no hands” test miserably. A closer look revealed that there was no seal on the fork crown race and tacky dry looking grease in there. A closer inspection showed brinelling of the races. The crown race was ISO 26.4mm so I had to wait for a headset to be ordered.

the bb shell

the bb shell

While waiting for some better tyres and the headset I decided to have a look at the bottom bracket. The slotted shell isn’t something you see on cheap bikes, and requires a seal of some sort be fitted for the vulnerable bearings. The BB is in good shape, a traditional cup and loose bearing with a protective plastic sleeve to counter the open shell.

the bb

the bb

On any old bike it will pay to service all the main bearings ( steering, BB & hubs ) unless you can be sure they have already been very recently serviced, and, ( at least in my experience } that’s generally something only real enthusiasts will have done.

The new tyres are Challenge Strada Bianca ‘open tubulars’ and they roll beautifully and steer very well. They come packed as flat ribbons much like tubulars.

However, being 30mm tyres they push the very limits of this frame’s clearances. Sadly, I think I will have to change them for 28s or 25s on this bike.

flat ! -- strada biancas

flat ! — strada biancas

The Veloce brakes have no quick releases and neither do the 600 levers so most of the air needs to go before the wheels can be removed – or by removal and refit of one brake shoe !

I may have to reconsider them too.

The headset is a now a Dia Compe – not my first choice, but the best fitting I could find with its low stack height.

The components seem to come from slightly different eras, and I think the brake callipers are 1990s where the rest are 1980s.

pelican marina

pelican marina

This bike is a definite keeper, and worthy of considered component upgrades .

See Ya !

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