Posts Tagged ‘old 10 speed bikes’

some great street art ...

some great street art …

This bike was briefly featured in my recent ‘chuck-out-a-thon’ post having been unceremoniously cast out minus the wheels, all oily-gritty and rusty.

protour crx100 62cm

protour crx100 62cm – as found

I was intrigued, as it has an “Australian Made Frame” decal on the seat stays. It is a large framed hybrid, ( 62cm seat tube C-C, 60cm top tube C-C ), and I haven’t found much on the web about ProTour except that they seem to have been made late 80s to early 90s by Southcotts in Adelaide.

Protour is one of those names that turn up a lot of unrelated rubbish when googled, as you can imagine ! Most of the information came from the cycling forums, with someone suggesting there was a tie in with Ricardo somewhere. South Australia seems to have had a lot of bicycle history happening in the 80s and 90s !

Being a hybrid it had flat bars, a riser stem, and I would assume once wore 27″ wheels, from the brake pad locations. The Suntour Accushift 6sp. thumb shifters are rather plasticky and won’t be re-used. Some band-on Suntour down tube shifters are shown below. Crankset was a fairly heavy steel ringed, alloy cranked ( and worn out ) Sugino “Proto” c.52/40T.

some of the yucky bits from the dismantle-a-thon

some of the yucky bits from the dismantle-a-thon ( and the ‘new’ shifters ).

Front Derailleur is a nondescript Suntour, the rear a medium / long cage Suntour XCM ( MTB ). Brake callipers are recessed ProStars in black. Seat pin is 26.4mm dia. and an italian Vetta saddle was fitted. None of this is of much consequence, as it’s the frame I’m most interested in, for it has the ‘feel’ of decent quality about it.

The tubing decal is missing from the seat tube, but I’m guessing from forum comments it may be Tange 5 plain gauge cr-mo or a higher grade Tange chromo steel. Some forums say Protour used Mangalloy steel, similar make-up to Reynolds 531, (?) I am only guessing here …

The frame would definitely benefit from better components. I see it as a comfortable longer distance ride, and will also set it up with some hill climbing ability in mind. The large frame on a bike like this means ( for me ) a comfortable riding position with higher bars due to a low relative saddle height. ‘Experts’ might tell me it’s too big, but from my experience with the refurbished Giant Boulder 550, I think it will be just fine even with the flat-footed stand-over residual height at zero.

Frame angles look on the steepish side so it should be responsive and yet it will have no toe overlap ( I checked ! ). Large frames like these don’t always make the most graceful looking bikes though.

ready and rolling !

ready and rolling !

Typically for a chuck-out it has 126mm rear dropouts (5/6/7 speed) and a 95mm front dropout width (damn that 5mm). At least they are forged/cast dropouts. The fork had the word ‘Falter’ stamped faintly on the stem. The serial number on the BB shell begins with ’90’ so I assume that’s its year of birth.

super vivid scene...

super vivid scene…

I fitted a new VP head set, re-tapped the BB threads and put in a Shimano UN-55 113mm cartridge BB. Cranks are now recycled Shimano – early105, ( FC-1050 ) 170mm. Chain rings are new, T.A. 49T + 38T, from Wiggle UK.

These are marked 9/10 speed and I wasn’t sure how they would go with a 7sp. Cluster and an 8sp. chain … luckily it’s friction shifting ! I had to fit thin spacers between the spider and the inner ring to stop the wider chain scraping on the outer ring. They now work well, but I won’t try this trick with index shifters !

34T on the back - that's mega alright !

34T on the back – that’s mega alright !

The freewheel cluster is a 14-34T Shimano 7sp. ‘Megarange’ but I can’t use the 14T at the moment, because it won’t let the chain clear the chainstay. To prevent this happening I adjusted the ‘H’ stop screw on the rear derailleur to end its travel at 16T, but this needs further investigation.

The 38T is about the smallest front ring that will fit a standard Shimano road 130mm BCD spider and combined with the 34T megarange rear gives a pretty low bottom gear ( at least for a double chain wheel ), albeit with the next lowest rear cog being 10T smaller at 24T. Shifters are Suntour band-on down tube, and sit on the little ‘heart’ where the cable stops once were.

49×16 is not a high top gear for a road bike, but they are 27″ wheels at least, so i’ll wait for a test ride to see whether it will spin out too easily down hills, etc.

I fitted some new Jagwire cables and borrowed the Genetic bar/stem from the Shogun Samurai with the Cane Creek levers – as that bike is due for a re-assessment. The two-tone paintwork had a lot of rust spots which I neutralised, and I did a bit of touch up spraying.

I confess, it’s a bit rough in places !

head tube & protour logo

head tube & protour logo

Instead of recycling and fitting the black Pro Star original callipers, I used some Tektro R539 dual pivot recessed that I happened to have – for a bit of shine ( and better stopping ). Wheels are the Araya 27″ anodised front one from the L.A. 84 and a Suzue sealed tech 126mm on the same type of Araya rim rear.

It’s getting harder to find decent 27″ tyres and at the moment these are reasonable Kendas, but I would prefer something like a 27″ Gatorskin pair ( I only have one of these right now ). If this bike goes really well then a lighter pair of wheels/tyres may be in order ! Lastly, I fitted some Metallic Blue fizik bar tape, before taking it for a spin …

yee-ha !

yee-ha !

I think it rides more smoothly than the Giant 550, and it’s very comfortable. Reckon I could ride this one all day with the B-17 under my bum !

Happy Retro Re-Cycling !


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No, I don’t mean actual jewellery sorry, it’s just that I think the shifters on some older ten-speed bikes remind me somehow of womens’ pendant earrings. The cast alloy ones I mean, like the Suntour 888 (clip-on down-tube) or the classy Shimano (stem shifters) pictured here :

or perhaps insect wings ...

or perhaps resting  insect wings …

fine details - tiny number eights on the suntour, dots on the shimano

fine details for grip – tiny number eights on the suntour, dots on the shimano

I like using stem shifters and, although they are more associated with heavy old ‘sports’ bikes or mixtes, I often prefer them over down-tube shifters because they are easier to see and to access from a semi upright position.

Some may say they add extra cable outers, curves and complexity, but hey – isn’t that exactly what today’s ‘brifter’ style road bike levers do ?

the 'long yiu' shifters from the pink mixte

the ‘long yih’ shifters from the pink mixte

As far as servicing and refurbishing these shifters goes, they are quite simple. If the steel clamps are in very rusty condition – as usual – I will soak them in rust converter till the loose chrome flakes off, then buff up what’s left. Carefully clear coating the bare steel may help prevent some rust returning.

The alloy levers will respond to fine steel wool, soft brass wire brushes and metal polish. Generally the nylon friction bushes last well in all but the most neglected examples. They only need a wash in soapy water.

When reassembling, I don’t use oil or grease as it might affect the friction properties, but I use a bit of the waxy ‘stick’ dry lube (as used on car door latches).

Friction shifters are in constant tension against the derailleur springs (when in operation) and some friction must be present to prevent them from self-changing back to the default gears ( the smallest ring or cog ). Adjustment on the shifter screws is critical, between too-tight to turn the lever and too-loose to hold the derailleur fast.

It’s therefore a good idea to leave your gears in the smallest ring and cog when you have finished riding for the day. Less stress !

not as nice - falcon, shimano, suntour in the usual neglected condition

not as nice – falcon, shimano, suntour in the usual neglected condition

Faded plastic levers will respond quite well to Armour-all, but the later plastic coated Shimano SIS levers are chunky looking and lack grace. These generally have friction front levers along with indexed rear levers:

ugly plastic shimano sis

ugly plastic shimano sis

If you aren’t familiar with the reassembly just do one side at a time so you can cross reference the pieces.

unsure ? - then do one side at a time

unsure ? – then do one side at a time

And having restored the levers, shout them some shiny new cables too !


Here’s a quick fix for mis-aligned side pull calliper brake pads – instead of trying to bend the alloy arms, I fitted a longer pad bolt and put some thin convex / concave washer pairs from a set of used V-brake pads on each side of the arms.

keep these washers if your v-brake pads are replaced.

keep these washers if your v-brake pads are replaced.

This allows enough movement to set the ‘toe in’ correctly and restore some dignity to Cecil’s front wheel brake judder.

Just be careful to fit a big enough flat washer between the  the bolt head and curved washers to cover them properly.

Happy Re-cycling !

and don't forget the umbrella !

and don’t forget the umbrella !

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looks like a normal BB ...

looks like a normal cottered set-up …

Though hardly a classic, there is one thing that I found thought  provoking while disassembling this bicycle, and that is the mysterious bottom bracket. It’s a proprietary unit, I think, with standard BSA right hand threads on the non-drive left side cup, but the drive side is an extended cylinder that mates with the left cup to form a sealed unit that can be disassembled, complete with standard 1/4″ plain ball bearings and a cottered crank axle. The whole setup is wedged into a threadless oversized bottom bracket shell by tightening the assembly, fitting the wedged lock ring, first matching a keyway in the shell to a notch cast on the large cup, much the same way as some old seatpost pins and quill stem pinch-bolts slot in to stop them rotating. Rubber seals on the axle holes help stop outside entry of water and grit. Perhaps modern sealed BBs have evolved from this idea ?



Why make such a big deal about an old non-standard BB ? Well, this is an old bike blog, so you won’t be seeing octalinks, hollowtech IIs, BB30, BB90, or that sort of newer thing, but this one made me take notice because the bearings and surfaces inside were in truly excellent condition considering the bike’s age and assumed usage. This is because the rust, grit and water build-up inside the frame remains outside the casing as you can see from the corroded exterior. Often this accumulated gritty gunk finds its way into the bearings and a completely new BB is required, but not here !

minus the standard cottered axle

minus the standard cottered axle

As well as that, they are user serviceable unlike the modern sealed bearing square taper replacement BBs that are long term throwaways. And they need to be in this case because if this fixed cup had worn out 30 years later it would be very difficult to replace, perhaps then making the bike useless ! What else would one fit – with no threads ? Of course, that’s true only because this system didn’t become a standard arrangement…

I am going to experiment with converting it to a square taper axle, as I have said before I’m not a fan of cotter pins unless on a ‘valuable classic’  and even then that’s only for originality… if that works the bike can be modernised with a  lighter chainset, with the hope that this bracket will stay put.

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my day off ...

my day off …

Well, after carefully checking  over my new-old Speedwell Popular, I took it for a ride around Swansea, and some sort of magic happened there – firstly,  a kindly cyclist saw me photographing it and stopped to comment. I was remarking on how hard it is to photograph yourself on a bike and he offered to take my picture.

i'm a rollin' rambler

i’m a rollin’ rambler

Then, a few kilometres later and discovering that it was hard rubbish day next week, I saw a flash of yellow and heard a tiny voice calling “save me”.

Voila ! – a rusty but complete Malvern Sportstar ! The owner was outside chatting with the postman, so I asked him if it was OK if I took the bike, but that I had to go and get my van.  He kindly put it away for me, and later told me that the scrappies went past only ten minutes later .. whew !

it's not what it is - it's what you can make of it ...

it’s not what it is – it’s what you can make of it …

I must say, I’m not the fastest rider around, but if you told me there was a freebie bike at the end, I might just win a  stage of the Tour de Swansea … I bet that old Speedwell hasn’t gone so fast in ages.

the only word

the only word

Anyhow, I’m trying hard not to be a bike snob, but this Sportstar seems a bit of a clunker to be honest – it’s very heavy with cottered cranks and steel everything, (save the brakes) but the frame definitely has possibility.  I don’t mind weight in a heavy comfortable upright, but a heavy and un-comfortable “sports bike” doesn’t work for me at all ….

the best detail

the best detail

I couldn’t figure out the lack of decals at first – it has a Sportstar decal on the head tube and a serial number sticker?? on the BB, no other decoration on the bike save for the stars on the chromed fork crown cover.

Late 70s, very early 80s perhaps ? It has Shimano Eagle II and Thunderbird II derailleurs. After looking online I am guessing it’s been repainted and only a new head decal stuck on – shame !

The owner said he was given it in Sydney by a friend and had only recently stopped riding it himself. There’s plenty of Swansea rust on it, that’s for sure.

Oh, and did I say ? —- More details on the beautiful 1956 Speedwell Popular in an upcoming post …


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OK, so I’m on a Monday morning mission on the purple Giant and I pass a rusty looking bike under a pile of junk that’s been thrown out.

“Ahh, not another K-mart MTB” I sigh, while blindly riding past, mind elsewhere and biking some distance from home.

Strangely though, a minor emergency happens a few hours later, and I am in the same area in the van … “I wonder what was that bike ? Well, I might as well have a quick look, mightn’t I, though I suppose it won’t be there  now ?”

Still there, and oh, it’s a Shogun “Samurai” flat bar roadie – in Tange Infinity 4130 Cro-mo steel, and looks to only have perished tyres, dry grease, surface rust and a seized chain as it’s main issues !!

I gave many humble thanks to the Hard Rubbish Gods — they had somehow kept it safe from the scrap metal cruisers — and I’m on my way home.

woohoo ... a new project !

woohoo … a new project !

The bike is complete except for pedals, has a shimano RX100 groupset (one down from 105 ), 54 or 55 cm frame with unicrown cro-mo fork, and the weird  and “eccentric” biopace chainrings. It’s 14 speed with revoshift shifters, and grey coloured light alloy 700c wheels that have unreadably faded decals.


these crazy oval rings should be fun to try ....

these crazy oval rings should be fun to try ….

The seat, stem, bars, brake levers and shifters are a bit underwhelming, but the headset is a nice looking Tange. The bike is quite light in weight.  Tange ‘Infinity’ is a mid-range, seamed and tapered, quality Cro-mo tubing from all reports …

another view

another view- the welded stem is rather ordinary, methinks

tange headset and rx100 dual pivot calipers look decent

tange headset and shimano rx100 dual pivot calipers look decent

 a bit of advertising

a bit of fashionable period advertising 

So now it soaks up some ‘PB blaster’ while I contemplate its future.

not bad, if not 531 !

not bad, if not  R531 !

Ahh, so many bikes, so little time …. teehee.






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Here’s my latest classic 27″ wheeled acquisition, for your enjoyment :

note the later huffy cheapo upright saddle

note the later huffy cheapo upright saddle


I love hard rubbish season – it’s full of surprises …… this is a typical converted “fisherman’s bike” of the ten speed era, before the ubiquitous MTB took over, lovingly equipped with zip tied and taped drain pipe rod holders, and with the drop bars up-ended no less, in that dawn of time style invented by the men who bought (or were sold) sports bikes when they should have had uprights.


pvc fishing rod holders - they are so practical you've gotta love them

PVC fishing rod holders – they are so practical you’ve gotta love them


Single speed, three speed, ten speed sporties — Hey, come to think of it, aren’t there lots of guys still doing that sporty image thing, buying today in carbon fibre 22-speed ?  (lol)


I don’t think many carbon frames will outlast this salt water special, at least not with the same amount of abuse and neglect…


features front sports fender and rear zefal MTB mud flapper

features rusty  front sports fender and rear zefal plastic MTB mud flapper


I’ve concluded that any road bike brand that sounds like a macho truck name and is fitted with ‘suicide’ brake levers is most likely a heavyweight clunker, e.g. Road Chief, Road King, Road Master, etc.  – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun riding (or messing around ) with it !


old style non-original platform pedals

these old style non-original platform pedals can be overhauled 


Probably use this one for parts, it’s so far gone, and of low quality components, but who knows ?

The bottom bracket is shot, but the old style pedals will be just about perfect for my classic ladies Speedwell once they have been de-rusted and overhauled – as they still have most of their yummy diamond tread intact.


Happy Cycling !

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stage 2 – ten speeds

Ahhh,  hindsight’s a wonderful thing … I’ve now fitted the overhauled steel wheels from the pink mixte onto Cecil to change him back to a ten speed. As mentioned before the rear is a 120mm wide 27″ that slots straight in. Braking feel isn’t as good, they are much heavier and the tyre treads don’t really suit, but I am working on the old rear hub, aiming to get a new alloy rim fitted later, as I also want the mixte running on it’s own wheels again.

The Reynolds tubing and many alloy fittings mean that it is still relatively light, at least.

lezyne micro-drive light

I also had the recent opportunity to buy a Brooks B17 Titanium saddle at a great price, and while I’m yet to do a long ride on it, it looks wonderful and feels fantastic to sit on. The titanium is a very light saddle too.  Now I can’t wait to get lost on it somewhere !

the brown is the nicest standard brooks colour, i think

Two more additions – a Soma “Torpedo” retro style AA battery LED head light and a Lezyne micro-drive USB tail light both of which I will review at some later date.

retro torpedo

led + reflector

My feeling is that this bike will be a great ride when all is properly finished…

the suntour freewheel and shimano mech.

I think that the freewheel’s sound has a big part to play in the enjoyment of coasting downhill – some have a raspy, abrasive sound, but this old Suntour “Perfect” sounds relaxed and easy. The cluster is 28T-14T, not as gung-ho as the original 18T-14T, but much more practical for my location on a hill.

Happy Cycling !

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