Posts Tagged ‘shogun samurai’

Sorry, it’s been a while – and it’s been a while too since I’ve ridden the Shogun Samurai. The discipline of recycling gives me more and more ideas as I go along, and I’m always striving to make a bike fit some niche that none of my others quite will.

re-worked ..

re-worked ..

The thought behind this one is for a bike that helps me out on the Fernleigh Track, i.e. that is fairly small, light and moderately low geared for the mix of steady uphills and mild downhills. Of course it’s only a game for me really, as a steel framed bike is never going to be as light as a modern carbon wonder, but you already know that I don’t want to go there.

been lyin' around a while

been lyin’ around a while

The inspiration to re-do this bike came from two sets of wheels that I acquired a while back, consisting of four alloy tubular rims and including a pair of Campagnolo Nuovo Tipo hubs. These hubs are not considered as desirable as the Record models – but who cares ? They are a very well made hub and the internals proved to have been in good shape despite being unused for many years. The hubs were dated as being made in 1980, from the tiny ’80’ stamped into the locknuts.

english threads - yay

english threads – yay

well made hubs ..

they are well made hubs ..

one of the old tubs with dried glue ..

one of the old tubs with dried glue ..

As you can see, a bit of work was needed to get them looking good, but I think it was worth It. Unfortunately while there were four rims only two of them were good enough to use – a Mavic Monthelerey Route and a Fiamme red label… they all had dried red tub glue that took a long time to carefully scrape off with an old table knife. The wheels were de-spoked, cleaned and re-built in my spare moments.

the rear mavic

the rear mavic

This is my first try with tubulars – those tyres where the tube is factory sewn inside the tyre and then the whole thing is glued to the rim by the user. I bought a pair of Schwalbe 28mm and a pair of Tufo 24mm. Sadly this project did not have the clearance for the 28mm ! The Tufos are designed to be used with their proprietary gluing tape rather than actual glue. This taping system has some critics but with my age and riding style I don’t think I’m going to stress the tyres enough to roll them off the rim !

tufo s33 tub

tufo s33 tub

The plus side is that they were very easy to fit – once the tyres had been pre-stretched by fitting them over the two rims i had spare and keeping them inflated a few months while I worked out how and where to use them. The tyres can be aligned on the rim before removing the protective strip between the sticky rim tape and the tyre’s base tape — bingo !

A five minute gentle ride and they’re ready to go.

mixed colour chain rings !

50/38T – and mixed colour chain rings !

The early 90s Shogun now has a lot of retro 1980s gear on it, including 600 Arabesque front and rear mechs. A new headset was needed and the Sakae SX chainset from the discarded Pace was fitted with T.A. 50/38T rings.

The Sakae cranks have a 110mm pcd for compact rings, but with limited small cogs on the rear I can’t go too tiny. A 34 or 36 ring would have been too small here and the Fernleigh Track doesn’t need super low gears anyway, as it was a railway line once.

The freewheel is a Suntour ‘Perfect’ 14-28T. Under the circumstances, I thought it might be more appropriate than the 13-18T and 13-17T racing blocks that came with the wheels !!

shimano 600 arabesque r.d.

shimano 600 arabesque r.d.

campag nuovo tipo hubs

campag nuovo tipo hubs

The Samurai is now my lightest working bike, especially because of the light wheels, which let it pick up step in a lively fashion, and while it would be even lighter with a plastic saddle, I’m prepared to make that sacrifice for comfort’s sake…

b17n - imperial

b17n – imperial

The Tange Infinity frame is of fairly steep ‘modern’ geometry and thus a quick steerer. The Shogun was a hard rubbish find that would have originally come with a full RX100 group set, except that the brake levers had been replaced to accommodate a flat bar ( horrors ! ), the gear levers were missing, and i couldn’t properly salvage the crank set either.

veloce is entry level campagnolo

veloce is entry level campagnolo

The bars and brake levers are borrowed from another bike, as I needed levers with quick releases for the Campag. brakes. The down tube levers are Dia-Compe friction shifters and have a smooth ratchet mechanism inside that gives them a lovely feel in use.

dia compe shifters

classy dia compe shifters

The 3T ‘Competizione’ bars aren’t my favourite shape – they are like the Cinelli Criterium 65s in that they have forward curving outer tops ( = room for sprinting on the drops ) and not much hand room there – ah well, we make do.

The Tufo tyres’ file tread rolls well, with a pleasant hum on smooth asphalt and they give a pretty decent ride for a nominally 24mm tyre as well as good grip, though I bet the Schwalbes would have ridden more comfortably, had they fitted. I also purchased some of Tufo’s sealant, as tubs are unable to be patched on the road. Hopefully I won’t need it ! There’s not much rim-room there for brake pads and the braking surface is slightly curved, so stopping is a bit ordinary. Hopefully the pads will bed in over time.

lovely curved q.r. levers

the lovely curved q.r. levers

cinelli clips and straps

cinelli clips and straps, mks sylvan quill pedals

Fernleigh Track, here I come again …


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So much wet winter weather since this June has left little chance for riding – it’s not the feel of getting wet itself as much as the unpleasant experience of riding with vision obscuring spectacles that keeps me at home.

how it was

how it was

well, it wasn't really..

well, it wasn’t really..

Nevertheless, there’s a chance to revive the Shogun freebie, except of course they never are freebies, always needing money and work to get them up to speed, but I’m excited to fix it up and take it for a spin. It’s funny how I’ve become interested in road bikes, if only older steel ones, I suppose it’s a natural combination of curiosity and the need to get places a little faster sometimes, though often what you gain in speed is what you lose in the time for contemplation.

It is certainly the era of the road bike, there are more new ones around here these days than MTBs ( can’t believe I am saying that ! ) and I’m wondering how long it will be before road bike spin-offs are seen in the department stores ( probably when the fad has changed again, it’s all 29ers, heavy hybrids and beach cruisers in the local BigW. at the moment  ).

I’ve sacrificed (for now) the “spare parts” Repco Traveller to get this one going, as it promises to be a much more practical long distance commuter, and I have a desperate lack of bike storage space. Recycle the recycled – I probably could buy something fancy with what I spend to revive all these oldies, but then I wouldn’t have had half as much fun as I did getting them running again.

one fine day...

one fine day…

As usual the bike was stripped to the bare frame except for the steering races, not to paint, but to treat for rust and check everything for wear. The frame itself is fine,  though the brazing has some overruns around the lugs from manufacture. The name “Shogun” is stamped into the seat stay ends but otherwise it’s all decals, no badges – a sign of the times . The pastel-like silvery purple colour shows its blemishes easily but as always, I have no intention of repainting an original bike such as this. I’m getting to appreciate character and history more and more.

at belmont 16s

at belmont 16s

Having 700C wheels means that any future replacements of tyres should be easy compared with some of my other 27″ ten speeders, and that’s got to be a bonus. However, the dropout spacing is the older 126mm, not 130mm, so replacing a rear wheel could be a challenge if ever needed. I haven’t yet managed to figure out its exact age, however, according to web sources the Biopace Chainrings were offered from ’83 to ’93 and the RX100 RD from 91-94.

Early 90s sounds close enough for me !



Seems I’ve had some recent bad luck with alloy crank removal, the non-drive side threads were ruined by the puller, despite the cautious attempt to remove it by carefully checking the threads fully engaged, etc. – curses ! I will have to decide what to do with the chainset but not ’til I’ve had a good play with the bike. Sheldon Brown, for one, was a fan of the ovoid Biopace rings while others don’t feel they are much different to round ones. I did notice a bike with very oval rings while watching a stage of the 2013 Tour de France, so some people clearly believe in them !

mks pedals and clips, zefal christophe straps

mks pedals and clips, zefal christophe straps

I’ve temporarily used a substitute Shimano Altus crank as the closest non-drive match I have handy in size and appearance to the RX100 “biopace” right hand side. Also the plain BB races, axle and bearings were pitted so a new sealed bearing Genetic 68 x 113 mm  BB had to be be fitted. Luckily I already had the 20 tooth splined tool to fit and remove it, which has saved a little cost.

pitted crank,races & bearings needed replacement

pitted crank axle , races & bearings needed replacement

a rep;acement sealed BB with splined tool

a replacement sealed BB with splined tool

take care not to slip when tightening/loosening

take care not to slip the tool when tightening/loosening

The Genetic ( the brand, I mean, not “generic” ) 80mm stem and drop bars from the Repco rebuild – with the Cane Creek SCR-5 road brake levers – all went straight on. These lever hoods are comfortable to grip and good looking, with a built in quick release button for brakes without those, I would recommend them highly for upgrades to older road bikes. The old MTB style welded stem, riser bars and revoshifters / brake levers really spoiled the appearance – so … off to the spares bin – and good riddance !

love these cane creek levers

love these cane creek levers

Due to the high price of “brand name” thin leather bar tape, I have experimented with making my own with some leftover “vintage” white leather that I inherited many years back. This was fixed on with double sided ( thin & clear ) adhesive tape. It works rather well and is thicker than brand name tape and therefore more comfortable if a little less professional looking. Practice will make perfect so I will be trying more of this … shellacked wine cork and twine plugs are used on the bar ends. I was also thinking “moustache bars” for a while, but will probably stick with the road drops.

the B17 select

the B17 “select”

I’ve used a B17 “Select” saddle, these are made of selected organic leather for high mileage use and come boxed with a jar of Proofide, a tensioning spanner, polishing cloth and cover, I think it’s well worth the premium over the standard B17. Black steel rails with hammered copper rivets give it a distinctive appearance, and the leather has a subtle and natural looking light coloured finish to it. Give me comfort anytime !

The select B17 is much stiffer leather than standard B17 leather and is going to take longer to break in. I find normal B17s comfortable from the get-go. No pain, no gain, as the old cliche goes.

I am not normally attracted to things given such names as “Gatorskins” but the Continental 700C x 25 tyres have a good reputation, so I’m told. Grip seemed excellent on a short test ride, which was confirmed on longer rides – they are very confidence inspiring.

A new SRAM 8-speed chain completes the overhaul, and I must say that the RX100 derailleur systems are slick and quiet in their shifts, even with friction shifters. I put that down to the “hyperglide” rear cassette cog design.

surely 7 is enough ?

surely seven is enough ?

They are easily smoother than the older 600 Arabesque set-up with plain cogs on my Cecil Walker.  Speaking of which, these Dia-compe (new) downtube  shifters have a friction forward / fine ratchet back arrangement that works very well – though they are not parallel to the tube when at rest, one gets used to them quite quickly.

dia-compe downtube shifters ( viewed from front )

dia-compe downtube shifters sans cables( viewed from front )

Gearing is 52/42T front and 13-23T, 7-speed rear, which should be adequate for most local hills thanks to the relatively light weight ( by the standards of most of my bikes anyway ! ).

So, it wasn’t cheap in the end, but it is a good sized frame for me and should be a well used ride in dry weather.

pre-dawn at the ferry wharf

pre-dawn at the ferry wharf

On my first long commute, I was impressed by how fast it feels, and it’s a great bike for the Fernleigh Track, able to keep up with the majority of other road bike riders and more stable than I expected from its shortish wheelbase. Uphill is where the light weight is really helpful, and the biopace chain wheels do seem to smooth out the rotation in a subtle way.

keeping up with the lycra-clad

i’m keeping up with the lycra-claddies

I now await more fine weather ….

a window on sunset

a window on sunset

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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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