Posts Tagged ‘ten speed bicycle restoration’

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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Post Christmas and New Year and I’m getting ready for the inevitable 2014 hard-rubbish chuck-outs, at the beginning of a brand new year of freebie-bike recycling !

Avoiding MTBs and BMXs, concentrating on the various ten-speed orphans ( K.I.S.S. ) and  I’m still waiting to find an old Tommasini or De Rosa on the footpath ( haha ) .

graecross pro-ten

graecross pro-ten

In this climate challenged country with long summer days, the midday period is ideal for finding a shady tree in the yard and working on an old bike in the prevailing sea-breeze.

Which is a kind of “working Siesta” for me  …

nice curves !

nice curves ! shame about the paint ..

This one has a 54cm  frame with “Tange High Quality Tubing” stickers, but too heavy to be anything exotic. Fitted with the basic “pressed steel everything”, it’s your typical underwhelming 10-speed sports bike. Redeeming features are – nicely curved lowers on the Tange steel fork, a Tange-Seiki head set in good working condition, and a neat “Win” alloy stem.

the only alloy bit !

the only alloy bit, bar the suicides !

It appears to have been in use up until recently, which is handy, because the rim brake tracks are relatively rust-free and so the steel wheels are re-useable, perhaps even on another bike.

Suicide brake levers are pretty much a dead give-away that it’s an 80s “wannabe” sporty.  Dia-Compe must have had the patent on these things as the normal levers are steel but the suicides are alloy.

 # don't try suicide ...

# don’t try suicide … they’re useless !

I think it would make a nice mid-weight ten speed cruiser with wider and shallower bars fitted.

Not beginning with a first class frame will always hold back a recycled bike’s desirability, but some benefit can be had by fitting more appropriate and lighter components. These old ten-speeders always seem to have their bars much too narrow for me, and their saddles are too plasticky, cheap and hard, as well as being far too heavy to be genuinely “sporty”.

My 90s Shogun Samurai has spoiled me in this regard, I’m sad to say !

my finest find so far ...

my finest find so far … ( plus many extras )

Graecross is a Victorian brand ( the state, not the era ! ) but there’s not much info on the web and you don’t see that many this far north of the border either. Probably it dates to the mid-80s, and it is fitted with Ukair steel rims, Tagaki 48-40T steel chain-set,  Shimano “Skylark” rear mech. ( same as the Malvern Sportstar ).

Typical are the c.95mm fork dropouts and the 126mm rear ones, 25.8mm steel seat post, the friction stem shifters, and the 1″ threaded headset. Hubs are “Chair” brand – the logo is actually a wooden chair  – made in Japan. The solid rat-trap pedals are also Chair brand.

a ridiculously heavy chain set ...

a ridiculously heavy chain set …

If you have to replace the headset on one of these, it’s best to remember that there are two main fork crown race inner diameters – ISO 26.4 mm and JIS 27.2 mm. Most bikes in Oz are the latter, but a lot of online-selling head sets are ISO, and that 0.8 mm is actually quite a lot of careful filing down – or it means getting another crown race altogether – if you buy the wrong size ! I’m keeping the Tange on this one, BTW.

yes, JIS 27.2 mm

yes, JIS 27.2 mm

During the usual process of dismantling it down to a frameset, I will also be pondering its future….

much better & smoother

overhauled – much better & smoother

While disassembled I found the remainder of a touch-up paint can that I used for the Road King bike a while back – it’s a near perfect match on this one ! Here is the frame-set reassembled with overhauled steering and bottom bracket bearings, and after touch-up paint application.

Thinking, thinking …

touch-up job

the touch-up job

gotta fly now !

gotta fly now !

See Ya !

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