Sunday, April 29, 2012

I'm not such a retro-grouch...

To a casual observer, heck, to an astute observer, I probably seem like a retro-grouch.  What with all the old classic steel bikes I post and the fact that pretty much the only new bikes I really sell through the shop are my own brand of steel frames.  However, I can and do appreciate a fine carbon fiber steed and do relish the opportunity to build such a bike.  This Colnago C59 came in last week to get built with a Campagnolo Super Record group.  Very fitting choice for this frameset.  

I'm sure the polka-dot, TdF climber's jersey paint scheme will foster a love-hate relationship.  The only important aspect of this is that the owner digs it.  I happen to like it as well.  I think it's a great looking bike.  Soon after these photos were taken, the owner pedaled it out to the Pt. Reyes lighthouse and back, with a side trip up to Mt. Vision.  Very fitting first ride since that ride has about 4,500' of climbing in less than 50 miles.  And turning the pedals on such a steed can only push the rider to become the best climber he can.  Kind of like buying clothes one size too small to encourage some weight loss.  

Colnago C59

Colnago C59

Super Record 11

Colnago C59
Plenty of room for some fatter tires than these 23's.
Colnago C59

(What's playing:  The Byrds Take A Whiff On Me)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Diamond in the rough...

When this Steve Potts bike showed up for dismantling, it was in rough shape.  Rough is an understatement.  Rust and corrosion had taken over and not one square inch was unaffected by the passing of time and the fact that the bike had been ridden hard during its life and then languished for nearly a decade before it was rescued and "restored" to its current condition.  

I use "restored" loosely because restoring an item usually means bringing it back to its like-new condition.  Doing that to this bike would have meant replacing every single part and repainting.  Doing that would have decimated the character of the bike.  There is such a great patina that deserved to be retained.  Some parts were replaced with newer parts.  Parts that typically wore out or were destroyed during normal use such as derailleurs.  

The Phil Wood hubs had such a bad corrosion problem on their centers that it was questionable that they could be salvaged.  However, there is a product called Evapo-Rust which did a great job of removing the rust and corrosion on many of the parts.  The hub shells were soaked overnight in Evapo-Rust which thoroughly removed the rust, but did leave the cadmium plating pitted and scarred from the rust, but free from rust.  Phil Wood pressed in new bearings and a new front axle then I built up the wheels with a lightly used set of original Araya 7X rims.  

Everything was disassembled and cleaned before being reinstalled.  There were a few parts that were replaced with new old parts such as the derailleurs, chainrings, and Sedisport chain.  The original Campagnolo seat post had been fused inside the seat tube virtually from day one according to the original owner so it was simply left there since the sometime in the early 80s.  Clamping the head into the vise and using the frame as a lever busted the seat post free and then some twisting and out it came.  It was pretty far gone by that point that a new old Super Record post replaced it.  The end result is pretty outstanding.  

Newman Potts

Magura & Suntour

Phil Wood
The hubs and freewheel cogs after their Evapo-Rust bath.


Press Fit 35 x 17
Press fit bottom bracket.  I'll call this PF17.  Way ahead of its time.

You simply can't repaint something like this.  This bike earned every single chip and ding.

More Patina





In the photo above, you can see the modified Mafac brake blocks.  Originally, there were 5 "bumps" on the pads.  However, on some of these older frames, the long pads prohibit proper brake function.  Roller-cam brakes on Steve's and Charlie's bikes were always set as close as possible to the chainstay or fork blade for minimal brake post flex.  This meant that the pads were always close to the frame or fork.  In this case, the 5th bump was removed offsetting the pad and giving just enough clearance for the brake to operate.  

Minimal clearance at the fork, but just enough for proper brake operation.

Single bumps
The bumps that were removed.

(What's playing:  Son Volt Hanging Blue Side)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Roll on, roll off...

This sweet machine went out the door on Saturday.  The lucky owner immediately took it on a couple hour ride and proclaimed it a sweet riding bike that feels just right.  Details:  Steve Potts frame, fork, stem built for a Rohloff hub, canti brakes, and drop bars. 

Potts Cross Bike

White Ind. Eno
White Industries Eno crank mounted to a Phil Wood bottom bracket

Paul Hi-Flange
Paul Components Hi-Flange front hub

Paragon sliding dropouts

Drop Bar Shifter
Rohloff shifter mounted to a Hubbub drop bar adapter

Cable Routing
Rohloff cable routing

Cable Stop
I suggested welding a threaded and slotted stop for adjustable cable stops for clean cable routing and quick disconnecting of the cables when frame is packed in the S&S case for travel.

Cable Routing

Cable Stop

Dropout Adjuster

Rear Brake
Paul Components provide speed modulation

Front End
The cable routing was pretty clean coming off the drop bar mounted shifter.

Potts stem

Rohloff Speedhub
Rohloff Speedhub

Rohloff Speedhub

(What's playing:  Beastie Boys Intergalactic)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Simpler times...

This came across my email this morning.  My first thoughts were that this was a time when you didn't worry about whether you could run your newest wheelset tubeless.  You didn't spend countless hours asking on-line if the gearing on your next bike should be 3x10 or 2x10 or whether the gearing was low enough for your 29"er.  You didn't get scowled at for riding without a helmet by the helmeted ones. 
Nope, you just got on your bike and rode the damn thing. 

Hmmm, maybe that Murray Baja could be converted to 650b.  Seems to be a lot of clearance.  I think I'll go ask the forum experts...

(What's playing:  John Lee Hooker The Waterfront)