Monday, March 20, 2017

A tale of two bikes

I'm still putting some finishing touches on Zoe's Motobecane. Zoe has been riding it but the men's frame is not as user friendly as it was when she was in her twenties and she wants a step through frame so I got one for her and it arrived today.

These are both Schwinn frames. They are the women's version of mine. The blue one is the one I will be building for my oldest daughter, Jenny. It was made in 1955 or 1956. The burgundy one will be Zoe's. It was made May 6, 1949. They are going to be very similar builds so I will be doing these two at the same time.

Jenny's will have a porteur rack like mine while Zoe's will have a wicker basket. They both will have 10x1 drive trains. The top tube comes into the seat tube where a front derailleur would be so they will only have a rear derailleur but they will have 10 speed cassettes. Otherwise they will be similar to mine.

Jenny's bike will be a patina restoration. I will rub out the existing paint and polish it up. I will have Zoe's frame powder coated red. It goes to the powder coater on Thursday.

The first step on both bikes is to widen the rear stays for the wider hubs. Let the build begin.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Zoe's Motobecane - new wheels

I'm finally back to Zoe's bike. Two weeks after my last post I had a heart attack. That slowed me down for a while but my recovery went very well and things are back to normal. I built new wheels for her bike.

They are 650b wheels with Compass Baby Shoe Pass tires.

With purple spoke nipples.

After I took these pictures I installed the crank, pedals, front derailleur, and brakes. I need to order the last of the parts tomorrow. It is getting close to being on the road.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Zoe's Motobecane - headset installed

It's been over three months since I posted on Zoe's Motobecane rebuild.  Part of that was getting my 16 speed Schwinn ready for the Seattle to Portland bike ride. The other part of the delay was dealing with French standards. Most bikes use English standards for things like seat tube size, steering tube size, and threads in places like the bottom bracket and steering tube. And it would help if the French were at least consistent. But noooooo! The bottom bracket on this frame has an English bottom bracket but the headset is French. Not many places have French headsets. I found one but when I installed it  the stack height of the headset meant the steering tube on the fork was too short. I found a new old stock Shimano French headset in Portugal thanks to the miracle of eBay. It arrive Saturday an it installed fine.

I also installed the quill adapter to which the stem and handlebar will attach. Zoe will probably go with another seat but the original one will do for now. Now that I know the basic frame will go together I can start ordering parts. I will be building the wheels for this bike and the rims have been ordered.

Zoe's Motobecane - beginnings

Monday, August 8, 2016

My 2016 STP bike

For the 2015 Seattle to Portland bike ride I rode a fixed gear Schwinn Typhoon. I had resurrected my old early 90s Trek 1200 for my son-in-law Bill to ride with the plan I would ride that in this year's STP. It didn't work out. I did most of my training on my fixed gear Schwinn Typhoon this year. With a second Schwinn Typhoon frame, parts from the Trek 1200 and some parts from the fixed gear Schwinn I built up this 16 speed and had it on the road 3 weeks before the STP. 

With 10,000 entrants my number 967 was a low one. It would have been lower but I didn't remember to register until it had been open for an hour. At the finish I got some tips on how to get a really low number. The entrant's numbers start at 200.

The seat, seat post, saddlebag, front rack, pedals, and water bottle cages came from my fixed gear Schwinn. The bottom bracket, crank, brakes, and shifters came from my retired Trek 1200. When I built my fixed gear Schwinn I had my Local Bike Shop help with things like spreading the chain stays, installing the bottom bracket, and building the wheels. Over the past year my bike mechanic skills have improved and I did this bike build by myself. 

One big difference between my bike last year and this is the handlebar. Last year I had a short stem and went with a BMX style bar. It was very limiting for changing hand positions. I used a tall quill adapter from Soma and a threadless stem from Velo-Orange. It gave me the best of best worlds. Lots of vertical adjustment and easy removal of the handlebar. The handle bar is an Ahearne-Map. It has a forward curve before extending back at an angle. With my hands on the Ergon grips I am pretty upright and cruising in style. On the taped forward part of the bar I am leaning forward and can get more power (such as it is) with my glutes. I position my hands anywhere in between giving me a variety of hand and body positions. The mirror was to see all those riders passing me. The water bottles are from Klean Kanteen. One water bottle for water and one for an electrolyte mix. The handle bar bag carried food. The bike computer told me how slow I was going.

Thumb shifters mounted like this gave me the best shifting on any bike I've ever had. I can brake and shift both rear and front derailleurs all at the same time. The bar is wrapped with Newbaum's cotton bar tape and the ends are wrapped with .040 dia waxed polyester cord that we use on gordy's camera straps. Then the tape and cord are covered in several coats of shellac.

Tektro brake levers with the thumb shifter on the inside.

A well broken in Brooks B66. This is the most comfortable saddle I've ever ridden! It's now been on 2 STPs. The saddlebag carries pump, tools, and extra water.

The tail light and head light live inside the bag during daylight hours. I needed them on the first leg of the STP.

I tend to ride a little more self sufficient than most STP riders. I had a messenger bag strapped on the front rack with a heavy shirt and extra food. The front IXON IQ Premium LED light mount is attached to the rack. The light is removable. The part of the build I'm most proud of are the wheels. I hadn't built a wheel in 40 years. But with information found online, including the Wheel Fanatyk, I built both wheels and they carried me to Portland.

The rims are Sun Rhyno Lites. The splined spokes from Wheel Fanatyk as well as the Wheelsmith stainless butted spokes. What really makes this bike fun to ride are the 54mm wide 26" Compass Rat Trap Pass tires. I like the look of fat tires on a bike like this but this is no beach cruiser. These are 454 gram tires. High volume, low pressure (35psi), and supple sidewall folding clincher tires. Not only are they fast tires but they are so comfy! Update: Here is a detailed description of why these tires are fast: The Missing Piece: Suspension Losses

The front wheel has a 36 spoke Origin8 track hub. The track hub supports the porteur rack better than a quick release skewer would. I prefer track nuts anyway.

The crank is off my early 90s Trek 1200. It's been polished. The original gray anodizing was looking pretty ratty and I had a tube of Simichrome metal polish. I can't resist polishing aluminum. It looks much nicer now. It's a Shimano RX100 with Sugino 48/38 chain rings. The front derailleur is a Shimano CX70.

The rear derailleur is a Shimano Altus and the cassette is a Sunrace 13-34. It gives me gearing from 29" to 105" which has worked out very well.

The rear hub is a 36 spoke Silver from Rivendell.

The brakes are Shiano CX70 cantilevers. They open wide enough to get those fat tires off. The stock Schwinn blade forks are terrible. These are Sun Mountain Bike cantilever forks.

The rear brake is a DiaCompe MX1000.

The Schwinn Typhoon never had caliper brakes. It was designed for a coaster brake. The rear stay bridge is drilled vertically for a fender and not horizontal for a brake. This took a long time to figure out a solution until I ran across a mention that Weinmann had make adapters for these bridges to mount a brake. It makes for an unorthodox brake installation but it works.

The Schwinn Typhoon never had derailleurs since it was a single speed so it had no provisions for routing shifter cables. It is common to run shifter cables without a cable housing down the down tube but this has a down tube that has a double curve to I had to run the shifter cables housed all the way. I had a single cable stop for the front derailleur cable but it failed on my first ride. So it was off to my box of old bike parts to find this double cable stop. In 1975 I had a Raleigh International built up to be a commuter bike. It had high pressure clinchers which were pretty new then. Phil Wood hubs. Bar controls. I rode it for 20 years until the frame started to come apart. I replaced it with the Trek 1200. The Raleigh had bar controls and this double cable stop was the down tube cable stop on that Raleigh. I rode that bike day and night, rain and shine. So the rust was hard earned. I loved that bike. I'm glad to have a bit of it on this Schwinn.

Not much clearance between the chain and the tire. Negative clearance on the fender. A little filing to get some clearance. 

The pedals are MKS Grip Kings from Rivendell. The pedals were pretty gippy but not quite grippy enough so I installed spikes. Problem solved.

The fenders are SKS B65. The didn't come with mud flaps. I looked for mud flap solutions and found that leather is sometimes used. Brooks has leather mud flaps but these mud flaps came from a much closer source. These are made by Geoffrey Franklin at Walnut Studiola in Nehalem, Oregon. He, and his wife, Valerie, have a bunch of leather bicycle goodies. The mud flaps work great! It hasn't rained since I put them on. Well, there was a rain puddle I came across on the STP . All the fenderless weenies were avoiding it like it was the pits of hell but I just rode right on through it. I like the idea of the center tip. It seems it would drain the water from the center instead of the edges. I hope to see how it works some day.  

Schwinn quality. When that meant something. Last year, after the STP, I started riding my Aluminum Trek 1200 but it was just too uncomfortable. This bike is comfortable and a joy to ride. This Schwinn, without the bags, weighs in at 38 pounds. I sometimes wondered if the extra weight is slowing me down. My Trek was 25 pounds. Friday I went on a ride from my home up to Crockett Lake. It was 35 miles with 1,900 feet of elevation gain. Lots of nice hills! I rode the same route last year on the Trek. This year I rode it almost a minute faster on the Schwinn. The Schwinn will do just fine.

Blog posts of the build:

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Two Schwinns

Went out for my first ride since the STP. Only 5 laps around Crockett Lane on my fixed gear Schwinn. I had moved many parts from my fixed gear Schwinn to my 16 speed Schwinn. I wasn't sure what to do next with the fixed gear Schwinn. I raided some boxes of bike parts, bought a new seat post and have made the fixed gear bike a minimalist bike. I like it that way. I carry tools, tire pump, and food in a messenger bag.

Compare this to the last time I rode it. And here is the 16 speed Schwinn as I rode it in the STP:

The two bikes have identical frames, fork, stem and handlebar. Same rims and front hubs. I did a series of pictures of the 16 speed Schwinn that I am working on posting as well as pictures from the STP. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

2,000 miles. 9 days 7 hours.

2,000 miles for the year and 9 days, 7 hours, until the start of the 2016 Seattle to Portland bike ride.

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood for a 20 mile hilly ride out to Bayview and back to Honeymoon Lake. Here I am at Double Bluff. The bike is pretty much ready. Fenders attached and new brake pads that help a lot. A few little things to tighten up. The training schedule calls for a 50 miler and a 30 miler this weekend with a 20 miler mid week next week. Then the STP. Now I am starting to get things together to pack. We get two bags (under 20 pounds each) that will be carried by truck for us to Centralia and then on to Portland. I will be carrying a messenger bag on the front rack for a warm shirt or rain gear if needed. The long term forecast looks good. Sunny and in the 70s. Perfect! I hope it doesn't get into the 80s.

And we got the boat launched!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

100 miles!

The last big training milestone for the Seattle to Portland was a 100 mile ride. Done! 19 laps around Crockett Lake yesterday. It was getting slower at the end. Having those lower gears helped. And the coasting function. I've been riding a non-coasting bike for the last year and a half.

Only two more weekends of training before the STP. The longest ride is 50 miles. Time to let the body catch up.

I replaced the derailleur cable. Now it has 16 speeds again. I also now have extra ones.

Now it's time to start looking for the sleeping bag and air mattress for camping out in the Centralia College Gym on July 16.