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the raleigh’s opening salvo

December 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Sram Rival group

The silver fanatic in me demanded this! I found a 2008 (I believe) Rival groupset, the line before everything started turning black, and it arrived yesterday. In near perfect condition. A couple of marks on the cranks, as is expected, but other than that, immaculate. I took everything out of the package and wiped it clean to prep it for the greasing and installation. (The cat was not a part of this set, by the way. That’s Zoe. Say hi Zoe.)

Sram Shifters, Deda bars and stem

First on, the shifters. This will be interesting – they flare outward naturally, much as the Dura Ace and Ultegra shifters are made to by being mounted on Cinelli 65s.

Sram bottom bracket

Next up, in goes the bottom bracket. Without the proper tool, though, I had to run down to Brooklyn Bicycles and have them tighten the cups in. It worked out a lot cheaper than buying the tool. For the moment, at least…

Sram Crankset

The crankset went on easily, but required quite a bit of tightening to remove any play. I’ll be very aware of keeping it properly tensioned.

Sram Rival drivetrain

Finally, for this part of the build, on went the front and rear derailleurs. Nice pieces. The seat tube needed a 31.8mm clamp for the braze on, and a few finicky adjustments of the clamp and derailleur positions, the cranks spun without any catching. So now the partly built Raleigh hangs from the wall, waiting for funds and also for decisions about what pedals, wheels and saddle will grace it in its completed state.

The brake calipers seem very nice, but I doubt that I’ll be using them. I’m still utterly in love (lust?) with the Dura Ace 7402s, and will wait and see what can happen with finding some before I make any decisions on that front. I have time. There’s still a ton of snow on the ground and, I think, more to come…

Current build weight is a hair under 9 pounds/4kg.

Categories: Builds, Parts, Raleigh Tags: ,

the schwinn – finally finished?

December 16th, 2009 Comments off

Could it be? Could I finally be done with putting the finishing touches to the Schwinn Peloton? Bar tape – check. Tires I’m happy with? Check. Test ridden? Check. Oh.

So now what?

1999 Schwinn Peloton

What we have here is a new-old-stock 60cm 1999 Schwinn Peloton with stock Titec seatpin and an Origin headset. I’ll see how this headset survives – the first one worked itself loose on each of the first 4 rides I took with the bike and became (still is?) a concern. What drew me to this frame was it’s length – the top tube is 59.5cm, which allows me to really be (comfortably) stretched out. (The Condor, by contrast, is 58cm).

Equipped with a nearly complete Dura Ace 7700 group – the exceptions being the crankset (a perfect condition Ultegra, 170mm), the Dura Ace BR-7402 calipers (my brake of choice for 16 years) and the functional A520 pedals. Cinelli 65 (Criterium) bars and the X/E 130mm stem (X/A stems are just too damn expensive now). Wheels are Ksyrium Elites, with Vittoria Open Corsa CX 20c tires. And the seat is the Bontrager Selle San Marco that I’ve been so comfortable on for the last 8 years. Call me a creature of habit, but I’ve always (tried to) stick with something that works and that is comfortable for me.

She’s an absolute beauty. I’ve read many complaints about the paint work, and how easily chipped it is. These are valid complaints and unfortunately, Schwinn don’t ahve a record of the pantone color for this frame, so touch up paint is going to be trial and error. The other complaints I read about this frame were about the fork. So far, the fork has been fine – not too springy or harsh – but the headset has been a big issue. Whether this is is as a result of a different size standard (OneSpeedBiker has a very thorough piece about this) or it just being a really sh*tty headset, time will tell.

I took it out for its finished test ride yesterday, two laps of Prospect Park. It fared beautifully, rode like a dream. It rode much better than I did. Here’s to rideable weather again (the next week promises to be gross).

Categories: Builds, Schwinn Tags: , ,

what lies beneath

December 14th, 2009 Comments off

the only problem with pulling a 16 year old bike to pieces for maintenance is the damage you can find. and damage is what I found when I decided to fully service The Condor yesterday. All of the parts came off smoothly – though the drive side bottom bracket cup resisted enough that I had to get it removed at Brooklyn Bikes. All of the dirt was summarily cleaned away, and you know what…the frame is still is astonishing condition (for its age)

But then I spun the fork.

The headset has become a deadset. It turned as though it was being controlled by index shifters. So, The Condor is down for the count right now which, as long as the weather is either really crappy or really nice, won’t be too much of an issue – if it rains, I’ll be taking the bus or walking, and if it stays as nice as it was today, out comes The Schwinn.

Now I remember why they say ‘let sleeping dogs lie’. Or as Jessica put it, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Categories: Builds, Condor Tags: ,

and so it begins…

December 10th, 2009 Comments off

2004 Raleigh Competition, Deda Quattro, Deda Speciale

The first components to go on this new build are the Deda bars and stem.

This is a real departure for me and somewhat of an experiment. I have only ever used quill stems and the oft mentioned Cinelli 65 bars. The Deda Speciale are a squarer shape along the top, not offering the beautiful, gentle curve of the almost Pista-like 65s, and they also have a shallower drop (135mm opposed to (approx) 150mm) than the 65s.

The stem – Quattro, 130mm – is astoundingly light and flexible. I’ve currently got it set up to be flat, but if I need to raise the bar height, I can just flip the stem and get an entirely different angle. I’m not going to know how this turns out until there are other components to work with. But it’s a whole new adventure!

Can you even get silver steerer spacers?

The Schwinn

December 10th, 2009 Comments off

1999 Schwinn Peloton, Reynolds 853

This is my 2009 build project, after my lust for riding was reinvigorated by my son’s new found ability to ride, and stoked by my friends Mike, Kenny, Charlie and Eric.

It began with moving all of the Shimano Ultegra (600-EX) components from the Condor, and turned into a bargain hunting project. It is now almost entirely Dura Ace (the brakes are still 7402, my favorite brakes ever) except for the Ultegra crankset and the Mavic Krysium Elite wheels. Cinelli 130mm X/E stem and (of course) 65s for bars.

I still judge this as a work in progress. The initial headset was a total nightmare – every time I rode the bike, it worked itself loose. Eventually, it was replaced by the very knowledgeable, friendly, honorable and trustworthy Mr C’s, and the removed headset turned out to be badly pitted. Only time will tell if this new one (another Origin) will stand up. There’s no bar tape on it at the moment either – still working on my position. And the jury is still out on whether the white-striped tires work. This is another big frame – 69cm seat tube, and a nearly 60cm top tube. I love that, i feel so comfortable with it being so long, with being stretched out. And did I mention that the frame is incredibly light, and the fork – aluminum – is ridiculously weight free. Reynolds knew what they were doing when they created 853 tubing.

Besides the headset woes, the only gripe I have with this frame is how easily the paint chips on it. I swear – stare at it for too long and another paint chip will flake off.

I have to wait and see what happens with the headset now, but until that is resolved, this continues to be my top bike.

The Condor

December 10th, 2009 Comments off

1992 Condor, Reynolds 531c

This is my long haul bike – It’s been with me for the last 16 years and has relocated from Holloway, North London, to NYC, the Brooklyn. It’s survived so much – this even was left behind when some b*stard stole my Trek XO-1. And I always believed it was the ultimate “magpie” bike…the bright shiny machine that would be the first to attract thieves.

Currently it’s equipped with Shimano 105, Cinelli 65s, a 3TTT 140mm stem and Novotech/Jalco/Vittoria 28 spoked wheels, kindly given to me by Kenny’s UPS workmate Flores. The seat is an Avocet O2, which is quickly becoming my favorite new saddle. Thanks to Pete at Brooklyn Bicycles for a quick and easy fix of the erratic right shifter, the gearing works like a dream.

I first noticed this frame in Condor’s Grays Inn road store in 1992. It’s pretty obvious why it was noticeable. It also had a twin, the negative splash (black with green flecks) which I also bought and turned into the winter bike with mudguards and everything. When I moved to America in 1994, I left this bike with my room mate and buddy from the Town & Country Club crew, Davis Wilkie. Davis, if you ever see this, let me know if you still have it or pictures of it?

Anyway, I bought his one first, equipped it with the SHimano/Mavic wheels I’d built while working at Day’s Cycles in Winchmore Hill, and then picked up an almost full set of Shimano 600-EX (the first line of Shimano Ultegra). Except for the brakes. I had to have the Dura Ace BR-7402 brakes for their aesthetic beauty. I still have those brakes calipers today (they’re on the Schwinn) and I will never, ever part with them. Nothing will ever come close to them as far as performance and looks go.

More information to come on this bike.

The Raleigh

December 10th, 2009 Comments off

2004 Raleigh CompetitionHere is my latest project, although whether it will become a build or not remains to be seen.

I picked up this frame on eBay. the seller (thanks Richie) lives on the lower east side, and my son and I set out on a freezing Sunday morning to pick it up. Initial inspection showed some marks, most of which just turned out to be rubber cement of some kind. These all came off on the subway ride home.

There’s one scratch on the upper rear stay (a nice carbon composite wishbone), one on the “Competition” decal (top tube, right side) and one on the left side of the fork. This was my greatest concern as this is my first foray into anything carbon. Two local bike shops took a look and said they believed it was purely surface abrasion – no fibers visible. That was a big relief. The frame is in amazing condition. It’ll just take time to see what kind of a ride it is.

The bike seems to have originated from The Old Bike Shop in Hermosa Beach, Ca. (I have Hermosa Beach stories, but that’s for a different forum). The tale Richie told was that he picked it up from a guy on Long Island who had received it (the complete bike) as a present from his girlfriend. But as a mountain biker, he didn’t get along with it and put it up for sale. Richie bought it for parts – the frame (62cm) was too large for him, and that’s how it ended up in my hands.

A tangent. I owned a 62cm “Alan” aluminium frame in the 70s. This bike was enormous, with a 62cm top tube to go with the 62cm seat tube. It was gold, garish and a great machine to ride – as long as I stayed in a straight line. Perfect for out-and-back time trials, way too spongy on hill climbs. My neighbor had a 54 or 56cm version of that same frame and it responded much better, much tighter. It’s going to be interesting to see how this new frame acts. One thing that’s interesting is that, even though it’s a bigger frame, the standover height is actually lower than the Condor or the Schwinn.

I guess I’ll be building it up. I just don’t know when, or with what!

Categories: Builds, Raleigh Tags: ,