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.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A new Bernie bike hits the road

32 miles today on the Schwinn Typhoon Mark IV. First ride. Looks a lot like the last Bernie bike but the last one had two gears. This one has 16. Or it did until the front derailleur cable stop failed early in the ride and left me with 8 gears. Still an improvement. It's a different but identical frame. The pedals, seat, seat post, front rack, handle bar bag, bottle cages, and saddle bag were on the old Bernie bike. The bigger tires made it smoother and faster. Fenders are on the way.

I did find another cable stop for the front derailleur. It was originally the down tube stop on my Raleigh International super commuter and then it went on the Nishiki Olympic that Katie has now. Unfortunately I didn't have any spare shift cables. Lots of spare brake cables but they didn't help. I need to keep spares on hand.

Tomorrow I ride 100 miles. I will need an early start.

Monday, June 13, 2016

1,700 miles for the year

I'm over 1,700 miles for the year. I did 81 miles Saturday and 81 miles again on Sunday. There are two training mileposts for the Seattle to Portland that I think are essential. The first is doing two 80 milers back to back. Done! It took three tries. The first week I didn't feel well and stopped at 40 miles. Last week I did the first 80 but at too fast a pace and was wiped out the next day. The third time was just right. Dialed down the pace a little and finished the last lap as fast as the first. Next week has fewer miles and then the following week has a hundred mile ride. Once that is done I will be ready. That will be followed by a couple of weeks of winding down the miles. 32 days and 15 hours until the STP.

This may be the last long ride for my fixed gear Schwinn. The 16 speed Schwinn is almost done and I should be riding the 100 miler on that. The seat, seatpost, pedals, and front rack will go on the "new" Schwinn.

Above the green you can see driftwood piled up. Puget Sound is on the other side. The mountains are the Olympics.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Schwinn Typhoon Mark IV - two wheels

It's starting to look like a bicycle.

I finished building the rear wheel and it's on the bike. I've installed the handlebar with grips, brake levers, and shifters. The cantilever brakes are on their posts. The bottom bracket and crank are on as well as front and rear derailleurs. Waiting for the 8 speed cassette and then I can put on the chain and connect the derailleurs with cables. Next to install the rear brake and connect the brakes with cables. Hopefully it will be on the road in another week. The seat and seat post will be shared with my other Schwinn as well as the front rack and pedals.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Schwinn Typhoon Mark IV - front wheel

The front wheel is done.

The wheel is done and the tire is mounted. The fork isn't raked like that. There isn't a rear wheel on it and the rear dropouts are on the deck. I'm real happy with the wheel came out. The tire is a Compass Rat Trap Pass 2.3"x26" tire. If you thought a big tire like that has to be heavy and slow you would be wrong. It weighs the same as the 2"x26" Schwalbe Kojaks that I'm riding now.

This my front Kojak. The Kojack has supple sidewalls which make it fast and comfy. The Rat Trap Pass will be even more so. The Kojaks were a lot faster than the 1.3"x26" Continental Sport Contacts I rode the Seattle to Portland on last year. Part of it is I ran 70psi in the Sport Contacts, 45psi in the Kojaks and probably 40psi in the Rat Trap Pass tires. High volume, low pressure, and supple side walls.

This is the Sport Contact last year. It weighs the same as the Kojak and the Rat Trap Pass. It doesn't have supple sidewalls.

I have the spokes prepped for the rear wheel. Next is to lace that up.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Schwinn Typhoon Mark IV - wheel assembled - mostly

The first step is lacing the wheel without tensioning the spokes. Just get the spokes going through the right holes in the hub and rim with a spoke nipple attached. It's been 40 years since I laced a wheel. It was fun to do.

Here it is with 35 spokes installed. I was shorted one on my spoke order. When I get that last spoke installed then the spoke nipples are turned so that the spokes are inserted all the same amount. That will straighten out the spokes. Then out with the spoke wrench and hand turning the spoke nipples adjusting the spokes to get the rim laterally and radially true. Also checking that the rim is centered on the hub. The red arms on the wheel truing stand check that the rim is true. Then keep tightening until the tension is correct.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Schwinn Typhoon Mark IV - new front wheel

It seems there is some assembly required.

36 stainless steel spokes, one Origin8 track hub, one Rhyno Lite rim, and 36 red splined spoke nipples. The next step is to lace the them up attaching the right spoke in the right holes of the rim and hub to give a 3 cross pattern.

We take bicycle wheels for granted but they are the heart of an efficient bicycle. These 4 components make a remarkably light and strong structure.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Schwinn Typhoon Mark IV - wheel building

When I was racing bicycles in the early 1970s I built my own wheels. Until 1976 when I was trying to adjust the dish in a new rear wheel I was builiding when I warped the rim. I said "Never again!" Since then I've had others build my wheels. Until now. I found a number of wheel building resources on the web that have changed my mind. I need new wheels for my "new" Schwinn Mark IV.

Measuring the effective rim diameter in order to determine spoke length. 3 cross, 36 holes. I'm using The Professional Guide to Wheel Building for instructions. Wheel Fanatyk a great resource for wheel building tools and spokes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Schwinn Typhoon Mark IV - beginnings

But wait! There is another bike project.

Another Schwinn Typhoon project. The Mark III I have been riding the past rear and a half as a fixed gear bike. The Mark IV will have 16 speeds. Hopefully in time for this year's Seattle to Portland bicycle ride.


Schwinn cantilever frames like this started production in 1938 and were made pretty much unchanged until the mid 1970s. I bought this frame on eBay for $87. It was the best available and at a good price. It turned out to be another Typhoon the same year as my Mark III.

I widened the space between the rear dropouts to take the wider 8 speed hub. The kickstand is off for cleaning and lube. I've started sanding the rust and rubbing out the frame with rubbing compound. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Zoe's Motobecane - beginnings

Another bike project started.

Zoe has had this bike since she was 19. It's an early 1970s Motobecane Mirage. Made in France. It's been a dust collector since I've known her. Zoe had a chance to ride the Nishiki that I built for Katie and she loved it. Now to upgrade the Motobecane like I did to Katie's bike.

The first step is taking it apart. A quick clean on the frame. I can't get the right side bottom bracket bearing cup off so it will have to go to the bike shop. These are the parts I can reuse. The rack was last seen on the Trek that William rode on last year's Seattle to Portland. All else will be new. It will be a little different challenge since the French used different thread and tube diameter standards but there are solutions. It should be a very nice riding frame.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

1,000 miles for the year.

I'm over 1,000 miles for the year. My minimum goal preparing for the Seattle to Portland is 2,000 miles. Half way there! This month is the month with the most miles. This week is 170 miles. I just finished 32 miles and there will be two 70 mile rides this weekend. Most are going around and around Crockett Lake. I never tire of the views. Those are the Olympic Mountains. The green hump is Fort Casey.

Katie's bike in it's new home

 Katie's bike in Colorado Springs on a Thursday afternoon when she should be at work. The bike looks very happy.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Katie's bike is done

I took Katie's bike up to Fort Casey for it's portrait.

The frame is from a 1977 Nishiki Olympic. Katie rode this when she was in her late teens and loved it. She got another bike and returned it to me. I started to turn it into a fixie but life got in the way and it languished in a storage locker for years until Katie said she wanted a bike last fall. I told her I still had the old Nishiki and could build it up for her. The frame is a little large for her but she said it was not a problem. I suggested keeping the paint off and I'm glad she liked the idea because it turned out to be a beautiful bike. A couple of coats of Butcher's Bowling Alley Wax are used for protection.

I have links to the build at the bottom of this post.

I incorporated a number of things that I have been riding with that have worked out well. The quill adapter and stem are from Velo-Orange. The handle bar is an Ahearne+Map. I've been riding with this bar and love it. It give a nice upright postion with the Ergon grips and a more efficient leaned forward position on the wrapped part of the bar. I've installed Sunrace thumb shifters from Rivendell Bikes. The water bottle cage if from Velo-Orange. That is my Klean Kanteen water bottle. The best!

Brake levers are Tektro FL750.

The drivetrain is from Rivendell. A Sugino 46x36x24 triple crank. Katie lives in Colorado Springs. The land of hills and no oxygen. The front derailleur is a Shimano Deore XT.

After 35 years of riding clipped in I have become a fan of riding free. Spiked pedals keep the feet from sliding.

An 11-28 eight speed cassette and a Shimano Altus rear derailleur.

Velocity 650b wheels with Velocity Atlas rims and Velocity hubs..

One of the reasons I went with a 650b wheelset is the smaller diameter of the rim compared to the 27" wheels that this frame originally had. That would lower the frame a little for Katie. That meant really long reach brakes. Dia-Compe MX-1000 caliper brakes.

The other reason for going to a 650b wheelset is tires. I've become a fan of large volume, low pressure, supple sidewall tires. Jan Heine of Compass Cycle and Bicycle Quarterly has been a proponent of these tires and he has his own line named after gravel mountain passes in Washington State. I put on 650b wheels to lower the bike and then fat tires to raise it. The net effect is to lower the bike 1/2". These tires are smoooooth! The Babyshoe Pass tires are only 390 grams. The result is low rolling resistance for a fast tire and the ability to roll over road irregularities for a very comfortable ride. Great on pavement and gravel.

There it is, Katie. Ready to ride. Maybe I'll see it on the Seattle to Portland next year?

Build history:

Katie's bike - old old skool bar wrap and bike height
Katie's bike - first ride
Katie's bike can shift - mostly
Katie's bike is almost a bike
Katie's bike is coming together
Katie's bike -- part 2
Katie's bike