Friday, November 04, 2005

It's been a long time

Where have you been? Where have I been...? Oh yeah,

I've been busy with family, work and bike. It's been a long time since I posted. Sorry.

I need to catch up on some bike work, then tomorrow I can finish my thoughts on TT Tri bike design.

I looked at my paint and knew I had to do something. There were too many chips etc. to ride through the winter. Masking decals doesn't work in my experience. So, anything other than isolated spots would involve new decals. Without an airbrush, it didn't seem likely that the paint could be controlled sufficiently to do isolated spots. So, it was time for a major respray.

There seemed to be three options:
1) Get it done professionally. Have a bead blast and then professional wet paint and clear coat. Nice plan, but I don't want to do without for an extended period of time. I rode my old bike last weekend and got back spasms. (Hell to be old).
2) Strip it all down myself and try to achieve a good paint job from a can. Again, there's the extended downtime problem, plus removing the old paint seemed like a noxious and unpleasant duty.
3) Sand down the bad spots. and spray over what I have. Downside: ugly. Upside, I'll be back on the bike quickly.

I chose number 3. In the winter, a pro can do the repaint. Meanwhile, I'm putting on miles. 090105 is now all green/blue - no panels. The French motif decals are in place. It looks pretty good. Let me expand - up-close one sees all sorts of little errors. From 10 feet away it looks awesome. Either way, its fine by me for a test mule.

The last ride was in the rain - enough to ensure I got fenders. Bought some Planet Bike Freddy Fenders. It's what was available locally. They're ok. They're short. While easy to install and adjust, they concern me regarding their durability. Anyhow, scuffed them, primed them and shot them to match the frame. There's one small decal on each - and it looks pretty good.

I hate fenders that aren't concentric with the wheels. Mostly, this is an issue of where the mountings are located on the frame - put them in the wrong place and the fender won't fit correctly. It looks like my chainstay bridge is just a bit too far forward. I'll have to get a longer 4mm bolt so I can fit a brake washer between the fender and bridge. It was easier than expected to to locate a hole for mounting to the brake bridge. The Henry James DOs don't come with eyelets. Some folks recommend mounting them to the seat stays - so as not to have to braze them to stainless. So naturally, I took the other course. After filing a little concave into the back of the DO, I fluxed with a combo of Freddy's black and white fluxes, mounted the eyelets, and set a steel rod through them to ensure that: 1) they didn't move; 2) they were located equally.

I used little bit of Freddy's 50+t silver under the eyelet, then some of his 45+t to build up a filet above and below the eyelet. After it cooled off and was cleaned, a few strokes of the file made it look nice. Only time will tell how this holds up against fatigue, but they're on solidly now and only have to handle a very light load.

The Freddy Fenders have an easy (if less than elegant looking) adjustment mechanism for the stays. While the stays can be trimmed, they don't need to be unless they're truly too long. The stay ends hide in the adjuster near to the mounting to the frame, rather than sticking out past the fender as with other brands. In my case, I had to cut an inch off in the front, and nothing off of the back.

After mounting the fenders and wheels, things looked great except for the aforementioned chainstay bridge issue. I have a miniature version of my cigar band decal for use on seat stays - but the stays were remaining unadorned on this bike. So, I took these and mounted them across the back of each fender part way up. They turned out to be just the right length to span the fender and add a nice, discreet, little finishing touch.

I should mention that the new fork was mounted ahead of the fenders. With it, I put on a new steerer clamp which is better finished, a tighter fit, and painted to match the frame. After trimming the steerer to length, everything looks good in front even with the stem sticking way up.

So, then I tried mounting the front rack along with the fork, brakes, and fender. All was good except that the rack turns out to be crooked, pointing distinctly off to the right. I'm somewhat confused by this (after all it was fitted to the fork all through it's build process) and wonder if it has something to do with the fit between the rack and fender. This seems unlikely given the relative strength of these two components - but the rack definitely pushes the front of the fender down (ruining its perfect concentricity to the wheel).

It does appear that: 1) adjusting the mounting hole for one stay will straighten out the rack; 2) that it may be possible to get it to sit a little higher, thus relieving pressure on the fender. I'll start by trying to drill out the new hole in the morning.

Meanwhile, the rack still needed two things added: 1) Cable protector/bag support at the back; 2) A mounting for the front brake cable stop. It seemed to me that the easiest way to hold everything together and make sure that it was positioned correctly involved brazing while installed on the bike (lesson - next time do this prior to painting). So I draped a rag over the front fender and wheel and went to work.

The cable protector/bag support went on nicely and looks good. It feels well mounted - and has nice filets built up from Freddy's 45+t silver. The single strap on the back of the bag loops around this. At first I was concerned that this would be a wobbly arrangement. Surprisingly, it seems pretty secure. I'm still going to figure out some kind of quick-connect loops to the handle bars. But, the key thing is that I can now carry stuff with me (some will recall that my little under-seat bag won't mount on the sprung Brooks seat). While the front bag isn't limitless - it does allow one to carry one or more spare layers of clothing, basic tools, some food, a camera, etc, without beginning to overload it. In fact, I think I'll start carrying the battery for my halogen headlight in the bag. This will free up the underside of the toptube for a pump (a, now correctly sized, Blackburn).

With the bag out of the way, I went after the brake cable stop. Again, 45+t silver was used to build solid filets. When all is said and done, it feels very secure, even though it is cantilevered off the back of the rack.

After adjusting the brakes, it was clear that there is give in the system. It appears to be the rack, not the cable stop. This give doesn't seem enough to interfere with braking (I'll know better tomorrow) - but I plan to eliminate it by putting a small stay from the main stay to the back of the rack platform. This should sort things out. I may also put a little stay up from the tube that mounts to the brake to the cable stop tube. But, all of this will have to wait until I have the rack straight. So much to do, so little time.

With the bag in place, I can no longer mount lights to the quill of the stem. So, the Cateye LED flasher is now down on the fork leg (very continental, you know). The Halogen will remain on the top of the bars. Anyhow, the LED looks very neat in its new position and may actually make me more visible from the side as it shines on the front wheel.

The bell remains on the stem, and is now better secured with a little rubber shim to prevent it from moving when I'm wearing gloves and acting clumsy. With the neater stem arrangement - it look very proper in its location.

In case you're wondering, the bag is a Berthoud. It's very nicely put together - and handsome. It came from Wallingford ( who are nice folks. The bag has a nice shoulder strap which can be tucked under the lid (which has a map case on top). The lid has a quick-acting catch so its almost one motion to remove the bag from the bike and mount it on ones shoulder- very handy. Naturally, there are a variety of useful pockets - inside and out. Recommended.

The seatpost was re-installed, this time with a vary liberal coating of grease. I also polished the surface of the portion which resides in the frame. It shouldn't seize again. In cleaning up the post, the scorpion decal was lost, so I have to make another and mount it (for good luck).

So, what's left? 1) Reinstall the BB (this time with the sleeve between the bearings. 2) Adjust the left brake lever position. 3) Mount the remaining cables and housings (I'm still waiting for some more blue housing to arrive). 4) Re-tape the bars. 5) Straighten the rack. 6) Mount the chain. 7) Dial-in seat height. And then get some big miles on the bike. Yipee - the miles should start tomorrow.

Random notes. I'm starting to collect parts for Sarah's bike. I've got just about everything but the rims - which are on back-order. Also, been shopping eBay for parts for future bikes. Got a Nuovo Record rear derailer. I knew the idler sprockets were non-standard (Red sealed bearing - fine by me), but somehow didn't catch onto the fact that the rear cage plate was apparently stripped out. There are small hex-headed bolts that look normal on the front but go through the rear cage to small nuts on the back. Probably not a problem, the derailer didn't cost that much, but still a bit of a disappointment. I'm getting some SunTour Superbe bits too. They're better priced, perform better than their Campy contemporaries, and generally are better finished. Fun, fun, fun.

OK.... I promise, tomorrow the finish of TT and Tri Design.


1 comment:

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