Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Not a bike but a project nonetheless

I just spent the evening gathering the parts and making this little dude.  I've needed a ipod dock for work forever but I'm a cheapo and I can never quite bring myself to buy one. I decided to just kind of hack one together out of some cheapie(30$) computer speakers, an Ipod charger that I already had, and a extension cord that splits to two outlets. Inside the box the charger and speakers are plugged in so that only one cord comes out. The speakers are held in place by the screws that are on all sides. The wood is some scrap resawn redwood that I believe was part of a old water tower and stood in water for years, hence the black stains. Anyway, it's not fine furniture or anything but I'm stoked about it and  it seems like it's part of the same tinker spirit as wrenching on bikes.
I was also thinking about old bike parts recently. I was specifically thinking about how they often suck despite collector hype. There are a lot of folks who want to collect old parts, but in truth many 25+ year old parts just don't work that well. I suppose that I'm mostly talking about derailleurs. I saw an ebay auction recently for one of those old Superbe Tech rear ders, there were a bunch of bids on it, and it was up to 40 something bucks. It's kinda crazy unless it's for a museum bike that never gets ridden because those are/were terrible derailleurs. Both front and rear derailleurs need strong springs and tight non-flexy pivots to work well, and mostly those super old parts just don't cut it. I was thinking about it because I have been going through my Stumpy and just replacing almost all of the old "collectible"stuff. I changed the entire cockpit to some thing that works better (slinshot stem and super wide bars weren't comfy and tomaselli levers are overkill), the brakes (old ones have no spring tension adjustment and are crummy to balance), rear der (for better springs/better shifts), and recently the rear wheel (because there are no really good 5 speed freewheels, not even IRD, and the rim had a dent in it that caused uneven braking). I have kept some things: the original Specialized crankset is great, it's 110/94 bcd (I think it is anyway), the loose ball bottom bracket is at least serviceable, and surprisingly the old "high normal" front der still has strong springs, at least for the moment.
I guess I was also thinking about it because of that Ridgerunner I recently found.  It was neat to document it in it's original condition because it frees me up to now take off all the funky old parts and make it work right.
Anyway don't get me wrong, there are a bunch of great old parts that are still really functional, sometimes better than most new stuff, like old Suntour power ratchet thumb shifters. But many of the "rare" collectible parts are mostly on bikes that collect dust, and not the good kind that comes from riding trails!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Some developments

I recently picked up this little gem, it's in pretty amazing condition and was obviously rarely ridden. I got the bike from a really nice guy who had a long history of involvement in Bay Area bike stuff. It turned out that he had run a foundry that had made fork crowns for early Ritcheys and even had a few knocking around in boxes. I should have snapped a cell phone pic... Anyway it was neat to meet someone who knew a bunch and had some good stories to tell.

1983 Ridgerunner (as best I can date, I don't understand DB's serial #s but parts are correct for that year) This bike was supposed to be real competition for the Stumpjumper. The whole build includes some of the best parts available at the time. I took a lot of pics just to document the original condition before some changes are made to make it a more practical bike.
It came to e with these tires, unoriginal I was told, but I love these old basic tread patterns. These have a pretty heavy rolling resistance.
Front and rear cartridge bearing Suzue hubs. Unfortunately it's got chromed spokes, looking a bit funky.
Great fork with the mid fork braze on.
Kind of funny finishing on the fork crown, lots of casting texture on the middle of the crown and crusty edges.
Fakey Nervex lugs too, which I'm pumped on. These are a bit smarter than the Stumpjumper as the undersides are a bit more rounded.

I love these old Dia Compe yoke rollers. Who else made a roller other than Rene Herse?

This bent bullmoose was specific to DB
A pleasing detail on the stem cap.

So many nice details

I always say it but I love those super long stays.
All the good stuff from the era.
The Mountech rear ders are lousy, but the fronts are pretty cool, even campyish

The Superbe Tech rear der, so weird, so awesome, but such a crappy derailleur...The guy who I got the bike from commented on the bad shifting and he was right on; this set up is one of the slowest clunkiest shifts I've felt in a long time.
This bike was optimized for this der. Check the cable stop!

Just a better drop out shot

The Centurian Anatomic, looks a little like the bananatomic...
A camera fits where my head won't.

Ok well on a different note, I decided to replace my rear wheel on my Stumpy. The IRD 5 speed freewheel turned out to be a real piece of bummer; probably only a few hundred miles on it and the pawls were not engaging properly. The only other options are cheapo Shimano ones that tend to have a limited range. So I decided to build up this old 8 speed 600 hub with a Sun Rhynolite rim. I chose a road hub because the Stumpy is spaced 126 and I'm hoping that the 4mm more on the road hub will be a work around for a re-spacing.
Also there is this book I got in France. Great cover shot!
Not too much of note inside (that I can read) but I liked this Passoni ti number. Is that a drilled to hell Brooks?
Also, some random french (Japanese) Stumpjumer knock off.
Lastly, a recent pick of my Ridgerunner with it's new knobbies. The rear is a 2.4 and the front is sadly a 2.2 as the replacement fork would only handle a small guy. This set up works great and feels rowdy in the dirt.