Finishing up the ST600

The shim I cut to use the 25.4 handlebars with a 26mm stem wasn’t holding very well, so I picked up a replacement stem with a 25.4mm clamp.  A Nitto Technomic stem, 150mm tall – great fit and finish, and it’s installed.  The bars are on and the brake levers are reinstalled and positioned as best I can without riding it.

Got out for a short ride, and the stem/handlebar/lever positions are good.  Now the mechanicals are finished.

I wrapped the handlebars and finished the ends, but I think the right side ended a little too close to the stem.  I have a GUB gps mount that fits on that side of the bars, so I might redo the end.  Removing a half inch would give better clearance for the front brake cable.

Barring that change, or even including it if you’re generous, the ST600 is finally ready for the road.

New rim tape, installed

When I left you, the tires on the Cannondale ST600 just fit too tightly for comfort.  By that I mean that removing the tire, well half of it anyway, to patch a punctured inner tube was going to be very difficult at the side of the road.

The new rim tape was delivered, and I removed both tires and tubes, the old rim tape, and installed the new rim tape.  Remounting the tires was still not an easy task, but was easier than the last time.  I’m confident that I could do this on a ride if necessary, which is a relief.

Need to ride it now that the tires are sorted out, and make sure that the handlebars and stem are properly adjusted.  The final step will be to wrap the handlebars.

Then it’s time for some “all done with this one” photos.

Stay tuned.

New rim tape

No bicyclist likes a flat tire.  Fixing them on the side of the road is at the bottom of most rider’s list of fun things to do.  Mounting tires for the ST600 was difficult enough that I don’t want to try it on the road.  Of course the first long ride will probably result in a flat, and at the point I’m farthest from home.  Karma, you know.  Well, a cell phone rescue call isn’t my first choice as I’d rather be more self-sufficient while out riding.  So, I need to try to make tire removal/installation easier.

Mounting tires on my Boyd wheels on the Merckx took less time than powdering the tube, so maybe I’m just spoiled.  Box section rims can be more difficult due to a shallow (or nonexistent) channel for the bead to rest in while mounting.

Pro tip: Always mount tires with the label over the valve stem hole.  Since you know how the tire was oriented, and you know where the patch was applied, you’ll be able to check the inside of the casing before remounting the tire to be sure there’s nothing in there waiting to cause another flat.  The little wires from steel belted auto tires (a common cause of flats) are hard to see but it helps to be checking in the right spot.

I used Velox tape, as I have always used in the past, but for this rim, the combination is simply too tight.  I’ve just ordered some Kapton tape 16mm wide and I’m going to go through the work of removing the tire and tape, and then try the Kapton tape.  It’s significantly thinner than the Velox tape and hopefully will make mounting the tire an easier job.

I’m not looking forward to removing the tire, but better to do that at home than at the side of the road in pouring rain.  Hey, if i’m going to get a flat it will probably be the trifecta – a hole in the tube, a REALLY hard to remove tire, and pouring rain all at the same time.  Not that I haven’t beaten the odds before, but why make it so easy for Murphy to assert himself?

ST600 project maiden voyage

I put the rim tape in place, and installed the Compass tires and tubes.  Wow.  The tires were really tight.  So tight, in fact, that I was surprised that the tire lever was in one piece.  I even powdered both sides of the tire bead and it made no difference.  I guess it is the combination of a box section rim, Velox tape, and a tight tire that made for the perfect storm of tire mounting.  I was careful to have a little air in the tubes to help keep them out of the way of the tire lever and that seems to have worked.  All of the reviews for these tires say they’re phenomenal, and I hope they live up to the hype.  I’ll know very soon.

Put the wheels back into the frame and rechecked that the brake pads are properly aligned with the rims and not touching the tires.  That would be bad, to ruin an expensive new tire because the pads were in the wrong place.

The RD has been cleaned up, lubricated, and installed, and the shift cable has been run.  The chain is installed, and looks long enough for this frame and chainrings/cogs.  Might remove a link, the chain is a little longer than it needs to be.  Some minor adjustments to the high-low trim screws and cable tension and we’re ready for the first ride.

I haven’t wrapped the handlebars yet, once the stem/handlebar is set properly I’ll do that.

The first ride was a short one, up the 10% grade of my driveway, and then a left turn to stay on the (reasonably) level part of the road.  I’m not ready for descending just yet.  The brake levers weren’t tight enough on the handlebars, and the bars needed to be tipped up a little.  I chose to walk back down the driveway until I could make those adjustments.

I did notice the tires, on a rough section of chip and seal.  I could hear the tire rolling over the road, but I could barely feel it in the handlebars.  There was noticeably more vibration on my Merckx, with 90/100 psi in the 25mm tires. I’m running 60/65 psi in the 35mm Compass tires for now.  Plenty of time to fine-tune the tire pressure later.

All adjusted and tightened, let’s try it again – If the fit is good, then it’s time to wrap the handlebars and take some photos of the finished project.

What a long, strange trip it’s been…

ST600 project, continued yet again

Well, the rear hub problems are turning (actually it’s not turning which is the real problem) out to be difficult to solve.  The serious problem, which I may not be able to remedy, is that the DS cup is toast.  The usual method for resolving this type of problem is to find an identical hub to use as a donor, and swap a good cup from the donor hub for the non-good cup in the hub you want to save.  I may have found a donor hub, but there is no guarantee that the cups in the donor hub are any better than the ones in my hub.  A bit of a gamble.

The bike ride that I’ve put together, the Bourbon and Tobacco Tour, is in April, and I don’t know how long this repair will take or even if it will be successful.  Still, I would like to use this bike on that ride.

So, I went to plan B.  I have wanted to change the rims to 700c from the original 27″, mainly because of the limited tire choices available for 27″ rims.  And If I’m going to switch rims, it is a perfect time to replace the hubs and sidestep the (potential) repair.  So I found a set of 700c wheels that have good, new hubs, and good quality DB spokes.  That’s my solution for now.  I may be able to repair the old hub and if that’s possible, great.  But while I’m attempting the repair, I’ll be able to ride the bike.

The wheels are built, trued, tensioned, and need only rim tape prior to installing tubes and tires.  The tires I’m going to install are Compass Bon Jon Pass 35mm tires, which I really wanted to use on this bike and with the new wheels I can use them.

Finally in this project full of ups and downs, an up shows up.  We’ve got some wet weather for the next few days, so the maiden voyage may have to wait for the weekend.  Photos to follow very soon.

ST600 project, continued again

I installed the new brake calipers on the fork and frame, they are Tektro R539 silver dual-pivot calipers.  Better braking than the original single-pivot calipers and they will easily adjust to fit 700c wheels if I go that route.

Installed the seatpost and the Selle Anatomica saddle.

Swapped the stem for a different one with a bit more reach.  Removed the old tape and levers from the handlebar and installed it.  The new stem uses 26mm bars and the old bars are 25.4mm, so I need to cut a shim to make everything fit properly.  Without the shim, it still clamps well enough to install the new brake levers.

Cut the brake housings to length and installed the brake cables.  The front pads and caliper are adjusted and done.  Can’t adjust the rear brake until I have a rear wheel in the frame.  🙁  I think I’ll hold off on wrapping the bars until after I’ve taken a few rides.

Cleaned the chainrings and installed the crankset and pedals – rotating smoothness is the result.  I won’t be able to blame a slow pace on BB friction any time soon.

Bid on a Sansin rear hub on ebay, hoping that it will be able to donate a cup so that I can save the existing hub.  Even if the cups are usable, there is still the task of removing the donor cup and the existing cup, and pressing in the replacement.  Not inherently an impossible task, but needs to be done carefully.

Cleaned up the FD, and figured out how the FD connects to the mounting clamp.  Installed the FD and spaced it a penny’s thickness above the big chainring.  Run the shift cable and left it a bit long, just in case.  No housing for this one, just the cable from the downtube shifter around the BB and up to the FD.  About as simple as it gets.

If (and that’s a big if at this point) I could get the rear hub reassembled, the rest of this will only take a few minutes.  All that’s left is the RD and chain, and a few derailleur adjustments to be ready for the maiden voyage.


ST600 project, continued

The new bottom bracket has been installed.  And surprisingly, I actually had the correct tool to install it.  I didn’t have to order a tool or go to the local shop to have them install it.  Finally, success without intervention.

The front hub came apart easily, and after cleaning and inspection, the cone, cup, and bearings look great.  Added fresh grease, reassembled, and adjusted the preload.  Installed the front tube and tire.  Actually, I installed it twice.  I paid attention to the rotation arrow, and lined up the label with the valve, but I didn’t have the label on the hub reading from the right direction.  I realized I would always see that and get irritated at myself over it, so I just took the tire off and flopped it the other way and it’s ready to go.  Wow, that seems almost over-the-top just reading it – but it’s just a few minutes of my time and paying attention to the details is part of the pride in a job done well.

There is a lot of clearance for a wider tire up front.  That’s good to know, since I’m considering changing to 700c rims and wider tires in the future.  Looking at the clearance in the back, there is a lot of clearance there too.  The dimpled chainstays definitely increase the width of the tire that the frame can handle.

The rear hub, however, is a different story to the front hub.  It came apart easily enough, but the results weren’t nearly as good.  Both cones are pitted, and there was some corrosion on the axle itself.  The cups in the hub look OK, but they will need a brushing with a brass brush in a dremel tool to clean them up properly.  I’m hoping that I can save the hub and that I can find replacement cones.  I may have to pick up a used hub as a donor, but there’s no guarantee that those cones will be in better shape.  Still, it’s worth a try.  Disappointing considering the condition of the rest of the bike, but that’s the C&V game. Frustrating sometimes, but the enjoyment of riding a 29 year old bike that is literally better than new is worth it to me.

The updated tally for parts I hadn’t planned on is:

a new chain
a new bottom bracket
a new headset
replacement rear hub cones and bearing balls

I’ve ordered the replacement bearing balls.  It would be really dumb to replace the cones and then damage them because I didn’t replace the balls.

I headed over to the local bike shop to get the new headset installed and see if they have cones that will work.  A successful trip – headset installed, and cones found.  Now I just have to wait for the balls to be delivered and I can reassemble the rear hub.

Getting closer to the maiden voyage.

ST600 replacement parts

The chain was delivered a few days ago, but then I decided to replace the bottom bracket since the bearings were shot.  The replacement BB arrived here today.  Also today, I decided to replace the headset.  The headset was loose when I got the bike, but I held out hope that it hadn’t been ridden in that condition.  But I was wrong.  After cleaning it up, regreasing it, and reassembling it the headset was still “notchy”.  It doesn’t make any sense to finish the build knowing that this will need to be replaced very soon.  So I ordered a replacement headset, which means a trip to the local bike shop to have the old cups knocked out and the new ones pressed in place.

The tally for parts I hadn’t planned on is:

a new chain
a new bottom bracket
a new headset

None of these parts are overly expensive, but since I don’t have an inventory of parts each one adds a few days to the project.  This is why builds almost always take longer than you would think.

And just to be complete, I haven’t disassembled the front and rear hubs, so there could be some surprises waiting there too.  Oh well, I’m hoping not to be foolishly optimistic, but it would be great to just clean up and regrease the hubs and have everything work as it’s supposed to.

Just don’t bet on it.  Unless you like long odds.

ST600 project – need some replacement parts as usual

Remember my comment about not expecting any issues?  Apparently my expectations weren’t rooted in reality.

My plan to just service the existing bottom bracket ins’t going to work.  While I was cleaning the old grease off the bearings and retainers, I noticed that some of the balls had deep scratches in them and there was some rust on the retainers.  Crap.  So the drive-side cup had to come off, because I’m going to replace the BB with a new cartridge unit.  Doesn’t make sense to complete the build only to have to replace the BB in a couple of months, when it is much easier to do that now.

So I used a threaded rod with two fender washers and two nuts to clamp the adjustable wrench against the flats, and 2 minutes later the DS cup was off.  The spindle was 121mm long, and was asymmetric, with the DS being longer than the NDS.  I searched around for a while trying to confirm that the UN55 BB was or wasn’t asymmetrical, and finally was able to confirm that the 122mm spindle length has an asymmetric spindle.  Ordered the new BB, so that should solve the problem.  I think I have the correct tool for this BB, but that remains to be confirmed.

The replacement chain is here, the new BB should be here Monday, as should the freewheel tool.  Then I can remove the freewheel and send it off for a day at the freewheel spa.

Continuing the ST600 overhaul

Continuing on with the process, I decided to push out a pin and remove the chain.  It is 116 links long, so I need to be sure that the replacement is at least that long.  A lot of chains now being sold contain only 114 links, so I need to be sure that it will be long enough for a touring bike with long chainstays and a 3×6 drivetrain.

With the chain off, the FD/RD came off next.  The cranks were tight, but the puller removed them cleanly.  I don’t think they could have been removed without it – at least not without damaging something.  The NDS (left side) ring and cup came off easily, and the axle and both bearings came right out.  The DS (right side) cup is really tight, and I may just clean it in place and leave it alone.

So now that the frame has everything removed, it’s time to polish and wax it.  Actually I’ll clean up the DS cup first so that I won’t get any solvent on freshly waxed paint and then polish and wax the frame and fork.

Then it’s time to start reassembly.  The BB will be first, then the headset and fork.