Inaugural Tobacco and Bourbon Tour – April 21-22, 2018 – getting closer

The Inaugural Tour is getting closer, three weeks from today.  I have the prizes from the generous sponsors, and the cookout after Saturday’s ride will be at my house.  Logistically it’s simpler to leave the food in the fridge at home than hauling it from home to a pavilion.  In this case, simpler is better.

Several folks have confirmed that they’re going to be here, and a couple are definite maybe’s.  I hope they turn up, it should be a nice ride.

I will take as many photos as time allows, and will post them here and on the BikeForums site as well.

The plan is to drive the route one more time beforehand, using the Garmin 705 for navigation to be sure the gps route is complete and correct.  I need to select the sprint points and update the cue sheet with their locations so I’ll do that while checking the gps route.

Sunday’s trail/gravel ride is a bit of a wildcard, no real routes are in place.  We’ll just leave from the North Visitor Center and see where we wind up.

Can’t wait.

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.

Picked up the Lemond Zurich frameset

Got to Duane’s a little early on Sunday, but he was waiting and had the frame ready to go. It looks just great with a fresh coat of clear over everything.  The candy blue was tricky to match, but Duane did a great job and the touchups are very difficult to find.  I’ll have to do a good job with the build to match the frameset.

Got the frameset home today, but I won’t get to it right away.  I’m in the middle of overhauling the Cannondale ST600, so I really need to finish that one up first.  it’s still in pieces, and I got the freewheel removal tool I needed and removed the freewheel.  I’m sending it off to the freewheel spa for a service, and while it’s away I’ll get the wheel bearings and hubs cleaned and regreased.  Then I can true the wheels and install the new tubes and tires.  Once the freewheel is back that will be the wheels complete.

Sounds like progress, slow but relentless (emphasis on slow).

Picking up the Lemond Zurich frame

I’m going to pick up the Lemond Zurich frame that has been touched up by Duane at  He has done this work for me on other frames and his work is superb.  I can’t wait to see it, and more so, I can’t wait to begin building this bike.

The frame is on the receiving end of a Campagnolo Chorus 3×10 group, all silver, which should work well and look great at the same time.  I really like the older Campy groups, the polished alloy parts in particular, and the fact that Campy is not as common as the more ubiquitous Shimano hardware.  All of the modern groups work quite well, and can even be mixed and matched to some degree and retain a high level of performance.  I just like Campy more, so that’s what I chose.  I’m not anti-Shimano or SRAM, I’m just pro-Campy.  I did just install a Shimano 1×11 drivetrain on my Giant XTC, so I don’t always choose Campy.  The right tool for the job, you know.

I think I have all of the components I need for the build, but as my past history shows, there will be something (or things) that I need but don’t have.  OK, I need handlebar tape.  So history does repeat itself.  But it can be ridden without that, so it isn’t a critical-path item.  That’s my rationalization for today and I’m sticking with it.

Stay tuned for photos as this frame becomes a bicycle.

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.