Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Coco Shakedown

Yes I've named my '84 Norco Avanti SL "Coco." It was Alanna's idea.

I thought my freewheel might be toasted due to me soaking it in degreaser. This disolved all the grease inside the freewheel mechanism. I've been trying to keep this bike as thrifty as possible so I aimed to regrease the freewheel, but the damn thing just won't come apart. With some patience I was able to work a lot of triflow lube and eventually some Phil Wood grease in the small gap between the retaining ring and the cogs. Running a lot better now, but not perfect, which is ironic seeing as how it is a "Suntour Perfect" freewheel. Can always replace down the road if need be.

Velo-Orange came back with a shipping quote of $27! I told them to cancel the order, way too much. Fenders are expensive to ship due to their size, I was just hoping for a lucky deal. Luckily I found out that the Halifax Cycle Gallery is a VO dealer! So I went and talked to Roger and it looks like he can order them in for me for under $35, I just hope they fit on Coco.

After work today I decided to throw on the front wheel, try out my recovering freewheel, and take her for a shakedown ride.

Just went once or twice around the block, but it feels like it's going to be a nice ride! I still have to repack the front wheel as it is not feeling overly great (but not awful), and get the wheels trued, they are pretty out from what I can tell.

I've trimmed the budget more by opting to keep the original seatpost and saddle for now.
Another price saving measure is to keep the stock tires. The side walls are pretty dried out, but I'll replace them if they blow. I've also just used a regular short nut and bolt for the seatpost. I was able to save the cable housing as well as the break cables. I gave them a good rub with steel wool and greased them before putting them back through the housing, but they were in good shape! Near new from what I could tell. The brakes also cleaned up pretty nice. I roughed up the pads a bit, but I think they may need replacing as they felt a little dried out. We'll see how I feel about them after a few rides.

-Bike: $40
-Derailleur cables: $6
-BB: $17
-Fenders: $35

Total: $98

Not too shabby at all!

Still waiting on my shifters for Ernie the Colnago Sport... Canadapost/USPS fail. That bike is ready to go except for these shifters!!!

EDIT: Also go check out When it comes to these two '80s bikes the guys in the Classic and Vintage forum have been a great help. Lots of pretty pictures of old steel road bikes too. It's getting added to my links.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

'84 Norco Avanit SL Project

I've decided this bikes purpose.

It will 90% original. Don't want to put any money into this thing, and besides, a lot of the original parts are still in prime condition, the original bartape is great save for a small tear so it's staying! It will have flat platform pedals with no straps. I will attempt to clean up the ones on it, but they appear cheap and may not clean up well. If this is the case, the Gipiemme Sprint pedals will be donated from the Colnago, which will get the clipless Shimano M-520 pedals from the Surly, which will be getting new flat/clipless pedals in the near future (bike hand-me-downs?). It will also have fenders.

I am going to have to replace the bottom bracket. The cone surfaces on the axel are slightly damaged, and the bearings/cups are a cheap/crappy design where you can't remove them to clean the bearing race, or replace the ball bearings if need be. A sealed cartridge Shimano BB is $15 at MEC, I just hope they have the right size in stock. It is important to remember when replacing a BB that you get one with a) the same threading (68 for ISO/english) and b) the same spindle length. In my case I'm looking for a 68 x 127mm BB. Failing to do this can cause the crank to strike the frame or totally screw up the shifting of the front derailleur. It's VERY important.

I'm also going to replace the seatpost as it is a cheap short one with the ancient style saddle clamp, and the saddle. I can get a seatpost at MEC for $15 (is everything there $15?), the saddle... well, I'd like to get another Brooks B17. We'll see.

But a lot of work done so far:

Check out my last post for before pics.

Dearailleurs cleaned up and polished
Shifters and bracket same
Free wheel cleaned and lubed
Dork disk polished up
headset repacked
Rear hub repacked

Still have to:

Repack front hub
Install BB
Clean/install crank
Install chain
Setup front derailleur
Clean/install brakes
Run break cable/housing
Wheels trued
And almost definitely need new tires.

This will be my casual ride bike. For when I have to wear my work/dress shoes and ride to a meeting, or when I want to go grab a bite to eat or see a movie and I don't want to go in bike shorts and clipless shoes. I think it will serve a fine purpose.

Oh yeah btw I bought a repair stand as you might notice in the last pic.

I'm contemplating even reusing the old brake cables and housing as it's in pretty darn good shape. No rust or fraying, just a little dirty.

I just ordered this and this... First time ordering from Velo-Orange so we'll see how that goes. Great price for metal fenders, if the shipping is reasonable.

So project cost:

-Bike: $40
-Derailleur cables: $4
-BB: $17
-tires: $17
-fenders: $28 + shipping
-seatpost bolt: $4 + shipping

total $110

I may just swap my seatpost/saddle over from the Colnago when I want to use it...but I imagine that will get old.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Addition...again!

I really didn't mean to buy another bike...honest. The people over at the Classic and Vintage section just have me drooling over all the neat old steel bikes they find and stuff like that is never around my area!

But I saw an ad for a Norco Road Bike with very little info and a not so great pic, but there was a chance it was a nice bike, and was only asking $40!

Needless to say the condition will be spoken for by the photos and it's my exact size, so I had to take it home with me.

A Mid '80s Norco Avanti SL

Frame and fork are both Tripple Butted Ishiwata Cromo
Derailleurs and Shifters are Suntour (no model names on the derailleurs)
Crankset is a Sugino No. 6
Headset in Tange TG235 (?)
Stem and Bars are WinPista
brakes and levers are Dia Compe
27 1/4in wheels on Suzue hubs (same make hub on my Colnago Sport, but different model)
not sure what the BB is yet.

best part is it's in great condition! few minor scrapes to the paint and some rust spotting on the chrome parts but nothing serious. I should be able to put new cables and housing on this, tune up the brakes and derailleurs and ride! But I am going to check the chain for stretch and probably repack BB, Headset, and wheels. This should be an easy restore for me just need to get a few tools to do the job which I need anyway.

I'll probably keep it, at least for a while. But once it's cleaned up and fixed up it should be no trouble to sell it for a decent price... If I can bear to part with it.


Woohoo! Got my rear derailleur for the Colnago today! Just threw it on there quickly.

It's got a few scuff marks and the jockey wheels need some serious TLC, but it's in great shape!
So happy I was able to get a matching 6401 Shimano 600 FD and RD.

Also sold my old freewheel for $10!

Still selling a Suntour AR II Rear Derailleur, Tektro Oryx Canti set, and an old Vetta Saddle.

Plus, there may be an addition to the stable tonight... "we're gonna need a bigger boat."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Surly Rides Again! [Colnago Project Update]

Sunday, March 13th. The sun was beating down, it was 8 degrees, little to no wind, and it was just a beautiful day. A great day to dust of the Surly Long Haul Trucker. I headed south along a coastal road. I didn't want to go to far so I aimed for a 36km ride. Over the winter I had experienced some knee pain on one of my rides, and didn't want to push myself too hard. So I headed out.

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It was so warm on the bike I barely wore anything and had to hop into the woods mid ride to remove the light tights I had put on under my knickers. I continued on until I came to a spot that reminded me a lot of home, so I decided to stop and take a few pics.

But the family who I had just taken a picture with their camera of them for, decided to walk in front of my already setup bike/tripod. I was shooting into the sun anyway so I turned it around.

As you can see I was far from cold. A great day and a great ride.

Shortly before coming to the junction to turn further south and continue on my knee started to pain a little and it also started pecking rain a little. I didn't want to get caught and it was calling for light rain in the evening so I decided to cut it a little short and head home. Turned right instead of left and continued along the loop. This stretch was much flatter than the coastal road, however neither was as hilly as my usual rides in Newfoundland. The wind is also much nicer for cycling.

Thursday night (March 17th),a little more chilly but still nice, I headed out on the Surly LHT with my trailer in tow. I'm not real fond of the hitch mechanism. It requires clamping onto the seat stay and chain stay, and with the trailer being a little old the plastic covered metal plates are not completely plastic covered anymore. Not wanting to scratch up my frame I improvised a little.

Mounting to the rack isn't a permanent solution, but it will do. I have to see if I can rig up some sort of new hitch down the road. Anyway, I dropped the wheels belonging to the Colnago Sport down to MEC for a truing. They do it for $13 a wheel and I actually got a 20% discount because of a service promotion they have on! I spoke to Andrew at the MEC here in Halifax. A really nice guy who helped me on my night of love/hate with the Colnago. Turns out they were not terribly out of true but the spoke tension was WAY off. So I left them in their capable hands and headed out. Dropped by Propeller Brewery to get my favorite root-beer, and then onto the grocery store. When loading my groceries into my trailer there was a customers dog tied to the bike rack with customer no where to be seen. I'm cautious with strange dogs as you aren't familiar with their demeanor or whether or not the owner approves of people playing with them. So I just talked to him in a calm nice voice while packing up my groceries. He seemed a bit nervous of all the passers by, so I let him be. I turned to continue packing up my groceries and then I feel something furry plop down beside me. I think he wanted some company and was a little less scared lying next to me! Nicest Golden Retriever ever. I gave him a few rubs and pat downs and kept him company while loading up. A bunch of cyclists rode up and some went into the liquor store. I talked to them for a bit and they directed me to a local community shop where I could volunteer mechanic time or just bring my own bikes to work on! This would have come in handy 2 weeks ago! Anyway, I headed home.

I attempted a ride yesterday after work but had to call it short due to it being freezing and my knee giving me grief. I have to get it checked out...

Anyway, Colnago Project Update!

Today I picked up a Brooks Champion Standard B17 Standard. I had a thread going on about whether or not the Swift was right for me (the saddle I originally pictured in this blog). After much debate, and thought, I decided I would stick with what works. I know the B17 is the right width for me already, why mess up a good thing? My riding position on Ernie will be a little more aggressive but I'm still a pretty laid back rider, and I can adjust the saddle tilt to help with adjustment. And besides, a brand new barely used B17 will sell pretty easily, or should be able to trade + cash pretty easy for another Brooks as well. The $220 price tag on the swift at Cycle Smith helped make the decision, twice the price of the B17.

I'm not sure if I made the right choice with "Antique Brown." My B17 on the Surly is black, and the other standard color they offer is "Honey," but I'm not real gone on that one for some reason... I think the saddle looks real sharp, and definitely adds character to the bike. We'll see if the feeling holds up. Just need a nice small vintage styled saddle bag for it now.

I've been lusting after a bell for some time now. Now that there are bike lanes, and multi-use trails at my disposal I felt I needed one. This is the tiny, but very loud Incredibell Brass Duet. There is a larger one, but this is the one that was available at Cycle Smith. It's made of real brass! You can get in a chrome plated version as well, but I prefer the polished brass look I think.

I also picked up my wheels from MEC today. I was in no rush to get them so I didn't mind waiting a few days. While there I picked up a SunRace 7-spd Freewheel, 13-28T, for $15. There was a Shimano one there of the same range but it was $20 and the 28T cog was black with gawdy "Shimano The Original Bike Component" or some crap written on it in white. I thought that it would make the Colnago look like it came from K-Mart so I opted for the cheaper and cleaner looking SunRace. It might not be as good quality, I don't know, but it will certainly do the job. I also picked up a Sram PC-870 8-spd chain for $30.

This was sitting on my doorstep waiting for me! The auction wasn't very detailed but due to my keen eye and comparing to component listings on Velobase I determined that this was indeed a Shimano Ultegra 600 tricolor simply with the tricolor sticker rubbed off. FD-6401 stamped on the back to confirm! Will match my RD-6401 rear derailleur when it eventually gets here.

Here she is again! All I need now is my read derailleur and my downtube shifters, which are both on the way, and some derailleur cables and a small piece of housing for the rear. Everything is greased up with Phil Wood bicycle grease (except the headset and BB are done with white grease, will probably replace the BB with a cartridge down the road, and regrease the headset with PW when need be). This includes the Headset, BB, hubs all cleaned and repacked, and the threads for the freewheel are also greased. Tires are in good shape and are ready to roll. I might replace them with red/black tires and keep the current ones as spares. But we'll see.

-Bike $150
-Shimano 105 dual pivot brakes: $43
-Shimano 600 RD-6401 Derailleur: $23
-Shimano 600 FD-6401 Derailleur: $16
-Shimano SL-A400 DT Shifters (Indexed): $30
-Bartape: $18
-Brake cables/housing: $7
-Brooks B17: $125
-Bell: $16
-Wheel Truing: $24
-SunRace 7-spd Freewheel: $17
-Sram PC-870 Chain: $35

= $504 !!! Holy crap that number surprised me... I have to remind myself however that over 20% of that is a Brooks saddle which will probably outlast me. Not to mention

-SOLD: Gipiemme Shifters: -$25
-SOLD: Modolo Brakes/Levers: -$15
-Pending: Regina Oro Freewheel: -$5 or -$10
-Pending: Gipiemme FD: -$25 or -$30

That brings it down to approximately $424

I would still like to sell my Suntour Rear Derailleur, and my Tektro Oryx Cantilever Brakes. I also have the Vetta Saddle that came off the Colnago I might try to get a few bucks for. I think I'm doing okay.

I'm also considering buying these for both the surly as well as the Colnago, or maybe just the Surly...

I don't want to be restricted by bike shoes all the time anymore. Especially like when the other day I had to ride my bike to a work meeting! Had to frantically put the platforms from the Colnago on the Surly and head out. These would avoid that situation.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Killer Hobby

Sometimes bicycling is a love hate relationship. Today was a great example of this.

I decided I would try and get a few things done on the bike right after work while shops were still open. Mountain Equipment Co-op was open till 7, Bikes by Dave till 6 and Cyclesmith till 9. I knew it wasn't going to be like back at Harold's where I could just walk in and work on my bike. I knew I needed to get some bike tools. My bottom bracket needed to be properly adjusted, hubs repacked and I figured I should have the proper wrench for my headset. This meant a spanner tool for the adjustable bottom bracket cup, another BB tool for the lock ring, another BB 36mm wrench for the fixed BB cup, a 32mm wrench for the headset, and a 15mm cone wrench for the hubs. It's about $100 in tools. This made me feel like crap. I have no proper bike tools, and with this new project do I really have extra money to be buying hundreds of dollars worth of tools? No. I do need them and will need them in the long run for over hauling my bikes, but it's just not in the budget right now. Anyway cheapest place to find tools was MEC, where I would head to see if I would buy a few wrenches or a $200 bike tool kit.

I headed to Dave's first as it was closest and closed earliest. Managed to get the mechanic to take a look at my BB and adjust it for me (we neglected to check the fixed cup... more later). They then attempted to get the 6spd freewheel off to no avail. It's an old Suntour which uses a 2-prong tool, and the locknut was stripped. I started to outstay my non-spending money welcome so I headed out.

On to MEC. The tool kit in question had lots of tools, but most of which i had already. Allen keys, adjustable wrenches, and it was missing a few that I did need! Namely the older style BB tools. I decided, my BB already being adjusted for now (so I thought) I would pass until a later time and simply picked up a 15mm/13mm cone wrench to disassemble my axles to repack my wheel hubs, a big bottle of Tri-Flow (I was out almost), and some Phil Wood Bicycle grease. I used white grease I had in the house for the headset and BB, but only because I had it on hand. This stuff is supposed to be the bee's knees for bikes, so I decided to use it for the rest of the bearing jobs. When I need to do the BB and Headset in the future I'll use this stuff.

Oh, the mechanic there couldn't get the freewheel off either.

Onto Cyclesmith. I depressingly handed the gentleman my rear wheel and said "I just need to get this damn freewheel off." He assured me they'd get the job done. 10 minutes later and I was handed my wheel, and them the freewheel! Success! They managed to dig out and old Campagnolo freewheel tool, which had the two notches but also a circular part to go around the nut to prevent slipping! I was very happy to see the wheel all but ready to accept it's new 7-speed transmission. I was happy to pay the $5 labour charge.

Onto Canadian Tire! The crank bolts on the Gipiemme crank are a 15mm hex bolt, not an Allen bolt like modern square taper rigs, or 14mm like most older square taper rigs. Not only that, my 15mm socket wouldn't fit in the hole! So crank arm and bolt in hand I walked into Canadian tire and was able to find a 15mm socket that fit in. "Excellent" I thought. BB adjusted, freewheel off, and crank about to go back on!

I got home and installed the crank only to see it wobble like a drunk on Sunday morning...

I felt like crap. I paced and grumbled and worried that I had done something wrong while installing the crank. Pushing my evening school work aside I hurried back to Cyclesmith bike in hand. "I need to speak to the mechanic." The gentleman behind the counter whom I had dealt with earlier pointed to the gentlemen to his left with a large beard. I explained my issue and worry to him. Because I don't do this often I'm not experienced with what is common and what isn't. He assured me that it wasn't a major wobble but it appeared one of the crank "spider arms" (where the chainrings attach) was bent slightly. He also noticed that the bottom bracket had some play due to the fixed cup...well, not being fixed. We went down to the shop where he gave the crank a few whacks with a mallet and readjusted my BB, and we chatted about bikes and working on them for a bit. I paid another $5 and went on my way.

I got home and my mind felt like it was racing a mile a minute. I was completely stressed out. The tool cost, the early successes, the crank drama, and then the last fix. Not to mention, I've been thinking about this project pretty well non-stop since Thursday. I put the bike in the back porch out of site for while. I talked to the girl friend a bit to try to get my head straight and relax a bit. Had a beer and ordered in some Chinese and watched TV for a bit.

I have a way of obsessing over new projects, hobbies, or interests. I did it with yo-yo's, comic books, photography, and of course bikes. It is the same reason why I have talked about so many projects and plans on this blog and never followed through. I spend so much time talking and thinking about it without actually thinking about realistic possibilities. The combination of having the project on my mind all the time, the roller coaster of worry and happiness tonight, and the lack of food really gave me a going over.

After TV I started on some school work. Good and relaxed now. I wandered into the living room, and began to disassemble my pedals to regrease and adjust the bearings.

Sometimes you just need to step away from it for a bit and catch your breath. I have so much stuff to worry and be stressed out about: work, thesis, debt. This bike project should be an escape from that. And as I sit in my living room, wiping 30 year old grease off of the inside of a bearing out of an Italian made pedal exposing the shine underneath and seeing it mechanically sound, knowing when reassembled and adjusted it will be as smooth as the day it came from the factory, that's what this project should feel like.

I've named him Ernesto, or Ernie for short. Tribute to an Italian man who wanted to build bikes back in 1954. Ernesto Colnago.

I intend on finishing this project if it kills me. I've managed to sell my Gipiemme shifters for $25 and tentatively sell my Gipiemme front Derailleur for $3o. My Shimano 600 FD and RD are on the way as well as some indexed 7 speed downtube shifters and my brakes.

Cost so far (consumables/tools not included):

-Bike $150
-Shimano 105 dual pivot brakes: $43
-Shimano 600 RD-6401 Derailleur: $23
-Shimano 600 FD-6401 Derailleur: $16
-Shimano SL-A400 DT Shifters (Indexed): $30

-Gipiemme Shifters: $-25
-Gipiemme FD: $-30


Still need

not to bad! I have about $70 in supplies bought and $10 in labour at Cyclesmith which brings it up a bit but still not bad. I'm hoping to sell the other parts that came off the bike as well as a set of brakes I had kicking around to help chip away at that. Let me know if your interested.

Modolo brake Set (needs work) $15 + shipping

Suntour AR II rear derailleur, works good $10 + shipping

Tektro Oryx Canti's perfect mechanical condition. Minor wear and tear. Front and rear $20 + shipping

I will post pics and a how-to when I repack my hubs this weekend.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Colnago Sport Project: Update

Phew! It's been a busy weekend!

As I posted last Friday night/early Saturday morning, I spend a good bit of time that evening disassembling the Colnago. Well Saturday was no different. I spent pretty much the whole day on the bike. I took everything off that I could. This left just the crank, BB, and headset on the bike. I didn't have the proper tools for these things. So I threw the bike in my trunk and headed to the Halifax Cycle Gallery. There I met Adam who works in the shop. I met Roger, the co-owner of the shop, before and it seemed like a nice friendly place. Seeing as it is early March and it was dead in the shop, I asked him if he could do me a favor and let me use some stuff to further disassemble the bike. Success. With Adams help, tools, and a quick call to Harold back at Earle Industries in St. Johns to inquire about the thread direction of a bottom bracket, I was able to remove the headset and bottom bracket. Yuck! So much gunk.

I thanked Adam and headed off. Stopped into Canadian Tire to buy some brake cleaner for the wheels, goo gone for the handlebars, and a tongue and groove wrench for reinstalling the headset (I know cone wrenches are more proper but I couldn't get any).

Coming home I jumped onto the computer to ebay snipe some brake calipers. So I have a pair of Shimano 105 Dual Pivot Calipers on the way!

Put the BB parts and headset parts in varasol to soak for a few hours, and I took the frame outside to spray the inside with rust check. I also managed to clean up the front wheel a bit.

After a while I brought the frame back inside from it's rust checking and got the parts out of varasol to dry off. Wiped them down and regreased and reinstalled the headset. Once I had this dialed in it was so smooth, excellent improvement. Proceeded to install the stem, bars (now free of goo), and new brake levers. I wasn't going to do the BB as I didn't have the spanner tool for the non-drive side cup. But I was too impatient! I regreased and reinstalled the drive side cup using using my new tongue and groove wrench, slid the greased up axle in the non-drive side, and proceeded to install the greased up non-drive side cup with my hand, then a cloth and my hand, then very delicately my tongue and grove plies and a thick microfiber cloth. Made the adjustment and everything! I did the same with the lock nut. Now it is adjusted and it feels right, but I'm going to make sure the lock nut is tightened properly before riding this bad boy. the cranks are just placed on by hand for now until I can get access to the crank pull tool again to snug them onto the taper, but man they spin so freely now!

1am rolls around and the computer is making me tired. I go to walk to my bed room and see the bike and parts strewn across my living room. It was too temping. So I sat down for another hour or so to clean up the pedals.

Alright, alright, enough talk and some pics to break it up.

Some pics of the not so nice stuff.

Nice bars, but I'm pretty sure I did that scratching when I took them off :(

Should be able to fix this with black spray paint.

Not so easy to fix this...

or this...

or this ..

or this.

But I'll use some model paint or nail polish to touch it up just to keep it from rusting. Maybe one day I'll even get custom paint done on it.. but lets not get ahead of ourselves here.

Cost so far
Bike: $150
Cleaning/fixing supplies: ~$55
Shimano 105 Dual Pivot Brakes: $43
Shimano 600 RD-6401 Derailleur (just bought on ebay): $23

total so far = $271

I'm hoping to make a little money back selling the old derailleurs and shifters, but not much.

Still to Purchase
-Shimano 600 Front Derailleur: ~$20
-Shimano 105 or 600 downtube indexed shifters: ~$15-30
-Black and red bar tape: ~$15
-Brake and Derailleur cables and housing: ~$20
-7 Speed freewheel: ~$20

That brings this to $371!!! Didn't realize how expensive it got so quick! And I haven't even gotten to the worst part yet...

Yes I intend on putting a Brooks Swift in brown on this bike. It's going to cost a pretty penny, and it will probably be a while before I shell out for it, but it will look hella nice and totally be worth it. Even though the bike will have a black and red theme, I think the dark brown saddle will suit it nicely. I kind of regretted getting the black one for the surly and am looking for a more classic look on this bike.

Before and After

After again





Then there is this nice flutted seat tube




Next step is to repack the hubs. Haven't done this before but it doesn't look like it will be too complicated. I do however need a proper cone wrench this time...

After that, wait for parts to get here to start installing, and hopefully get some more stuff!