Thursday, November 27, 2014

Found! 1968 Raleigh Superbe

Last summer, I got a beautiful, green 1968 Raleigh Superbe.  

It Might Be Finished: '79 Ross Gran Tour

Last time I posted about the beater Ross, I had replaced the pedals and was excited about some tires I'd found that were more suited to the winter.  Shortly after, it started snowing without warning so I tried to stick the winter tires on.  The front one fit with no problem, but the rear tire was too wide! It suddenly occurred to me that the Ross probably came with 27 x 1-1/4" tires, but the previous owner changed to 700 x 38c wheels, or in other words, 28" tires.  The road tire that is on there right now is just skinny enough to fit between the chain stays near the bottom bracket, but the hybrid tire with the extra tread on the sides could not fit.

Because of this, I have decided to trim the corner treads off.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Why Can't I Hold All These Bikes?!

I don't recall writing about this one before, but I've been trying to sell a '74 Ross Europa single speed.

My friend who bought the red Univega from me had actually referred me to her friends.  Last year, I helped her get a red '87 Sheffield Te3 (department store 3-speed) with a Sturmey-Archer AW hub.  All of her friends loved it and asked where she got it, so she told the truth and they all came asking when I had nothing to sell yet.  Due to another friend's mishap, the Sheffield ended up disappearing over the summer so she bought the Univega from me afterwards.  Anyway, a friend of that friend, who I do happen to know personally, was going to buy this Ross from me after I replaced the dry-rotted tires.  That deal fell through, but another friend of those two, the one who lost the Sheffield, who I'm also friends with personally (it's a small world, isn't it) jumped at the deal.

Tonight, my roommate and I went to deliver the yellow bike to Central Campus and we used the chance to bring two other bikes that I'd been meaning to pick up back to North Campus.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Winterizing the 1958 Raleigh Sports

Although it doesn't seem to be sticking around yet, winter has finally decided to rear its head here in Ann Arbor.  We've had a bit of snow for much of this week, and biking to class and work has been a delight (more so than usual) at times.

I was lucky enough to have work on the day of the first real snow, as you can see in this low-quality image from my phone.  I took a few super long detours on the way home, looping around a few of the local parks on the non-plowed snow.  There were footprints that would have thrown me off my balance but as expected, my Raleigh didn't even come close to leaving me on the ground.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wait, what?

If there's one thing I've learned so far in life, it's that things never go as planned.  This applies to everything, including hobbies that you think you have control over.  Now, I've never been terribly interested in classic Schwinn bikes.  Sure, they're gorgeous, they're tough as rocks, and decent ones can be picked up for mere pennies, but they just never really struck a chord with me the same way the old Raleigh 3-speeds did.

What's with the spoke pattern?

I had just been dreaming about building a more practical commuter out of another Raleigh Sports when the opposite, a 1976 Schwinn Varsity, suddenly fell into my hands.  Having read a great article about it on Sheldon Brown's site a while ago, I was already relatively familiar with it.  As Shaddox says on the page, the significance of the Varsity was not that it was a good (read: light & fast) road bike by any means, but that it pretty much single-handedly brought sport cycling as a hobby back to the American adult population.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

More New News: '79 Ross Gran Tour

I've officially started spending money to make my beater better.  I'm not just talking about a seat and chain, which were necessary changes, but pedals and new brake levers.  The original weighted pedals were too "square" for me, rolling around under my flat shoes each time I started at a green light. They were also slightly crushed from owners, me included, turning too sharply with the inner pedal down.  They actually still worked fine, though. Before buying new pedals, I made sure the old pedal threads hadn't corroded to the aluminum cranks and much to my amazement, the pedals came right out.  I bought BMX pedals for their flatness and width; they're perfect for the flat-bottomed shoes I always wear.

The brake and shifter cables also came in the mail, but the brake levers won't be arriving until December.  Until then, I'll be hoping that my single rear brake is adequate.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Frankenbike: '79 Ross Gran Tour

As you might be able to tell if you scroll down, this bike has been gaining momentum, both in my mind and in real life.  Also, "frankenbike" is an oft-overused term that describe bikes that are not stock, but I actually received the Ross as a dead bike, resurrecting it with other parts that were dead to begin with.  My goal was not to make a nice bike out of what would have been expensive parts, but to just make the darn thing work.  I spent the last few days digging through the various shops and piles of long-abandoned bikes around town for free junk parts that might work on the Ross since the parts I got it with were getting very bad, very quickly.  I found a front and rear derailleur, a wide side-pull brake, and a few cables.  Thinking that today would be a slow day at work, I rode the Ross with a backpack full of "new" parts to tinker with in the nice shop while I waited for something to do. I first stopped by the hardware store to pick up a few bolts as well as a new chain that was surprisingly cheap (I was not looking for a premium part, anyway).

I'd never done this before and previously disliked fiddling with derailleur bikes (as opposed to internal gear hubs), so the whole thing was a learning process.  Above, the new rear derailleur has been installed.  The old one, which I'd never actually looked at before, was caked with dirt.  I couldn't tell if it started malfunctioning because of the rusted, tired spring or because it was full of dirt.  My hands were too dirty to take a picture of that at the time.