Tuesday, September 25, 2007

531 DB for Me

I got it! Trawling Craigslist finally paid off. This morning I went and picked up a 1976 Raleigh Competition frame! It has a dented top tube, but is otherwise in good condition. This one has Huret dropouts on the frame and fork. I may investigate getting the dented tube replaced, but I have no idea how much that will cost. It's rideable and straight as is. I'm now not sure about the fate of the Fuji America I picked up the other day. The Fuji is a bit small for me. I'll strip it down to take to the powder coater and we'll see how it compares to the Raleigh. Either way the Raleigh stays. Pics when I return from nearly two weeks of vacation... in England. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fuji Identified

T-Mar from Bike Forums is an expert at all things vintage and, particularly it seems, all things vintage and Japanese. He helped me identify the Fuji as a 1977 Fuji America. It's not a 100% ID without the paint and with some original components swapped out, but that's what it looks like. I weighed the bike as equipped and it came in at 22 pounds which is nice and light for a vintage ride. If this is an America that would make it the 4th from the top in Fuji's lineup. I'm impressed. The Fuji Professional must have been an outstanding bike.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fuji Find

While still waiting for my spokes to show up I went to a bike swap in Washington this weekend. There was a lot of really old stuff there, including some very cool 1880's and 1890's bikes. A couple had shaft drive which I think is really cool, and one of the bikes with shaft drive had three speeds with a multi-plate clutch. That was kind of cool to look at. Not much in the way of 30's-70's drop-bar bikes, but a lot of cruisers and kids bikes from that period. But I managed a few scores anyway.

The first was this as yet unidentified Fuji I picked up for $35. It's a nice and very light Japanese bike and I'm still trying to identify it. Possibly a 197 7 Fuji Newest. The bad repaint makes it hard to say for certain. It has had the wheels substituted for Schwinn equipment, but those are beautiful Rigida rims and some kind of fairly nice Japanese-made high flange hubs (perhaps Sanshin?). Nitto Olympiade handlebars and stem, and a nice SunTour Cyclone M-II rear derailleur. SR Apex cranks are forged, not swaged and are in great shape. It's not the touring bike I'm looking for and it's not Reynolds 531 (heck it's not even Euro), but it's a fun toy nonetheless. With those half-chromed stays and that curved, sloping front fork it looks almost French. The tubing appears to be double-butted Fuji 331 and without the cables and levers the bike appears to weight in at 21 pounds. It is on the small side for me, but we'll see how it rides.

I also picked up an insanely cheap ($10) like new Campagnolo Nuovo Record front derailleur and a nice set of Shimano 600EX arabesque cranks in very good condition ($8). I couldn't help grabbing a few others odds and ends, too. Looks like next weekend will be spent putting the Fuji on the road if my spokes don't arrive.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Tearing up Highways

It's not very often that a city tears up a highway and replaces it with a park and multi-use recreational path. Can you think of a city that has removed a highway? Portland did just that in 1974 when the city constructed what became known as Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park. I get the pleasure of riding my bike through this green space every day on my way to and from work. The park has been supplemented by a pedestrian/bike bridge on the lower deck of Portland's Steel Bridge since 2001, connecting the park's path to the Eastbank Esplanade. I read that in excess of 900 cyclists per day crossed the Steel and Broadway Bridges in 2006. All of this is part of why Portland is the only large American city to have received Gold status from the League of American Bicyclists. I ride my bike to work every day in no small part due to the transportation system that has been built to support cycling. As we all work to fight global warming and reduce waste, we need more cities to step up to the plate and build networks of bike paths and bike lanes. Lets hope that the foresight and determination that led Portland to replace a highway with a bike path in 1974 can serve as a model to other cities.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Due to the shockingly high price of decent spokes in recent years I thought I would not be getting double butted spokes, nor even the highest quality spokes, but on a tip-off from Steve I started poking around European eBay sites and ended up picking up a set of Belgian-made Sapim Race 14/15 double-butted spokes for a completely reasonable price. Sapim also have a nice spoke length calculator which makes it really easy to get the right length spokes. I had calculated these numbers with Spocalc and got the same measurements, but that was more work than the Sapim calculator because the measurements are easier to take the way that Sapim figures spoke length and my hubs weren't already in the Spocalc database. I encourage anyone to use Sapim's calculator. A little research shows that Sapim have been supplying top riders since 1918 so I'm pretty confident I'll like what I'm getting. Shots when they arrive.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Pélissier P1001 Hubs

My hubs and fenders arrived and now I'm busy measuring the hub dimensions so I can order the right spokes to build up my Super Champion rims into wheels. Here are some shots of these really nice hubs. I wasn't sure what to expect, having never seen a set in person, and I sort of expected something around the quality of a Normandy hub. Normandy hubs were very strong, solid hubs that look nice and last nearly forever, but they are not top of the line. These Pélissier hubs are not top of the line, either, but they are definitely a step up from the Normandies. All the research I have done shows that Pélissier hubs were a brand of Maillard by the time these hubs were made but I haven't found much more than that. If anyone has a more complete history of this hub manufacturer, please share it! In any case, I'm delighted with the hubs. These will make great wheels!