Curb find of the week : A wolf for halloween!

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Definitely the best curb find yet, I recently came across an abandoned MTB frame, partly stripped and left by some bins. At first glance it looked like an unloved low-end mountain bike, but a second glance revealed some nice components which would never grace a supermarket bike.

I had never heard of “Steppenwolf”, which isn’t perhaps the most inspiring name for a frame. Nonetheless, a little research revealed they are a German frame builder, based in Munich. There isn’t much talk of them on UK/US cycling forums, but what little I did find was positive.

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The “Tundra” is one of their mid-level aluminium hard-tail all-mountain frames. This is a 2007 model, and was originally specced with a 100mm Reba front fork. Unfortunately, this one has lost its fork, wheels, stem, saddle, seat post and handlebar. So quite a bit of rebuild work needed! Still, scavengers can’t be choosers, right?

 

The aluminium frame has some nice braze-on cable guides, varied tube diameter, and interestingly allows for both v-brakes and disc brakes (not sure if this is normal in the MTB world, but it seems smart). The tubes have some fairly monstrous welds in them, and while aluminium does need larger welds than steel frames, the welding quality (or final grinding/finishing) on my 2007 Lemond Chambery does seem better. That said, a MTB will be subjected to more stress at the head tube, so maybe this is intentional.

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While the bike needs quite a bit of work and lot of new components to resurrect it, it is a terrific piece of luck to have found such an interesting frame, and will inspire a rebuild that would otherwise not have taken place.

What a great find for halloween. Werewolf or Steppenwolf? Surely the bike was “born to be wild” (sorry, I just couldn’t help it…), now it’s on the road to be re-born to be wilder… or something like that =)

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Curb find of the week : Deore DX shifter

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For some reason I keep coming across tossed bike bits recently, most are in decent condition or need a bit of TLC. All of would be considered in need of an upgrade, or “vintage” depending on your point of view!

One of these finds is a set of Deore DX shifters attached to a rather horrific early 90s mountain bike. The left (front) shifter was in need of servicing, as it would not index on the upshift and would return to the smallest chainring.

According to Velobase, the Deore DX range was introduced in 1990 and was positioned under Deore XT in terms of spec. Incidentally the bike my shifters are attached to is considerably more ugly than the one shown in the Velobase photo.

The shifters themselves are pretty similar to modern shifters, if a little chunkier, giving a “heavier” feel. Both up and down shifting is performed with the thumb, whereas an index-finger downshifter is more comfortable in my view.

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In my experience, unless Shimano index shifters have been opened, the various bits inside exploded and were incorrectly reassembled, all that is needed to restore 100% functionality is a little spray lube.

Nonetheless, I made the cavalier error (and I do know better by now…) to open the shifter body to get a better look at the insides, and clearer access for lubing.

As I was unscrewing the cover I could feel there was tension in the unit, indicating a high likelihood that various springs would come flying out and be nigh-on impossible to reassemble. Nonetheless, my logical reasoning clouded by a head-cold and misguided enthusiasm, I continued unhesitatingly. Until the obvious happened, the springs all pinged out of place, and I was left with a nice jigsaw puzzle to reassemble.

Catastrophe? Not at all! Thanks to the internet, or more accurately those kind souls that feed it with obscure guides on how to repair things that most normal people don’t want to fix, within 5 minutes I had found an excellent photographic guide on a complete reassembly of the shifter.

Reattaching the upshift lever along with the return spring proved extremely challenging, though Ian Graeme’s suggestion on removing the upshift trigger’s plastic cover was the way to go.

Within an hour, and with some cursing, the shifter has been reassembled, and now shifts correctly!

And no little pieces got lost in the process either…

Thanks again to Geoff Kuenning, for the super helpful guide!

UPDATE : Fuji Del Rey (1985!)

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As it turns out, the Del Rey is not an ’83 as originally thought, but an ’85…!

The very helpful Classic Fuji website contains a collection of old scanned Fuji brochures, which allows one to date the bike, and also to work out which components have been changed since it left the bike shop.

Mine is clearly an 1985 model, based on the paint scheme (Star Silver), front fork (unfortunately no longer half-chromed) and the components, notably the main crank set. Pics at the end of the post for comparison.

Components which have been replaced prior to me getting the bike:

- Brakes (front and rear calipers, levers and hoods): Upgraded from Dia Compe G500N to Aero Compe/Royal Compe II with aero brake hoods.

- Rear derailleur: Upgraded from Suntour LePree to Suntour Superbe Pro.

- Rims: Upgraded from UKAI alloy rims to Matrix ISO C aero rims. Not sure if this is really an upgrade, and as they are brown they don’t really complement the dark grey colour of the frame. No reflectors on the wheels (nor on the frame), which is a visual improvement.

- Hubs presumably have also been replaced but have no markings on them.

- Freewheel has also been replaced as the cogs have far fewer teeth than the stock bike.

- Tires: Have obviously been replaced multiple times. The bike is currently wearing low cost Decathlon road tires, all black. While they do look pretty gnarly and ride well, they are not really visually in keeping with the vintage of the bike.

- Pedals: Replaced from MKS Sylvan Road black to unknown brand/model (not black). Toe clips are present, but are not the original steel cage variety, and have been replaced with plastic Cateye clips with Avenir straps. No reflectors here either…

The original brakes with black calipers and levers arguably look better than the white ones it has now, and would look great with the all black tyres and black bar tape, but at least the current brakes are higher spec and the aero hoods with hidden cable routing gives a cleaner look.

The original silver bar tape looks pretty smart, but I think the current black “pleather” bar tape looks a bit better (also same colour as the saddle), and should be more comfortable than a thinner tape. I can’t help but think the original tape looks a bit like Christmas wrapping tape…

So, if the brochures are to be believed, I guess owning the Fuji Del Rey makes me an “uncompromising recreational cyclist”. What an accolade!

 

My Fuji Del Rey

Fuji DelRey 002

 

1985 Fuji Del Rey brochure

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1983 Fuji Del Rey brochure

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And some extra photos for fun:Fuji DelRey 007Fuji DelRey 006Fuji DelRey 008Fuji DelRey 004Fuji DelRey 009Fuji DelRey 010Fuji DelRey 003

Fuji DelRey 005

Thule Round Trip Pro bike bag

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Now this is a bike bag! I wish I had this when returning to Europe.

Then again 600USD is a lot of cash… I have never yet spent that much on a bike!!

http://reviews.mtbr.com/gear-review-thule-roundtrip-pro-bicycle-travel-bag

Child’s Coronado racer : 1st update

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Thanks to PeterMC’s timely comment I have returned my attention to the Coronado rear wheel.

It is missing four spokes which were broken by a wheel locking system intended to stop the rear wheel turning when parked and locked.

To replace the spokes, I need to remove the rear cassette (or freewheel?) and which seems to need a 2 pin cassette remover, that I don’t own.

Below are some photos of the rear hub, the rim showing some missing spokes and nipples, some other bent spokes, and (the presumably original) Hutchinson tyres. 65PSI seems pretty high for this type of tyre? The tyres are pretty perished, so will need to be replaced I think. The Dunlop/Woods valve inner tube was replaced with a cheap new Decathlon Schrader tube which is holding perfect pressure after 6 months unattended. Not as per original spec, but likely more effective.

I know it’s a rookie question, but any thoughts re: whether this is indeed a cassette or a freewheel? It is marked as a Suntour Perfect XH, and has a 16?mm cone nut on the axle (which also seems a little bent…). The teeth seem in perfect condition, though pretty dirty!

Of course, it would be much easier just to get a new wheel, tyre and hub, but then why make things easy when you can make them really complicated and drag them on for years!?

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August in Paris

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On a recent trip to Paris I was pleased to see that more people now seem to be cycling than was the case a few years ago.

There are public hired bicycles (the famous Velib’), tour groups on bikes, commuters on bikes, bikes parked on top of bikes, hobos on bikes, artist installations on bikes, recumbents, “col de cygne” (swan-neck) town bicycles, foldable bicycles, hipsters on fixies, bikes being reclaimed by nature, bikes with motors (the humble Solex…), bikes with batteries, goods delivery bicycles, bicycle taxis, weekend racer carbon aero bicycles, fully suspended mountain bikes, supermarket bikes, expensive bikes, cheap bikes, old bikes, new bikes, nice bikes and not so nice bikes. Even some tandems too.

Now all of this is not new for Paris. There always were a fair amount of bicycles, and France has a huge cycling heritage, but there are definitely more cyclists now. I’m not sure what’s driving this, but guess it could be: a desire for a more sustainable lifestyle? fashion? fitness? economic austerity? a combination of the above?

Cycling infrastructure, however, does not seem to have developed much. Sure there’s a few “cycle lanes” painted on some roads (often contraflow to traffic – delivery van drivers love that on narrow lanes…), and some separated from road traffic (but shared with buses, taxis and some of the maddest scooter riders on earth), but there is very little provision for public (or private) cycle parking whatsoever. I did see a few more dedicated cycle lanes than previously, but there is quite a way to go before cyclists are safe and respected road users here. That said, many cities do not have the level of infrastructure provided here, and it is clearly not putting people off pedalling…

One other great event which is still running is the “Paris Rando Velo”. This is a group ride around central Paris, leaving from Place de l’Hôtel de Ville every Friday night from 10pm until midnight or so, organised by volunteers who come up with a different route each week.

While riding in Parisian traffic may be hair-raising for the unaccustomed, the volunteers provide a very effective cordon around the group, ensuring it is never troubled by scooters, drivers, pedestrians etc., and that no-one can get lost. Usually the arrival of the group is well noticed as (apart from consisting of a large number of bicycles…) it is always accompanied by a chap pulling a trailer with a light and sound system, usually playing eclectic things like Abba or Michael Jackson. My hat goes off to him for pulling heavy car batteries around Paris every Friday night! The pace is usually relatively slow, which makes the ride manageable for all. Also, there’s a pause halfway round, at which people might share a granola bar, or a cup of cognac. Most people ride their own bikes, but many use the rented Velibs. It is free to participate, and you can peel off at any time if tired.

I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to enjoy Paris in a different and quirky way, or discover bits of it you never knew. Riding across the Seine at sunset, in a bicycle convoy led by a man pulling a trailer blasting out Kylie Minogue is pretty unconventional, and will make for a good story. Check out their website: Paris Rando Velo

My friend and I opted to do our own little Paris tour this time. You can check it out here.

Paris is as charming and quirky as ever. Next time you visit, see it by bike!

PS. if you’d like to follow any of my rides, feel free to follow me on Strava.

Velib's by night

Velib’s by night

Bush or bicycle?

Bush or bicycle?

Nature reclaiming parked bikes

Nature reclaiming parked bikes

Another bike taxi

Another bike taxi

Bikes chained to bikes

Bikes chained to bikes

Covered bike taxi

Covered bike taxi

The Velib'

The Velib’

A full bike rack

A full bike rack

 

 

More full bike racks

More full bike racks