Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Scraping Off The Barnacles

Winter time at the shop:

So, yeah..... it's slow going time at your local bicycle shop right now in terms of repairs. I am keeping busy, but it is that kind of "busy" where you take a little extra time with everything. Just to stretch things out to the maximum time limits. You know.....something like this: 

So, let's see.....this spoke wrench fits okay. Maybe I'll try that adjustable one for kicks. Hmm.....it's only .25mm out of true, but maybe I can get that out. Let's see......

Yeah...that's the deal now. Everything takes more time. Experimentation. Learning new things. Oh! And "project bikes"!

"What is a project bike?", you may ask. Well, it is one of those deals a mechanic takes on that he/she will "get to" at some time or another. Basically, the "get to" is code for "winter time project". My project bike this winter is this Lejeune road bike I picked up several months ago from an unknown seller. That's right. I never met the guy. The sale was brokered through my boss at the shop where I work.

So, here's what I know about this bike: Circa '72-'73 Lejeune  with Campagnolo Record components. Lejeune is French and so are the threads on the bottom bracket shell and steer tube.

Wheels have the 36 hole Fiamme "Red Label" tubular rims on high flange Campagnolo hubs. The rims were mounted with tubulars but they were.....ah, crusty! I peeled those things off pronto and pitched them. No use saving those flaking masses of cotton and rubber.

Decals look okay where they are not missing chunks. In those days, decals were tranfers and were not clear coated over.

It's funny looking at how "fine" bicycles used to be made. Of course, for its day, this was the top-o-the line racing bicycle. Reynolds 531 steel tubing joined in a lug construction style. These were hand made frames, and being "production run" issues, the finishing isn't top notch where customers were not apt to look.

I mean, take a look at that serial number, as an example. Sloppy. Poorly done. And the bottom bracket shell is, ah.......rough, shall we say? All part of the "charm" of these old timers, I guess you could say. But then again- how many folks can say they have a hand made bike with a full Campy Record group, serial number 198? Not many, I would guess!

The days have been spent doing what needs to get done at the shop, but I have been sneaking in during off hours and taking this old bike apart. I have been cleaning up the frame, and will scrape all the barnacles off it and the components as best I can.

The plan is to carefully clean it, restoring the finish a best I can, and restoring the components to working order. The grease is completely dried out! I also will de-lace the wheels and probably go with clincher rims from Velo Orange.

Tubulars were checked into, but oh! The prices! No thanks.

I'll be going with the widest shoes that fit, and I suspect 30mm will be pretty good here. That'll make a nice, cushy, smooth rolling bike I can ride on pavement and gravel. (Yes- I said "gravel")

Fortunately for me, the bike was nearly in rideable condition when I got it, save for the deflated and decaying tubulars. It shouldn't take a whole lot to get this old girl out there for some fun rides later on next season. I'll update this as I go along, so look for more on this rig here later. 


Fred Blasdel said...

Don't get VO rims. Go for TB14s, they're ridiculously high quality. They're real affordable in QBP, but they only stock the 32h.

Or you could nut up and keep riding tubulars. You've got enough bikes with clinchers, do you need another?

Ari said...

H Plus Son Rims - TB14
These are silver, these are a great rim to restore awesome old steel bikes.

Guitar Ted said...

@Fred Blasdel: Thanks for the rec, but these hubs are 36 holes and I will be using them. Tubulars might be very interesting, but the big ones I want are blindingly expensive. No thanks.

Looks like the TB14 comes in a 36H, so I'll just have to track those down, eh?

bellor decisis said...

30mm tires may be a tough fit, unless the bike was built for 27" wheels and you're looking at 700x30. I've got a late-70s Trek and I have to deflate the rear tire on a 700x28 to mount the wheel; not enough clearance at the seat tube otherwise. Fortunately, that's easy enough to test with another wheel. Good luck, and have fun!

blackmountaincycles said...

Agree on avoiding the VO rims. They are soft and lumpy and don't build up all that great. The TB14 is a good rim - wide like the A23. For a narrow clincher, the Velocity Razor is a good box section rim too. And available in silver.

Have fun with that project.


Guitar Ted said...

Thanks for the rim suggestions folks!

jdc said...

I understand the entire winter months thing.... it's usually pretty long here in Canada. My project is similar. A '74 Frejus with a matched '74 Campy Nuevo Record gruppo. Everything came with sew ups back then and we're simply replacing them with Mavic MA3s with the decals peeled off. I was recently given a late 80s Bianchi frame with a frozen seatpost. That'll be fix geared with a tall profiled saddle to get over the slightly low seatpost issue. Once those are done, my 2012 Karate Monkey frame should arrive. Even when it's dead, it's busy!