Thursday, March 16, 2017

French Shiny Bits

The French Connection for shiny, pointy rings of doom was Peter White Cycles.
Another rung in the ladder to the finish of my old custom bike has been reached. The crank set and bottom bracket have now been acquired and installed. Of course, I tried to stick to my plan of keeping it as polished as possible going strong. That meant I had to go to a source that maybe we don't think enough about. The French company, TA Specialties.

Old, old school mountain bikers might recall that the earliest Breezers, Ritcheys, and other custom mountain bikes came with TA Specialties crank sets as they were the only thing around one could fit to a bike with triple chain rings and get ring tooth counts which would provide the wide range gearing riders wanted. After the industry caught on to mountain bikes and started making purposeful designs for the activity, TA Specialties fell from grace. Touring, as a cycling activity, also faded from the forefront in the late 80's and early 90's and where TA Specialties held a strong presence was now no longer a focus for the majority of cyclist in North America.

Here are the rings with the bottom bracket and my XT crank arm.
I am not going to pretend to know how TA Specialties managed to carry on after those days, but I would imagine that they have had good sales in Europe all along. I say this because when my search for silver chain rings led me to this company, I found out that there were 34 pages of choices in chain rings alone! Now, I may not know details, but a company just doesn't make that many chain rings unless they are selling some.

I purchased my rings via Peter White Cycles, but I understand that there are a couple of other US importers as well.  Anyway, since I had a triple chain ring crank, I decided to utilize all three positions and purchased a 46T, 36T, and 26T Chinook model set of rings in silver. The rings are ramped and pinned for better shifting and they have a beefy, solid feel to them. I was impressed with how well they seemed to be made.

I bolted those up to my circa 2008/2009 XT triple crank and then I matched that up with a set of Shimano outboard bearing cups that I filled with Enduro sealed bearings. I also used an anodized red FSA bottom bracket sleeve just because it looks cool and is, well..........metal. I like the way it interlocked in with the Shimano bearing cups better than a plastic Shimano tube does.

All bolted up and ready to install.
The big, thick tabs on the TA Specialties rings don't quite match up with the lines of the spider on the XT cranks, but that's okay with me. This would really be an issue only if the cranks were black and the rings were silver or vice versa. With both being a similar hue, it isn't the eyesore it could be. So, I am okay with this.

I have found that a 46T is a good place to be for gravel travel on flatter roads, so the 36T only gets used on hilly to rolling terrain. That 26T will come in handy when I am on really long rides and the legs are spent, or if the winds are contrary in combination with hills. A "leg saving" bail out gear. It is nice to have that to fall back on.

This bike will likely bike a 9 speed rig now. I have a mostly silver XT rear derailleur from the mid 90's that I will likely use here. I also will have to check in to a front derailleur, but obviously those are silver most of the time, so I am not too worried there. I checked in to my parts bin and I do not have a shifter set up. This means I will likely get either a set of bar end shifters, (not the best option with Luxy Bars), or I will opt for a new set of Gevenalle levers.

Then there are the wheels. That could get pretty expensive, and I am leaning toward doing White Industries XMR hubs laced to Velocity Blunt SS polished rims. This may have to wait for a bit. So, depending on how things go on that front, I may end up rolling on a place holder wheel set for a time. Most likely I will if the rest comes together well.

Stay tuned........


Phillip Cowan said...

Crankset looks nice. Much better than some of the "manga/Power Ranger" sets coming out of Japan now.

Doug G said...

Good timing on this post. i was looking for a chrome / shiny silver 9 spd replacement rear deruailler for my space horse compatible with shimano bar end shifters. Was a bit surprised that nothing new really fit the bill. Not that the new stuff is ugly but most definitetly it is not classic looking. Might have to see what I can find on e-bay I guess.

Ari said...

With the advent of 1x and 2x that marketing is shoving down our throats I truly believe your set up makes sense. Also 9 speed chains and cassettes are really affordable. I had barends on the luxy bars and the stick out too much. One crash and shifters are kaput!

youcancallmeAl said...

I guess I havent been paying enough attention. Could you remind me what this custom bike project is?

blooddoc23 said...

That's really cool.

Irishtsunami said...

Yes, what bike is this?

Guitar Ted said...

@youcancallmeAl @Irishtsunami- Stay tuned...... When it is done I will do a full reveal.