Monday, June 29, 2015

Vintage Bike Days

Back in the day, buddies Marc and Brian and I would regularly ride our motorcycles up to Mid Ohio each July for the Vintage Bike Days. We would check out the swap meet, the bike demos, and the racing that looked pretty fast until it was compared to the Indy races a few weeks later. These days, we're all grown up and pretty much motorcycle-free, much to our quiet desperation, but we still enjoy our bicycles. Well, at least Marc and I do.

But back to the vintage theme. I regularly trawl my local Craigslist, and in the last week I've come across two deals that were too good to pass up. The first was a vintage Specialized Stumpjumper, backward seatpost and all, for just $119:

Sadly for me, this is legitimately considered a "vintage" mountain bike, even though it's only a '92. I remember studying this Specialized brochure back in college, when I picked up a '92 Pro on clearance ($599 at Gregg's Greenlake) that summer:

(note the matching Onza stickers!) My "new" Stumpy is a size larger than my old Pro, but it still has that 90's pre-suspension fit. You just don't see 150mm quill stems these days:

Who thought it was a good idea to hang the brake cable from the stem? This takes away the only advantage of quill stems, which is the easy adjustment... though I don't this one has much margin to adjust anyway. I remember back in the day with quill stems, where after every crash I would have a moment to reflect while I straightened out my stem. The good old days weren't always good.

At first, I thought the frames might be the same, made of Specialized's "Direct Drive" version of Tange Prestige:

But my old Stumpy had short horizontal dropouts, where the new one has verticals:

The components are pretty much a full Deore DX group, 3x7 with thumbies. I remember that DX used to be the smart choice, tougher than LX but not as flashy and expensive as XT. About where SLX is today.

I love these bald Avocet tires, can't find these anymore:

The canti brakes work surprisingly well, but I'm not looking forward to adjusting those post style brake pads.

I fixed the seat post, lubed the chain, and was ready to ride:

It was rainy on my first chance to ride, so I fitted some clip on fenders from my parts bin:

Just a quick run to the library early Friday morning after we got back from vacation:

Is there any better looking saddle than a Selle Italia Flite, even when it's worn?

No, there is not.

After being with my lovely family in close proximity for the last week, I was enjoying some quiet time to myself, so I stopped on the way home to check out Indian Falls park:

We had a lot of rain last week, which had the creek and falls running pretty high. Those rains have also soaked the trails, meaning I won't have a chance to ride the Stumpy off road anytime soon. Actually, I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with this one. My first thought was to make it a vintage mountain bike, but riding down a short flight of stairs pointed out the limits of that old riding position. I've thought about making it a drop bar mountain bike, but even with the riding position possibly improved, the limits of 26" wheels would bug me after getting used to 29ers.

My next thought was to use it as a version of the Bridgestone CB-0, a zippy, flat barred city bike, but after a longer ride yesterday morning, my neck and shoulders were pretty sore after an hour. I'm not as flexible as I was 20 years ago. I'll probably end up setting it up as a stripped down version of my Camargue, with some upright bars to ride with the kids around town.

My next CL find made the Stumpy look like an extravagant splurge. I've been looking for a new sports touring type bike to replace my CC and Trek as a fixed gear bike, and I came across this '86 Raleigh Technium on Saturday:

Complete bike, in good shape, for $25. I actually hesitated for a minute because the top tube was quite short, and it might be too small for me, but then I saw that Raleigh heron headbadge:

and I was sold. That, and it was $25.

Shimano indexed 6 speed drivetrain:

It has what seem like very high quality Continental tires, 27" size:

The Technium is kind of an odd duck, er, heron. Raleigh's goal was to match the lively ride of a 531 steel bike, but at a lighter weight. From what I've read online, a full aluminum frame was too expensive (remember, this was the mid 80s, when aluminum frames were still high tech and expensive), so they used a steel rear triangle. To keep the appearance consistent, they wanted to use skinnier aluminum tubes in the main triangle, which couldn't be welded. Instead, they were glued to steel lugs with some super duper aerospace adhesive (Raleigh USA was located in Kent, near Boeing, so perhaps there was some knowledge transfer there)

(I've since cleaned that gunk off the top tube, the rest of the bike was in great shape). I've only ridden it about ten miles so far, but I think it has some potential. It doesn't have the Cadillac ride of my old Trek 620, but it does seem pretty responsive when I cranked on the pedals.

No questions about what to do with this one: I've already stripped most all the parts off to convert it to a 700c fixed gear. It looks like it will clear 32mm tires, but it will be tight for fender clearance. I'm waiting for a threadless stem adapater before I take it too far, since those low, narrow drops just don't work for me.

After the May Massacre, I was down to just two bikes. With this frenzy of June buying, I'm right back up to five. I'll see how this new fleet shakes out.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Clem Again

Regular reader(s) may recall that I journeyed up to Ann Arbor to buy a Rivendell Clem Smith Jr last summer. That particular bike ride didn&#...