Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Blurry Vision

Bleurgh! It's entirely possible I'm dying - certainly I feel like I've been strangled by a Romulan renegade then had my head stuffed with mud. I'm going to take advantage of a sick day to whack out a quick update of what's been going on in the workshop.

I built up this lovely set of wheels for my man Jono. Stans Arch rims on Hadley hubs with DT Competition spokes make for a light (750 f and 960 r) but strong wheelset for his new Turner DW 5-Spot.

I gave Alex's old steel KHS a ruddy good going over. Like Grandad's axe there's little of the original bike left, but it's all good retro fare and, while his steamer bike is on the slip, it's a great weapon of choice for Al. Certainly the retro tech doesn't seem to be slowing him down any!

After giving Colin's Serotta TiMax a going over a couple of weeks ago it was the turn of his cool 20th anniversary Rocky Mountain Element. This bike has seen adventure racing action all over the world!

I gave this EMC2 Team Equipe a service, as well as giving the Dura-Ace wheels a 1000km check.

Regular readers of this blog (hi sis!) may recall Mark's RIH frame I have been slowly building up after Walter Thorburn gave it a lick of paint. Last week I received a parcel from NZ Ambrosio distributor Cycle Sport that contained these cool NOS Ambrosio Synthesis tubular rims in 36 hole.

So I grabbed my Autosol and polished up the Campagnolo Record Pista hubs. Note the difference between the polished and unpolished hubs.

Once they were both polished to a high sheen then given a coat of Turtle Wax...

It was time to build them up. Nothing fancy, just good old sturdy three-cross DT Comp with brass nipples.

Once the wheels were constructed I fitted the tyres to the rims without glue, blew them up and left them overnight. This is to ensure the tyre is sound, as you don't get warranty on faulty ones with glue on them, as well as to stretch the tyre a bit making it easier to install.

Then it was time to glue the tubs on. Unlike the Mavic GEL280 I showed last week, the Ambrosios are pre-roughened to help the glue adhere - this saved some sore forearms!
First, I wipe the rim surface with isopropyl alcohol to prevent any grease or oily residue corrupting the bond between glue and rim. Then it's an even coat of tubular cement on the rim, as well as the base tape of the tyre. I let this dry fully overnight.

The next day I put another coat on the rim and let that one dry too. That evening I added the fourth coat, which I let dry until it's tacky before carefully installing the tyre. Once the tyre is on the rim I take some time to make sure it's as straight on the rim as possible, then blow it up to about two-thirds max pressure and kind of roll the wheels around with my body weight on the axles to compress the tyre onto the rim as much as I can. Then we're sorted!

Once the wheels were ready, it was time to fit them to the bike. I'd already fitted the forks, bars, cranks and saddle so once the wheels were on it would just be a matter of joining the chain and all done!

Or so I thought - once the wheels were in it became quickly apparent that what I thought was just a slightly rough headset was actually binding yet still with play. This is where the true beauty of the track bike came into play; because there are no brake or gear lever cables on the bars it's a five minute job to strip the forks back out - I wish it had taken me five minutes to discover what the problem was!

After not finding anything immediately obvious, and going as far as removing the cups from the frame and checking my headtube prep, I was mystified - the bearing surfaces on the 1960's Campagnolo headset were pristine, the headtube was clean and faced, the crown was good, and everything seemed to line up perfectly. It wasn't until I began reinstalling the headset I found that a loose ball had somehow come adrift in the steerer tube and was causing the problems. I had checked inside the steerer, but obviously a bit too casually...

I fitted the front wheel and the bike was ready. Another very cool bike I've been fortunate enough to work on - cheers, Mark.

On Thursday evening I had a quick visit from my great friend Paul Larkin. In town for a conference, he dropped me two more very cool bikes to work on. I got my first glimpse of the stunning Santa Cruz Blur Carbon XC frame, which belongs to another one of my good buddies, National Singlespeed Champion Tim Wilding.

I like the asymmetrical paintjob, and no pic can do justice to the beautiful carbon weave under the thick coat of clear lacquer...

The other bike was one that I've blogged before but never actually touched (I did build the wheels however) - Pete's lovely Eddy Merckx Corsa 01, expertly built up by Paul at Roadworks Rotorua Service Course.

The next morning I built up the Blur - with Tim's bike sponsor being the delightful Mike Stylianou of Santa Cruz and Ibis importer Hyperformance Hardware I am blessed to be able to fettle fine frames like this on a fairly regular basis. Choice.

The carbon linkages were stunningly wrought...

And the bike turned out great. Sans grips but including pedals it weighed in at an honest 22.97lb/10.42kg - not bad for an L size 100/105mm travel bike!

Once I'd knocked this build off, and while I waited to catch up with Paul, Tim and Dave, I gave Pete's Eddy Merckx a look over. Since Paul built it up it's had a few k's so I spent some time tweaking it before stepping back and simply admiring it. Built up with 10 speed Campag Centaur with the new shaped levers and the Record/Open Pro wheels I built for it last year it has a classic yet current look about it...

I handed the Blur over to Tim after we'd all rendezvoused at Satay Village for dinner, and said goodnight expecting to meet him and the rest of the crew for a ride the next day up Makara Peak. Unfortunately, my total dread of riding Deliverance and Ridgeline in the wet with a bunch of hard-outs brought on a convenient yet no less unwelcome sore throat and pounding head the following morning. No, there wasn't rum involved! I got as far as getting dressed and pumping my tyres up before realising I was not going anywhere.

Caleb from Spoke Magazine was going along to take some pics of Timmy for the mag too. It sounded like they had a great time catching up with the awesomeness that is Wellitrack, so I'm quite happy for all our sakes that I wasn't there to slow them down! Great to catch up with both Tim and Paul anyway...

Talking of Spoke Magazine, issue 32 has just hit the newsstands, and I am proud to have an article in there. Please grab a copy and check it out.

Despite feeling pretty grim, I worked on Monday. I had several things to do, the first of which was set up Grant's new singlespeed taster. He'd picked the bike up for $16 at the recycling centre. The forks it was fitted with were 1" with a mis-matched headset sort of holding them into the 1 1/8" frame. I decided to donate some old Marin rigid forks I had lying around, along with a used but serviceable headset and Jacq's old Amoeba stem. I also provided the new Tektro brake levers and an old Dura-Ace 16t sprocket, while Grant supplied the rest of the kit. After swapping chainsets and fitting the v-brakes, repairing the broken spoke in the rear wheel and spacing the DA cog, this is how it turned out.

Detail of the chain tensioner - I played with all different combinations of chain length and pulley configuration before settling on this set-up. After his first outing Grant tells me the bike rides sweet in a 44 x 16 gear.

This brings me up to yesterday, where I built a bunch of wheels and tweaked 152 nipples! Martin tasked me with building him two sets of wheels for his late 90s 853 Schwinn Peloton - a decent set of training wheels and a nice set of lighter race wheels. To keep in character with the frame Martin didn't want deeps or built up wheelsets, so after some discussion we opted for Mavic Open Pro rims for both sets.

The training wheels would be laced up on 32 hole Ultegra hubs using the standard 3 cross pattern with DT Competition spokes and brass nipples for all-weather reliability, and ease of service and parts. These wheels came out at 1880 grams.

Whereas the race wheels would be constructed using 28 hole Dura-Ace 7900 hubs. I laced them both with DT Revolution spokes - radial for the front wheel and 2 cross for the rear. Laterally and rotationally stiffer than the training wheels, and at 1560g quite a lot lighter too. Very nice, and both pairs together cost less than the price of many aftermarket wheelsets.

I only managed one ride last week. In training mode for the imminent visit of T-Rex and Warrant Officer Larkin, I took advantage of a spare mid-week morning to have a lovely scoot up Koru and Sally Alley to the start of Missing Link, then a great run down Ridgeline Extension and old favourite SWIGG and Starfish. A cold but fine day all too rare, but amazing to see how well the Makara trails were holding up in the middle of a sustained wet spell...

That's all I've got this week, so I'll now retire to bed with my hot lemon and honey. CU soon, Oli

Late edit: I had some very sad news this afternoon. My first boss and mentor in the cycling trade, and one of the seminal male figures in my life, Roland Hoffe passed away this morning. While we weren't really in regular touch my world was a better place with Roland in it. I'll miss him.


Davo said...

I love your blog posts mate. Always gold.


Oli said...

It goes both ways, mate - the Bushlove action is always a great read. Cheers, Oli

Antoine said...

I have to concur with Davo. For a busy guy you sure put some effort into your blog. I've been lurking for some time and really enjoying it.

nztom said...

Just found your blog Oli. Amazing, has kept me entertained for hours when i should be studying. Thanks.