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Racer to a Tourer Conversion

A very nice young man came to see us January 2020. We’ll call him Andrew (not his real name). He had just arrived in the UK, would be staying for a few years and wanted to tour various parts of Yorkshire & beyond. After listening to Andrew’s needs, RCE advised him upon; types of touring bikes, carrying capacities, gears ratios, handlebar shapes, frame materials & geometry, shifters, tyre size & puncture-resistance, etc.

Although Andrew had a budget of about £550.00, it was not enough for his ideal bike! No problem – RCE advised him on alternative shops and off he went – we never thought we’d see him again.

Lo and behold, a couple or three weeks later, he comes smiling into the shop with a possible candidate bike:

01 Start

Andrew: “Thanks for all that info you gave me last time – it was really useful. OK, I’ve got this bike. I’ll need it looked at in detailed, a rear pannier rack, mudguards, bottle & holder, high-puncture-resistance tyres, and whatever you can advise me on. I have a £400.00 budget. What can you do for me?”.

RCE: “We’d spent a lot of time with you last time – without any recompense – that’s not an issue. Therefore, a) Thank You for acknowledging our help, b) Thank You for coming back and c) Thank You for the challenge. Looking forwards to it!”.

Andrew: “I wouldn’t have gone anywhere else. You know what you’re talking about and I trust you.”.

After a few more reciprocated ‘Thank You’s we agreed to carry out a detailed assessment (£12.50) of the candidate bike afore pumping a lot of £££s into the project.

Our assessment indicated that the following needed attention:

  • Headset (bearing where the forks go into the frame) – more grease,
  • Bottom bracket (bearing between the pedals) – take up wear’n’tear,
  • Wheels – re-tension and true,
  • Wheel hubs – take up wear,
  • Brake callipers – clean and take up wear on arms,
  • Gear systems (front & rear) – the bike came with gear ratios for racing – would need to change that if Andrew wanted to get up all the hill in Yorkshire and maintain a high speed on the levels and downhills,
  • Gear shifting – the existing shifters we’re on the downtube – not ideal, preferred position was shifting from the handle bars,
  • Tyres – the bike already had high-puncture-resistant 700x25C Schwalbe Marathons on – preferred choice was for 28C tyres, and,
  • Rack – being a vintage racing bike it does not have any upper-fastening facilities.

02 Handlebars

03 Chainset

03 Shifters

04 Freewheel

Of prime import was the gear ratios. The chainset (front cogs) was a ‘double’ with a 53T outer and a 48T inner, and, the freewheel (rear cogs) was 6-speed with 23T low gears and a 14T high gear. This gives:

  1. lowest gear = 2.09 (48 divided by 23),
  2. highest ratio = 3.79 (53 divided by 14), and
  3. overall ratio = 181% (3.79 divided by 2.09). When we were kids, those ratios used to kill us – especially in our Pennines town.

As Andrew wanted braking & shifting from the handlebars, the only reasonable option was for Shimano Tourney Sti (Shimano Total Integration) brake/shifters. Unfortunately, these are only available in 7-speed (for, either a double or a triple chainset) and only for the appropriate 7-speed freewheels (unlike the one provided on the bike (a 1989 Sach Huret model – different spacing between sprockets). Further, even within Shimano’s range 6 and 7-speed, shifter cable-pull ratios and freewheel sprocket spacing are different – therefore, the two are NOT compatible. Meaning, that only a Shimano (or compatible) 7-speed freewheel could be used. Being wider than a 6-speed freewheel, question: would there be enough space on the rear spindle for a 7-speed one. And if not, what could we do about it? A test-fitting of a Shimano 7-speed freewheel 14/28T proved successful – without having to piss-about changing the rear axle.

Next task – the chainset. One cannot throw on any old chainset onto a square-taper bottom bracket. Some will sit too close the frame – perhaps hitting the frame or not allowing the front dérailleur (FD) to shift the the smallest sprocket. Counterwise, some will sit too far away from the frame and not allow the FD to shift to the biggest sprocket.

Another chainset consideration was that of using a double or a triple one. A triple would offer very wide ratios but require changing the FD for a triple-compatible model (and more £££s).

Final chainset consideration was that of crank length (the distance from the centre to where the pedals are). The existing chainset was 165mm – not ideal for Andrew’s leg length. A minimum length of 170mm was required.

So, what do do? Well, being the best bike workshop, this side of Nagasaki, RCE had over a 100 chainsets to select from. Narrowing down to 7-speed options, with (at least) a 170mm crank length) and with the correct profile to sit on the BB, narrowed down our options. After calculating gear ratios a further discussion with Andrew, we arrived upon a solution – 170mm, 50/42T double (a lightly-used Sakae with replaceable sprockets. The new gear rations:

  1. lowest gear = 1.5 (42 divided by 28) (previously 2.09),
  2. highest gear = 3.78 (50 divided by 14) (previously 3.79), and
  3. overall ration of 230% (3.78 divided by 1.5) (previously 181%).

So, RCE managed to keep his highest gears ratio similar AND reduce the lowest gear ratio by a whopping 28% (that should get Andrew up all Yorkshire hills). A further 3% can be garnered with the extended crank length.

Gee, we’re good!

The existing rear dérailleur (RD) would not cope with a 28T freewheel and the replacement chainset ratio. A Shimano Tourney, correct cabling and special ferrules (for older frames) would be require.

Another major concern was the tyres – would a 28mm wide fit on the wheels, would the wheel sit the frame and then, can we then fit full mudguards? Being a proper vintage racer, this frame’s clearances were narrowly limited. Test fitting of 28C tyres and mudguards proved unsuccessful! (A lot or cursing ensued). The 25C tyres would stay and 28mm wide mudguards would (just) work.

But wait, we haven’t even priced out the project yet! Adding up the price of new components and our efforts gave us a figure of over £500.00 – beyond Andrew’s budget!

Even the option of lightly-used second-hand Tourney Stis and a second-hand rack still didn’t get to the £400.00 mark!

Only one thing to do – DISCOUNTS! Dealing with someone so nice, who was also buying all components from RCE, we were glad to make it affordable for Andrew!

Here’s the completed project after carrying the last 6 steps:

  1. carry out works,
  2. get Andrew back into the workshop to finalise the exact positions of the Stis, handlebars and stem,
  3. fit bartape,
  4. advise Andrew on correct use of gears, loading of rack, basic maintenance, security, etc.,
  5. take our payment, and
  6. get the bike back in after 50 to 100miles for final tweaking.

05 Completed

06 Shifters and Bartape

07 Cable Stops

08 Chainset

09 Freewheel and RD

10 Rack

Although projects such as this one is just-another-day to us, we were proud-as-punch with our results. Though not as much as Andrew!

11 b Customer anon

Re-Cycle Engineering – not like the others!


Lilliputians riding tricycles?

We have no compassion and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror. - Karl Marx

How NOT to transport a pizza on a bike.

And the, some freaking idiot invented the “lady’s bicycle”.

Profit: the 4 types.

Finally, a practical guide for roadside wildflower viewing. Made us chuckle.

Video: watch it all, cyclists may be interested at 4:07.

How many grammar nazis does it take to change a lightbulb?

“I wanna play cricket on the green
Ride my bike across the street
Cut myself and see my blood
I wanna come home all covered in mud”

and, finally

Live version with Lou Reed:

Until next time, take care.

 

Short Break

CLOSED: Tuesday (25th), Wednesday (26th) and Thursday (28th) October 2016.

Re-Opens: 10am. Friday, 29th October 2016.

Apologies.

 
 

Stolen Bikes: Gone In 60 Seconds

Check out this great (25mins) vid from those nice people at PinkBike.

The London Program investigates the £27 million pound crime wave that is seeing thousands of bicycles being stolen from the capital’s streets. Our reporter catches some professional bike thieves in action and finds out how easy it is to steal a bike in central London.

See the vid here: http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Gone-in-60-secs-theft-video-2012.html

Of course, ANY LOCK can got into if you’ve got the correct tools, technique and time (e.g. you’ll get at the gold in Fort Knox with enough nail files and a couple of lifetimes). However, please don’t be too alarmed by the above video.

And, be aware of anyone who over-emphasises bicycle security – they may be trying to sell you a product which you don’t need. We recommend that you only buy your lock from:

  1. an Independent Bicycle Shop (IBS) which
  2. provides comprehensive advice on bicycle security based upon: a) your wallet, b) value of the bike, c) levels of exposure, d) convenience required, and e) your bike’s replacement cost,

At Re-Cycle Engineering, we believe that we are the last shop left in the north of England which provides renovated bicycles as a core activity. As all our reconditioned bikes are guaranteed NOT TO BE STOLEN. Any buyer of any our sold bikes, which are later proved to be stolen (by the Police), will get their money back.

We also stock 2 categories of locks:

  1. Cheap (snatch-proof from £6 to £20) and
  2. Insurance company approved (from £25 to £120).

Happy parking!

 
 

You don’t even get that for murder

Just a short note on our belated birthday.

As of 1st October 2012,

we have been repairing bikes for over 23 years.

You don’t even get that for murder.

 
 

Now accepting repairs (Monday, 25th June 2012)

Title says it all.

A bit like this fellow:

 
 

NOT taking repairs until 25th June 2012

 

Further to our last post, we have inundated with repairs at the mo’.

So, we will NOT be taking any more repairs in until 25th June 2012.

Our apologies to all cyclists

The above does NOT apply to our regular customers!

The GOOD news: We will try to continue our “Whilst You Wait” service for small repairs (e.g. fit new inner tubes, fit new wheel(s), etc.).

 

 
 

We’ve become the fortunate victims …

  • Each year we repair over 3,000 bicycles.
  • 95% of our new customers arrive via ‘word-of-mouth’ recommendations.
  • We do not need to advertise.

For the past 5 years we have experienced and ever-increasing demand for our services.

No matter what we try, more and more and more and more cyclist are turning to us for their repair and upgrade works.

This trend appears to be over-and-above the increase in cycling in the Leeds area and seasonal variations.

In fact we have just had our busiest winter season – we’ve worked ‘flat-out’ and are at full-capacity all the time.

Seems as though we have become the fortunate victims of our own success

Therefore, just to catch up:

  • We will NOT be accepting any new repair requests until Monday, 18th June (at the earliest).
  • Please accept our sincerest apologies.
  • The above does NOT apply to our regular customers!

The GOOD news: We will try to continue our “Whilst You Wait” service for small repairs (e.g. fit new inner tubes, fit new wheel(s), etc.).

 
 

Re-open at 10am, Wednesday, 6th June 2012

We’re tired and need the rest,

Will re-open at 10am, Wednesday, 6th June 2012.

 
 

Closed: 2012-05-07 Early May Bank Holiday

Wonderful things are happening at home – so, at short notice, we will be closed on Monday, 7th May.

Re-open at 10am on Tuesday.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on 2012-05-06 in Uncategorized

 

Easter Opening Times

We will be OPEN on:

  • Friday (6th April, 10am to 6pm)
  • Saturday (7th April, 10am to 5pm)

We will be CLOSED:

  • Sunday (8th April)
  • Monday (9th April)

We will return to normal opening times (weekdays: 10am to 6pm and Saturdays: 10am to 5pm) on Tuesday, 10th April.