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First Project (1972/73 Raleigh Gran Sport)

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First Project (1972/73 Raleigh Gran Sport)

Old 09-15-21, 12:18 PM
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silky
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First Project (1972/73 Raleigh Gran Sport)

I have a 1970-something Raleigh Gran Sport that I hope to put back in good riding condition but have a lot to learn as I have little experience working with bikes. I have a lot of questions and have become more confused as I've looked for answers.

First of all, I THINK my bike is a 1972 model (possibly early '73), but the components that I've identified don't line-up with any of the spec sheets I've found. The bike was originally my dad's, and I didn't think he'd replaced any of the components (but I may be mistaken). The decals are in pretty bad shape, but I can see the Reynolds 531 stickers on the fork as well as the seat tube. The top tube has the "Grand Sports" decal, and the script on the down tube decal looks like the one that was used until early '73. It has a six digit serial number on the dropouts, which are also marked with "Zeus Competicion." Here are the markings on the other components (if I could find anything):
  • Handlebars: (no markings found)
  • Stem: GB
  • Brake calipers: Weinmann 610/Vainqueur 999
  • Brake levers (Weinmann with hard-plastic Carlton hoods)
  • Shifters: Simplex
  • Front derailleur: Simplex
  • Crankset: Stronglight (170 mm Modele Depose)
  • Pedals: Atom 700
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano Altus-LT (plastic on the rear derailleur is cracked)
  • Freewheel: Sun Tour? (the marking may not be part of the freewheel)
  • Hubs: Atom? (unless I'm looking at part of the freewheel; but the quick-release levers are Gnutti)
  • Rims: Weinman 27 x 1 1/4
  • Saddle: Brooks B15
[Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attach photos (or a link to photos) as my post count is too low. Sorry.] -- Edit: photos added to album under user profile

Should I be replacing any of these components? If so, I would love recommendations. I am not committed to keeping everything 100% period correct; I am more concerned with it riding nicely (and hopefully reliably).

Other problems/questions:

1. The seat post was stuck, and I damaged the post while removing it. I haven't measured, but the seat lug does not appear to be round. I'm not sure what the best way to true-up the lug would be. I have seen a couple of recommendations to use a brake cylinder hone, but I think that assumed the lug wasn't mis-shaped. Also, I'm wondering whether the damage to the post can be "cleaned-up."

2. I'm hoping that I can remove all of the rust, and the paint will be in decent shape. Assuming so, can I remove the damaged decals and replace them without affecting the paint job? I'd rather avoid having it repainted if possible.

3. I understand that the Stronglight crankset can be challenging to remove without the proper tool. Should I expect similar issues with other components? I have a nagging suspicion that the freewheel will need something special as well.

4. Any specific advice on the saddle? I was planning to use some saddle soap and maybe proofhide to resuscitate it.

Any advice and/or recommendations will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Last edited by silky; 09-15-21 at 12:24 PM. Reason: Additional info re photos
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Old 09-15-21, 01:57 PM
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The seat post is probably the first issue to clear up. I'd be interested in hearing from others (such as Gugie) about what can be done to get the seat lug closer to round. Honing or reaming it to a rounder state isn't actually fixing the problem. I had a frame builder do a bit of work on a beloved frame, and he decided he'd ream it so it was rounder, and managed to change it from a 27.2mm opening to a 27.4mm opening. It's not easy to find a 27.4mm post nowadays! Plus, what is the effect of thinning the wall of seat tube?

As far as components.. I had a '74 Gran Sport, and I changed a lot of parts! Many weren't that great when they were new, imho. The Stronglight crank is a beauty, and I'd hate to see it retired. Granted, finding the proper removal tool might take some time and money.

Not sure how good the B15 is/was, but I'd start with some proofide. After that, maybe a little neetsfoot oil? I'm not sure what saddle soap is supposed to do, but it sounds like it would be removing some of the oils instead of adding them back. I've never used saddle soap on bike saddles, but have used it to clean leather chamois in wool shorts, a long time ago.

and for fun, a shot of my old Gran Sport, circa.. 1980, I think.



Steve in Peoria
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Old 09-15-21, 03:00 PM
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The Altus is a replacement derailleur, because the Simplex Prestige Maxy (long-cage) was as prone to failure as the generic Prestige made of Delrin. I think the Atom freewheel is correct, but suspect someone added the SunTour spoke protector.

I'm intrigued by the hubs, I'm accustomed to seeing Normandy Sport hubs with one-piece alloy shells on this model.

While Raleigh used all sorts of dropouts that varied from catalog spec, as it were, and there are Raleighs with Zeus Competition dropouts out there, I swear it looks to me like the right dropout is a replacement brazed-in ex-works. But an expert should weigh in on that.

I would have a shop with some OLDER tools and preferably older staff look at the seat tube - that or have some of our resident frame-building and repair guys weigh in on it. I know I have had to gently bend/massage a couple of seat lugs that were squeezed too tight back out with a big screwdriver, followed by a brake cylinder hone used ONLY TO REMOVE CORROSION, not to make things bigger!

This is an excellent bike and well worth rebuilding. Trawl this forum for Evapo-Rust, maybe even oxalic acid - but there were really good results achieved within the last year or so on a frame identical to yours.

Lovely bike. Good luck!
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Old 09-15-21, 04:04 PM
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Excellent bike! And great advice on the seat tube. Most old bikes and Raleighs in particular seem to have oval seat tubes when I find them. Try to get the slot at the back parallel again. You can do the with a large screw driver. An old too small steel seatpost will help to wallow it round again. After doing both of those I cautiously ream the tube.
your stablemates would be a super course and a competition. I have one of each...

Super course as a three speed.

Competition modified for a feeble old guitarist.
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Old 09-15-21, 04:20 PM
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Stein Tool makes a puller for that crank. https://steintool.com/portfolio-item...nk-extractors/

That freewheel can be removed with a Park Tool FR-4.

Those Shimano rear derailleurs with the plastic cage pivot housing frequently crack and fall apart like that.
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Old 09-15-21, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
The Stronglight crank is a beauty, and I'd hate to see it retired.
Is there a reason I should replace the Stronglight crank? I was tentatively thinking about simply cleaning it up and replacing the bearings, but I wasn't sure about compatibility between components if I replaced the derailleurs; I thought I read about certain components working better together on the GS.

and for fun, a shot of my old Gran Sport, circa.. 1980, I think.
That's a great looking bike! It popped-up when I did a google search a couple of days ago and helped inspire me to get rolling on this project.
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Old 09-15-21, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by silky View Post
Is there a reason I should replace the Stronglight crank? I was tentatively thinking about simply cleaning it up and replacing the bearings, but I wasn't sure about compatibility between components if I replaced the derailleurs; I thought I read about certain components working better together on the GS.
Definitely use it if you can! The threads for the crank puller are unique to Stronglight, so that's one complication. The chainrings are fairly unique too. The cranks are so distinctive and look so good when polished, and they are *the* crank for a Gran(d) Sport(s). I think you are ethically required to use it.
There's not any compatibility issue between cranks and the other parts on the bike (other than the bottom bracket),


Originally Posted by silky View Post
That's a great looking bike! It popped-up when I did a google search a couple of days ago and helped inspire me to get rolling on this project.
cool!
Does that mean that I'm famous?! Or at least my former bike is famous??

Steve in Peoria
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Old 09-15-21, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post
The Altus is a replacement derailleur, because the Simplex Prestige Maxy (long-cage) was as prone to failure as the generic Prestige made of Delrin. I think the Atom freewheel is correct, but suspect someone added the SunTour spoke protector.
I was surprised to find a Shimano derailleur on there. I haven't seen much discussion about Shimano parts on the Gran Sport. Any recommendations on a replacement derailleur? Someone was recommending Suntour VGT-Luxe on another thread, but I can't remember what year bike it was.

I'm intrigued by the hubs, I'm accustomed to seeing Normandy Sport hubs with one-piece alloy shells on this model.
So these are not the Normandy Sport hubs, then. I wonder if I'm just overlooking the markings. Is there anyplace in particular I should be looking to determine what hubs these are? I AM getting new eye glasses, tomorrow, so maybe it'll be a little more obvious.

Trawl this forum for Evapo-Rust, maybe even oxalic acid - but there were really good results achieved within the last year or so on a frame identical to yours.
I had heard about the OA but couldn't remember the "Evapo-Rust" name. I will definitely check that out. My efforts so far have been a little disappointing (using WD-40), but I've been pretty conservative about avoiding anything more abrasive than a microfiber cloth so far. By the end of the week my patience will end, and I'll probably resort to 100 grit sandpaper.
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Old 09-15-21, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster View Post
Excellent bike! And great advice on the seat tube. Most old bikes and Raleighs in particular seem to have oval seat tubes when I find them.
Has the bike been mistreated if the seat tubes aren't round? Assuming I manage to get it corrected I'd like to avoid a repeat. Removing that post was not fun.

your stablemates would be a super course and a competition. I have one of each....
Those are lovely, but I'd have to get rid of some of the family's bikes to make room for stablemates, and I'm already under pressure to make room for cars in the garage before the snow starts to fall. For some reason the kids are allowed to buy new bikes and leave them here, but my bikes are blamed for the lack of parking space.
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Old 09-15-21, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
Definitely use it if you can! The threads for the crank puller are unique to Stronglight, so that's one complication. The chainrings are fairly unique too. The cranks are so distinctive and look so good when polished, and they are *the* crank for a Gran(d) Sport(s). I think you are ethically required to use it.
There's not any compatibility issue between cranks and the other parts on the bike (other than the bottom bracket),
Excellent! I always liked the star pattern.

cool!
Does that mean that I'm famous?! Or at least my former bike is famous??

Steve in Peoria
Well, your bike must be if it floated to the top of the search results among all of the ads. "Steve in Peoria" was not featured in the search, so I can't speak to your fame. On the positive side, google also does not peddle ads for criminal background checks on "Steve from Peoria" when you google "vintage raleigh gran sport." Thats kind of a win.
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Old 09-15-21, 09:54 PM
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The Suntour rear derailleur you mentioned would be an excellent upgrade; for many it would be the #1 choice.
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Old 09-15-21, 09:55 PM
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Very cool bike. And that it was your dad's makes it the coolest. Your first post indicates that you are committed to doing right by the bike so keep the sandpaper away from it. Your seat post is scratched but not ruined in my opinion and I bet you can message the seat lug to accept the post well enough. The Saddle looks fine. Get the bike rideable. All cranks and freewheels need the proper tools which are not found in a common tool box. It is a fantastic rider and if I could only have one bike, I would have been happy with mine. Worth getting a few tools. Mine looked worse than your dad's and came without wheels. Later on you will want different wheels but get it on the road. What fun you will have in the club.



Before the OA bath.
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Old 09-16-21, 09:08 AM
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If you look under the bottom bracket, there should be a serial number. If it starts with something between A and H, we can tell the year it was built. If it starts with a W, there will be another letter, and then a number. That number will replace the x in 197x to tell the year.

I say "should" because I have a Grand Sports from the era which has no discernable serial number anywhere, and also because there are instances of some bicycle built (apparently) in Nottingham that have serial numbers stamped on one of the rear dropouts, or near the top of the seat tube. If you have one of thise, there's a different serial number format that can be used to approximate the year.
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Old 09-16-21, 09:37 AM
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Nice bike, I am in the process of stripping a Grand Sports I had gugieized to a grocery getter and I will use it with a 5 speed IGH. Yours is probably a 72 because of the lugs.

Your Bike
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Old 09-16-21, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
Stein Tool makes a puller for that crank. [link redacted to satisfy forum rules regarding post count]
That freewheel can be removed with a Park Tool FR-4.
Thank you for the links. I have ordered both tools.

Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
The Suntour rear derailleur you mentioned would be an excellent upgrade; for many it would be the #1 choice.
Any advice on finding a good one at a reasonable price? I got a lot of hits when I googled it, but I'm not sure what one in decent condition should look like (most were not cleaned-up, and rust was common). Should I also try to find Suntour shifters and front derailleur?

Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
Very cool bike. And that it was your dad's makes it the coolest. Your first post indicates that you are committed to doing right by the bike so keep the sandpaper away from it. Your seat post is scratched but not ruined in my opinion and I bet you can message the seat lug to accept the post well enough. The Saddle looks fine. Get the bike rideable. All cranks and freewheels need the proper tools which are not found in a common tool box. It is a fantastic rider and if I could only have one bike, I would have been happy with mine. Worth getting a few tools. Mine looked worse than your dad's and came without wheels. Later on you will want different wheels but get it on the road. What fun you will have in the club.
I was not serious about the sandpaper. I think I am likely to be a little more aggressive as I go on; I tend to err on the side of being too delicate until I have a better appreciation for what I'm working with.

Was the OA bath a big hassle? I'm tempted to take the frame and have it sandblasted/powder coated rather than dump too many hours into cleaning. I'm a little hesitant only because I would then need to deal with the blue sections myself (although a HVLP paint sprayer purchase may be in my future).

Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
If you look under the bottom bracket, there should be a serial number. If it starts with something between A and H, we can tell the year it was built. If it starts with a W, there will be another letter, and then a number. That number will replace the x in 197x to tell the year.

I say "should" because I have a Grand Sports from the era which has no discernable serial number anywhere, and also because there are instances of some bicycle built (apparently) in Nottingham that have serial numbers stamped on one of the rear dropouts, or near the top of the seat tube. If you have one of thise, there's a different serial number format that can be used to approximate the year.
My serial number is on the dropout, and it is six numbers only (284303). I think the Sheldon Brown info was a little ambiguous (maybe 1972/maybe early 1973).

Originally Posted by bwilli88 View Post
Nice bike, I am in the process of stripping a Grand Sports I had gugieized to a grocery getter and I will use it with a 5 speed IGH. Yours is probably a 72 because of the lugs.
I was leaning towards 1972 as well. How do you identify the lugs?
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Old 09-16-21, 05:35 PM
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Happy to help. Good luck with the project.
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Old 09-16-21, 05:50 PM
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Here is my OA bath thread: My Oxalic Acid OA Bathtub at the end of the thread is the result. One small tub of wood bleach is all and then a box of Arm and Hammer to neutralize. Some folks use a kiddie pool.

Gugie is a big fan the Grand Sport(s) and has sent one (or more ) off to his favorite powdercoater who did both the white and the blue panels. Click through some of his posts and you will see how nice it looks. And if you are looking to modify your dad's bike in such a way, you might consider sending it to Gugie first for other mods that will make that bike even more useful.
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Old 09-16-21, 07:11 PM
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You had me at “ my Dads bike”. Cool.

Good idea to think about options and ask lots of questions before doing irreversible changes to your bike. Gugie is the go to man around here though!
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Old 09-22-21, 08:25 AM
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Okay, I am slowly making progress (if disassembling can be considered progress).

The quill stem was stuck, but after three days of penetrating oil and alternating heat and cold, I followed another tip from the forum and broke it loose using a hammer (with the stem protected).

I got the drive-side crank arm removed using the 23.35 mm extractor, but the extractor would not fit the other arm. I checked the dust caps with my calipers, and they are, in fact, different sizes. I think it requires a 22 mm extractor, but my calipers have gotten so hard to read I can't be sure (I hadn't upgraded the calipers to digital, because they belonged to my grandfather--new ones are on the way). I checked VeloBase for the Stronglight 99 crankset and saw that one of the comments mentioned having 22 mm extractor threading. Is it unusual for the crank arms to have different extractor threading?

I also took a closer look at the bottom bracket and saw that the cup on the adjustable side did not have the expected "raised ridges" that fit a 16 mm open-ended wrench (or the Park HCW-11). It looks like a 1" open-ended wrench should work on it.

[My post count is still too low to post photos to the thread, so I uploaded additional photos to my album.]

I'm not sure whether to leave the fixed cap or remove it. Is it okay to leave it on while the frame soaks in an OA bath?

When I removed my brake calipers I found that one of the contoured fittings (washer?) was broken in half. Can anyone tell me where I might find a replacement for this (and what it is actually called)?



Thank you!
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Old 09-22-21, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by silky View Post
I got the drive-side crank arm removed using the 23.35 mm extractor, but the extractor would not fit the other arm. I checked the dust caps with my calipers, and they are, in fact, different sizes. I think it requires a 22 mm extractor, but my calipers have gotten so hard to read I can't be sure (I hadn't upgraded the calipers to digital, because they belonged to my grandfather--new ones are on the way). I checked VeloBase for the Stronglight 99 crankset and saw that one of the comments mentioned having 22 mm extractor threading. Is it unusual for the crank arms to have different extractor threading?
!
The drive side crank on these is usually a model 93 which used chainrings made with a 122 mm bolt circle diameter (bcd). The model 99 was a later crank with an 86 mm bcd. I suspect the left crank became damaged, or worked its way loose and wallowed out, and some helpful shop replaced it with the handiest Stronglight left crank in the right length that they had. Not unusual!
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Old 09-24-21, 09:19 AM
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ideally, you'd remove all the bits before soaking to get any rust on the BB threads. But the OA will not hurt the steel cups.
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Old 09-24-21, 09:24 AM
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There are a number of threads here with old Raleighs that have seat tubes that are out of round. That is certainly true for my '73 Grand Sport which I haven't gotten around to fixing yet. I think I'm just going to sand down a bit of material on the seatpost until it fits better. It fits now but is very tight. I reckon with a bit of sanding, I can get it to fit better.
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Old 09-24-21, 11:36 AM
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Gran(d) Sport(s) made in 1973 have a serial number stamped on the non-drive side dropout. From what I can tell a metric buttload of them were made and sold as new way past 1973 - a high school friend bought his in 1975.

As the least expensive all-531 tubeset bike in the Raleigh line-up they're nice and responsive. The workmanship can vary significantly, depending on whether Nigel had a few extra pints at lunch or not. On the good side, 531 tubing is very robust, and one can screw up a lot in the framebuilding process with no ill-effects. A really nice feature of these frames are the looooooong legs on them (lots of tire clearance) so you can run fairly wide tires with fenders. They're also a chameleon bike. They build up nicely as a 3-speed IGH, touring triple, new parts, old parts, red fish, blue fish...


This one's been powder coated to original colors, but rebuilt with period correct, hodge podge of parts. I use it for vintage bike events, such as Eroica and Cino. 33.333mm tires ride reasonably well on gravel roads, 35's would fit as well without fenders. With the "gold" parts, huge flanged hubs and lots of drillium, I call this my pimp bike.


This one's built up as a 5 speed internal gear hub (IGH) 35mm tires with fenders. I use it as a winter commute bike. Panaracer Paselas are a good compromise between wear, cost, and liveliness.


All out conversion, on my Grander Sportier I replaced the rear horizontal dropouts with verticals (I own a torch and know how to use it), cantilevers, internal wiring for front hub generator, and snazzy modern-ish parts. I've done some credit card touring on it, very stable. Panaracer Jack Brown tires are in the same family line (and cost!) as the Rene Herse tire program - very lively, flat more often than Paselas, but best performance. This one's also been powder coated


I even have an OEM model. Tires and chain aren't OEM, but everything else is. Tires suck, which makes the ride suck. Simpex derailleurs shift less than most excellent. The rest of the components work reasonably well. I think you can see from my comments that a good tire makes the biggest difference in improving ride.
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Old 09-30-21, 10:07 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
This one's been powder coated to original colors, but rebuilt with period correct, hodge podge of parts.
That looks fabulous! If I am not happy with the results from the OA bath I think I will see about powder coating. I was trying to figure out how to make that work with decals (I did notice a thread that was right on topicóI just didnít quite understand how it was working). The setting for the photo is also very nice. Iíve been traveling in Oregon this week, and I really want to come back with my bike.

Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
ideally, you'd remove all the bits before soaking to get any rust on the BB threads. But the OA will not hurt the steel cups.
Is it difficult to reseat the "fixed" cup if you donít have the special tool?

Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
Later on you will want different wheels but get it on the road. What fun you will have in the club.
Originally Posted by gugie View Post
I even have an OEM model. Tires and chain aren't OEM, but everything else is. Tires suck, which makes the ride suck.
***
I think you can see from my comments that a good tire makes the biggest difference in improving ride.
I think Iím picking up on a theme, here. Is it only the tires I will want to replace, or are the Weinmann rims and mystery hubs also suspect?


Originally Posted by gugie View Post
All out conversion, on my Grander Sportier I replaced the rear horizontal dropouts with verticals (I own a torch and know how to use it), cantilevers, internal wiring for front hub generator, and snazzy modern-ish parts. I've done some credit card touring on it, very stable. Panaracer Jack Brown tires are in the same family line (and cost!) as the Rene Herse tire program - very lively, flat more often than Paselas, but best performance. This one's also been powder coated
I canít even imagine replacing the dropouts at home using a torch. Building a personal nuclear reactor would be only slightly further out of my skill set.

With respect to the tires, are those the blue label or the green label Jack Browns?
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Old 09-30-21, 11:22 AM
  #25  
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That looks fabulous! If I am not happy with the results from the OA bath I think I will see about powder coating. I was trying to figure out how to make that work with decals (I did notice a thread that was right on topicóI just didnít quite understand how it was working). The setting for the photo is also very nice. Iíve been traveling in Oregon this week, and I really want to come back with my bike.
Groody Brothers did those power coat + decal + clearcoat for me. Note that they can also braze on some bits, such as bottle and shift lever bosses for a very reasonable cost.
Is it difficult to reseat the "fixed" cup if you donít have the special tool?
Grood Brothers can do that for you as well.
I think Iím picking up on a theme, here. Is it only the tires I will want to replace, or are the Weinmann rims and mystery hubs also suspect?
All depends on how much money you want to spend! If the wheels are in good shape, just put new rubber on. You can always decide to upgrade the wheels later.
I canít even imagine replacing the dropouts at home using a torch. Building a personal nuclear reactor would be only slightly further out of my skill set.
Once I got a torch, every frame I see looks like it needs to be butchered...dropout replacement is a bit higher up in the skill level. Here's a link to my pics of the process. It's a pricey change if you're thinking this way, but my labor is free to me.
With respect to the tires, are those the blue label or the green label Jack Browns?
Green, the blues are beefier, I'd go with Paselas if you want a more robust tire at less cost. The Jack Brown greens are from the same family as the Rene Herse standard casing tires, which comein 32 and 35mm widths. At 33.333 (exactly in the middle), the weight is right in the middle, the casings look exactly like my RH tires, but the tread is slightly different. I'm not a big believer in tread differences making any kind of noticeable difference. At 33.333 I can use fenders on my Gran(d) Sport(s), 35 is just a bit too big. I've ridden both Cino and Eroica California on gravel roads with no issues or flats on these tires with no issues, so I'm a big fan.
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