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Looking for a Rando Conversion Candidate: Fuji Espree?

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Looking for a Rando Conversion Candidate: Fuji Espree?

Old 11-07-21, 01:17 PM
  #101  
downtube42
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Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post
Hereís a visual comparison of different wheel+tire sizes (actual width) on the same tall frame, in this case my 63.5cm ctt Marinoni. I switched from 175mm (shown in the 700x28 and first 650x38 shot) to 170mm cranks after installing the 650B wheels, but pedal strike was not the issue - that ďriskĒ is overblown unless you race criteriums and must pedal through corners. My 7-decade old knees like the change! FWIW, I go back and forth between 700x32 and 650x38. Lately using the latter more since the bike feels more relaxing, certainly much nicer on rough pavement, but absolutely no slower with the fatter tires at 50-ish psi. Not sure yet about the black 42ís in the last photo, but theyíre sooo smooth yet very secure at 40/45 psi! Maybe if I actually enjoyed riding on lots of gravel, more than the occasional hard-packed dirt road. BTW, all tires are Grand Bois or Compass/Rene Herse EL, so theyíre all light, supple and faster than I am.

700C with 28mm tires


700C with 32mm tires - maximum that will fit, and BTW those are short reach brakes!


650B with 38mm tires


Fenders with the 650x38ís, which affect the visual balance significantly. No room for fenders with the 700ís. If long rando-type rides are likely, fenders will be a welcome improvement.


650B with 41mm (42 specíd) blackwall tires. I was recently got these for an incredible price, and no chance yet to take better photos. Not sure about the all black tires.
It's amazing how much tire sidewall color affects the overall look of a bike. The difference due to 650b vs 700c is nothing compared to black vs tan.
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Old 11-13-21, 01:10 PM
  #102  
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Final (for now) update here. After playing my own frame doesn't fit swap around game, I've landed on this iteration of the Trek 510. Currently sporting 700x35s. I'm still playing around with the cockpit a bit which is why there is some extra cable and no bar tape yet.

As I get some time with it to ensure I like it, I'll be dropping some money into the following upgrades, likely in this order:
  • front rack via p clamps
  • Fenders
  • Powder coating
  • New wheel set, likely with a dynamo
A sincere thanks to everyone for your advice throughout the process. I was able to meet up with my friend to swap over all the components from the speciallissima to the trek and feel more confident in making some changes myself in the future where specialty parts aren't required.

This may not be my forever bike but I think it will be a good entry into this end of the biking spectrum after having a exclusively ridden grocery getters and kid pullers.

In the garage

In the sun
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Old 11-13-21, 10:54 PM
  #103  
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It appears that you have found a good rider. In the event that you would still like a Japanese touring bike, this one has had trouble finding a new owner. Sorry! https://masoncity.craigslist.org/bik...389362793.html
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Old 11-14-21, 04:28 PM
  #104  
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Looking good!
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Old 11-14-21, 05:38 PM
  #105  
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@reluctantsuburb,
That Trek looks like a far better fit for you than anything else weíve seen from you, judging by the saddle and stem heights shown. Trek 510ís are highly regarded bikes around C&V Land. My good buddy, @RiddleOfSteel, has had great experience with at least one.

About your plans:
Front rack with p-clamps - Front loading can work well with a low-trail fork (so higher fork rake); not as good with more typical fork trail found on these sport touring Treks. Search on low-trail and youíll get more insight. @gugie is a master at re-raking forks for that application. Iím thrilled with the work he did to the Ď79 Miyata 912, quite similar in intent (that year, at least) to your 510 to adapt it to front load carrying You might ask him his opinions and what it would take to get yours re-raked. You donít need p-clamps since you have those eyelets on your front dropouts that can be used with longer struts, available from Rivendell. The Nitto M-18 rack is a good one, often used in these applications.

Fenders - a great idea that enables much broader usage, but it doesnít look like youíve got a whole lot of clearances with those 700x35 tires. A fingerís width between fork crown and rear brake bridge is about the minimum clearance that youíll need. But you could run 700x32ís or 28ís to get that clearance. Fenders are not that easy to install initially. Lots of good advice out there, including plenty of folks on this forum, regarding fender selection and installation. I use both plastic and metal fenders. OTOH, if you really want to combine fat tires and fenders, a 650B conversion is a good way to go. There are photos in a previous post above of my same bike with all the tires used on it over the years, including 650B with metal fenders.

Powder coating - Is there significant paint damage thatís not visible in the photos above? From what I see, the existing paint seems to be in great condition. Any re-coat will not be as good as the original. But if its an esthetic choice, thatís entirely your call (as with all these choices). There are better and not so great powder coat sources. Iíve been impressed with the results that another good buddy, @Andy_K, has had with his bikes.

New wheel set with dynamo - another great idea if your really going fully into randonneuring, but you might want to try a few shorter brevets first with a battery light, since that will be hefty investment. Bicycle Quarterly (magazine and blog posts) has lots of great recommendations for dynamo lights. Also check out the Long-DistanceÖ sub-forum for good advice on many subjects that probably relate to your cycling plans:

https://www.bikeforums.net/long-dist...rance-cycling/

Are you I happy with the existing brakes? An effective, popular and easy update if theyíre single-pivot calipers (hard to tell from those photos) would be replacement with dual pivot calipers. Yours appear to be nutted calipers (external nuts), rather than the later recessed type. Tektro makes very nice nutted dual pivots.

Apologies if thatís TMI.

Last edited by Dfrost; 11-14-21 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 11-14-21, 07:25 PM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post
Apologies if thatís TMI.
Not TMI!! Very helpful.

If​​​ gugie or any others want to weigh in on fork rake, I am all ears. In my initial vision of this project I was thinking a low trail bike with 650B wheels but that is less because I am sure that I will do long distance randoneuring and more because I think a small front load would be conducive to my current commute and allow me to work up to longer rides over time. Now that I'm on the bike and looking at the chain stay clearance in particular I'm wondering how much of a wider tire 650b would actually give me than the 700 C's that I'm currently on.

I hear you on the cost of Dynamo hubs but found a wheel set on velocity which I think represents a pretty good value for a 700C set. The initial thinking behind this was if I do not go for 650b on this bike I imagine the 700C wheel set would translate to more future frames should I change in the future.

There are a few rust patches on the frame, I'll see if I can get some better pictures at some point.

Today I set things up with my rivendell sack and was pleasantly surprised at the tire clearance.
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Old 11-14-21, 07:28 PM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post

Apologies if thatís TMI.
Forgot to reply to the brake question: The stopping power is pretty underwhelming right now and my initial thought was to change to kool stop pads. I could certainly use some education on the difference between the single pivots that I have right now and what you are suggesting
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Old 11-15-21, 12:56 AM
  #108  
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Easy way to check potential 650B tire clearance: put a small temporary mark like a small piece of tape on chainstays and fork legs opposite the 700C braking surfaces. That radial distance, ~310mm, happens to be the radius for the maximum width of a typical 650Bx38 or 42, so easy to check lateral width at that radius. You should have at least 3mm of lateral clearance on both sides of a tire. Not all tires measure their specified width, BTW.

Do you know your brake reach? That’s the distance from the brake caliper mounting bolt center to the center of the braking surface.

I’m pretty sure your 510 takes “standard reach” nutted brakes (47-57mm), but you should confirm. FWIW, my red Marinoni can use either short or standard reach calipers, and that may be true for your 510, at least on the rear. There are several online sources for Tektro nutted dual pivots that will greatly improve your braking performance, including Velo Orange, an excellent resource for those of C&V persuasion. Your levers appear to be good ones. The info here is valuable, although VO may no longer carry them.

https://velo-orange.blogspot.com/200...ed-brakes.html

Simply switching to KS salmons on your existing calipers will help, but dual pivots are a true game changer. Dual pivots allow full braking from the hoods, while single pivots only develop that much performance when you’re squeezing form the drops.

Many of us think the salmon KS provide noticeably better braking in all conditions. No, they aren’t restricted to wet riding, and they last a very long time. I get several thousand miles out of each pair. Can’t remember the last time I did NOT use KS salmons, even replacing new black pads on new calipers at installation.

Nice to contemplate other frames in your cycling future (This IS C&V after all, home of N+1!), but you’ve made any excellent choice with this 510. Wouldn’t be surprised to hear that it continues to be your favorite ride even when you’ve got others.

Last edited by Dfrost; 11-15-21 at 12:59 AM.
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Old 11-17-21, 01:17 PM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by TLaurent View Post
It appears that you have found a good rider. In the event that you would still like a Japanese touring bike, this one has had trouble finding a new owner. Sorry!

Is that Nishiki your TLaurent? I don't see it in the for sale thread. Nice bike!
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Old 11-17-21, 04:41 PM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by SpudBoi View Post
Is that Nishiki your TLaurent? I don't see it in the for sale thread. Nice bike!
It is not mine. Iíve seen it listed for several weeks and thought that it would be a good candidate in this thread. I recently finished a touring bike build of a 1975 Fuji America.
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Old 09-02-22, 03:48 PM
  #111  
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Although this thread is older I thought I would mention that if one is looking to build up a vintage frame into a 650b rando bike the choice is quite limited when dealing with how the bike will handle a front load and speaking from experience I would recommend what has been mentioned here - find a 1977 to 1981 ( approx. ) Fuji S12S or the Ltd. Either one will offer a nice ride, feel lively and adapts to the conversion like a duck to water as the saying goes.


One just needs to purchase something such as the Grand Compe 750 centre pull brakes and perhaps a needle bearing headset though I still use the stock one. I had the rear spacing increased to 135mm from 126mm to fit Shimano 9 speed mountain originally but now use an 8 speed cassette ( 11- 34T ).


I have been riding the Fuji for a few years and still enjoy taking it out. Tires are Gran Bois 42mm but will eventually switch to Rene Herse,having them on a Rawland Stag the difference is not subtle. Well worth the cost. I honestly cannot think of another frame that is so adaptable, the spacing and trail specs. allow one to experience what is a a really nice repurposed bike.




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Old 09-02-22, 06:13 PM
  #112  
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Originally Posted by VintageRide View Post
Although this thread is older I thought I would mention that if one is looking to build up a vintage frame into a 650b rando bike the choice is quite limited when dealing with how the bike will handle a front load and speaking from experience I would recommend what has been mentioned here - find a 1977 to 1981 ( approx. ) Fuji S12S or the Ltd. Either one will offer a nice ride, feel lively and adapts to the conversion like a duck to water as the saying goes.


One just needs to purchase something such as the Grand Compe 750 centre pull brakes and perhaps a needle bearing headset though I still use the stock one. I had the rear spacing increased to 135mm from 126mm to fit Shimano 9 speed mountain originally but now use an 8 speed cassette ( 11- 34T ).


I have been riding the Fuji for a few years and still enjoy taking it out. Tires are Gran Bois 42mm but will eventually switch to Rene Herse,having them on a Rawland Stag the difference is not subtle. Well worth the cost. I honestly cannot think of another frame that is so adaptable, the spacing and trail specs. allow one to experience what is a a really nice repurposed bike.




How close is your fender clearance here and do you ever get rub?
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Old 09-02-22, 06:56 PM
  #113  
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No rub whatsoever, except when I am picking up some damp fine gravel for instance when the bolt head securing the front rack to the fender reduces the clearance, but then the fenders are not that far from the tires either. I mostly ride when it is dry out anyway, just a preference as I do not find cycling in the rain enjoyable and it plays havoc with the rim brakes and drivetrain. I actually had a pair of 700C Velo Orange fenders on hand and reformed them to fit 650b by working the edges, basically widening them. Perhaps not ideal and I should buy a correct set one day. I did end up using a bridge piece to attach the fender under the fork crown, you can make out the mod where there is a 90 degree piece of metal bolted to the brake mounting bolt and then the bridge piece was attached to it with another very short bolt and nut.

I imagine one could braze a plate under the steering tube at the fork crown and use a piece of cork or rubber then passing a flat headed bolt up through the plate with a nut on the other side welded or brazed in place. I thought of having the frame stripped and having proper canti posts as well as rack mounts installed, the frames are nice enough in comfort and agility to be worth the effort. The S12S has chrome moly straight gauge main tubes with hi ten forks and stays with the LTD. version receiving butted main tubes and half chromed stays. I thought of trying to find an America frame due to being all chrome moly and higher end but the chain stays are shorter ( 44 cm on the S12S ) and do not allow enough room. An S10S might work as well but I have a feeling the S12S is more " agile " feeling.


Admittedly if you put enough weight up front, say 10 pounds the bike will feel heavier in the steering but still manageable. I doubt most riders would have more than 5 -6 pounds which is fine, I tend to pack my bag and have also carried anywhere from a few to as many as 30 records ( LPs ) on top of the bag with no issues. The S12S is basically a sport touring design. No issues with bottom bracket drop or pedal interference with the front fender which can be a problem and something to be aware of. I remember trying a new Masi Randonneur model a few years ago and the difference ( 700C narrower tires ) was telling. It felt odd with fender / pedal interference and just uncomfortable, in contrast the Fuji is so enjoyable, one feels the bike is part of you. Of course proper frame sizing and setup make a huge difference but it is as if the bike kind of disappears under you. I think that the Rene Herse 42mm Baby Shoe Pass ( I bought the lightweight version ) tires are so good it is difficult to imagine anything else. They do spoil a person. Guess I am telling myself to replace the Grand Bois though I like the colour combination.


Interesting Sugino copy of the TA Cyclotourist crankset, found them on an abandoned early '80's Kuwahara mountain bike. I have a triple TA on a Rawland Stag and I like the design aesthetics, plus one can install a very small inner chainring. I might eventually make it a triple one day but so far the 36T front and 36T rear help regarding most hilly terrain where I live.


Also, the Velo Orange Rando handlebars offer an extra degree of comfort in the widest size ( 48 cm I believe ) making the steering more stable, plus I purchased a shorter ( 60 cm ) Nitto Technomic stem to allow more height as I am 65 and not quite as flexible as I once was.

Last edited by VintageRide; 09-02-22 at 07:14 PM.
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