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Cyclery North "Hellenic" Tourer restoration

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Cyclery North "Hellenic" Tourer restoration

Old 12-05-22, 01:21 PM
Doug Fattic 
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My guess as to the reason for such a shallow seat tube and steep head tube is that Eddy (or whoever drew the plans) wanted to keep the wheelbase short for increased maneuverability on a big bike that usually would have a long wheelbase. Luckily for the OP, the shallow seat angle and long top tube might work well for upright handlebars. Back then it was common for custom builders (especially in the Midwest) to make a criterium racing style of bicycle. That was by far the most common type of race here. Those bikes would have steep seat and head angles and a fairly short top tube combined with a long stem. That design of road bicycle does not work well with North Road handlebars.

Back in the 70's when custom framebuilding restarted again in the US, there wasn't a lot of background builders had to make their good choices. That meant they would often color outside of the lines because they didn't have enough experience or knowledge to know what worked well and what didn't. I remember asking Ron Boi (RRB Cycles) where he learned and he said (like many could say) he learned on his own. I'm not sure where Eddy learned either. The father of modern American builders Albert Eisentraut grew up in Chicago before moving to Oakland, CA. Depending on when he told the story of his beginnings, he was either just inspired by Oscar Watyson's in Chicago or actually learned by watching them. Whoever was the Watyson immigrant coming to the States around the turn of the 20th Century brought his knowledge of how to build frames from Belgium. The 4th generation of the original immigrant still runs a bike store in Chicago. Albert taught framebuilding in a variety of 2 week classes throughout the US including one in Chicago. Somehow he had a connection to someone at Turin's I believe.
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Old 12-05-22, 03:32 PM
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Bikes: 2016 Twin Six Standard Rando, 1984 Raleigh Gran Course, 1982 KHS Professional, 197(?) Cyclery North Hellenic Tourer, 1975 Eisentraut Limited Touring, 1973 Raleigh Competition

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63rickert Can't get over that you remember this particular bike! The seller just followed up that he's not able (I think he means willing) to share information about the original owner, so this is the closest I can get to establishing provenance. The finishing on the frame is certainly top-notch, along with the general craftsmanship. Some of the odder details are the rear rack bosses, which are offset on the inside of the seatstays:

This means that attaching anything but the Blackburn rack that came with the bike, and which was already modified to attach at these points, might be an ordeal. Another nice feature are the second set of water bottle cage bosses on the bottom side of the downtube:

I will also certainly keep Obenauf's in mind when it comes to reconditioning the saddle. This will definitely take more intensive work than slathering on some of the Proofide I've got.

gugie BoltBreaker Absolutely beautiful bike - congratulations on the construction and the final build! I've always been curious about "hellenic" bikes, from the GT and Yamaguchi-inspired triple triangle fixie craze of 15 years ago to a more mature fascination with idiosyncratic French and British examples of yore:


campagnolo delta brakes: Thanet Silverlight

Both of those bikes are absolutely nuts, but the Routens has my heart - it's currently for sale, too! All this was in my head when I saw the present CN for sale, and also contributed to my mania in attempting to acquire it.

I did a partial strip on the bike today during lunch, but before going all the way I wanted to fit modern wide tires to the rims and check for clearance in the fork and rear. Also, I wanted to get a feel for fit using a cockpit more typical of what I would personally choose and with what components I had immediately on hand:

The clearances are pretty tight and rather extreme at the front end of the fork crown. Not even a wider rim would make too much of a difference. Don't get me wrong, 32c is ambitious on any frameset designed around standard center-mount calipers, but it is a bit frustrating, as fendering will limit max tire size pretty severely, at least with 700c. Another interesting detail is visible in the last picture, where the dimples on the inside of the chainstays are placed well back of where a 700c tire would hit, beginning more or less where the tire seats into rim and the breaking surface begins. I know what has been said about 650b here, but I would be very curious to get my hands on a wheelset and see how it sits in the frame.

Apropos Eisentraut, here is a preliminary build I executed on a 1975 Limited Touring frameset I scored this past January before breaking it back down:

As the paint is in rough shape and the ST was dented by a previous owner it was my intention to have the dents rolled out, a few braze-ons added and then refinished. I'm hoping to have that done this Winter/Spring. Regardless, I am also enamored with the simple mastery of the crisp lugwork on the frame, as well as its spry handling - to say nothing of how not only Eisentraut, but the other builders working in his workshop at the time might have had a hand in joining the tubes together.

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Old 12-06-22, 04:34 PM
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Inspiration for the CN Hellenics was the Carol Fields Hetchins. Carol was pretty inspiring herself. Once there was a sample out on the street customers asked for them. Eddy did not push the style, people asked. He sure did like the look and that he had icons rolling around. Himself he was not that much a rider.

Eddy was basically self taught but.... a lot of buts. Rudy Seno showed him how to braze and encouraged him to build. (Rudy definitely not a builder himself.) Ike was at the shop on and off and Ike was a builder. Ike definitely worked more with Oscar more than did that other guy who talks about it. Oscar was still building at this time. Bob Myers was building a mile and a half northwest. Straight south on Broadway, where the original store was, four miles away Alex at Buckingham built a few. Ron was only maybe seven miles north and these guys all knew each other. The Paramount Room helped everybody. I'm sure there were others building I did not know. Well, I did know Mark Muller but he was further away and only built a few. And there were at least three different shop mechanics who built the CNs. Eddy did the paint and ran the store, kept a small semblance of order amid the madness. I find it amazing there really was a shop style and only total insiders can tell who built which just by looking. And not always easily.

The 70/76 guess is not quite. I will guess 72/75. With six degrees of convergence the toe overlap would be extreme. The saddle is set back in photos and not over the rear axle just yet. Laying straight edges on the computer screen over the head and seat tube it does not look like six degrees. Some stuff is easy to eyeball. Angles ain't.
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Old 12-06-22, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by heidelbergensis View Post
<snip> I wanted to fit modern wide tires <snip>

The clearances are pretty tight <snip> the dimples on the inside of the chainstays are placed well back of where a 700c tire would hit
Yeah this bike is a prime candidate for 650b conversion IMHO. Having the chainstay indents in the wrong place would bug me to no end.

For measuring before building wheels, you can't beat a Rossman gauge. $25 might sound like a lot for a couple pieces of laser-cut plastic, but it can save you a lot of money compared to buying 650b wheels!

Here's a review of the Rossman gauge by Jim Langley. https://www.roadbikerider.com/hahn-r...rance-checker/

A tape measure and some cheap plastic measuring calipers can also suffice, if you know the numbers for where the 650b tire will end up relative to the dropouts. (I don't know off the top of my head but could measure for you if needed.) Measure the radius to the widest point on whatever tire you want to use, and make a temporary mark there on the chainstay, then measure the width there with calipers. Use the overal radius to the top of the tire for checking clearance under the crown and bridge, but that will almost certainly be fine. I think the width between the chainstays will be your only worry. You almost never have to worry about the BB height being too low as long as you can fit some decently-large tires, preferably 40-42 mm but at least 38 mm.

If the c-stays are still too narrow, even back at the 650b radius, then these stays can be indented more (and further forward), but sometimes that mod is more involved than the bike owner is willing to go. Unless you're willing to make your own indenter, it'll likely require you to send the frame to one of the artisans who's set up to do this, like BF's own gugie . But again IMHO, this frame is worthy of that much customization to make it even that much cooler and more practical (not to mention more comfortable).

My own stay indenter was sort of a testing prototype, it worked great but I built it too cheaply, with a garbage-quality Chinese C-clamp, and the threads are feeling rough like they're self-destructing, so I'm not currently set up to be able to offer this as a service. I will make a strong one at some point, hopefully by this Spring, but don't wait for me, there are people who can do it right now.

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