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Two Failed, One Passed: Testing my three latest Restores

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Two Failed, One Passed: Testing my three latest Restores

Old 03-30-11, 09:52 AM
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Sculptor7
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Two Failed, One Passed: Testing my three latest Restores

Took all three of the bikes I have been working on this winter out for test rides. The Fuji passed with flying colors but the Sovereign and the Concord (Woman's bike) both had steering problems; one to the left and one to the right. I did manage to correct the shifting problem on the Sovereign so that was a partial compensation.

Apologies for busy background.

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Old 03-30-11, 10:12 AM
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Minor issues are to be expected - and test rides are ideal for identifying them. That's one reason why I tend to restore bikes that are close to my size. The alternate reason is I evaluate them for admission to the stable.
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Old 03-30-11, 10:21 AM
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The step-through in back looks to me like the forks are bent back. That might be a clue as to where to start looking into why it doesn't ride straight. Eyeballs are nice, but a string check goes further.
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Old 03-31-11, 08:30 AM
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I like that Fuji ;p hopefully mine will be a success as well. Is that a pletscher rack on the conchord?
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Old 03-31-11, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by robtown View Post
Minor issues are to be expected - and test rides are ideal for identifying them. That's one reason why I tend to restore bikes that are close to my size. The alternate reason is I evaluate them for admission to the stable.
Ummmm, we are all guilty of that I suppose! Hahahahaha. Bikes/frames are piling up like rabbits in my garage!!!
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Old 03-31-11, 09:57 AM
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Can you beg, borrow or steal a pair of dropout straighteners? I used to have to use them on brand new cheapo (not Walmart types but decent rideable low mid end) bikes out of the box at a bike shop. They always needed a little tweaking.
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Old 03-31-11, 03:54 PM
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BigPolishJimmy:
Don't know about the rack. Am not familiar with the rack name you mention. Looks to me like it should have a shorter support rod(s) in rear.

Triplebutted:
That's interesting about the tool you mention. I thought about bolting a couple of threaded rods from each side to see how they met in the center. Think that would show dropouts that were not parallel?
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Old 03-31-11, 04:03 PM
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One Passed

Yeah, I am pleased with the Fuji:
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Old 03-31-11, 07:23 PM
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tool:threaded rod >

That's essentially how the alignment tool works. Threaded stock with large diameter ends to eye the X/Y axis alignment. Some nuts and fender washers plus a machinist's rule should work out.
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Old 03-31-11, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by WNG View Post
tool:threaded rod >

That's essentially how the alignment tool works. Threaded stock with large diameter ends to eye the X/Y axis alignment. Some nuts and fender washers plus a machinist's rule should work out.
So am I correct in assuming that if the dropouts are not aligned correctly they might create a turning force even though the axle and wheel might appear centered?
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Old 04-01-11, 04:40 AM
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Vintage road bicycles are incredibly fragile when compared to just about all other bicycle styles. Lots, and I do mean lots, reach The Old Shed in bent or damaged condition. I check every one these days.

And to build a bicycle up without first test riding it is foolish. I know, I am the original fool, having built up Big Green, my first restoration(poor choice of word). Before buying or building a bicycle, you would be wish to Check the Structural Integrity of a bicycle's frame and fork st. This is really important!!!

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Old 04-01-11, 04:56 AM
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I can fix that!
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Old 04-01-11, 05:11 AM
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I agree about the Concord's fork, it certainly looks askew in the pics. the Sovergn may be the same, are both wheels in straight?
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Old 04-01-11, 06:03 AM
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Sculptor7, Quick checks. Does the center of the tire line up exactly with the hole for the caliper's bolt when the axle is seated in the dropouts? If not the bike will track in the direction that the top of the tire leans to with your hands removed from the bars. If the fork legs are out of alignment, but the drop outs are okay the bike will track straight with your hands off the bars, but the handlebar will be slightly askew or you may notice one hand is applying more pressure than the other to go straight. Double check the rear wheel's alignment also.

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Old 04-01-11, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Vintage road bicycles are incredibly fragile when compared to just about all other bicycle styles. Lots, and I do mean lots, reach The Old Shed in bent or damaged condition. I check every one these days.

And to build a bicycle up without first test riding it is foolish. I know, I am the original fool, having built up Big Green, my first restoration(poor choice of word). Before buying or building a bicycle, you would be wish to Check the Structural Integrity of a bicycle's frame and fork st. This is really important!!!

If I wasn't out of bike money, I'd say send me the bars, levers and the crank, blue bin the rest.....
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Old 04-01-11, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by cycleheimer View Post


I can fix that!
Bicycles (of any type) aren't designed to go through garbage crushers. That's not crash damage...
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Old 04-01-11, 08:12 AM
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The front fork on the Concord does not look bent. Whatever the picture showed is not evident when carefully viewing the fork from the side. Also, the wheel appears to be straight in relation to the frame and the fork. That is, the top of the wheel is centered under the headset in both bikes.
As to test-riding the bikes before hand while that is a good idea and in the future I will try to do so it is not always possible. For example, the Fuji (which was the only one that passed) was found at the dump in a condition that was not rideable. The Concord was purchased on a lousy day of snow and sleet while I was waiting for my wife to look through an estate sale. (Probably bought it out of boredom). All that having been said it certainly would be wiser in future to test ride bikes when they have gotten to the point of being tested before going to all the work of removing rust, overhauling bearings, etc. A lesson learned.
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Old 04-01-11, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Sculptor7 View Post
The front fork on the Concord does not look bent. Whatever the picture showed is not evident when carefully viewing the fork from the side. Also, the wheel appears to be straight in relation to the frame and the fork. That is, the top of the wheel is centered under the headset in both bikes.
As to test-riding the bikes before hand while that is a good idea and in the future I will try to do so it is not always possible. For example, the Fuji (which was the only one that passed) was found at the dump in a condition that was not rideable. The Concord was purchased on a lousy day of snow and sleet while I was waiting for my wife to look through an estate sale. (Probably bought it out of boredom). All that having been said it certainly would be wiser in future to test ride bikes when they have gotten to the point of being tested before going to all the work of removing rust, overhauling bearings, etc. A lesson learned.
Straight frames/forks don't pull to the side...

Lesson learned -one we all will learn sooner or later.

IMHO, it's a good idea to just quickly tune up an old bike and give it a greasing and maybe install some new bearings if absolutely necessary just to ride it and see if it is straight. Test riding a frame is often the best/fastest way to tell if a bike has a problem if it can move on its own. Measuring a frame is time-consuming and fiddly and often will indicate "a problem" that actually doesn't effect real-world handling. There are tolerances and there are tolerances. It's totally dependent on the inherent stability of the frame geometry so that one frame might be off a bit and not bother it -it may have been off since the day it was manufactured and never was an issue. Other frames might be much more sensitive to the slightest bend or tweak. No way to know without being intimately familiar with that particular bike and having a really accurate frame-measuring tool and the knowhow to use it an know what the allowable deviation from true is.

Easiest is to first sight down the frame and look for obvious signs of crash or storage damage at point of sale (or dumpster find.) This is kind of a black art and some people have more of a knack for this. I'm an electrician and I can just "see" true and straight as I work with tubing all day long bending and fitting it to the installation. It's a learned thing.

Next easiest is to just put the bare minimum effort to get the bike rolling and pedaling so you can test it. If it rides fine at this point you are good to go. Sure, it's a couple of hours work sometimes to get an old beater running and you might need to throw a few spare parts from your scrap pile on them to get them going but it sure beats spending hours and hours and $$$ refurbishing and perhaps even refinishing something that isn't worth it or may need straightening which will damage the work you have already done on the finish.

If one does find an unrepairable frame at least you have a bunch of parts for your next build. That's why I like to stick with one type/brand of bike
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Old 04-01-11, 10:11 AM
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Bicycles (of any type) aren't designed to go through garbage crushers. That's not crash damage...
Of course it isn't crash damage - it was an attempt at humor that might have been missed.

Straight frames/forks don't pull to the side...
The sometimes do if the head set is too tight.

I can fix that!
I did fix it...



Oh, just in case, that was another attempt at humor;-)
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Old 04-03-11, 09:17 AM
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All's Good on the Concord. Have not Re-tested the Sovereign

Thanks to all the advice I believe I have corrected the problem on the Concord. A second test ride with a bit of "hands-off" indicates that she is now tracking properly.

Did a test using two bolts (one tightened in each drop-out to see how they lined up) and decided they needed a very slight tweaking with a large crescent wrench. Seems to have solved the problem. Did the same thing with the Sovereign but have not yet had a chance to test it.
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Old 04-09-11, 11:14 AM
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Just an update on this saga. The Concord went to my granddaughter at college. Working fine although a little small for her.

The Sovereign I had just about given up on until today when I dismantled the front headset, took off the fork and gave it the bubble level test (to see if it was consistent from top to bottom). It was a little off so I carefully bent it in the direction it needed to go, reassembled everything and took it for a test ride. Result:
not completely gone but much better. The tricky part in adjusting something like this is knowing just how much to overstress the part so the bend holds. Too much and you have to bend it back which is not good. My book says do it in 1/64 inch increments but how in the world that could ever be accomplished is beyond me. A part will move if stressed but there is a point where it is strained and therefore holds the new shape. The trick is doing that so carefully that one does not overshoot the desired shape.
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Old 06-02-11, 08:44 PM
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I just aligned the rear triangles of two frames earlier today. I use the 2-bolts method on the rear dropouts as well as a string around the headset and back to the dropouts on each side. That way you can see if the seattube is centered or not using a caliper between the string and the side of the seat tube. Doing the rear triangle is easy compared to the forks.

Instead of two bolts from a hardware store I like to use an old (but not bent) axle cut in half. I think the nuts and axle from a bicycle are machined to a much tighter tolerance so that the nut faces are exactly perpendicular to the axle center whereas some cheaper hardware nuts are not truely perpendicular on thier faces and "wobble" a bit on their axis as they move down the threads. This can introduce some error into the method when it is already sort of jack-leg to start out with. Park sells a special tool for this but they are basically 2 fancy bolts...

It's good that you got the forks back to where you wanted them and the bikes now ride straight. Often, when it comes to frame straightening it is a lot of trail and error until you get a result you like. (lots of error and trials/tribulations I have found) Some frames are more sensitive to alignment issues than others too. I work on old Raleigh 3-speeds and often obviously bent frames still ride halfway decent due to the very forgiving geometry while some road bikes get unridable even with very small tweaks that are hard to spot using home-made measuring methods.
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