Friday, November 12, 2010

winter projects x 2 (Nate's tinkering du jour)

Since it has gotten colder and darker, and I have not been riding as much as I was, say in July, I have decided to embark on an upgrade of my so-called "rain bike" my older purple mid-1990s Cannondale pictured below.

I've used it for training rides, commuting, recreational rides and such. I've gone back and forth between having road pedals (which require the speacial shoes with cleats) and plain ol' platform pedals (which you could pedal in flip flops if you dared). It has a 21-speed Shimano RSX drivetrain, Mavic rims laced to Shimano hubs, RSX brakeset, Specialized Mondo tires, and improvised fenders and a rear rack. I added also a cycling computer, lights, and a bell. It is about as close to a multi-purpose vehicle as you can find and still be on 700x23c smooth tires.

Since I recently needed to replace bar tape, I decided it would be a good time to consider other upgrades. It started with buying a carbon fork to replace the stock aluminum Cannondale fork - all aluminum is very, very "buzzy" on even the smoothest of pavements and leads to fatigue fairly quickly. The whole project spiraled from there. See a midway strip-down photo below and a bare frameset shot below that.

My kitchen/workshop where I cleaned parts taken off of the Cannondale. Note the coffee pot - I was doing this after 10 o'clock at night, probably closer to midnight.

Once I stripped and cleaned the parts off of the Cannondale (I have a whole newer Shimano compact double 105 drivetrain, brakeset, etc. to put onto the Cannondale) I checked them over and they all look good still. I decided that it'd be a shame to toss them in a box and forget about them. Also, once the Cannondale is re-assembled, would I really want to continue to subject it to rain and grime?

I traveled to a local bicycle recyclers and found a suitable frame to put the Cannondale donor's parts on. The frame is a 1970s Raleigh Super Course II (made in their Carlton shop) with Reynolds 531 steel. It features pretty chromed dropouts, a paneled paint job, and just the right amount of patina without being too abused in its former owner's hands.

Here it is as I received it.

Here it is after I added a few parts to it.

I still need to find a couple of odd bits, mainly related to fitment of the newer style brakeset (need longer bolts) and the rear derailleur hanger (need an adapter of sorts to slide into the horizontal drop out). I think a place like Harris Cyclery or a local shop can help me out.

Hopefully, I keep in mind this is supposed to be the new "rain bike" when I am done!

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