1980s Eclipse Countryman and Bob Yak

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  • [ Moved here from @Thrustvector 's own 'Eclipse Countryman (not Routier...) refurb' thread to conform with the one-thread-per-bicycle 'Rules for CP' guidelines ]

    I have just finished stripping down the parts from, and some time-consuming touching up to, the flamboyant blue paintwork of my Eclipse Countryman which I recently retrieved from storage for 12 years at a friend's place in Ireland. The out of camera Canon JPEG image does not really capture the hint of purple in the original colour -- I'll try some daylight shots outside as it progresses.

    Sheffield Refinishing Supplies were able to supply a close match with a pot of Master Chroma MB5250 Blue touch up paint.

    So far, it is fitted with a Stronglight Delta roller bearing headset, Campagnolo Victory LX front derailleur (yesterday, I installed a new cage to replace the pitted chrome on the original), Suntour XC Ltd rear derailleur, with Suntour down tube fiction shifters.

  • The frame is ready to start fitting parts to.

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    • 2020_11_05 IMG_6893.JPG
  • Today, I fitted a new set of hard-to-find roller bearings and bearing faces for the Stronglight Delta headset with some bright red Finesse Multigrease -- at least you know where the grease has been applied.

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  • Very nice - I don't think I've ever seen a photo of one of the blue frames with all the decals. The only one mine came with was the (very tatty) headbadge sticker, which I still have somewhere; I had a vague idea of getting a metal one made up at some point.

    Re: headsets, my LBS mentioned that it was an unusual size when I had to get a replacement - I think they had to file down the crown race a little to get it to fit.

  • There was a small-framed Countryman in blue offered on Gumtree a while back (DuckDuckGo still finds it during an image search), though the decals were in black. I haven't seen another with contrasting red decals.

    When I bought my bike new the shop (Two Wheels Good in Leeds) were happy to upgrade some parts for the difference in cost before I picked it up. I had the headset swapped for the Stronglight Delta, the chainset changed to a TA Pro 5 Vis as I wanted a 26t inner chainring, and the rear pannier rack changed to a Jim Blackburn EX-1.

  • I stripped down, lubricated and polished the Weinmann Vainqueur centre-pull brakes. Replacement straddle cables seem to be hard to come by at the moment. I'm now trying to source some SwissStop silver brake pad holders to go with their Pro BXP pads -- their current holders are black finish.

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  • What remains of my library of TA Cyclotouriste chain rings after I selected a suitable triple combination.

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    • 2020_11_19 IMG_6920 crop adj.jpg
  • The TA Pro 5 Vis cranks with 26-38-48t Cyclotouriste chain rings for a hilly touring set-up, after much cleaning and polishing with Autosol.

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    • 2020_11_19 IMG_6916.JPG
  • Enjoying this so far. Looking forward to seeing more.

  • Do the straddle cables for the Dia-Compe centre-pulls fit? I vaguely recall a discussion on the CTC forums about this; IIRC the consensus was that straddle cable failures are vanishingly rare. The design certainly looks very similar, but I don't know whether the length is comparable.

  • I am trying to get some of the 110mm Dia-Compe straddle cables, but both SJS Cycles and Velo Vitality are out of stock and I'm not sure who else does them in the UK. My Weinmann ones are okay, but I had to treat some corrosion on them so I thought I would try and get some replacements.

  • Yes, I would probably look for a replacement too! Thankfully mine seem to have held up ok. This any good? https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/283794117206

  • In the end I bought the last two 110mm Straddle cables in stock at Vintage Velo. Thanks for the Ebay link, I have bookmarked Boyds Bikes as a source of possible spare parts.

  • Looking forward to seeing more progress on this; good job with the cranks!

  • I cleaned, polished and greased the Sakae/Ringyo (SR) SP-11 platform touring pedals, fitting new higher-quality ball bearings (1/8" 13x13 per pedal of Grade 10 Hardened 52100 Chrome Steel). The dust caps have a small hole of about 1mm so it would be interesting if these could be used to inject fresh grease from outside, forcing out the dirty stuff, like some Campagnolo pedals were reputed to.

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    • 2020_11_26 IMG_6927.JPG
  • Do the straddle cables for the Dia-Compe centre-pulls fit?

    I can confirm that the Dia-Compe 110mm straddle cables do fit the Weinmann Vainqueur centre-pull brakes, but the cylindrical stops at each end are about 1/2 to 1mm smaller in diameter on the Dia-Compe straddle cables, so there is a bit more play when not under tension. I'll use my re-coated Weinmann ones and carry a Dia-Compe one in my spares kit.

  • Shiny! Haven't ever seen a pair of those before, but as they're cup and cone I don't see why a grease purge through the dustcap wouldn't work. I've got a new pair of MKS Touring that I need to fettle, as they're quite low on grease - I guess I should set the preload to take out any play and then re- check after a couple of hundred miles once the bearings have run in?

  • I read this about the adjustment of cup and cone pedal bearings on the MKS website:

    An ideal adjustment is no play, without any friction, but this condition easily leads partial wear and requires frequent re-adjustment.
    So we, MKS deliver our pedals “preloaded”-a slightly over tighten condition to extend maintenance span.
    At initial ride, you may feel the rotation is not completely smooth, but after running in, it will be smoother.


  • The time to catch up on the progress with the restoration of my Eclipse Countryman is well overdue.

    On 20 December 2020 I found a terminal crack in the Kusuki Handle Works 'Win' brand stem so I have ordered one by Nitto together with their fitting tool so I can avoid scratched handlebars. The tool is out of stock in Europe so I ordered one from Alex's Cycles in Japan who were very nice to deal with -- it took some weeks to arrive.

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    • 2020_12_20 IMG_6933 crop.jpg
  • Meanwhile I moved onto mudguards. I wanted chromoplastic mudguards, though the SKS ones are now a rounder cross-section compared to the rectangular original plastic ones by Allez.

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    • 2020_12_20 IMG_6936.JPG
  • The support bracket for the front mudguard needed modification. I watched the Fender Install video on YouTube by Rivendell. As the brake mount fitting uses a nut, and a dynamo light bracket occupies the forward position, I introduced a backward facing bend for the front mudguard to fit the rear of the fork crown, while humming their cool latin guitar soundtrack and hoping for the best:


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    • 2020_12_20 IMG_6939 rotated adj.jpg
  • I opened the fittings for the rear mudguard and was aghast at the cheap plastic mounting provided. I ordered a stainless steel version from SJS cycles and waited for a few days for its arrival, while I shortened the wire stays. A sharp Bahco fine-toothed junior hacksaw blade, portable vice and some coarse abrasive paper did a neat job -- no need for a Dremel power tool or bolt-cutters.

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    • 2020_12_26 IMG_6943.JPG
  • I received the Nitto tool and NY-3 stem just before New Year and so it was out with the old and in with the new. Their measurements were accurate for this model and the Young 3 stem was the closest in length at 160mm, while having a 25.4mm clamp size. The extension is 80mm

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    • 2021_01_01 IMG_6945.JPG
  • By 20 January 2021, I had found a new-old-stock Soubitez bottom bracket dynamo to replace my worn Byka one (amazingly SJS Cycles had them in stock). The top clamp of the Soubitez was folded sheet metal and it looked like it would cut into the paintwork and act as a stress-raiser. So I combined the moulded top clamp from the Byka with the body of the Soubitez dynamo, requiring use of a hacksaw to create a custom length bolt.

    The wiring is dual core with ring terminals for the earth in a front-light-only arrangement allowing a 6v 3 watt front dynamo lamp to be used, rather than 2.4 watt version required when running a rear dynamo light as well. The rear lamp will be my favourite Cateye LD-TD1100 10 LED lamp which works for 100 hours on two AA batteries and provides direct lateral illumination via a pair of LEDs on each side. I am still thinking over the puzzle of how to mount the Cateye light to the Blackburn rear carrier without having to use the rather ugly ESGE mount I used to use.

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    • 2021_01_20 IMG_6960.JPG
  • I finished putting it all together and I was ready for photographs of the complete bike on 1 February 2020.

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    • 2021_02_01 IMG_6994.JPG
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1980s Eclipse Countryman and Bob Yak

Posted by Avatar for Nick_S @Nick_S