Yak's Muddy Fox Courier, Trek Multitrack and other bikes

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  • Hi all - been a lurker/occasional poster for about a year, thought it was about time to stop compulsively checking the memes thread and post something here for some build inspo and advice

    To absolutely no-ones surprise, I've built up an old-school steel MTB as a functional do-it-all bike for commuting and occasional touring: a 1986 muddy fox courier.

    Bought it in February last year, with the intention of slowly overhauling it and learning as I go. This was pre-pandemic and my idea was to do all this at London Bike Kitchen, seeing as I had nowhere to work on it in my tiny flat. Then the pesky old panny-D hit, so reduced finances and lack of space meant I was reduced to bodging essential repairs in my living room, aided by youtube tutorials and an inadequate selection of tools.

    Here's how it looked when I first picked it up from an eBay seller (non-drive side photo taken before I learned the ways of posting pictures of bikes on the internet):

    Since then, It's had the following repairs/upgrades:

    • serviced BB and hubs
    • new chain and cassette
    • new koolstop brake pads
    • panaracer pasela tyres
    • jagwire cables
    • old and sticky (but nice looking) suntour xc RD replaced with cheapish but nicely working shimano acera
    • bars and stem swapped out for some beater replacements after the original ones got squished by a van while locked up
    • racks, mudguards, fancy brooks saddle etc.

    New job and moving in with my partner mean I now have both the funds and outdoor space to consider this a 'project' rather than routine maintenance. Hoping this will be the first of many builds now I have somewhere to keep more than one bike, plus tools and a stand.

    The next thing to do will be replacing the wheels. Reasons for this are partly out of necessity (rear hub is super gritty despite a recent service), and because I'd like a dynamo setup. Any suggestions there would be very welcome! Inspired by other people on here to teach myself how to build them up, but would be starting from first principles. Also keeping my eyes out for some gravelking SKs or something a bit more knobbly than the paselas

    I'll also be replacing the cockpit. I have a secondhand silver muddy fox stem which should look a lot better than the parts bin black one I currently have. I'm undecided about going back to riser bars, or sticking with these north-road style ones. At the moment it feels very 'gentlemanly' and upright which is nice and comfy for the commute, but feels a bit too relaxed for razzing round epping forest, and makes it harder to do wheelies to impress my mates

    Also currently looking for a silver Pelago commuter rack (or similar) for the front and might switch up the pannier rack for something more matching.

    Hoping the warmer weather and continuing lockdown mean I'll be spending a fair amount of time on this over the next couple of months

  • followed for the fox life, curious to see how this one build up.

  • Very nice

  • Researching dynamo options this morning and found this on sjs cycles: https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/dynamos/shim­ano-deore-lx-dht6702n-6v-24w-dynamo-fron­t-hub-silver-32-hole/

    What am I missing? Seems well reviewed, but I'm assuming there's a good reason it's significantly cheaper than the son hubs etc on there

  • Been discussed by me last summer on the dynamo hub thread. Those hubs are brilliant. Buy it. 2.4w not 3w, meant a lot in the days of halogen bulbs (2.4w was for front light only setup, 3w for front and rear). Now LEDs have taken over, it’s relatively meaningless. Bought this hub for my son’s 90s trek, it’s fine. Rear light a bit flickery at low speed, standlight works, it’s all good. Shimano dyno hubs are solid.

  • Reasons for cheapness: silver, rim brakes, LX, and funny wattage rating.

  • btw if you remove that front rack I’d really like it!

  • Amazing cheers for that! Yep front rack will be going as soon as I've got my hands on a pelago. It's yours for a box of beers when I've sorted it!

  • Awesome, love these bikes and already looks like a great start. Getting a stand and proper tools is always a revaluation.

  • Loving this - a retro-MTB towpath tourer is on my wishlist. Regarding Shimano dynohubs, you'll probably want to add grease and set the cone adjustment properly once built up into a wheel - they usually come set far too tight from the factory.

  • Making this post was definitely the motivation I needed to get cracking... Exciting post day from SJS:

    In my excitement I forgot to add rim tape to my order, as well as the spacer for using this hub with my 7-speed cassette, so they won't be going on the bike just yet. Plus it'll be my first wheel build so I'm not expecting this to be quick.

  • You're not wrong there! Just had a look and it barely turns

  • Just had a random memory pop up after re-reading my first post and remembering the day I picked it up. This was early February 2020, and the eBay seller refused to shake my hand as he was worried about getting coronavirus. Thought he was being well paranoid at the time, seems sensible now!

  • Shaking strangers hands seems like a distant memory

  • Nice project! Seconding Sküllys words on that dynohub, even the most basic shimano ones last forever. I wouldn’t open it up though, bearing adjustment is very difficult to gauge because of the resistance in the dynamo. Just build it up and enjoy the light.

  • It will feel very different to a normal hub; the cogging effect you get from the magnets makes it very hard to gauge (and makes it feel very draggy in a way that isn't the case when actually running at speed). The correct bearing adjustment is to set the cones so you can just feel a bit of side-to-side play at the rim when the QR is open, disappearing once the QR is half-way closed. If you've not got a hub vice/dropout washers this is a bit of a faff - the first time I tried it on a dynowheel it took me about 45 minutes! Should be worth it in the longer-term; if you check the adjustment after a couple of hundred miles once run in, you should get further thousands of miles out of it without trouble.

  • Ah yeah that makes sense. Don't have a hub vice - what do you mean by dropout washers though? Googling produced a few different results

  • I've also just realised that I've ordered the wrong length spokes for the rear non-drive side. SJS quoted 265mm and I ordered 264mm... Will the 1mm difference make my wheels explode or can I get away with it?

  • Basically you just put washers of the same thickness as your dropouts* on the QR skewer next to the hub locknuts; this should then mean that closing the QR compresses the axle and bearings by the same amount as when it's in the frame.

    On the spokes, I guess it depends on whether they were rounded up or down. 1mm shouldn't be critical - some spokes only come in odd increments and some only in even anyhow. Plus fractionally short is usually better than fractionally long.

    *Though thinking about this a little more, if you adjust the QR so it takes the same force to close once clamped down on the washers as it does when in the frame, it should provide the same degree of compression to the bearings?

  • OK I think I follow, so I would use washers when adjusting the hub out of the frame. Not sure I follow your footnote though, it seems like you're saying the same thing as the first line? Sorry for being dense

    Cheers. I might just risk it with the spokes then. From what I understand about the tensioning/dishing process, I would know before attempting to ride on it whether the NDS spokes are critically too short, as I wouldn't be able to dish it properly without having a massive difference in tension on either side?

  • The good news (I hope) is that I've managed to lace the front wheel with no obvious fuckups that I can tell. I didn't manage to line the logo up properly with the valve hole though so I'm not a cool guy :(

  • literally unrideable, send it over here for me to dispose of

  • Yeah, using washers means you can just flip the QR open/shut when checking adjustment rather than taking the wheel in and out of the frame - my note was me thinking aloud that the washers don't need to be exactly the same thickness as the dropouts, as you can adjust the QR's acorn nut so that it takes about the same force to close the lever.

    The tension balance depends on the hub and rim geometry rather than spoke length; if the spokes are too short, the main danger is that they won't engage with the nipple enough. As long as they reach up to the bottom of the nipple slot or just below you should be fine.

  • Fun afternoon building up the rear wheel and truing and tensioning them both:

    I'm pretty pleased with how they came out for a first try at wheelbuilding, but I'm still tempted to see if any bike shops nearby would be happy to give them a once over. Any recommendations for good bike shops round Tottenham? Just moved here and haven't come across anywhere yet.

  • Yesterday I got the wheels tensioned and trued by the guys at Rockstone workshop in Tottenham. I think I was 99% there with the truing but I'm glad I got them looked at for the peace of mind, plus it was good to check out my new lbs. I also finally got round to swapping out the stem for the silver muddy fox one. I wanted to get rid of the reflector bracket while I was at it but didn't have a wrench big enough for the locknut so that's next on the to do list.

    Lovely weather today made for a great afternoon of tinkering and cleaning in preparation for the new wheels:

    Mmmm, zen and the art of bicycle maintenance. Sun was shining, birds were tweeting, I was firmly in my happy place when the time came to fitting my new rear wheel. Then:

    Ah fuck. I was 100% certain that the spacing at the rear was 135mm - I even remember having a conversation with someone about the intricacies of hub spacing on old frames, and cold setting etc. Turns out I was 100% wrong and it's 130mm, and now my lovingly built rear wheel wasn't going to fit. After consulting Sheldon and some gentle reassurance from my bike mechanic brother, I decided it was worth trying to spread the rear dropouts and squeeze it in. Having just the one bike and needing this for commuting on next week meant I was pretty keen to make it work.

    So, the rear wheel is in. It was a struggle but after a very cautious test ride I'm fairly confident that I got away with it. I will be taking to a lbs for re-spacing as soon as possible.

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Yak's Muddy Fox Courier, Trek Multitrack and other bikes

Posted by Avatar for yak @yak