Joe's Mixed Bag: Ridley / Kona Honky Tonk / Merckx Strada...

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  • Hello,

    Joe here. I have enjoyed reading other's current projects and threads in Bikes and Bits. I've gained a lot of knowledge and inspiration so wanted to add my own thread to contribute.

    During lockdown I got back into riding, but with two small children this tops out at 1hr max! Still, my mindset is to make the most of that time. I also have a need to tinker in my spare time, and bikes are perfect for that: you can bring them into the house and only require a few tools. Unlike cars (namely a MK2 Golf G60 needing an engine rebuild - see below) which don't lend themselves well to nipping out to the garage for 20 mins!

    My bikes are built from second-hand parts, selling the replaced part on. I also keep my eye on sales to try and get things for a reasonable price. This is a retrospective as I’m terrible at documenting as I go but will endeavour to update this thread!


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  • 2008 Allez Elite/ 2018 Ridley Fenix SL

    This Allez was my 21st birthday present in 2008. Bought used from Dysons in Dunstable, Beds if anyone knows it. Previous owner fitted 10 speed Campagnolo Veloce to it which was unusual, but cool to start cycling with Campagnolo on an otherwise common bike. I changed a few bits/added a load of white and carbon wrapped tat and it ended up like this by 2011.

    By then I moved to Aberdeen for work, and became less motivated to ride so it sat. 2020 lockdown came, I fished it out and got cycling again and upgraded it with a mix of carbon Chorus cranks/Centaur shifters, Fulcrum 4s and Corsa G2.0 tyres. Disclaimer: I have an unfortunate love of lairy bartape and magnet-based computers.


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  • I had gotten fitter, fallen back in love with cycling again and developed a hankering for a carbon frame. Found a ex-Lotto Ridley frameset (was Tiesj Benoot's) and swapped bits across in Jan 2021. Was going to stick with the Campagnolo mix groupset I had cobbled together but decided to upgrade all bits to Record. Timed it well as prices seem to be potty now. So, 2018 frameset with 2010 groupset, and a white saddle/camo tape.


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  • So far, pretty gross right? I spent a bit more time looking at forums/blogs, and really got into the style of bikes on SlamThatStem, and found my way to LFGSS. This started to improve things on the aesthetic front.

    I was furloughed and got the nod to come back to work. Gave me the green light to upgrade the wheels. Bought these used Miche SWR 50mm tubs, destickered them the hard way. Buy 100% acetone or spray on Sticky Stuff remover, otherwise you'll waste weeks of your life! Veloflex Roubaix 25mm tubs with gumwalls were my choice.

    First time with tubulars but followed this approach and it worked well. Cleaned off all the old glue with acetone and a plastic knife. Tubs onto the wheels and up to 120psi to stretch for a night at least. Pop them off, 2x coats of Vittoria MastikOne on the tubs and wheels (one per night, cure inbetween). Cheapo acid brushes to apply, clean them up to reuse. Pump the tubs up a little to hold shape, final coat of glue onto the wheels then fit, stretching like mad from the valve side. Give yourself plenty of time and don't worry about the glue getting on the tyre/wheel, easy to wipe or pick off later.

    Got it to here by spring 2021:


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  • Cockpit and saddle changeout helped a lot! Final stage in the last few months was to change out the 10-speed Record groupset for 11-speed Chorus. The Record has a new home...


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  • 2009 Kona Honky Tonk
    In 2009 some friends planned a tour from Dunkirk to Istanbul, following the Danube for the most part. I wasnt sure about it (distance, narrow minded about travel too!) and only had the Specialized and bikepacking wasn't much of a thing then. Borrowed money to buy a Kona Honky Tonk, complete with Tortec rack and two Ortleib panniers.

    Did the tour, commuted to Wheatley from Oxford for a year then took it with me to Aberdeen and kept commuting. As I got more into setup, I cut the steerer and started swapping bits out. Namely the Schwalbe Marathons which I never realised were so... gross. Had spare Fulcrums and Vittorias from the Ridley which perked it up. Meant I could put in a lunchtime ride from work and enjoy it, albeit with the Thule clamp on for child carrying!


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  • Having lived outside a lot, the frame was looking pretty grotty in places. I was hankering after a MGOOFs/sorted modern steel bike and realised with a bit of graft, I could make the Kona into something. It came with 7700 Dura Ace downtube shifters from new, which was weird but must've kept the cost down. Originally I was going to go full 7700, but discovered that 7900 10 speed shifters existed and focused the build around them. I also didn't want a silver groupset so ugly duckling 7900 it was.


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  • Bought a new Genesis carbon fork for £50 to freshen the front end up, and sent it off to Argos for paint, but more importantly graphics. I never got on with the newer Kona font, and wanted the lairy Hawaiin style font from 90s/early 2000s. My best friend is a graphic designer and helped. Found a font template:
    https://www.dafontfree.net/king-kikapu-r­egular/f131257.htm

    And he knocked up a render, looked pretty good!


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  • Decided to add "Dee-lux" to Honky Tonk like the top end MTBs as this build was aiming to use better parts. This made the top tube graphics long. "Do you want them big?" I was asked before printing. "It'll pretty much fill the top tube." I went for it.
    Also added a French/Turkish flag motif to the fork to commemorate the tour I went on. Although now the bike is a bit Trigger's broom, with only the frame and seat clamp original! Paint is "Blu 2" from Argos stock.


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  • Then to build up. King headset first.

    Handmade headtube badge (sterling sliver no less) from a jeweller in the States: https://www.headbadges.com/store/p26/Kon­a,_old_school.html

    TRP levers. Tektro long drop brakes. No guards for now. Built and waiting spring and no grit on the roads!


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  • Well... managed a test ride on it and had a mare. Rear mech seized, ripped round and bent the hanger. Not the first ride I was hoping for but hey ho. Back to Argos for repair and touch up. Wasn't the chain dropping off the cassette into the wheel, not really sure how it happened.


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  • Eddy Merckx Strada OS

    I really liked looking at steel bikes on Weight Weenies, then Cannondale CAADs with deep wheels on Slam that Stem, but found the MGOOF thread here perfect! I was hunting for the right project and missed a poorly-listed Colnago. Put a single bid on this Merckx and won it. As listed and as it arrived:


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  • Frame in excellent condition, and with a weird Snickers Workwear colour scheme. It must have been a small team but messaged Snickers and Merckx and they and no idea. Its a 58 so a little large for me but no problem. I kept the wheels and some of the groupset to stash away, sold the other bits on.

    I pieced together a used 11 speed Athena groupset, but unfortunately the "Grade A" shifters had swarf inside them and the PowerTorque chainset splines were minced. Returned them and decided to take the 10 speed Record from my Ridley to use here, and upgrade the Ridley to 11 speed.


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  • keep this bike at work as no space at home/likely to cause the "another ****in bike?!?!" conversation. So worked on it during lunch breaks, not ideal but got it done.

    Tips building up an old frame:
    Clean up the threads! I did this for the BB cups but not the fork, nearly minced a Record headset by being impatient and wrenching it on

    Check the thread spec/steerer OD. The Record crown race was tight as hell, used a bearing puller to get it on. All told, that headset is probably different spec to the frame.

    To that end, take your time!

    Work in progress shots:


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  • Went for a plain Flite in the end, Deda post (thanks to feedback on here). I found some yellow Eddy Merckx stamped bar tape on ebay, bought it before the bike arrived. It clashes a bit but I feel like a) it's in keeping with the era and b) it was £25 and its on now!

    Full Record groupset, Arkane built Lightbicycle.com 25mm tubs on Bitex hubs.

    Excuse the photos please, it lives in a cupboard at work! Gluing tubs on this week. Vittoria Corsa Speed 2.0 that were 2 for 1 months ago. I think black would suit better, but once these are worn through. Also has King Cages, kept the original yellow Sole ones too.


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  • Very enjoyable thread so far, keep it up! All your bikes are rad.

  • Thanks very much! I've lurked on this forum long enough so wanted to add my 2p

  • I managed to pass my affliction onto a friend who lives down south and is a big fan of late 90s-early 2000s bikes. Found a T-Mobile TCR on eBay that was far too small for him and heaped the pressure on, he's here now


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  • My friend also built up an MGOOF MTB, using a GT Tequestra and 1x SRAM plus HS33s and some magic to use the canti studs on the rear. This lead me to buy the MTB frame of my teenage dreams, a DMR Sidekick. This one is in the work bikeshed nearing completion.


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  • Awesome collection!! Great projects! 10/10 would read again

  • Thanks! Never too sure if I'm rambling or not, glad you enjoyed.

  • Great thread keep it going. Love the bikes. Honky Tonk looks great. Loved the build with the guards and downtube shifters. Very nice.

    That giant is one of my favorites as well.

    I was always a Trailstar LT man myself but that Sidekick does it for me.

  • Cheers Tom. I have a set of black SKS Bluemels for the Kona, but now it won't be on commuting duty and I don't really dig riding in the rain if I can help it ("French style" as a friend's Dad put it), they'll stay off for now.

    The Sidekick was parted out by a guy who had gone to town on it, has a post up on the DMR Facebook page. My build is pretty cheap and cheerful, will get some pictures up once I make some progress on it.

  • Strong introduction, some great projects here. The Kona and Merckx are ace and top marks for the Euro look G60, got some stretch in those tyres!

  • Cheers! Tyres came with the BBS and were definitely stretched more than I liked... still rubbed the rear arches! Photo is over 6 years ago which takes me back.

    Fitted up the tyres on the Merckx today and took a quick cycle round the block at 120psi to make sure they're bedded in, felt rapid! Definitely less aggro to mount these than the Veloflex Roubaixs, and also have pleasing logo/valve alignment.

    Merckx outside for the first time in a long time. Just need to index the gears and good to go. Hopefully in time for the weather to pick up a bit here and get a ride in without grit/snow on the road!


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Joe's Mixed Bag: Ridley / Kona Honky Tonk / Merckx Strada...

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