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Nick_S

Member since Jan 2020 • Last active Feb 2021
  • 3 conversations
  • 96 comments

Most recent activity

  • in Components, clothing and miscellany
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    That is a nice design/custom modification.

  • in Current Projects
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    Classy build. How might this compare to a modern tourer?
    Interested in your thoughts on this topic since you've gone to so much effort.

    Okay, here are a few reflections.

    In the mid 1980s, when I bought the Eclipse Countryman, quality off-the-peg touring bicycles (including others such as Holdsworth and Claud Butler) all looked pretty similar with chrome-molybdenum steel frames, 72, 72 degrees geometry, drop handle bars, centre-pull brakes, and usually fitted with a double chainring like 32-50t and a 6 speed 13-28t freewheel (a lowest ratio of 31" or 2.5m development). I wanted a lower bottom gear like those available on custom tourers of the day and the dealer was happy to upgrade the chainset to the T.A. Pro 5 Vis 26-42t double, but this was seen as unusual (a lowest ratio of 25" or 2m development). The T.A. offers a lower q-factor than modern chainsets, which is noticeable, but it requires a flat sided derailleur to avoid it scraping against the inner surface of right-hand crank. Once I found the Campagnolo Victory LX derailleur in the early 1990s, I converted it to a triple chainset, 26-38-48t. The advantage of the friction shifting is that one can mix and match components and not be tied to a single manufacturer to maintain compatibility.

    All the bearings are cup-and-cone type which makes for straightforward maintenance and an easy upgrade by ordering higher quality ball bearings from somewhere like Simply Bearings. The exception is the headset which uses roller bearings, though these can still be found as new-old-stock. There are no braze-ons for bottlecages or a low-rider front rack, which are now found on most modern tourers, though the Blackburn FL-1 clamp-on low-rider rack I have works fine. The downside to restoring an older bicycle is the availability of comparable wheels new (Though Velo Orange and Sun still offer 27" rims) and the narrower spacing of the rear drop-outs at 126mm on the Eclipse compared to 130mm or 135mm. @Thrustvector has an Eclipse Countryman that is a conversion to 130mm spacing, which a framebuilder can do at a reasonable price, and his uses 700c rims with the brake pads lowered accordingly.

    Modern touring bikes come in a wider range of geometry, frame materials, rim or disk brakes, 26 inch or 700c wheels, flat hybrid-style or dropped handlebars. Cartridge bearings are common, though it is not clear to me how many are easily serviced without expensive workshop tools. Quill stems seem to only be available as a high-end option, which is a pity. I place a premium on user serviceability so I would not fit factory-only service hubs like the Rohloff. Bottom bracket dynamos have been replaced by low-friction dynamo hubs, but the best like Son are factory service only -- even the wiring on their lamps it seems. A bike like the Kona Sutra offers a modern alternative retaining the advantages of a steel frame, but they don't come cheap and still need conversion to a dynamo lighting system. On others such as the Condor Heritage, or Spa Cycles 725 Steel Tourer, I would have to replace the "brifters" with bar-end shifters to enable a back-up friction mode which further adds to the cost. The alternative is to build up an off-the-peg traditional frame like the Bob Jackson World Tour, which is probably the route I would go if buying new.

    In my view, an older high-quality steel touring frame in good condition still provides a sensible alternative for building up a nice touring bike, especially if it was initially made for 700c wheels.

  • in Current Projects
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    @Thrustvector It is good to know that 35mm wide tyres will fit.

    @vp1337 and @veLLo thanks, I am looking forward to getting out on it again once the icy weather clears.

  • in Current Projects
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    I replaced the original black Brooks B17 with a honey coloured Team Professional Titanium model and I have left off the Blackburn low rider front rack for everyday use. I am using a long-setback SR MTE-100 seat post while I wait for a couple I have ordered in the correct diameter which may provide sufficient set back for the saddle in a lighter and more elegant solution.

    I was delighted with ride from the 27 x 1 1/4 Panaracer Pasela kevlar beaded tyres, the only drawback is that I have to partially deflate the rear tyre to remove it because of the front facing horizontal dropouts.

  • in Current Projects
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    While ordering the stem tool from Alex's Cycles in Japan I treated myself to some LL sized MKS leather-lined deep toe clips so I can use normal footwear when I want to. The gears worked fine, requiring almost no re-adjustment.

  • in Current Projects
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    I finished putting it all together and I was ready for photographs of the complete bike on 1 February 2020.

  • in Current Projects
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    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.

  • in Current Projects
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    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

  • in Current Projects
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    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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