Thursday, August 7, 2008

Another day, another bike


I thought I had done a post about this particular ride, but I just poked around and realized not. Here's the story of my Takara frankenbike. I got this thing for $100, pretty out of tune, but basically sound. I think it's from 1976, pretty heavy steel tubing, large frame (maybe 63cm?) but kind of a classy ride, Suntour bar end shifters, sexy styling, pretty good geometry (a concept which I feel like I'm starting to get a bit of a grip on finally). Here's a before pic:

I ended up just doing a big cleanup on it to start. Plenty of old gunk/tar/hard grease around to remove. Next I needed to lose some weight, so I did the following:
-swapped the wheels (some old Arayas with pretty heavy hubs) for a pair of 27" Rigida rims on Maillard hubs from a Trek 500. This made a big difference, aesthetically as well as weight-wise. I also removed the front derailleur, deciding that a 5 speed would be just fine for city riding. I left the front small chainring on, just removing the chainguard, so I can still do a manual "shift" up front if I suddenly need to climb a little mountain or something. I put a new upright stem on it. Not much to choose from here, I happened to have a stem from Harris Cyclery for the older 13/16" size around, it's not really very light, but probably a bit lighter than what was on there. I put on some nice Nitto drop bullhorn bars and some DiaCompe brake levers I had around. Also swapped out a nice lightweight saddle that I had picked up on the cheap a couple months back. It turned out pretty darned nice. Still probably weighs about 28 lbs., but I probably got it down to that from 32 originally. It's a remarkably fast ride for the weight. Pretty fun.

I shipped it down to Austin for the (then upcoming, now current) vacation I'm on. UPS ground for a bike in a bike box is about $45. I weighed this against what I've found for road bike rentals, coming in a circa $60/$100 day and decided that a $180 investment plus $45 in shipping was a pretty good deal. I can leave it at my brother's place down here and it'll just keep on paying off!

However, I must confess that I'm already thinking of selling it and moving on. I'm starting to feel like the person who finds the squirrel with a broken leg, mends it and then sets the little gal free. Or else like a catch and release fisherman. It's fun to get something all spiffed up and ride it around, but I always need a new project or experience shortly thereafter. Not terribly profitable, the used bike market (at least not for me!), but I feel like I more or less keep spending the same few hundred dollars over and over. More to follow, to be sure!

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