Sunday, August 22, 2010

Schwinn Le Tour Fixed Gear/Single Speed, 21"/53cm Lugged Steel - *SOLD*

Schwinn Le Tour Fixed Gear/Single Speed, 21"/53cm

The base of this build is an early '80s Schwinn Le Tour frame in blue, made of lugged steel. Built up with nice, modern components. Features a new deep-v wheelset, cartridge bottom bracket. Built up to accent the frame with whites, including deep-v rims, saddle, and cloth handlebar tape. Has a flip/flop hub so it can be set up as a fixed gear or a coast-able single speed. Set up with a 52/18 ratio, perfect for getting around flat city streets and trails. Pedals are included, choice of standard platforms, clips, or SPD clipless. This bike is ideal for riders 5'6" to 5'10".

[ C O M P O N E N T S ]

White Deep-V Wheelset, 700c
White Machined Deep-V Rims
Black Stainless Steel Spokes
Black Alloy Flip/Flop Hubset
Presta Valve Tubes
Kenda Black Tires, 700x23c
18t Track Cog & LockRing {OR} 18t Dicta Single Speed Freewheel
KMC Z710 Heavy Duty Track Width Single Speed Chain
Sealed Cartridge Bottom Bracket
Shimano Exage Alloy Crankset, 165mm
Sugino Alloy 52t Chainring
Origin8 Black Single Chainring Bolts
Kalloy Alloy Micro-Adjust Seatpost
White Kore Saddle
SR Custom Alloy Stem
SR Custom Road Champion Alloy Drop Handlebars
Newbaum's White Cloth Handlebar Tape
Tektro R720 InLine Brake Lever
Tektro Long-Reach SidePull Caliper Brake
ProMax Brake Pads

Please indicate fixed gear or coast-able single speed when inquiring. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Palo Alto.

I recently acquired a frame that was of Italian make and was sold by Palo Alto in the early '80s. After much research, I found an old Palo Alto catalog from 1984. It had photos of the frame I had. It was interesting to note that these frames were sold as framesets only, with the option of purchasing any assortment of parts to build up the bike. It was refreshing to see a company offering their customers flexibility and the ability to customize a new bike. So many new bikes come as complete packages, and if you want something different like handlebars, you need to buy another set of handlebars and are stuck with extra ones that you didn't want in the first place.
As I build up bikes one at a time, it was nice to see that some companies encourage customers to think about what components they want on their bikes. The frame in question was Italian made by Biemmezeta in the early '80s and was made completely with lugged Columbus SL tubing, very nice.
Taking inspiration from a book of vintage French bicycles, I decided to build up this frame with some nice, classy colors. White tires can sometimes overwhelm the color scheme of a bike if the frame is heavy with white accents, but they can brighten up a frame as a complementary color. Same with handlebar tape. I opted for shellac'd green tape, giving a deep olive color, that complements the frame and other components without overwhelming the entire build. I think it turned out nicely, as did a fellow rider who recently acquired this bike.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ross Signature 290S Single Speed, 25"/63cm Lugged Ishiwata Cro-Moly - *SOLD*

Ross Signature 290S Single Speed, 25"/63cm

The base of this build is a Ross Signature 290S frame made of lugged Ishiwata EX triple-butted cro-moly. Ross made some clunkers back in the day, but their Signature line put out some high end bikes, and this 290S is one of the nice ones. Built up as a hearty commuter, suitable for rough city streets, with a single speed drivetrain. This bike has been completely rebuilt with a reconditioned headset and a sealed cartridge bottom bracket. Features Matrix rims, nice and wide, built into a nice wheelset with the rear wheel being completely re-laced by hand with a new hub set up for single speed. Features a honey brown leather saddle and shellac'd handlebar tape that give this bike a touch of class. Setup as a coast-able single speed with a 52/18 ratio. This bike is ideal for riders 6'0" and up.

[ C O M P O N E N T S ]

27" Alloy Touring Wheelset
Matrix Rims, brownish gray
Alloy Hubs, Quando in the rear, Maillard up front
CST Tubes, presta valves
NOS Performance Skinwall Tires, 27x1-1/4", takes up to 120 psi
18t Dicta Single Speed Freewheel
KMC Z510 Heavy Duty Track Width Single Speed Chain
Sugino Alloy Crankset, 52t
Shimano Sealed Cartridge Bottom Bracket
Honey Brown Leather Saddle
Alloy Drop Bars
Cloth Handlebar Tape, amber shellac'd
Alloy Stem, 100mm reach
Shimano Brake Levers, Z-series
Shimano Z-Series Sidepull Brakes with Quick-Release
Silver Alloy Platform Pedals


The Des Plaines River Trail - Cook County South Section.

Yesterday, with a week's vacation coming up, I set out for an alleged swap meet in town. I had hopes of finding parts to keep me busy with projects in the upcoming week. Showing up at the scheduled start time, there was no one there with anything bike related save a bike stand where attendees could supposedly wash and tune up there bike.
Bummed at the failed swap meet, I hopped on my bike. My rear rack had two panniers ready to be filled with parts. I had been reading about the Des Plaines River Trail the night previous and had looked at maps and figured out where I could hop on. I thought I could hop on Grand Ave out of town and see where the trail started for a possible future trip.
With my Raleigh Super Course ready for action, I set out on this fixed gear bike set up for city travel. Grand Ave was a decent way out of town compared to Augusta which has a dedicated bike lane, but rambles through lots of stop signs, broken glass, and not the safest of neighborhoods in my opinion. Grand Ave takes a slight diagonal up north on the westerly way out of downtown Chicago and despite the busy traffic, it is a wide avenue with two-lane traffic, leaving plenty of room for a bicyclist to safely ride without fear.
Roughly 10 miles later, still on Grand Ave, I stopped in River Grove, purchased a couple bottles of water, and stowed them safely in my panniers. I set out to find where I might hop on the Des Plaines River Trail.
According to the Cook County Forest Preserve District, this trail is closed, as there are signs at every main road with a large "CLOSED" sign over the trail. However, the trail is certainly passable. I'd read that the trail is crushed limestone and I figured I'd be alright on a road bike with decent, wider tires.
Arriving on the trail, I started north figuring I'd stop and turn around shortly after. However, the off-road trail became engrossing as I seldom get the chance to ride anywhere but city streets. Suddenly, the thought of a little mud, tree roots, and loose gravel became delightful and I continued northward.
The trail meanders next to the not too scenic Des Plaines River, which seemed like on a swamp on one of the hottest days this summer and I would have been bitten by mosquitoes had I stopped and rested.
I passed and was passed by a handful of other riders, all on modern mountain bikes. I must have looked a bit odd on a late '70s road bike riding fixed gear through the woods. However, the inability to coast was amazing on these off-road trails. I've read of the benefits of riding fixed gear in poor weather, but riding through dirt and gravel trails was truly fun on a fixed gear as I could control every turn and feel how my rear wheel responded to the changing ground. This Raleigh Super Course is my everyday rider in city streets and I often load it up and enjoy riding fixed gear, not having to stop a loaded down bike with just rim brakes.
The trail switches between wider gravel to singletrack, and I exited the trail about 10 miles after I started. I found myself near Morton Grove, and started back on suburb streets as the weather looked like it would start to storm. Luckily it did not and I met up with Milwaukee Ave far outside the city limits near Niles, and headed southeast to the start of the North Branch Trail. After a quick snack I continued on Milwaukee Ave all the way down to Wicker Park, turning south on Damen to make it home, completely exhausted. At 40 miles, including a good 10 miles of slow riding offroad, this was the longest fixed gear trip to date for me.
 1978 Raleigh Super Course, murky Des Plaines River in the far background.

Local fauna a few feet away from the trail. This was a learning and friendship adventure.

The open limestone road.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Raleigh Sports Rebuilt Single Speed, 21"/53cm Lugged Steel - *SOLD*

Raleigh Sports Rebuilt Single Speed, 21"/53cm

The base of this build is a Raleigh Sports frame in a beautiful coffee brown finish, that is in very nice cosmetic condition. Originally this bike was a 3-speed with all steel components. The frames are very nice, made of lugged 20/30 steel, but the stock steel components really weigh down the frame. This one has been rebuilt with some nice upgrades including a freshly handbuilt alloy wheelset. The wheelset features alloy high flange hubs laced to double-walled alloy rims in the same 26x1-3/8" size as the original wheels. Sports a long reach stem and comfortable swept back handlebars which make the bike much more ride-able than the original stem/bar setup. Set-up as a coast-able single speed with a 46/17 ratio, perfect for cruising around the city. Racks and baskets can be installed for an additional fee. This bike is ideal for riders 5'6" to 5'10", give or take.

[ C O M P O N E N T S ]

Handbuilt Lightweight Alloy Wheelset, 26x1-3/8"
Sunrims CR18 Rims, double-walled, single-eyeleted
Normandy/Maillard High Flange Alloy Hubs
Michelin World Tour Black Tires, 26x1-3/8"
CST Tubes, schrader valves
17t Dicta Single Speed Freewheel
KMC Z510 Heavy Duty Track Width Single Speed Chain
Raleigh "Heron" Cottered Crankset, 46t
Raleigh Block Pedals
Kalloy Alloy Micro-Adjust Seatpost
Dark Brown Leather Saddle
SR Alloy Stem, 100mm reach
Swept Back Handlebars
Black Faux Leather Handlebar Tape
Shimano Alloy Brake Levers
Dual-Pivot Long Reach Brakes
SRAM Brake Cables
ProMax Brake Pads