Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Find the Component Challenge

Took a spin on the 1981 Gran Tourer SE today. For some very strange reason, I absolutely adore riding this bike, especially for relaxed cruising around.

It is also a looker, so I couldn't resist taking a few pictures on the Rock Creek Trestle. As I was doing so, a jogger passing by called out, "What a beautiful bike". I might add that this was the only jogger, or anyone else, who passed by. Some people might call this statistically insignificant, but I prefer to think of it as proof positive of the ineffable allure of this bike.

This one came to me in nearly unridden, stock condition. I've done some small modifications to it, and I thought it might be fun for readers to try to identify the Suntour Cyclone, Suntour Superbe, and Campagnolo parts (one of each) that I've installed on this bike. I believe there is enough detail in the following pictures for a knowledgeable viewer to make these distinctions.

Post your answers as comments. Winners prize will be the satisfaction of knowing more than everyone else, which is always a lot of fun. As always, click on pictures for larger view.

The Campagnolo one is probably the hardest, but is visible enough to hazard a guess. None of the components have their logos readable; readers have to recognize form.

(Un)Squeaky Clean

In a previous episode, we tore down and cleaned a Fuji-Suntour Vx S mid cage rear derailleur. It has been reassembled, with every threaded and moving surface lubricated. This includes the limit and B adjustment screws, for which someone years from now will be thankful.

Now I really need a front derailleur with "Fuji" emblazoned on the frame clamp. If anyone has one they care to part with, please let me know. A crankset engraved with "Fuji" is also sought.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Green Is The Color Of....

Money. And envy. This combination is fitting, since it isn't exactly cheap making the 1984 Del Rey so droolworthy.

One item received today:

A green Brooks saddle. I haven't bought a new Brooks in factory trim in a while, Brooks has definitely gone uptown with the packaging and accessories:

They included an adjustment wrench, hopefully, this collects dust.

The newsletter was many pages long and actually interesting, not just marketing fluff.

Care and feeding instructions for new baby. And a rain cover, although it doesn't fit as nicely as the one I purchased from wallbike many years ago.

Ok, enough preliminaries, on to the the money shots. I went to fit it up, and the seatpost, whose flutes I so lovingly painted, didn't fit - the rail mounts were far too wide on it. Rats, but I wasn't taking no for an answer, so I scrounged up a seatpost with which I could mount the seat in order to take some pics for color testing. The camera doesn't lie (click on pics for larger view).

Works for me. But I want my flutes, so off to ebay, I guess. From these pics, it does make me think that perhaps gold flutes may work, if combined with black cable housing.

Some dreams just die hard....

Please Grease Your Pedal Threads

Or I'll have to do this (note: this is a simulation of actual recent events):

This is hard on equipment, hard on tools, and hard on me; emotionally, it takes a toll, banging on things. So please, for the love of all that is dear and precious in this mortal coil, if you are not doing so, just a dab of grease, or oil, or some other lubricant on pedal threads saves incalculable heartache downstream, and prevents corrosion and galling too.

Remind your friends, too, if you get a chance.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Day Of Rest

Tending to some Del Rey tasks today. First is the seatpost. I painted the flutes yesterday evening, took every ounce of willpower not to paint them gold, but deep down I know it wouldn't be right. So I went with basic black. I just glommed the paint on as shown:

No need to be careful, because now today, after it has dried for about 12 hours, I just rub off the slop with a piece of wood dipped in mineral spirits:

I find this works fine if the slop is on smooth polished surfaces and is less messy than trying to do it within minutes of painting, as some others suggest. This took maybe 5 minutes to clean up.

Apply a thin coat of grease to the lower part of the seatpost, install:

I'm hoping the black flutes will provide some black up high and help anchor the green Brooks saddle that I've ordered.

Next is the rear derailleur. The 1984 Fuji Del Rey came with a Suntour ARx. These are fine derailleurs, but a little bland. Plus, I'm trying to emphasize the classic form of this bike. Fortunately, the Fuji Otaku parts department had this in stock:

A Suntour Vx-S, mid length cage. As we know, Fuji was completely in bed with the Suntour folks in Shiga prefecture (my wife's hometown, incidentally), so they were able to get a lot of Suntour stuff with their branding on it. It is sort of grubby, but very few scratches, as this shot of the knuckle, a typical problem area, shows:

A few minutes of disassembly with the tools shown below, and into a mineral spirits soak:

This derailleur cleaned up nicely, revealing no problems.

Now would be the time to polish, the Vx models are not anodized and can be brought up to a high shine. I don't know if I'm going to do this... One minor cosmetic problem did reveal itself, some light corrosion inside the chromed pivot bolts, a very common condition:

Not to worry, an oxalic acid bath will fix this up.

I like to use hot water on the theory that this speeds up the chemical reaction. In this case, I used two heaping spoonfuls of the wood bleach. For good measure, I put in all the other chromed steel bits off the derailleur as well as the quick release levers from the Del Rey's brakes, which were showing a little rust dotting.

I'll let this sit around for a while, either until this evening or tomorrow, rinse, dry, and assemble.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday as much as I am mine.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Del Rey Delights

Thought I'd post a few pics of the in-progress Del Rey. Did the handlebar treatment, cleanup, some wheel repacking so far.

With the gold rims, this would be a primo fixie. Fat chance of that happening on my watch.

The gold 6 speed cluster works well. I've lost the dork disk (actually put it in the original parts box on a shelf, so this could be taken back to stock some day if desired).

The handlebar treatment has worked out pretty well. Don't even ask how much trauma this has been. The paint has a very fine gold metal flake that causes it to change tone dramatically in different light, from olive to almost a blue/green grey color. But I'm done futzing around with it.

Speaking of the paint, this bike has some of the best paint I've ever seen on a non-NOS vintage bike. In the following two pictures, one may see that under the clamp on front derailleur and down tube shifters, typically problem areas, the paint is virtually perfect. It also indicates that that the overall paint job has not faded, since there would be a darker, unfaded ring under the component clamp. As noted above, fixie folks would die for this one....

One more shot for the road:

I've got some interesting ideas for this bike, so stay tuned. Here is one possibility (I've got the rear hub around somewhere):

Fuji Otaku Follows Own Advice, Scores As Well!

I've never figured out why Fuji would name a high-end racing model after a waddly little penguin. But I'm not a marketing genius either...

But to the point. Nothing like eating your own dog food. In an earlier post, Matt was advised to scour the nation for the bike he wanted and make it easy for the seller. As readers rapidly discovered, this worked quite handily for Matt.

So there is a reason this pablum is dished out - it is a time-proven method of the Fuji Otaku purchasing department. Here is the frame for my Opus, connivingly imported from New England, arrived yesterday. All the other parts are there, 100% original, with flashy gold rims.

More to come on this crowning addition to the Fuji Otaku lineup.