MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

CUSTOM OPTIONS- INTRO

CUSTOM BIKE ACCESSORIES

THE ORIGINAL SINGLE SPEED

ENHANCING VISUAL APPEAL

SINGLE SPEED UPGRADES 

ENHANCING "SS" VINTAGE APPEAL

It is one thing to build up a "Single Speed" for getting here and there and nothing more but it is often difficult to stop once the project is engaged.  And there are many directions that a custom bicycle build or conversion can go.  In the case of the Sekine SHC 270 the intent was to enhance vintage visual appeal and increase quality of ride.

Enhancing visual anything is a very personal issue and my "looks good to me" preferences might well not parallel anyone else's.  And that is just fine since it helps to reinforce the notion that the bicycle, once converted or built will be yours alone.  Your likes and dislikes will emerge as you select this and that to aide in stop and go.  The end result will be uniquely you.

About the quickest way to impart the impression of vintage bicycle is to install a set of moustache handlebars.  Today's mountain bike straight handlebars would certainly prove to be "user friendly" but they would do little to suggest old or vintage.  Quite the contrary.  Using the mtb bar will more that likely make the old "Ten Speed" look like a mountain bike and who would want that?  Why not just go buy a used mountain bike at a Yard Sale and be done with it.  Anyway...

The Sekine was to be equipped with a set of original Sekine issue moustache bars that work perfectly with the original steering stem.  The combination looks great and allows for a slight drop feel in use.  The bars would be fitted with a set of modern cushion hand grips with hopes of optimizing hand comfort for the rider.  And that would lead to what to use for brake levers?

Since the bicycle is supposed to have vintage appeal, a set of black anodized modern brake levers would look miserably out of place.  That leaves few simple options.  Fortunately, one of those options is Ebay and vintage levers such as those required for this style of moustache handlebar are frequently offered and rarely sought after.  In other words, they are not usually costly to purchase at the time of this writing.  That, of course, will change as interest in the vintage bicycle spreads.  Fortunately for me, I had three appropriate sets to choose from.  A scruffy Shimano set and a pretty nice Weinmann pair that would have looked just great.  However, Weinmann products would be non-original for the Sekine since it was fitted entirely with Japanese components.  That left the third set of levers, a nice pair of Dia-Compes.

The levers selected speak vintage well, in both look and feel.  They have a much nicer curve than either of the other two options and the small ball on the lever ends adds to both aesthetic appeal and safety in stopping.  All in all, a nice addition to what would likely be a pretty nice bicycle once completed.

Shifting attention from the controls to the saddle, a newer design saddle was selected for the task at hand.  Thoughts were given to going with a vintage leather perch and decided against.  Though the bicycle was to hang onto the vintage image, the one modern thing that can be installed without breaking the illusion is a saddle.  Since part of the purpose for upgrading the "Single Speed" was to improve ride performance a more ergonomically designed saddle would be in order and not look horribly out of place.  In fact, with care in selection, the right choice in a saddle can even add to the look of the bicycle in a contrasting sort of way.

Once again, in keeping with the improvement in performance, the Old School seat post and separate saddle clamp were pitched in favour of the more modern alloy indexed offering.  On a restoration this style of seat post would look horribly out of place but it blends in nicely with the mix on the Sekine.  Additionally, the more modern post is much more reliable to use and a site more easy to install.

And that about covered most of the component choices.  The last decision to make regarded the wheel set.  What would best meet the intended purpose of a city bicycle while retaining the vintage appeal?  Well, intended purpose for the bicycle would be lots of errand running or even commuting.  With this in mind, dependability was an issue.  But light weight is also an important consideration when selecting a wheel set.

Normally, when seeking light weight one would focus on 700c wheels.  The 700c wheel is generally considerably lighter than their 27" counter parts.  And rolling weight has a very powerful effect on ride feel.  Keeping in mind that the original wheel set consisted of 27" steel rims laced to Shimano nutted high flange hubs, a pretty heavy offering to begin with.  The new wheel set would also be 27" eliminating the need to search out long reach brakes.  The 27" wheel would allow for the running of comparatively high volume air tires, a quality that would contribute both to comfort and dependability.  And both would be important to the bicycle once completed.

The wheels selected sported a set of lovely Shimano 600 hubs laced with stainless steel spokes to a set of Weinmann Alesha rims.  Plastic rim liners replaced the heavy rubber ones that would have been original issue.  Finally, the tires selected were Continental "Gator Skins", a fairly light and durable 27" rim cover.  Not only were the tires light, when compared to the gum walls normally mounted on the 27" rim, but they were also smooth treaded.  The smooth tread would allow for faster speeds with less pedal effort.  Without any doubt, this wheel upgrade would have tremendous impact on the feel of the bicycle.

The Sekine SHC 270 "Single Speed" upgraded nicely and looks considerably different from its original drop bar version.  The bicycle is lighter and even feels lighter when it is lifted.  It has pulled of the vintage look nicely thanks primarily to the moustache bars, and closer inspection of some of the Old School components reinforces the image.  All in all, the mid seventies Sekine has probably never seen better days.  Fully rebuilt in the mechanical sense and then modified to best suit the owner's wants and needs.  What more could one ask for?

NEXT - PRACTICAL "SINGLE SPEED" UPGRADES

 

 

     

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