MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

NORCO MAGNUM SE - INTRO

FINDING THE MAGNUM SE

BUILDING THE MAGNUM SE

RIDING THE MAGNUM SE

 

BICYCLES OF CANADA

  

BUILDING THE NORCO MAGNUM SE

The morning after being given the Special Edition, I zoomed over to the B4H warehouse/shop, to pick up my prize.  It was a beautiful morning and, I had a bunch of bicycles to drop off, that I had picked up at the Dump, during the preceding week.  As I approached the warehouse, a great building, donated for our use by a local business person, I pulled out my cell phone and called to my fellow bicycle pick-up volunteer, to meet me there with the key.  He was just pulling up on, his hybrid bike, when I arrived.  Gareth is a great guy and I consider him to be a new friend.  He and I, seem to get along well and he is always on the lookout for vintage road bikes for me, these days.  Just last week he dropped of a neat old Italian Torpado, with an all chrome plated frame set which now hangs in The Old Shed, waiting to be prepared for auction on Ebay.

We didn't spend much time picking up the Norco.  Both of us had things to do, and I was really anxious to get my chores out of the way, so that I could get into the Norco.

I was already in the process of building up a Norco Avanti SL.  The Avanti models ranged from bottom of the line, entry level offerings, to the fairly sophisticated SL, that I had decided to add, to my personal collection, until something better came along.  Well, something better had come along and building the Magnum was going to be a simple task, since most of what I needed, had already been acqui,red and prepared, for the Avanti SL.  The only thing the SL really needed was a transmission, and the Magnum SE had arrived with a very nice transmission installed, "as found".

The first thing needed was to get the bicycle on wheels.  I checked out The Old Shed, and was pleased to find a good enough set mounted, on a large frame Peugeot Course, that I had picked up, at a Yard Sale, for ten dollars, the Saturday before I acquired the Norco.  The wheels were really nothing at all special, but they would do for the time being.  I should add, that I had not yet prepared a set of wheels for the Avanti SL.

The Peugeot wheels sported Maillard hubs, laced with cadmium plated spokes, to a set of Rigida rims.  Oxidation had taken a bit of a toll on the wheel rim eyelets, but other than that, the set built and trued up well.  They are presently mounted on the Magnum, but I do plan to replace the wheel set, sometime in the future.  I will likely buy a set of Ambrosia Evolution rims and lace them, with butted stainless spokes, to a set of Shimano 600 hubs.  I am running these rims on my Miele LTD and they have proved to be more than I expected.

Interestingly enough, the Peugeot acquired a few days earlier, sported a Norco saddle, which was quick to find a permanent home on the Magnum.  The saddle is a leather covered Selle Italia, and in good condition with the exception of a scuff on the rear corner.  These scuff blemishes are not all that hard to repair, or perhaps disguise is a better word.  All one needs is a bit of black leather dye.  I have even used a simple black marker to cover up the scuff but I recommend against it.

As mentioned, the Norco did not arrive with a bottom bracket. I already had a good BB installed on the Avanti.  It took only a short while, to swap the BB into the Magnum and then mount the triple ring crank set, that was also intended to be part of the Avanti SL build.  I have no idea what crank set would have been issued originally, with the Magnum, and, with that lack of information in mind, I chose exactly what I wanted.  And, what I wanted was a three ring, Super Maxi set that was in very good condition.

The triple crank drives a six speed, non-indexed freewheel, with a 14-24 spread.  This combination of gearing, makes is pretty easy, to get up any hills, that present themselves, in my area.  I do plan to change out the freewheel since it tends to allow the chain to climb up onto the tops of the sprocket teeth and then slip suddenly while I am riding the bike.  This is both annoying and dangerous, as far as I am concerned.  As soon as I find a proper indexed six speed, with a 14-24, spread I will change freewheels.  I should also consider changing out the drive chain.

And the drive chain is pretty neat in its own rite.  It is very light and features drilled side plates.  My guess is that it is either, too worn, or too thin for the cog set, that is presently mounted on the Magnum.  Though I hate to loose the chain's aesthetic appeal, I do intend to switch it out and see if there is an improvement in shifting.

And, I just might have stumbled on a shifting issue the other day.  While visiting Thunder Bay's local vintage road bike Guru, I learned something about the Suntour shifters, that I did not know before.  I never saw any need to remove or adjust the shifters that were mounted on the Norco "as found".  However, I had better take a closer look...

It seems that as one shift lever is actuated, the other trims to a different position, allowing for front derailleur clearance, without the need to trim the front derailleur manually.  In other words, both shifters actually move in a straight line between for and aft positions in the shift lever mounting body.  A nifty feature, perhaps, and one that I had better learn to set-up properly, if I am ever to get the bicycle shifting the way it should.

If I cannot get the shifter to work as intended, I will swap it out, for a set of Suntour Barcons.  These are shifters are mounted on the ends of the handlebars and a treat to use.  I first used these shifters on an eighties something Raleigh touring bike and I fell in love with them.  A similar set was mounted on my 1971 Carlton Professional and I even tried them out for a short time on my 1976 Super Mondia Special.  I might add that my 1975 CCM Tour du Canada, presently being restored, will wear a set of Campy Barcons.

Aside from the shifting issues, associated with the mounted Suntour Cyclone system, the front derailleur caused me some grief of its own.  It refused to remain in tune.  I would carefully set the derailleur up, to reach all three rings accurately, only to find, at the end of a ride, that I could not shift up onto the big ring.  The high/low adjusting screws would not stay put.  Given the chance, these little screws would loosen off, until they came into contact with the derailleur arm.  When riding the middle ring, the adjusting screw would slowly screw itself down and prevent any opportunity to shift to the big ring.  Finally, in absolute frustration, I had to apply Loctite to prevent the screw from turning.  I hope this does not prove to be a mistake, that I will regret in the future.

My attention next turned to the brake system, and I decided to go with a set of Dia-Compe side pulls ,that are, more or less, period correct.  Though I had some very nice Modolo units, and even a nice set of Shimano 600 stoppers, neither would have been original issue items for the Norco.  Dia-Compe brakes were often original issue with Suntour equipped bicycles.  Hence, my decision to use the brakes presently installed.

The brake callipers are in great shape and I have lots of spares to choose from, should I need spare parts.  A quick release system is incorporated into the calliper, as are wheel insertion guides.  The levers are also to my liking.  They are as graceful an any others and seem to fit my hands, and reach, well.  They are drilled, for lightness and aesthetic appeal.  Sadly, I did not have a set of Dia-Compe hoods, that would fit, at the time of installation.  I did have a matched set of Chang Star hoods that were a reasonably good fit, and look just great, in my opinion.  They remind me of the Modolo hoods and are quite comfortable.

The levers were mounted on a set of Nitto Olympiade drop bars, that I happened to have hanging in The Old Shed.  My guess is that these bars might well have been standard issue for the Norco and fit right into the overall scheme of the build.  "As found", the Magnum was fitted with a Nitto pantographed steering stem, with a reach that proved to be perfect for my fit.  Once the levers had been positioned for optimal comfort, I wrapped the bars with a cushion tape, that has a period correct appearance, and the control center was complete.

The control center is certainly a cobbled together assembly, but it does its job well and looks as if everything belongs.  Perhaps, one day, I will make some alterations, but for now, no changes are planned.

The last component choice to be made was pedal choice and this, for me, is no longer a choice at all.  I always go with my SPD mountain bike clip-less pedals.  All of my bicycles now wear these pedals and I could not be happier with the way they work.  True, they do appear out of place, on some of my more antiquated riders, but they look just fine on the Norco Magnum Special Edition.  And they are a treat to use when out and about for a ride.

NEXT - RIDING THE NORCO MAGNUM SE

 

 

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