MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

MONTEREY SL - INTRO

FINDING THE MONTEREY SL

BUILD & RIDE THE SL

 

BICYCLES OF CANADA

 

BUILDING & RIDING THE MONTEREY SL

The Monterey would not be built up for anything other than testing purposes.  The purpose of the test would be two fold.  First, to ensure that the bicycle tracked well and second, that everything was in sound working order.

Most bicycle test riding spans a month or two, giving the bicycle full opportunity to display both its vices and virtues.  However, when a bicycle is one that does not fit the tester well, little effort is made to study and compare ride quality.  Ride quality is a product of the bicycle, its components and how both interact with the rider.  If the bicycle is too small for the rider, it is impossible to properly evaluate ride quality.

The first thing to do, when evaluating the mechanical state of repair of an old bicycle, particularly an old and fragile road bicycle, is to check out the frame and fork integrity.  Put another way, the bicycle must first be looked over in an effort to determine if the frame or fork set is bent, cracked or even dented.

After critically studying the Monterey from both sides, the front, rear and looking down on it from above, there was no visible evidence of any unwanted bends, breaks or dents.  The frame and fork, other than sporting a time collected patina of dust, was in near perfect condition.  Near perfect means structurally sound but dirty or cosmetically challenged.

The Norco was dirty, to say the least, but the cosmetics were quite good, sporting few paint chips or scratches and minimal oxidation.  The art was just fine with little evidence of damage over the bicycle's near thirty years of hanging around, and that is about all the bicycle did - hang around, in storage in some hidden from the light storage space.

Next on the check it right away list was the seat post and steering stem.  Often time, one or the other, can become miserably seized into place thanks to the oxidation that presents itself over the years.  Removing stuck stems and seat posts can be a trying experience, and even damaging, done incorrectly.  But the Norco's post and stem were free moving even though there was very little evidence that either had been installed with a thin layer of grease protecting fit areas.

With those "first to consider" things out of the way, the bike went into the work stand for a complete inspection and testing of all components.  The transmission would be shifted through its entire gear range many times, and adjusted as required in preparation for the test ride.  The brakes, front and back, would be tested, observed and adjusted as required.  With those mechanical considerations out of the way, the next focus would be on rolling elements - bearings.

The chain was slipped from the crank rings.  Removing the chain allows the mechanic to better feel the bearings in the bottom bracket.  Any slop, or roughness, can more easily be detected with the chain removed.  But the Norco's bottom bracket was properly adjusted, offering only the slightest hint of play and it rotated smoothly, suggesting both proper tune and adequate lubrication.

This same sort of procedure is also applied to both wheel hubs and the head set.  Once again, the bearing assemblies turned freely, smoothly and without showing any signs of excessive play (slop).

With mechanical function checked, every fastener, every nut and bolt on the bicycle was checked to ensure that all was properly torqued into place.  A loose nut or bolt might well cause an accident.  A loose quick release skewer will cause an accident, as was the case with an early eighties Olmo Grand Prix, acquired years earlier.

Once satisfied that all was in sound working order and safe to put on the road, attention was turned to cleaning the Monterey SL up, in preparation to attempting to find it a new home.  Clean up involves removing both wheels, and then waxing the entire surface of the bicycle's frame and fork set.  Wax also covers any chrome or plated surfaces, other than those that brake pads work on.  It would make little sense to wax a braking surface since doing so would severely and negatively impact braking efficiencies.

Any oxidized alloy would be quickly cleaned with either a soft bristle brass brush and/or a nylon scouring pad, the kind used for washing dishes and the like.  That same set of tools can be used to clean off the oxidized material that often time presents itself on plated spokes.

Any chrome plating would be cleaned with both the brush and scouring pad.  Next, the chrome would be rubbed with a piece of crumpled up aluminum foil, a really great chrome plating cleaning tool.  And finally, all chrome would be treated to a coat of wax.

With the cleaning, tuning and adjusting completed, the saddle would be adjusted to best fit the rider, which in this case means all the way to the top of its adjustment limits.  The handle bars would be set to the most appropriate height possible, considering adjustment limitations, and the bicycle would be taken out for its test ride.

The Norco rode very well, pulling neither left or right, suggesting that the frame set's integrity had been uncompromised during the bicycle's life.  Put another way, nothing was bent.  The components did their jobs well, with the transmission needing only a minor tweaking to get it working just right.  Everything proved to be working as intended.

And that was the test ride for the Norco Monetery SL.  About a half hour on the road, and put through every mechanical test one could think of, in preparation to offer the bicycle to a new owner somewhere and someday.

   

 

 

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