MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

SEKINE SHS270 - INTRO

FINDING THE SHS270

BUILDING THE SHS270

RIDING THE SHS270

 

BICYCLES OF CANADA

 

  

BUILDING THE SEKINE SHS 270

Thought this beautiful Made in Canada Sekine needed little in the way of maintenance, I did strip the bicycle completely.  Both the bottom bracket and head set were thoroughly cleaned, inspected, found to be mechanically perfect and packed with fresh grease.  With the frame set bare, every vestige of dirt was removed and the entire frame set was waxed and polished.  Once the frame had been cleaned and greased, the bottom bracket and head set were installed and adjusted to specification.  The frame was ready and I turned my attention to the components.

There were a few minor decisions that needed to be addressed at the owner's end.  The Sekine's once black but now faded cotton to a mouse grey handlebar tape was still intact.  I asked if they wanted to keep the original tape.  No, they both wanted new handlebar tape installed.  I commented on the choices of tape I could offer, extolling on the benefits of one type over another.  The final choice was a modern cork/rubber cushion combination.  I might add that I use this same tape on my own bikes quite often since it is inexpensive and quite comfortable.  Unfortunately it was a bit of a challenge to wrap the bars since they were not fitted with hoods.  However, a touch of creativity and the bars, safety levers and all did not look too bad once completed.

Shimano supplied the "Titlist" derailleurs and both were incredibly clean.  It was pretty obvious that this bicycle had seen very little use.  The springs were still very tight and the derailleur pulleys showed almost no wear to speak of.

The Shimano shifters are one of the things that I don't like about the middle seventies Sekine bicycles.  The Sekine's "Fingertip" shifters are awful, in my opinion, and I have never liked them.  For my tastes, they are just too long and tend to draw one's attention away from the rest of the bicycle.  That said, the clamp on shifters do work well enough and certainly have that vintage appearance attached.  But they are awfully big!

A Sakae Silver tapered crank delivered power to the five speed cog freewheel.  The 52 teeth on the big ring were considerably less worn than the 40 on the small ring.  These crank sets were pretty much disposable.  Since the big ring was mounted permanently to the drive side crank, the entire unit would have to be replaced when tooth wear became excessive.  There was a inconsistency with the crank set that was somewhat puzzling.

The SHS crank was supposed to be equipped with a pant leg protector but it was missing.  This was not that this is all that bad in the cosmetic sense because the protectors were big and ugly.  But one wonders why it would not be there.  I should add that other SHS models have come my way, some with and some without this ugly accessory.  I can only guess that it had become a supply issue in the Sekine's day.  If there were protectors available, they were installed.  If not, they weren't.  The demand for "Ten Speeds" was pretty high in the early to mid seventies and component supply would likely be interrupted from time to time.  This component availability problem plagued European suppliers also during and for a year or two after the Bike Boom of the early seventies.

The dust caps on the self righting pedals were not all scuffed up on the ends.  That in itself is very unusual, suggesting once again very careful or little use.  The pedals, by the way, are incredibly heavy.  They are actually weighted so that they will always rest in the correct position for easy foot placement.  And they are always waiting in exactly the right position.  Another SHS user friendly feature that accompanied the dual position brake levers and big ugly pant leg protector.

Shimano supplied the center pull "Tourney" brake set.  These center pull brakes were found on a great many bicycles during the seventies.  The "Tourney" was an attractive set-up that worked as well as any other center pull system of the day.  One of the nice things about the Sekine's brake system was the quick release cable guides, front and back.  The little quick release features made it possible to install and remove the wheels without letting the air out of the tires.  This user friendly feature was a very well received upgrade to any brake system.

Long have I lusted for an original Belt saddle.  Though I have seen a couple of Sekine bicycle's fitted with a Brooks B15, the saddle of Sekine choice was leather and made by Belt.  I have always wanted to find one of these saddles for my own Sekine SHT-270.  Well, I am glad that I didn't.  The Belt saddle is every bit as uncomfortable as the Brooks B15 that I at one time installed on my own Sekine.  This is not intended to be a criticism of the saddle itself.  It just didn't work for me.  Another rider might find this butt perch perfect.

Of course, a short ride on a leather saddle is an unfair test of comfort.  Leather saddles break-in and until they do so one can expect a certain amount of discomfort.  The Belt took the discomfort to a new level - for me anyway.

Another thing that I did not like about the original issues items on the SHT was the seat post.  It is the Old School post and clamp arrangement.  This outdated technology is not user friendly, in my opinion.  I am a fairly heavy guy and the old post and clamp set-up will not hold my weight adequately.  The saddle will either tip forward or aft if I am not careful.  It is also prone to rotate on the post, once again imparting a feeling of discomfort.  I would much prefer to see an indexed seat post installed and I did install just such a post on my own SHT 270.

The SHS's running gear was also pretty standard issue and found on many bicycles of mid seventies vintage.  Shimano high flange quick release alloy hubs were laced to Araya 27" x 1 1/4" alloy rims.  Though the rims are nothing special, they are reasonably strong and I have never seen a failed set.  Something that I cannot say about some of the European rims I have come into contact with.

The Shimano hubs, however, were purported to be pretty good units in their day.  One gets visions of the Campagnolo high flange offerings when first viewing these older Asian hub sets.  But that is where any comparison must end!

I rarely see a Campy hub that is worn out.  Campy bearing races, be they the cup or cone, are very tough when compared to their Shimano "wanna-be" counterparts.  In my travels, I have run across one Campagnolo hub worn badly enough to prevent reuse.  Almost every Shimano rear hub I have inspected,  is so badly pitted that I just toss it in the "recycle this" metal pile.  That tells you something about quality.  Quality that proves itself over time.  Or does it?

In all fairness, I have inspected a great many more Shimano hubs than Campy ones.  It stands to reason that I will have come across more worn out ones.  Keep also in mind, that people who buy Campagnolo stuff are usually enthusiasts and tend to maintain their rides well.  The Shimano hub owner might not be the least bit interested in his bicycle, riding it without much thought of maintenance and for transportation purpose only.  The result would be poor maintenance, if any, and rapid wear.

All that said, I run the Shimano hub set on one of my personal bikes, finding performance and dependability factors to be more than adequate.  Properly maintained, these old hub set will do their job just fine.  And it looked as if the hub set on this beautiful old red SHS had been well maintained.  Or more likely, little used.  Both the ball bearings and bearing races were perfect.  They required only a good cleaning, followed by a fresh application of high grade grease.

The SHS did not need to be rebuilt.  All bearing cavities contained grease that had not deteriorated in any way.  This in itself is a bit uncommon for a bicycle that has been allowed to sit for a quarter of a century.  Often time the grease will have dried out considerably, rendering it all but useless as a lubricating compound.  The lesson, of course, is simple.  If you are going to restore any old bicycle, take the time to open up the bearing cavities on the bicycle.  Check bottom bracket, head set and wheel hub bearings carefully, always ensuring to add fresh grease before closing them up again.

NEXT - RIDING THE SEKINE SHS 270

 

 

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