MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

1975 SEKINE TL35F - INTRO

FINDING THE TL35F

INSPECTING THE SEKINE TL35F

 

BICYCLES OF CANADA

  

INSPECTING THE SEKINE TL35F

The first thing I noticed about the Sekine was the complete and original accessory package - alloy fenders, luggage rack, side stand and even the Porter style handlebars, again alloy, were fitted to the bicycle.  Next, the cosmetics fell to my scrutiny.  The paint was all but flawless and the art, almost like the day it rolled out of the factory.  Sadly, that was not saying quite as much as I would like.  The seat post decal had been applied poorly, during manufacture, and that application flaw reached me forty years later.

But, other than that manufacturing flaw, the rest of the bicycle was in great and, obviously, little used condition. The drive and transmission were pretty fundamental.  Five cogs on the rear hub, driven by a single ring on the cranks made this old Touring Bike a five speed, by definition in those days.

The frame and fork set is hardly anything special.  No decal suggests that the tubing is anything worth noting.  Steel tubing with stamped steel drops, front and back, is all that is offered.  That said, the old Sekine frames, be they entry level or of the highest quality, were well made and cleanly assembled units.  And, for what it is worth, the cosmetics held up quite well over the years.  This is, in part, to the paint process employed by Sekine.  That said, it is unusual to find an old Sekine with all of the down tube decals in place.  The individually attached letters had a habit of releasing over time.

The transmission consisted of a single Shimano 500 rear derailleur and a basic friction thumb shifter mounted on the handlebar.  Simple, yet remarkably effective.  Though the gears are few, the range, thanks to the rear cog set, is great.  This lovely old bicycle would have few problems with the hills that undulate through and around Thunder Bay.

The alloy cranks and steel ring offer a good street compromise between weight and strength.  The alloy arms do offer a slight weight reduction over the lesser all steel cottered cranks found on the closer to the bottom of the line Sekine models.  But the steel ring, with proper maintenance, will last just about forever.  Naturally, as a recreational or, using the word very loosely, touring bike, the crank ring was fitted with a pant leg protector.  This accessory was installed on almost every Sekine to come off of the assembly line.  Of course, higher end models would sport an alloy pant protector ring.

The alloy tapered crank arms were one of the main things that distinguishes the TL35F from its lesser sibling, the TL55F, Sekine's bottom of the line offering at the time.

The Sekine 35 sported brake callipers, common to many bicycles manufactured during the Sekine's day.  Fitted with the Shimano Tourney side pull stoppers, the bicycle was well prepared to slow down.  Again, this was one of the features that define the TL35F from its lesser sister.  The TL55F was fitted with chrome plated steel side pulls, weighing considerably more than the alloy ones mounted on the thirty five.

The brake levers, on the TL35F, however, are steel, not alloy.  Though I would prefer alloy, the steel ones look OK and are easy to reach and pull.  Still, alloy would have been much more appreciated.

An original Sekine mattress saddle perches atop a steel post and clamp assembly.  These Old School posts and separate clamps are heavy, a pain to install and, often times, fail to keep the saddle in position.  But that is what was available at the time and original to the bicycle.  I suppose that the saddle, and even its mounting system, adds somewhat to the antiquated appearance of the bicycle.  I will add one thing and do so with care.  These old saddles are pretty comfortable for short hauls around town.  Keep in mind, and this is the caution part, that last comment in my opinion and not supportable (pardon the pun) fact.

All in all, the control center, and this includes the saddle, is a pretty comfortable affair.  Everything is with easy reach.  The upright sitting position is just fine for around town, short rides, use.  The step through design is very practical for just about anyone, be they young or old, like me.  Finally, the vintage appeal oozes from this old bicycle, scoring high points, in my book.

The Sekine Step Through employs the same steering stem as its lesser and greater siblings.  The SR embossed stem is well made and nicely finished.  The embossment adds vintage appeal, however; I would prefer one with a bit longer reach.  The short stem tends to quicken the feel of the bicycle almost to the point of imparting twitchiness.

As was the case with many entry to mid level road bicycles sold in the seventies, the wheels were of 27" diameter, sporting 27" x 1 1/4" tires.  This set up, filled with thorn resistant inner tubes, makes for near flat proof skins.  Many thousands of mile, have I ridden on 27 inchers, fitted with such tires and inner tubes, and rarely have I had a flat.  In fact, now that I think of it and this is the first time I have thought about it, I cannot remember ever having to repair a flat on a bicycle, so equipped.

Shimano high flange nutted alloy hubs, lace to the steel rims with galvanized spokes was another characteristic common to many bicycles sold in the seventies.  The lowest offering were steel hubbed.  The TL35F, like the bulk of the Sekine line-up, sported the alloy high flange units.  Nice hubs, both mechanically and aesthetically.  Again, opinion about how they look.  However, these Old School hubs did little to improve the performance, or reduce the overall weight, of a thirty one and a half pound steed.  But they do look good and the same hubs were fitted right up to the second from top of the line Sekine SHT270.

The Step Through sported the same pedals found on most models.  The "weighted" units were designed to always right themselves, in preparation for the next engagement.  The idea is sound and the pedals are easy to use.  They are also quite comfortable for me, however; there is an operative word in their name - "weighted".

Extra weight, quite a bit actually, was place on the bottom of the assembly.  This, coupled with gravity, tended to right the pedals, immediately, when not in use.  Sadly, the company that made the pedals cheaped out on the chrome plating.  Rarely is it that a cosmetically fine set of these "weighted" pedals show up in The Old Shed.

All in all, though the Sekine Ladies Deluxe Touring is a nice bicycle and in excellent condition, it is, none the less, an entry level steed.  However, entry level or not, the old bicycle is still quite capable of delivering a pretty decent ride quality, that will reek of vintage appeal.

 

 

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