MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

ALLEZ PRO - INTRO

FINDING THE ALLEZ PRO

BUILDING THE ALLEZ PRO

RIDING THE ALLEZ PRO

 

BICYCLES OF USA

 

BUILDING THE SPECIALIZED ALLEZ PRO

To be honest, I never did get really excited about the Specialized.  The bicycle was a bit too new for my tastes and remained parked on a hook, in the back of the Old Shed for the better part of a year.  Additionally, the Pro had a dent in the down tube of the frame set.  The dent was caused by the side pull brake calliper.  Such dents are quite common on high end vintage road bicycles.  That single dent all but dissolved my interest in the bicycle, as a collectable piece.

It was not until early Spring the next year that I decided to build the Pro up as a "Junk Bike".  That term, "Junk Bike" is not intended to be critical of any bicycle.  My "Junk Bike" will most likely be of very high quality, cosmetically challenged and for my day to day use.  I like to have something to ride, in the inclement and unpredictable weather, that Thunder Bay sometimes has to offer.  Roads are always wet, in the Spring and much of that wetness is salt saturated.  Salt is used, in huge quantities during the winter, to melt ice and snow on road ways.  This makes it possible for us Northerners to get around - all year round.  And, in the Spring of the year, the residual salt will attack delicate alloy surfaces, causing oxidation and pitting, in fairly short order.  Riding a good bicycle in Thunder Bay, under such conditions, is foolish and costly.  I might add, that the possibility of falling is somewhat increased also, if one is not paying attention to the road's surface, that is sometimes coated with frost or ice.

Building the Allez Pro was a straight forward task.  I stripped the frame set and measured it up, to ensure that it was not bent or structurally challenged, in any way.  Other than the one down tube dent, the frame set proved to be true and sound.

After ensuring that the frame set was structurally sound, I selected an assortment of components that did not necessarily have to, match.  Function is always the driving factor in a "Junk Bike" build, with aesthetics pursued when possible.  I could careless how a "Junk Bike" looks.  In fact, the worse looking the better, if theft prevention is part of the "Junk Bike" goal.  It was, however, important for everything to work and work well together.  After all, I was building the Pro for my day to day rides and I wanted the bicycle to operate flawlessly.  I also wanted the bicycle to be as "user friendly" as I could get it, since a "Junk Bike" and I usually spend a lot of "city time" together.  Comfort, coupled with ease of use, are two important considerations for such a build.

As it turned out, I happened to have a somewhat cosmetically challenged Shimano Exage Sport grouppo, tucked away, for who knows what.  The who knows what thing turned out to be fitting the Specialized Pro build.  The Exage Sport grouppo is a nice set and very user friendly.  The only thing that I do not like about the grouppo is the Biopace crank rings.  Ug!  But, since this was a city, day to day ride, the impact of these stupid rings would not have that much impact on ride quality.

Lots of city riding, means lots of stop and go, with the emphasis on STOP!  If there is one thing a city bike needs, it is good brakes and my "Junk Bike" is always my city bike too.  With that in mind, I selected a set of Shimano Exage Sport stoppers.  The aero levers were in nice shape, hoods intact and the callipers require very little effort actuate.  Stopping power is excellent, when compared to many of the Old School brake systems commonly found on vintage road bicycles.  Additionally, the Specialized was new enough to warrant the use of such brakes, without them looking out of place.

Since the Exage levers were already mounted on handlebars, I decided to use the bars "as found", old handlebar tape and all.  Actually, the cushioned tape had developed a patina of age through use, and looked exactly right, on the bicycle.  The bars were my width and the stem reach all but perfect for my fit.  I couldn't even complain about the brake lever placement.  Lucky me.

With the stopping problems addressed, my attention turned to the transmission.  Since the grouppo was already Shimano Exage Sport, I decided to install a matching tranny.  The twelve speed transmission offered indexed shifting, as opposed to the Old School friction style.  If properly set-up, the user friendliness of the indexed system is far more sensible, for the busy traffic conditions that one experiences when commuting to and from the work place.  The rear derailleur was nicely scuffed up and scuffed up is what I was after for a "Junk Bike".  Scuffed up, dirty and ugly are great ways to help prevent theft, at times.  And I emphasize "at times".

It matters little how rough a bicycle looks when a would be "thief  of opportunity" approaches.  Most bicycle thefts are crimes of convenience.  The thief could care less what the bicycle he is taking looks like.  He, or she, is interested only in the convenience of a single ride, from here to there.  Once there is reached, the stolen bicycle will be dropped and forgotten.  This story is incredibly common.  Lock you bicycle up every single time that you leave it unattended.  Even if you are just zipping in and out of a convenience store for whatever!

A set of Exage cranks and bio-pace rings delivered power to the six speed and fairly wide range cog set.  The 52/42 ring combination is both popular and versatile.  The elliptical Shimano Biopace crank rings are not to my liking, nor to anyone else's apparently since they are no longer made.  That said, the Exage crank set did go with the rest of the components, was in good mechanical condition and would serve my commuting purpose well enough.

The Biopace ring set is egg shaped in design.  Some rocket surgeon decided that the elliptical shape was, on paper at least, supposed to optimize leg power.  Perhaps yes, perhaps no.  I really don't know.  What I do know is that when rpm's increase, so does the bicycle's desire to hop.  The uneven ring set seems to instil an imbalance to rotating elements.  This result is anything but desirable, when trying to maintain a high cadence.  The faster one pedals, the more the bicycle wants to hop or bounce.  But at commuting speeds, this is not a problem.

Next, a good set of sturdy wheels are in order for a "Junk Bike".  High quality wheel sets are a no-no for a city bike, since the quality wheels will present an increased level of interest to a serious bike thief.  Serious bike thieves are people who look for quality bicycles, that can be swiped and sold for a profit.  Leaving a really good bicycle chained up in the same place, day in and day out, is a great way to loose your good ride.  Sooner or later, a serious thief will realize the opportunity and take advantage of it.  And if a serious thief wants your bicycle, say goodbye.  Your bicycle will soon be his.

I happened to have a fairly decent set of "not so special" wheels for the Specialized.  Sunshin low flange alloy quick release hubs, laced to Araya alloy rims and the rims had spoke load-spreading eyelets.  The wheel set was fully rebuilt, lubricated, trued and stress relieved, prior to installation.  I have used these wheel sets before, without incident, and recommend them for most general uses.  The rims are strong and the brake surfaces wear well.  The Sunshin hubs are easy to work on and have proved to be quite durable, offering minimal drag and long life if properly maintained.

Any bike, that I ride a lot, has to have a decent seat post installed!  The old, steel pipe and saddle clamp assemblies do not work well for a fellow as heavy as I am.  The Old School post often allows the saddle to rotate, one way or the other, in the horizontal plane.  Additionally, the saddle clamp will actually slip, allowing the saddle to tip forward or aft.  With these Old School saddle post and clamp deficiencies in mind, and since an indexed post was in order anyway for this particular vintage, a nice alloy indexed post was selected.  The post would support an old, and somewhat worn, no-name, suede saddle.  I might add that this old saddle had found its way onto more than one "Junk Bike" that I have owned and ridden for a season.

With the component grouppo determined and installed, all that was left to do was tune the systems.  Brakes clearances were set and double checked.  The transmission was work stand adjusted and waiting for finishing touches, on the road.  Starting saddle height, angle, and fore/aft locations were determined and locked into place, once again in preparation for on the road adjustments.  The only thing that worried me was brake lever placement.

Normally, I test ride a bicycle a few times before taping a set of handlebars.  During the test riding, I test not only how the bicycle works but also how well it fits.  It often takes several small adjustments to get a proper sized bicycle to fit me.  And adjusting sometimes means moving the position of the brake levers.  That option was not present this build, since I had gone with the original handlebar tape to begin with.

Since the handlebar issue was not to be an issue, I installed my mountain bike pedals, pocketed my fit and tune tools and took off.  The Specialized and I were on our first way.

NEXT - RIDING THE SPECIALIZED ALLEZ PRO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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