Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Peugeot PX-10E Singlespeed Conversion, Continued

It's done! Here's the finished singlespeed conversion...

After my first post, I discovered that a 45/17 gear ratio was still just a bit too big (must be my age!), so the bike now has a 42-toothed chain ring on the crank.

In addition, I've added:

(Purchased from Rivendell Bicycle Works...)

1. Nitto "Periscopa" handlebar stem
2. Nitto "Dove" handlebars
3. "Miesha's" Cork Grips
4. Mountain Bike Brake Levers

(Purchased from the Bicycle Outfitter in Los Altos...)

5. Seatpost (26.4 mm diameter, 350 mm long)
6. Brooks B67 Saddle (Honey)
7. Bell for Handlebar
8. Kickstand

Some notes...

1. The diameter of the PX-10E forks is too small (by just a slight amount) to accept the standard 22.2 mm handlebar stem diameter. Sandpapering the stem to reduce its diameter fixed this problem.

2. The cork grips have been glued to the handlebars (per Rivendell's recommendation), but glue was only applied to the surface of the plugs at either end of the handlebars (and to the mating surface at the rear of each cork grip's cavity), rather than along the handlebar surface itself. Hopefully this will make grip removal (should it ever be necessary) a bit easier.

3. The cork grips have been shellaced with two coats of clear shellac (per Rivendell's recommendation).

4. I had hoped to install a Brooks B66 saddle (my Raleigh 5 speed has one, and it's very comfortable if you're riding upright), but when I tried to install the saddle from my Raleigh (as a test), I discovered that it didn't fit! It turns out that, although the original saddle on the PX-10E was also a Brooks saddle, its rails were slightly closer together (in spacing) than those on a modern B66 saddle. Also -- the French "Simplex" seatpost had its "rail cups" welded on, so I couldn't simply clamp the B66 to it like I'd clamped it to the Raleigh seatpost.

So...if I wanted a more comfortable saddle, I needed to also replace the original seatpost with a modern seatpost that could accommodate modern saddles.

No problem! A new 26.4mm diameter seatpost fit into the frame's seat tube perfectly, and a Brooks B67 (essentially a B66 look-alike, but with rails designed for today's modern seatposts) adds the comfort I desired.

5. OK -- a kickstand is really "old school," but if you're doing any around-town riding (shopping, etc.), they're great to have. And, of course, a bell is handy for getting the attention of inattentive pedestrians or drivers.

All in all, it's turned out to be a pretty nice looking bike. And much lighter than the Raleigh 5 speed, too!

There might be one more addition in the future, and that would be a basket on the front (e.g. like my Raleigh's basket). But that'll wait for another day...

...and that day has just arrived! Took a ride up to the Campus Bike Store at Stanford to pick up a basket. I'm happy: the bike handled nicely on the trip there and back, and now...I'm ready to buy groceries!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Raleigh Sprite 27 5-speed

Here's a picture of the Raleigh "Sprite 27" 5-speed that I picked up on ebay earlier this year. It was in surprisingly good condition. As you can see in the picture, I've added to it the basket, a bell, new handgrips (the original grips were very hard and would become painful during long bike rides), and a new, more comfortable saddle.

The new saddle is a Brooks B66, which replaces the original, uncomfortable saddle that arrived with the bike. It's a vast improvement both in comfort and in looks. (By the way, the Brooks saddle wasn't cheap -- it cost me more than the bike did!)

I use it mainly for around-town riding (to the grocery or book store, for example), but it really is a bit too heavy if riding, say, to have lunch with a friend who's about 7 miles away. Which is why I'm now working on my singlespeed conversion...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Peugeot PX-10E Singlespeed Conversion, Part 1

Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Today I've started converting my brother's old Peugeot PX-10E road bike (that he used to race back in '72) to a "singlespeed" (freewheel, not fixed) bike for around-town riding. Here's a picture of it part way through the process:

There's a new wheel on back with a freewheel/17-tooth cog. I've just pulled off all of the gear-shifting components (revealing a bit of rust, but otherwise giving the bike a nice, clean look). Front chain-ring is a 45, which, at the moment, seems to be a good compromise between the original 52/42 pair when used with the 17 rear cog.

The bike only really needed a new rear wheel (with a track hub to keep the chain in line) -- my brother already had the 45-toothed chain-ring. I purchased this and a matching front-wheel (yet-to-be-installed) from the Bicycle Shop Santa Cruz -- the wheels were less expensive than if I had purchased a pair of Velocity or Weinmann wheels (they had been pulled off an SE single-speed bike: Alex rims and SE hubs -- perhaps from an "SE 700C Lager" bicycle?), and I prefer the more classic look of the Alex rims to the "deep-v" rims one often sees on fixies.

The chainline between the outer chain-ring position and the freewheel matches up very nicely, so no weird gyrations were needed to get them to match. Overall, it's been a VERY painless conversion thus far.

The handlebar tape is shredded, so it ought to be replace, but I'm seriously considering changing the handlebars and seat so that the bike can be ridden in a more upright stance -- perhaps add a Brooks B66 saddle and Nitto Albatross or Dove handlebars. Hey, I'm getting old!

Brakes are the original Mafac centerpulls, which I'll keep on the bike. Crank is an old Campagnolo -- probably one that I pulled off of my Pogliaghi after my headon-with-car crash back in the late '80's (after which I borrowed my brother's PX-10E). At least, this makes sense to me, for although I no longer recall swapping out the crank, I just found a Stronglight crankset in my bike junkbox, which undoubtedly was from the Peugeot.