Bike Restoration

Several times last year, I told my friends that I was going to get my road bike back on the road. On Saturday morning, looking at a long ride on pavement to Lockport on Sunday, I decided to go forward with the project.
The bike is a Kuwahara Apollo. I bought it around 1979 or 1980. I rode it actively for a few years, but my cycling dropped off after 1982. It has a high quality Chrome-moly frame, and good wheels and components. The basics to get it roadworthy were new tires and tubes. 20 years of sitting in the basement had dried out the rubber and made the old ones pretty unreliable. The tires had seen some wear too. In view of the prevalence of sharp stones and other road hazards on Winnipeg roads, I went into the mid-market for tires and bought Armadillos. I bought new tubes, and a spare to carry on trips.
The next item was a seat post. The bike came with a short post and I had extended it past the safety mark to get proper leg extension. I’m not sure why I didn’t take care of this when I bought the bike. New alloy seat posts are cheap – but they tend to be pretty long to match the geometry of modern frames which call for long seat posts. A quick cut with a hacksaw and I had a post that was properly seated in the frame. I got a rear rack. I carry a rack pack or panniers with spare tubes, a few tools, lights, snacks, headband for cold weather, rain cover for helmet etc. I will not be racing this bike – I will be using it for long rides on pavement and I want to be safe. I looked at the brakes. Shimano calipers. Nothing wrong with them but the brakes pads were worn and the rubber was probably dry. However fiddling with brakes can get time consuming so I decided to leave that task for another day.
The drive train seemed fine. The gear teeth were in good shape. Twelve speeds doesn’t sound like enough in the modern era, but it is. I had wondered about changing the shifters to modern indexed shifters. The front shifter had been tricky all along – it didn’t hold in the outer position over my big front ring. As I read about it, I learned that there is a simple adjustment to a tension screw to fix this.
The pedals were built for clips and old fashioned bike shoes with a grooved cleat. They had little posts on the inner and outer edges to hold a narrow racing shoe. That made them hard to use with the bike shoes I have now, and hopeless with any kind of general purpose shoe. So new pedals were required. And while I was at it, I might as well get clipless pedals. Gooch’s bike shop has a sale so I saved a little there. I got Shimano pedals with a platform on one side and cleat locks on the other. I spent a few hours replacing the tires and tubes, repacking the wheel bearings, cleaning and lubing the chain, installing the rack and installing the new pedals.
The bike felt good on the Sunday morning ride our Sunday morning ride to Lockport. I had to shift in the saddle a bit to get comfortable and I thought of making some adjustments but by the end of the ride I was comfortable again. I realized quickly that I need to replace the brake pads. The brakes worked but wailed like pan pipes played by a goose with a sinus condition. The cloth tape on the handlebars is frayed and uncomfortable and needs to be replaced. The water bottle cage was pretty shaky. I can add a second cage to the seat tube if I carry my tire pump strapped to the top tube with velco straps. These are all small and simple repairs. I may want to get a longer front stem. The cost of parts adds up, but it is a good bike and I don’t want to buy a new one when I already own a good bike.
There is no doubt that a road bike is more efficient for a long ride. As Steve has posted, it was a windy day. The road bike allows or forces a rider into a dropped position, and the thin tires (23 mm) offer far less rolling resistance that touring (35 mm) and mountain bike cleated fatties.
Complaining about the wind, and the narrow shoulders and the ignorant drivers on Henderson Highway is part of life. I complain during the rides and I will probably complain about it in the future because I will take that ride again. Lockport is a nice ride on a sunny Sunday.


One response to “Bike Restoration”

  1. “…like pan pipes played by a goose with a sinus condition” That’s a keeper! 🙂