Monday, July 21, 2014

1984 Trek Touring Bike- FOR SALE $295.00

Last summer I purchased this Trek 720 from a young man who "just wanted closure." The bike had belonged to his girl friend's dad. She brought the bike with her when the two of them moved in together. In the course of time, he accidentally backed into it in the garage and folded the front fork- a sign of what was to come in their relationship. It was then that the bike began to get "picked at" by the young man's friends. First the brooks saddle, then the front canti-brakes, the seat post. . .

When I arrived on the scene to rescue this rig, the couple had proverbially "run into one another" several times and their relationship had derailed.

He was left with the bike and as I said, "just wanted closure."

Closure he got. And, in turn, what I got was a bike with a bent fork, missing front brakes, seat and post. Additionally, his closure opened to me a new bike (let's call it pre-owned) with a frozen stem, shredded bar tape, toasted cables and housing, hoods that had somehow melted to the "bake" levers... yeah, closure.

Let's just say that this classic touring rig which was the flag ship of touring bikes for Trek in 1984, had seen better days.

However, on the upside, the frame was solid, beautiful even, the wheels straight and true, the derailleurs looked great, and it had a very nice set of Suntour Bar Con bar end shifters that no one could figure out how to pilfer.

I took the poor girl home pretty excited about what it could look like fully restored.

The big challenge with this Trek was bringing it back to life while keeping it period correct. Yes, I could have stripped it and just built it back up with new components or parted it out. But, a barbarian I am not. A purist, perhaps, but, not one to separate what should not be separated.

I have spent the past 9 months looking for a 1 inch threaded fork with a 9 inch fork tube and canti-mounts- it has been like looking for a yellow Zebra. After searching both the inter-web as well every inch of Karynicks here in Pittsburgh, I found nothing. But to my relief, last month I finally found a beautiful chrome fork at Thick Bikes. Chris, the owner, agreed to sell it to me. Let the build begin!

First, the beautiful Cinelli Stem which was forzen to the fork tube had to be cut off in order to remove the fork.

That lead to me having to find a stem that would fit the 22.0 fork tube. That then lead me to have to abandon using the original Cinelli Bars because they only fit Cinelli Stems.

I once fixed a board on a porch that lead to replacing the support beams, which lead to replacing the railings, which lead to having to pour new footings for a foundation. Yeah, one thing leads to another whether it be pilfering, break ups, porches or rescuing and restoring a classic touring bike.

At any rate, I found a worthy SR Stem and a fine pair of SR Road Champion bars at Kraynicks that polished up really nicely. Also at Kraynicks I was able to find the exact seat tube (SR Laprade) that came on the 720 from the factory. Last week, I picked up a NOS Brooks Saddle that looks great on this build. New Kenda Tires, new bar tape, cables, housing, and a set Shimano Deore XT Canti's and this rig was ready to go.

Of course, every piece of this bike has been taken apart and serviced, or polished, or adjusted, and then reassembled and tuned. I have taken every effort to make this bike period correct and was even able to put some vintage leather toe straps on it today for the first test ride.

Light with a plush ride, there is a reason that the 720's are highly sought after by collectors and hardcore touring aficionados. Just under 8,000 720's and 728's were manufactured between 1980 and 1985- the 720 is indeed a Yellow Zebra.

This bike is large. Standover height is 33 to 34 and the bb to top of seat tube height is 24 inches or 62 cm. She has an amazingly long rear end at 48 cm making this a great rig for hauling heavy loads, groceries, a B.O.B Trailer etc. I am a leggy 6 foot five inches and this bike fits me like a well worn glove. So only folk 6 foot plus should apply unless you have freakishly long legs and a tiny torso.

This 720 retains its original paint and decals. The burgundy fleck paint has very few chips. However, there is paint decay around the cable brazes on the top tube and one under the top tube the size of a penny. Not sure about the cause. This obviously does not affect the ability of this frame to perform.

Frame: Reynolds 531 ST Double Butted Cromoly
Bottom Bracket Lugs: Trek Investment Cast with Integral Cable Guides
Seat Lugs: Trek Investment Cast
Rear Drop Outs: Shimano SF With Double Eyelets
Fork: Cromoly Vintage Era Correct Replacement Fork With Canti Bosses

Headset: Stronglight A9 Alloy
Bar End Shifters: Suntour Bar Con
Cranks: Shimano M600 Touring 3 Ring 48T42T 32T
Pedals: SE SP II Platform
Hubs: Malliard
Rear Brakes: Shimano XT Cantilevers
Rims: Matrix Titan
Spokes: Stainless Steel
Seatpost: SR Laprade
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore
Front Derailleur: Simplex Super

Stem: SR Short
Bars: SR Road Champion Alloy
Tires: NEW Kenda 27 X 1 3/8
Chain: NEW KMC
Seat: NOS Brooks
Front Brakes: NOS Shimano XT Cantilevers (circa 1995)
Brake Levers: Diacompe
Bottom Bracket: Tange Sealed
Bar Tape: NEW Serfas Black Flake Cork
Cables and Hosuing: NEW Jagwire

Monday, July 14, 2014

2002 Specialized Hemi MX BMX Bike, Orange- SOLD

2002 Specialized Hemi monocoque aluminum frame in orange and black. This bike has been fully serviced, cleaned, polished and tuned and is ready to ride.

Frame: Monocoque Specialized A1 aluminum frame with American Bottom Bracket and 3/8 drop with original paint and decals; has a small dent in the rear drop on non-drive side but does not affect performance of the frame.
Fork: Specialized Chromoly, unicrown crown with 3/8 drop outs

Crankset Specialized three piece, 44 teeth Specialized sprocket with sealed bearings
Pedals: Specialized aluminum platform
Chain: KMC Z-30, 1/2 x 3/32"
Seatpost: Specialized aluminum, 30.9mm diameter
Saddle: Specialized Branded Racing- has two knicks in the leather
Handlebar: GT Cromoloy 2 piece
Grips: Demolition
Stem: Specialized aluminum
Headset: 1 1/8" threadless Aheadset SX-1 sealed
Brakes: Tektro SBB-92 rear brakes, Tektro SBL-19 rear levers
Hubs: Front: Specialized Wide Load, Rear: Specialized aluminum
Rims: Alex X-303, 36-hole
Tires: Front: 20 x 2.125" Specialized Spanky, Rear: 20 x 2.125 Odyssey Path

What Vintage E-Bikes Will We Be Seeking in 30 Years?

First, when the largest bike manufacturer of great bikes enters the market with an electric bike, you know electric bikes are going to at least have a presence in the world of main stream biking in the next ten years. Specialized has just launched their Turbo E-bike and the ripple effect that this will have on biking and electric bikes is going to be significant. 

Secondly, when E-bikes start looking like bikes instead of freakish experiments, you know the bike world is beginning to absorb yet another bit of technology that might just change what we see as a legitimate way to bike in the future. 

Third, when the vintage style of board bikes and whizzers starts to appear in E-bike design, you know that the artists have a desire to shape the way we see these hybrids. And, with all of that said, I believe that E-bikes will have a significant place in the history of biking in the next 25 to 30 years. 

Here are 4 E-bikes that look like bikes, are light weight and have a very lovely aesthetic.

1. Specialized Turbo
The Specialized has a lot to offer. It looks like a bike and is made by a bike company for bikers. But, it was built around its battery and many of the components were built for this bike so it is also 100% e-bike. But, it is also lightweight compared to many of the 80 pounders out there that look like something that evolved from a geriatric scooter. At $6000.00, this bike will really test whether the e-bike will break into the market and make e-bikes something that the bicycle community will adopt in the coming years.  Regardless of whether it makes it in the market or not, I will definitely be looking out for one of these to restore in 30 years!

2. Faraday Porteur
I am in love. The Faraday is first a bike, then a utility bike, and then an e-bike. From the wood slat fenders to the Brooks saddle, to internal rear hub to the double top tubes that serve as lithium battery holders just like a mag light, this bike screams, "I am beautiful!" as it rolls to the store to pick up the day's groceries. Like the Specialized, it is light. However, it is also a perfect blend of utility and style. And, finally, it costs 3,500.00.

3. Prodotech Titanio 29er
Well, as you can see, this very lightweight titanium rig is all bike. It just happens to have a little bit of boost via some e-power. And, that is what brings it into this list. There is something very appealing about this bike not being an e-bike. It is a bike. Electricity takes a back seat and at 31 pounds and $5,000.00 with top end components, it is a very charming e bike indeed.

4. Oto Otuk. 
Well, it is not a bike. It is a motorcycle. Well, it is actually not a motorcycle it is a board bike. But, it does not have a motor and it is not 90 years old. It is an "e-cycle" and a beautiful example of the way the bike has been synthesized over the past hundred year as part horse, part motorcycle, part bicycle, part e-bike. Cool! It will be highly sought after in the coming years, I think.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

From 67 dollars to 6,700 dollars: What makes a bike a bike?

What is the difference between a new Huffy Superia and a new Cervala R5 bicycle. Well, the most striking difference is $6,630.00. Wait, what? Yes. With a coupon, you can get a Huffy Superia mountain bike at your local Waldors for $67.00. And, for $6,700.00 you can get a Cervala R5 before tax. For most of us, the $6,700.00 sounds more like a car payment than what we would pay for a bicycle. And, for some of us, the $67.00 sounds just as crazy considering an afternoon trip to the local bike store to grab a few replacement parts often equals 67 dollars (I have spent more on A TIRE).

Cervala R5 at $6,700.00

Huffy Superia at $67.00

So, what accounts for such a striking difference. There are a myriad of things. But here are my top three.

1. Use

Cervala- If you want to race at a professional level on the roads of France, the Cervala is a great option. It is extremely light, durable, and will handle high speeds and the brutal test of navigating winding roads with other bikes just inches away. It is a serious machine for a serious athlete.

Huffy- If you want a bike that you slap onto the trunk rack of your minivan to ride the rails to trails once or twice a year, or a bike to leave at the summer house that can be taken to the beach, the Huffy could be a good option; especially if you need to by one for the whole family (three to five bikes). For you, bikes are not a passion or a priority. You use Solo cups once or twice a year when you host a big party. You use a bike twice a year when you have time for group recreation.

2. Craftsmanship
Cervala- This bike uses complex metals like Titanium as well as complex material like carbon fiber. These substances are costly to produce. This bike also features state of the art frame design that incorporates, physiology and physics to allow human performance and machinery to meld together in amazing ways. With hand made wheels, beautifully sealed bearings  and exquisitely machined components these bikes are seriously light and strong and make a rider feel like a god when in the saddle. In their review, Bicycling magazine said, “The handling is sharp and communicative in a way that transcends 'confidence-inspiring' and becomes giddy fun.” This bike is made to perform and can do so at a world class level for thousands of miles.

Huffy-With wafer thin steel brakes, wheels made by a machine for a machine, and rubber that is often so poor in quality it can make a person feel sick if stuck in the back of a hot van for too long, it really doesn’t get cheaper than this. Consider the hundreds of moving parts on a bicycle.  Now just think what it takes for a manufacturer to be able to produce a bike with a front and rear derailleur, chain, spokes, hubs, bearings, tires, stem, seat, seat clamp, shifters, peddles, cranks, bottom bracket, cables, housing, bars, stem, frame and for ( plus their marketing) and still be able to create a high quality bike. It is not possible! In order for Huffy to bring a bike from the factory to the consumer, and still make money, the must create a bike that is close to being disposable. Huffy’s are heavy, sluggish, clunky, and unreliable as a bike that one would ride regularly, vigorously, or aggresively. They disintegrate when ridden roughly, used as commuters, weekly riders and even when used monthly. Their wheels are not able to stay true if placed under pressure, braking can be poor, shifting is reliable but slow, and the bikes are like tanks in the area of lightness. But, considering many consumers only use their bike 10 to 20 times during the life of their bike (lets say 100 miles), the Huffy is not a terrible choice. That is why so many sell.

3. Marketing

Cervala- I once heard a very seasoned bike veteran rail against bikes priced in the $6,000.00 to $10,000.00 range. He compared the thousands of high pressure bearings of a Triumph motorcycle to the four main bearing of a bicycle and asked how a bike company that is manufacturing bikes in a factory (Trek, Cannondale, Specialized) could justify selling a bike for $6,000.00 to $10,000.00 dollars when one could buy a quality motorcycle like a Triumph for the same price! In many ways, he argument is compelling. Sure, carbon fiber and titanium are expensive. So are well machined components. Additionally, hand made wheels and brilliantly designed frames and forks cost a fair amount of money to make. When I restore well crafted bikes, I see the cost that has gone into making them endure and even enter into being "pieces of art." But, where do you find $6,000.00 dollars in a bike that has hundreds of moving parts rather than thousands?

For 99% of riders, a bike costing $6,000.00 dollars is upsurd because it is unnecessary. In fact, I would argue that most consumers could get a road bike for $500.00 to $700.00 dollars that would be able to handle thousands of miles of riding. But, that would require a consumer to ride thousands of miles, right? And, for those of us that do put that kind of mileage on a bike, it then actually makes sense to buy a bike that costs, lets say, 1000 to 15000 dollars for something a little lighter or stronger or more enduring or more beautifully crafted. But, unless we are racing professionally, the Cervala R5 might not be the best choice.

Motobecane Mirage $400.00 at Bikes Direct!

Huffy- In bike culture, Huffy equals cheap. But, it also equals mass consumption. This company has been able to put a bike in every garage in the nation because it has been able to miraculously produce a pretty complex machine that will be able to carry a person over a certain distance a certain number of times over a certain period of time. I restore bikes. And, most of the department store bikes that I restore, say a vintage 1970’s ten speed, are bikes that were ridden two or three times a year for about ten years. Then, they were stored. That is 30 rides. Lets say each ride was 10 miles. That is 300 miles of rolling at a leisurely speed, and that works for millions of people. However, whether it is vintage or new, I would never sell a 1977 Sears MX Steelers Bike to a kid that wanted to ride BMX every day at the trails or the skatepark. Nor would I sell a 1975 Huffy 10 Speed to a guy who wanted to use it as a commuter. If he wanted it for rails to trails twice a year, yes. If he wanted it because it reminded him of his childhood, sure. But not to get him back and forth to work every day. 

Do you "ride like the wind?" Don't buy a Huffy. Do you want something that will get you there a few times a year. Buy a huffy. 

Surly Ogre $1,500.00 will take you thousands of miles!