Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Rivendell ish - Bobish - Poor Mans version for Myself

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I am a fan of Rivendell style bicycles.   My friend David is also a fan and I owe inspiration of this build to him.  David owns the Red Schwinn Le Tour and the baby blue Schwinn Continental.  When you get past all the hype and propaganda or marketing noise they are wonderful bicycles.  The problem is the $2,500 + price tag and maybe a few more ++++ in there.

The thing is a lot of Rivendell's inspiration came from the Trek 620 and 720 and the early 1980's Japaneses touring and sports touring bicycles.  What Rivendell did was make those bicycles even more versatile by having all the braze ons and allowing for much larger tire clearances and fender clearances.

My goal with this build is to come close to a Rivendell bicycle on my bike mechanics budget.  I think I can do it, its not going to be exactly an every mans build for at some point i will be adding a lot more cable routing stops, cage eyelets, fender mounts, rack mounts and I think maybe cantilever brake studs.  This requires brazing or silver soldering, which not every one would want to tackle.

What is nice is there are a lot of frames from that era around.  And if they have 27 inch wheels there is a lot of tire clearance built in when converting to 700c wheels.  Not as much clearance as a Rivendell but a lot more then normal.

I have had a Schwinn Le Tour 12.2 bike around the shop for about a year and it is a 25 inch / 63 cm frame, my size.  I stole the brake calipers off of it some time ago to use on another project, so better yet.  The Schwinn Le Tour 12.2 is a nice bicycle, this one someone removed the decals.  The 12.2 had alloy rims, better brakes and a Shimano 600 rear derailleur and a Shimano 60 front derailleur, all upgrades from the basic le Tour.  The frame was also lighter and I think the brake calipers where Dai Comp G's maybe??

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Starting Point - Schwinn Le Tour 12.2
The Schwinn Le Tour 12.2 - Highlights
The Schwinn Le Tour 12.2 - Highlights
Below is a photo that got me excited when I threw the 700c wheels and gravel grinding tires on it before I stripped it down to the frame.

Rivendell Style Bicycle - New Shoes
I stripped the Le Tour 12.2 off all the components.  I cleaned the frame but did not bother polishing it, after mock up and I decided if I like it and where I want to put the brazings on the frame will need new paint or powder coat.

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Frame Stripped of Components
The Schwinn Le Tour 12.2 had a smaller headset and fork steer tube, I want to be able to have the more modern larger diameter stems so I will have to replace the headset and fork.  I tend to mix numbers up so I will look up the numbers on the size of the old and new forks before I put it in the post.

I did not have a fork that would fit the frame so I found a new descent steel fork at a descent price.  I will be adding eyelets and cantilever studs later so it did not need to be real fancy.  I am not completely happy with the tightness of the rake on the fork, I may replace it before its all said and done.  The steer tube is 9 1/2 inches, I will need to remove about 3/8 of an inch to fit properly.

The headset is Velo Orange of course.  My favorite headsets, although i have not had a new Dura Ace headset before.  Have had plenty of Dura Ace headsets from the first generation though, and I love them.

The handlebars for now are Nitto Albatross sway back bars.  I paid up to get these, as far as handlebars go the are pretty expensive, but they also fit bar end shifters.  I am not sure if I will stay with the Nitto Albatross bars, I think I may end up with Nitto drop bars and shellac cloth handlebar tape.

The stem for now is just a generic riser stem.  Depending on looks I might replace the stem with a Nitto Tallux.  But that may be getting into budget problems.

Rivendell Style Bicycle - New Fork
Rivendell Style Bicycle - New Velo-Orange Headset
New Nitto Albatross Handlebars
Rivendell Style Bicycle - Fork - Headset
Stem & Handlebars - Installed
I got some Dura Ace 8 speed Index/Friction bar end shifters some time back for almost nothing at a swap meet.  I plan on using those so I am going with an 8 speed rear.  The wheels are nothing special, they where given to me after an upgrade project for someone else.  They may come to a Total of $100 if bought new, they are what i am using for mock up while i find something else.

The rear derailleur is also nothing special, it is new, but nothing special for now.  the mock up is going to be with nothing special components, I have a lot of ideas and decisions to make after mock up as in what components I want to use.

The cassette is an 8 speed Sram, new.

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Nothing Special - 8 Speed Derailleur
Rivendell Style Bicycle - Rear Mock Up
Notice in photo above.  The frame has a rear derailleur hanger drop out, I think this is important that the frame you start with has this to utilize better modern drive trains.  But I am sure some one could rig something up with out it.  I don't want to.

For mock up I am using Tektro long reach nutted brake calipers.  They will work very well for mock up and until I add the cantilever brake posts.

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Rear Tektro Brake Caliper

The bottom bracket is a good value Shimano UB-55 I believe.

For the mock up and while I decide what type of crank I want to use, and since the Dura Ace front bar end shift lever is friction shift I will be using the original crank from the Le Tour 12.2.  I like the way it looks, but i will not be using it beyond mock up.

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Original Crank for Mock Up
Still Dirty
That it for now.  Below is a photo of the bicycle so far.  A long way to go!!

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Bike as of Now

Update December 6, 2013

Its been a while since I updated the poor mans Rivendell post, I do not get a lot of time to work on personal bicycles.  I totally mocked up the bicycle and was happy with it so far so I tore it down and started with some brazing.  I plan to reroute the cables, so that will require some cable brackets, I also am adding water bottle cages, a fork brazing, eyelets for racks and I think i will braze on some brake studs for cantilever brakes.

I started with the water bottle cage brazing yesterday and that was about all the time I had.  I drilled the holes in the frame, first I center punch a start for the drill bit and then put a few drops of oil on the bit, not totally necessary because the metal is thin and I used a very slow drill speed but every little bit helps when keeping drill bits sharp.  I then clean the areas very well and applied a good amount of flux, heated up the area and applied the silver solder.  The brazing went well, a quick wire brushing to clean them up and later a little more cleaning before paint.  Overall pretty pleased with the results.

Next when I have the time I will do the fork and rack eyelets.

In the photo below of the small braze-on pieces you can see some Cinelli diamond shape eyelet reinforces, I decided not to use them, going for a cleaner look.

Rivendell Style Bicycle
Paint Removed for Brazing

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Water Bottle Cage Braze-ons

Rivendell Style Bicycle
Down Tube Holes Drilled

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Seat Tube Holls Drilled

Rivendell Style Bicycle
Seat Tube Brazing Complete

Rivendell Style Bicycle
Down Tube Brazing Complete

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Water Bottle Cages Brazing Complete

Rivendell Style Bicycle
Water Bottle Cage Brazing
I have been working on the rear brakes a bit.  I made a jig out of a piece of fairly ridged aluminum.  I cut holes in the aluminum to hold the brake studs in place.  One hole is oblong to allow for adjustment.  The photo I took did not turn out so I will take a photo again when i do the front brakes.

The brazing went fine, I cleaned up the joint with dome emery paper and a wire brush, I am pretty happy with the results.  I like the joints and the looks.

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Brake Studs - Brazed
Rivendell Style Bicycle - Brake Calipers - Tested

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Brake Calipers - Tested

Update April 7, 2014

It has been a while since I have had the time to work on the Poor Mans Rivendell project.  Since it is a bike for me the work always comes second and I have been so busy that I has come a far second.  On Sunday I took a little bit of time to work on it, It is my birthday on Tuesday so I thought I would treat myself and actually right now I do not own a geared bike so I need one, I have some bike camping tips planned and weekend rides in hilly western Wisconsin and really do not want to ride a fully loaded fixed gear bike for it.  Its about enjoying the ride with good friends, not a work out.

I went to braze the front brake stud on to the fork and found that the cantilever brake calipers I really want to use (Pictured Above) will not fit on the fork, just about every other cantilever brakes I have will but I really want these.  The issue seems to be that the brake pads are dual pivot style pads and won't fit.  I want to use these for that reason and the clean minimalist look.

I am not sure what I am going to do yet, find a new fork or use other cantilevers.  For now its on hold so I put some long reach Tektro dual pivot nutted brake calipers.  I really wanted to use some Shimano 600 Tri-Colors that Dave V. gave me as a gift but the reach was not long enough.  I will use them on another personal build some day, they are a much appreciated gift that i will never use on a bike I build to sell.  Thanks Dave V.!!!!

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Shimano 600 Tri- Color
Brake Calipers - A Gift from Dave V!!
Rivendell Style Bicycle - New Tektro
Brake Calipers - Love the swooping line
of the front caliper arm.

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Tektro Rear Caliper
 I should have started the post with the headset but I wanted to explain the brakes first. And sorry for not as many photos, I will take more but I was trying to fit the work in and didn't want to waste the time on photos.

The headset is a Velo-Orange headset, it is actually the Japan ISO size.  This is my favorite headset, it installed perfectly and looks perfect.  I also cut the fork to fit at this time making sure I planed enough length for a future cable hanger bracket.

I traded a different tall stem to a customer with some cash credit for this Nitto Technomics stem.  It is not as popular or as in demand as the same stem with the Nitto lable stamped in it but I am good with the Technomic lable.  I also installed the Nitto Albatross handlebars at this time.  The whole set up is perfect in my eyes!

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Headset Cups

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Bearings Packed

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Nitto Technomics Stem

Rivendell Style Bicycle - New Nitto Albatross Handlebars

Rivendell Style Bicycle -  Headset
Complete - Stem Installed

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Handlebars - Installed
Lets see, what was next, hard to remember with out all the photos.  The derailleurs where next.  I replaced the rear derailleur that was shown up in the post with a Shimano 105 8 speed derailleur that was a gift from Bill. (See Bill's Trek 2300 Update)  I really like this derailleur and it was a much appreciated gift so it will not go on a bike build that I will sell.  Thanks Bill!!.  I have a nice 8 speed cassette installed with middle of the range gearing.  I also installed the Dura Ace bar end 8 speed shift levers I have been saving for sometime.  I will take a photo of those later.

Rivendell Style Bicycle - "Old" New Derailleur
Not Going to Use Now

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Shimano 105 Derailleur
A Gift From Bill, Thanks Bill!!

I was actually looking for a a Shimano 600 8 speed crank for the Poor Mans Rivendell Project and even thought of going with the original Le Tour crank but over the winter I found my favorite crank, a Sugino BT.  I polished it sometime over the winter and it looks fantastic.  I also installed a favorite early 80's Sun Tour front derailleur that I have been keeping on my good parts shelf for years, I still need to take a photo of it.

New pedals will be installed, just put these on for mock up because the pedals I ordered have not come yet.

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Sugino BT Crank

Rivendell Style Bicycle
Crank - Installed
Almost forgot this photo.  It is a bottom bracket I have had for years on my personal parts shelf, I do not know why it was there but it will work for now.  I am think eventually I will replace it with a really nice Velo-Orange bottom bracket.

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Bottom Bracket

That is all the photos I have for now.  I will take a lot more of all the components later.  The photo below shows the bicycle wired and the seat post, saddle, and Rivendell cork handlebar grips installed.  I still need to get a longer chain.  I have a beautiful Velo-Orange Roandonneur front rack coming and want to have it in hand to measure where i want to put the front fork braze ons on.  I also have very nice Velo-Orange fenders coming and a Rivendell saddle bag along with a Brooks saddle.  For now the bicycle is mocked up and ready for a ride.
Rivendell Style Bicycle - Bicycle Mocked up and Ready for
a Ride.
 I road the bike only shortly this morning and am absolutely thrilled.  It is a huge bike as you can see!!! It is the first bike that has every truly fit me and my 6'-4" frame.  I actually had to lower the seat a bit.  Its actually to low in the photo below, needs to go up an inch,

It road just wonderful, so smooth and easy.  I can't wait to get all the other accessories in!  I still need to figure out that fork and of course all the other details and painting and just about everything.  I am going to ride it hard tomorrow!!

I also still want to build up some new wheels, I have the rims I want, still got to choose and find some hubs.

I can't wait to take it camping!!

I have blathered on long enough about it, check back soon!!

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Bicycle Mocked Up
and Test Road

Rivendell Style Bicycle - Bicycle Mocked Up
and Test Road

This post is continued by clicking here or the link below.

1 comment:

  1. Its looking good John, now you got me thinking about modifying one of mine!