Tuesday, August 31, 2010

One wheel on my wagon

Holiday has put rather a crimp on buying bike parts and so has the monetary realities of being halfway through the month. Luckily it was my birthday so I have some cash with which to indulge this new hobby and buffer me against the latest purchases. I returned to the world of internet (mountainous regions do not have a good record for mobile signals) to find a crankset with bottom bracket and chain box unbid for. Perhaps due to the slightly high starting price, but when you totalled it up there was some wriggle room for a bidding war, you just weren't going to get an absolute bargain. The pics looked good and the bash guard looked pristine so in the last hour a bid was placed and bingo the whole lot for £50 as opposed to about £80 to buy separately.

Then there was the surprise purchase of a pair of wheels for £40 with an 8 speed cassette. OK so it's not my final destination, but the hub will accept a 9 speed cassette, so we are up one there. Plus the hubs are Deore LX which is a big step up and I suspect the rims will be slightly better than the budget ones I currently use.

So aside from a 9 speed cassette to get we are ready to load the bike with parts. In otherwords the fun really begins as I attempt to fit a style of bottom bracket I have never used before, align mech hangers and replace threadless headset forks (also a new horizon). I will be using my trusty Zinn as a guide and relying on Uncle Riotous' practical knowledge to get over edge of this horizon. Hopefully, a day or so of work and we should be out riding the trails.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Specialized P3 2000/2001 specifications

Courtesy of bikepedia here is a list of what was on the frame when it was bought for £1,200 ish pounds

Bicycle TypeMountain bike, front suspension
Sugg Retail$1,399.00
SizesLarge, medium, small

Frame & Fork
Frame ConstructionTIG-welded
Frame Tubing MaterialSpecialized A1 aluminum
Fork Brand & ModelMarzocchi Bomber Z-5, 4.0" travel
Fork MaterialAluminum/magnesium, triple-clamp crown
Rear ShockNot applicable

Component GroupMountain Mix
BrakesetProMax linear-pull brakes, Avid AD3 Levers levers
Shift LeversShimano Deore LX RapidFire SL
Front DerailleurChain retention device
Rear DerailleurShimano Deore XT SGS
CranksetTruVativ Hussefelt, 38 teeth
PedalsSpecialized aluminum platform
Bottom BracketTruVativ BB-01
BB Shell WidthUnspecified
Rear Cogs9-speed, 11 - 32 teeth
ChainShimano, 1/2 x 3/32"
SeatpostSpecialized aluminum, 30.9mm diameter
SaddleSpecialized P.3
HandlebarSpecialized Special Rise
Handlebar ExtensionsNot included
Handlebar StemSpecialized P.3 riser
Headset1 1/8" threadless Tange Seiki

HubsSpecialized STOUT
RimsAlex Supra-E, 36-hole
Tires26 x 2.30" Specialized Roller Comp
Spoke BrandSpecialized stainless steel, 15g straight gauge
Spoke NipplesBrass nipples

Parts buying

Right we are almost upto date - the previous sections cover the last month, and in that time I have not been quiet on the sourcing some second hand or cheap parts. A pair of SRAM X.7 shifters of which I now only need one now from ebay. Along with some sale front and rear mechs SRAM X.7 and sale XT Brake arms from Chainreactioncycles.com. Then there are the front and rear Deore SL mechs I bought off ebay and then decided to divert these to a new project (my hybrid). So far no luck on bidding for new wheel/s for a 9+ speed and I realise that the current hub may take a 9 speed cassette as a result of its relative youth. It was clearly a bike put together with the cheapest parts to retail at the highest sales value before the buyer realised they were ripped off (sorry G but you said it). So I need to get it to Professor Riotous for an assessment as I have never seen a hub that accepts 9 compared with one that accepts 7 speed cassettes. Oh and I have double stocked on cables as well.

Current ebay pursuit is a Truvativ Hussefelt Cranks with Chain Guide, handily in Whyteleaf, various potential front forks (including a Z5) and an XT rear mech. I have as a result of being forced into a single chainset decided to try and return the bike to its original setup as much as possible.

First blind moment

I am faced with seat issues - not my rear but the seatpost itself. I had expected differing size seat posts, but I am left with two paths to functionality. Current seat post and a shim or a new post of 34.9cm. A larger area is better able to dissipate impact so new wins there. Current seat post is a little crappy and for safety I have already stolen the seatpost off my sons Hotrock 20" bike. So with an ex-stock EX seat post for £11 and a quick release seat clamp from Halfords I set about installing the seat post.

OK that was unexpected, despite both being the same size they are not, and we are not talking about layers of paint out of size here. The seat post clamp is clearly smaller than the post. With much effort and prizing the seatpost clamp open, it fits on snugly to the bike frame and the the seatpost itself slides snugly in with a fresh coat of grease.

Abendessen des hundes
My eye runs over the matt black frame and alights on a sudden flaw in my plan. I can see two cable guides on the top tube. One for the rear mech and one for the brake cable. Where can I run the third for the front mech? There is no room in the existing guides, so that will be a non-starter. To the batcave Robin! Several hours of internet research later and I find I have two options. Braze on series of guides - possible as there is a local bike builder round the corner from me (Renowned Chas Roberts)- but pricey as I would need to strip the frame, and respray again. Epoxy glue a guide to the frame - a sore point in forum threads on the subject. Buy a seatpost clamp that adds the guide to the bike (Problems Solvers). I look back for the post where in my early research I had read that a P3 had been converted to a 3x7 gear bike. Yes you can, but quite frankly it looks like a dog's dinner and uses the seatpost clamp. Given that the seller has been using it as a commute bike, I am not entirely sure that it will survive much of the hammering it will get from me. So we are going to have to go for a 1 x ? combination and walk up hill, no actual change there then as my current stamina level is still low.

So for a very simple parts exchange and upgrade model we are now beginning to look towards a total rebuild. The shopping list now requires

Bottom bracket
Single chainset with guide if possible

with the following upgrades
9speed hub
9 speed mech
brake arms
new forks if possible to return the freebies back to the pool.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

first small steps

The frame is far from the mint proclaimed, but then I never expected mint. Who keeps a frame in the garage that long without using it? Expecting to have only minor touch up on the paintwork, I'm a little disappointed to find some relatively large tool marks from where they frame has been stripped. A minor bit of epoxy filler work is all that is required, but the more I look at it the more the frame seems to require than the simple touch up paint routine. My heart sinks - its a respray job. I haven't done one of those since I was given my grandfather's fixie to do up when I was 13. There are several nightmare moments that await a respray - 1. you are only going to chip the paint again. 2. the pro companies use kilns to harden the paint 3. a spray gun is better than any other method. So no kiln and no spray gun and bearing mind issue number one I go for the overcoat method. Here the aim is to prep the surface to hold paint - apply a primer and then several coats of car paint.

Set up with some old dust sheets in the very small shed at the end of the garden I set to work with primer. Wow, I'm not bad at this, the old skills haven't completely gone. Nice even coat with no show through. Damn I've left a sticker on the frame!! Bugger it, I'll leave it as this a cover up not a vanity job.

Matt black goes on well and I have managed to find a sign printer who runs of decals, so I can brand the bike for those who care about such things. It seems that finally I am ready to start the swap from one bike to the next. All I need to do is start sourcing components required to upgrade the bike.

What am I doing???

There are plenty of things I have thrown myself at without realising what it is I am about to do. Facing the mountain never gets less intimidating even with increasing years. So it is again that I set myself against a new challenge. Bike building. Quite why I should be doing this is a lesson in a renewed love of cycling, economics, and the need for some hardware. Now I have to say my natural forte tends to be in the more theoretical aspects of life, but even so I do tend to manage to bodge and muddle through most tasks because I have at least thought the process through. So it is with the logic being:- I have a cheap mountain bike (given to me free), I have been out riding single track a lot, I am now entering the zone where the flexibility in the frame and some of the components are not going to be so tolerant of where I am trying to be on the hillside, (that is to say not down the slope in the trees). I enter the fierce arena that is ebay and come out with a Specialized P3 from around 2000/2001. My plan was to make a straight swap of components from the old bike to the new and then upgrade at leisure. I could never has been so wrong!