Friday, 30 March 2012
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Well I did a bit more work on the Miyata recently as some new parts arrived at work so now both wheels are laced up 3 x with new Mac spokes into the Suntour Expert hubs that have been fully restored and re packed with grease. The hubs are super smooth and look great laced into the original Ukai rims, which is another company like Suntour that does now not exist but made great products in their time. The tyres are Continental 26 x 1.9 Town & Country tyres which are a perfect all round tyre, great for commuting, touring and off road if needed. Most of the Suntour Expert group has been restored and re fitted and later on the bolts will be changed for Kimori titanium coated bolts instead. Shifting and braking will now be super smooth thanks to a Yokozuna Reaction jet lubed MTB cable kit and it's the 1st time I've installed one of these cable kits but I'm very impressed so if you are looking for smooth shifting and braking grab one of these Yokozuna cable kits as they are well worth the extra money. In the next few days I should have some shifter, brake plastic cable tubes and then I will install that on the open sections of cable as per the original set up. For the stem and bar combo we are using Nitto's lugged MTB stem with a Nitto MTB riser bar. For the front brake I'll install a Dia Compe cable hanger and for the rear wheel a NOS Suntour microdrive cluster is on it's way as the old cluster was badly worn. I'm really happy with the build so far and it should look fantastic once finished. As more parts arrive and have been fitted I'll post an update. Pictured above is the Miyata in it's current condition.
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
Today was a public holiday and was supposed to mark the start of spring, but upon waking up early this morning I was surprised to see it snowing so I guess spring is not quite ready to appear just yet. As I've been cycling most days this winter since Jan 2nd today was rather easy even though it was snowing and what better way to start the day than a nice cup of Longwood Coffee from Cafe Velo. Cafe Velo is a new bicycle theme cafe that is open from 9am till 5pm every day except Thursday and has fantastic locally roasted longwood Coffee and great daily lunch sets, home made bread, Quiche, Cottage pies, hand made chocolates and other fantastic food. If you are looking for a place for a coffee or need some lunch drop by and check it out. There is also a covered bicycle stand outside the shop which is handy if you don't have a kickstand on your bicycle. Pictured above is my Kona Jake cross bike covered in snow after my commute into the city this morning and some pictures of Cafe Velo and a map of where it's located.
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
As a Kona fan now for quite some time it was interesting to see that for 2012 they have extended their range of alloy road bikes and recently I was able to test ride a 2012 Kona Zing Deluxe that one of my customers ordered. The bike was very nice and a great deal with Shimano 105 , although Kona is famous for their MTB and cross bikes if you get the chance try one of their road bikes as they are very nice. Below is the info on the Zing deluxe taken from the Kona website and pictured above is my customer Koide san with his new Kona Zing enjoying a rare day of nice weather in winter.
With masterful road geometry that strikes the perfect balance between speed and comfort, the Zing Deluxe is designed specifically for the budding cyclist who's looking to add a repertoire of road into their two-wheeled world. Built using amazingly efficient and light Kona Race Light 7005 Superplastic-formed tubing and featuring a Dedacciai carbon fork, the Zing Deluxe has a great component package that doesn't sacrifice quality in the effort of good value. Here's a road machine that loves lapping up the mileage.
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
Since starting this bike I have been faced with many hurdles and living here in Japan makes this build a lot harder and longer than it would have taken me back home in New Zealand. But things are looking good now as even with some American solid tyre tied to the front rim with bits of string and some nice British tyre tightly fitted to the rear wheel I have been able to make a very good mock up of the frame and the required angles needed to achieve an authentic looking replica ordinary. Many builders over look this vital step and either have no rake at all to the front forks or too much and I've seen some replicas where the gap between the backbone and the front wheel is huge, not only does this look bad but seems like the builder didn't really care what the finished bike would look like. Yes building an authentic looking ordinary is not a simple task but if you take your time you can build something that you will proud of and a bicycle that will be admired as well. I spent several hours making sure the backbone to front wheel spacing was perfect and only when the overall bike looked perfect I stopped working on it. The above photos show the results I achieved today and it would not have been possible with my favorite power tool the mighty Makita power file. The next step is to have the bearing housings fixed up so the C clips fit perfectly and after that the entire frame can be welded together.
Thursday, 1 March 2012
Pictured above is a project I've now been working on for over 2 years, it's a 52 inch replica late 1880s ordinary bicycle. This is the 10th one I have built as I built my first one back in New Zealand in 1994 and last year sold that to a member of The Oamaru Ordinary Cycle Club who is now the New Zealand champion - yes some people race these things and they are quite fast !. I was approached just over 2 years ago by a Japanese collector / high wheel bicycle rider from Tokyo who wanted me to build him a custom made replica ordinary for touring. At first I said no as building such a bicycle here in Japan is very difficult because all the main parts must be imported from New Zealand, Australia, England or the USA and the remainder of the parts you have to make yourself. In New Zealand it took me about 4 months or so to build a replica ordinary but here in Japan it's very difficult, but in saying that I'm almost ready to get the frame welded together and then the handle bars can be fitted along with the brake lever, brake and mounting step. So the end is now in sight and it's looking good so far. I'm pretty sure this is the largest bicycle being built in Japan at present and as I do not intend to build anymore , I'm trying to build the best replica I can with authentic replica parts. Pictured above is a mock up of the bike and this weekend I will cut the backbone frame to the correct length ready for welding which I hope to get done later this month.