This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Developing a Nuovo Retro Trek

My favorite old bike is this '86 Trek 560.

 I bought it new and have ridden it for every purpose under the sun.  Even though it's technically dated, it's still fast and fits great.  It recently developed  bad cough, in the form of a bottom bracket going bad.  After 25 years I guess it has a right to complain.  I've actually thought of replacing it.  Even considered carbon fiber.  But I've talked with people who own carbon bikes and, although they love the weight and ride, they agree it's not worth the money or risk for me.  I don't race.  That's all carbon fiber is good for-competition.  Whether competing in real races, on club rides, or with yourself, carbon fiber is just not durable enough for anything but riding around really fast.  I only do that 2-3 times a month on club rides.  I've heard of nightmarish repairs after some chain wrap, leaning the bike against walls or simply dropping them accidentally.  I feel that if I can't drop the bike on the ground with some confidence, I shouldn't have it.  As far as weight is concerned, well, the Trek, with 510 tubing weighs around 20 lbs.  I might loose 4 lbs by going to a new bike, but since it will use the same 220lb motor, that only represents a 1.7% improvement.   I figure I have better gains to make concentrating on the motor.
So I decided to breath some new life into the old dog and one thing I wanted to do was add fenders.  Since I ordered the wrong size for Byron at first, I have a set of VO hammered fenders in 45X700. I thought they would never fit but tried them and they do,
The brakes would interfere with the fenders or the fenders with the brakes (depending on your point of view), so they needed to be replaced.  Tektro makes a really nice "wide mouth" brake unit called the R538.  They provide clearance galore.

Mounting the front was not problem, using the VO duarma bolt to attach the fender to the brake bolt.  I had to wack off the excess bolt to create clearance
but a Dremel tool took care of that in short order.
and after adjusting the stays we had a winner.

The clearance is close but everything spins freely.   I can gain another 1/4 inch of clearance by removing the washers between the frame and fender, they really only provide redundant protection to the headset.
The rear was a different matter.  The rear bridge is set up for nutted brakes so I needed to drill out the bridge to accommodate the new recessed mount.
The fenders themselves had to be trimmed to fit the narrow chainstay clearance.
It's all in the fun of wrenching and solving problems, and that's what I am coming up with on the rear.
The rear fits, but the angle is such that the sliding bridge does not provide the lift and stability at the very top of the tire where clearance is needed.  I am thinking of two possibilities;one to cut the fender and anchor it over the brake bridge with a bracket, or buy a VO constructor rack and use the attachments on it to create the extra clearance.   Either way, I have time to think about it.  Since I am tearing things apart to replace the bottom bracket, I'll have it powdercoated and give it a facelift.

So there will be more to this in the coming few weeks.


  1. I'm looking forward to the final product. It's nice to dig into something like this when you know you can spend because the alternative costs 20 times as much, and won't provide the same satisfaction.


  2. Your conclusions on carbon fibre bikes are very similar to what I'm coming to. I look at my aluminium frame bike, and note the scratches in the paint, and wonder if each of them are a potential source of failure for a carbon bike. And my current bike has been treated pretty well, but yet it still has some scratches.

    I'll probably go for custom-made steel. I'm a big guy like you, also.

  3. If you can afford a custom, that's the way to go. I'm really happy with my Rivendell but Vanilla Bikes would be my first choice if they were even taking orders.