Perks of a nice bike

i have wanted to try a good old fashioned steel framed road bike fitted with more modern equipment than I am used to for a while, I have even thought about updating my Ian May with a set of sti’s and modern calipers and a few more gears to play with .

 

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Ian May

 

As soon as I saw this John Perks road bike advertised I thought that it hit all the buttons I was looking for , i.e. steel framed , modernish componentry , nice looking  and it was a great colour with the bonus of some good condition chromed features . The only downside was the fact that it was over an hour and half away from home .

 

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Perks

After a bit of thinking and contacting the owner with a couple of simple questions about the bike  , I decided I would make the effort to go and have a look .

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Perks

 

Once the bike was wheeled out of the garage and into the daylight , it became apparent  that the bike had not been used for a couple of years at least with the amount of dust and cobwebs hanging from the wheel spokes . A good look confirmed that a good wipe around with a baby wipe the dust and cobwebs would be gone and a bit of chrome cleaner would get the chromed rear stay and fork crown nice and shiny along with the chromed front and rear drop outs .

 

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Perks

 Once the saddle was lifted up to suit me I jumped on and coasted down the sellers driveway and went for a couple of laps of the cul de sac as I still believe a lot can be learnt from a short road test . A few flicks of the campagnolo sti units had both mechanisms moving the chain on to any of the 27 available gears which was nice to see and the a quick pull on the brake lever blades provided a degree of stopping power as well . A price was quickly agreed with the said bike loaded into the car and the return journey was made trouble free.

 

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Perks

 The next morning I checked the basics i.e. tyre pressures , saddle height , handlebar position , cable runs and brake operation then went for a trundle around the block a few times before returning home and getting the wet wipes out to start removing the dust and cobwebs . Once the layers of dust were removed the paintwork had a lot more sparkle to it as did the other components. I also took this opportunity to have a good look around it and take in some of the details that I hadn’t fully noticed when viewing the bike .

 

 

It’s framework is Reynolds 531 competition tubing and was made by John Perks approx. 15 years ago to the original owners specification and was to be his winter bike hence why it’s got guards fitted front and rear. It was also equipped with a  3 x 9 campagnolo gear set up with matching brake calipers and wheel hubs that were laced on a pair of nice Mavic sup rims . The paintwork is very tidy indeed with just a few little blemishes that look to have been touched up rather than left to the elements .Overall the bike seems to have been well looked after over the years , I just wish they could talk and tell stories about what they have done in the past .

 

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Perks

 

After a couple of days of gentle commuting I decided it was time for a few more miles so I did a couple of pre work 15 mile rides to make an assessment re fit and comfort level.  It soon became apparent that I needed to either swap the stem or move the saddle forward a small amount which seemed the easier option as I was due to fit one of my regular selle smp saddles to it before going further afield . Once the saddle was fitted and adjusted on the rails to give a nice line of sight through the front axle it was time for longer rides .

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Perks

So far I have covered over 200 miles on this great bike and have really enjoyed using it , and so far it has not let me down . It’s surprisingly agile at times and offers a very relaxed ride under normal conditions but I must admit to achieving 24 mph on the flat at one point whilst I was out on it Sunday and it all seemed to be very controlled and easily done

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Conquest Saddle

I am sure like me you have heard of the Norman Conquest that happened way back in the 11th century when Norman, Breton, and French soldiers led by Duke William II of Normandy invaded England .

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However, I had never heard of the Brook’s Conquest saddle before last Sunday when I collected a second hand mid 90’s Giant Ladago mtb bike that the previous owner had fitted. By the look of the bike and saddle neither had seen a lot of use over the years .

 

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Giant Ladoga

 

Since getting the bike road ready on Monday I have used the bike every day as my main commuting machine racking up 35 miles in total , hardly earth shattering but enough to get an idea if a saddle is comfortable or not . I have found it very comfortable indeed and I intend to fit it on to one of my road bikes to see how it is with narrow road tyres compared to wider and softer all terrain tyres .

 

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Brooks Conquest

 

As with most of the Brook’s saddles its made with a leather seating area on a metal sprung chassis with a front adjuster so you can keep the leather tensioned to suit your requirements . The one thing I did to it straight away was to apply a coating of leather treatment to the upper side and then a day later I applied another coating to the underside as well .

 

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Brooks Conquest

 

It’s got the typical hand hammered rivets and name badge on the rear face that are synominous with the Brook’s range of saddle’s , it’s just a shame it hasn’t got saddle bag loops as well .

 

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Brooks Conquest

 

I am sure there will be loads of cyclist’s out there that swear that Brook’s saddles are the best thing since slice bread , I must admit I am not a great user of their products as I prefer the more modern looking range of Selle smp saddle’s especially the lite 209 model which has the added bonus of being prostate friendly .

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Carrera by Podium

You know how some bikes look like they are moving fast even when they are stationary……

 

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Carrera by Podium

 

I think the Podium Carrera is one of those bikes , whether it’s the paint job that does it or the actual appearance of the whole machine, I am  not sure.

 

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Carrera by Podium

 

Please do not mix this Carrera up with same name branded bikes that are sold by Halfords in the Uk as this is made by entirely different company who are based in Calcinato in Italy . They were formed by the ex pro rider Davide Boifava and Luciano Bracchi in 1989 and have gone on to notch up over 500 victories around the world in some very prestigious events .

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From what I can make out my bike dates from around 1998 – 99 and if you look on the hall of history page on the company web page a few pictures show the same colour scheme being ridden by people a shade more famous than me in cycling events around the world .

 

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Carrera by Podium

 

Mine is fitted with an almost full Shimano Ultrega 6700 group set apart from the brake calipers from the same era , so all in all a well specified bike . The crank is an octalink version which combined with Italian threading on the bottom bracket made life fun obtaining a new unit to replace the rather worn one fitted when I purchased the bike but Chain Reaction Cycles came to the rescue . The only other issue I have had with this machine was a rather tight quill stem that took some getting out but Plus gas saved the day but also washed away a lot of the grease in the headset so as a matter of course I have stripped and regreased the headset bearings .

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The rest of this machine has behaved faultlessly over the miles I have covered so far although to date this is less than a 100 , so early days for sure . The only other change has seen the yellow saddle being replaced by one of my Sell smp lite 209 units .

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Apart from a few little marks the paintwork is in fairly good condition and certainly looks presentable enough and a few of these marks might actually disappear with some t cut and elbow grease . The blue bar tape is a bit grubby but again is useable once I have done a few more miles I will have a go at either cleaning it or replacing it .

 

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Carrera by Podium

The frame is made with Oversized aluminum tubing along with what I believe to be alloy fork blades with a steel steerer that have a small degree of rake to them which I feel helps with the damping of the forks . It’s a nice stiff frameset that is not overly heavy and is fairly smooth on the bumpy back roads that most of my miles seem to be over .

 

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Carrera by Podium

The flightdeck sti units have a fair degree of wear on the blades but function as smooth as any other set I have tried before . The miles that have been covered so far has certainly impressed me and I am looking forward to getting a few miles in on this fine machine as to whether it being a keeper or not is very hard at the moment as there have been a couple of great recent arrivals since this one .

 

50 Miles on a Holdsworth

Last Saturday I was up and out of the house by 5.16 am with the intention of riding down and across to the market town of Olney and then making a decision on which route home I was going to take .

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Olney Town Sign

 

My chosen bike was the Holdsworth Professional sl that I recently acquired , which has been fitted with a selle smp saddle which I find very comfy indeed .  The furthest I have ridden this bike is 23 miles . I set off going through the town centre and towards Little Irchester so that I covered those busy roads before the vast majority of people were even awake .

 

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Holdsworth Professional sl

The outward bound route in my mind took in the following Villages Irchester , Poddington ,Hinwick ,Odell ,Harrold ,Carlton,Turvey where I cross over the A428 heading towards Newton Blossomville and then on to Emberton and the A509 . It was here that I decided to carry on and turn left towards Milton Keynes and then take the right turn towards Filgrave and Tyringham .

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St Peters Church just passed Tyringham marked the first proper stop of the ride where I actually got off the bike for more than few seconds to take a picture . Once back on the bike and over the Great Ouse it was a right turn on to the B526 road and onwards to Gayhurst , Stoke Goldingotn, Eakley ,Horton ,Hackleton this is another stretch of road that I always enjoy riding along in the opposite direction but today I was going well and so was the bike as my average speed over this stretch was quite often nudging 20+ mph and it’s mainly upwards albeit only slightly .

 

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St Peters Tyringham

 

At the Preston Deanery cross roads I turned right and headed for Great Houghton before a quick run on the A428 to Little Houghton and then onwards to Billing Aquadrome and along and up to Ecton where I crossed over the A4500 on to Ecton lane past all the nice big houses that exist on this road . At the end I turned right heading for home and I started to realize that I wasn’t going to be far from hitting the 50 mile mark at the end of the ride so I decided to go home via Mears Ashby once I had gone past Sywell Aerodrome . Mears Ashby is one of those lovely little villages that seem to be a plenty in Northamptonshire  .

 

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Turvey Village Square

As I went down the Mad Mile my Garmin was reading 45 miles and with less than 2 miles to go it was going to leave me just short of the 50 mark so once I entered Wellingborough I rode down Shelley Road , along Northampton road around the town centre and up Park Street along to Broad Green where I was still only showing 48 miles so I headed up the Kettering road and turned right along Kilborn Road and then around the estate where we live a couple of times to take me up to 50.17 miles in total .

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All in all a great ride on a fantastic bike at a higher than average speed and all completed in just over 3 hours in good weather on damp roads when I started out and by the time I got home they were drying out nicely .

Bridgestone Synergy Rb2 and its not a tyre

My latest purchase is a Bridgestone Synergy Rb2 circa mid 1980’s.

 

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

 

I have been keeping an eye out for one or an Rb1 which is its slightly better specified brother , I have not seen either come up for sale for ages

. This one popped up a few weeks back at slightly over my budget for a bike that I wouldn’t be able to see in the flesh before handing over the cash so any decision was based on half a dozen pictures and a handful of words from its seller .

Bridgestone Synergy Rb2

It didn’t look in bad condition in supplied pictures with just the normal amount of age related marks and associated wear and tear for a bike that is 20+ years old , all of its original equipment was still fitted which is always a bonus . So once we agreed an all in price that included carriage to me the deal was done and the excitement began.

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

 

There is always a bit of anticipation when receiving a bike sent via a courier as you never know how well the sender has packaged it up to help keep it undamaged during transit by the various transport companies and handlers . The seller was good to his word and packaged the bike with lots of large sized bubble wrap around all the components including the frame . So upon lifting the components out the box it was nice to see it all neatly wrapped up . Once out of the packing I placed the frame in my bike repair stand and started to rebuild it , which meant re fitting the front wheel , pedals , handlebars seat post and saddle .

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

I always like to re assemble the bike just to make sure there are no missing or unexpected damaged parts . The only thing that I noticed was the rear wheel was slightly out of true more than I would like but it should be an easy fix . Once a substitute rear wheel was slotted in place and the brakes were re set , I set off for a tentative ride around the cul de sac a few times just to give me an idea what or how the bike felt like . My initial reaction was good apart from a slightly sticky rear brake caliper or cable .

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

A few daily commutes were done with the bike to give me a better idea of what work was required to turn this into a useable bike , it also gave me time to dig out a set of red rimmed Veluta road wheels that have been hanging around for ages . A couple of early morning tinkering sessions soon had the following parts replaced; wheels and tyres , 130 mm stem swapped for a 90mm one , brake cables , brake calipers , chain and 28 – 12  cassette fitted , I also fitted a couple of bottle cages and a pump along with fitting one of my selle smp 209 lite saddles for comfort .

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

I also did some gentle polishing of the paintwork as I removed things to make it easier, this also helped with the general appearance of the bike as the original red and white paintwork was rather dull in places and soon came up with a bit of elbow grease. I have still got a lot of polishing to do but at least the bit that has been done has shown it should come up quite nicely .

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

 

So far I have done two days of commuting with all the mechanical changes done and it is a lot smoother to ride , it is my intention to try and get at least one or two 10+ mile loop rides done before I venture any further away from home on it .

Bridgestone Synergy rb2

 

The last two pictures were taken over the weekend where i used the bike for a nice 43 mile ride on the Saturday and a quick 23 miles on the Sunday its a fantastic bike and on these two rides my average speed was 1 mph higher than normal , ok i now the weather makes a bit of difference but so does a good bike .

 

Khs Turbo

About a week ago one of my regular Racing Bikes Biggs682 Facebook page visitors asked my advice about selling his 1980’s KHS Turbo road bike that he had cycled the 100 mile 2015 Eroica Brittanica on without any issues .

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Khs Turbo

 

I have been looking for a KHS road bike for a while and preferably one of the ones with the curved seat tube but in all fairness I have only seen 2 or 3 of them for sale on e bay in the last few years and not one of them was local or with in my budget. Once he told me what it was, as I couldn’t quite make out the brand on his initial picture, I was quick to reply with “ If you would package and courier it I would love it “ and he was just as quick to reply with “ Really , I could bring it , where do you live ? ” .

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Khs Aero Turbo

So once we sorted out the day and time the bike was duly delivered as promised . I was at work when it was delivered so when I got home at lunch time it was there waiting for me .

 

 

My initial inspection was along the lines of that looks as good as expected but what are those tyres? ! In all fairness the seller had warned me and when I looked harder it made a lot more sense as I could see the rims were 27” x 1” and the tyres were 27” x 1 ¼” so it looked over tyred but on closer inspection there was loads of clearance between the tyres and the frame so no real issue at all .

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Khs Turbo

Once I finished work and got home I couldn’t resist jumping aboard and giving it a gentle once round the block , so off I went, all was going well until I applied the rear brake and for whatever reason the cable nipple decided it wasn’t going to sit in the handle any longer and jumped out leaving me with only a front brake , so caution was the main word from there onwards .

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Khs Turbo

The bike felt very fluent indeed , and all the gear changes I made were nice and smooth which is what I expected from Shimano 600 Arabasque units all round apart from a very nice Sugino crankset which looks very similar indeed . The tyres rode well, they didn’t feel over tyred on the short ride a few more miles will tell the tale better . Apart from the rear brake cable incident the brakes worked well enough and once pressure was applied the bike started to slow down without any juddering or pulling which is always a good sign .

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Khs Turbo

For those that don’t know the tubing is Tange champion no 2 which is on a par with Reynolds 501 tubing , I like Tange tubing very much it’s a bit rarer and different to Reynolds and Columbus tubing . I have owned a few bikes that were made of Tange, the main one being my Marin Bear Valley mtb and a couple of Charge branded frames were also Tange tubed . The paintwork has just the right amount of patina for a 20+ year old bike in my mind . The chromed fork crown has suffered worse of all but it’s there and it shines , as does the original blue paintwork .

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Khs Turbo

In theory the frame is a shade small for me so I need to look at getting a longer seatpost and maybe a longer quill stem but will do the seat post first once I have checked my stock for a 26.6mm diameter one . Once that is sorted I can then press on and do some miles on this classic bike .

 

BMC RacemachineSlr03

Well last weekend saw my longest  2 rides to date on my recently acquired 2014 BMC Racemachine slr03.

 

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Bmc slr03

The only other ride I had used it for was a 12 mile loop just after I got it , so I hadn’t fitted my saddle of choice, the Selle SMP lite 209 and I hadn’t really set the bar height up either . With a dry weekend forecast I prepped the BMC so it was ready to go Saturday morning . I had a choice of either a red or black saddle and opted for the red one and I think it was a wise decision .

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After only five miles on Saturday I felt the set up was far from ideal and stopped to have a quick look to see if I could notice anything obvious. As I had expected the saddle had crept all the way back  so was sitting about an inch and half further back than it was originally . I decided the best option was to press on regardless and try and perch myself further forward than normal to compensate and this seemed to work fine . I had half expected this to happen as the same kind of seat post was fitted on my Simoncini , not sure how you would describe it but the front clamp bolt allows a degree of setting saddle angle up whilst the rear does the majority of clamping .

 

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Bmc slr03

 

The rest of the bike felt fine and certainly rode well enough in my mind , it amazed me how nicely the Shimano 5800 model 11 speed 105 sti units worked and gave a reassuring clunk when gear changes were chosen. It reminded me of shutting a good quality built car door compared to shutting a lesser quality one . I just need to get use to turning a higher cadence rather than settling for a higher gear and sitting there just gently turning the cranks which is my normal style .

 

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Bmc slr03

 

The carbon 40 – 60 Gipiemme aero wheel set didn’t seem to be effected by the occasional blast of wind that I had been warned about  as this is the first bike I have ever ridden that is equipped with a higher rim depth than 15 – 20 mm . These wheels have an alloy brake track which allows the 105 calipers to work very efficiently when required . The slick treaded Hutchinson tyres gave a good level of grip on the mainly dry road surfaces which always surprise me.

 

There is lots on the internet about how stiff the Slr03’s frame is and I certainly found it very forgiving on the different road surfaces I rode over from smooth freshly laid tarmac to stretches that were so rutted and uneven an off road bike would have been more suited . The look of the frame and its finish were one of the first things that attracted me to the bike when I first saw it . Its matt black and red colour scheme is quite tasteful in my mind and the red bar tape and red saddle only help to improve its looks .

 

The seat post was swapped for a more conventional clamping affair one ready for Sunday morning’s ride and the saddle was lifted slightly as I felt I was not getting my leg straight enough whilst peddling . This change to the seat post worked wonders as it never moved back during Sunday’s 32 mile ride at all, I still feel the saddle needs to go up a bit more so will try that next time out .

 

I am slowly getting use to the mechanical ticking noise that the rear free hub makes when not being turned via the pedals at first I found it quite loud and rather disconcerting but as the miles progressed I didn’t find myself listening to it so much and just got on with enjoying my ride .

 

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Bmc slr03

All in all I found the Slr03 to be a very nice bike to ride that seemed to cope with all I have asked of it so far over the 80+ miles I have covered on it . It’s a bike I certainly look forward to riding again .