Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking
Have already posted this in the apollophiles thread but figured I would start up a fresh thread where I can record what will be my first rebuild of anything. Picked it up this week from the local tip shop. It's an Apollo Concorde which based on the gruppo is a 1988 model (the only year the Sport LX groupset was made according to velobase.) It's a Tange 900 double butted frame with a 4130 chro-mo fork.
Rough size is 61st and 58 tt (c2c), which is unfortunately too big for me but it's in pretty good nick for something a quarter of a century old so a good starter to build my mechanical skills. I can pull a bike apart no worries, but putting it back together in working order without busting pieces is something I need to work on Pics at the end of this post were as is when I pulled it from the pile. Initial inspection showed both frameset and components to be in pretty good condition. Had the usual coat of grime but appeared to have had very little use compared to other bikes I have had of similar vintage.
Stage 1: Strip down.
This went pretty smoothly, in fact more so than I could have hoped. Had it down to its undies with very little drama which was pleasant. Only issues I encountered were drive side pedal took some effort, as did one of the chainring bolts. Also had issues getting the cranks off, which I soon discovered was because my crank extractor was threaded. I blame that on a French bike from a year or two ago Fortunately I noticed it before I destroyed the threads on the crank arms. Bottom bracket and headset bearings were all fairly smooth all things considering. Wheel bearings were also pretty smooth. Spokes are somewhat loose and one spoke on the rear wheel was busted. Cables, tyres, tubes, rim tape & chain all went in the bin (tyres were unfortunate as they looked to be reasonably period correct although mismatched.) Brake lever hoods also bit the dust, essentially disintegrated in my hands which was also unfortunate, but not unexpected.
Gave the frame a quick bath and it has come up really well. Still needs a little more love around the joints but showing very little signs of use. Couple of small nicks in the paint with slight surface rust on them but nothing concerning and not easily addressed with a better clean and probably a coat of polish (what do others use for this, just car polish &/or wax?). Also checked a couple of components in the bucket whilst I was there and again was pleasantly surprised with the condition I got them to with very little effort. Most issues are on bolt heads and the like where minor surface rusting is present. Again, nothing that shouldn't be overly difficult to rectify with a little extra time on my hands.
Hopefully close to sourcing an original 1988 Shimano Exage dealer manual which covers all the parts but here's what I have so far based on the pics of the manual & inspection of parts.
Frame: Tange 900 Double butted Apollo Concorde
Fork: 4130 Chro-mo Apollo Concorde
Groupset: (almost) Complete Shimano Exage Sport LX 7 speed indexed 1988 gruppo
Rear Der: RD-A452
DT shifters: SL-A453-7
Front Der: FD-A452
Crankset: FC-A452 (biopace rings)
Levers: BL-A45x (4 different models according to dealer manual, have to dig them out and check which they are)
Hubs: 32 hole FH-A450-7 and HB-A450 (with QR skewers)
Rims: Wolber (rear) and Alesa (front)
Stem & Seatpost: SR Sakae
Bars: Hsin lung (or however you spell it) - dont know much about these, they appear to have some sort of sleeve on the centre for the stem to mount to which has the brand logos on it.
Pedals: Uknown at this stage although pretty sure they arent the matching PD-A450's. Straps sorta give that away, but the ic I have from the dealer manual isnt overly clear.
Headset: Again unknown at this stage, again don't think its the matching Shimano one.
Saddle: Selle San Marco. Unknown model as the name has rubbed off the nose. Has Pirelli logos molded into the rear. Cover has started to come away a little on one side
Extra's: Old school but not cool fluro yellow tri bars, orginal cat-eye computer, Matching fluro yellow plastic bidon cage
New bar tape (cloth yellow)
New seatpost bolt (easier than cleaning up the current one)
New headset bearings
Also got given a spare chain the LBS had lying around, don't think its suitable though (KMC narrow)
Brake lever hoods
Maybe a new rim to make a matching set
Possibly replace all the spokes, will investigate the wheels further once i'm done with the frame & components
BB has been regreased and reinstalled, other than that no work so far. Off to Sydney for work for a couple of days so probably wont get a chance to play again until the weekend. Will try get some more pics then.
Good work, when you washed the frame did you get much water inside it? If so make sure it's all nice and dry before you re-assemble. I also like to put a fair bit WD40 or other penetrant inside the tubes as well and give it a good swill around to try and corrosion proof the insides of the tubes as best I can. Don't be shy with grease or nickel type never seize when putting things like bottom brackets back into the frame so that they will be easier to remove for maintenance in the future. Should be a good solid ride though when it's finished. The narrow chain should be ok and Hsin Lung were a reasonable quality but priced right Taiwanese bar from the 80's and 90's. Personally I reckon nice rims and new spokes will really complete this bike and also give you the opportunity to clean/polish the hubs, but this will add a bit of expense with a set of spokes setting you back $50+ and some suitable rims in the few $100's, but it will also give you the opportunity to learn how to build your own wheels which is very satisfying and easier than you may think.
Nice pickup, I love projects like this.
Are you aiming to keep it factory original, or close to factory? Or just a fix up and get it out the door?
I've recently picked up a low end Apollo for a project bike and it has chips and dings in the paint too. I've narrowed it down to three options for mine;
2. Treat as much of the rust as possible with light sanding, light rub back of paint and then spray a couple of coats of clear over the top to preserve original paint and give it that beater look (+ maybe patina it to make it look a bit more beaten), or;
3. Strip frame, treat rust, respray whatever colour and then patina it to make it look older, then clearcoat it.
In terms of waxing the frame, I've always just used the same wax I use on the car which is a Meguiars wax. Should provide some protection at least.
There are always good used wheels going in the Classifieds section. I have a heap sitting in the garage, so if interested, let me know.
A strip and repaint is always going to be either expensive in cash, or time. However, if you really love it, go for it.
When the frame is stripped and washed, you can always use a little wire brush to remove and surface rust spots, and then a product like RANEX to neutralise the rust. Once done, either hit it with some clear, or even just wax and you should arrest the rust.
Reassemble, and ride it like ya stole it!
Given it's almost all recoverable i'll probably aim to keep it factory. Have WTB up for lever hoods, although im not holding my breath to get them anytime soon. Found a NOS pair but they are a little pricey.
Havent given it a proper wash yet, just a rup down with a chux & bucket of soapy water. Will probably give it a good clean over the weekend and get of the few small spots of surface rust. Wont be putting it back together any time soon as I will go through all the components and give them all a scrub and spit 'n' polish as well so wont have any issues with it still being wet. Plan was to swish around some fish oil in it. Still toying with whether to rebuild the wheels or not. Will probably make a decision once I have finished everything else and can sit down . If I do, I might try to reuse one of the rims and pick up a matching one, as you mentioned even cheap spokes will probably set me back around $60, but I did pick up a heap of gold anodised spoke nipples for next to nix the other day. Plan will be to go yellow bartape/bidon cages so they might work or they might not. Either way they were too cheap to pass up. End of the day im not rebuilding it for myself so aim is to not spend too much on it if I can get away with it, in saying that though its more about learning how to put it all back together and get it running. Initial cost was only $25 so if I drop a bit on it and only break even at the other end I wont be too worried.
This groupset looks very very similar to the RX100 and 105 group sets as well. More so the white edition RX100.
Check out my sale thread. I've got RX100 levers, which could replace these.
Thanks but I would ideally like to keep it as the complete matching group. Picked up some NOS spokes on eBay for not a lot of coin so the wheel rebuild may still be on the cards. Still debating over whether or not I want to pay $50 for NOS lever hoods I may not have much of a choice at this stage, not sure if these hoods appeared on other levers of the same period. Even within the 1988 range only the sport LX and exage sport groups had this lever (BL-A451), the exage motion and action gruppo's had a completely different lever.
Also picked up a dealer manual for the Exage range from 1988 which will probably take a couple of weeks to make its way here from the other side of the world which I thought was pretty cool.
Couple of photos below of some more components after a quick bath on the weekend (brakes, rings and levers pics were taken with 1 cleaned 1 not). Will give them a light polish where required and look at replacing bolts on the brake pads etc. Frame cleaned up a treat with a bit more of a careful wash and wax. Has the odd nick here and there but nothing significant. Now into the early stages of reassembly, the fun begins
Page from the dealer manual:
The Shimano hoods for the 105/RX100/600 levers will be a very similar if not perfect fit. They are just under $20 on eBay. However, I'm sure there are members here who have the exact Exage hoods.
So far my WTB has gone unanswered unfortunately. The hoods for these are the aero/anatomical type which allow the cables to be run along the bars and are left/right specific. I was hoping something a little newer/more readily available would have similar/same hoods, if I can confirm they fit then that's the route ill be taking. I'd rather find out for sure first otherwise they NOS ones will just end up costing me $70
I will have a look at the old one I kept tonight, pretty sure it only has Shimano on it somewhere and thats about it. Stupid me threw one of them out
edit: just went through your WTS thread, the hoods on the 6401 levers look to be possibly identical.
2nd edit. Found hoods on ebay for just under $20 as you said.......
These are the exact hoods. The 105/RX100 hoods look to be different, but remains to be seen whether thats purely cosmetic or not.
Dunno what you're searching for. That seller has the 105 hoods as well.
Amazon reviews say they fit well.
They won't be any modern hoods that fit since all the Shimano stuff are STI, which have wider bodies.
Ta for that. And by modern I meant newer than 1988. STi wont fit obviously
Just read the amazon review, the most relevant review states it fits exage action which is the BL-A351. Guess i'll wait until the dealer manual comes and see if I can find out more, I dont have pic's of all the pages to try and determine whether the hoods were the same or not, only pic I have of the levers is the one above.
BTW, love your work
Anything half decent doesnt last long. Actually, anything with drop bars doesnt tend to last long. I nearly passed it over but at second glance noticed the groupset. There was at least 2 others watching me to see if I put it down. Fat chance
Plenty. Not all of them necessarily know what they are doing though. Im far from an expert but suggest I would know more than the average punter that goes through their stuff. Also plenty of people looking for a cheap bike to get out and about on, just missed a nice old repco a couple of weeks ago that an old bloke had picked up in the hope he could get it up and going with minimal investment as a beater. Spent a bit of time chatting to him about it.
Thanks. Should come up pretty tidy, but not as good as it would if it was my size. If it was I would be spending a lot more time polishing Going to clean up the original plastic yellow bidon cage and picked up some yellow bar tape cheap at LBS closing down sale, just debating whether I fix up the saddle or recover it in yellow. It's in pretty good nick so at this stage I will probably just throw a few staples in it as thats all it really needs. All this is dependant on getting some quality shed time of course, that may well be tonight after junior_no_pro is in bed given mrs_no_pro is out for the evening.
Got to spend an hour or so in the man cave tonight. Step one was take the fork back out and put the headset bearings in the right way
Decided to have a bit of a play and mock it up to see what i'll end up with. Result below suggests it should scrub up ok although the fact the rims are different colours is starting to irritate me. I could probably deal with them being different make/model if they were both the same colour.
I might even be able to ride it, although ill save that decision for once I can jump on it with wheels attached. Found my 200 NOS 295mm spokes tucked into the front door when I got home, looks like they will do both sides of the rear wheel but might be a fraction short for the front. Oh well, they didnt cost me much anyways.
But how are you gonna put the hoods on if you've installed the levers? I found that getting the hoods on from the clamp end is easier.
Tape isnt on, just sitting there
Ok so time for an update. Would have provided pics but struggling to find the time to work on it let alone take photos of the damn thing.
Not a lot of progress since the last post, mainly packages rolling in from various website, my very own Xmas in July Have everything I need now except the lever hoods. Bit the bullet on these and went with a set of 105/RSX hoods from the US. Only got shipped this morning so probably a couple of weeks at least before I see them (went snail mail). My 1988 Exage dealer catalogue arrived from the US last week, absolutely unneccessary purchase but who cares Tyres, rim tape etc courtesy of T7 and some spokes that should do the rear wheel from eBay.
Spent some time cleaning up some of the bolts and what not that were rusty (brake pad bolts, bidon cage bolts, barrel adjusters on the brakes, FD etc). Used oxalic acid for the first time and I have to say I was rather impressed. Bolted a few bits and pieces back on here and there, partly so I could feel like I was achieving something and partly so I dont lose them.
Decided to strip the front wheel apart the other night and have a go at rebuilding. Spokes are actually in reasonable nick, Hub came up an absolute treat with a decent clean and a light polish with some brite shine. Now comes the fun part, putting it all back together. In true man-style I just dived in sans instructions and just worked of another old 36 spoke wheel I had for guidance in terms of lacing. Thought I had done a pretty good job until I got to the end and realised there's a number of spokes poking their heads up above the rim. Guess I will have to read the instructions (Zinn's) after all
Managed the clean the rear hub up pretty well without delacing it so it may well stay intact and the 200 NOS 295mm spokes I am now the proud owner of can go into the spares cupboard Got the cassette off and it cleaned up almost as good as new, seems to be little wear on the teeth, even the chain looks like it will be salvageable (first time for everything).
Not as confident on the 1989 date now, checked the date codes on some of the running gear and it was manufactured in 1990. Serial #P9387142 is stamped on the underside of the downtube at the base near the BB. Cant seem to find any info about Apollo serial #'s though other than the Kuwahara built ones which apparently had serial #'s on the base of the seat tube starting with 2 digits that indicated the year of manufacture. Guess I'll have to settle for knowing approximately how old it is and thats about it.
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