Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking

Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby ldrcycles » Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:34 am

After doing a long ride the other week which took in a lot of very rough dirt roads, I realised 2 things, 1) I liked it a lot and 2) the 27 x 1-1/4" wheeled Mercier I used wasn't really suited to it. So I've had a rummage through the frame pile and come up with this candidate.


Image

Looks to be decent quality, 26.4mm seatpost, nice details like the rear brake cable hanger and the loops in front of the downtube cable stops, and the clincher is having 2 sets of bottle bosses on the downtube. I'll be looking at riv nutting another set on the seat tube in due course.

Any guesses as to it's breeding? The only sticker visible is a "sold and serviced by" on the seat tube for The Bicycle Shop Willoughby, the Mountain LX group is dated 1989 and the serial under the BB is T8805 003.

The plan is to build it up with standard road cranks, a MTB RD with 32t cassette and drop bars. In spite of singlespeedscott's assurances I am concerned about 26" wheels being slow but I suppose 26 x 1-3/8" was common on road bikes BITD. So were 3 speed hubs and 4kg frames and that hasn't been much of an impediment for me :lol: .
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by BNA » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:04 am

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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby silentbutdeadly » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:04 am

It looks a bit like my old Bennett...by which I mean mid to late 80's generic Japanese 26" frame to service the first wave of XC MTB styles. Built like a bomb shelter.

If there's enough room for 650B wheels wearing 35 to 50mm tyres then this be a win...otherwise there's plenty of narrow 26" tyres. I wouldn't personally run road cranks on it - I'd probably look at a decent square taper BB and use the crank it has for a 1x10 setup...perhaps with a new outer ring. Consider a clutched RD to control chain slap and aid chain retention.

The big game for fitting drop bars will be getting a taller stem - there may not be enough height in what's there to be comfortable. Might have to go with an A-head conversion and a 17 degree stem?


I've just built something similar using a Giant Cypress 700c hybrid frame - works a treat. Still to do the drop bar conversion but I may not bother. I do have most of the bits but not sure if I can control the XT RD effectively with a thumbie
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby koen » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:20 am

Nice bike.
Looks very like an Apollo or Shogun but as previous poster said there were many really solid similar frames in that period. I would keep the nice cranks that are on it. I am an ignoramus/luddite when it comes to wheels but I used to sometimes ride my 26 x 2" mtb wheels in road bunches training and when i stopped pedalling on slight downhills I never showed any loss of speed compared to 700x 23 riders. There may be a tiny difference on a really rough road if you were racing. The only drawback came when hitting the front of a paceline at 50kph. Wind resistance on the 2" wheels was obviously huge.
Is there still good tyre selection for 26"?? that might be a decider
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby ironhanglider » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:21 pm

If you're going to put anything other than 559mm BSD wheels on it, how do you plan on stopping? You'll have to find at least 6mm of brake adjustment to put even 650c wheels on (571mm). 26x1 3/8" are either 590mm or 597mm.

I'd much sooner head for good MTB road slicks.

Cheers,

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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby koen » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:26 pm

ironhanglider wrote:I'd much sooner head for good MTB road slicks.



Or for comfort a bigger 26 inch tyre with low rolling resistance. 1.6 or 1.95 even. I have found racing mtb tyres feel much faster and lighte than cheap 1.5 slicks. I think it must have to do with the suppleness of the sidewall or something. The cheap thick tyres lose alot of energy as they compress each revolution???
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby dayne » Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:15 pm

Sell the frame pile and buy this,
http://www.velogear.com.au/bike-parts/b ... -crmo.html
if they had smaller sizes id be all over it.
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby grantw » Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:57 pm

I'm having trouble seeing this frame in the desired categories. What else is in the pile?
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby ldrcycles » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:46 pm

Crikey, thanks for the responses! I'll try and answer everything :) .

I have tried a 700x23 in the front and while it clears just fine and dandy (35mm tyres would probably be apples too) it is a million miles from the brakes. The ready supply of cheap/free wheels and tyres in 559 is a compelling argument for sticking with that. I'm anticipating 1.75-1.9" Schwalbe Marathon or similar.

Dayne, the wazoo looks good, but it's about 2.5 times my budget for the whole shebang :lol: .

silentbutdeadly, there's no way she will have a riser stem, I have long legs and like being hunched over so my bikes usually look like a lo-pro :) , have you seen the drop on my Local 3 speed? On the ride that has inspired this project I never really needed a gear lower than the 40-28 (though if I had lower I probably would), and on the other hand used the 52-14 quite a bit too. I could probably get that range with a single chainring but having 2 just gives me more options if i'm 120 miles in and starting to crack. Plus then I don't have to buy anything :D . I'm not really against triples, I had one for a while that was alright, but shifting on a double doesn't need any thought or effort.

grantw, other than this there is a similar decent-but-not-fancy Miyata MTB/hybrid/tourer thing, a Southern Cross tourer, but it's got a 60cm top tube which is too long for me with drops, a Shogun Prairie Breaker and then a bunch of entry level road frames which won't clear fat tyres. I'm not actually intending on EVER doing cyclocross, I hate riding in mud, but I can't really think of a proper description (other than randonneur?) for a bike that is intended for long rides on rough, partially unsealed roads at fairly brisk pace.
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby lunar_c » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:08 pm

Cool project .. Could be a Kojima but as others had said plenty of decent Japanese frames from that era were very alike.
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby silentbutdeadly » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:33 am

Axeman has the perfect drop bars for this project and for the right price too viewtopic.php?f=25&t=70725

They should fit the existing stem too . Or a decent roadie quill stem for that matter.
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby ldrcycles » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:11 am

A bit too wide unfortunately, anything wider than 44cm makes me feel like this..


Image

:) .

I've got a nice big box of drop bars in the shed, the perfect ones would be Sakae Road Champions like I have on the Mercier, but if not there are plenty of others that should be fine. The rain today precludes both riding and house building, so i'll be able to strip down the "Benollogunima", and maybe get some wheels and bars on for a spin round the block to see how it fits.
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby ldrcycles » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:17 pm

Just a quick note to let you know I have "built" the frame up for a spin around the block and am now suitably convinced as to the legitimacy of smaller wheels. I really couldn't tell any difference :oops: .

I'll get a pic up tomorrow, but I just stripped off the brakes and shifters, popped on the hideous Scott Drop-in bars I have in the parts box (because they already had a stem attached and who the heck has time to put a stem on another set of bars) and nicked a front calliper brake and wheels off an old Raleigh MTB out the back. A single speed chain draped over the 48t biopace ring and the 21 at the back and away I went. It was only after riding it I checked out what the 26 x 1-1/2 wheels off the Raleigh are (they were the only "26" wheels I had here), seems they are aka 584, aka 650B! (pause for all the 650B groupies to get excited :lol: ).

Consulting Sheldon, he hasn't got a listing for the tyre circumference on 650B, but 26 x 1.9 is 2055mm and 26 x 1-3/8 (590mm rim with a 35mm tyre, so should be comfortably larger than the approx. 32mm x 584 I've used) is 2068, so there should be basically no difference between the tyres I used tonight and what I will be using in the end.
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby ldrcycles » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:41 am

Needs a shorter stem, but otherwise she fits well.

Image
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby grantw » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:43 am

Aahh now I get it, in my mind the frame looked smaller without wheels
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby ldrcycles » Sat Dec 14, 2013 6:18 am

Forgot to show off the tyre clearance :) .

Image
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby drubie » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:15 am

If you want to try 700c and the bike has a 1 1/8 steerer I have a fork and rear brake bridge that can do it. PM me for details.

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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby rheicel » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:22 am

ldrcycles wrote:Image[/url]

I like the aero riders bend!

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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby ldrcycles » Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:22 am

drubie wrote:If you want to try 700c and the bike has a 1 1/8 steerer I have a fork and rear brake bridge that can do it. PM me for details.

Sent from my XT925 using Tapatalk


Thanks for the offer but the only thing stopping me from using 26" was the impression it would be slow, now that I've been convinced otherwise i'm happy to go with the cheap/free and easily found bits, plus the fact I've never had a single puncture on 26s.

I'll be stripping the bike down fully today and blasting/painting it on Monday.
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby ldrcycles » Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:38 pm

Pretty much zip progress on this one, I've only blasted and primed the forks so far, other projects and lack of moolah have pushed this one back a little. I was also struggling to decide on a paintscheme but I've found one I REALLY like :D .

Image

Except that mine won't have some dog ugly threadless stem :twisted: .
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby RobertFrith » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:35 am

ldrcycles wrote:xcept that mine won't have some dog ugly threadless stem

Yep, there really is a limit with how retro you can make a modern bike look! Llewellyns have always looked pretty cheesy to me. Sure the craftmanship is great but that logo and the clunky application of unsympathetic components really lets down what is probably a great bike. Puts me in mind of amazing woodworkers making precision built dining suites with zero design sense...
That is a nice colour scheme though :D (and you've reminded me to update a build of mine!)
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby singlespeedscott » Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:16 am

Lachlan I really think you need to look for a stem with more rise. Your wrists and neck will thank you after a couple hundred on the dirt. Have a look on ebay and you will find plenty of old Nitto 1" riser quill stems.

Older bikes for riding crap roads tended to be larger for a reason. A larger frame as well as being more comfy fit wise absorbs road shock better IMO. Dont fall victim to the current racer fashion of small frame sizes. Your not racing a crit on hot mix.

I would also try to run a double on the fornt and ditch the triple. It will lower the Q factor on the crank and make it easier to spin without your feet splaying out like a ducks. A stronger climber like you will be perfectly fine running a compact front with a 34/48-50 and a 12-32 on the back.

Have you got a piccie of the Miyata. I have a feeling that that would be a better choice as a gravel grinder.
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby koen » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:36 am

singlespeedscott wrote:I would also try to run a double on the fornt and ditch the triple. It will lower the Q factor on the crank and make it easier to spin without your feet splaying out like a ducks. A stronger climber like you will be perfectly fine running a compact front with a 34/48-50 and a 12-32 on the back.

I'd have to say, unless you are very small with narrow hips I can't see a triple crank of any quality making any difference to foot placement. Set your pedals and cleats right. If your feet splay out you need to learn how to ride !
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby singlespeedscott » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:51 am

koen wrote:
singlespeedscott wrote:I would also try to run a double on the fornt and ditch the triple. It will lower the Q factor on the crank and make it easier to spin without your feet splaying out like a ducks. A stronger climber like you will be perfectly fine running a compact front with a 34/48-50 and a 12-32 on the back.

I'd have to say, unless you are very small with narrow hips I can't see a triple crank of any quality making any difference to foot placement. Set your pedals and cleats right. If your feet splay out you need to learn how to ride !

I beg to differ big time.

A mtb triple is fine if your bashing around in the bush climbing out of the saddle, or slowly pedaling away on tour. However for the pace the LDR rides at I think he will find, as I do, that the wider stance of the triple really starts to become uncomfortable after a few hours.

I dont have super narrow hips but I ceretainly find that im alot more comfortable when my legs, kness and ankles all spin in a, generally, straight line.
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby spirito » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:59 am

koen wrote:

I'd have to say, unless you are very small with narrow hips I can't see a triple crank of any quality making any difference to foot placement. Set your pedals and cleats right. If your feet splay out you need to learn how to ride !


Many would disagree with you ... maybe it's just that you have childbearing hips :P :mrgreen:

Q factor preference is real. Just as saddle width, helmet shape and clothing comes in different sizes so do people's hips/anatomy.
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Re: Randonneur/Cyclocross/Gravel grinder project

Postby koen » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:17 pm

spirito wrote:
Many would disagree with you ... maybe it's just that you have childbearing hips :P :mrgreen:

Q factor preference is real. Just as saddle width, helmet shape and clothing comes in different sizes so do people's hips/anatomy.


First..Its a gravel bike...not a world tt contender. Second...I'd have to say I am blessed with good joints.
Though all my family have terrible flexibilty in general yet along with all other cyclists until the recent decade or so we never thought about q angle. When I first heard of it it was in relation mainly to women and then sometimes efficeincy. Any geometry whizzes out there who can calculate the difference in angle at the knee of moving the foot 10mm wider from the hip. Very tiny. The pain someone feels may well be caused by something else. My long experience has been that once I have any inflammation in a joint many things serve to annoy it. Even thinking about it.

I do understand a very few may have issues but in general it seems majorly overstated.
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