Japanese semi-randonneur build

Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking

Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby DJIntegr8 » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:00 pm

This is a bit of a story on the build of my Japanese semi-randonneur bike. I already posted a few pics in the Repco thread but wanted to record my build so far..

I got into road cycling (having been an occasional MTB rider) earlier this year and bought a Giant TCR to ride with a mate on weekends - soon enough I decided to start riding to work after much enthusiasm shown by a full-time cycle commuting colleague.. At best I managed to ride twice a week - the ride is 35km one way (uphill on the way home) and the crummy threatening weather put me off riding the nice bike most days. I *needed* another bike :wink: Something with mudguards and a rack to load up my clothes and lunch to commute to work.

I was inspired by ghettro's Japanese Randonneur build; the retro Shimano goodness, polishing parts until your fingers bleed, gunmetal frame with the gold details - the whole style looked great. I started the search for a donor bike, and came across a couple of Repco Travellers, a few more low end Hi-Ten frames and lots of junk. Researching more and more into bike frames and early modern-style groupsets I decided to keep my eye out for a Cro-Mo frame with Shimano 105 or similar.

I came across a very nice Repco Eurosport Tri-A - the guy selling it had inherited it from a housemate who went back home overseas and it hadn't been ridden in a few months. It had flat tyres, broken toe clips and rusty cables but the wheels spun very straight and gears changed smoothly. It had the full Shimano 105 set, Araya 700c rims, yet horribly uncomfortable saddle and terrible (IMO) 80s decals. The Tange Infinity frame looked good, if a little chipped and rusty, so I took it there and then.

Straight away I started tearing into it, replacing the garish pink cable outers with black ones and fitting new gear and brake cables. I replaced the tubes and left the seemingly original IRC Triathlon Duro tyres. Tore off the manky grey/white bar tape, threw some flat pedals on and took it for a spin around the block. This thing was amazing for a 20 year old bike! The tyres were hard and crusty, the brakes (single pivot Shimano 105) were horrendously poor but it rode so smoothly and picked up speed so well. It had 52/42 Biopace chainrings and a 13-24 rear cassette, they changed without skipping and complaining at all. I threw on the original tyres (Michelin Dynamic) from my TCR and gave the brakes another adjustment which improved them slightly.

I then rode the bike to work the next day and started planning for stage 2 of the build :D


After a few tweaks
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Front on
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80's Decal
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Tange Infinity Frame
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Tange CroMo Forks
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Shimano 105 Single Pivot Brakes
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Shimano 105 Aero Levers
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Downtube Shifters
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Pink deraileur cable
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Biopace chainrings
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IRC Triathlon Duro tyres
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Shimano 105 Hubs
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Brendan
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by BNA » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:18 pm

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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby DJIntegr8 » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:18 pm

Stage 2

I started to strip the frame, the only things I couldn't remove myself were the cranks/crankset, bottom bracket and headset - I took the frame down to the bike shop where they noticed some cracking behind the crank at the chainstay. At this stage I was a bit dejected but told them to pull the bits off and I started to look for another frame. At the same time I thought it might be good to keep the frame to try out different paint finishes and refurbishing techniques. I pulled out the industrial paint stripper and got to work - most of the paint came off after a couple of coats and I just used a brass wire brush on a drill to take the rest off. Down at the chainstay I couldn't see any sign of cracking at all - score!

I got some White Knight Rust Guard Epoxy Enamel to test out in Gloss White - a 1L pot with rollers. The finish wasn't quite what I wanted - you could easily see the roll-strokes and the roller didn't seem suited to painting tubes. I let the paint dry for a few days while I got onto the cleaning stage.

Frame Stripped
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Kuwahara serial no.
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Cracked paint behind cranks
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Frame Stripped
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Closeups of "cracked" area
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Frame after painting with roller
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Lots of elbow grease with some tar and grease remover (I'm a part-time car detailer).
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Cleaning up the brake hoods. Still cream toned :(
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Headset clean and regrease
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Overhauling the rear deraileur
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Before polishing
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During polishing (Autosol)
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Anodised?
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All done
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Ready to rebuild
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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby DJIntegr8 » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:33 pm

Stage 3

I started the rebuild by collecting some bits from various online stores. Selle San Marco Regal saddle - white leather with copper studs, some Randonneur 32c (then reaslied they wouldn't fit so got Rubino Pro 25s), Lunar R1 (seems great so far - I like the constant low intensity LEDs with the flashing high intensity LED on top), a new chain, Fizik bar tape, stainless bottle cage and various tools. I also got a Carradice Nelson Longflap and Bagman QR to carry my work stuff.

I went away on holidays and the paint was rock hard when I got back. It still had horrid peel in the paint so I set about wet sanding the finish over a few hours. Nothing special, just 600/800 grit wet and dry soaked in water and the frame was kept wet. After the paint had smoothed out I went over with a spray can of the same White Knight Enamel Gloss White to bring back the gloss and also to add some more paint thickness if I needed to repair it later on.

Now it was time to put it all back together. It went together very smoothly with no issues whatsoever - a great learning experience for those who like to be hands on. Perhaps later down the track I will try to rebuild the wheels, as the spokes are aesthetically fairly poor.


Various parts
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Gloss levels after spraying
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On my workbench, a pile of parts to go back on
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Getting there..
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Replaced brake pads
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Chainrings were cleaned up
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Downtube shifters cleaned up
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New bar tape applied
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Complete!
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All ready to head to work :)
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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby drubie » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:47 pm

Turned out very nice - although a little bit of me wishes to see a small pair of pink and yellow triangles painted on it somewhere unobtrusive.
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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby Paddles » Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:24 pm

good stuff, that'll be a nice fast commute
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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby DJIntegr8 » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:02 pm

That's a cool idea drubie, bring back a little bit of the "retro" look without being too over the top. Perhaps somewhere near the dropouts or on the flats of the seat stays.. I was thinking about redo-ing the decals in a more modern font and monochromatic, just something vinyl so it can be easily removed.

Paddles, it's only a fast commute when the engine is fresh :oops:



Where to now?

All the above sorta happened over the last month or so and I've been saving up the photos. I need to finish off the crank arms, as they were badly pitted and looked horrible. I gave a section a quick sand with 600 grit, then 800, 1200, 1500, then Autosol. It looked great, but it was crap to work on the bike. I'm waiting a crank puller to come in so I can get to work off the bike.

Before (need to get my mate to cut me some new stickers)
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Sanded down
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After polishing
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The braking was still horrible, and after a close call coming down a hill in Surrey Hills (I found myself almost putting my foot down to stop) I started the hunt for new brakes. I acquired a lightly used set of Shimano 105 5600-series dual-pivot brakes from a friend who was hit by a car on the way to uni. Luckily she is OK and got a new bike from the insurance payout, the carbon frame and rear wheel were wrecked so she pulled off the bits.

Just giving them a quick spruce up and put some new pads in
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Out with the old
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In with the new
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Also put some SKS Bluemels on, as can be seen in the above photos. These took about 2 hours to install, and were the most fiddly things I have ever put on a bike. I'm still playing with the stays to get the clearances even, then I might take some full photos of the bike with these and the polished cranks. They were well worth it though, rode home last night in the wet and stayed fairly dry overall.

Time to ride it more before the next wrench session!

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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby brasstinman » Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:56 am

Nice job on the resto.
I've gotva TCR1 which I'm actually going to do the same thing you've done and build up a retro bike to ride. I like the TCR but a classic retro ride is more my style I think.

How was it painting the frame with a roller as opposed to using rattle cans?
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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby Semar » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:04 am

Very stylish washing trolley awaiting a resto job! :lol:
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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby DJIntegr8 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:46 am

brasstinman wrote:Nice job on the resto.
I've gotva TCR1 which I'm actually going to do the same thing you've done and build up a retro bike to ride. I like the TCR but a classic retro ride is more my style I think.

How was it painting the frame with a roller as opposed to using rattle cans?


I used 50mm rollers which were probably still too wide for the tubes. Might have been the weather, but it seemed a bit streaky for my liking. It is also difficult to get in the tight joins and gaps. IMO it's good for a base coat so you don't have to spray so much, especially in light tones. There is a fair bit of overspray from the spray can so you should cover pretty much everything within 25m because it stays in the air, but the paint flatness is much better and you can get in the tight gaps.


Semar wrote:Very stylish washing trolley awaiting a resto job! :lol:


Top of the line - lightweight race tubing, patented folding frame, aero wheels.. I'll get around to it one day :mrgreen:

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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby HappyHumber » Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:30 pm

Semar wrote:Very stylish washing trolley awaiting a resto job! :lol:

:D Now that's an Old Skool-cool trolley ;)

Nah... nice work DJIntegr8. I like your attention to detail... and you've documented it well. Good photos, with the click through previews as well.

Have a go at the wheel building as you suggested. It's not that hard, but quite rewarding. You obviously have the patience with the detailing & polishing and wheel building is more tedious than it is difficult. The ol' skungy spokes let down all your other good work (particularly the before & after hub shot)
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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby DJIntegr8 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:56 pm

Cheers HappyHumber - I spent pretty much all night researching wheel building :P Looks pretty easy, just need lots of time and patience.. Now to work out what rims might be good for commuting.

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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby HappyHumber » Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:16 pm

From my own experience, having built 3 sets and a similar number of individual wheels.... Roger Musson's Book is a good investment. I did my first few with Sheldon's article as a constant faithful companion - but Mussons book is a little more consistent in its language I found. There's a few threads floating around on these forums that bought Musson to my attention, and I'm a convert. Printed it out, and took it off to the local Snap printing to have it ring bound.

I have a pair of brand spankers Velocity Dyads I recently ordered through my LBS, with a slighty wider rim width/bead seat. These are intended for my daily rider/commuter Ricardo Viva Fixed conversion. A stronger 36 hole for the load bearing (~100kg me and panniers) rear and 32h for the front. I bought them with the intention of running 25/28c tyres. My frame is a 27" wheel conversion, and I run the Shimano BR-4500 slightly longer reach calipers... so I may have less brake clearance problems than your shorter 105s.
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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby DJIntegr8 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:20 pm

Thanks for the link, I'll have to get around to doing some more reading. I'm currently running 36f/36r and also on 25c tyres - I'm 80kg (trying to get back down around 70) and don't usually carry much over 5kg in the back. I was actually looking at the Dyad and also the Razor on the Velocity site - nice low profile classic rim that doesn't weigh too much. Not sure if I can get away with something like the Mavic Open Sport that is popping up in some of my searches..

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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby DJIntegr8 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:09 pm

Just clocked over 500km on this since the build - still going strong but needs a few more dollars spent on it :lol: Ordered a pair of NOS Shimano 105 brake hoods in black. The 20 year old manky off white ones were getting to me.. Unfortunately these needed the levers to be taken off, 5 re-wraps of bar tape later and they're on.

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Next on the list is to finish polishing those cranks.. Then maybe a new handlebar/stem - currently have Kusuki WInpista and the drop feels a bit much for the longer ride and the stem reach is a bit long (110mm where I run 80mm on my TCR). Still searching for some 105SC hubs so I can build some wheels, and also maybe upgrade the cassette to a 28t for the hills. So much $$$ spent on my "cheap" bike :D

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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby HappyHumber » Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:49 pm

In your earlier post with the pics of the crank you refer to - you mention getting a mate to cut some stickers. Assuming you were referring to the "Shimano 105" script on the crank arm - how tough a reproduction sticker do you think you'll be able to get? Curious if they'd stand up as well as the original.

+1 for the new black hoods, but I don't think you'll ever sell me on the white bar tape. Aesthetically yes, practically, No. Unless there was a clear laquer you could put over them to ease cleaning. I'm sold on shellac for my cloth tape, but it seems to apparently always add a tint to the light colours.
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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:09 am

HappyHumber wrote: I'm sold on shellac for my cloth tape, but it seems to apparently always add a tint to the light colours.


then you should try the harder to get, and more expensive blonde shellac, not the usual orange shellac
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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby groover » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:20 pm

DJ, love your work.
I can't help but feel a little sad that the pink is all gone.....
I have made a couple of reversible mods
new selle italia saddle
new elite pink/white bottle holders
SPD Shimano pedals
Image
if anyone else wants one, there is one here
http://www.bikeexchange.com.au/bicycles ... /100240550
the freaky thing about this one is that even the pump and bottle cage match those that were originally on my bike
(and that are safely stored away)
I might have to consider the brake upgrade package
(a bit like putting brembos on your car?)
thanks for sharing
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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby DJIntegr8 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:09 pm

HappyHumber wrote:In your earlier post with the pics of the crank you refer to - you mention getting a mate to cut some stickers. Assuming you were referring to the "Shimano 105" script on the crank arm - how tough a reproduction sticker do you think you'll be able to get? Curious if they'd stand up as well as the original.

+1 for the new black hoods, but I don't think you'll ever sell me on the white bar tape. Aesthetically yes, practically, No. Unless there was a clear laquer you could put over them to ease cleaning. I'm sold on shellac for my cloth tape, but it seems to apparently always add a tint to the light colours.


It'll only be a vinyl sticker so I can't see it lasting ages - they are 3M though and I've seen them last up to 3 years on a car so it might be alright.. I think the original is actually clearcoated over, which has since failed but much more durable than straight vinyl.

White bar tape.. probably won't be doing again :P The grunge and dirt clean up alright but my gloves stained it a bit so they're a little grey on the tops.

groover wrote:DJ, love your work.
I can't help but feel a little sad that the pink is all gone.....
I have made a couple of reversible mods
new selle italia saddle
new elite pink/white bottle holders
SPD Shimano pedals

if anyone else wants one, there is one here
http://www.bikeexchange.com.au/bicycles ... /100240550
the freaky thing about this one is that even the pump and bottle cage match those that were originally on my bike
(and that are safely stored away)
I might have to consider the brake upgrade package
(a bit like putting brembos on your car?)
thanks for sharing
Groover


I might put a couple of little "retro" touches back on like a small logo or pinstripe. I do miss a little of the 80s style, especially when I see nice examples like yours and the one on Bike Exchange. The pink cable outers were a bit too much for me though :lol:

Brake upgrade was good but still not perfect.. Compared to my TCR running the same calipers they just don't have the same power - swapped the front wheel and that made no difference. It'll do for now, better than before especially in the set.

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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby DJIntegr8 » Sun May 22, 2011 6:17 pm

Haven't been riding this as much as I've wanted - had a super slow-mo stack on a wet boardwalk the other week and haven't been riding to work in the cold weather.. Ended up buying some new bars and stem from Velo Orange - Nitto Technomic 80mm and Nitto Noodle 42cm. Just couldn't get comfortable on the original bits - had the bars turned up to try and help but couldn't use the drops comfortably. Also got a shiny new bell and another stainless bottle cage for a bit more bling :D

OLD
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NEW
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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby lunar_c » Mon May 23, 2011 1:31 am

Looking great mate! Did that cassette come in handy in the end? I hope so.
We have the same bar tape! :)
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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby DJIntegr8 » Mon May 23, 2011 12:33 pm

Yeah, got the 28t cassette on there - been awesome so far because I haven't got around to building new rims yet :)

Gotta get scrubbing on the white tape, looks great in photos but can get a bit grubby..

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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby rustychisel » Mon May 23, 2011 5:48 pm

Well done!!

Tape wrap looks a bit iffy, but practise makes perfect. You'll need another wrap under the brake levers and most sets of tape supply 2 x pieces about 3 inches long to fold over the back of the lever clamp area. Neatens the job.

Good selection on the stem and bars especially; there is nothing works as well as a classic bend bar set up correctly.
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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby DJIntegr8 » Mon May 23, 2011 7:35 pm

Hah, I am horrible at wrapping tape :cry: The old one I had done myself as well, looks a lot better. I was just struggling for a good 20 minutes to wrap it up without a gap on the inside and gave up and just did a figure 8 around the lever and left it - I'll do it again when I have more patience.. :lol:

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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby lunar_c » Mon May 23, 2011 11:35 pm

Dude I found that the microtex was a bit finicky to wrap (wanted to crinkle all the time) myself and I've done a few bikes now.
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Re: Japanese semi-randonneur build

Postby mark field » Mon May 23, 2011 11:55 pm

yeah, 'spose you did an OK job, but the washing basket trolley is more important, lets see some real bling on that domestic chore beast :mrgreen: jokes aside impressive build mate, can you put a couple of pics in the before and after thread soon for our pleasure :wink:
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