27 December 2016

Exposing "What Have We Here"

Now I'm going to expose you to some real "bike porn."

I stripped a bike bare.  Yes, stripped it.  And photographed it when it was in a compromised position. 

I'm so heartless and exploitative, aren't I?

Well, I didn't strip the bike completely bare.  Three parts that came with the bike--and which I intend to use--are on it.

That thing clamped near the bottom bracket is a cable guide.  The only things brazed to this frame are a "stop" on the underside of the downtube for the shift-lever clamp and a cable guide on the chainstay.  When this Trek was made, such an arrangement was common.

Somewhat more significant is a part you can't see:  a Sakae Ringyo Laprade seatpost. In keeping with the time the bike was made, it's fluted.  

Image result for SR Laprade fluted seatpost
Sakae Ringyo (SR) Laprade

But most important, it's good.  In fact, some might say that it's the first modern seatpost.  That is wrong only because its design copied the French Laprade seatpost made by a small company called JPR.  Very few of those posts made it here to the 'States--or, from what I can tell, anywhere outside of France. 

JPR Laprade seatpost

SR's version is slightly heavier but, frankly, has a nicer finish (much as it pains me, as a Francophile, to say such a thing) and cost a fraction of the French version.  Moreover, SR was one of the major original-equipment suppliers to bike manufacturers of the 1970's and 1980's.  Finally, it seems that SR offered a greater variety of sizes than JPR did.  So guess what people bought when they upgraded their old bikes or built new ones?

The rest, as they say, is history:  Most modern seatposts adapted the Laprade design: one easily-accessible bolt on the underside of the clamp.  In fact, some companies even call their versions "Laprade-style" seatposts.  The Nitto seatposts on my Mercians all share the design.

The third part on the frame turned out to be one of the most pleasant surprises on this bike.  I took apart the headset to clean and grease it

Yes!  Roller bearings!  That means it's the legendary Stronglight A9 headset.  Best of all, it's alloy, not the plastic version that came on some bikes of that era.  

Stronglight A9:  the headset that came with this bike

That headset is almost as nice of a surprise as the Phil Wood rear hub that came with the bike.  One of my loyal readers asked about that hub, and we're working out a swap.  I would have kept it, except that it's 48 hole.  As I don't think I'll ever own a tandem, I really don't need that hub.

I sold the crankset that came with the bike.  It's an SR forged set, with a nice finish, but it has an obsolete bolt pattern (118 BCD).  I'm guessing the buyer (on eBay, where else?) is doing a period restoration. I could have gotten satisfactory gearing with that crankset, but I'm going to use another that will make it easier to get useful (for me) gearing.  Don't worry:  It has a classic five-bolt spider and doesn't look like a Christmas ornament left on a radiator and painted with anime graphics.

So far, I think I lucked out:  Remember, this bike came from an estate sale!


  1. When I'd seen you claim to strip a bike bare, I expected you perhaps used paint stripper, or sanded it bare, but taking off the components is merely "undressing it." I guess that's soft core bike stuff.

  2. Steve--I confess: I'm not above putting the occasional bit of "click bait" in my posts.

    I don't plan on repainting the frame. I rather like the color, which is actually somewhat translucent: richer than what you see in the photos. And, even though I don't normally go for panels, I'm going to keep the one that's on the seat tube (it's a decal) because it will allow me to do a few interesting things, like wrapping the bars in blue and gray cloth tape.