Author Topic: Bikecentennial build  (Read 15705 times)

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Offline probablynotpossible

Bikecentennial build
« on: November 23, 2017, 12:51:40 pm »
I am in the processing of researching the bicycles, equipment, and gear used by riders of Bikecentennial in 1976. I am trying to put together a bike that captures the essence of the typical Bikecentennial rider. If you road Bikecentennial in 1976 or remember the bike or gear you had in the early/mid 70's I would love to hear it with whatever details you recall. Catalogues, brochures, and pictures only give me a vague representation on what was the most popular bike being ridden at the time, the gearing setup, the derailleur make, panniers, etc. I would love to hear first hand to help me finish my build.

My goal is to build, ride, and share my experience with how traveling by bicycle has changed in the past forty years. I plan to ride fully loaded on a bike with the same gearing, braking power, weight, etc on a trip. Some answers for these questions may seem obvious, but I do not wish to make assumptions.

Specific questions:
  • In your mind what bike best represented the typical bike of the era?
  • Did most travel on 27" wheels or 700c?
  • Did most use 10 speeds? or did many people use triple cranks?
  • What was the typical gearing combination? 28 max rear freewheel? Front chainrings?
  • What derailleurs did you have?
  • Center pull or sidepull brakes?
  • Make of your panniers?
  • Seemed most used down tube shifters compared to bar ends. Correct?

Offline TAWK520Randy

Re: Bikecentennial build
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2017, 09:16:43 pm »
Cool project.

I'm not sure how "typical" I was, but I showed up in Missoula in 1975 for a leadership training course with a bone stock orange Gitane Interclub. I had added a rear rack (don't remember the brand, but it was the kind with the cast Al top and riveted on supports that went down to the rear dropout). I added a Cool Gear "The Seat". I had made Frostline handlebar bag and panniers.  While there, Sam Braxton and one of his sons did a maintenance session. He got talking about how important good wheels were. Before I left Missoula, I had him build me a set using Super Champion rims, Phil Wood hubs and DT double butted spokes in 4x.

Before I left for Reedsport in May '76, I had added a Phil Wood bottom bracket and Phil Wood pedals. I changed the cheapy plastic Simplex derailleur for a Sountour long cage, the stock Sugino crank for a Stronglight with a 36 tooth small chain ring and gave up the Frostline handlebar bag for an Eclipse with its own support bracket. The only failure I had (beside flat tires) was the rear sheared the rivets which I replaced with machine screws and the Cool Gear seat broke one of the seat rails in SW Virginia - I repaired it with a beverage can pop-top. The bike performed flawlessly.

Thanks for the memories.  ;)

Group leader TAWK520

Offline probablynotpossible

Re: Bikecentennial build
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2017, 08:57:47 pm »
Randy thanks for your reply and sharing your story this really helps! I didn't know about Frostline till I started talking to alums like you. I researched Eclipse panniers before and happily found Eclipse operated out of my hometown of Ann Arbor, MI back in the day. Your rim and derailleur seem popular selections from what I can tell.

Thank you again.

Offline Pavel

Re: Bikecentennial build
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2018, 07:30:03 am »
I didn't tour the US in 1976 but was in Africa for two years in 77 and 78.  I had what was a typical couple of bikes. One was a Peugeot from 76 and another was a Canadian Tyre branded bike bought in 72.  Both used Mafac center pull brakes on 27" wheels (27 and 1/4 I believe) I don't think that 700cc was around yet except with tubular tires on a few serious race bikes.  Don't take my word on that however.

I remember the wheels were steel chromed wheels which were on every bike of the day.  How could one forget that with all the excitement trying to stop chrome plated wheels when wet. Aluminum came in the 80's I remember and wet braking hasn't been exciting since. :)

All of the bikes of the day were ten speed and double front cranks only.  Triples were invented for the mountain bike crowd that came a decade later.

I remember the Peugeot had a simplex derailleur but don't know if that was common on non french bikes.  The other thing I recall is that there were no sloping top tubes and frames were bought larger than is common today.  A fist-full of seatpost was the common phrase in sizing thought to be right.

Oh ... no aero brakes, downtube (suicide) shifters, no indexing but only friction and the pedals were like the MKS silvan available today and had loose or retainer bearings that were traditionally oiled rather than greased (I could be wrong on that part - but that was how it was in my neck of the woods back then)

There was back then no such thing as an Ahead Stem.  Only threaded quill stems, and just like my pedals, no press fitted cartridge bearings.  I think cottered cranks were the norm back then too.  Both of my bikes had them. Lastly only racers ever seemed to wear helmets and they were these leather padded strips type things.  No such thing as a styrofoam helmet.  All the people I saw had no helmets except a few enthusiasts really into cycling had cycling caps and once in a rare while a leather racing helmet, but you rarely saw that where I was riding in both countries.  The dedicated guy would use wool jerseys and stuff things for quick access into those rear jersey pockets.

ahh, the good ol' days. 

Offline drpaddle

Re: Bikecentennial build
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2018, 11:05:10 pm »
I rode a 1971 Raleigh Professional Mk III with 700c clinchers, a Blackburn front rack, Keith Lippy custom rear rack, Campagnolo Nuovo Record triple cranks (off a P-15 Paramount), Japanese (Shimano?) rear derailleur to handle a large cluster. 700c tires were unobtainable across most of the trail, so I had replacements shipped to general delivery along the way. Here's a photo: (The bike was repainted following some stay straightening caused by a criterium crash.)

Along those lines, I am largely recreating the bike for the Selkirk Splendor ride this summer. Starting with a Raleigh Professional Mk II (same as the MK III, but without chrome stays) frame from 1970, I converted to 650b wheels. Here's a snap of the initial proof of concept: I will change out the cranks for period-correct TA triple or Campy triple at some point. Derailleurs will be '70s Shimano Crane, as well.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 11:15:32 pm by drpaddle »

Offline probablynotpossible

Re: Bikecentennial build
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2018, 12:04:54 pm »
If I could just get my hands on a Raleigh Professional I'd replicate your build!

Offline drpaddle

Re: Bikecentennial build
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2018, 12:14:33 pm »
Early '70s Raleigh Competition framesets make great 650b conversions. They are a bit longer in the stays than the Pro, which is good, and they are much easier to find and less expensive. There is a 24.5" complete '71 for sale on CL in Arizona for $175 right now.