With much anticipation I picked up Major Tom’s new (old) wheels yesterday afternoon. I really did a good job with them, so much so the shop only charged half the normal trueing fee as they’d had so little to do!
So with the wheels back it was on with the tyres. The front was fine, but when I turned to the rear the fun began. First the inner tube that’s been sat in my saddle bag for two years waiting to be used in the event of a puncture had in fact developed a puncture all on its own, manifesting as a large hiss when I tried to pump it up.
Off came that tube and I reluctantly replaced it with one of the old tubes from Tom’s old wheels. The beads are pretty tight so it’s quite a faff to get them on, but as it turns out they’re not THAT tight. As I was sat back admiring my handiwork I turned my back for a moment and heard the tell-tale rifle-shot sound of a tube blowing itself off the rim and exploding. It was that big a bang a cricket bat fell off a nearby shelf, and I had a ringing in my ears for a couple of minutes. These rims aren’t hooked so won’t take the same level of pressure, I’d pumped them up to 110psi but I think I’ll adopt 90 as the limit from now on. This means dropping the front to 75psi which isn’t ideal (beware the pinch-flat), but will at least be nice and comfortable. Anyway, third time lucky the tube went on with no problems.
The Brooks Flyer saddle is a temporary addition to Major Tom, it actually belongs to my custom 5-speed, Flash Harry. It’s on there because I need to break it in and Tom’s Selle Italia Turbo is currently on the Peugeot. In time I think Tom will get a Brooks Swift, he looks so handsome with a leather saddle.
The tyres were an easy choice. They need to “look right”, which limits me to a few vintage-inspired tyres such as the Michelin Dynamic Classics I’ve got on the Peugeot, and they need to work well. The Continental Grand Prix Classic (which Major Tom previously ran on) is my favourite tyre, not that I’ve tried that many. It’s identical in most respects to the standard Grand Prix but with a look and tread pattern inspired by the tyres they were producing in 1982 (ideal for a 1982 bike!). They’re very pliable and grippy, my only gripe being that the sidewalls are quite delicate. They fold so I can carry a spare.
Just to fully get everything period correct, I took the 14-26 sprockets off my late 1980s SunTour freewheel and put them on an identical 1981 freewheel core, identical at least apart from the SunTour logo. Details…
I went for a little test ride, there was still the odd clang of spokes settling in, but not as much as previously. Also interesting was the noise of the front brakes, which now have a sort of “buzz” to them due to the dimples in the sides of the rim. It sounds a bit like an underground train coming into a station. Apart from that I think Tom needs a bit of fine tuning, there’s the odd little clunk here and there that I need to identify and solve. Overall though it rides very nicely.
Later on last night I took the newly-mudguarded Peugeot out for 4 miles or so. I love riding later after the sun’s gone down, there’s so little on the road and as long as you’ve previously checked the roads for potholes etc it’s a much purer experience than daytime riding through town, where there’s always cars and pedestrians to worry about. I’ve heard tell that cheap Peugeots ride unusually well, and I have to say Rosebud seems to confirm this. The mudguards were very fiddly to fit, but now they’re on they’re trouble-free and do the job without weighing a ton.
Here’s a moody, post-ride shot of the Peugeot, backlit by the light out of the kitchen window:
So my bike stable’s pretty well-stocked now: a fair-weather road bike, a winter road bike, a sturdy 3-speed for utility trips, a fancy 5-speed for leisurely exploration, and a folding bike to stick in the car boot when I need it. All I need to do now, is get back to actually riding them…