Greetings from Itabashi

Sibreen

Maximum Pace
Jul 23, 2010
557
238
63
Hanno, Saitama
#1
Hello,

I'm Simon. I recently came across this website (as I was looking at how to renovate a Roadman), and wanted to post a greeting.

Brief history:
I lived in Kanazawa for two and a half years before I moved to Tokyo and bought my first ever road bike there. It was an entry level Giant with Sora components and I absolutely loved it. Kanazawa has mountains, hills, a sea, and is a cyclists paradise (apart from the salty sea air which rusts everything). In particular, there are many reservoirs in the mountains of astounding beauty. I had put about 9000 happy kilometres on my bike, but when i came to Tokyo some nob stole it. What sadness! We shared so many good memories.

For various reasons I have very little money, so I bought an old Roadman on the Internet with a view to converting it to a single speed (one of the reasons I found this forum, in fact, is that there is another poster who is building up a Roadman). Now that I've dismantled it and put it back together, the bike goes, but the wheels and cranks are not true, and I need to replace the brakes and cables.
It's also pretty rusty on the whole.
My plan is to replace the wheels first, then the brakes, next the cranks, BB, and chain in one go. Lastly I'd like to repaint it. I understand that upgrading an old bike is not costeffective - it'd be better to save the money and buy a new bike in one fell swoop. But hopefully this will become a nice project for me, and in my current situation it's easy to save up a few thousand yen in bursts than a few mann over a long stretch.
Regarding singlespeed conversion, my plan is to use one chainring and cog from what's currently there, disregard the rest, and use spacers. Haven't decided yet on how to maintain chain tension, there seem to be a few options. To begin with, though, I might use the current rear dérailleur as a chain tensioner.

Any opinions, criticisms, feedback much appreciated.
I hope to see some of you around one day.

Simon
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,497
628
133
Kanazawa
#2
Simon--my name's John and I'm a long-timer in Kanazawa (22+ years now, and will be here forever more). Too bad we missed each other when you were here, give me a holler if you come back thru.
 

Sibreen

Maximum Pace
Jul 23, 2010
557
238
63
Hanno, Saitama
#3
Hey John,
I envy you. One day I'd like to return to Kanazawa but professional considerations keep me in Tokyo for now.
I used often to ride round the dams just north of the city (past the SDF base and the quarries) and drink the river water higher up (but beware the bears!). My favourite route, though, was up along the river to Seimoa Ski resort. Breathtakingly beautiful.
I'll be sure to let you know if I return (and with a proper bike)!

Simon
 
Jul 14, 2010
19
3
13
Tokyo
#4
hey sibreen, i just noticed your post so i'll give a few comments

i've learned a lot since i started upgrading my bike and here is what advice i have for you:
get a wheelset with a shimano compatible hub!!!!!!!!!!! it will be cheaper for everything. do it! doesn't matter if the wheels are campagnolo as long as the hub is shimano. the splines for the campy and shimano hubs are different. this is a problem because nobody makes campy compatable single sprockets which means no cheap single speed conversions.

secondly, do not waste your time by keeping an entire cassette on the back of your bike if you're going to convert to single speed. that thing is heavy. get rid of it. if you're going single speed, just buy some cheap spacers. plastic works good enough. y's road in ueno has them for super cheap though i don't really like y's road because the staff are more interested in selling you expensive crap than helping you for real. maybe nalsima frend is better, not sure.

anyway, once you buy your spacers, you will need to get your chain line figured out. you'll have to experiment with very small spacers to do this.

now you have to deal with tension. the roadman has semi vertical dropouts but basically i just consider them vertical, you can't do much adjusting. so you need a chain tensioner. any decent fixed gear shop will have chain tensioners. do not use your derailleur, it is horribly inefficient, old technology and is probably robbing 5-10% of your power. you will find little chain tensioners that are just a cog on a spring loaded arm. they sell for around 2000yen and are often brightly colored. buy one and install it in place of the derailleur. much better. there are other options like fixed chain tensioners but i don't see them as often.

next (or maybe you should do this first) you'll want to think about taking off one of the front chain rings. so do that then put the crankset back together. you should do this before you mess with your rear spacers as the chainline will change.

about brakes: be careful to try the brakes in a shop before you buy them. i do not know that modern brakes will fit this bike properly or not. i would not order these online unless you know for sure they will reach the rim.

one other thing...get new pedals, the originals are heavy. get some clipless or plastic pedals. i'm still hacking away with the originals because my crankset threads got stripped (bike's previous owner's mistake) and taking the pedals out now might kill it for good..!
 

Deej

Maximum Pace
Oct 13, 2007
1,013
129
83
Setagaya
#5
Hi Simon,

I recently converted my KHS mountain bike into a single speed, and I'm loving it. I replaced the cassette with a single cog and slapped on some spacers to get the chain lined up nice and straight.

Here's what it looks like now:
proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Ffarm2.static.flickr.com%2F1033%2F4726837935_7c3cd24385.jpg&hash=3b8cbff3d3d642b1e1e755773f988dd4


For the tensioner, I'm using this:
proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Ffarm2.static.flickr.com%2F1382%2F4727482740_cd81621d3f.jpg&hash=fea48afe50823f97bcca324ad0902594


For the parts, I went to a bike shop called Positivo and had the owner, Nagai-san (a former mechanic for the Fassa Bortolo team, by the way), order them from a Shimano catalog. They arrived in a couple days and he installed them. I think it was about 6,000 yen for everything.

I also removed the middle and inner chainrings, leaving just the 42-tooth outer ring. In the back, I'm running a 15 toother.

I had the old BB replaced and installed some clipless Shimano MTB pedals, as well. I also swapped out the straight bar for drops.

Good luck with your project!

Deej
 

Sibreen

Maximum Pace
Jul 23, 2010
557
238
63
Hanno, Saitama
#6
Hey guys, thanks for the feedback.

@paradoxbox
My plan is to dispense with a cassette and buy a cog and spacers as you suggest. I've not seen any 'spacers only' kits, though - they all seem to come with one or two cogs and retail around ¥2500.
If there are such spacer only kits, perhaps I'd be able to save another ¥grand. Do you know of any?
Regarding chain tension, i will eventually buy a dedicated chain tensioner, but as I'm trying to refit the bike in installments it'll have to wait. Pedals and brakes also eventually yes, but not right now (my brakes don't feel that squishy, actually).
Likewise Im going to leave the chainrings as they are for the moment as I plan to replace the BB and cranks in one go sometime in the not too distant future.

@deej
i saw your post, 'rainy day cyclo bomber', and it's been instructive.
How does the 42-15 gearing feel? do you feel that an easier gearing would liberate you to do more on your bike?
I've always been a spinner more than a masher, so I'm thinking of trying 42-18 and see how it feels. But I guess that ultimately it's a personal choice.
 

Deej

Maximum Pace
Oct 13, 2007
1,013
129
83
Setagaya
#7
If there are such spacer only kits, perhaps I'd be able to save another ¥grand. Do you know of any?
I think I've seen spacers sold separately at a bike shop called Cycle Paradise near Kyodo Station along the Odakyu line. The shop leans heavily toward fixed gear/single speed, and also sells lots of used parts. It's not a big store, but it's fun to poke around there.

How does the 42-15 gearing feel? do you feel that an easier gearing would liberate you to do more on your bike?
I've always been a spinner more than a masher, so I'm thinking of trying 42-18 and see how it feels. But I guess that ultimately it's a personal choice.
Right now, 42-15 feels just about right, if a little on the easy side. I spin out a bit on the flats, but it's a good ratio for the inclines around Tokyo.

I tried 42-16 (or was it 17?) and right away it felt too spinny so I slapped on a 15. I'll probably move to heavier gearing to maintain good speeds on the flats, though that will of course mean a little grinding up the hills.

As you said, it comes down to personal feel, but I would think that a 42-18 would be a touch too spinny.

Deej
 

Sibreen

Maximum Pace
Jul 23, 2010
557
238
63
Hanno, Saitama
#8
I got a cog and spacer kit, and everythings hunkydory in that respect.
@deej, you're right, 42-18 is too spinny so I'm going to gear it up a bit.

@paradoxbox
regarding brakes, most modern caliper brakes come with a recessed nut which is problematic for our old bikes (sheldon brown has a page on this). However, the bolts that come with modern front brakes are long enough to use on our back brakes if we implement the appropriate washers and nut. Today I bought and installed a front shimano r450 long reach brake (I need 55mm reach on my frame - you'd better check yours) for my rear wheel without problem. There apparently is a tektro brake specially designed for restoration projects with long bolts and washers and nuts but I've not been able to locate any in japan.

So i have a question I hope someone can help me with:
today I went on a bike ride and my cranks fell off. Apparently the nuts attaching my cotterless cranks to my BB spindle had been removed. Can I buy these cotterless crank nuts separately, or will I have to buy a whole new crankset?
If I can buy these nuts separately, does anybody know where I can purchase them??

Simon
 

Sibreen

Maximum Pace
Jul 23, 2010
557
238
63
Hanno, Saitama
#10
Here's how my bike looks at the moment, except I've changed the pedals to MKS Sylvan Touring. Give me a wave if you see me spinning away (I'm running 42-16 which is v spinny!) :D

Im often on the Arakawa paths, or the 254 around Itabashi, Wakoshi, and Niiza :bike:
 

Sibreen

Maximum Pace
Jul 23, 2010
557
238
63
Hanno, Saitama
#11
I would like to change the bottom bracket on my bike as it has started clicking, and i thought I might as well change the front chainring (I'm running my bike as a single speed but I have two chainrings at the moment - it's not possible to use the big chainring alone), and cranks at the same time.
I have a small budget so I will buy used and, since I'm only riding 250-300km a month, I don't need top quality parts.

I know how to replace cranks and chainrings, but is it easy to remove and install a bottom bracket? Do I need special tools?
And, how can I find out what type of bottom bracket I need?

Thanks,

Si
 

Sibreen

Maximum Pace
Jul 23, 2010
557
238
63
Hanno, Saitama
#12
It's been a long time since my last post but I thought I'd give an update on what I've been doing.

I rode the single speed from this thread for 3-4000km with no problems: it was a surprisingly nice riding experience not having to think about gear changes at all. I loved the bike. However, I recently moved to Hanno City and, because I wanted to ride in the hills, decided to make a geared bike (thinking that, since I had parts I could use from my single speed, it would be cheaper to make a bike than buy a new/second hand one).
I bought a second hand, steel Gan Well Pro frame for 15,000yen, and a second hand 9 speed Sora groupset from yahoo auctions for 18,000yen. The rest of the parts (with a few exceptions) I took from my single speed. The photo is how my bike looked in the summer, before I put on bar tape.

At the moment, I have a compact crankset and 11-25 cassette. Since I ride a lot of hills near where I live, I'm planning to switch out the cassette to a 12-28. Other than that, I'm tootling around the Hanno area, usually at night, and enjoying riding.

My plan is to get a little stronger at long distance riding, then next year join in some of the rides that come this way

Simon

I

View attachment 1214
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
914
294
83
Tokyo
#13
I bought a second hand, steel Gan Well Pro frame for 15,000yen, and a second hand 9 speed Sora groupset from yahoo auctions for 18,000yen.
Seems to be a good bike at a great price. What's not to like? (Now that it has bar tape.)

But haven't the Bianchi police arrested you for appropriation of "their" colour?

There's a thread here within something called "London Fixed-gear and Single-speed" that's more or less about the Gan Well Pro. Or purports to be. We learn nothing about the Gan Well Pro from it. We do however learn about cycling Londoners (or a subspecies of them). As I look at the thread, I rejoice that I'm not in London or anyway not surrounded by such people.
 

Sibreen

Maximum Pace
Jul 23, 2010
557
238
63
Hanno, Saitama
#15
Thanks, Picklednoob, I'm pretty please with it.
You got a pic of your bike?

Microcord, I know almost nothing about gan well pro either, but I heard they made keirin frames and assumed that all their steel bikes would be a reasonable standard.
Not seen a single Bianchi in Hanno, now that you mention it..! Lots of super-snazzy looking road bikes pass through, though.