Tagged: Shimano

British Eagle – The Eagle Will Soar Again

*typical evil genius laugh* It lives. IT LIVESSSSSS!!

Doesn’t she look nice! It hasn’t been an easy ride, and it’s probably cost me around £300 for everything but I would stand by this build and say it’s better quality than a brand new £300 bike! From a battered, patched up and seized bike (minus the wheels) to a wet weather / winter ride using quality parts. I’m pleased!

I left the last post explaining how I’d made a mistake with the forks. I’d forgot to check the length of the threaded portion and when I went to install them I quickly discovered the problem. My freshly powder coated Reynolds forks were virtually no use. I contacted Mercian but their response wasn’t too promising. Instead of adding mroe thread with a die they were suggesting a process of removing the old steerer tube, welding/brazing in a new tube of the correct length and then repainting the forks – sounds pricey! I started looking about for dies so I could attempt the cutting myself and found one in China but before I clicked the submit order button I decided to try someone else. The fabrication company that we use at work were my next port of call. I popped down for a chat, explained what I wanted and I was offered a few alternatives. They could use a die to cut more thread in, but there wasn’t a guarantee it would work because they had no way of telling if the tube had been hardened. Alternatively they suggested using a lathe but the layout of the forks made that a logistical nightmare. The last option was to bore out the threads on the upper bearing race. It made sense but I wasn’t quite convinced it would fit well enough.

Luckily eBay came to my rescue and I found a pair of beautiful yellow Columbus forks in exactly the right size – for only £15! Cheap, but there was a reason for that… they had a stem (cut off) seized into the steerer tube. I fancied my chances so bought them. My plan of attack was simple:
– Penetration spray
– Filing flats into the exposed stem to grip with an adjustable spanner
– A little “persuasion” from both side with my trusty hammer
– Fire and ice cycles
The plan may have been simple but reality wasn’t. Days passed as I tried each method daily but the stem wouldn’t move! My last resort was the selection of drill bits at work. A stem made of an aluminium alloy should be fairly easy to drill through so it should be a quick process, right? Well yeh, it was. I initially drilled down the centre with a 17mm drill bit which ultimately created a lot of heat but the stem was still stuck. I followed that through VERY carefully with a 21mm bit. The tube itself has a diameter of 22.2mm so I was really looking out for the side walls, trying not to damage then. Millimeter by millimeter I at the stem away until I thought I was hallucinating. As I looked into the tube I could have sworn part of the old stem had been on the right as I’d started drilling, now, at this point, it was on the right. I tried to drill again and this time the portion ended up at the top. IT WAS FREE! A light tap from the underside and it dropped right out. No damage to the forks at all!

That evening I rushed home and got the rest of the bike put together. I swapped out the crown race on the forks and fitted them first (I need to get a couple of silver spacers to match the headset) and then fitted the NOS replacement 3TTT stem and the original bars. On went the brake levers and I adjusted everything to my riding position before fitting the new brake cables and taping them in place on the bars. I’ve chosen to use some yellow cloth bar tape for a more “vintage” look but I’ve double wrapped the bars for more comfort. The only thing I want to change now is the grubby white brake hoods…

Everything is now tightened down and adjusted. She’s ready for her maiden voyage. I’m looking forward to it (I’ve also treated myself to some Shimano R260 Carbon Shoes 😉 )

Circa 1990 British Eagle
Reynolds CR-MO Frame
Columbus Forks
Shimano 600 (Ultegra) Groupset
Shimano Exage Brake Levers
Campagnolo Khamsin 700C Wheelset
Michelin Krylion Carbon Tyres
3TTT Record 84 Stem & Forma Bars
Tange Headset
Look “Delta” type pedals (unsure of exact model)
SKS Mudguards
Soffatti Leather Saddle


British Eagle – Nearly There

I am so happy with the potential outcome for this bike. Considering the state I got it in, giving up on it because everything was seized and almost throwing it away, I think it’s turned into a beautiful bit of kit.

So what’s changed? Well the colour for a start! I decided to ditch the old metalic blue and go for a classy black number. It might not be the right choice of colour for a winter bike but style sometimes comes at a cost… I found some new Reynolds forks in the same style and set about stripping the paint… only… I couldn’t. The original paint was so tough that a good few coats of Nitromors barely even touched the surface. Sanding was an option but being impatient I decided to take a trip to the powdercoaters and get it sand blasted. My aim was to spray the bike. It would be cheap and easy but would it last? No. It had to be powdercoated. Black was still on my mind however something else caught my eye….

MOD Green! The finish, the colour, just wow. I love it.

Digging through my drawers I managed to find some of the original parts for the bike. I still had the old handlebars, bottle cage and brake levers so I was going to need a lot more components to complete the build.

Groupset: Shimano 600 (Ultegra) I set about searching eBay for parts, mainly looking for a modern STi groupset but also keeping my eye out for older sets. I really don’t like downtube friction shifters and I really did have my heart set on a shiney new set however at £70, I couldn’t turn down this set. It looks almost brand new! Nearly all the decals remain and the only imperfection is the shiny scuff on the drive side crank arm. What’s even better is the downtube shifters are indexed for the rear derailleur so there shouldn’t be any more guess work in shifting. Everything fits the frame perfectly.

Handlebars & Stem: I decided to look back over the old photos for this one. I wanted something close to the original in terms of the stem but back then, I really didn’t know much about parts. As soon as I glanced at one photo I recognised a badge. Zooming in, I was certain. The stem I’d snapped off was a 3TTT stem! Doh! I ran a Google image search which brought up some early 90’s catalogues which confirmed my thoughts but also revealed the identity to the weird shaped bars. The stem I needed was a 3TTT “Record” and the bars I have are 3TTT “Forma” bars. I looked through eBay and found a few high priced stems but at £80 a pop I was put off, until fortunately, I found a NOS “Record” stem at just £25.

Pedals: I’ve given the old Look pedals a good clean and they seem to work still despite the paint flaking off. I’m going to give them a go and if they don’t work out I’ll buy some Shimano SPDs.

Seat & Seatpost: What I really want is another Brooks saddle! The reality is I’m spending too much money so for now I’ve settled for the old mountain bike saddle I had on the fixie. The seatpost I went for, one of the cheaper used items on eBay (£15), is also an old mountain bike model. It was in a right state when I got it. The alloy was scratched, dull and embedded with dirt but hours of polishing with the Dremel has brought the shine back. It fits perfectly into the seat tube now with a brand new stainless clamp bolt.

Wheels: Well I already said I had the Mavic wheelset, and I did buy a spare hub to rebuild the rear hub and a new set of Shimano skewers but what I’ve actually ended up fitting is a Campagnolo wheelset. One of the sellers I follow, who is fairly local, and often has nice bike parts listed from house clearances, just happened to list a few 700C wheelsets. I ended up winning the Campagnolo set for just over £20 and also a “back up” Alexrims set for £10. Both wheel sets are in great condition but the Campag are the nicer of the two. They’ve been wrapped in some Michelin Krylion Carbon tyres, which again, were a pretty good buy at £25 for a pair!

Headset: I actually still have the old headset but it seems to be missing some parts. After having a look around I went for a Tange headset. It was reasonably priced (at £15) and looks to be a good quality bit of kit. It was easy to fit but here’s were I’ve run into a problem. Numpty here didn’t bother to check the thread length on the forks when buying them and they’re 10mm or so too short! I was all set to get the bike on the road last weekend but this has really thrown a spanner in the works. I’m currently looking for somewhere to add some more thread (I’ve tried Mercian but they haven’t replied yet…) but if worst comes to worst, I’ve found the correct size die on eBay and I’ll attempt to do it myself. I’m kicking myself at this rookie error.

Everything else is ready to go! I don’t know when I’ll get this finished off but looking at what I’ve achieved – I will see it through. From a £10 scrapper to a beautiful commuter. For what I’ve spent I could have just bought a brand new bike (all be it a cheap one) but where’s the fun in that?!

Keep an eye out for the finished bike. Hopefully it won’t be a long wait.

British Eagle – Can I Save It?

This bike hasn’t exactly been my best buy. My last post regarding this “build” was months ago, probably well over a year ago, and nothing has really happened since. It cost me a grand total of £11 and was one of those buys that occurred because I just thought I’d chance it. Unfortunately that chance paid off and I had to drive all the way to Huddersfield to collect it… around £50 in fuel!

I was hoping I could make it into a nice road bike for the following summer but after picking it up and starting the work I realised it was in pretty bad shape. The Reynolds CR-MO frame had several “repairs” to the paint job, the stem was stuck firm and eventually snapped off (destroying the forks too), the seat post wasn’t completely seized but didn’t come out unscathed and the cranks really took some work to remove. I’m now just left with the frame and a bottom bracket that has brittle plastic cups. Plastic cups that round off whenever a C spanner is used.

So the question is, can I save it?

Well I’ve started to look back over the bike. Sanding back parts of the “repaired” frame reveal some quite nice tubing underneath. There is one area of damage on the top tube, a pretty nasty dent, but I think it should be ok. The fact that it has Reynolds tubing is a bonus, even if it is the less desirable CR-MO tubing. Having said that, I’ve done some research into “CR-MO” and it brought about a possible date. According to this forum post, Reynolds started giving their CR-MO tubing numbers in 1991, so it is suggested (by looking at the sticker) the bike was produced in the late 80’s. Unfortunately I can’t find a catalogue to back this up and the parts I did have are long gone so a more precise date will remain a mystery (although looking at the old gear seems to suggest early 90’s?).

Either way I do want to try and make something out of this frame but first I need to get the bottom bracket off! Right now it seems the only way I’ll be able to do that is with some careful grinding and cutting – the plastic BB cups are beyond help!

Today I took the frame in to work and had a play in my lunch break. There was absolutely no way the BB was coming out simply by undoing the cups so I had to take some heavy handed action – the kind of action that could have trashed the frame. First I grabbed a big screwdriver and a hammer and began to chisel off the tops of the plastic cups. They didn’t put up much of a fight and underneath it revealed another layer – a dust cap. I popped that off and underneath that I pulled out a bearing retainer and evaluated the situation. What I was left with was what looked like a tightly packed shell. A layer of plastic was on the outside, bound to the threads of the shell while internally sat a metal shell holding the bearings and axle.

I took a chance and began to hit one side of the axle in an attempt to knock it through. It moved popped out the other side after a couple of hits and soon after I had the internal cartridge out. That just left the remains of the plastic cups stuck to the shell. My gut instinct was to grab a hacksaw blade and carefully cut through each cup in two places so I could gently prise the shell out. This was the point I could have really damaged the threads. If I cut too deep I’d go straight through them and if I used too much force levering the sections out I’d probably squash the threads. Regardless of the risk, the method worked and the frame was finally free of a bottom bracket.

The old bottom bracket cups had the Axis stamp on them as well as the country of origin, Italy. It would have been a bit strange to have Italian threading on an English bike but luckily the threads turned out to be 1.37″ x 24 TPI – the standard English / ISO thread. That only left the question of – have I damaged the threads?

Of course I haven’t 🙂 At home I had the old external bearing BB from my Holdsworth lying around so I used that as a trial. The drive side went in without any sort of trouble but the non drive side decided not to thread. Instead I grabbed a spare steel cup and trialed that. Fortunately that went straight in so I’m happy to say, the frame can be saved!

Hiding in the back of the garage I also have this 700C Mavic wheelset that I was given last year. The rear rim has a bit of damage and the rear hub is missing the bearings but I think I should be able to use them on this build. I’ll scout around on eBay for some components and see what turns up. I’m thinking a nicely resprayed frame, some carbon forks, alloy bars and seat post, along with a modern STi brake/gear combo. Finished off with some mudguards and I should have a winter commuter.

Happy days.

2,429 Miles – Or So Strava Says

On January 19th 2014 I took a brand new Holdsworth Trentino out for its first ever ride. Compared to the old steel Falcon I was riding before it was amazing. It took a while for the fitness to kick back in but as soon as it did I began setting PBs and climbing the local leaderboards. It’s become my “go to” bike on my commutes to work as it’s so easy to ride. Amazingly, over that sort of mileage I’ve only had one mechanical.

That one snapped spoke… At the time I remember hearing it go, or at least something metallic but thought something had flicked up off the road. It wasn’t until I rode on and on and it got harder and harder that I started to think something was wrong. At the top of the hill I started to hear something clicking so once I’d reached the top I decided to check. It was indeed a snapped spoke. I got a lift home and called Planet X the next day for a replacement spoke which I fitted myself and got the wheel spinning straight. Since then, nothing has gone wrong *touch wood*

Of course I did take that one tumble in the wet…

It put some light scuffs on a couple of components, knocked the brakes out of alignment and left me with a few small road rashes but nothing to keep me off the road. I’ve had a couple of wobbles here and there where I’ve misjudged gaps when filtering but I’m happy to say (despite numerous attempts) nothing has sent my flying off my bike since!

Now with just shy of 2500 miles on the bike the wear is starting to show. I’ve had to replace the tyres today as the sidewalls were showing small signs of cracking. There were also plenty of small tears in the rubber, very small ones, where road debris had cut into it and one fairly substantial tear in the sidewall. The brakes has still got plenty of wear left in them and the gearing seems to be in good shape, however I do think the bottom bracket could do with replacing soon. On a few rides this week I have noticed a clunking with heavy pedal strokes. All in all though, the bike has served me well! For an entry level carbon it’s done a grand job!

Raleigh Pioneer Spirit – For Sale

After my first post about this bike and it’s mysterious identity I decided to just go ahead and give it a good service before it went off to someone new. I’m still very confused as to the bikes history but it’s working at least.

It’s had the usual parts replaced; cables and brake blocks, grip tape and tyres, but I’ve also fitted a “new” set of pedals and greased up all the bearings.

The identity became a little more confusing when I removed the forks and found fairly new labels, certainly not ones Raleigh would use. The forks are also set really wide so the wheel that came with the bike had ti have a few spacers added to the axle. Luckily the axle is just about big enough to cope with the wider forks.

I really wish I could have found out a proper history to this bike but once again I seem to have been working on a bit of a Frankenstein bike. Parts from multiple decades have all come together to build this contraption.

Once it was all built I took it on a 14 mile test run and I’m happy to say nothing fell apart. It’s far too big for me to ride every day and when I was out of the saddle it felt quite unstable to my riding position but powering through the gears it did feel pretty smooth. The friction shifters take some getting used to, adjusting each one slightly to get optimum performance, however I did find even after such a short ride I was getting to know the positions for each gear.

It’s nothing special but if you’re interested you can find the bike for sale here:


Raleigh Pioneer Spirit – Mistaken Identity?

Believe me, there’s lot more bikes sitting in my garage. This one in particular, I bought at the beginning of the year. I originally missed out on the bike but got a second chance offer through a week or so later, saying I could have it for just over half of what I’d bid. Naturally I couldn’t turn that down. It looked a pretty solid bike that would need minimal work but this weekend I’ve been doing a bit of research and it’s confusing me. Parts are mismatched, from different eras and I can’t find any information about this chrome Raleigh Pioneer Spirit…

At first guess I figured it might be a 90’s bike with the square taper crank and SIS derailleurs but I’ve since found out square taper cranks came into fashion a lot sooner than I’d thought. Still, it could be a 90’s bike so I searched Google for Raleigh brochures and found a site listing a brochure for almost every year from the 70s. The “Pioneer” bikes seem to appear in the 80’s with a white and blue colour scheme, although that depended slightly on the model. Fast forward to 96 and a chrome version is added but it’s called the Pioneer Trail Alivio and it comes with cantilever brakes which would definitely not fit this bike. The random brochures in the 2000s don’t contain this Pioneer Spirit model either so I’m a bit stuck as to where it comes from.

There’s also confusion over what type of bike it’s meant to be because of the mismatched parts. All “Pioneer” bikes that I’ve seen fit into a hybrid category. A bike that had the frames and wheelset of a road bike but the bars and gearing of a mountain bike. Hybrid, town bike, commute… I’ve seen the Pioneer bikes described as these but non specifically have drop bars. The part mystery get’s even more confusing when you realise that there is a 20 year gap between some of the equipment.

Here’s how it stands:


The bike has Weinmann brakes all round but they’re not exactly matched. On the rear it has a Type 730 caliper dating to February 1979. I can trace this caliper back to a 70’s catalogue from Weinmann and it also appears in the 1983 catalogue where I can find the dual pull brake levers. The front has a Type 570 caliper but unfortunately there isn’t a date stamp. I suspect it’s from the 80’s judging by the amount of 80’s bikes I’ve seen listed with the 570 components.

Shifter / Derailleur

This is something else that’s going against the grain of the “Pioneer” label and adding yet more confusion with the dates. Every “Pioneer” bike I’ve seen listed has some form of trigger shifter however this bike has a down tube mounted shifter. The frame has the brazing for the shifter location so it’s possible it is standard but it doesn’t fit the Pioneer name for me. The shifter itself is a standard Shimano job and while I can’t find a part number, I can find a date stamp that reads “MH” (or 1988 / August).

As with everything else the derailleurs are something else that doesn’t match. Both are Shimano items but the year of production and style don’t match the down tube shifter. The front derailleur is a Shimano FD-TY15-SS with a date stamp of WA (1998 January). It seems to be a “Tourney” part but apart from that, there’s not much accurate information. Some parts of the internet say it’s a part for double chainrings, some say triple. It’s on a bike with a double so I can only assume it works with that set up.

The rear derailleur is a Shimano RD-TY22 with a date stamp of VC (1997 March). It’s another “Tourney” item and seems to be widely agreed that it’s a 6 speed mechanism (There is a 7 speed variant but it has a “7” after the part number). Whether it is indexed or not I have no idea. What I do know is that bolting up the 6 speed wheel set I have and trying to use the worn out shifter only moves the chain through 4 gears. A bit of adjustment might work but the mismatched parts are making me think it might not have the right gear.


The crank set is produced by SR (Sakae Ringo) and although it is missing both bolt covers it seems to be in pretty good condition. The crank arms are 165mm long and have a date stamp of 79 C (March 1979). Again this throws in to question the date of the bike! At the moment the drive side is only a double but there is on option for a third chain ring (currently occupied by a chain guard). I haven’t stripped the bike down yet so I don’t know the condition of the bottom bracket but it seems to spin freely.


Well the bike didn’t come with wheels. I bought a 27″ wheel set separately (from the same person) and it has a 6 speed freewheel so I’m going to try and use this set on the bike. They have Rigida rims but I haven’t checked any further than that.

So that leaves me with components ranging from 1979 to 1998. A bike with the name (Pioneer) of a town bike but the looks of a road bike. I really don’t know where I stand.

My final attempt at identifying the bike lies with the serial number stamped onto the seat tube…


I’ve looked into the Raleigh serial numbers and found one site in particular. It lists a “standardised” system from 1973 that included serial numbers stamped on the seat post. There is some margin of error in their chart but it roughly says:

N = Produced in the Nottingham Factory
G = Possible month of production (May in this case)
3 = Year produced, which would indicated 1973.
Remaining digits = Production number

However they do state their research is from the US and the serial number only contains 6 numbers. However another site suggests:

N = Produced in the Nottingham Factory
G = The fortnight the bike was produced. Having 26 letters in the alphabet and 52 weeks in a year, the fortnight seems like a good choice. It would put the bike in the 7th fortnight of the year, or the 13th/14th week.
3 = Indicates the year produced but the decade is a guess. It could be 70’s or 80’s.
The remaining numbers are again possibly production numbers.


Looking at the 1983 catalogue, there is only one bike that comes in chrome, the Prestige GS, but it has completely different components!

Apart from the confusing parts list the bike is in pretty good condition and won’t be too hard to get up and running. The confusing history still bothers me though! Without knowing what era it came from I can’t fit the right parts…

Puch Sports 5 – Whole again.

One bike down, seemingly endless more to go.

Today, I finished the Puch. I spent the beginning of the week searching for parts on eBay, looking for brakes and gears before finding one seller with everything I needed in terms of components. I got those ordered and went back to my usual “consumables” supplier for the rest. By sheer luck, everything arrived first thing this morning so yet again, I’ve spent most of the daylight hours in the garage.

The frame I was given had the stem, handlebars and crank set attached which all seemed to spin smoothly, however, the first thing I did was strip the lot down. The grease in both headset and bottom bracket was pretty thick but it was well covered and fairly clean. Still, I pulled everything out cleaning it up and putting my own grease back in. The same happened with the wheels, with the bearings being stripped, ceaned and regreased. A bit of fine tuning here and there and all the bearings were moving freely and smoothly.

The parts I’d ordered… The Union pedals went straight on. They didn’t need cleaning at all; beautiful condition. I’d ordered a Shimano downtube shifter and a Shimano Tourney derailleur. Both were in excellent condition and fitted straight to the bike without issue, almost. The frame doesn’t actually come with any fixed cable guides so I’ve had to cable tie and tape everything to the frame. Nothing major… just a small cosmetic issue. I did almost get caught out with the brakes though. With the huge choice that was offered to me on eBay I ended up picking some Italian Galli calipers and some unbranded shifters. Firstly, I forgot the ferrules so I had to “borrow” a pair off one of my other builds. Secondly, the calipers didn’t exactly fit. The front was fine it had good reach and worked well but the rear, well, it didn’t. It was a few millimeters too short and would have ended up using part of the tyre to brake. It was also too close to the frame and was catching on one triangle leg. Solution? Use some spaces to clear the triangle and extend the mounting hole by a few millimeters so the rim could be used for braking. It worked.

Apart from that little “problem” with the rear caliper everything went together really well. I even took it out for a test ride after and I’m really impressed with how smooth it runs and how easy it is to select gears. Unfortunately I picked up a puncture… One last thing to repair before it goes to it’s new owner (when it’s sold).

Tomorrow… another bike.

If you’re interested in the bike, it’s on eBay here.

The old girls back!

Thank f*ck for that! I’ve been missing riding Cannock every week! On the last outing I had a nightmare with gears, not being able to select anything on the rear apart from 1st and 9th. Re-tensioning the cables did nothing to solve the problem so it was time for new parts. They’re not the most expensive but I don’t always have the free cash to throw on bike repairs so for the last month the MTB has sat in my garage unloved. Until now.

I think the main culprit for the issues was a bent derailleur hanger. I’d had a bit of a smash last year and bent it out of shape but bodged it straight again. This probably weakened it and after a few more rides it decided to bend out of shape again. eBay is full of replacements so I had a browse and went for the little black number made by “raceti”. It was one of the more expensive replacements but it looked one of the best quality. It arrived quickly and honestly, it’s a better fit than the standard piece! It’s spot on and comparing the old and new I can really see how misshapen the old hanger was.

I also went ahead and bought a new gear cable set. The cables on the bike had seen near enough 1000 miles and we’re due a change but instead of going with the same kit made by Goodridge I decided to go for a Shimano XTR Cable Set. I’m a little disappointed to be honest. The Goodridge kit came with two different sized cables and different “connections” and caps that all perfectly interlinked to keep the cables completely enclosed. However, in the Shimano kit you get a nice set of end caps that interlink and one end can accept the outer casing but the other can’t so you’re left with one nicely sealed end and the other just flapping around doing nothing. Unless I’m completely missing a trick here, it’s an absolutely pointless system. I had to re-use parts of the Goodridge system to protect the cable.

Ignoring that inconvenience I also had a small problem with the rear shifter having the cable stuck inside which meant I had to strip the shifter down to free it up. The cables usually feed right through the shifter but this one had looped round and bent so it couldn’t just slid out. After that, aligning the gears was my next issue. Surprisingly the rear went on fine but the fronts required three hands and only having two I struggled around for a while, redoing it all several times before I eventually got it how I wanted it.

I’ve been out for a test ride tonight to make sure everything shifts smoothly before I hit Cannock again and I’m happy to say everything is spot on. Perfectly smooth shifting on the rear and good shifting on the front. Upshifting requires a good long push on the lever but it does go in without any issue.

The route I rode actually took me through a few Strava segments I conquered last year along the local Canals. That was until “Sonic” stole them all using his cyclocross bike… Anyway, I was surprised to see I wasn’t too far off my best times and I wasn’t even going balls out to beat the segment. I’m not going to grab the KOMs back on a fat tyred MTB but I can definitely improve on some and get closer!


Bikes! Who’d bloody have them?!

Well I’ve finally got to work on the British Eagle I picked up a while ago. It didn’t look in the best condition when I collected it but it’s turning out to be an absolute nightmare! The bike was pretty much complete bars the wheels, saddle and front derailleur. It had Shimano 105 brakes and gearing and an aluminium seat post, long stem and drop bars. Google suggested the bike wasn’t too old but it had definitely been through the wars with parts of the frame repainting and bubbling but I still didn’t think taking apart would be this much work.

The brake system and rear derailleur came off really easily. No troubles there at all but as soon as I tried to remove the bars I realised I was in for a fight. They were awkward but with a big screwdriver and a bit of wiggling I did get them out. The seat post on the other hand, well that was stuck solid. First I had to break through the paint that had been layered over the clamp and with that off I found the seat post wasn’t going to come out easily. The entire length of the post inside the frame had oxidised and it took a lot of bashing with a hammer to free up. This unfortunately did damage the seat post slightly but I was pretty certain I could polish it up.

Maybe not…

Now this is where things have gone downhill. The seat post may have been difficult but the stem has been impossible and is now in several pieces. It wasn’t bolted down to start with but still it was stuck fast and the same method of persuasion that shifted the seat post (hammer) was completely ineffective against this. I’ve got a feeling it’s an aluminium stem and it has oxidised against the steel fork and effectively welded the two together. Turning to the old faithful penetration spray and giving it a good few coating and leaving it to soak did nothing so I tried heating it up with my blowtorch in an attempt to break the seal. Nothing. Not even a mm of movement and eventually the head of the stem snapped off. Not ideal but it gave me more of a chance to prise the remnants of the stem out of the forks… or so I thought. I tried gripping and crushing the broken half with my vice to no avail and I couldn’t even shift it with a punch an chisel. I’ve given up now. The forks have been damaged too and I don’t think they’ll be any good now. Maybe some BMX forks are on the cards now though?

Next up was the cranks. They had a strange cap covering the nut holding them down. I guess you need a special tool to unscrew them properly as when I tried with my biggest screwdriver they just tore apart, although they’re potentially a bit brittle from old age… Now capless I could unbolt the cranks and surprisingly the bolts came off with no issues. They revealed that the bottom bracket was square taper and also that the cranks were stuck tight. Luckily I have a crank puller which screwed into the drive side nicely and helped pop it off but the threads on the non drive side are trashed and the crank puller tool ended up stripping them. Holding the crank in my vice while I used a bolt to try and knock the spindle out didn’t work either so at the moment it is also stuck…

If I do manage to get this crank off… I’m still stuck with a strange bottom bracket. The cups / lock rings are made out of plastic and look like they need some form of C spanner to undo. I’ve had a go at the drive side with a few tools but nothing worked so it looks like I’m going to have to find a special tool for the job.

All in all, not the best start but we’ll see where things go from here….

200 miles in.

How’s the Holdsworth holding up?

After 200 miles of riding it’s going really well. It didn’t really seem to out perform my old Falcon at first but now the dry weather is returning and my fitness is coming back I’m beginning to set PB after PB on it. In those 200 miles I haven’t really had any issues with it at all. The brakes are brilliant as proved when I had to stop on a dime after someone decided not to give way to me. The tyres are smooth, fast and grippy. The gears are responsive and precise and the lightweight frame has made climbing a lot easier. Granted most things on the bike work well because of the guys over at PlanetX who actually set the bike up but they’re a base level options for this bike.

I think the biggest change to my riding has come from using the SPD clipless pedals. I’m still not a big lover of them at all. They’re a massive pain in the ass (for me personally) to get clipped into sometimes, even on the loosest setting and it really makes you look a bit of a dick when you’re wobbling about trying to get your foot locked in but for that minor downside there’s a massive upside. If you’re just used to using flat pedals as I was before then you’ll only be used to using half of the power in your legs. With flat pedals all the work goes onto the downwards stroke and as much as you try to “scoop” the pedal back up to get more power down it doesn’t really work. Now, riding with the SPDs I can use the full motion of the circle to put the power down. It makes for a smoother ride and it’s a lot more efficient. You can obviously still use the forward and down motion of the pedal but it’s the backwards and up motion that keeps the steady power. Climbing those big hills becomes massively easier too when you can pull up on the pedal as well as push down. I can sacrifice looking a dick while I’m struggling to get clipped in for the extra momentum and access to power they give me.

The lightweight carbon frame helps a bit too. I can’t really put a figure on the assistance you get from having a light frame in terms of performance but what I can say is, again, on those climbs it really helps. Comparing it to the old steel Falcon that weighed around 14KG, the 8KG (I think it is) Holdsworth is just a pleasure to climb with. It seems like you can get more momentum on with it and the strength of the carbon helps the power stay in the drivetrain. It was a bit strange at first having such a light base and I felt a bit unstable on it as I was moving it from side to side a lot. I think that was all down to using too much upper body though, being used to the heavier bike and the amount of work I had to put into that it was a bit of shock to see how easy the carbon frame glided up hills.

So to sum this short post up after 200 miles riding. If you’re thinking of getting a Holdsworth Trentino of your own… I’d recommend it. It’s well equipped and a joy to ride. You’ll certainly set a few PBs with it and chase down those Strava KOMs 😉