It’s been almost two months since I last updated this blog. Damn. My excuse is that I’ve been doing other things, like building a flat tray for my new townie.

“New townie?” you ask. Yes, the Claud Butler is getting a makeover. You might remember it from my earlier classic-inspired build, which funnily enough I posted up a year tomorrow. That build never really worked out, the geometry was really lax 60s roadie and no good for a fixed ride. The frame, with its 53cm top tube, was also on the small side for me which meant running a tall seat post and a ridiculously high saddle to bar height; cool on a true track or pursuit frame, not so cool on an old road frame with a shallow rake. In the end I stripped the frame and mounted it on the wall in my room where it stayed until now.

I’m going to run a set of box section wheels with a coaster brake on the rear. I’ll be ordering this wheelset from the States soon. Other than that the bike’s almost good to go. I have a spare set of low-end Sugino cranks where the driveside arm, spider and ring are all one piece. Not so good for high-stress fixed drive trains, but perfect for this townie build and coaster brake setup. The front rack is my own design with parts bought from my local hardware store. It’s a bit of a work in progress but will hopefully be strong enough to hold a 12 pack when finished.

More pics to come once this build it rolling, watch this space.


Bicycle Swap Meet

October 24, 2010

This looks like fun. Cool poster, too. If it’s your thing you should come down to T White’s Bikes and check out the Second Hand Bike Shop’s opening event this Saturday.


Team Miyata Track

June 26, 2010

My new toy arrived from Christchurch yesterday. A very rare – the only one imported new into New Zealand – pro-model Team Miyata track bike.

I won it for a good price, although it was ramped up a bit during the auction with another keen bloke in the bidding to the end.

I’ve taken it for a spin and it rides amazingly, and that’s with the stale tyres, too-long stem and rock-hard seat!

This frame is exactly what I’ve wanted for while – a proper NJS-style steel steed with aggressive track geometry, and not drilled for brakes. I love the lugwork and the contrasting yellow lug cutouts lugs and stamped rear stays.  The colour scheme is great, and far too good to even consider repainting it.

So a little about Miyata. From what I’ve read Miyata were special in that they made their own tubing, they were also the first to use triple-butted tubing, although my Team Miyata uses double-butted tubes. Sheldon Brown has high praise for Miyata, although he’s referring to their top-shelf touring model during the 80s. Miyata was founded by a  Japanese gunsmith – Eisuke Miyata – and produced the first conventional Japanese bicycle in 1892. There’s a bit of history about Miyata here and catalogues to be found here.

The good/interesting bits that came with bike include:

  • Cinelli stem and handlebars – the stem is too long for me so will be replaced with a shorter Nitto stem
  • Suntour Superbe Pro crank on the right, and a Dura-Ace arm on the left
  • 50t French chainring and 14t Dura-Ace cog
  • Campagnolo bottom bracket and headset, both feel silky smooth
  • Shiny 36-hole high-flange Suzue hubs

The rims are nothing-fancy Alex, the seat is a rock-hard throwaway, and the seatpost, a plain Ritchey.

The pics show MKS pedals and Brooks straps, these were robbed from the Claud Butler build. The photos were taken in the Auckland Domain, though I’m not super happy with how they turned out. The light was crap but never mind, there’ll be more pics no doubt once I get what I want sorted on the bike.

Taken with a 450D and Canon’s f1.4 50mm USM.

Here’s the frame’s history – from the seller – which is worth a read, too.

It’s a particularly special bike David and has a very fine pedigree indeed. Here’s a brief history.

1. It’s the only one of its type brought new into NZ – ever.

2. It was my first brand new bike and was originally a gift to me from Miyata Inc. Japan after my Dad secured the agency for the distribution of the brand in NZ following a visit to them in Japan in late 1989. At the time he was the CEO for CMC (Cycle Manufacturing Co) who made Tarini bikes & Pantha BMXs.

3. The first time I raced it I crashed and scored the minor dings in the top tube as mementos. I was severley annoyed about it but they proved to be a constant reminder to be careful.

4. I raced it at the Nat Track Champs in Auckland that year and took it to the Junior World Champs in the UK as a backup just in case it was needed.

5. My Dad also raced it and won a number of National medals in the Veterans’ category.

6. I last raced it in 1994 but it went on to be raced by a number of really good riders who scored national medals at Under-17 and 19 level, helping 3 of them get selected to race at the Junior Worlds.

7. It most famously went to Italy where it was ridden on the track in the Junior World Championships Points Race by Auckland’s Rawea Greenwood (1993 or 1994?) who won bronze in the pursuit (on my old pursuit bike).

8. It is very well travelled in NZ and has been ridden on most of the velodromes including Levin, Palmerston North, the old and new tracks in Wanganui, Taupo, Manukau & New Lynn in Auckland, Trafalger Park in Nelson, Denton and English Parks in Christchurch, Dunedin & Mosgiel, along with the old outdoor and new indoor tracks at Invercargill.

So there you go. It’s been in our family for 20 years but now the next chapter in its amazing life is up to you.


Cheers, Brendon

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The Olympic bands

May 29, 2010

My regular Trade Me hunting saw me stumble across this frame and fork in early January. I nabbed it up for the sharp price of $130 from a bloke down in Wellington. It’s a 1968/1969 Claud Butler Electron Super Five according to the catalogues. The frame is in very good nick considering its age. The delicate and slim metal tubing really can’t be beat, it just has so much more character than a welded alloy frame. It has beautiful lugwork throughout and still bares the Prugnat Lugs sticker – mostly intact. Plus there’s plenty of patina all over which makes the bike look even better, especially juxtaposed with all the new and shiny bits I’ve built it up with. I coated the frame with a clear spray paint I bought from the hardware store. The idea behind this was seal the frame and prevent any further corrosion. The clearcoat has also had the effect of bringing out the colours of the frame. It was well worth the effort.

With the frame sorted it was just a matter of sourcing all the other parts needed. I’d actually picked up a set of brand new Dura-Ace 7600 track hubs before I’d found the frame. These beautiful high-flange hubs set the standard for the build – silver. It had to be silver. Admittedly not everything on the bike is comparable to these gorgeous  hubs. The headset and bottom bracket are entry-level Modus and Truvativ units. I couldn’t justify buying a Campy headset but the Modus one came in silver and looks the part, so on it went.

The hardest part to source was a seatpost. The frame uses a rare 26.4mm post. They’re actually quite easy to get hold of in black but a completely different story when it comes to silver. Once I’d finally got hold of a 26.4mm silver post from the States the whole project came together in a matter of a few days.

The finishing touches bare the longstanding name Brooks. The saddle, handlebar tape and toe straps are all Brooks. I reckon the ‘honey’ colour leather looks great against the red and the shiny silver. The standard of Brooks’ parts is second to none and you just can’t beat the look and feel of high-quality leather. And, aren’t those cork bar ends just awesome? The saddle is Brooks’ cheapest and most popular, the B17. Although the leather tape is fantastic it’s a shame it’s covering up the quality of Nitto’s finish. The bars are Nitto B125 – a chrome-finished steel bar. Most people go for the B123s but I prefer the more shallow drop of the 125. Either way, you can’t beat these NJS bars, the feel of steel is real, and like the frame, it’s great.  You can’t see the bar’s chrome, but you can see the excellent satin finish of the Nitto Dynamic stem. The stem has a 26mm clamp but I was stoked to find it clamps nice and tightly to the 25.4mm bars. I’m glad I didn’t need to source a shim as it would probably have ended up dragging the project out like the damn seatpost did.

All in all I’m very happy with the way this bike has turned out. It’s great to see ideas finally materialise, and having only taken five months, I can’t complain.

Here are the specs and some more photos. They’re shot with a 450D and a Canon 50mm USM 1.4 prime.

  • 1968/69 Claud Butler frame and fork
  • Shimano Dura-Ace 7600 track hubs laced with double-butted spokes to Velocity Aerohead rims – 28h front and 32h rear
  • Sugino Super Mighty 165mm  144BCD track cranks with a 45t French TA chainring and Uzumi chain
  • Nitto Dynamic stem in 90mm with 40cm Nitto B125 Steel Keirin bars
  • MKS Sylvan track pedals with MKS toe clips
  • Brooks B17 saddle, leather handlebar tape and toe straps
  • Continental GP4000S front and Continental Ultra sport rear

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