Friday, November 14, 2014

Antiques Trainer Show

This portion of a 1970s Peugeot PX 10 came in a couple of days ago. It was repainted in an anonymous version of period colors --or lack thereof --so its identity can't be verified. The lug work is a trifle crude. The tubing sounds more like gas pipe than Reynolds 531 when you ting it. But it does have a forged alloy Stronglight crank. More on that in a moment.

The owner bought it used for  $170. After a couple of years he had to store it in a bad location, so it rusted. It also suffered from the attention of a mechanic who did not understand crank tapers or chain line. 

Wisely, the owner now uses it only on a trainer. He brought it in because the upper derailleur pulley had broken. Given the rust I can see under the spray-can paint job I'd say it's not worth investing in much more than the absolute minimum to get it back to basic functionality. It's a shame, because the frame represents that rare breed, the sporty general purpose road bike.

Exhibit A: the long horizontal dropout. Remove the positioner that holds the wheel forward in "sporty" position and you can grow a longer chainstay for lightly loaded touring, or move the wheel just a little way back to take a bit of the slap out of rough roads. You can also make a single speed or fixed gear on a road frame with long dropouts.

On the left is the bearing from the broken derailleur pulley. On the right is a current bushing-type pulley to show you how large that bearing assembly is. And it's really smooth. Too bad the plastic ring with the teeth on it broke away. Those are serviceable bearings.

Here is the plastic Simplex derailleur. This is the good one, vernacularly known as "Simplex silver," to distinguish it from the derailleur ordinaire Simplex red. I replaced the broken original pulley with a non-serviceable ball bearing pulley I had kicking around in the bins.

Here's the crank Velo Orange has knocked off as the Rando. Their version has JIS tapers, so it matches currently available bottom brackets. The original here has been stuffed onto a JIS axle - nutted, no less - that's wildly too long. The straight chain line runs between the small ring and the 14-tooth hardest cog on the five-speed freewheel. 

Here you can see the nutted spindle sticking way too far through the crank arm. The tapers don't match the shape of the crank arm closely enough. And nutted spindles simply should never have happened. Sheldon Brown says French cranks can go on JIS spindles no problem. But Sheldon walked on water. Something clearly isn't right with the setup on this bike.

Other period details include the nadcatcher stem,

Plastic brake lever bodies on narrow bars,

And the notoriously squealy Mafac  Racer  brakes.

It's always fun to look at a bike from the era of white frames with black lugs. It was a thing. And as much as I bitch about compatibility issues these days, the ones between the various European countries and companies were definitely more esoteric than the straightforward corporate warfare of today.


Steve A said...

Is it really a PX-10?

cafiend said...

Inconclusive, but I'm inclined to think it's not. The frame seems more like the PA 10 I bought used in 1975. There was a model just above that called the PR 10E that listed in one catalog with a Stronglight 93 crank, but the same basic setup as the PA 10. The PA did not have Reynolds tubing and came with a Stronglight cottered least mine did. The only reference I've seen to the PR says it has Reynolds 531 DB main frame.

Unfortunately, before the 1980s you had to rely on cosmetic details to identify model year, and those have been obliterated.But not enough says to me it's a real PX unless it was pre-1970s. Apparently, models with that designation started showing up in their line around 1953, but weren't continuously offered until late 1960s or '70s.

RANTWICK said...

nadcatcher? Is that a cafiend-ism or something people really say? Either way, I find it quite ugly, maybe because I find classic 7 shaped stems so aesthetically pleasing.

cafiend said...

Strictly refers to the protruding bolt sticking up through the top. The nadcatcher concept comes from observations shared among cyclists when such stems were common.

A friend of mine did cause a wound requiring stitches with the back end of the handlebar stem when he forgot about a particularly vicious pothole under and overpass and slammed into it, throwing himself forward onto the back of the stem. That was the less clearly dangerous, aesthetically pleasing Cinelli 1A, but it proved none the less painful. He related with pained humor how he leaped to his feet as onlookers closed in to see if he was okay, and whipped his shorts down to confirm that he had indeed been wounded.

I love a nice quill stem. Just remember to respect them.

cafiend said...

Oh yeah, and Sheldon Brown wrote that AVA stems like the one shown on the PX 10 were known to break. I didn't know. My Peugeot had one that I only changed because I got a nicer-looking one (and needed to fit a 22.2 steerer on a replacement fork).