Sunday, August 19, 2012

Just a couple of items from the busy week of summer

This summer has not been good enough to come anywhere close to filling the holes from last winter. For the most part we have only seen the kind of people who actually increase their holdings during a tough economy. Bless their little hearts for trickling on us, but it won't keep us well hydrated for more than a few days after they scamper off to their other homes.

Except for a few brief flurries we've seen no real rush periods this summer. With our reduced staff even a small flurry ties us up completely, but we have not been buried in work the way we expect to be in an average year. But this particular week in August always brings a big peak.  This weekend in August always sees the convergence of our local triathlon (the Granite Man), a bigger triathlon across the lake (the Timber Man) and the Mount Washington Hill Climb. We had bikes to convert to hill climbing mode, road bike rentals for the Granite Man, emergency repairs in the day or two prior to all these events, and an influx of vacationers hitting the last week before the early schools start.

Mid-week I was putting some period-appropriate gumwall tires on a Sears Free Spirit three-speed from the early 1970s. It wasn't too crappy for an American department store bike, and it had this classy crest on the chain guard.
I'm not sure what those creatures are supposed to be or why the fleur-de-lys is upside down, but it's more interesting than a lot of the graphics you see these days. At least they're trying to evoke some impression of a pedigree.

Another bike in the queue showed up with this fascinating Suntour grip shifter.
The rest of the bike dates it to no later than the very early 1990s. SRAM's product was just emerging from annoying joke status. I don't think Shimano's Revo was off the drawing board yet.

With the cover off you see a cable from the grip to the roller in the center of the frame. That cable pulls the roller in response to the ratchet in the grip. The actual shift cable is set in the roller and exits through the adjuster barrel. This is strikingly similar to the workings of the Shimano Revo.
I had never seen this shifter before. Suntour made some great stuff and some unworkably weird stuff in their heyday. This shifter works better than SRAM's early models and is easier to service. If they had pushed this instead of XPress they might have stayed in business.

Business may shrivel entirely after this weekend. The summer feels like it never started, and now it's winding down. At least I'll have more time for other projects.

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