Friday, March 7, 2014

1984 Trek 500 Series

I picked up a 1984 Trek 500 at bike show/swap in Dudley. At that time the bike was built as a fixie which didn't interest me at all. So I purchased the bike without its wheels and chain. It had bull handlebars, an inverse brake lever and track pedals.
Mostly what I wanted was the frame. 

The bikes original configuration was a drop barred sport bike. It came in two colors, mariner blue and pewter as pictured below. Mine is blue. Now that the bike is in at least its third configuration very little from its original build remains. I think the headset is the only original component left.

I built up the Trek 500 to be my winter ride. It's worked out fairly well. The tires could use a little more width but you can only use as wide of a tire as the bike will allow.  The only studded tire I found that would fit was Schwalbe's 30 mm snow tire. It doesn't have as many studs as their 35 mm Marathon Winter tires, but sometimes I think that's a good thing since the 30 mm snow tires are slow enough. The sidewalls have a nice reflective coating.  When I don't have the studded tires mounted I use Soma's New Express 32 mm terracotta tires. 

In addition to studded tires, I'm using a Nexus 8 speed internal gear hub with a kick brake. This set up has worked very nicely allowing me to mostly just ride and not worry about cleaning off the bike after every sloppy ride. I have a center pull brake on the front but it's pretty useless when conditions are wet and icey. 

The cockpit consists of a 90 mm Nitto Technomic stem which is quite pretty to look at when you're riding. I only mention that because Grant Peterson has pointed out the importance of a good looking stem since its in your field of vision most of the time. Anyway the rest of the cockpit is Velo Orange's ever so difficult to pronounce handlebars VO Montmartre, which are 42 cm wide. If I had to do it again I would select their Left Bank handlebar which is 49 cm wide with a little bit of flare in the grip area. 

An inverse brake lever controls the front brake and a JTek bar-end shifter allows easy logical shifting of the Nexus hub.
Logical because you shift up to move to a higher gear and down to move to lower gear.

To keep the road crud off of me, I mounted a pair of SKS Longboards. I've found the bear claw pedals to be quite comfortable and grippy, plus I think they look cool. To finish the build I added a Brooks b68 in honey with matching honey bar tape, and a Wald 137 basket. 

A couple of notes: Before I mounted the basket I had a funky old rack that I hacked to make a light sort of porteur rack. I wasn't crazy about the look of it but I think it worked better than the basket in regards to the amount of weight and volume it held. Ultimately I would like to put a real porteur rack on, if I can find one that isn't too heavy or expensive, this is my dilemma. Of all the bikes I own, this one handles front loads the best. Probably due to its mid-trail geometry, somewhere in the mid forties.

Truth be told I'm not that wild about the Brooks handlebar tape. It is difficult to work with and it offers no cushion. The last bit of problem I've been having is a common one with Brooks saddles.  I need more set back even though I am using the VO long set back seat post, it's still not enough. I am constantly pushing back. Raising the saddle height has helped a little. 

There maybe some changes made regarding the saddle set back, front rack and maybe the handlebars as I continue to tweek the fit.

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