Monday, January 17, 2011

Kuwahara's New Purpose

A year ago last fall I purchased a 1983 Kuwahara from a second hand shop in Butler, Indiana, for $20. It appears to be a touring model, with double holes on the rear dropouts and on the fork dropouts.

There is a great deal of clearance for wide tires - look at how much room there is at the seat stay.

There's quite a bit of room at the chainstays as well.

I haven't been able to make up my mind, until recently, what to do with the bike. At first, I wanted to convert it to a fixed gear bike. But I have a Scwinn LeTour III that I've already converted. Then I thought I'd put skinny tires and fenders on it, and use it for a rain bike on fast club rides. But finally, the clouds have parted, and the sun has shone through, making it absolutely clear what this bike is meant to be: a country bike. I don't think it'll ever look as nice as Alan's at Eco Velo. But for now, I like it as it is.

It has a big frame, maybe just a hair too big for me, but I can stretch out on it and it feels very comfortable. I need to lower the seat just a little more. The steely, flexy goodness is welcome on our rough, frozen roads.

This will be the bike with which I'll do quick club rides, but I'll also use wide tires so I can ride gravel roads. I'd like to add fenders and maybe a hub generator some day.

In the meantime, I wanted to install the VO compact crankset I bought a couple weeks ago. The crank that came with the bike had some issues. The non-drive crank doesn't line up exactly with the drive side crank. This is the original Sugino crank that came with the bike. It cleaned up well.

The problem is the crank arm hole has been jingered, probably from riding too long with a loose tightening bolt.

So, I bought a new Shimano, sealed bearing bottom bracket from my LBS, and installed it. Only to find that the new VO crank sits another 10 mm too far out away from the bike. The front derailleur won't shift on to the larger chain ring. So, for now, the bike has the new non-drive VO crank arm and the old Sugino crank and chain rings until I get a shorter bottom bracket. The new bb should fit one of my other bikes.

Here's my new helmet mirror:

Keep looking forward!

Happy riding!


Rat Trap Press said...

That should make a great country bike.

That non-drive crankarm is messed up!

Steve A said...

Winter must have been hard up there. Your face looks so much thinner!

limom said...

Dude, how tall are you?
That's like a humgasoid frame!
Nice find.

Trevor Woodford said...

That does look like a 'huuuuuge' frame. I'll ask the same question as Limom - how tall are you?
Should suit the 'country bike' job quite well.

RANTWICK said...

Big Oak is, um, big.


Big Oak said...

limom, Trevor - I'm 6' 4". I "earned" the name Big Oak in college because I was tall and I could drink a lot of beer then. And I was a forest management major. I don't drink too much beer anymore, but the name stuck. So now you know...

Steve - my wife says black is slimming, so I think it's the balaclava!

Rantwick - I'm still plenty big, but not as big as I used to be!

Apertome said...

The Kuwahara's going to be an excellent country bike. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with it!

Chandra said...

Nice mirror and balaclava + new and improved Bill! Way to go!!

Peace :)

jbrookef said...

Hi...a great read...I am interested in your randonneuring...where will you go?