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Performance Superbe re-build

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Performance Superbe re-build

Old 05-30-20, 06:54 PM
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Performance Superbe re-build

I've posted a few pics of this here and there, but now that it's finished I thought I'd start a dedicated thread to cover the re-build of my recently acquired 1985 Performance Superbe. I bought it from a college student on a recent trip to Seattle and though it looks decent enough in the picture, this bike has had a hard life -- lot's of beausage (even worse abuse than those really long brake cables and the hideous Cinelli eyeball handlebar tape).



Based on the serial number, this was a Japanese-made frame. T-Mar's serial number guide suggests it was probably manufactured by Tano. It's got Tange 1 tubing and a Tange fork with chromed SunTour Pro dropouts. The bike made an appearance in the 1985 Performance Bike catalog. It probably had a page of it's own, but the only images I could find are of it making cameos on the clothing pages.



Overall, I think it would have been a savvy purchase for a 1985 consumer, unlike those nylon paneled tights.

The components are nearly full SunTour Superbe/Superbe Pro -- brakes, brake levers, shift levers, crank, front and rear derailleurs, and hubs. It even had a SunTour chain, thought that was badly worn. I don't know what pedal it originally came with, but the ones on it when I bought it are unmarked platform pedals. The SR seatpost and handlebar appear to be original. The Tange Levin headset looks nice. The Araya rims are showing some wear, but still seem in good shape structurally.

Sometimes you find a bike that was a garage queen. Sometimes you find one that's been ridden regularly. This one looked like it had been ridden regularly and then beaten with a chain whip when the owner got it home.







In spite of that, the decals (apart from the tubing stickers) are in great shape.











A bit of rust to be cleaned up here and there.
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Old 05-30-20, 07:05 PM
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It's a bit frustrating to find a bike like this where the paint is in mostly good condition, but has a few problems that would require extensive paint removal to fix. A couple of the pictures above show what I'm talking about. There was also rust on the top and bottom of the top tube. I'm not convinced yet that this bike merits the effort of a serious restoration, but I wanted it to at least look OK from five feet away. As a first step, I tried applying EvapoRust using paper towels wrapped in plastic wrap.


(How do you do that to the bottom of the top tube?)



I scraped a bit with a wire brush, and tried naval jelly on a few spots that didn't seem to repond to my EvapoRust method.

In addition to the rust, there were paint chips and scrapes all over the place. That led to my favorite part of this story -- finding matching touch-up. My technique was this: I asked my youngest daughter if she had any glittery red nail polish. She brought me a bottle, and it matched! Depending on your monitor you may be able to see the color difference here. It's visible under very bright LED or bright sunlight, but you have to be looking for it. In poor lighting, only the texture gives it away.

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Old 05-30-20, 07:19 PM
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With the frame appearance hastily sorted, I moved on to the mechanical aspects. I'm sometimes lazy about this -- if everything seems to be working, I just ride the bike. With this one, it was pretty clear that wouldn't be the case. The crank motion felt rough, so I started there. The drive side dust cap came off with no problem, but the NDS, well, that was a problem. The hex hole was rounded -- annoying, but I've done this recently so I knew the next step. I drilled holes for a pin spanner, got lots of leverage but no movement. A few rounds of Liquid Wrench wasn't helping. The holes I drilled started warping and my pin spanner bent, so I tried cutting a slot. Still no luck. Finally, I got out the heat gun. That did the trick. But even after it cracked loose and I got the first movement it was really tight. It took several full rotations before it started moving freely. Seriously, how does a dust cap get this tight? I guess it was the steel dust cap bonding to the aluminum crank.



The cranks came off without a problem, and once they were off I started to question if there were even bearings in the bottom bracket -- very rough. And, of course, both cups were stuck. I tried everything in my bag of tricks before I gave up and called The Wolf (aka gugie ). His bench wise got the fixed cup out, but he had to go to the angle grinder to cut flats on the adjustable cup and use the bench vise again.





The rest of the tear down was uneventful.
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Old 05-30-20, 07:34 PM
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I cleaned everything up as well as I could without breaking a sweat, but a few of the components needed some enhancement. The front brake, for example, has at some point lost its center bolt and looked like this:



I posted in the ISO thread, and thanks to the generosity of deux jambes a couple of days later I had a plausible replacement cap. It's not from a SunTour brake, but it looks the part well enough for my happiness.



Then there was the drivetrain. You may have seen this already. If not, squeamish purists may want to look away.

I'm a heavy guy and not a great climber, so a 53-42 crankset doesn't suit me well. I want a triple on every bike I ride, but since this is a Superbe bike, I really wanted to keep the Superbe parts. Happily, the Superbe Pro crankset has a 144 BCD, so I was able to obtain a lightly used Red Clover Components triplizer. (Thanks, jonwvara !)



But of course, a triple crankset doesn't play well with a short cage rear derailleur, so I had to do something about that. I foolishly traded a long cage Superbe derailleur to gugie a few years back, but I had an idea. Inspired by The Golden Boy (here) and coolkat (here) I decided to try transplanting a 3 pulley SunTour cage (which I happened to already have) onto the Superbe Pro rear derailleur. I won't repeat all the details from my other thread, but I was able to make this work!

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Old 05-30-20, 07:38 PM
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Finally, the finished product.



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Old 05-31-20, 08:07 AM
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Very nice looking bike. The graphics, seat stay caps, and lovely curve to the fork blades are pure class. And to finish it off, you preserved the original brake cables. 😉
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Old 05-31-20, 08:12 AM
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Nice triple treatment, what bb are you running for the conversion?
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Old 05-31-20, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
And to finish it off, you preserved the original brake cables. 😉
I want to claim that's the camera angle. I'm happy with how they look in person, but they do look long in the pictures. I don't know.
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Old 05-31-20, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. 66 View Post
Nice triple treatment, what bb are you running for the conversion?
Shimno UN55 122 mm.

Full disclosure, I cant shift onto the big ring (front derailleur won't move out far enough -- with the limit screw open, the arm hits the body) and the chain scrapes the derailleur when use the small ring. I ordered a MicroShift triple front derailleur to fix it.
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Old 05-31-20, 05:06 PM
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We don't need no stinking' big ring! Nice save there. Looks like you need some Campy-style brake hoods though. Rustines makes some, I think, and there are "cottage industry" options too. White Campagnolo or Modolo (my personal favorite) hoods would be the ticket.
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Old 05-31-20, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Wahl View Post
We don't need no stinking' big ring! Nice save there. Looks like you need some Campy-style brake hoods though. Rustines makes some, I think, and there are "cottage industry" options too. White Campagnolo or Modolo (my personal favorite) hoods would be the ticket.
Honestly, I really don't need the big ring much. If it weren't for the scraping on the small ring, I might just leave it. The braze-on won't let me lower the derailleur enough to solve the low gear problem.

You're right about the hoods. I kept the hoods and installed this cheapo bar tape partially to make a test run of the color combo. The hoods were what the previous owner had on there. I had to cut them to get full free movement of the brake levers. I figure I'll replace them when the cut turns into a tear.
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Old 05-31-20, 06:22 PM
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Nice save. Is the frame fully chromed under the paint? That red metallic really pops.
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Old 06-01-20, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by tyler_fred View Post
Nice save. Is the frame fully chromed under the paint? That red metallic really pops.
No, only the fork and chainstays are chromed. I'm also a big fan of this color. To be honest, it's probably the main reason I didn't part this bike out.
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Old 06-01-20, 10:54 AM
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That tri-pulley Super Bee Pro just kicks butt. 😍😎😍 And the bike it’s on is alright too, I guess. 😁😉
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Old 06-01-20, 01:12 PM
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I feel like between the SunTour components, the Tange tubing, and the Performance branding, this bike is the perfect example of function over brand prestige. And then with the 3 pulley conversion, I kicked it over the top to prevent anyone from saying, "Yeah, but at least the Superbe components look really good."

The SunTour and Tange brands have obviously earned a lot of respect since their early days of struggling against the European establishment. The Performance brand, not so much, though well into the 2000's they were selling bikes at heavily discounted prices that functioned just as well as their top dollar competition. In my mind, the only thing separating these early Performance bikes from the early Specialized models is that Performance lacks stories of Mike Sinyard and Tim Neenan spending months in Japan making sure the bikes were made to their exact specifications. Performance, then as now (and throw in Bikes Direct) seems to have just waited a year or two and said, "Make us bikes just like that." Specialized carefully crafted and nurtured their brand image. Performance seems to have intentionally targeted customers who didn't really care about that.

BTW, if I ride this bike wearing a jersey and shorts from Performance Bike, does that count as matching kit?
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Old 06-01-20, 03:08 PM
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Nice work Andy. I have a shopping bag from my last purchase at the local Performance going out of business sale. I can send it to you to use as a musette. I’m impressed with the touch up. If you want to try a rattle can spray for any larger areas, Testors red metal flake might be a good match.

nice shirt Gugie.
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Old 06-01-20, 03:21 PM
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Superbe job. That Evapo-Rust treatment is good for light rust, but it looked pretty think in spots, especially near the seat lug. I can see why a bit of sanding and wire brush were needed. Serendipity did give you an excellent paint match. And nice t-shirt by the way.
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Old 06-01-20, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Spaghetti Legs View Post
nice shirt Gugie.
I knew Andy would be photographing for BF posterity, so I dressed up for the occasion.

We both had a couple of shots before I started in, because Bike Brothel.
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Old 06-01-20, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
I knew Andy would be photographing for BF posterity, so I dressed up for the occasion.

We both had a couple of shots before I started in, because Bike Brothel.
Did really happen? Seems like a distant memory.
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Old 06-01-20, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Did really happen? Seems like a distant memory.
Doesn’t it? Back when friends could go places, meet up and do fun things

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Old 06-01-20, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Spaghetti Legs View Post
Doesn’t it? Back when friends could go places, meet up and do fun things

The Magical Mystery Tour of the PNW seems like a decade ago right now.

Eroica California is a distant memory.
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Old 06-01-20, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
The Magical Mystery Tour of the PNW seems like a decade ago right now.

Eroica California is a distant memory.
We're just going to have to take all of next summer off and do a two-month tour.

Last edited by nlerner; 06-02-20 at 05:27 AM.
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Old 06-01-20, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
We're just going to have to talk all of next summer off and do a two-month tour.
I'm in!
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Old 06-02-20, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
Superbe job. That Evapo-Rust treatment is good for light rust, but it looked pretty think in spots, especially near the seat lug. I can see why a bit of sanding and wire brush were needed.
There's still some thick stuff I haven't handled. The seat lug picture is still the way it is. I also didn't strip down to the metal in a few places where the paint was bubbling. I'm not sure how the touch-up nail polish will look on a larger area. I suppose the seat lug is a good place to test that, since it's barely visible if you aren't taking a picture of the tubing sticker.
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Old 06-02-20, 02:31 PM
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WOW ! Nice build. Hoes it ride ?
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