Old 06-06-20, 02:48 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: South of the North country
Posts: 194

Bikes: Various home-built frankenbikes

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A pretty familiar story (650B conversion)

Well, itís the end of an era. Iíve decided to convert my Nishiki Prestige to 650B.

This is actually a huge deal. This was my very first good bike, one that I assembled myself back in 1987, when I was in college and becoming enthralled with cycling. I had a copy of Sloaneís book, which I devoured until it literally fell apart. I had a sympathetic LBS, whose owner became accustomed to me coming in about once a month, after saving up enough pennies, to order the next round of parts from his paper catalog. And they were really good parts: mostly SunTour Superbe and Cyclone and Sprint, in keeping with the Japanese origin of the frame. This was my only bike for the next 25 years, during which time it got ridden a lot, then put up for a while as I turned my attention to other interests, then pulled back out and overhauled for another season of riding. Itís a racy frame with racy parts, even though I never raced it, because thatís what was sexy to my young self.

Then I built myself a few more casual rides, eventually ending up with my Trek and my Nishiki mixte. The Prestige hung on the garage wall for many years, looking good but getting no use.

During the Covid lockdown I decided to pull it down again and take it for a spin. And oh my, after riding the Trek with its Jack Browns and the mixte with its Schwalbe Little Big Bens, the Prestige felt harsh and unfriendly!

It turns out that what my twenty-something self found sexy and exciting, my fifty-something self finds jarring and discomfortable.

When I built the Prestige, and for many years afterward, I couldnít conceive of any wheel size other than 700C being on it. But along the way, I stumbled across Sheldonís site, and learned about lots of things, including alternative wheel and tire sizes. And finally the other day my brain, as brains sometimes do, spontaneously assembled a motley collection of disparate ideas, and BOOM! The plan for the 650B metamorphosis became irresistible!

Iíve done the measurements, two and three times, to make sure theyíre right. Iíve pulled a really nice rear hub from my stash, and ordered a front hub and a pair of rims and spokes and brakes. Today I ordered the parts. As and when they arrive, this will come together, and Iíll document it here.

The list of conversion parts:
  • Tektro 559 brakes. A no-brainer.
  • Velocity A23 rims, 32h, black.
  • Sachs New Success rear hub, purchased during one of my C&V parts buying binges here. NOS, 130mm.
  • Sachs 8 speed freewheel, 12 - 24
  • Campy Centaur front hub, NOS, purchased online yesterday (I didnít have a 32h front hub in my stash....)
  • SR Anatomic (Modolo licensed) bars on a MTB stem, from my stash
  • Tektro cross levers and some undecided main brake levers
  • 650B tires undecided, but something around 40mm wide with road tread.
The list of current components that will remain:
  • Suntour Superbe cranks with 42-52 rings
  • MKS Sylvan road quills with no-name half clips
  • Suntour Superbe front mech
  • Suntour Sprint rear mech
  • Suntour Sprint downtube shift levers (all hail Power Ratchet!)
  • A minty new Brooks Cambium C17 Carved
This thread will document the process, and will include many of my prejudices, preferences, and pontifications. And hopefully plenty of photos. Should be fun!
1987 Nishiki Prestige (now 650B!)
1981 Trek 710
198? Nishiki Olympic 12 mixte (now 650B!)
2020 Surly Troll fat-tire build

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