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My 650A (650B) Rando-Commuter Build and Updates Thread.

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My 650A (650B) Rando-Commuter Build and Updates Thread.

Old 02-10-13, 07:39 PM
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My 650A (650B) Rando-Commuter Build and Updates Thread.

*** 2021 NOTE: This build has been through a few iterations! If you want to skip a bunch of hemming and hawing and gory mistakes, click here for the current state: https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...l#post22178135 ***




Original story starts below, in 2013:
----------------------------------------------------

Hey folks, it's no secret that I've been accumulating parts for a project this winter, but I haven't posted much about the build for fear that something wouldn't fit and have to abort the project in shame. Well, the wheels are finally done, and things are looking up (if grainy)!



Frame, rims, and rear hub are courtesy of balindamood, front hub is courtesy of 3speedslow.

The fender clearance looks good in front and rear:



My only concern is at the chainstays. Nothing rubs, but I'll most likely end up moving the wheels back in the dropouts to free up some room:



These are the Panaracer Col de Vie 650A tires -- I'm not crazy about the tread, but with Panaracer's nice sidewalls, they should ride comfortably without robbing too much energy from the rider. More to come!
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Old 02-10-13, 07:59 PM
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Looks like you could dimple the chainstays to gain some clearance.

What's the difference between 650a and 650b? I could search, but I am lazy...
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Old 02-10-13, 07:59 PM
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Don't you mean 650B? It looks stunning so far, should be a nice ride.
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Old 02-10-13, 08:25 PM
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650a = 590mm
650b = 584mm

Col de la vies come in both sizes, but those look like 650a.
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Old 02-10-13, 08:27 PM
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Looks like it's going to be a cushy ride, those tires looks great!

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Old 02-10-13, 09:02 PM
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Yep, they're 650A/ISO 590/EA3/26x1-3/8", whatever you prefer to call them. Exactly in between 700C and 26" MTB. I've been wanting to try good tires in this size for a while.
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Old 02-10-13, 09:31 PM
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Dang! I've been waiting to see this, and the pics aren't working for me...;-( Can't wait to see it!

Cheers,
Chris
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Old 02-10-13, 10:36 PM
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I am anxious to see it finished as well. That frame was last built with 650B's, so I figured the 650A's would be great. I wound up with two sets of NOS 650A rims (nice ones) and they have both gone to C&V members.
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Old 03-03-13, 02:58 PM
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Not much to report lately. I decided to get the Frame Saver in there before adding too many more parts. Once this all dries, assembly should be brisk:



I asked my girlfriend if it smelled sort of like bleu cheese to her, too. "Maybe robot bleu cheese."
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Old 03-03-13, 07:46 PM
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THANKS! I'll continue following this because I am thinking of building my son an SS get-to-school commuter with 26 inch wheels on a 51 c-c Tri frame (Ishiwata EX). I'll be looking at what you do for brakes and ... fenders? Like yours, my son's frame has no braze-ons.
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Old 03-04-13, 11:09 AM
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650A was a common size for Japanese-made randonneur bikes, moreso than 650B.
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Old 03-04-13, 01:42 PM
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Looking forward to seeing the finished product.

Originally Posted by Catnap View Post
650A was a common size for Japanese-made randonneur bikes, moreso than 650B.
650A is still a common size for sport bikes in Japan. I have a friend with a custom made Alps built around 650A. They have access to much better tires there as a result.
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Old 03-04-13, 02:04 PM
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Thanks for the support, guys. Now that the Frame Saver has dried, I'm excited to hang more parts on this thing. Lenton58's comment was a reminder that I need to invest in a better camera -- my frame *does* have fender eyelets in front and rear, so that won't be a problem. Now I'm just trying to decide which fenders to get!
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Old 03-04-13, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
Looking forward to seeing the finished product.



650A is still a common size for sport bikes in Japan. I have a friend with a custom made Alps built around 650A. They have access to much better tires there as a result.
A friend of mine has a beautiful 650A Fukaya I should get pictures of... she's running marathons unfortunately since they are cheap and accessible here.


This build looks sweet and I keep checking back on the thread.
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Old 03-04-13, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Now I'm just trying to decide which fenders to get!
I vote aluminum and NOT hammered.
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Old 03-04-13, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
I vote aluminum and NOT hammered.
Smooth aluminum certainly looks less pretentious. I have about 48mm between the fork blades and less between the chainstays, so I'm either looking at hammered 45mm fenders that I don't have to manipulate, or 52mm smooth fenders that I'll have to. If only I could find ~45mm smooth fenders for 650A/650B wheels, I'd be set...
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Old 03-04-13, 04:49 PM
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They're easy to manipulate for a custom fit. You can handle it, I assure you. 45mm fenders would not look as good as 48 or 52mm. The VO Zeppelins have a classy profile, but smooth fenders would look as good or better on your frame, I think.
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Old 03-04-13, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
I vote aluminum and NOT hammered.
2 votes aluminum and not hammered. I also think the smooth fenders and not the Zeppelin (segmented) fenders would work best for this Bianchi. Sometimes simple is best.
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Old 03-04-13, 06:52 PM
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I took another look and I can see the braze ons. I don't know how I missed them on the rear D.O.'s.
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Old 03-05-13, 11:58 AM
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I agree on the smooth vs segmented vs hammered fenders. Problem is that the $60 for the VO stuff was already pushing what I wanted to spend for fenders.

Anyways, it's starting to look more like a bike now!



The Weinmann levers I bought to go along with the centerpulls had too small of a clamp to fit on the GB (England) rando bars, so for now, I'm going with the spare RX100 levers I had lying around. I'm a little concerned they won't pull enough cable, but if they do work out, they'll be more comfortable than non-aero levers.





At this point, the aesthetes are likely pulling out their hair at all of the mismatching gray parts. I didn't realize at first how badly the beige-ish 1056 parts would clash with the purer silver of the 1050 crankset and Sugino big ring. Time will tell if it bugs me enough to change.

A note on my gearing scheme: the crankset is 48/39 with a 13-28T cassette, for an overall range of 37 to 97 gear-inches. I compromised on the top end because I don't need particularly tall gears for the riding I do, and this will allow me to spend the vast majority of my time in the big ring and the middle of the cassette.
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Last edited by ThermionicScott; 08-16-17 at 12:31 PM. Reason: imguring
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Old 03-05-13, 12:27 PM
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Looking good! I think you will like the feel more if you move the brake levers 1cm along the bar toward the stem and tilt the bar back just a smidge more. Despite the red graphics I think black cages would look better. Those levers will work very well with the centerpulls so no worries there. I use 105 levers of the same era with 610s and it's smooth sailing.
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Old 03-05-13, 12:36 PM
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Thanks Justin! I think the red cages will make more sense once the red cable housings and bar tape go on -- I don't like too much "dark" stuff on a bike.

I like a lot of the things Brian did when he built up this frame before me:

Originally Posted by balindamood View Post
1987 Bianchi Sport SX converted to 650B with VO fenders:

(Although I now see he used black cages. Heh.)
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Old 03-05-13, 12:51 PM
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That head-on shot of those rando bars makes for an interesting comparison with the Nitto version of the same type of bar. Personally, I do not see any "clash" in the hues of alloy parts. It's sorda-kinda 'machine-like', which I think is apropos.
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Old 03-05-13, 06:05 PM
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Nice !

I had completely forgotten about that front hub, great to see were it finally went with. I like the project and the direction it is going. Will this be for long distance travel or mostly close to home trips ?

I would love to try some GB Rando bars, got close to getting some but slipped out of my hands. Looking forwards to more posts to this thread.

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Old 03-06-13, 11:18 AM
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Hey 3SS, my plan is that this bike would be a do-nearly-everything machine: brevets, touring, commuting, club rides, gravel/trail rides, you name it. The only things it won't do are fixed-gear/winter riding (I have a bike for that) and winning races (no interest in that anyway. )

I didn't get any good pictures last night, but I got the front brake hooked up and the braking action is surprisingly good! I also used my bench grinder to subtly reshape the outer edge of the front derailleur cage. This allows it to hug the 48T big ring closer -- it was originally designed for a 52/53T.
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