maandag 19 augustus 2013

Restoring a Libéria radonneur

After about 60 years of service in the Alps, it 's time for this Libéria to be totally renewed. I have made up my mind about how to restore my newly bought randonneur. I plan to rebuilt it almost completely, yet respecting the original setup.

There is no hurry for this project, for I already have a great randonneur satisfying almost all my needs. Although I hope to do even a little better on this one than I did on the previous one. 

Time to start on the front wheel.

As you can see, the chrome on the rim has vanished completely. Although the rim is still true, I want to replace it by an aluminum one. It saves weight, and the brakes will perform better on alloy.

Let 's just cut the crap. The spokes wil be replaced by stainless ones.

Here 's a hub with 60 years of dirt on it. I 'm sure it has never been cleaned in its whole life.

Metal polish can work miracles!

After above before.

Half of the work done. It 's a high flange Normandy hub. I think it 's a really nice one.

The bearings have had their best time. Actually they are that much worn, that I will not be able to reuse the hubs. Pity...

Destination: dustbin!
A bit of cleaning reveals the true beauty of these brakes. I thought they were made of iron, but it seems they 're aluminum. My luck!

Okay, it looks like a mess, but it 's all there,  mostly in reusable condition!

The naked frame. It will soon make its way to the sander, and after that to the painters.

Happy couple.

At the time I bought the bike, I didn 't know the mudguards were Lefol La Martelé. I do now, and I 'm very pleased with these.

The original colour revealed from underneath the fork crown.

Original colour fork bone.

I sprayed a little piece with a can containing Raleigh green paint. Do you like it??

You just wait until it 's cleaned...

The two colours next to each other.
This is the color I have in mind for the Libéria. It 's somewhere between green and greyish. What do you think about that?? Feel free to give remarks at the bottom of the page!

Head badge before cleanup.

Rear derailer to be installed: it 's Sachs Huret Classic 2000. I 've never seen a derailer as tough as this. 

Long cage, big enough to cut a tree, or to outlive a world war.

I 've got only one word for this one: Waaw!

I know what you 're thinking now: hmm, it 's not the lightest derailer ever built... Fortunately I 'm no weight weenie.

Brandnew high flange Normandy hubs. A little polish and a bit of new grease on the bearings, and it 's go!

Eventually, I 'm going for down tube shifters. It 's easier than mounting bar end shifters, and it has a more classic look to it.

Shimano 600 front derailer. A beautiful match with the rear derailer. No plastic. God no, I don 't want any plastic on this one!
The frame after it has been sandblasted.

Don 't know what the number means, but it doesn 't matter much to me.

Frame sandblasted and fork sanded by hand. In the end they should look the same.

One hour 's work. Many hours to come.

Radios rear light. The one rear light I always wanted on my randonneur! It reminds me of a TV-series in the 80 's Battlestar Galactica. On top of that, it was a gift from my mate Philippe! Thanks pal!

See the resemblance?

Brrr, how cold, a naked frame. I spent more than 10 hours sanding by hand. My fingers still hurt! But I quite like the result. 

Nice lugwork.

Exces brass removed. This sort of cleanup is never done on a mass-produced frame.  

Meanwhile, the first shipment of VO parts came in:

Grand Cru Rando handlebars

Front Rack Campeur. Heavy duty.

And matching rear Campeur rack. Bomb proof.
Today the next batch of stuff arrived: it was only a small box, but it contained some fine (the finest?) tires. The Grand Bois Hêtre in cream!
If God would ride a bike, he would come down to Japan, and buy (get?) himself a pair of these!!

They don 't look as white as on some of the pictures I 've seen on the net, but I prefer these more, as they look even more vintage.

Slowlybut surely the new stuff is coming in. Here are the newly built wheels with  650B VO Diagonale rims.

A few small things: cotton rim tape (not easy to find in regular stores) and chromed cable covers.

Now it 's time to finally reveal the special treatment on the frame: I applied gun blue on the bare metal: it has a different appearance depending on the angle you look at it. 

This is a first attempt to see how the gun blue reacts. The cloudy effect is easily removed by applying steel wool. After a few attempts I got the hang of it.

Difference between the treated and the non-treated metal.
Detail of a brake boss.

Gunblued headtube. Reminds me of how a middle-aged armor looks.

After returning from the painters. 

It looks clearer under bright light.

Half the work done. But I 'm waiting for the bottom bracket to be delivered from the US. French thread made in America... it 's a strange world.

Rear mudguard mounted.

All rebuilt but the drive line.

Headbadge completely restored.

From this moment on, my randonneur again has a name!

Campagnolo bottom bracket. Serves very well on my other randonneur. Never chance a winning part!

TA Pro 5 Vis crankset. Also featured on the other randonneur. Never chance a winning part!

Longer wingnut to avoid interference with the rear derailer.

Naked handlebar with diacompe nobs mounted.

In the meantime I managed to find a set of unused TA chainrings, even two drilled ones to reduce weight. 

Brooks Swift Titanium. Most beautiful saddle in the world.

Rear light mounted. The rear rack serves as protection.

There you have it. Finished! And it 's no cat in a bag...