Reassembly: Day 2

Close-up of bicycle frame showing water bottle cages, crankset and wheels
Bicycle handlebar stem with full complement of spacers
I once was lost

I spent just a bit of time yesterday on the reassembly. It was cold, windy and rainy, so I didn’t want to tackle some of larger outstanding items. As I didn’t accomplish enough to write up a separate post, this is Day 2.

I found the missing spacer for the handlebar stem and installed that, which was a major check-off item as the bike wouldn’t be safe to ride without the full complement of spacers.

I spent the rest of the day waiting for the delivery of the correct inner tubes, after finally having figured out the rims were designed for Presta valves. That’s actually my preference, and I was glad to be able to get Contis to match the tires I’d previously purchased. The delivery finally arrived about 7 p.m., and I immediately set about installing the inner tubes and tires despite the fact it was already dark in the Workshop in the Sky.

Man holding a rear bicycle wheel and making a thumbs-up gesture
Proud owner of a wheel

It took me just a few minutes to prep both wheels. Working in the dark, I originally installed the front tire backwards (there’s a preferred direction of rotation) so I had to remove the tire and install it again. But aside from that I quickly had the wheels back on the bike, with the tires on this time. I called it a night.

Bicycle in workstand overlooking darkened cityscape
Rockin’ the new wheels

Sorting out the cables

The first order of business today was sorting out the cables. We’d had trouble cutting the brake housing cleanly, resulting in a lot of extra friction. Enough so that the rear brake would not spring back into place once pulled. I’d done some research and discovered the Park Tool cable cutters we’d used aren’t meant for brake cable housings. (They’re for cutting cables, and they’ll do shifter cable housings just fine.) I’d been to the bike shop meanwhile to pick up some other things, and I got a pair of Shimano cutters that are fine for both sorts of housing. And they come with an awl to round out the holes in the cable housing after cutting.

Shimano cable cutter and included awl
That’s awl I needed

I removed the cable housings we’d cut previously and used the awl to round out the holes. And that did the trick — the cables are now operating perfectly.

Gloved hand holding a bicycle cable housing with awl inserted
Getting it in the end

Getting an adjustment

With the cabling sorted, the next item on the list was adjusting the brakes and shifter. The front brake took just a second to get right after I’d reinstalled the cable.

Putting a stop to this

The rear brake was nearly as easy, although I did have to adjust the calipers a bit to center the pads about the rim.

V-style brake on rear of bicycle
Rear brake sussed
Bicycle front wheel, brake and forkOverhead view of rear sprocket on bicycle
Front brake and rear derailleur adjustment

The derailleur took a bit more time to sort out. The limit screws worked as expected and were soon dialed in. But I spent some minutes working with the cable tension. The derailleur shifts from high to low with no hesitation, but sometimes pauses on upshifts, or doesn’t shift until I shift twice. I’ll have another look at the instructions to see what I might be doing wrong.

Finishing touches

With the brakes and shifter (mostly) done, it was time for the finishing touches. I’d forgotten at the start to put on the chainstay protector (which guards the paint if the chain slaps against the stay), and so I finally did that.

Detail of rear of bicycle showing chainstay protector
It’s the chainstay protector that’s the pro

I got the water bottle cages to match the paint, but I might have been better off going for a contrast. Just about all the other bits and accessories are black.

Close-up of bicycle frame showing water bottle cages, crankset and wheels
Bottle cages

And with the bottle cages installed, the basic bike is complete. I took a moment to weigh it and was very pleasantly surprised to see the result: 9kg! That’s considerably less than Kuroko (although I’ve only weighed Kuroko in a loaded state: with bags, light, pump, etc.), for example.

Luggage scale used to weigh bicycle
Biggest shock of this project

Very little left to do

Park Tool tire pump installed on bicycle near crankset
Park Tool tire pump

I added the bicycle pump after weighing the bike. I had to remove one of the water bottle cages to mount the pump, but I’m glad to see the cage fits over the pump mount.

There are only a few things left on the to-do list. The most important thing is to cut down the seat post. I’m going to have to saw off at least 25cm to bring the saddle down to my height. I want to tread carefully here, because of course I can always cut off more but it’s difficult to cut off less. As I also plan to allow guests to ride this bike (most of whom are taller than me), I want to leave in as much length as I can while still making the saddle a comfortable height for me.

After that it’s lights and a bell, which are required by Japanese law, and then a saddle bag for the spare tire, etc. But the initial ride doesn’t need to wait for these items. Once I cut down the seat post it’s just a matter of the weather.

See Day 1 of the reassembly here.

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