1985 Apollo Super Sport 14-Speed Road Bicycle

1985 Apollo Super Sport 14-Speed

My small bike fleet has a new addition: the eponymous Apollo. I spotted this bike during my routine patrol the Kijiji bike classified ads. The ad had only been up for a few minutes and the owner was only asking $50.00. These Apollos have a local reputation for being a nice and undervalued bikes so I had been keeping an eye out for one. They often sell for about $100 and this one looked to be in better condition than many I have seen come up for sale. Well, not that I really needed another bike….but I called immediately and arranged to go take a look at it.

The bike turned out to be in fine condition. The paint was excellent except for a few rusty spots, the decals were intact and as I soon found out it was in fine riding condition. The seller was the original owner and turned out to be  fellow commuting, all season cyclist. He was pleased that the bike was going to another enthusiast and not somebody who’d ride it into the ground and discard it after a year.

I’ve made a few small change to the bike. I removed the giant ugly water bottle, replaced the seat with a Wright’s W3N leather saddle that I’m breaking in (that may be the subject of  a future blog post) and replaced the clipless pedals with some old platform pedals I had kicking around. The clipless pedals will be use on a future project if they turn out to be in good working order. Since I’ve purchased the Apollo it has been my daily rider. I’ve probably put between about 250 km riding on it in the past couple of weeks and it has proved to be a great bike. It likes to go fast and is a solid, responsive ride. This was undoubtedly the best cycling related $50 I have ever spent. Seriously, what the heck can you buy for $50.00 these days?

I have added a page with a few more details HERE.

I like the head bade.

1985 Apollo Super Sport 14-Speed

1985 Apollo Super Sport 14-Speed

One of the rusty spots.

1985 Apollo Super Sport 14-Speed

1985 Apollo Super Sport 14-Speed

1985 Apollo Super Sport 14-Speed

1985 Apollo Super Sport 14-Speed


Scrap Metal Challenge: DIY Bike Wheel Truing Stand

After the apparent success of my DIY wheel dishing tool I decided to take on the next obvious project: a wheel truing stand.  I currently have seven bikes. That makes 14 wheels to maintain not counting  the bikes of my other family members. I could do this at the local bike co-op but it is often not convenient for me to get down to that end of the city.  I’ve trued  wheels while they are on the bike but it isn’t as easy as using a stand. The commercially available stands I’ve seen start at about $80 for the cheaper ones and are more than $200.00 for  a good one. Naturally,  a DIY version appeals to my frugal soul.

The source of most of my materials.

As an exercise in re-purposing I  decided to build it as much as possible from scrap metal  parts I could salvage from the scrap bin at work. This proved to be something of a constraint during the design process but it was a fun and satisfying bit of problem solving.  You can really do a lot with materials that would otherwise end up at the scrapyard.

Salvaged goodies (These are actually the leftovers because I forgot to take a picture before I started)

The salvaged materials I used were a length of anodized aluminum channel, some slightly twisted steel shelving uprights, a short length of threaded rod and a few carriage bolts.  The nuts and 4 small bolts were  purchased or sourced from my own supply. To paint the stand I used surplus stock of a colour we no longer use at work.

I had a few false starts and had to rethink things more than once.  I would have done things differently if I were buying the materials instead of working with what was at hand, but I’m quite happy with the results.

While building this stand dusty childhood memories returned of playing with  odds and ends of meccano left over from one of my older siblings. The finished product does have a meccano-like quality, I believe.

DIY Wheel Truing Stand

Separate lateral and radial gauges

The radial gauge is a bit clunky looking but adjusts to diferent wheel diameters.

The stand is adjustable to accomodate different hub widths.

The shelving sections came with premade slots for the axles.

26" Mountain Bike Wheel

26" mountain bike wheel

27" road Bike wheel

I’m glad it wasn’t the brake cable housing.

A couple of weeks ago I rode my recently acquired 1989 Raleigh Rocky II to work with the intent of leaving it there to overhaul it. On the way,  the rear derailleur stopped responding to my attempts to shift gears. At first glance I didn’t see anything wrong  so I just chugged along the rest of the way in the same gear. When I got to my destination it didn’t take long to find the problem.

DIY Wheel Dishing Tool

I’m terrible at truing wheels and really messed up the dishing on one a while back. I’d been procrastinating addressing the problem and was even considering paying somebody (Gasp!) to fix the wheel. Instead,  I took a little while one day to cobble together a DIY dishing tool.

Rusty and slightly bent.

First, I scrounged up some scrap ends of 1/2″ square bar and sandblasted them . Since I have access to a fancy pants surface grinder at work I ground all the bars to a uniform thickness. This left them extremely straight (I can bring the grinding wheel down in increments of 0.0001″).  If you don’t happen to have a $20,000 machine shop surface grinder in your garage I think three already straight bars would work as well. I drilled and tapped 3 holes for some lengths of threaded rod. I faced off the ends of the rod in a

I cut each plate into two peices.


Next, I used my calipers to screw the end rods in to the same height and locked them in place with a nut. Finally, I picked up two 5o cent mending plates from Home Depot after work. These form the clamps that hold it all together.

OK, so this isn’t pretty but I tried it out this weekend

The completed tool.

and it worked fine. By loosening the clamps  and sliding the arms I can use the tool with different diameter wheels. Since I used scrap materials, tools I had at work and some odds and ends I had kicking around at home I am only out of pocket about a dollar. Mind you, buying a dishing tool isn’t really costly but it wouldn’t

The sliding portion.

have been nearly as much fun.The next project might be a DIY truing stand.

The Iron Horse Returns Home

It’s time to give my trusty ol’ 2007 Iron Horse Maverick Commuter a bit of blog love.  I wrote a few unflattering things about it HERE and while they are true this bike has served me well and perhaps deserves a bit better. This department store quality bike did the job commuting, river valley trail riding and utility riding. I worked it hard for many thousands of kilometers until the effort of keeping the low level components working was too tedious.  After a brief retirement in through most of 2010 , followed by winter riding duty in the memorable winter of 2010/2011, it is now in the project queue  again. It spent several months tucked away behind a storage building at work but I finally rode it home last week.

Getting the grips on was a PITA. I stretched one beyond usefullness on my first try. The next time I lubricated the bars with a little water. The grips slid on easilly then and remained firmly in place when the water dried.

The latest change is the new set of bars. These are ’90s Scott AT-4 bars that I picked up at a garage sale for $5. How can you go wrong? The idea is that they are supposed to provide a bit of a aero riding position in addition to multiple hand positions. I’m not sure of the usefulness of an aero position on a mountain bike, but what the heck. They look interesting so I’m giving them a try.

I’m also thinking of swapping out the lousy

The winter riding was not kind to this fork. That's OK, it wasn't very good to begin with.

suspension fork for a rigid one. Oh, and I need a new rack and fenders. And tires. And cable housing. And maybe a stem. Already I’ve spent more on upgrading and maintaining this bike than I originally spent on the bike itself. That’s OK, though. It feels good to make this a more useful machine.

Last year's upgrade. A very nice used wheel with DT hub, spokes, and Mavic rim.