Posted by: David | February 24, 2010

Fuji Touring Series VII Restoration Project

So the box arrived from Alfred E. Bike. Right on time. A large box. The email from UPS tracking it from Kalamazoo said it weighed 1 pound. But it actually weighed 14.2 pounds on our bathroom scale. That was a relief, since there was no way all the stuff I ordered could have weighed so little. Yeah I weighed it before opening it. I’m nerdy like that. It’s fun getting boxes shipped. I was excited! Everything expected was in the box, along with a printed list of each item checked off by a human being. Or possibly a chimp that knows how to make very nice X’s.

Crank set, chain whip, cassette, brake shoes, chain, cassette lock ring tool, tires and tubes not pictured.

I’ve never removed the cassette or crank from a bicycle before. So this is a learning experience for me. I have a couple of books, the internet, and friends I can call if I get stuck. But the first installment of this project went well. That was the disassembly phase.

The new crank and left crank arm, sans pedals. Square holes go onto bottom bracket, round holes accept standard pedal threads.

he hub of the rear wheel, with old cassette removed. Splines are equal, but for one wider one.

ew cassette slid on nicely, once I realized that there was one wider spline.

Since the rear wheel was almost completely disassembled, it was a good time to check on the condition of the bearings inside the hub. They were clean and shiny and I managed to not allow any of the ball bearings to fall out. I put some more grease in and closed it back up. Hopefully I didn’t over-tighten the nuts. Then I put the new cassette back on and made ready to tighten up the threaded locking ring. The long blue handled thingy is called a chain whip, and has a short length of chain that you wrap around a sprocket so that you can hold it still whilst applying torque to the locking ring tool. I got the rear wheel all reassembled, and based on the condition of the bearings there I’ve almost completely decided not to bother checking on the condition of the bearings in the front wheel hub. Almost.

he cassette locking ring waiting to be tightened. Messy workbench, I know.

The tires were just what I’d hoped for. A brand I’d never heard of, Schwalbe, but highly recommended by a friend. Expensive (nearly $50) Some “thorn resistant” tubes that are the stiffest tubes I’ve ever seen. Taken out of their large boxes, they maintain a nearly circular shape, completely uninflated. I bought a 3rd tube for a spare, but it’s so bulky it will never fit in the little flat kit that hangs under the seat. I probably don’t have to worry about getting a flat as much, because the tires are really rugged too. When I got them onto the wheels they felt like you could almost ride them without any air, they were so rigid. Plus the tires have these really cool reflector rings around them!

Reflector rings on my wheels!

he new crank “trial fit” onto the bottom bracket.

he old tires, crank, and cassette sit on the cellar floor. Next to an old Dell computer tower.

That was enough for last night. After these tasks it was 9:30. Time to check on the internet and get ready for bed. Big snowstorm coming they say …


NEXT DAY. After snowblowing the driveway I came in to eat breakfast and checked the interweb. The college is CLOSED TODAY! Snow day! Yippeee! So I have the day to work some more on the bike. And work on some other stuff. What ever that may turn out to be. The walking iris is making another blossom today.

It’s just opening this morning. On the same stalk as the one that bloomed last week.

I found some new music. Based on a four-star review in The Week magazine, I downloaded the album Teen Dream from Amazon for like $8. It’s the 3rd album, released last month, by a band called Beach House. Their sound defies comparisons at this point, but they can be classed as indie/alt rock/pop but with thoughtful lyrics. About a dozen full album listenings and not yet ‘saturated’. The title, Teen Dream, sounds lame, but I think it’s a good one. Recommended!

IMPORTANT UPDATES: The walking iris flower pictured above was the old bloom from the last post. Oops. There are several other buds on the plant, but I was mistaken about it being a new flower. Tonight, I touched it and it fell off. Between snow moving sessions, I was able to get my bicycle reassembled. This was after the power went out for about an hour and I fooled around with the generator that I’d shipped off for “repair”. It would not stay running. I’ve decided that it’s related to the idle controller, a black box inside the control panel that makes the generator throttle down when there’s no load. I told the guy I thought that was part of the problem, but he said it was working OK. Whatever. I gave up on that and finished up the bike. And I did open up the front wheel hub after all, to inspect and add more grease.

I love the way the new tires reflect the light. Like whitewalls on crack!

It seems to shift through the range of gears OK, but I’ll need to test drive it as soon as weather permits. I’m really looking forward to riding this bike this summer. My other bike, an economy-priced Giant OCR, is light weight, fast, and fun to ride, but the Fuji is solid and comfortable.



  1. It looks all new. What is still old on this bike? The workbench does look funny. Isn’t it wriggly to work there? You could push things a little more this way or that and sometimes it helps to put them simply under the table, if there is still some room there.

    Make more shelves is not recommended, because they tend to get cluttered, too.

    However, very often it is possible to take things to the dump. Personally, I have a speedier system. I put things in the corridor of the building where I live and they get stolen in no time.

    The bike’s frame, wheels, fenders, luggage rack, water bottle holder, and handlebar stem are what was on the bike when it was given to me by a coworker leaving the college. I replaced the handlebars 2 years ago, and this time around replaced most of the rest of the important parts. It might be necessary to replace the derailleurs and the brake cantilevers and cables, but we’ll see.

    The workbench area is ridiculous. I could certainly take loads of stuff to the dump. But that requires saying good bye to it. We’ve managed to unload larger items by placing them by the road with a “FREE” sign.

  2. I am spending all my time trying to figure out what is happening to Greece and probably to Spain.

    Have you read that Goldman Sachs and probably others helped Greece to hide its debt? Next, that knowing about the true size of that debt they are betting on its collapse?

    Next, that in this context Spain is always mentioned with an eery amiability in most places except England where it is mentioned with grim sarcasm?

    It is as if it is being thought that Spain is bound to go bust (cap in hand, belly up), but that if that happens the euro and then the world economy go, too, so that it simply cannot happen. —

    Are you really spending all your time on that? What will you do if you figure it out? So, is Spain maybe NOT “too big to fail”? Are we on the edge of the Black Hole of Money?

  3. There is nothing to figure out. Not even Bernanke knows all. But he would understand all or most things in the news.

    It is the same with everything: the more you know, the more access you get to things you don’t know.

    I know very little, but just today I landed on a Google page where I told some Americans in July 2004 that the US did not pay for their wars, but were printing the money. Nice, no? And that the awful thing about the prison tortures was not in the fact, but in their secrecy. In July 2004.

    Also, imagine, if I could figure it out a bit better, the fun I would have seeing more clearly who lies and for what reasons.

    I’m hearing respect for Mr. Bernanke in your comment. I agree wholeheartedly that the more you know, the more you realize how little you know. I know so much that I am totally ignorant! Ha ha. Who lies and for what reasons … but for the details, does that ever change? Rhetorical question …

  4. By the way I keep forgetting, but the photo of that house being built there reminded me again, what a great grandfather you will make. You are incredibly gifted as an abuelo.

    The news is again about awful snowstorms there. What part of the US do you live in? The news always says things like “the north east” or “the south west” and it is hard to remember and impossible to imagine. Do your whereabouts also fit into one of these geographer’s definitions?

    Oh cantueso! That is the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me! Thanks so much. We’ll hopefully see what kind of an abuelo I make in the not too distant future. 🙂

    We live in the northeast region of the USA. Also called northern New England. This winter there have been many snowstorms in regions to our south, which is unusual. We usually end up with a “snow pack” of a few feet or so, but this winter the pattern has been for storms to move south of us. But Wednesday we had a whopper, with a foot and a half of very heavy wet snow. Then a lot of rain Thursday, followed by some severe winds that knocked out the electric power to a quarter million of us. Our electricity was out for about 20 hours.

  5. Look at the wonderful finished product! 🙂 The reflecting wheels do indeed stand out, that’s awesome. Also, is that a real picture of the snow near your place? It looks absolutely lovely as long as I wouldn’t have to clean it off the driveway 😉

    PS: “Hopefully I didn’t over-tighten the nuts”….hahahahaha… 😀

    Thanks Romi! I’m pretty excited too. Even with possibly over-tightened nuts. You wouldn’t believe how tricky it is to keep the two wrenches coordinated on the hub nuts to get the right amount of pressure on the ball bearings inside. Nuff said.

    And yes, that’s really the real snow. The pretty snow that sticks to the trees like that is the heavy, sticky kind that’s harder to shovel or snow-blow. Tell you what … you shovel your driveway, and I’ll do mine. 🙂

  6. You sit up to your neck in snow and yet in your latest post you suggest that spring is about to come. Maybe this is according to the Sephardic proverb

    la ora, la mas eskura, es para amaneser
    The darkest hour is next to sunrise.

    Do most people still build their houses with wood? What about bricks = blocks of burnt clay?

    We are by no means up to our necks in snow cantueso. However, early spring snowstorms can be substantial. The only way to mentally survive them is to know that no matter how much snow falls it will soon all be melted …

    In northern New England most people do use wood for building homes. Houses of masonry, like clay brick, are relatively rare because it costs so much more to build one. Given infinite money, a masonry home would be the better and longer lasting material. However, there are wood framed homes in New England that have stood for over 200 years. Termites are not such a big problem this far north, and with proper maintenance wood can be preserved for a long time.

  7. And where does the wood come from? Do you still have forests big enough? Spain does not have much wood (anymore). Depending on people’s political opinions they will tell you that there was never any or that it was all used to build ships to become a world power.

    Spain did become a world power and to achieve that they piled up a debt so immense that they went bankrupt. See?

    Nihil novum.

    That’s a good question cantueso. Construction lumber is generally from pine and other conifers, which are fast-growing species. Forests can be planted and harvested in a decade or two. I bet a lot of wood being used for construction in New England comes from Canada. However, there is also a lot of “engineered” wood product used nowadays. Plywood is the most common example, but there are many structural components, beams and posts and such, that are “wood”, but in the same way that McDonald’s chicken nuggets are chicken.

  8. Respect for Bernanke? But the problem is the fixation that you 200 000 000 there have with one or two top players as if Obama plus Bernanke could fix the economy from above.

    Each time I read somebody’s idea of how to get out of the depression, he comes up with “sweeping reforms” on schools, universities, election laws, banks, energy, environment, eating habits, communication technologies, infrastructure and what else.

    Well it sounded like you had respect. But yeah, how idiotic it is to think that the actions of one or two genius types can somehow control or affect the massive macroscopics of nations’ economies. There really is no “from above”.

  9. I just bought a vii series off of Craigslist. Could u help with a spec. Sheet for headset and bottom bracket. Thx. Geo.

    Hi George, thanks for visiting. It’s been a few years now, but I got a lot of help from the friendly folks at Alfred E Bike. I exchanged several emails with a tech there and was able to find the right parts and tools. I didn’t touch the headset or the bottom bracket on the Fuji. They were both OK.

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