- First Things First:
I'm pretty sure I've gotta find some brakes with the
appropriate reach. I've been measuring the brake reach with
the nothing attached to the bike. I'd found these Mafac
Racer brakes which seemed appropriate, and as near as I
could tell, they measured 73mm of reach. But, I do need
to set things up and actually see where they line up now
that the rims are at least laced up to the hubsets.
- To 650b or not to 650b....
project has quickly reached the Go/No-Go phase. I've obtained
some reasonably hard numbers on a cool morning in the garage.
Mounted the rear wheel and set up the Mafac's. By pulling
the pads all the way down in the slots, I could get them
to contact the rim, but they had to be angled down. They
are actually "sweeping" in to arrive at the correct
angle, but are definitely bottomed out. They kinda, sorta
work. However, the phrase "kinda, sorta" really
should not be used with braking systems. It looks as though
I need about 5 more to make this work.
also concerned about pedal clearance. Resting on the 650b
rims, it looked pretty low, though the crankarm was only
placed on the outermost part of the spindle, and there were
no tires in place. It also looked low with some 700c wheels
I put rested it on, and the rear wasn't even in the dropouts.
Because the headset has not yet been installed, I've taken
no bb drop measurements. Since I've never actually seen
this frame even built up, it's not clear what the frame
specs really are.
may not work .
the other hand, there does seem to be quite stantial
clearance for tires.
plan - see if the DiaCompe
M750's from Rivendell have another skotch of room in
the slots. Otherwise, I know the Odyssey
1999's will do the trick, but they aren't quite the
aestethic I was pursuing.
- Trip to the Promised Land
the mists, Rivendell was revealed. Ok. Not exactly. It was
sunny, and although the (gasp) drive there was marred by
a stop & stop bit as the fire department cleaned up
a rollover (just past the exit, mind you), my trek to RBW
World Headquarters and Lair could hardly be considered arduous.
Of course, the first 10 or 15 minutes got spent simply ogling
the framesets, both built and immaculate and built and reasonably
dirty, as well as lugs and other goodies.
Dia Compes actually measured out at 83 odd mm's, and with
the pads at full reach, they sit rather below the rim. In
other words, room to spare. I also spent some time looking
at the dimensions of a sparkly silver Saluki, which sat
proud front and center in the entranceway (just past the
drawbridge...). As near as I could reckon, the crank sits
pretty danged low on that one - just about where my very-rough-but-worrisome
crank placement had hung. So, I even managed to assuage
some of my concerns on that matter.
I-think-it-was-Brian was very kind when he looked at the
frame, which, although isn't the ugliest danged thing I've
ever seen, certainly has an overall current condition which
might border on the horrific, especially compared to the
luciously laquered Rivendell, Atlantis, Saluki and Quickbeam
frames surrounding it. He was nice enough to say the color
was nice, and comment on the older Brooks saddle. I left
with some brakes, a pair of Col
de la Vie tires and some newfound optimism.
to say, the project is on. I came home and tensioned up
- Whachu Bean Optoo?
Ok, I've been chippiing away (literally) at the Zeus a bit
sanded and steel-wooled the bad-paint bits on the frame.
Lots of bubled bits that coughed up rust and such, but eventually
I removed all of the paint that wasn't going to stay. Then
I started making the trek to various paint and hardware
stores in search of just the right color. Finally decided
that there was a metallic aspect to the color. Of the four
cans of spray paint I now own, one is very close, but lacks
the metallic. Two of them have the same color name (but
clearly different cap colors) of "Forest Green",
but are not in the same hue. I tried overspraying the metallic
Not-"Forest Green" over the matching Forest Green,
but don't like the result. If I absolutely can not come
up with the correct metallic color, I'll use the flat paint
for the cover-up. I did come across some white detail paint
to outline the lugs with.
white housing from Sheldon.
"On the Way."
cleaning up the parts - chiselling off some tacky grunge
from the chainrings and cranks. Found them to be finished
quite nicely, so bought a tube of Flitz
metal polish. Non-toxic, no acids, works on everything
short of your pet canary... Polished up the inside of one
crank arm and found myself staring at my reflection. Whoa.
This stuff works. However, it also revealed - in stunning
blackish contrast - some imperfections in the finish. So,
it was back to the OOOO steel wool, which removed most of
that. I've never used the stuff before, and was quite impressed
by the mirror-like finish which it creates. Still steel-wooling
the clamp-ons, all of which have some corrosion poking through
their plating. Haven't been able to do much with the handlebars
- they have a dull, oxidized look about them. (Nothing against
dull oxen, mind you...) I've been casting about online to
try to find other Zeus brake levers, and a handle bar and
stem if such can be found (or was made).
the wheelset all trued and tensioned. Managed to pull off
the fixed cup and remove the nasty grease from the bb. Haven't
quite figured out if I want to destroy the rubbery grip
cover thing. It bugs me a bit - I think I'd prefer either
cotton or shiny cello-type tape. Not that I prefer that
in general, I just think it would be consistent with the
like the gearing is a 44/52 up front, and a 14-16-18-20-22
five speed freewheel. Even-Steven...? Whew - after quickly
charting it out, the combination ends up to be a reasonably
bizarre progression. Kind of like Pretty sure that the BCD
is Zeuspecific, but the Recyclery has a number of 5 speed
freewheels with various ratios, if I want to regear.
it feels like everything is moving forward.
- Paint & Polish
how many names there are for the wrong shade of green...
been to hardware stores, auto parts stores, home improvement
centers, home paint stores and anyone who might possibly
have a spray paint which might work. The colors which had
just the right amount of metallic to them were way off,
chromatically speaking, while those with the right hue didn't
quite look correct. Ended up where I thought I ought to
start - the local hobby and model store. Of course, it's
twice as much money (or half as much paint - depends upon
your perspective...) It seems as though there's a white
underlayer, which is giving the paint its quality.
trying to maintain the original finish where it is holding
up, so I don't want to strip the entire frame. Instead,
I'm hoping to get a close enough match that you can't quite
notice it at 5 ft or 5 mph. So, to test the color, I've
taped and primed the fork ends. (You can, of course click
on the photo to see a larger version.) If this works, I'll
have to give some thought as to how to best cover the numerous
cleaned spots, while masking as much original finish as
most of the other parts have polished up pretty well. The
worst of the pitting seems to have occurred on the rivets
of the saddle. The photo shows it after a dremel wire-brush
treatment and after a reasonably liberal application of
Brooks Proofide. The very direct lighting certain exposes
every flaw, but I think a little chamois time may be helpful
of the interesting thing found during this cleaning is the
absolute fervor with which "Zeus" got stamped
onto every little part. You can see (l-r) the cable guide,
the pump retention cap, the cable guides and - yes - the
crankbolts all say Zeus. If you look at the "received
condition" photos above, you can see that it clearly
shows in the dropouts and the bottom bracket as well. Take
a look at the crankset/chainring in the box photo as well...
this is how they look now.
bit of 0000 steel wool and some degreaser, followed by a
Flitz metal polish gives a frighteningly sparkling finish.
I tested the Flitz on the inside of the crank arm first,
and could actually see my own reflection in it. It may be
a little too "sparkly", but it'll do for now.
It also does make the finish imperfections stand out a bit
more clearly. And, I still find myself shaking my head at
starting to run out of impediments to the build. The housing
has arrived. I found I can actually obtain a freewheel remover
which will fit the old Atom which I've cleaned and re-oiled.
The one side of the Dare rubber grips actually cleaned up
with serious soap and hot water, but the lack of grime actually
seems to make it look worse. But, that can be changed at
any time. I'll probably scrub up the left side and use it
at first, especially if that ends up being the final undone
item once the paint step is finished.
frustrating, this has been. I had definitely felt that the
paint was reasonably close to the factory color. So, I began
spraying my layers onto the primer coat and wondered just
who the heck had switched my cans... The Kandy Green which
had seemed identical turned out to be extremely transparent
when applied to the primer. So, I oversprayed a darker color
and then began layering to see how close I could get. The
result was a beautiful finish that looked quite different
from the rest of the fork legs. Current plan is to resand
the newly painted tips and try another Kandy coat. Maybe
I'll have to put a pinstripe around the color transition
area to take the edge off the difference.
paint step is really the holdup now - I cleaned up the other
side of the grip and have really run out of bits to scrub.
& Tashi & I visited Rivendell
yesterday and found a bumper sticker:
shan't speak for thee
But the bicycle tire for me
switft, cushy, stalwart: 650B
could be one of the more obscure cycling stickers I've ever
owned... But, at least I'm not the only one making odd
rhymes about tires.
- Chromatica Part Deux
paint has again ground everything to a ugly halt. After
the multi-coat approach, it simply wasn't the same green.
I've been haunting auto parts stores for touch up paints
that might work, and had a brief glimmer of hope when a
local paint store said they could match it, "no problem!"
Got a call from the manager the next day explaining that
there was "no way..."
site - focused on the factory finishes on Schwinn Sting-Rays
and Krate bicycles. The "Campus Green" would seem
to be correct, so I'm going to pursue it with him. I've
photo of a Paramount with the same color, which looks
very close. Confidence is high (again.)
the past few weeks, I also tracked down an NOS pair of Zeus
pedals (still in their bags inside the box). The same person
also had a spotless set of cable guide bands, so I can replace
the cleaned-of-rust-but-still-pitted set that I have. Thought
I found a couple of replacement chainrings which had the
same BCD (a wonderfully obscure 118 mm). But upon trying
them out, found that Zeus - bless their hearts - used a
slightly different spider size. So, even though the BCD
is spot on, there's too much material at on the inside of
the chainring for them to fit. (No the thickness of the
chainrings - the area where the inside of the chainring
contacts the spider - I'll have to post a photo...) I'm
pretty sure I can grind them to fit, if need be.
may be an issue with the rear brake hanger. When I put it
in the center of the split at the seat tube lug, it is wide
enough to prevent the lug from clamping the post. Either
a thinner (old stamped steel style) hanger or thicker post
(there does seem to be room for a slightly thicker post
- the one in there measures out at 25.6mm. I've seen a couple
Zeus posts at 25.8. 2 tenths of a millimeter - how much
trouble is that going to cause?)
- Chromatica Incompatica
a nice chat with Hyper-Formance
Ray on the phone yesterday, and have decided to pull
the plug on the quest for spray paint. It's always struck
me that if the guy trying to sell you something is telling
you not to do it, there's a high probability that you should
was extremely negative regarding the outcome of trying to
do a spray retouch. He stated that with Kandy-type paints
(and this is really what we're dealing with on this frame),
it will build up badly outside of the target area - the
transition will look horrible and the outcome worse than
doing nothing. Did I mention that he was reasonably negative?
He recommended a full strip and repaint. When I said that
I was trying to keep the original paint where possible,
he had this comment,
it was perfect. Now, it's just unrestored."
actually caused a pretty healthy chuckle, even if I don't
entirely accept the perspective. The man's got a point...
back to the model store. Bought a bottle of paint which
seems to be as close as I can get. Cheap brush. I'll have
a go at it this week.
- "...Head out on the Highway"
been coming together over the last week as I've grabbed
an hour here and there in the evenings.
this past week, I had sat down in the too-fast dwindling
evening light and daubed the wrong green over the cleaned
and bare metal. The color didn't magically match it, and
it looks, well, downright ugly when you get up close on
it. But, it will protect the frame from the worst of the
elements, and isn't too distracting.
some of the repair folk at the local shops - Mt
Tam Bikes to install the headset. Then when I finally
gave up trying to squeeze a 16mm socket head into the cranks,
the wrench over at Village
Peddler. This second episode was impressive because
he (a) knew that a 16mm crank bolt wrench need could only
be a Zeus issue, (b) was aware of 650B (and properly diagnosed
the impetus as the Rivendell Reader), (c) properly adjusted
the BB without charging for it, (d) solved the rear brake
hanger issue, and (e) was polite enough to even encourage
me to bring the bike back around when it was built up...(something
about enjoying "weird" projects).
with those issues resolved, it began to rise from the parts
into a recognizeable bicycle.
here to see the Parts List in a separate window.
when cabling up the rear derailleur, I realized that I hadn't
a clue as far as the loop size. Figuring it's always easier
to make things a bit shorter, I set it up as shown on the
bottom left. However, the period photos I'd seen didn't
really look like that. After getting a quick response from
folks on the iBob list, it got shorted by about 50-55mm's,
resulting in the loop at bottom right. The wonders of distributed
cabled up suprisingly easy. The only hitch for final construction
was that I only had 9 speed chains in the parts bin. It
worked OK, but was way to finicky in the lower gears to
apply any kind of power without some skipping. So, the next
(extremely rainy) day, I scooped up some chains and rerigged.
By the weekend, I'd scooted up around the short block a
few times without complete and utter systems failure, so
I felt reasonably confident.
only one stop for a saddle adjustment, and a couple stops
to retighten the thumbscrew on the rear shifter, the bicycle
handled well on an inaugural 30 miler. The gearing, as I
hadn't mentioned is reasonably insane, but the bike was
a kick. Cornering was extremely solid - credit the "pneumatic
trail" of the 650B? Of course, the 26cm BB height might
assist in that feeling. (Didn't do much pedaling through
rolling out, I snapped a few quick shots of the rideable-but-not-finished
Zeus 650B Project Bicycle. The actual ride was flippantly
recorded on the cyclofiend.com
courtesy of Sheldon
Brown's Gear Calculator
to do at this point:
- Outline lugs with white contrast paint.
- Find a slightly larger seatpost (~25.8mm?) - preferably
- Fenders & Rack?
- Smaller chainrings or larger rear cogs.
- Shoot some photos without a distressingly busy background.
- Mock up a schematic with the frame dimensions.
- Show it to GW and have him recoil in horror...
my quest for missing Zeus bits, the fine folk back at YellowJersey.com
replied to my questions with this
link. It's an interesting collection of NOS bits and
components. I ended up buying some other small parts just
to get a copy of the product guide. They were great to deal
with and very helpful. They also have a small
Zeus history page with the backwards Zeus rider photo.
- "Zeus 650B Restoration Version 2.0"
the past few months, I've been tinkering again - Decided
that the handlebar was supremely uncomfortable and the stem
short enough to put my hands behind me. Plus, we had enjoyed
the rainiest spring on record in a long time, so fenders
seemed essential. I also had a Planet Bike rear rack kicking
around which I'd won at the MCBC Big Bike Bash (along with
a RBW Candy Bar Bag). In the interim, I had the folks over
at Sunshine Bicycle Center tap out the fender mounts (some
odd thread on three of them, with the fourth actually unthreaded),
and they expanded the seatpost collar slightly to allow
insertion of the the Zeus-branded seatpost which I'd aquired.
admit that the bicycle is a bit ugly - but it's pound-dog
ugly, not clock-stopping ugly.
than the tendancy of the shifter to slip, it is a nice ride.
The gearing is goofy (not even cross-over gearing - it's
just friggin' bizarre...) but I've decided I can live with
it. Still haven't shown it to GW yet, but that will be fun.
photos of it over on the Cyclofiend.com
650B Conversion - completed 5/15/06
Addendum - Zeus Bits
the period of this project, I tried to change what components
I could to Zeus if they were procurable. The change of tire
size to 650B complicated this somewhat. One of the side
benefits of this was that I've come across various Zeus-stamped
or badged bits, and have added these things to the Zeus
box. In some cases, like the oddball 16mm crank bolts, it
was grabbing the only tool that worked. Sometimes it just
was a relatively cheap online auction.
Offset Saddle Wrench
Brake Levers - Thanks Jon!
16mm crankbolt wrench
Product Poster - hi