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20 Jun 2010

The Cruiser is ready

It took a while, but the result is worth it. Today I made the first serious ride on my "99 Cruiser, and she rides very good. Between this first ride and buying the bike lays a lot of work. It all started 3 weeks ago. This post reports on that.

A day after I got the yellow 'bent it was completely dis-assembled. Everything that was worn down was thrown away. That included the chain, sprockets, pedals and rear shock. Than I started cleaning all re-usable parts. The front fork was taken apart and given a clean and lube job. The frame had some rust and scratches and needed quite some work. The grinding, sanding and paint preparation took a couple of days. In between that work I also did some extra work on the seat. The seat was put on drilling machine diet, reducing the weight with 400 grams or so.

Last October I did a full re-built on the Pioneer, and I used a brush the paint that bike. The Cruiser was done in a very different way, with spray gun connected to my compressor. That gives a way better result and goes about six times as fast.

The actual re-building itself took about a day. That might look long, but you're also busy adjusting and polishing old parts. Working with old and used parts takes a lot of time. The first test ride did made clear that I needed a new rear dérailleur. The old Alivio's shift spring wasn't strong enough anymore to reach the higher gears. I thought I had a replacement, but I quickly found out that a road bike Tiagra can't handle a 11-30 cassette, you something mtb-ish for that. The top of the cage simply gets stuck behind the larger sprockets when you use a road bike shifting device.

So I got myself a replacement the next day at the little int. hq. A cheap (free actually) and second hand Alivio again. Doesn't last long in the more serious conditions, but that doesn't matter for this bike. The dérailleur originally was black, and I wanted something with a shiny metal look. A little sanding wheel and a mini grinder took care of that. I built it up as a quick, basic 8-speed fast simple tourer. I mounted the seat a bit more reclined and left out several accessories like fenders and rear rack. Originally, Cruisers didn't have a chain idler. Since 2010 they do have one and mine also got a little wheel to improve pedalling efficiency. And that really makes a difference. Pedalling feels direct and I couldn't trace any effect in the suspension under serious hammering. The exact position of such an idler is critical. A wrong placed idler has no effect, or increases the hopping.

Like most of my other bikes, also this one got a name. During my work as a mailmen, a name came up in my mind, spontaneously. A few minutes later I did realize that it looks like a mixture of the names of two persons, pure coincidence. One being the name of the hottest girl at school in the years 1999-2001. The other one the name of a fellow recumbent rider, a good guy. The name that popped up into my,  sometimes confused, brain is Yoska.

Photos of Yoska's re-built can be found here. Todays ride showed a head wind cruising speed of close to 30 and a close to 40 when I had a tailwind. Top speed was just over 50kph, not bad for a first attempt. So for a basic humble 8-speed tourer, it's pretty fast. She handles fine and is comfortable too. Narrowed handlebars and fast tyres clearly contribute to this character. A good engine probably also contributes ;-) Mission accomplished.


  1. The bike looked great yesterday, and you were going along very nicely on it too.

    It's a nice simple machine, so I can see why it's good to ride. But 50 km/h ? That's the engine ! (perhaps helped by the tailwind on the way home)

  2. Thanks!
    Actually, the 50kph+ thing was done on Saturday's 18 kilometre test ride, when it was less windy ;-)