Mr Ramen part 3

After riding this bike for a year or so, somewhere in the vicinity of 3000km, from just plain commuting to a more epic 125km ride down the south coast - I decided I would give it a refresh. The powdercoat job on the frame was, well pretty average at best. It'd lost it's sheen and was covered with a million microscratches in it's gloss black finish, I was warned by the guy who powdercoated it for me that this would happen with gloss black.

The inner weight weenie and gear head wanted a more upmarket frame, the current frame was plain gauge Tange cro-mo probably Tange 5 (pronounced "Tang-gay" not Tange as in tangerine, it's a Japanese name like Kenzo Tange) and was bordering on gaspipe weight at 2.7kg for the bare frame without forks.

I eventually got my hands on another Kuwahara made frame, except this one was branded as an Airlite which was sold through a small shop in Sydney - Pedal Patch in Panania. This one came with Shimano 600EX and 600AX parts. The frame itself was quite tinny sounding, once I had it stripped down it weighed in at 2160g which is fairly light. The serial number on the seat tube pointed to a 1982 year of manufacture, and the fork was stamped "Tange 2K" which matched the year. The components also dated from the early 80's, so it was mostly original.

I sent it off to Star Enamelers for paint, I had been recommended to him by a friend who had his frame painted there, the cost was not much more than the powdercoat considering it included sandblasting and priming. Paint stripper ain't much fun :) After a wait of four weeks or so I got it back and boy, was I happy. The difference was chalk and cheese, perfectly glossy and a very nice thin paint layer compared to the chunky powdercoat. You could make out the serial number on the seat tube as well as the tange stamping on the fork dropouts.

Last time I lined the lugs using model paint and a brush, this time I would take the lazy option and I used a gold paint marker. Funnily enough the results were a lot better and more consistent. I probably should have got star enamelers to do it so they could have put the clearcoat over it for a more durable finish but I was still toying with the colour scheme.

Next thing to do other than assembly was to re-do the bars. Last time I did it several times, it's not exactly something you want to do all that often as it takes ages to wrap the bars, then another eternity to shellac it - still, it is worth the effort knowing that it will last year after year with only little maintenance.

All assembled, not too much effort other than adjusting the mudguard fit for the shorter brake reach of the frame. It was sticking out too far and was rubbing on the tyre so I gave it a visit with Mr angle grinder. The mudguards sit tighter now, which I think looks better, clearance is about 5mm between the tyre and mudguard.

I also wrapped the drive side chainstay in shellaced bartape to protect it from chainslap, works really well, and is much nicer looking than some nondescript black plastic crap whilst also giving more protection. This frame doesn't have a kickstand plate like the old one so I had to wrap the inner chainstays near the BB to allow the kickstand clamp to attach without scratching. It also gives it enough bite so the kickstand won't rotate when it is bearing the weight of the bike.

That's it for now, thanks for reading.
Continue to part 4...


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