Just tinkering.


I haven’t been out on the road for over a week and I’m beginning to go stir crazy indoors. The hatred I feel for riding a trainer indoors is well documented, so I won’t belabor the point any further.

I don’t really have a winter project to work on at the moment, and probably won’t have quite frankly. I don’t see the point – I’ve no sense of urgency to go in search of something “better” because I’m quite happy with the bikes I’m riding. All of which leaves me in a mood to tinker with what I’ve got.

Riding a lightweight “racing” three-speed has been so enjoyable that it’s been my plan for it to be the main rider over the coming months of crappy weather. Never one to leave well enough alone, I’d begun to wonder about pedal options on the International. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the wide bodied MKS pedals I’ve been using, and they certainly look correct on the creative resto-mod of this classic 1971 road bike. But I wondered if there might be an option that was even grippier still, that would support a running or street shoe. It was this thinking that led me to the VP-001.

I debated with myself about the wisdom of doing so. They’re not especially cheap, while I am especially so. They’re not especially “classic” looking, and a 1971 Raleigh International is decidedly a classic, regardless of whether one is running Campy gearing or, as I’ve done, a Sturmey-Archer three speed hub. Others who design and ride bikes for distance and practicality had tested and reviewed the pedal under real world conditions, and found it good.

The first problem I ran into was after I removed the MKS pedals and went to install the new VP pedals. I vaguely recalled that it had been a challenge to get the MKS threads to catch and “bite” into the old Sugino crank arm on the non-drive side. I also vaguely recalled thinking at the time that it wouldn’t take much more loss of exterior threading to make it nigh on impossible to install a different pedal. And after struggling with what should have been a simple, slam dunk installation for over an hour I wound up calling it: the time of death for my non-drive side Sugino AT crank arm was 9:25 pm.

I have several NOS crank sets that I’ve collected, and as it turns out I do have another complete Sugino AT set in 180 length crank arms.

It’s a pretty nice Japanese triple though, and I’m kind of saving it for a Japanese touring build for sometime in the distant future. Digging around a little further though, and I discover a Sugino GT boxed set. And that, as they say, was that.

The turkey is served at 1:00 today. I figure to allow a couple hours for family chit chat, and then maybe, just maybe, if I’m very fortunate I’ll be able to slip out for an hour’s ride on those new pedals before night falls and it gets even colder.

I really like these old Vittoria tires and have had them mounted on my Bob Jackson and my Holdsworth Professional. They are a 700 x 25 size and because I wanted to put a wider tire onto the Katakura Silk I thought I’d pull them off the wall and give them a shot on a chrome bike. Frankly, I’d like to add fenders and an even wider tire to this bike, but these are what I’ve got on the shelf at the moment. They look good and, I’m certain, will have a nicer ride than the slightly narrower 23’s I’d been running. But don’t be surprised to see an article in the coming months that details the addition of hammered fenders and wider rubber.

7 thoughts on “Just tinkering.

  1. Wonderful looking Sugino cranksets. They really are legendary performers and you are extremely lucky to have a few of them “just hanging around.”

    I just recently acquired a Sugino AT (52/47/34) crankset that will be installed and tested out on an older Raleigh touring rig. It will replace a little-heard-of Takagi triple crankset running much smaller gearing.

    Like you, I too am just tinkering and even though winter isn’t as glamorous as the other seasons, it really is a wonderful time to get some necessary downtime in.

    • Those Takagi triples were pretty decent as I recall. You don’t hear about them much because they got absorbed by Shimano as they were going through a growth (and acquisition) spurt…that was a long time ago too – like early 80’s or even late 70’s maybe.

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