I can count on Josh to revive an old bicycle as something useful and stylish, at the right price. He is also the owner of this handsome 1983 Univega touring bike, revived for fast commuting and touring. Upon volunteering to fix a bike for a neighbor recently, he received “an old mountain bike” in trade. Wary of acquiring an old clunker, he offered to take a look. The heavily chromed Shogun had gathered dust, but a mix of parts suggested that the bike had been customized and upgraded over the years, but probably not since the mid-80’s. Perfect. From our estimation it is a 1985 Shogun Prairie Breaker. In a world of Stumpjumpers and Rockhoppers, the Prairie Breaker sounds a bit… mid-western.
Josh sold his car several years ago and is committed to transporting himself and his things by bike, including family members, guitars and 50 lb. bags of chicken feed. He has gathered a functional set of tools and skills to maintain a fleet of bikes for the family, and is always able to envision a new life for an old bike.
Spending money where it counts, Josh has made this old Shogun his own. He fit a Surly Open bar with Ergon grips, some 26 x 2.35″ Schwalbe Fat Frank tires, and a Carradice Camper saddlebag. The Brooks B17, fenders, dynamo hub and lighting are all parts from the workshop. The SR MTS-100 slingshot-style stem is a personal favorite of mine; although less refined than other y-shaped stems of the time it has a more commanding, industrial look. The stem is appropriately stiff, yet the steel quill provides a comfortable ride. I spent many thousand miles on this exact stem last year on my High Sierra. To mate this stem to my Nitto Randonneur drop bars I filed the clamp diameter from 22.2mm to 25.4mm.
The front bag is actually an old trunk bag from the parts bin, mounted sideways, and the platform pedals feature VO double-toe straps which are now discontinued. Intended as a winter commuter in rainy Tacoma, a large VO mudflap helps keep the feet dry.
Note the VO Rando front rack. On mounting the rack to the fork, Josh says: “I drilled out the fork for the rack and used self-tapping machine screws. I have the other rack (the VO Pass Hunter) to fit on the cantilever brake posts but that rack is on my Univega and I didn’t want to take it off that bike. I have drilled several steel bikes as such, and have never had a problem so I figure it’s okay. If I do end up running into rust issues I’ll braze some threaded bosses in but til then it seems fine to me.”
“Also I love the Fat Franks and I’ll see how they do this winter. I have been riding them all summer and a bit last winter and they seem to be wearing okay. Depending on the weather this winter I might have to go with something with a bit more tooth but I’ll see what happens. The Franks are great for just about everything other then ice. They even work okay in snow as long as it’s not too packed.”
This is a real bike that goes real places. Every morning Josh commutes by bike to his job as a musical instrument repairman. Josh’s other bikes include a custom long-tail made from an old Trek 8000 frame and the rear triangle of a mixte GT mountain bike, while his daughter rides a classy Cannondale 700c to 26″ conversion.
I have another post on the Velo Orange Blog, entitled Packing the Campeur, Part 2. It includes a nearly complete packing list and some photos. This is the only place where you will find a list of the things I carry on my bike. Enjoy!
Edit: Josh mounted the VO Rando rack onto the fork by drilling holes and using self-tapping machine screws. He did not tap the frame and use a standard M5 bolt.