Thursday, February 3, 2011

Abandoned Univega Safari Ten mixte

We found this beast walking home from the bar one night, leaning against a garage door about 1am. It looked pretty forlorn -- chain rusted stiff and contorted at angles, flat tires with nylon fibers sprouting out of the casing, crappy parts oxidized and seized, stiff cables with no ability to transmit anything.

Like you need drop bars on a mixte... duh
"oh boy" I said to Regina's plaintive look, "this one's a project, let's keep walking." But she said the bike was sad and we couldn't just leave it (like it's a puppy or something), so against better judgment we wheeled it in its lumpy way home.

32.5 lbs., a bit lighter than expected

It then sat in the breezeway for a couple months continuing its imperceptible return to dust, until one day I worked up the gumption to at least strip the parts off it, since they were going to the curb for donation anyway.

Stripped!  Nitto Technomic Deluxe stem added
That part's always the easiest and most satisfying, since it's fast and you get to see what you're working with in terms of frame decay, bottom bracket recyclability, and headset bearings, plus the wacko sizing on the stem and seatpost on many of these old bikes. This one fortunately had a standard 22.2mm stem, but a weird 25.8mm seatpost, ah well. It'll stay on the bike I guess, despite its ugly stamped sheetmetal clamp system that I hate.

First rideable iteration! Wheels and pedals to be replaced

There were some parts worth keeping:
  • rack, because it's Swiss-made and works fine
  • headset, since it works and new ones are expensive and a PITA to install
  • kickstand, because it works fine and is handy
  • bottom bracket, because it's fine and new ones are pricey
  • seatpost, since it's an odd size (25.8mm or something wack)
New parts were still extensive for a "free" bike like this, but hey, this was surely headed for the landfill, so it both prevents that waste and creates a really useful city bike in the process.  Plus a lot of these parts were sitting in parts bins, so they were "free" too.
  • Nitto stem
  • Weinmann/Formula wheels
  • Bontrager tires (38mm)
  • SRAM chain
  • SOMA Sparrow bars
  • Oury grips
  • Sugino 144bcd track crank (old)
  • Bontrager cruiser pedals
  • WTB super squishy seat
  • Wald basic basket
  • Dimension elastic net for basket (these are awesome)
  • Shimano 17t freewheel
  • Shimano basic brake levers
  • Shimano Nexus front brake caliper
  • Dia-Compe rear brake caliper

The final build, except for 42-tooth chainring (this one's a 51, too tall even for the flats)

Just rode this bike to Jeffrey's pet foods by Dolores Park, and it worked perfectly, just need to tighten up the headset and ship it to Regina's sister Courtney in Chicago.

Orange Alley, between 26th & 25th

Regina models the Safari Ten in front of the fabulous Schauplatz

The final, final build with 42 tooth chainring, basket, and 38mm tires

And the final owner, Courtney Sinsky, giving it a go in Chicago, where it's nice and flat, perfect for a singlespeed.


Bananarchist said...

Got sent a link to your blog from the SF2G list. Very cool bike projects!!

The Captain said...

We are campaigning a Safari Ten Mixte in the Philadelphia Bike-a-thon in July. See
I just replaced as much of the steel as possible with ally, and now it's pretty light. My son is 12, and is faster than me on it.