Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Panasonic Touring Deluxe: A Blank Slate

I've never really built a bike up from a frame before. Sure, I generally strip each of my project bikes down to the frame when I start a rebuild. But I normally try to reuse as many of the original parts as possible, so I work within those boundaries and thus don't take too many liberties with the aesthetics of the bicycle beyond a saddle upgrade and grip or bar tape color. In the case of my Panasonic Touring Deluxe project, though, I'm starting with only a frame and a fork. It's basically a blank slate, and I'm free to be creative with how I build it up.

With that said, I plan to piece the machine together with a mix of original components - specifically for the drivetrain - and new or non-original parts. I've already picked up the Shimano Light Action groupset that came stock on the 1986 Touring Deluxe, and I plan to hunt down the matching Light Action downtube shifters. While I'm not as concerned about the make and model of the cockpit parts, I would like to retain the original look of the bike with a simple gooseneck quill stem and randonneur bars. Probably the coolest parts of the original bike were the Shimano drillum brake levers, so I'd like to find a set for this project.

I've been agonizing over what to do about wheels. Initially, I wanted to use this project as an opportunity to build my first set of wheels. But I also like the idea of fixing up an old wheelset that is from the approximate vintage of the bike. I think I've found a compromise - lacing new touring rims to a set of used vintage hubs. And in the hopes that I can pull it off, I picked up a brand new set of 700C Velocity Dyad 36-hole touring rims over the weekend. Eventually, I'm planning to pick up a pair of serviceable used hubs from my LBS to lace them to.

Regarding aesthetics, I plan to go with unpainted aluminum with most - if not all - of the components on the Touring Deluxe. With the dark red of the frame and the white lettering of the decals, nearly any color scheme will look great on the bike. Certainly a black saddle and black bars would look nice, similar to this Miyata 615. But I also really like the way this Maruishi looks with the dark aged Brooks leather of the saddle and the bar wrap. Then I ran across this handsome specimen - an identical year and model as mine. I don't much care for the green cloth-looking wrap on the bars, but the lighter color brown saddle looks very attractive. With this in mind, I'm thinking I'll go with an even lighter shade for the leather that will really pop against the dark red of the frame; perhaps a honey color Brooks. Not sure about bar tape, as I'd like to see the rest of the bike built up before I make that decision.

This is going to be a fun project, but I'm planning to take my time and do it right. Look for good deals on parts to keep my project costs low, while also paying particular attention to the quality of the components that I add to the bike and level of craftsmanship that I devote to it. After all, I plan to put some serious mileage on this bike and I want it to require as little maintenance - especially field maintenance - as possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment