I Couldn’t Resist

Working on all those early 80s 12-speed road bikes, I was wondering what it would be like to start with a light steel road bike in my size that was actually designed for the way I ride. (Hills!) So when this 1989 Trek 420 (heh) showed up on Craigslist for seventy (are you kidding me?) dollars, I knew I had to take action fast. The photos made it look like a fixer, (not to be confused with fixie) but imagine my surprise when I found this bike in quite clean condition, with only a few things that needed my attention.

What I like:

  • Triple chainring with a great-granny gear
  • Seven speed cassette in back, that’s all I need
  • 700c wheels
  • Made in USA
  • Lightweight steel
  • Bright yellow
  • Internally routed rear derailleur cable
  • Shimano Sport LX Index/Friction shifters on the downtube!
  • Plenty of standover height (sorry, Apollo Dee-Lite, I may have to sell you to a taller version of myself)

What needs work:

  • After overhauling and truing the front wheel, I pumped up the tire and was just about ready to take it for a spin, when I realized that the inner tube was bulging outside the tire bead. This is dangerous! No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t remove the stubborn tire. (See also: Area Woman Does Not Have Man Hands)
  • One trip to Alki Bike & Board Later, I had a new tire, and it made me feel less bad about my hand strength for the repair dude to admit that was the hardest he’s ever had to work at removing a tire.
  • Tomorrow after struggling to put on the new tire, I’ll take it for a test ride and report back.

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