Stop me if you've heard my exploding ProCompe fw story before. I had a BTCNJ (Bicycle Touring Club of NJ) friend visit me during my short student stint in Japan, maybe spring '84. We spent a week cyclotouring Kansai backroads, and on a fairly steep switchback his ProCompe freewheel exploded. No stranger to exploding bearings, I found as many scattered ball bearings as I could, hand-assembled the freewheel, put his panniers on my bike, and we hobbled through the rest of the day. We found a bike shop the next day and got a new freewheel.
Less than a week later we were treated to lunch and a tour of SunTour's Mihara-cho factory. The main office was still in Sakai-Higashi (southeastern Osaka, a short bike ride from Shimano), Mihara-cho was out in the sticks. We had some decent chow and some good beer, after which good old Hideo Kawai gave us the factory tour. He showed us the very machine that had mis-assembled thousands of ProCompe freewheels, including my friend's---insufficient torque setting on the lockring. We had full bellies and buzzed brains, so we found it all pretty funny. You don't often get to meet your faceless nemesis so soon after he ruins your ride.
FWIW, exploded bearings can often be reassembled well enough to get you home, as long as you can find at least a few ball bearings. Sometimes they cluster in one spot when the part lets loose. The lockring/cone/etc never gets away. I once repacked a friend's pedal bearings with squished banana about 80mi into a century. Best that it doesn't happen, of course, but your first thought after it does shouldn't be: "how far do I have to push this thing home," it should be: "where did the bbs run to?" Though I suppose these days you just call somebody with your mobile phone?
Lastly, I attended Rutgers '76-'79 and '82-'83, and spent lotsa time riding the canal road into Princeton. Passed by Kopps, never made it though the door. Princeton car traffic was lighter than in New Brunswick, but by '83 I saw some of those farmer's fields sprouting large homes instead of foodstuffs.
'76-'79 I was riding a 531 Bertin bought from Fraysee/Park Cycle in Ridgefield Park, '82-'83 I was riding either a '74 Fuji Newest from Fuji Cycle Center in Rochelle Park (Ken Moriya's former store) or a 531 frame I built at a Proteus framebuilding course. Still have my "Brodeus," the others are long gone.
Paul Brodek Hillsdale, NJ, USofA
Quoting Joel Niemi <email@example.com>:
> you're very correct, I meant '70's. I was in Tigertown from '72 through '76.
> Used to do the Saturday morning training group rides. There were
> some juniors
> from one of the prep schools down the road toward Trenton - Hun
> School, I think
> -- who rode fixed gear up and down the Washington road? or Great
> Road? hill. We
> would go north to Blawenburg and a bit more, then east to the Canal and loop
> back to Princeton.
> I still remember the little hole-in-the-wall shop on John Street. Fritz and
> Dick loved to see people get interested in bike riding.
> I had a Suntour frewheel that the retaining ring backed off on and it
> self-destructed out on the canal road. Found a stick and poled
> myself along. Dick took one look at it and told me if I had a real
> freewheel like a Regina
> that it never would have happened. Made a nice paperweight after that.
> Great place to ride a bike at the time. I've been back, and traffic is much
> worse, and so were the road surfaces, even in a car.
> -Joel - Still in Snohomish.