Posts Tagged With: Norco

Moustachio – the transformation is complete


Once the components were chosen, assembly could take place. Wheels were greased and trued. Duro Sierra tires were selected – puncture resistant, with reflective sidewalls. Derailleurs were installed – the front one original and the rear one new – a Shimano Alivio RD-M410. Cabling was configured for derailleurs and brakes.  Wrap-around fenders and a sturdy rear carrier were included in the mix, adding functionality and style. My Lion Bellworks bell was transferred from the Expediter light duty cargo bike to the new city bike.

Then for a new experience – wrapping the moustache handlebars. Before tackling the job, I went online and discovered that there are as many experts on the topic as there ways to wrap handlebars. By combining the ideas and approaches that seemed to make the most sense to me, the job was completed and the results very satisfying.

Next up – a test ride, followed by a photo shoot. The test ride proved exhilarating – the light frame and narrow tires coupled with the ability to “get down” on the moustache bars produces a fun ride that turns heads when you stop long enough for folks to appreciate it. Great fun.






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Moustachio – the ingredients for a transformation

Well, in the last post, it was clear that some there was still a lot of work to get that old Norco bicycle looking presentable. It required removing ALL of the paint, including the original very nice two tone job, and in addition, all of the decals and stickers. I will spare you the details – suffice it to say that it took time, elbow power and several sheets of sandpaper. Once the bike was “clean to the bone”, it was time for the “paint booth/bike shed” and the metallic Pearl Glow paint that had been selected. Here we are, just hanging around, waiting for paint to dry…


Next? the fun part – after cleaning old components that were to be recycled, it was time to select and find the new ones that would make the transformation. You may recall that I mentioned something in the last post about moustache handlebars… Let me tell you the story of the origin of this style. It goes back to the 70’s in Japan when school children fell in love with the drop down handlebars of racing bikes. For some reason, school authorities felt that these bars were too, well, too riske!! and they banned the use of them by school children. But the kids found a way around that by modifying the original style. Perhaps it is the wanna-be-rebel side of me then that is drawn to this style of handlebar… :o)

So, lets have a look at those “rebels”. Here they are, resting nicely in a stem that I picked up a year ago, originally used on a lowrider bike that had been trashed. Yes, those bars may not look like much yet, but take time to wait for the outcome.


I knew that the Shimano quick shift combination levers that were originally used on the Norco bike could not be used with these handlebars. Bar end shifters are in common use with moustache handlebars and it is easy to see why. However, I did not have these and I did not want to spend the money to buy them but there was an alternative that I was certain would work…


Yes, something ‘old school’ – Shimano shifter levers from a road bike from the 70’s, attached to the stem. There were a collection of these shifter levers in a coffee tin in the “parts” department of my workshop  and by mixing and matching and searching through a pile of old road bikes that were destined for the recycle melting pot, I was able to put together a set that looked good and worked well.

Next – brake levers… My research had disclosed that non-aero brake levers were the best choice when using moustache bars and while going through that pile of old road bikes, I found a possible candidate set. I was not completely satisfied because the hoods on them were long gone. About the time that I found these, serendipity stepped in. An ad appeared on Kijiji for a “mint condition vintage drop bar shimano brake lever set”. The ad described them as coming from “a 1978 Miele road bike, the drop bar is a “Sakae Custom Road Champion”  in near perfect condition minus wear from original install…  The brake lever set is Shimano, both levers come with hoods which are in good shape”. I inquired to see if the levers could be purchased separately but was told that they would only go as a set. An hour later, the vendor messaged me back to tell me that someone wanted to buy the handlebars only, and so I quickly went to pick up the levers and hoods – here they are…


As you know, it takes a bit more than handlebars, shift and brake levers to make a bicycle but in this instance, these were the most interesting components. With these now on hand and with the paint finally cured, check out the next post to see the final outcome of this transformation.

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Moustachio – potential for another transformation

A year ago, I rescued a bike that was destined to be collected, along with a lot of other discarded steel products, and then be melted down and recast into rebar, or some other useful but uninteresting product. Like many bikes that are being discarded, the cables were rusted and non-operative and tires were flat. Brake pads were worn out, and one wheel was badly bent. The bike wasn’t very attractive – someone had done a very poor spray paint job over much of the bike in green, followed by an equally poor brush job done in an unappealing grey. It was barely possible to make out that the bike was a NORCO product, a chrome-moly frame originally built as a mountain bike. It was clear that this bike had had a hard life and was going to need a lot of attention to make it into anything that anyone would want. It was set aside, until this year – I was introduced to moustache handlebars and this was the perfect bike on which to try them out.


Here are some shots of the bike, after a partial disassembly and after most of the initial re-paint had been removed. By this point, the bike had been mostly disassembledIMG_8170









Yes, not a pretty picture, but if you know what to look for, you can see the potential. Stay tuned – next post will offer some options and hope for better times.

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Transition – Mountaineer to Expediter


It started with an idea, a challenge to be met Bicycles are great ways of getting ourselves around but often we have “stuff” that we want to take with us. The old wire baskets that many of us used to have on our bicycles are inadequate for many of the things that we would like to carry these days. What to do? The low bed cargo bike that I built has much more capacity than is often required when not going on  a serious shopping trip and yet I still wanted a way to carry some of my “stuff”.

Often the solutions that we come up are not original ideas but rather ones that we have “borrowed” from others, and that is what happened in this case. I have seen photos of light duty cargo bikes, carrying “stuff” on racks over the front wheel – this extends the cargo carrying capacity of a regular bicycle but keeps the bike compact enough to remain an “about-town” form of transportation. That is what I decided to build and thus began the transition. All I needed was a “donor” bike, and the one I found was an early model Norco mountain bike, named appropriately but without much originality “Mountaineer”.


Even though the bike was saddle worn and a bit rough around the edges with chipped paint and rusty cables, missing wheels and brake pads, there were still lots of good miles waiting to be ridden – it was not time to put this horse out to pasture yet!!





After all, not only did the bike come from the well-known Canadian bicycle manufacturer, Norco, but it had originally been sold by one of the landmark bike shops in Saskatoon, Joe’s Cycle. It had a pedigree and it also had some history.


Hence the transition began, on a jig that I built to accommodate this and future cargo bike builds.IMG_8202

By using a smaller front wheel smaller and by pushing it forward, a place was made for carrying cargo.

All that remained was to join the front to the back… IMG_8209

Add the cargo bay…IMG_8223

Now to the paint booth. Throw on some primer…IMG_8227

Add some colour…IMG_8235

And a bit of bling…IMG_8241

Some cedar for the cargo deck…IMG_8255

A few recycled components…IMG_8253

IMG_8260 IMG_8262 IMG_8263 IMG_8265

Now add to the mix some carefully selected new components:


Swept back handlebars allowing an upright riding stance


New Shimano  TX50 Tourney thumb shifters and ergonomic four finger Tektro brake levers


Aluminum Wellgo CU-214 City Pedals with ball bearings and Cro-Mo machined spindles 




Fenders, front and rear

IMG_8332 Puncture resistant front tire

Kenda Pathfinder rear tire, low profile and selected for reduced rolling resistance


IMG_8341Centre kickstand to allow easy loading

There you have it – the transition is complete – from Mountaineer to Expediter – a re-purposed bicycle ready to deliver rider and goods with style and pizzaz. Order yours today!!





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