Kampy Konversion

November 14, 2008Comments Off

My Folder – Roy Bird araby@rogers.com
Dawes Kingpin Kampy Konversion.

In 1976 I bought my wife a Dawes “Kingpin” shopper, complete with all the go faster goodies including rear rack and shopping bag, handlebar shopping basket, mudguards, chain guard, lamp brackets and kick stand. Since arriving in Canada in 1977, it has been languishing indoors, largely uncared for, unridden and unloved; a wasteful situation which I have found increasingly irksome.

Earlier this summer I comprehensively updated my 13-year-old Bianchi road racer, which included a new Campagnolo Veloce group. At its completion, I was left with a cardboard box full of redundant Campy Victory components all in excellent condition, which seemed to be destined to keep the Kingpin company.

Further to some Internet exploring of folders, in particular Raleigh “Twenties” and having seen Alan’s Urbanite (-with my wife’s concurrence!), the idea of combining the two was spawned.

The basic Dawes Shopper seems to have a slightly higher build standard than the Raleigh “Twenty” including “through the frame” cable runs. The idea of a 6 speed, Campy-equipped, stripped down, customized, Bike Friday lookalike hot rod was sufficiently appealing to warrant the conversion.

Wherever possible re-cycled parts have been used. Indeed the only new components are the tyres, front wheel, rear rim (and spokes), stem and seatpost–plus of course, cables, handlebar cork and other odds and sods. By the butchering, filing, cutting etc of an old 10 speed stem mount, I have even managed to transplant the quirky Campy Syncro 2 indexing shifter which I retrofitted to the Bianchi about 11 years ago.

Thanks to Carey Chen’s expertise, particularly in wheel building and rear triangle spreading, the integration has been made without great difficulty. The results have far exceeded my expectations both in appearance, handling and performance. The largely unused frame was virtually unmarked and together with the indestructible and beautifully finished Campy parts, the result is a virtually new looking machine.

The subject “Kingpin” does not have a folding hinge but with the seatpost and stem lowered it makes a car trunk-sized package. It will comfortably fit in the back of my Mazda 323 hatchback (rear seat folded) without removing the front wheel or collapsing the seatpost/stem.

The following is the component list and source:

  Frame and fork   Dawes Kingpin
  Headset   Dawes
  Brakes   Dawes, Weinmann type 730 sidepull
  Freewheel   Ex Bianchi 6 speed 13-23 teeth Regina
  Derailleur   Ex Bianchi Campy Victory
  Shifter   Ex Bianchi Campy Syncro 2/ Suntour stem mount
  Crank   Ex Bianchi Campy Victory
  Chainwheel   Ex Bianchi Campy Victory 52 teeth
  Bottom Bracket   Ex Bianchi Campy Victory/Dawes cups
  Brake levers   Ex Bianchi Campy Victory
  Bars   Ex ten-speed, inverted and cut back
  Front wheel   New 451mm Sun rim and Shimano LX hub
  Rear wheel   New 451mm Sun rim, ex Bianchi Gipiemme hub
  Tyres   New IRC Roadlite EX
  Stem   New long reach Nitto
  Seatpost   New Axiom 28.6mm, long reach
  Saddle   Used ex road bike (from Urbane Cycle)
  Pedals   Shimano M323 SPD (on loan from my V-Rex)
  Weight   Complete with pump, kickstand and toolbag 24lb*

* This is a saving of at least 10lb over the original and has been double-checked at Tom Thomson’s factory. Amazing!
A literal and most effective exercise in re-cycling. I now have a cardboard box full of ex-Dawes heavy hardware. Anyone interested? However, the wheels including Sturmey-Archer 3 speed hub were traded in at Urbane.


Dawes Kingpin update, December 2005

I did the original conversion about four years ago. Initially intended as a fun “hot rod” for local riding, I tried it out on several TBN “Tourist” category rides over the ensuing years and never ceased to be impressed by how well it performed. This year I have ridden it on several TCCG rides to investigate whether it could be refined a little and turned into a no compromises day tourer suitable for long club rides.

I have made the following changes to the original configuration:

  1. A combined 2nd bottle clamp incorporating a pump holder was discovered at Oracle Cycle and incorporated onto the seat stay.
  2. A comfortable Bontrager saddle acquired at the bike show plus a good tool bag.
  3. A longer seat post enabling me to achieve a perfect saddle height.
  4. I initially fitted drop bars but found the stem too short to be uncomfortable and to adversely affect low speed handling.
  5. 1991 era Profile time trial/triathlon bars were fitted to the existing “bullhorn” bars. This is in lieu of drops until I can get a better stem set up. It gives great benefit in headwind conditions but is less comfortable than drops and as it takes the hands away from the brakes, is unsuitable for use when riding in a group formation.
  6. I have repositioned the gear shifter to the front of the Profile bars to permit changes to be made when using them.
  7. The biggest change has been to install a Pantour suspension hub into the front wheel. This is likely to give the biggest improvement as the small 20″ wheels can give a harsh ride when on less than perfect road surfaces. The radius of the small wheels drop more deeply into potholes, cracks and bumps than full size 700mm (27″) road wheels.

From a comfort standpoint, the Dawes is not too bad, but the jarring effects of the irregularities cause a loss of momentum and hence speed. I have been carrying out some test rides and even though the total suspension travel is barely 1/2″, I have been impressed by the improvement in ride quality over rough surfaces from such a small component. Surprisingly, the extreme lightness of the suspension wheel unit (the unsprung weight) results in a very rapid response to even to the slightest road imperfections at speed. This higher speed improvement was a bit of a bonus and should result in improved performance in all road conditions.

Unfortunately, there is a downside. For some reason the lateral stiffness of the front wheel is not what it should be. When gripping the wheel rim it is possible to move it noticeably from side to side. I don’t know why this should be. The design looks sound. I have dismantled and reassembled the unit several times without solving the problem. I will attempt to contact the manufacturers. At the moment, the Dawes is as shown in the pictures below, reflecting all the above changes. Also a close up of the hub is included.

My ultimate plan, subject to the hub being satisfactory was to investigate the manufacture of a complete diamond frame to which 20″ wheels with Pantour hubs would be added front and rear. However, unless I can sort out the rigidity problem I am not prepared to make the substantial investment involved. My CAD drawing below (using the Bike Forest programme, shows what the new bike would look like. The relationship between seat, handlebar and pedals are virtually the same as my Bianchi.

For those interested in seeing the Pantour in action, go to: www.pantourhub.com/products.html where there are animated graphics that show the movement well.

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