Thursday, October 4

Dave's commuter

Photos of The Commuter.

Dave sez:

I found this frame at the now-out-of-business Albuquerque Bicycle X-
change. They mostly sold a lot of fixed-up used bikes. There was a
side room full of crap that you could barely get into, and this frame
was hanging from the ceiling-- no wheels, seat, or seat post -- with
a tag that said "$30 AS IS." Given that this place made its money
from fixing up old bikes, I had wonder... as is *what?* But it was a
pretty tall road frame, so maybe it wasn't worth their time to build
up. So I bit.

A few months after I got it, a loud clicking noise started coming
from the bottom bracket. I took it to the shop for a new bottom
bracket. The repair guy called me later and said that the bottom
bracket was fine, but the grease had hardened! It was probably the
original grease. But the bearings looked fine, so he just cleaned
and repacked.

I included a crappy shot of one of the pedals. I put these on this
summer. When you're crossing a lot of intersections, its nice not to
have to think about where your foot is going to go. Its hard to tell
how big the pedals look, but its like a guy in a suit wearing Doc

The Carradice saddle bag is awesome, but I've decided it really needs
a quick release of some sort. You have to buckle it to your seat.
I'd also like to modify the pannier rack with some fuel line
to get it up higher.

Currently, the brakes are fairly sucky and need an upgrade. Also,
the wheels are on long-term loan from my road bike. I'd like new
wheels with fatter tires for better cush. Black spokes might look
good with this frame! Also, I'm very tempted to get an internal gear
rear hub. Something you can shift at a stoplight.


Blogger Leighton said...

Judging from the seat-tube logo, your frame from the late '70s, right when Trek was starting out. If you're interested, go to It'll tell you the year and model. There's a good chance your frame has Reynolds tubing, possibly 531. Definitely something worth taking good care of, even restoring. $30 is more than a good deal, it's a steal.

Sunday, 07 October, 2007  
Blogger dave said...

Wow! Decoding your alpha-numeric serial number is fun as hell! My serial number is M4F9A93:
M = Trek model 412 or 413
4 = 24" frame
F = June
9 = 1979* (?)
A93 = probably corresponds to the order the frames were built in.

* Here's the problem: no model 41x was made in 1979, at least according to the official brochures!

I am going to look for more clues, maybe try matching the frame measurements to the specs from the brochures. I'll keep y'all posted!

Monday, 08 October, 2007  
Blogger dave said...

More intrigue:

There is an obvious, pink sticker on the seat tube that announces the use of 022 Ishiwata CrMo tubing. So no Reynolds or Columbus :( This is consistent with model 412, which was the bargain Trek.

Also, the Dia-Compe brake levers have a date stamp of 0480. And the headtube badge is glued, not screwed, which started in 1980.

So the forensic evidence points toward a mid-1980 assembly date, despite a mid-1979 serial number of known dubious accuracy.

Again, this is all from

Thanks, Leighton, for pointing me to this fabulous pile of Trek knowlege!

Tuesday, 09 October, 2007  
Blogger Leighton said...

Good work! I had a similarly fun time decoding a green 520 I got. Its serial number and construction said 1989, but the graphics and color were totally wrong, plus it has some braze-ons that didn't make sense. Threw the question out to Vintage Trek, their suggestion was that the owner sent it back to the factory in 2000 for the braze-ons, and while there it was repainted in stock 520 color (green) with that year's graphics. So it's an odd one, and will be always. Great bike, though. And your bike, "bargain Trek" or not, is worth taking care of. Good riding!

Saturday, 20 October, 2007  
Blogger gwadzilla said...

good detective work!

never thought a trek could be vintage

Wednesday, 28 November, 2007  

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