Saturday, September 26, 2009

Norco Monterey SL

My wife hosted a charity garage sale at our house last weekend. That sounds innocent enough, but I discovered that hosting a garage sale means that everybody and their uncle comes by your house with crap they no longer want and you end up with your backyard and garage full of knickknacks and trinkets to try and assign prices to.

The good news is that three bikes were donated, and at the end of the day - for $20.00 - one remained with me. I now own a Norco Monterey SL. I can't really find a date for it, but it seems like it was probably made in the 1980s. If anyone can give a good date estimate for this bike, I'd be curious to hear it.

When I first spotted the bike in our garage, my first thought was "should be a singlespeed". Now that I own it and have ridden it to work twice, I've realized that the gears actually work perfectly, so I think I'll leave them alone. The wheels are also pretty good, and the bottom bracket seems pretty smooth, so all in all it is a pretty solid bike. I am going to make a few changes though.

I've ordered a new seat for the bike, and I'm going to put on some knobby cross tires. I'm going to cut and flip the handlebars as well, creating that bullhorn look. I've also ordered two new sets of pedals, and after swapping some pedals around on different bikes in the household, this Norco will eventually have the basic pedals from my Kona Dew Deluxe.

The pedals that came on this Norco were Japanese made KKT Pro Vic II. This is the second time I've had a pair of these pedals in my life - the first time when they came on an old Fleetwing bike that a Toronto cyclist named Geoffrey gave to me.

Who the hell designed these pedals? And why did companies like Norco think it was a good idea to equip their bikes with them? Wow do they ever suck. On neither side do you get a flat surface under your foot. They bulge in the middle on one side, so the ball of your foot feels like it is kind of balancing on an egg shaped marble, and on the other the edges are higher than the middle so your foot makes contact on the edges but no contact in the middle.

Anyway - I'm mostly going to leave this bike alone, but some other guys have done really cool things with Norco Montereys that they've picked up.

At some point in the future maybe I'll do something like this, or this.


richlafferty said...

Those are quill pedals, meant to be used with cleated shoes and toe clips. They're one-sided because the clip is only on one side, and they're offset a bit from the axle to make room for the cleat. The hard sole of the shoe is the pedaling surface when you're strapped in with cleats.

Tuco said...

I'm maybe being a bit slow here - so the theory is that you have cycling shoes with the cleats, but instead of having the corresponding pedal to clip into, you ride these pedals which have some room for your cleat, and then try to lash your foot hard to the pedal for cycling efficiency?

Isn't that odd? why wouldn't you just ride the "clip in" pedal that corresponded with the cleat on the bottom of your shoe? (SPD, time, look, etc etc)

geoffrey said...

I have a set of cleats here for those pedals still. Those were a good knock off of a classic Italian design. The chunk missing out of the right pedal and the missing seal on the left makes that set suspiciously familiar. The cleats have a groove that traps the rear pedal ring. Clipping out with the cleats will leave you teary eyed for spds.
That said, with the cages attached these pedals work great with board or other stiff soled shoes. The cages hold the pedals at a good angle for clipping in normally so you don't hit the back side where the axle housing bows. You might not even miss the missing tab on the right pedal. But then again clipping out the left works for me at lights.
Btw, those look life really nice bars. I've got similarly nice ones on my Nishiki/Norco (yes, Nishiki was building most of Norco's bikes about then). If you want bullhorns buying a set will get you something closer to what you like than cutting a really nice set of drop bars.

Gary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tuco said...

Hey Gary - I just realized I probably shouldn't post your contact info on the internet... better safe than sorry etc.

Anyway, yeah I'll send you that dustcap... of no use to me.


Travel Gravel said...

If it's not too late, send pictures of this bike to It's a nice bike, no need to chop anything on it! Later!

Gromit said...

I'd peg the year of that bike around 1983 or 1984, it was a mid range road bike and came with alloy rims, seatpost, quick release skewers. A good basic bike above the lame steel chrome rimed and foam grip bikes of the time. My brother had one and it was stolen, but that was better than what happened to his nishiki that replaced it when he was hit by a car and totally warped the rear triangle. Rather than buy him a new bike my dad just took a 2x4 to the rear triangle and bent it as straight as it would go. Amazingly my brother only had minor injuries after being hit by someone doing an estimated 72km/h.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I each bought a Norco Monterey SL in 1984. They were light, fast, and ahead of their time. We still have them and they are in perfect shape. We have mountain and hybrid bikes which we ride most of the time, but still take out the montereys for a quick spin once in a while. The only thing that I would like to change is to move the gear shifter to the handlebars. Andy