Author Topic: 2000 Dawes Galaxy  (Read 1720 times)

2000 Dawes Galaxy
« on: December 21, 2020, 03:26:39 pm »
Hello - I'm new on here.

I thought I would review my 2000 Dawes Galaxy which I've owned for 19 years.

It's a workhorse that has commuted, toured, been ignored in the attic, taken my son for bike rides on the back, or attached with a tag-a-long, and recently rekindled a love of long bike rides on good lanes.

It looks tatty, with mismatched forks, and scabby lacquer. But the important bits are all in good condition or replaced as required. I've not upgraded much - just the seat (Charge Spoon), the tyres (Marathon Supreme - 32mm summer, 35mm winter), and most importantly of all the brake pads.

The worst bit of the bike, by some margin, is the god awful canti-lever brakes. "Oh, you just need to adjust them properly!" - you can stuff that advice where the sun does not shine Nobby-know-it-all. With the Shimano brake pads - 2 hours of careful cleaning, chamfering and rim scrubbing gives about 1 hour of decent dry braking performance on a ride, or 0.00001 hours decent brake performance in the wet. If it's muddy/salty - I'm convinced pulling the brakes actually makes the bike accelerate.

They are awful, and that comes from the idiot that cleaned his Raleigh record sprint rims with WD40! The logic was along these lines, "WD40 is great at cleaning metal. My wheels are made of metal. I shall clean them with WD40". How I got a degree in engineering is a mystery...

And yet the WD40 centre pull econo-brakes were STILL better than the canti-levers.

Bad brakes make you brilliant at anticipation. Unfortunately that anticipation was more along the lines, "Yep - I'm definitely going to crash there... " <crump>

After one too many near "man and bike bush insertion incidents" on Chiltern descents (stop tittering you at the back) I decided to stop being a victim and look for a solution.

Fortunately as a wizened old geezer, with a bit more engineering nous between the ears than the young idiot with WD40. I thought, "Hmm - on my motorbikes, different brake pads make a big difference". And so I sought the best pads for cantilevers.

All hail the gods Koolstop - and their astonishing Salmon pads.

You can imagine the comedy of the first ride when I pulled the levers with my usual rock crushing grip and hearing the long forgotten squeal of tyres and the sense of panic and confusion as the world rotated about the front axle.

After a little rest, waiting for the adrenaline to subside - a massive, shit eating grin spread across my face.

Wow - what a difference.

The salmon Koolstops still need maintenance to keep them tip top - but it's 30 minutes cleaning per 1000km in the dry and 200km in the wet. And the brakes have improved from, "We are all going to die!", to, "adequate at a push I suppose": Which is literally a life saviour. The Chiltern bush is safe from my embrace.

Flush with my success, I thought, what else can I improve?

It turns out a couple more areas. Starting with the tyres.

In the depths of lockdown I got my hands on a simple set of rollers. A poor substitute for real lanes, but strangely addictive and at that stage of the plague, country vigilantes would hoist towny cycle scum into their wicker baskets if we ventured onto their lanes.

The first couple of sessions were not a success - not because I fell off - although I did: But  because I was turning puce trying to ride at 15kph! "Am I really that unfit? Have I been conning myself that I average 22mph at all times?"

It took many days of falling in a heap, spinning the rollers by hand with no resistance, and scratching my head before I found the cause.

Dawes Galaxy's from 2000 came with Marathon Plus tyres - brilliant for the apocalypse, because only a samari sword can puncture them: But unknown to me, probably the most awful combination of discomfort and rolling resistance of any road tyre.

Whilst reading the Thorn bike bible, I was taken by the high opinion of Marathon Supreme's and bought a pair in 32mm.

Initially, these new fangled folding tyres raised an eyebrow: I could literally fit the tyre with my thumbs - what is this magic! Surely they will explode when they meet the first road pimple? So I took them for a ride, and developed a bout of happy Tourette's.

Holy f%^$%T^$% s$%t - this can't be possible! They are MUCH quicker and MUCH more comfortable. For the first time my bike felt plush. Forget the steel nonsense - if you want a plush ride, find better tyres at lower pressures.

I've since ridden gravel, pot-holes, pave, mud - otherwise known as a typical winter Chiltern lane and they've been robust and impervious to puncture.

Brilliant.

The final change was the seat - I didn't realise that big squashy seats are not comfortable on long rides.  A number of folk like the Charge Spoon so I took a chance and found the plank in the shape of a spoon - is actually just the ticket for long rides. I don't think about the seat area at all anymore.

And finally, what is good about the Dawes Galaxy? I read with horror, folk with modern bikes worth thousands that have snapped/cracked frames: I take completely for granted that my workhorse has never let me down, yet it has not had a pampered life, and has done most of its miles across rubbish London roads, bumpy Chiltern lanes and gravel paths. Often with 5-20kg of stuff attached to the rack.

The old school 531 gusset frame looks fantastic, and although I would prefer a slanted top tube for practicality and a higher bar - I think the classic flat triangles look ace.

The 9 speed Deore XT transmission with bar end levers is very old school, but it works. Granted, I don't change gear much - preferring to vary cadence until it gets too steep. But when I do, it slots in without adjustment or complaint.

As a touring frame, I've got bosses everywhere, mudguards and rear rack as standard. I love the aesthetics of bike packing - but packing and unpacking looks a complete faff compared to my 2 x 1L bidons in the frame, a rack pack, and even a pannier for the self-sufficient longer rides.

People tell me its heavy, but I don't have a light bicycle so I don't know what I'm missing.

I also don't have a stiff bike, so I can't tell you if it accelerates quickly for a bike: I have a motorbike, and that accelerates MUCH quicker - does that compare?

It's earned a tenured place in the garage, and I have dual flat/SPD peddles so I can just pop to the shops in normal shoes with no ceremony.

I suspect when the plague lifts, I'm going to get addicted to 'proper' Audaxes and I might make a case for something like a Spa Elan. But in the mean time I'll keep adding the miles to the Galaxy.

Crikey - that was long one. Thanks for reading. And if you do have a Galaxy deep at the back of the shed, or hidden in the attic - I hope it gives you the impetus to blow the dust off and take it for a ride - although maybe fit Koolstops first if you venture onto hills or city streets.




bairn again

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2020, 03:41:15 pm »
That was a nice trip down memory lane!

I got a Dawes Galaxy in 1994 as a 1st wedding anniversary present from my wife. It was a great bike, hugely comfortable and reliable.   I did a LEJOG on it in 2002 and also my first ever 300km audaxes around the same time (the Tayside transgression). 

The lure of a lighter steed for longer audaxes meant that the Dawes was relegated to commuter bike status and in the end space constraints made me choose to give it away to a student friend of my daughter so he could get about Edinburgh and he in turn gave it to the Bike Station charity to recycle once his time at Uni was finished.  I still live in hope that I'll maybe see it somewhere in the city one day.

I dont recall the brakes being particularly bad tbh.       

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2020, 03:54:09 pm »
I still have one. I couldn't agree more about the brakes. Once out with Simeon of the Rough Stuff Fellowship and others otp in the hills of North Yorks,  I had tendons in my wrists that were rather painful and for days afterwards, in trying to get enough leverege for the damn thing to stop. It was a tad scary on the off road downhills, particularly where precipises were common. The Koolstops are definitely an improvement.
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2020, 04:09:36 pm »
I've just resurrected my early 80s Galaxy from the back of the garage.  The bad point was the 630mm wheels with nasty non stainless spokes. I had been putting off learning to build wheels for ~30 years.

Very easy in the end Mavic  A119  x 622mm rims on Zenith large hubs, followed Roger Musson's book with only minor screw ups when I failed to follow the instructions closely. Not difficult at all to produce rims within 1mm tolerance on a first time build.

I have a workstand but found it better to use the two bits of string from the roof method.  The new wheels required a longer brake drop so I replaced the ancient Weinmann centre pulls with shiny Diacompe ones. New modern 6 speed freewheel and a  new changer.

The bike feels like new now and I know to keep it lightish as I already have a heavy tourer.  The paint job is tatty so I should really do something about that.

A joy to ride!

Tomsk

  • Fueled by cake since 1957
    • tomsk.co.uk
Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2020, 04:27:33 pm »
When I lived in Ayrshire in the early 90s, Galaxies were the commonest machine on CTC runs, though several riders had covetable Flying Scots. I had a Dawes MTB of that vintage for load-lugging (still going strong, though passed on to offspring. And the original paint and decals are in good nick too), bu the low-profile cantilevers were awful and hard to get the pads aligned right too. I changed them for XT v-brakes (secondhand, about 10 years ago).

Not sure the contemporary versions have the same quality or charm. Dawes seem to have lost their way, but who buys a touring bike now when it's all gravel/adventure/bikepacking hype? (Actually some of the latter lot look like excellent touring/audax machines!)

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2020, 04:49:09 pm »
Apparently they're being discontinued! :o

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2020, 04:51:08 pm »
I read that it is temporarily being dropped from the lineup and would be coming back in a couple of years.
=====
However, the Galaxy story might not be completely over. 

"We do intend on bringing the Galaxy name back in a year or two," says Conway. In a way it's been yet another victim of the chaos of 2020. Bike suppliers are flat-out trying to keep current models in stock.
=====
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2020, 05:24:03 pm »
That was a nice trip down memory lane!

I got a Dawes Galaxy in 1994 as a 1st wedding anniversary present from my wife. It was a great bike, hugely comfortable and reliable.   I did a LEJOG on it in 2002 and also my first ever 300km audaxes around the same time (the Tayside transgression). 

The lure of a lighter steed for longer audaxes meant that the Dawes was relegated to commuter bike status and in the end space constraints made me choose to give it away to a student friend of my daughter so he could get about Edinburgh and he in turn gave it to the Bike Station charity to recycle once his time at Uni was finished.  I still live in hope that I'll maybe see it somewhere in the city one day.

I dont recall the brakes being particularly bad tbh.       

Glad it brought back memories.

And I'm sure your bike is still riding - this plague has done wonders to demand for bikes, and even the long forgotten are changing hands and getting used.

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2020, 05:25:24 pm »
I've just resurrected my early 80s Galaxy from the back of the garage.  The bad point was the 630mm wheels with nasty non stainless spokes. I had been putting off learning to build wheels for ~30 years.

Very easy in the end Mavic  A119  x 622mm rims on Zenith large hubs, followed Roger Musson's book with only minor screw ups when I failed to follow the instructions closely. Not difficult at all to produce rims within 1mm tolerance on a first time build.

I have a workstand but found it better to use the two bits of string from the roof method.  The new wheels required a longer brake drop so I replaced the ancient Weinmann centre pulls with shiny Diacompe ones. New modern 6 speed freewheel and a  new changer.

The bike feels like new now and I know to keep it lightish as I already have a heavy tourer.  The paint job is tatty so I should really do something about that.

A joy to ride!

Well done on wheel building.

I also fancy getting a paint job done at some point to match the lovely metalic green of the forks.

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2020, 05:26:50 pm »
I still have one. I couldn't agree more about the brakes. Once out with Simeon of the Rough Stuff Fellowship and others otp in the hills of North Yorks,  I had tendons in my wrists that were rather painful and for days afterwards, in trying to get enough leverege for the damn thing to stop. It was a tad scary on the off road downhills, particularly where precipises were common. The Koolstops are definitely an improvement.

If it's any consolation - you should try rock climbing: A strong grip is key!  ;D

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2020, 05:34:46 pm »
When I lived in Ayrshire in the early 90s, Galaxies were the commonest machine on CTC runs, though several riders had covetable Flying Scots. I had a Dawes MTB of that vintage for load-lugging (still going strong, though passed on to offspring. And the original paint and decals are in good nick too), bu the low-profile cantilevers were awful and hard to get the pads aligned right too. I changed them for XT v-brakes (secondhand, about 10 years ago).

Not sure the contemporary versions have the same quality or charm. Dawes seem to have lost their way, but who buys a touring bike now when it's all gravel/adventure/bikepacking hype? (Actually some of the latter lot look like excellent touring/audax machines!)

Hmm - I'll have to measure up. I wasn't sure v-brakes would fit.

Yes - agree on more recent Dawes Galaxy's - much lower spec, and frame designs driven by fashion rather than a simple design that got constantly honed.

I also agree some of the adventure bikes make great general purpose bikes. I know they seem like a fad - but I was getting depressed with the direction of road bikes - they were becoming beautiful works of carbon art: Fast and light - but nowhere to put my crate of beer from the shops, or fit permanent mudguards to stay dry. Now we are back to having lots of choice again for multi-purpose, long distance bikes. It's great.

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2020, 11:19:42 pm »
What a superb opening post. Made me smile a lot. Thank you.
Rust never sleeps

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2020, 04:16:21 pm »
Hi trundle, welcome to the forum.

Another Galaxy-owner and brake-commiserator here.

I'm on a 43cm 2012 version. As part of efforts to make reach and brake levers more suitable to a shorty with small hands, there was a forum team effort to get it set up with butterfly bars instead of the original drops:



I get a lot more stoppage now - so much so that my main braking issue is all the bits of bridleway that get stuck in the pads and grind away at the rims! There's a swooping descent into town that's still a bit nerve-wracking though. (Regular Marathons doing a sterling job.)

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2020, 04:34:29 pm »
Welcome! What a lovely post.

I had a mate with a pale blue-green Galaxy when I was at Uni in the 80s. I had an Orbit Gold Medal. Mine always felt sportier, but I suspect his Galaxy is still carrying someone and their stuff around.

Mike

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2020, 04:41:32 pm »
What a superb opening post. Made me smile a lot. Thank you.

Thank you kindly - thanks for taking the time to read it - it was long!

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2020, 04:45:05 pm »
Hi trundle, welcome to the forum.

Another Galaxy-owner and brake-commiserator here.

I'm on a 43cm 2012 version. As part of efforts to make reach and brake levers more suitable to a shorty with small hands, there was a forum team effort to get it set up with butterfly bars instead of the original drops:



I get a lot more stoppage now - so much so that my main braking issue is all the bits of bridleway that get stuck in the pads and grind away at the rims! There's a swooping descent into town that's still a bit nerve-wracking though. (Regular Marathons doing a sterling job.)

That's a lovely picture of a Galaxy loaded up and enjoying a journey.

Glad you got the braking to your satisfaction and that the normal Marathons works for you - in truth, I didn't try those - thinking the 'plus' was by definition better.

Your sparkling chain and chain rings put mine to shame!

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2020, 04:48:02 pm »
Welcome! What a lovely post.

I had a mate with a pale blue-green Galaxy when I was at Uni in the 80s. I had an Orbit Gold Medal. Mine always felt sportier, but I suspect his Galaxy is still carrying someone and their stuff around.

Mike

Thank you. In truth I think most old bikes could just keep going if you give 'em a chance: I see lots of old Raleigh's resurrected, and they were built down to a price.

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2020, 04:51:37 pm »
When living in Bromsgrove many years ago, my then club had links through its President to Dawes. A fair few cyclists worked there.
Having read this thread, I was inspired to check up on the company, who still refer in publicity to Birmingham.
Disappointingly the Birmingham connection would appear to be a few bods in an office. They stopped making anything in the U.K. around the turn of the century. It seems a shame.

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2020, 06:10:20 pm »
Your sparkling chain and chain rings put mine to shame!

Heh! That was early on in the tour and on immaculate (slightly boring) Dutch cycling infrastructure!

By the end of the tour I was seeking out mountain bike trails and a bit more organic matter.


Kim

  • Timelord
Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2020, 09:07:22 pm »
Welcome to the forum!

That's a lovely picture of a Galaxy loaded up and enjoying a journey.

There's a lot more of that sort of thing here: https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=61057.0
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2020, 07:19:05 pm »

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

I also agree some of the adventure bikes make great general purpose bikes. I know they seem like a fad - but I was getting depressed with the direction of road bikes - they were becoming beautiful works of carbon art: Fast and light - but nowhere to put my crate of beer from the shops, or fit permanent mudguards to stay dry. Now we are back to having lots of choice again for multi-purpose, long distance bikes. It's great.
Yeah. Adventure, all road, gravel are fairly wide terms, but to a large extent they are touring and practical day to day bikes under a new label. And I'll repeat what I've said before: all bikes are adventure bikes, because cycling can allow the most humdrum journey to become an adventure.
Faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person. (David Byrne)

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2020, 08:24:04 am »
Welcome to the forum!

That's a lovely picture of a Galaxy loaded up and enjoying a journey.

There's a lot more of that sort of thing here: https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=61057.0

Ooh - lovely. Thanks for pointing that post out. I will have a rummage.

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2020, 08:26:11 am »
Yeah. Adventure, all road, gravel are fairly wide terms, but to a large extent they are touring and practical day to day bikes under a new label. And I'll repeat what I've said before: all bikes are adventure bikes, because cycling can allow the most humdrum journey to become an adventure.

The last sentiment is very true.

I just prefer my adventures on a bike with wider tyres, a rack and mudguards :)

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2021, 04:36:17 pm »
I've been doing lots of improvement on Donald, and was about to post an update when I discovered a complete fracture in the frame where the drive side stay meets the top of the seat tube.

I am gutted.

That will teach me to shout my mouth off about how old frames were made properly, and all this new expensive tat fractures far too easily.

Thinking about it - I've known about a line in the paint in that part of the frame for years, but didn't think to try and pull on it to see if it separates. It also solves the mystery of a weird creaking sound, and the observable swing in bottom bracket left-to-right when pedalling hard: With only one seat stay attached, there is no bracing to oppose the pedalling moments.

I fully intend to get it examined and repaired, and given how scabby the paint is - it's the ideal opportunity to get it resprayed.

But the timing is a bit pants: I think we are about to be let loose again. And I'm also concerned more issues might be found - given it is 21 years old, and has not had a pampered life.

The other bikes in the family either don't fit, or would be quickly killed by audax, and Chiltern rides.

Harrumph.

Re: 2000 Dawes Galaxy
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2021, 05:55:36 pm »
I've been doing lots of improvement on Donald, and was about to post an update when I discovered a complete fracture in the frame where the drive side stay meets the top of the seat tube.


That’s unfortunate. I hope it is saveable.