My Hero Hawk 10 Speed- In A New Avatar

My Hawk.. in the default avatar..

The Hero Hawk is my first bike. That is the bike that re-introduced me to the joys of cycling. So, I’ve a soft corner for it. It started out as an idea to mix exercise with something that I do every day, i.e., commute. Then it slowly grew into a passion for cycling beyond the daily commute.

But the stock Hero Hawk 10 speed that I bought for INR 3.9k had really crappy components. Oh well, for that money, what would you expect?

Stock Pedals
I hardly noticed anything wrong with the bike as long as I used it just for commutes. But, as the mileage increased, the limitations of the bike began to show up. The first pain point was the pedals. The stock plastic pedals were so crappy that they just gave away and the axles bent under my mashing. The resulting wobble in the pedal gave me my first cycling injury. I experienced severe pain in the left knee. That kept me restricted to just commuting.

Stock Crankset and Brake levers
Changing the pedals didn’t help after a while. Then I suspected the left crank itself. The stock brake levers were something that I actively disliked. The lever extensions from the brake levers that went parallel to the handle bar top which are supposed to be used when your hands are not on the brake hoods were grossly ineffective. Not that the brake levers themselves were any better. So, if I wanted to use the brakes, I had to effectively go on to the drops to get proper leverage.

Stock Tires
The stock tires were amazingly supple and prone to bubbling and I had to change them very frequently. Punctures were too frequent.

The stock shifter and derailleur setup does get the job done albeit with a frequent tune up. But I was not particularly pleased the way the shifters looked or the amount of handlebar space they took up. I kept tinkering with the bike, adjusting the components from time to time but I lived with it.

The Move
Then after around 10 months of buying it, I had to hand it over to my nephew as I had to go to US (VT) on work. Before going there, I researched a bit about the cycling scene and cycle shops in the region and found a bike co-op where you could volunteer in assisting the head mechanic with bike repair. In return, you could build yourself a bike from the parts available there. I built myself an MTB there and understood what difference the quality of the components can make to a bike while working on different bikes. I worked on many classic road bikes restoring them and in the process the thought of turning my Hawk into something similar came into my mind. I didn’t want to spend a fortune on it. So, I decided to pick up some used parts from the shop for it and brought them back along with me.

Changed Crankset
An used crank set..

The crank set was the first one that I picked up. It was an used crank set. I hand picked relatively new but used chain rings and put the crank set together. I didn’t find any decent used aero brake levers in the shop. So, I used a bike shop gift coupon that I had and bought the CaneCreek SCR-5 aero levers for $40. This is the most expensive modification I’ve made. But I love the fact that I am now able to ride with my hands on the hoods. And I get decent leverage from the hoods as well. I would think that the quality of the Jagwire brake cables that I used along with them have some say in that.

New Tires and Tubes
Schwalbe Marathon tires..

I decided to change the tires to Schwalbe Marathons 27×1 ¼ that cost me INR 2.4k. They were brought in by a friend who was coming back from a trip to UK. While at it, I also changed the tubes to presta tubes. I just used 700*28c tubes and didn’t bother scouting for 27” tubes. The ride quality is completely different with the tires.

New Saddle
Nashbar R2 race saddle..
I bought a Nashbar R2 race saddle as a backup for my Bulldog’s saddle. But I ended up putting it on this. I’m happy with it. No chaffing even when riding in work clothes which used to be there with the stock saddle.

New Pedals
Decathlon classic road pedals with toe clips..

I initially had SPD pedals on this but when I shifted the SPDs to the Bulldog, the classic road pedals from Decathlon made their way on to this bike. So did the toe clips that I had on the Bulldog.

I still don’t like the looks of the BTWin bottle cages on the bike but I’ve to live with them until I find a way to put on some simple classic looking holders there. The front brake was changed to a 20 year old DiaCompe brake that I bought from Balu. The back brake was a misfit. Not sure why the difference in the two.

New Shifters
Suntour downtube shifters..

I picked up an old stock of brand new Suntour down-tube shifters from the same co-op bike shop in VT. But they were left behind when the friend who was bringing my luggage decided to bring an extra pound of chocolates and left behind the plastic cover with a few bike parts. Thankfully another friend who was coming back last month brought this back with him when my constant follow-up made him understand how important these little bike parts are for me. So, I picked up these shifters from him when I went to Hyderabad last week. Obviously, it was him that I visited first after I landed in Hyderabad.

After the modifications..

Is it worth it?

Well, is it worth it spending to pimp the bike up like this? I would say it is! Firstly, there is the sentimental aspect of trying to hang on to the first bike and trying to make it a better bike. Then, I didn’t spend a fortune. Except for the Cane creek aero brake levers and the Schwalbe Marathon tires, most of the parts are either used and/or cheap. But the bike has become immensely better to ride. Now, it is now my full time commuter as I stopped using the Bulldog for commutes. I think the mudguards would go back on looking at the continuous rains in Bangalore. But at 14kilos, it is still heavy as it is even without the mudguards.

What do you guys think?

I installed the shifters and the brake on the Hawk yesterday. Tuned up the shifting and voila! Finally the modifications are complete!

36 thoughts on “My Hero Hawk 10 Speed- In A New Avatar

  1. Thanks Kiran! @Abhijith.. More modifications coming up sooner than I thought! Will post an update as soon as I'm done! 🙂

  2. Wow, impressive! Surprised that you were able to find tires/tubes outside the country for the Hawk rims. Lugs on the steel frame look good. Only premium frames come with lugs in the West these days.

  3. Arvind, Hawk comes with 27" rims. There are quite a few online bikeshops that still sell 27"x1(1/4) tires. Quite a few popular brands, although not all, come in that size as well. I guess there are still people out there who ride their old steel bikes. 🙂 For the tubes however, I've used the more commonly available 700cx28 Presta tubes. Availability of tubes is more important for obvious reasons while the tires tend to last for a long time(more so tires like the Marathons). Regarding lugs, I would love to lay my hands on a classic steel frame with chrome lugs. 😀

  4. Cool, good to know! Btw, for tubes couldn't you use the local tubes inside the marathons?
    Those classic frames are a lot easier to come by in the US. Guess you're already planning for when you visit next 🙂

  5. Yeah Arvind. I could have used the local tubes but it was conscious decision to move away from the woods valve tubes and move towards Presta. That way, I can use my RoadMorph G pump while on the road.

  6. Yuvraj,

    I have not changed the brake calipers. They are what came stock with the bike. I have changed the brake levers(drop bar brake levers) to CaneCreek SCR-5. Link below.

    If you don't have drop bars already on your bike, this link might be useful.

    But please be warned that all this conversion is a costly affair. Consider just changing the brake pads to some better brake pads available at Decathlon or your local bike shop.

    If you want to change the brake levers, you would need long reach brake levers like the ones in the link below:

    The seat post quick release is the one that is available at Decathlon.

    All the best,

  7. Hi Venky,
    Even I too have a Hero Hawk which I'm thinking to reuse it. Thanks to the potholes in Bangalore which stops me from taking my cycle out. Now I want to repair my cycle can you suggest me some good cycle repairing shops in Bangalore where I can get genuine parts. I have got my cycle repaired thrice for freewheel and rim damage.

  8. Dear Venky,
    I have a first generation hero hawk. Currently I am using 27"x1.25" (630x34mm) Ralson nylon tires. Can i seamlessly shift to 700cx35 (622x35mm) tyres. I am considering 700cx35 500ATP touring Btwin tyres for their puncture resistance and ride quality as compared to the locally available tires.×35/p-249513.htm

    Eventually I want to use hood brake levers. Are there any cheaper alternatives to the Cane Creek Scr 5 that you are using. Or should I just go ahead and get them. My friend from Usa will be making the purchase. Should i ask my friend to buy from Amazon or

    Are the above levers the same as you are using on your bike. How comfortable are these. My palm size is between L-XL (22cms)

    It would not be possible to get tires from Usa (too bulky).

  9. @dj2014: You cannot seamlessly shift to 700cx35 without changing the wheels. If you decide to change the rims to 700c you could change the tires to 700cx35. However, you would need an extra 4mm reach for the brake calipers.

    For alternatives to Cane Creek SCR5, you can consider Pyramid road aero levers:

    Or the Tektro levers:

    All the best!

  10. Hey, lovely write up.i am planning to get myself a hawk and rebuild it myself all over again with most of what youve done.for the weight part you could rebuild parts of the frame with aluminium pipes of the same dimension.P.S i had a hawk single speed when i was a kid which unfortunately got stolen and now trying to relive those memories on a much serious kinda level so i know how much yours means to you.cheers mate.happy pedalling

  11. Hi Venky, I always had a thing for hero hawk since I was a kid and now was planning to buy one, unfortunately the company one's are fitted with gears, is it a good idea to buy the cycle and fit gears locally?. Thanks

  12. Which size tyre and tube fitted in hero hawk nuage cycle
    And your modified cycle was awesome can we get video on your cycle step by step modified YouTube or another video for tutorial purpose.

    1. Tire size is 27′, typical of all older road bikes. I no longer have this bike as I’ve passed it on to a friend.

      1. Why not puchasing ralco tire 27×1.1/4 . these are good tire. I use them works great hold 40 psi very easily. After puncher you can ride , your tire will not damage …..price is not so much 200 rs per rubber tire ….at 450 rs you can change both tire by service man…

  13. Wow! Good job bro! I was thinking of buying the hero hawk fixed gear and turn it into something like what you have done. A 8-9 cassette with ofcourse new type of quick release hubs (front and rear). Latest type of crank set, to start with. Do you think this would be a good idea? I like the geometry of this bike hence this thought. I couldn’t manage to get a frame-only anywhere.

    1. I don’t think it is worth the effort actually. But if you could get hold of an old frame, you could play around with it. Won’t be cheap though.

  14. Please tell me how can fine or buy hero hawk cycle air pump i have hero hawk and i miss the company fited air pump please reply soon
    My WhatsApp number

  15. Hi Venky
    I am a Hawk rider from Ahmedabad.
    Kindly add your Facebook/Instagram Id so we can connect !!

    Awesome Blog and i am looking forward to upgrade my bicycle 🙂

  16. Hi All, Please tell me where to buy this hero hawk road cycle and this cycle was not able to buy in amzon.
    Any one tell me where to buy new hero hawk road cycle in Bangalore location.

  17. Hi,

    I am looking for a used Hero Hawk, so that I can modify with gear. But for now I want to practice the cycle without gear. I tried to find at local cycle shops near to my home in Hyderabad. But they have only new one.

    I would prefer to used one becuase I am not sure how frequnelty I will be using . So please sugges/give any references, so that I can go and buy used Hero Hawk.

    1. No idea about any used Hero hawks, Sridhar. I passed on mine to a friend a few years ago now.

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