The ‘grey ghost’ is looking like a pretty quick project, as much of it is in good order. The front wheel was given a slight true and new grease and is running well. These 80s Araya rims could have been really good on the Cecil Walker, but I don’t want to go there for a while, and this one is worth keeping (fairly) original …
Malvern Star could have made this a brilliant bike by using cast dropouts, a better alloy chainset and derailleurs, down tube shifters, and the same brake levers sans the suicide bits. That’s all it would have taken, but there you go … I like it anyway.
I’ve always wanted a slightly sporty 3-speed, which was what the Sportstar was planned to be, and in lieu of the bent rear axle I’ve removed the rim from the rear and laced it to a Nexus 3 coaster hub. This internal geared hub is heavy-ish, but I wonder if it’s really any heavier than the derailleur hub and cluster plus the rear brake and lever & calliper plus the front and rear mechs and associated hardware, and the extra weight of the double chainwheel ?
Probably not much, and certainly not as heavy as the 7, 8 or 11 speed Nexus/Alfine versions.
You have to be careful with the 3-speed coaster though, as it’s easy to lock it up accidentally if you unthinkingly back pedal, but like everything ‘new bikey’ one gets used to it fairly quickly.
A coaster brake is clumsy with foot retention systems so I generally use flat pedals, in this case the brilliant Speedplay Drilliums.
With a coaster there is also the often added routine of rotating the cranks to the correct o’clock before mounting the bike !
For a derailleur 10-speed to gear-hub conversion the newer internal geared hubs are ideal as they are generally around 120mm width and that means less worry about spacers. 10 speed frames are generally 120 (older) or 126mm wide.
For older coaster hub single speed frames you are better off using an older hub like the 70s/80s Sturmey-Archer AW or Shimano 3S, because these are the same 110mm width and don’t require widening of the frame.
I need to keep the front brake, and in order not to be too asymmetric I think the drop bars may have to go, but I’m still thinking. They really do suit this frame. A cross top lever could be useful if it fits, otherwise it’s Tange moustache bars from Project Sportstar.
Because the Nexus 3 revo-shifter needs a long straight section of bar I guess it’s to be the Tange, unless I can figure out a different shifter system. These revo-shifters are a lot more fragile and fiddly than the old 3-speed triggers as well.
This bike is another example why the serious recyclist needs to be able to build and true wheels – it just wouldn’t be worth it to pay someone else for all this !
So many old bikes need wheel work, as that’s often the reason they were abandoned in the first place. The rear wheel gave me some problems and took a long time to straighten, perhaps because the rim isn’t as stiff as modern ones. Old single wall alloy rims are the hardest ones to re-lace, in my limited experience anyway.
The conversion to a single chainring means that the crank axle probably wasn’t the correct length for a straight chain line so a little measuring is required. I find that most likely a 107mm or maybe 110mm bottom bracket will do the job.
Most current square taper bottom brackets are sealed, no maintenance and non-repairable, though they only cost around $20 to $25. I have successfully used models from Miche, Genetic, and Gist (italy), in standard JIS square taper for single speed and hub gear conversions. In this case ( after measuring the BB and hub ) it’s a Genetic 110.5 mm and lines the chainwheel up quite well with the offset 22T Nexus cog.
I recycled my newish Token TK2051 165mm chainset, it’s nice and light and the black ring vaguely matches the original ‘look’.
Gearing ( i.e. second ) is 48x22T. Unfortunately 3-speeds have unavoidably large gaps between the ratios compared with a derailleur system and so it’s all about compromises. If second is too high, then third becomes little used so I try to make second just high enough to work OK on level road but able to pull up a moderate incline too. Perhaps a 21T would be sufficient although the solid saddle and shortish 165mm cranks mean that spinning fast is relatively easy compared with some other of my bikes. I won’t change the gearing yet without a fair amount of riding first, to suss it all out …
I lifted the Velo Orange hammered guards from the pink mixte ( toe overlap on that one ) and borrowed the Nexus-fitting Brooks grips from my Gazelle. The front brake lever now operates from the left side so as not to foul the shifter – and to make the cables look more symmetrical. I used the brazed on brake loops on the top tube to hold the gear cable in place, as of course there’s no need for the rear calliper now. The Bontrager Select K 27″ tyres used to grace Cecil W. before his conversion to 700C. I’m pretty happy with the look and concept so far.
Steering is quite quick and the bike accelerates and climbs well for an old school ride. As geared, it’s certainly better equipped for the various moderate inclines on the Fernleigh Track than the Duo-matic 2-speed hubs, allowing easy pedalling pretty much everywhere, though the ride is never as finely tuneable for ‘cadence vs.gradients’ as a derailleur system, of course.
See Ya !