I have been enjoying getting around on the Road King bike since restoring it, finding that it handles well, goes reasonably quickly and looks kind of tackily snazzy, with all its red and shiny chrome. The ride is more harsh than I am accustomed to, (I even tried with only 45psi in the tyres) and the running gear is not of the highest quality, but that doesn’t stop me having fun on it! I will replace the saddle as soon as I reasonably can though, as it is unsprung, thinly padded and quite painful over longer distances.
Like all my long term rides it needed mudguards fitted, and a proper carry rack – but where to get real chrome ones – I mean, 27 inch bikes are old hat at bike shops now, aren’t they?
After some searching I found this site online called Vintage Bicycle Rebuilds, they are based in Melbourne. Check them out if you are having trouble finding accessories for 27″ wheeled bikes.
These mudguards were reasonably priced, nicely finished, and look quite the part on 10-speeders. They are claimed to be rust resistant as well. The front guard fitted no problems, but the rear stays were a drama for me because firstly the dropouts on the road king flare out at the top, which fouls the stay’s line and also the stays are quite thick, and I didn’t have enough axle width on this bike to safely tighten the wheel nuts – something to check before ordering. I had to use a spare stay from a 26″ bike fitted to the small threaded eyelet holes provided on the dropouts. It turned out to be just the right length! I fitted them from the inside to clear the rear derailleur The rear guard did not reach to the chain stay bridge on this bike, so I had to fit a small bracket to keep it steady, adding to the fitting time. As the brake brackets are fixed on these guards, very little adjustment is possible.
Also purchased was a traditional style rear rack that fits the axles and seat posts of non-eyelet equipped bikes. Unfortunately the very same dropouts that turn outward at the top also foul the rack stays. The dropouts are fitted with 2 sets of eyelets however, so I have used these by filling the axle holes on the rack legs with small washers to stop them moving about, then larger ones with small bolts to hold everything in place.
This rack should fit easily onto single and 3-speed classic axles, and probably some other 10-speeders as well. It’s almost the same design as the old rack on my vintage speedwell and I was pleasantly surprised that someone is still making them. For me, those black alloy bike shop racks looks awful on classic bikes … However, I would point out that one further problem is that the two arms for the seat tube are incredibly far apart, and require some serious bending to fit the seat post. It’s hard to imagine why they needed to be quite that wide, so be prepared.
I took the opportunity to fit 2 new gumwall tyres while the wheels were off as the old ones were both worn and perished.
The final job for now will be to find a suitable mud flap for the front guard to give the chain some extra protection from stray mud and sand.