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Posts Tagged ‘bike restoration’

another stray !

another stray !

I had to sleep on this one – but it was still there the next day, minus front wheel. A random chuck-out at a Newcastle beachside suburb, I think the metallic mauve colour called me back, for better or worse. Just to show myself  that I’m not too desperate I did leave the two rusty MTBs and a basic mens’ 10 speeder back on the footpath for the cowboys or the metal merchants…

neglected, as usual

neglected, as usual

So here’s the process of pulling it down, as bikes take up less (valuable) shed space as separate frame-sets and wheels until the decision is made to make something out of them :

not at all hopeless

not at all hopeless- i already have a new use for the stem

I might state again that my basic re-cycling philosophy ( read : rant ! ) these days is … if it has the original paint and decals – don’t paint it ! Nothing kills character like a new paint job, and new paint doesn’t sit well visually with old patina’d components either. But if it’s not an original finish, then do with it what you will.

nor fatal ...

not fatal … yet !

Anyhow, when dismantling a neglected bike like this, I have found a routine that suits me.  I put a penetrating agent on as many bolt threads as I can access. I prefer to leave the wheels, bars and saddle on until later, as they may assist in keeping the bike steady while it’s inverted. I go over the bike quickly and see which nuts can be loosened off easily – stem bolt, bar clamp bolt, wheel-nuts, brake lever fittings, bottom bracket lock-ring, steering head lock-nut, etc.

a basement sugino

a basement sugino

Getting the pedals off is done early. In this case steel pedals in steel cranks loosened easily, unlike those in neglected alloy cranks, which can be a nightmare.

Speaking of penetrating fluid, there’s one I discovered recently that isn’t cheap but works really well, and quickly ( available from Bunnings in a red, black & white spray can ) called “Reducteur H-72 Super Releasing Agent”  ( I am running out of my other favourite – called “PB Blaster” ).

I like to remove the cranks early on to prevent possible damage to the chainring teeth, and in this case was hindered by the perished plastic caps – these have allowed water into the threads and the caps can seize in place in time, yet they crumble if you try to twist them out. Carefully wedging out the remains with a small screwdriver helped here – but definitely avoid damaging the threads inside, especially on aluminium cranks !

stubborn so-and-so !

stubborn plastic so-and-so !

Being steel, these square taper cranks came off easily with the extractor without the threads crumbling.  The chain set is a base model pressed steel Sugino with the inner ring riveted on. The crank is swaged onto the outer ring and has developed a slight amount of loose movement between the two –  not really repairable, so it’s off to the metal recyclers for this one !

Removing the chain is necessary to take off the derailleur mechs, and I always renew chains on hard rubbish restorations so I don’t take much care ( or time ) removing the old ones with a chain-splitter. I guess even bolt cutters would do the job here – more recyclable metal scrap !

The brakes have to come off to remove the mudguards, and there isn’t much appeal to these guards or to the rusty ‘Star’ brand callipers, but the metal mudguard stays are always worth keeping even if the guards are well beyond it.

get in there with the silicone spray !

get in there with the silicone spray !

To remove stubborn plastic hand grips I lift them up carefully with a small flat screwdriver, watching the blade doesn’t scratch the bar, then spray in silicone lubricant through a tube-nozzle and simply twist them off  by hand – this always works, is safer than cutting them and the silicone will wash off without damaging the plastic if they are to be re-used. These grips were discoloured but came up whiter in a chlorine bleach bath.

The brake levers are attractive but non-adjustable “Lee Chi” – classic looking alloy jobs with road style mountings – I broke a good flat screwdriver tip getting one off though, as the concealed threads are vulnerable to corrosion and hard to free. Copper anti-seize on the threads is a good idea when re-fitting these. Handlebars are an “Oxford” style, pleasing in shape but they’ll need either some drastic de-rusting or an alternative bar.

some cleaned fittings

some cleaned fittings

The hub is not from this bike – I am recycling 95mm hubs with the narrow 5/16″ axles so I have enough to fit these old ten-speed forks. It’s fairly easy to lace up a front wheel on a good 36H rim (no dishing needed ) and solves the fork compatibility issues.

stripped !

stripped !

At this point the bike looks something like the above frameset and is now much easier to store, but in this case I removed the steering head cups and races for inspection. The bottom bracket was well greased and shiny inside and is very re-useable but the steering assembly might be better renewed. I always look for age clues on found bikes, and in this case the plastic saddle was embossed as 1987. The frame is a useful 55cm size too.

best to replace these ...

the headset – best to replace these …

new headset and rust neutralised - for now

new headset and rust neutralised – for now

The surface rust isn’t terminal either, so I’ll try a little rust converter treatment after degreasing … and voila – here is the frame-set with a new VP headset ( inexpensive ) and the overhauled bottom bracket. A polish and/or a clear coat will bring the shine up further.

a basic commuter ?

a future basic commuter ?

Now, then ..

cecil is looking sharp !

cecil is looking sharp !

Here is a pic of Sir Cecil Walker, in some temporary clothes,and having acquired a new stem and bars. I am testing the brake lever positions – so, no tape yet.

This bike seems to suit 700C wheels – I am trialling a temporary front one, and the steering seems more responsive. Don’t know what to do about the rear though. I’m still waiting for a good traditional lightweight wheel that takes a 5-speed cluster. In 700C ?

More patience required !

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retro thang

retro thang

Well, here it is finally – a sporty retro cruiser – and if that’s not an oxymoron, I don’t know what is !

It’s taken a while because I had to find the room to store it assembled.

It could be a poor person’s “Guv’nor”,  without the laid back frame angles, painted wheels or the front hub brake.

Or the price – but the Pashley “Guv’nor is a beautiful bike nonetheless … I’m not pretending this is as good.

valentine

valentine

Simple, lightweight and relatively low-cost – I know that some might not like the brazed on cable stays remaining, but you never know, I might want to convert it back to a ten speed one day !

There will be some further detailing to come – after some thoughtful test riding, as usual.

Anyhow, here are the parts I used ;

as found ...

as found …

Frame : Road Chief 10-speed steel – 54cm  —- ( O Ye of little faith ).

Headset:   A basic new  Dia-Compe gold alloy  – 1″ threaded

combined reflector and brake stay

combined reflector and brake stay

Bottom bracket / Chain set :       Miche Primato BB / Miche Xpress  forged alloy 170mm – 48x18T

The “X-press” chainset looks more traditional than the trendy “Advanced” model, as well as being significantly cheaper.  The resulting chain line worked out nicely though I had to use spacers to match the hub to the dropouts.

trad. chainset

trad. chainset

Pedals : Genetic gold alloy track with Wellgo clips and Urbanvelo brown leather straps

Seat post :   similar to original plain steel 25,8mm – ( up for revision later on ).

Saddle  :     Brooks B17N brown

Wheels :  Recycled – 36H Alesa 700c alloy rims, Hi-flange front steel hub, Falcon coaster rear.    My first recycled wheel rebuild ! Not perfectly true, but pretty close.

Stem :   Nitto Dynamic 10 cm quill

Bars  :  Inverted alloy ‘tourist” style with cardiff cork grips shellacked

inverted tourist generic bars

with inverted “tourist” bars

Front Brake  :  Dia comp DC750 long reach centre pull calliper, recycled Polygon alloy lever. The long reach calliper is for the change from 27″ (630mm) to 700c (622mm) wheels.

dc-750 calliper

useful dc-750 calliper

Tyres : Schwalbe Delta Cruiser 700x35c

Hub-shiners  :  made from a worn out leather belt ! I’m rather pleased with these.

the little bolt weighs it down on the hub

the little bolt weighs it down on the hub

and the rear with schwinn dome nuts

and the rear with schwinn domed wheel nuts

more fun to come !

more fun to come !

See Ya !

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with delta cruiser 700x35c tyres

with delta cruiser 700x35c tyres

I have been finding out first hand that wheel building is a time consuming activity, but not without its own satisfaction. Because I was building up completely different wheels from the originals I needed to measure the hubs and rims, and decide on the appropriate cross pattern in order to work out the new spoke lengths.

The online spoke calculator that I used has given me the wrong lengths, but I’m not sure why. I had also ordered those said wrong lengths which I only found out after completing a wheel.

I am going to have to find a reliable calculator, or at least one I can better understand.

Of course if you are rebuilding exactly the same wheel with new components then you only need to get the same length spokes again or re-use the old ones if they are in good condition … don’t forget to weigh up the cost of a similar pre-built new wheel, to see if it’s worth your time to do all this !

the front wheel radially spoked

the recycled front wheel, radially 36 spoked

The first wheel was the front one, and the ordered spokes were too long for 3-cross. I decided to use a full set of shorter spokes that I already had, which at 287mm were around the right length for radial spoking. Radially spoked wheels ( i.e. zero cross ) are pretty, but only suitable for front wheels because they lack torsional strength and are more stressful on the hub flanges. Hopefully this one can cope with rim braking but as the coaster rear will be the main brake I think they will be all right (touch wood) with some careful initial testing.

622x17 alesa alloy rim

recycled ETRTO 622×17 alesa alloy rim

Spoke crossing refers to the number of other spokes each spoke will cross between the hub and rim, with 3-cross wheels being the traditional norm. The last or outer cross is the opposite of the previous crosses e.g.. over-over-under or under-under-over for 3-cross. This is referred to as interlacing and helps give wheel strength.

The radial spokes turned out to be slightly long, so I had to file the ends down a couple of millimetres flush with the nipple ends so as not to puncture the rim tape and tube later on. The wheel was built with a little more tension than normal, as recommended by some sources for radial spoking, and I fitted eyelet washers under the nipple heads as an extra precaution against them pulling through the rim.

rear hub 4-cross

rear hub 4-cross

The rear wheel turned out to be loose, because the spokes were too long to fully tension for 3-cross. Frustrated, I re-tried for 4-cross and they worked a treat. 4-cross is supposedly the strongest pattern, though there is possibly no real advantage on this particular wheel over 3-cross, apart from using up the extra spoke length.

Also with 4-cross a spoke can interfere with the head of its adjacent partner unless the hub is small diameter, making them potentially harder to remove if broken.

I could have easily messed it up here, but if the lengths are only slightly wrong there is still a chance to line up a loose spoke against the built wheel and get a pretty good idea by eye whether the wheel will work with a different crossing.

I used the Lennard Zinn book – “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance” – to learn the basics of lacing, it is a fairly repetitive process once you have worked out the position of the initial spoke in each set.

Therapeutic even, as long as you remain calm, focussed, and are not time constrained … otherwise put the wheel down and finish it at some other point !

park tool tm-1

pretty blue park tool tm-1

The tools I used were a Park Tool SW-7  spoke tool, a screwdriver for the nipple ends and a Park Tool TM1 Spoke Tension Meter. The latter is easy to use, comes with charts and instructions, and takes a lot of the guesswork out of tensioning, though they do suggest contacting the component manufacturers for their correct tension specs. Having a wheel fail while riding is not something to take lightly …

For reasonably accurate final truing I think that a wheel truing jig is almost essential.

park tool sw-7 spoke key

park tool sw-7 spoke key

According to Park Tool, the spoke tensions on each side of the wheel should be within plus or minus 20 percent of the average tension of all those spokes for the wheel to remain stable under normal use. This is not easy to guess by hands alone unless you already have a lot of experience, which of course I don’t.

Even if the spoke tensions are all exactly equal the wheel still might not be true, so fine tuning is generally always required.

Doing one adjustment affects everything else because the wheel components are all interconnected under tension – that’s why wheel building is considered another of the bicycle black arts, and why it pays to go step-by-step and slowly !

It would probably be easier to begin with new (hopefully straight) components for your first build, but with good used parts I suppose there is more freedom to experiment.   Do plenty of research on the subject beforehand, of course.

Happy Cycling !

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Anyone remember the Road Chief ten speed from several posts back ?

No ?

I’m not surprised !  Not a very desirable bike …

as found ...

as found …

But here is the surprise – the frame feels quite light compared with some of my other salvaged frames, and I think it would make a sound base for a semi-sporty single speed even though it isn’t made of anything exotic …

And for some time I’ve been wishing for a wheel truing jig so that I can swap and / or rebuild some hubs and rims for various projects.

I also want to reuse some of the many parts that are building up in the recyclist’s shed, meaning using as few new bits as possible and keeping the cost down..

One of my little jobs a while back was to repaint the frame in rattle can “Hunter Green”, while masking off the nicely cracked road chief decals to keep some history there.

a little better, yes ?

a little better, yes ?

The head tube decal was damaged, so I made a new metal one from some scrap copper, masking it off with clear coat and dipping in sodium polysulphide (sepia toner for photos) to blacken around the “R”, then I clear coated over it again and pop-riveted it to the frame. The back of the rivets needed filing down to clear the fork steerer. The bike is fitted with a new Dia-Compe headset as the old one was shot. Not sure about the gold now though !

all done with a few hand tools ...

all done with a few hand tools … i need to ‘antique’ the rivets yet

I was going to have a go at building a wheel jig, but never seemed to get around to it – ( as you don’t ! ). So I’ve taken the easy way out, being well over trying to true wheels in the frame…and bought this basic Ulix – it came with no instructions but the operation is straightforward and I have some repair books that include wheel building etc.

Upon having a quick play, it is obviously going to be much better than truing in a frame or fork…

IMG_2145

“Project Road Chief” will be a ‘poor person’s take’ on the Pashley Guv’nor – use the search term “path racer”  to get an idea, but don’t worry about the pedantic and opinionated forum arguments about the definition – I just loosely read it as ” all-rounder, single speed, moderately lightweight, cream ‘semi-balloon’ tyres, retro look, relaxed frame angles with inverted ‘tourist bars’ — hmmm.

Perhaps “cycle-path racer” or “cafe racer” would be better terms for such vintage style sports-roadsters …

I plan a caliper brake front and a coaster brake rear, 700c alloy wheels and cream 35c tyres, modern alloy chainset and a leather saddle. I’ve salvaged the alloy rims from my Apollo Nouveau Cross and removed the hubs as they run too roughly. This will be my first attempt to build up a new-recycled wheelset, and that brings me to the very basic but compact Falcon CF-E10 coaster hub, of which I have a couple of salvaged spares. I’m hoping that it is robust enough to perform well as it doesn’t look as finely made as the older coasters.

One of these is on a small wheeled Schwinn ( a salvaged kids bike ) with 28 spokes, unsuitable of course, as the intended rims are 36 hole. The other hub is a 36 hole 20″ wheel but the axle is too short for the spacers needed for 126mm dropouts ( coaster hubs are around 110mm wide ) … so what to do ?

the old innards - note the ususal rusty driver screw

the old innards – note the ususal rusty driver screw

Easy ! Swap the internals with the long axle to the 36 hole hub – well, it sounds easy … but we shall see. Extra spacers should cope with the dropout width as I am fitting small into larger. The issue here will be maintaining a straight chain line for efficiency, which will mean reducing the crank axle width and/or using an offset rear cog. Luckily this hub takes the 3-lug and spring clip Nexus/Alfine style cogs of which I have many examples to choose from ( thanks, Shimano ).

28 vs. 36 holes

28 vs. 36 holes

the overhauled coaster

the overhauled coaster

Another problem with updating the many old ten-speeders I am finding is that the front fork dropouts are designed for wheels having only 95mm locknut width and with skinny 5/16 inch axles. An easy way around the locknut width may be to fit thinner locknuts to a modern 100mm front track nutted wheel – not always possible. Filing the dropouts out for a larger axle could affect safety, so I can’t recommend it – or else one can fit a wider 100mm fork, but that’s  less appealing if it’s an ugly modern non-lugged unicrown type.

the recycled front hub ...

the recycled front hub …

In this case I am going to try fitting the 80s 700c Alesa brand 317 alloy  rim to an old but overhauled high flange steel hub. Many of the old chromed steel rims I find are too rusted to give pleasant rim braking and they are often dented as well, from having being ridden over bumps with low tyre pressure. For recyclists like myself, this often means having less good wheels than good frames on hand, which is another reason why I want to try some wheel rebuilding.

Speaking of wheels, here’s a trick for removing an old BMX 4-prong 40mm ‘Dicta’ brand freewheel without the proper tool – I used some old unidentified pawls from my scrap box and put them in a vice 40 mm apart as shown – put the freewheel on the “tool” – (with the wheel axle, bearings etc. removed first) – face down and turn the whole wheel anticlockwise – it beats a trip to the bike shop to be told “come back later we’re busy” – so there, LBS !

post-removal, showing "tool"

post-removal, showing “tool”

This freewheel is part of top secret “Project Haro” – but that’s another story !

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i think i'm going crazy...

i think i’m going crazy… check the mummified snake combination lock

Something about this frame I found at the local bike hoarder’s yard appealed to me — perhaps it was the rusty orange patina, chrome fork lowers, decent lugs and the traditional Apollo head badge, harking back to times when there was a little more prestige in bicycle making.

I think it’s of 1981 manufacture, but it does look older because of the horrendous condition. It isn’t anything exotic either, being your typical mid-range ten-speed ‘sports bike’, not particularly lightweight and having those trendy (at the time)  useless little cut off mudguards with no stays.

Some times I question my own sanity, but I do like the perverse freedom of a hopeless bicycle repair challenge.

in fact i'm sure ...

in fact i’m sure …

I inquired about the price – “Two dollars is OK, but it’s no good for anything but maybe parts … !”

sigh ...

sigh … that was chrome

Then – “Wait, just take it no charge, it’s been sitting in the yard for 15 years … ! “

So I may make this an occasional project to illustrate some problems in getting an old ten-speed up and running, though not necessarily in it’s original form. As you can see, the stem, bars, brakes and gears are missing and the rear wheel is a very rusty non-original single speed coaster that has been bodgied into the rear dropouts.

Armed with a can of the excellent  “PB blaster” penetrating spray, and a few well chosen tools, it looked like this after a short period :

the nitty gritty

the nitty gritty

The Sugino double chain set has heavy steel rings with forged 165mm alloy cranks.  I still think it’s a lovely shape for such a basic model.

lovely shape with the guard ring ...

puller still in — a lovely shape to the guard ring …

Removing taper square alloy cranks should be done with care, as it’s really easy to strip out the threads that the puller engages. First disassemble the puller and screw the big thread in by hand first, and then by spanner once you are sure the threads aren’t crossed. it needs to go in as far as it can before the centre pin is screwed in. Make sure you have taken the crank nuts off first (with a 14mm socket spanner generally). In this case both cranks came off very easily – that’s not always the case ! The well greased bottom bracket came apart easily with a c-spanner, a pin spanner – and my Cyclus BB tool for the drive side cup.

there's the nut

there’s the nut – is that 1981 ? – probably

then the puller

then the puller

fork talk

pretty sad

I need to think about which wheels to use, as one of the problems with these old ten speed frames is that the forks are designed for front wheels with spindly axles and being around 95mm width over the locknuts as well – whereas most new wheels are 100mm – you can widen the drop-outs by hand and force them in, sure, but it isn’t good practice to do that.

The “U.V. free” fork stem paint gives the best look at an original colour :

stamped "tange - japan"

stamped “tange – japan”

Also, the rear dropouts on this are around 120mm across, which is too wide for coaster hubs and too narrow for modern derailleur wheels (130mm) – without some modification.

More on this later …

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OK, so I’m on a Monday morning mission on the purple Giant and I pass a rusty looking bike under a pile of junk that’s been thrown out.

“Ahh, not another K-mart MTB” I sigh, while blindly riding past, mind elsewhere and biking some distance from home.

Strangely though, a minor emergency happens a few hours later, and I am in the same area in the van … “I wonder what was that bike ? Well, I might as well have a quick look, mightn’t I, though I suppose it won’t be there  now ?”

Still there, and oh, it’s a Shogun “Samurai” flat bar roadie – in Tange Infinity 4130 Cro-mo steel, and looks to only have perished tyres, dry grease, surface rust and a seized chain as it’s main issues !!

I gave many humble thanks to the Hard Rubbish Gods — they had somehow kept it safe from the scrap metal cruisers — and I’m on my way home.

woohoo ... a new project !

woohoo … a new project !

The bike is complete except for pedals, has a shimano RX100 groupset (one down from 105 ), 54 or 55 cm frame with unicrown cro-mo fork, and the weird  and “eccentric” biopace chainrings. It’s 14 speed with revoshift shifters, and grey coloured light alloy 700c wheels that have unreadably faded decals.

 

these crazy oval rings should be fun to try ....

these crazy oval rings should be fun to try ….

The seat, stem, bars, brake levers and shifters are a bit underwhelming, but the headset is a nice looking Tange. The bike is quite light in weight.  Tange ‘Infinity’ is a mid-range, seamed and tapered, quality Cro-mo tubing from all reports …

another view

another view- the welded stem is rather ordinary, methinks

tange headset and rx100 dual pivot calipers look decent

tange headset and shimano rx100 dual pivot calipers look decent

 a bit of advertising

a bit of fashionable period advertising 

So now it soaks up some ‘PB blaster’ while I contemplate its future.

not bad, if not 531 !

not bad, if not  R531 !

Ahh, so many bikes, so little time …. teehee.

 

 

 

 

 

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it's ho-ho-hot

it’s ho-ho-hot in this get-up, hey santa ?

Those who live in the southern hemisphere truly understand the irony of Christmas, where overdressed Santas inhabit chilly air-conned shopping centres, while outside the mercury is in the mid 30s Celsius. The land bakes under a burning blue and white sky, and most people are wearing as little clothing as is publicly decent.

To get into these centres, one usually drives around and around in a crammed carpark, looking for the telltale signs of departing fellow motorised consumers, all quietly adding to the global buildup of greenhouse gases while morphing into grumpy old Christmas hating people. At least the SUV has airconditioning … ( cough ).

So, how otherwise might one stay relatively sane when doing last minute small item shopping ?

a stealth shopper

a stealth shopper with anti-sunburn gloves

Easy ! — by using one’s shopper bike.  The Elswick Cosmopolitan is a perfect example – with its front and rear carry racks over small wheels giving a low centre of gravity and an easy low speed manoeuvrability. One simply locks it to an immovable object right out front of the shops and heads on inside ….

It’s a little bit ratty and not very steal-able so that one doesn’t have to worry too much about theft while inside the shops. The re-cycled budget Italian plastic fruit crate makes riding this bike a truly Euro-Brit-Aus-Cosmopolitan experience (tee hee).

now load it up ...

now, load it up …

So then, the Elswick is finally operational, despite a missing on-line parts order which has since been replaced by the supplier. There are a few details left to finish, as well as the usual “post-resto” bedding-in-and-tweaking adjustments. Oh yes, and first gear is not working – so one day this may be my first hub gear re-build ( gulp! ). Two speeds are OK for now, but a bigger sprocket again may be called for meanwhile  - (22T ?).

midsummer stripes

midsummer stripes

de-rusted, pre-aged and hand painted guards (lol)

de-rusted, pre-aged and hand-painted guards (lol)

All this makes me wonder if there will ever be ride-through shopping, (or at least indoor bike parking) in our supermarkets…

Have a Happy Cycling Christmas!

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the seat post freed

The imperfection and impermanence of older weathered bicycles has nostalgic appeal for me and so I like to keep some of the markings of use, but at the same time I like bikes to be well maintained and safe , and that can give me tiny dilemmas at times…

the non-adjustable cup — if it ain’t broke, don’t force it …

Having had a chance to look more closely at this bicycle, it’s obvious now that the big stumbling block is the rear wheel. Repair or replacement will be difficult for a few reasons. For a start, I don’t have the two prong “Suntour” freewheel remover and it’s probably not worth buying it for a hub that may be ruined inside anyway, as the axle is visibly slightly bent. I’ve been advised that the tool may break because of possible electrolytic corrosion between the steel cluster and alloy hub. Given the other bits that were “welded” together e.g. the seat post and tube and the headset nut and fork tube I don’t doubt this !

a little preserving clear coating

Also, the bike’s rear dropout spacing is an old 70′s width of 120mm and most recent bikes have 130mm dropouts. Most new road wheels are 130mm width and have wider gear cassettes (more speeds) as well. I’m not that keen on buying old wheels on the web either, sight unseen…

overhauled nice SR pedals, cleaned up straps

Perversely,120mm is the width of most rear track hubs and this bike has semi-horizontal dropouts, suggesting that single speed is an option, although I rather wanted to keep it as a ten speed. Also the downtube shifter bosses will not look good with the shifters removed, but I won’t be grinding them off in case I do find the correct rear wheel and cluster one day.

the story so far …

However, as long as the frame is kept original and I keep all the gear parts together, it wouldn’t be a drama for me to convert to single speed on a temporary basis and the shifter bosses could be neatened up a little with a couple of small bolts and washers.

er, yes boss …

Also, I have since found out that Sturmey Archer make the S2 Duomatic two-speed kickback non-coaster brake version hub in a 120mm O.L.D. ( over the locknut width ). With the right choice of sprocket this would be more flexible than single speed for where I live and also allow the original brakes to be used as designed.This hub could be fitted to a new “plain” 27 inch 36 hole rim, e.g. a Velocity “twin hollow” or even a trad. style 700c rim.

testing —— oh, crap — toe overlap

It’s a good idea to check for toe overlap when inspecting this kind of sporty bike, and sure enough it’s there – this is with a 27 x 1 & 1/4″ tyre (above), but it does the same thing with a 700c x 35 that I tried. It’s an annoying trait that can really catch you out at slow speeds, though becoming irrelevant as speed increases and the front wheel is stabilised.

show stoppers

Going 700c would mean a much better range of tyres and rims available and I know the existing brakes will reach. Incidentally, the Modolo brakes look very well made and have cleaned up nicely.

…and not too shabby

Hmmm – I’m still thinking about all this — should I simply remain in a patient wait for an old 5-speed wheel that may never appear ?

in another life, i could have been…

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In another life not so long ago, an unemployed recyclist would have been in bicycle heaven. Now with a full time workload and a choc-a-bloc shed, he has become much more selective…

another one bites the dust …

Thus, on a recent morning exercise ride I passed by this unloved Huffy almost without blinking an eye. Once it would have been straight back with the van to collect another stray …

One thing about riding though, it gets my thought train rolling – why else was this bike now so seemingly undesirable ?

don’t get me wrong, they’re not entirely useless !

Well, it’s a department store bike and new ones can be had for relatively little money. And yet, so was my road king bike once, and I was quite happy to make a respectable commuter out of that old Woolworths 10 speeder – and still would.

maybe it’s a fashion thing – ’70s and ’80s 10-speeds are “in” … ?

Secondly, these cheap suspension bikes are unnecessarily complicated and unpleasantly heavy with their uncomfortable flat bars and rigid seats. The sprung forks, rear shock and (possibly) disc brakes all have the potential to wear out and leak fluid, and replacement units would probably be a waste of money.

They are obviously targeted to consumers who may be convinced they will have almost everything for almost nothing.

The surface finishes on many areas of these cheap bikes will oxidise almost while you watch them, rapidly giving an end appearance of cheap and neglected “ugly-tech”. The low price and rustability means that they are approaching throwaway status so why not just buy another one using a high $AUD and cheap overseas labour ?

If this Huffy had been a simple, more  timelessly styled and designed bike with rigid frame and forks and perhaps a sprung saddle, how much more appealing would it have been to keep, sell or restore it, even if it wasn’t top quality in the first place, or was a little more expensive to begin with ?

timeless ?

But would people buy it ?

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progressing slowly

I find it useful to have a few jobs going at once when restoring/preserving, as I can get tired of monotonous work. So while having a break from the frame sanding I had a look at the wheels. I gave the wheels a spin and looked for warps first, to give me an idea how much truing is needed – the answer in this case is “a little”.

some of the worst affected

The steel front wheel has a Sturmey-Archer hub and a rim stamped “Raleigh England”. The luxurious old gumwall tyre has degraded and has no decipherable lettering. The Thai made Vee Rubber tube has a “94″ stamp on it – so not original.

These cones have a raised flange on the outer that mates with the fork, so the fork must be spread to remove the wheel. There is a “semi-fixed” round cone and an adjustable one with flats for a cone spanner, and generally these wheels should be installed so the adjustable cone is on the left side and will not self-tighten in use, as there are no locknuts.

A tip for hub disassembly – run a stiff wire brush parallel to and over all exposed axle threads – you will find the cones and nuts much easier to remove. The exposed thread ends gather a lot of rust and dirt and possibly thread damage from various knocks over the years. When the cone is off, I brush the whole thread briskly then clean in kerosene to aid reassembly.

front rim scraped back (top), rear rim – hiding nasties (bottom)..

The silver paint on these rims obviously conceals some nasties underneath, so will be removed by hand ( knife, wire brush, rust converter, steel wool used ). They won’t be ultra shiny, that’s for sure …

The chrome is badly damaged, but the rim itself is sound. I like to leave the tyre on initially to protect the rim while working, but at some point it must come off along with the rim tape. Two reasons – to check for corrosion and to allow access to the spoke ends for truing. Corrosion often appears around the valve hole, spoke nipples under the tape and in the little holes on the inner rim (see pic). It needs to be wire brushed and neutralised.

Remember that rust converter may not penetrate thick rust – if you scrape it off and see red rust beneath you may need to repeat the process. Scraping off the converted rust and re-treating can often bring up more shine too.

On sensitive metals you need to be careful and wash it off quickly, but on heavily rusted chrome I let it dry and scrape it off then re-coat  – I once left a brush in rust converter a few days to find that the metal ferrule had completely dissolved !  I think it can remove galvanising quickly too …

removing bearings and axle

With loose ball bearings you need to be careful – support the axle so it doesn’t fall through the hub and lose the opposite bearings when unscrewing the cone.

Ensure that you have containers ready for the balls to fall into as you tip the wheel over – always some balls fall out while others remain stuck – then they gradually let go while you’re not looking and can drop everywhere !!  The remaining stuck balls can be picked out carefully with long nosed pliers.

Clean the hub races, axle and cones in kerosene using an old toothbrush and dry – clean the balls with a cloth after soaking in kero. Check bearing surfaces for pits and cracks which indicates replacement is needed – I store the balls with their original cones for re-assembly, unless they are to be replaced.

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