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Chuck-out season continues relentlessly, and up until now, the streets have been a bit bare … but here’s an odd find. A Roadmaster 3-Speed step-through, simply labelled “Three Speed”, which is borderline as to what I would normally pick up, but I just couldn’t resist the 3-speed derailleur set up.

pretty unexciting, but barely used ..

The Roadmaster appears hardly used, but has suffered the ravages of idleness in a salty environment, albeit in someone’s shed. A good candidate for spare part hub internals, etc.

I find it unusual that a cheap bike from this era has a square taper crank set ( no cotters ) and yet a backward looking three speed derailleur system.  Of course this would have cost less than a 3-speed geared hub to the maker, ( and appeared more trendy ), but why not a five speed in the 1980s, even on such a cheapie ?

shimano tourney copy ..

The rear derailleur and shifter are the DNP brand, which I hadn’t heard of before … they are Taiwanese, and still making gear systems, it seems. The R.D. is very similar to an old Shimano Tourney and the crude-looking shifter has a fine ratchet movement, rather like the nicely ratcheted Dia-Compe shifters.

ratcheted thumb shifter – note the full length cable outer

Then again, this would have been a very simple system to use in the pre-indexing days, and really, for round town use, most people wouldn’t need more than three gears – so there ! 

Also, strangely, it was running a 1/8″ chain ( single speed / track ) with a master link … so it should also last forever with reasonable care ! In a dry climate such as here, it made a kind of sense, I suppose.

three speeds only, and the obligatory pie-plate spoke protector

It would seem that the three cogs were screwed onto a wider Long Yih – ( Taiwan ) freewheel with some threads left over, and with cog spacing for the wider 1/8″ chain.

I have some better and more interesting 120/126mm spaced frames than the Roadmaster for accepting this gear train, and my curiosity has been aroused to try and make it work again.

Speaking of three speeds, I also had the very good luck to find a 1972 Sturmey Archer 36 hole AW hub.  Why so good ? Because almost all my S-A hubs are older 40 hole ones, and I have many more good 36H rims than 40H !  So I can see another planetary overhaul coming up, some time soon …

Happy Re-cycling !

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some rain here would be nice..

Initially I was thinking single speed, but I have quite a few of those now, and I already had a 40H Sturmey Archer FW 4-speed hub in a good 27″ wheel. The hub is dated to 1966, which is pretty close to the 1965 of the AW 3-speed that I think was on it originally. The front wheel is a 32H steel rim on an S.J.W. hub.

sturmey archer FW 4-speed hub

As mentioned in the previous post, I wanted to keep the original paint intact, so the only thing I did here was to retouch the “Holland” lettering on both sides of the down tube. This was done by hand, following the original outlines as much as possible. It seemed a bit pointless to leave them so worn, as it so obscured the brand name and thus lost some historical interest.

i think it’s subtle ..

I tried to maintain a matching  ‘patina’ effect on the new segments of the letters. You can see the difference by looking at the previous post.

4 gears .. cool bananas !

I had a 4-speed trigger too, to go with the rear wheel, though I can’t vouch for it being period correct. The 4-speed FW Sturmey hub is new to me, and requires a lot of pressure to engage bottom gear.  The extra gear is quite useful though, and on these hubs the series goes : 4-high, 3-normal, 2-low, 1-bottom.  Adjustment is made in 2-low where the indicator rod should be flush with the axle end when looking into the round window on the left hand wheel nut ( or at least that’s the starting point ! ).  I had a few dramas trying to get it to work correctly and soon learned that the fixings must be quite tight, so as to withstand the strong tension of 1-bottom gear compared with the 3-speed models.

you can see the end of the indicator rod. it is a 2-piece unit on the FW. seen here in “3-normal” gear.

I used a Jagwire outer and a new Sturmey inner gear cable, though it doesn’t have the thin plastic wrap on it that goes over the jockey pulley wheel. Unfortunately, while Sturmey Archer hubs can last almost forever, some of the matching fittings and cables are getting harder to find in good condition. Interestingly, this hub is faintly stamped “USA” with a number, as well as the usual (3/66) date stamp and brand/model.

One of the problems with choosing brake callipers for these older Australian bikes is that the required drop to the rear rim is often greater than that to the front. In this case, I used a Weinmann Carrera for the front and a Weinmann Model 730 at the rear. The idea was to have the ‘best’ brake on the front – the 730 is a bit ordinary in its stopping power…

the weinmann ‘carrera’

The short steel stem, the Tange moustache bars, and Dia-Compe reversed levers seemed to suit this bike, so I pilfered them from another steed. They were already wrapped with the Berthoud leather bar tape over the white cables, which I didn’t want to disturb, though I do think I’ll change the cables for gold coloured ones, eventually.

The cranks are Sakae Silstar 165mm and come from a junked coaster-braked 1982 Malvern Star Roadstar, again, not period correct, but effective.

165mm cranks are good for spinning, which is sometimes useful with the fairly large jumps in the ratios of hub gears. This bike probably had cottered Williams cranks, but this will be a user, and these will be much more practical. At this point, gearing is 46 x 20T, ( i.e. in ‘3-normal’ ) and we’ll see how that goes for now.

With 27″ wheels and 165 cranks, gearing on the low-ish side is in order, relative to the usual 700c and 170mm.

now that’s a nice patina !

The saddle is a Brooks B17, and though I can’t find a date code on it, I think it’s 1970s. I used the stainless mudguards that I took off the Road King before I sold it, with the Gilles Berthoud leather mud-flap intact on the front one, topped off with the PDW Fender-bot ( such a cool name ) tail lamp / reflector, at the rear. 

the elegant fender-bot

I think that the Brooks “Isle of Wight” saddlebag is the most useful and good looking small tool holder in their range, the only down-side I find with them is not being able to use a modern rear light on the seatpost, but that’s not a problem here. The attachment method is so easy, and in the non-black versions they are nice looking. This one is a medium, in green.

with brooks bag ..

Tyres are Cheng Shin white walls in 27″ ( 32-630 ). It’s sad that good 27″ tyres are becoming more and more scarce as 700c becomes ubiquitous … ah well !  After riding 700c Tufos it takes a while to get used to the block tread’s  squirminess in corners, but they do suit this ride, I suppose.

Although the top tube is a bit cluttered with cables now, they at least hide the extremely worn surface somewhat.  I think this bike is an eye-catcher because of the unusual paint scheme and patina, and the 4-speed set up, along with the plush extras fitted.

And I’m rather enjoying hearing the serene tick-tick-tick ( in normal & high gears ) of a well oiled planetary hub once again !

Happy Re-Cycling !      

No, sorry, it’s not about Dutch bikes ( even though I do have one ) – I’m referring to this Australian made ‘Holland’ frame. 

holland c.1965

Hollands were apparently built by R.L. Bates, a company that made many bicycles for the trade – and also refurbished them – in Melbourne, Victoria.  I’ve even seen a photo of a Malvern Star 5-Star that has been re-painted as a Bates !

a swingin’ 6os paint job … !

The bike came to me as only a frame, with a pair of 32 and 40 hole 27″ wheels, including a 1965 Sturmey Archer AW 3-speed hub and steel rims, so there isn’t very much to go on.

Looking at the construction, it appears well made, with its solid fork ends and slender seat stays, although the lugs are quite plain. Perhaps the most unusual features are the orange-over-silver base colour and the sprayed pink, gold, and green colour patches toward the front end.

nice thick fork ends

Typically Australian is the fine hand lining work on all the tubes and forks. With all this decoration going on, I suppose that fancy lugs might have seemed overkill.

smooth seat stay tops

Hub widths are 90mm front and 110mm rear, so the options are single speed ( fixed, free or coaster ), or 3-speed internal. I’m not sure yet, but let’s  just say I’m leaning toward simplicity.

Top tube is 58 c-c , seat tube 55 c-c. It takes a 26.6 mm seat post.

100% bulldog !

I assume the “100% British” refers to the frame materials ( and perhaps gears ? ), but that’s only a guess, because it was incomplete … and there’s not much I can find on the web – a lot of irrelevant ‘Dutch bike’ related subjects pop up when a search is made. I’m still looking.

down tube decal

Unlike the solid coloured BSA, this wouldn’t be an easy finish to try and touch up, and it has a lot of patina, as well as some missing bits of decal, so a little contemplation is in order, before starting anything !

I don’t wish to ruin it….

To Be Continued.        

the beezer, pretty much completed

This has been a bit of an exercise in ‘period’ upgrading, without unnecessarily over-capitalising the bike. The way I mostly save on expenses is to do all the work myself, to avoid labour costs.  Not only that, but it’s more satisfying, especially when building up your own wheels.

Apart from consumables – chains, cables, tyres, bar tape, bearings, brake pads – I also try and use as many recycled components as I reasonably can.

the drive-line

The new bottom bracket cartridge turns in easily on the re-tapped threads, but it tightens up well. A Genetic brand 110.5 mm axle was about right for chain line.

I’ve chosen a set of Sugino Mighty cranks in the unusual 171mm length – the original (?) drillium inner ring was worn, but I salvaged a pair of rings in 144bcd from my Ofmega CX cranks as I can no longer use these without a good Ofmega or Avocet spindle. Apparently they ( Ofmega ) are incompatible with JIS or ISO tapered spindles..

144 b.c.d. is an old ‘bolt circle diameter’, and these rings can be hard to find in 3/16″ derailleur versions, though there are plenty still being made for 1/4″ track chains. Their down-side, in the modern world, is a minimum useable chainwheel size of around 42T.

1979 b17 narrow

The fork was refitted with new 5/32″ bearings in the original headset. For lightness and reliability I’m using a Shimano 500 rear derailleur, salvaged from a hard rubbish bike and a Shimano 600 front derailleur – with the Shimano band on down tube shifters from an old Bennett. The original 25.4mm seat pin was a bit short so I fitted a longer version of the same. The saddle is a 1979 Brooks B17 narrow.

The stem is a Soma Sutro 80mm with 25.4 bar clamp and a set of Charge classic drop bars.

Brake levers are 1st generation Dura-Ace, which look similar to my drilled 600 ‘Arabesque levers’ ( these, and those, are the nicest shaped non-aero levers I’ve used ).

The Weinmann centre pull brakes would have both been retained, with new pads fitted – except that the front one wasn’t long enough to reach the new 700C wheel and so had to be replaced with a period Dia-Compe.

The rear brake had longer reach so was re-used. These centre pull brakes have a slightly spongey feel to them compared with modern dual pivot brakes – steady does it.

weinmann/alesa concave 700c – they are tough !

The original Sturmey Archer hubs have been re-laced into Weinmann / Alesa concave 700C rims to allow a decent choice of tyres, and the freewheel is a Shimano Z-series 14-24T,  5-speed cluster. The bike’s reduced weight will hopefully compensate for the 52/42T chain set and should work pretty well for me, although it is a bit higher than the original 49/40T. I couldn’t get a 28T freewheel to clear the derailleur for some reason.

The tyres are Tufo ‘tubular clinchers’ in 700 x 25C – a tight fit on these rims. I’ve grown fond of Tufos, they are well made, light, and they also ride, corner and grip quite well. Removable presta valves allow the use of sealant if punctured.

Now it’s a matter of refitting the original stainless steel mudguards, fitting the chain, cables and bar tape, and a lot of adjusting and tweaking … woohoo — I can’t wait to take it for a spin !

 

P.S.  Here’s a list of the original parts – if any one happens to be restoring one back to original ( most are not in these photos ) :

Bars : Steel drops 25.4mm unbranded

Stem : Steel quill 1″- no branding.

Headset : 1″ loose ball 5/32″ 26t.p.i threading.

Chainset : Raleigh 49x40T cottered, steel. 26t.p.i. bottom bracket threading.

Freewheel : Atom 77,  14-25T 5-speed cluster

Derailleurs : Raleigh branded – made by Huret  rear with 26 & 28T options.

Brakes : Centrepull alloy —- Front : Raleigh/Weinmann 610 — Rear : Raleigh/Weinmann 750, Weinmann alloy levers with Dia-Compe ‘safeties’

Rims : Rigida Chrolux 27x 1 & 1/4″ HP steel 36H 3-cross spoking

Hubs : Sturmey Archer high flange steel 36H

Shifters : Raleigh, down-tube, band-on ( Huret again )

Stainless steel mud guards fitted – as in these photos.

Pedals : Raleigh 717, rat-trap steel as in these photos

Saddle and bar tape ( ? ) – non-original…steel seat pin 25.4mm.

 

 

Until next time – happy re-cycling !

after some masking, lining, retouching

The BSA team had won the Tour of Britain in 1952, and to commemorate this, the “Tour of Britain” model was released.  It wasn’t a high-end bike even then, but it seems at least the main tubes were Reynolds 531 and it had reasonable BSA and GB components and a Brooks saddle. Raleigh took over BSA in 1957 as the ‘golden age of bicycles’ was drawing to a close. Fast forward to 1978, and this model has become a pretty basic heavy steel ‘sports bike’ .

heavy metal ? – strewth !

Yet it’s still a classic of sorts, even if a heavy steel double chain set and chromed steel rims do not a racer make. The main brake and ‘suicide’ levers and the Weinmann centre pull callipers were the only alloy components to be found.   It certainly isn’t worth spending a fortune on,  yet it has appeal, I suppose, because of the BSA legend – and is fairly rare, at least here in Oz.  If it had been a genuine pre-Raleigh era BSA I would want to keep it more original, however, as it is, I think some lightening is needed. The original parts can be stored away together, just in case. I know there’s only so much one can do with a relatively heavy frame but the weight of it as standard is a bit ridiculous !

The bike was purchased complete, and mostly original, with a straight frame, some surface rust and tatty paint. It’s a 55cm seat tube and 57cm top tube.

Sorry Anglophiles, but it’s going to be wearing some lighter period Japanese clothing soon. Most of the original gear train was made by Huret ( France ) anyway, and the derailleurs are in rough shape.  The band-on down tube steel Huret/Raleigh shifters are unbelievably heavy too.

sturmey archer high flange steelies overhauled – wing nuts weren’t standard

The hubs are also heavy, but do look pretty – and being Sturmey-Archers, they are well worth keeping, while the Rigida rims are a bit out of shape – and alloys would be nicer. All the cones were pitted and the 5/16 ” front axle was slightly bent, so replacements were needed for these. The main things to deal with here were the greater width of the new cones and the different sized dust seals. This is where having a box of salvaged seals and lock-washers of differing width comes in handy. The front bearings are loose 3/16″ with a 5/16″ axle and the rear 1/4″ bearings on a 3/8″ nutted axle – fairly standard stuff for lower end bikes. Spacing for the hubs is 95mm front and 120mm rear ( 5-speed ).

pedals overhauled

When you hand test an old pedal it isn’t always a good sign that it spins for a long time – this usually means that the grease has dried up or washed away. After overhaul you can feel that the grease viscosity has slowed the spin, but they also feel much smoother. These are Raleigh 717 steel rat-traps.

raleigh type fixed cup and park HCW-11. the bolt & washers are a necessity

This model’s  bottom bracket cups were Raleigh 26t.p.i. – the type that has a very low profile 16mm spanner flat, and they proved stubborn – so I bought a Park Tool HCW-11 spanner. Though this looks thin, it is quite strong in the direction of rotation, and works very well as long as it’s held in place with a large bolt and washers, and thick gloves are used, to prevent sore hands from the spanner edge. This type of cup is also used on some lower end 1980s bikes that have the standard English 24t.p.i. threading, so this spanner will definitely get more than one use.

The steering head has loose 5/32″ ball bearings and removable cups – also with the same 26t.p.i. threading on the adjustable top race.

I was pleased to be able to research all this on the Sheldon Brown web site – god bless that man !

bring out the big guns – the lifeline bb tap & face kit

I looked at the options on the site and after some fiddling with combinations of cups, bearings and spindles concluded that 26t.p.i. was not for me. So out with the BB tap and face set, and it’s now going to have a 24t.p.i. square taper cartridge bb.  This is the most drastic ( and the most versatile ) way of solving the problem but I’m determined not to use the clunky cottered Raleigh chain set. 

 The BB is a Raleigh 71mm, not the standard English 68mm. I did remove a small amount of metal to face it, and the cartridge mount fits flush on the non-drive side – that’s O.K., thanks to it not needing a lock ring. It would take an awful lot of elbow grease to get it down to 68mm to take a standard cup and lock ring !

The steering cups will remain as is – note : as the fork threads are, of course, 26t.p.i. as well, a new fork would be required should the adjustable cup be changed to a standard 24t.p.i.  Interestingly, the fork crown lugs have a similar shape to some 1980s Tange lugs.

This bike will take some time to complete because of the attention needed by the paintwork and the BSA logos.

To Be Continued…

1960s flash – with original paint

This one came as only a frame, forks, headset and bottom bracket so I don’t know the exact running gear. While I realised that I could almost make a complete ‘period’ bike with this frame plus the parts off ‘ Flash No. 1’ , I decided that’s a project for sometime down the track. I am estimating an early 1960s build, but don’t quote me on that !

Serial number is W19788 whereas most of my other gent’s Speedwells have a “V” prefix. Seat tube is 55cm c-c and top tube 58cm c-c. I call it ‘over-square’.  Though the frame is technically a bit small for me, the longish stem and top tube combine to negate the slightly short seat tube.   

downtube details

It does seem a few years younger than my other Flash because the head and seat tube lugs are less ornate and there is no bottom bracket oil port.  The box lining is simpler and there’s more use of decals rather than paint stencilled decoration.  The main heavy box lining looks as though it was masked off for painting, then finished off with fine free-hand lining in certain places. I wonder if there’s any old footage around anywhere showing this type of lining being done – or perhaps it was a ‘trade secret’ type of work.  It would certainly be a great skill to keep alive nowadays.

With the faded candy red paint now turned to a mellow and patina’d ‘old wine’ red-brown, this frame somehow reminds me of a well thumbed leather bound book. The Speedwell Flash frames use a lighter (or thinner) steel than the Special Sports or Popular, which makes them nice to ride, but they are also more prone to dents, especially on the top tube, where it can be knocked by the bar ends. Unlike my older Flash, there is no letter “F” ( or anything else ) stamped on this fork steerer, though the ornate fork lugs are very similar, as are the chromed and painted fork legs.

The main difference in geometry between this and a modern steel frame is the somewhat laid back seat tube, but the short-ish chain stays and less fork offset mean that it’s a bit more responsive than some other 27″ bikes of its era. The seat pin diameter is 27mm versus the 27.2mm of my older Flash.

The cottered crank axle was badly pitted, as are most others on these old Speedwells. The new chain set, for the time being,  is a Shimano Exage 300, 170mm, converted to a single ring 44T on an FSA 103mm JIS square taper cartridge BB. 

I’ve found that a 103mm bracket works best with most 80s alloy cranks when running as a single speed with 110mm rear spaced frames. If you look at the original cottered Williams chain-sets on these Speedwells you’ll see how little clearance they have from the bracket cups and the chain stays, and the same should apply with an 80s chain set on a square taper, in order to get a decent chain line.

In this case, the freewheel and chain wheel are 3/16″ capable, so with a 1/4″ chain there is also a little bit of room for any slight chain line error.

pretty close – but works well

The pedals I fitted were Phillips, but I soon changed them to Wellgo B144s as the Phillips are designed for steel cranks and have really short threads – maybe they’re not such a good idea for thicker alloy cranks. The red Wellgo pedals somehow look out of place, yet at the same time, appropriate. Perhaps it’s the colour, reminiscent of the bike’s original hue but I’ve come to like the appearance. The same goes for the non-period chainset, and anyway, all these things can be swapped back if more originality is required.

normandy rear hub w/- huret wing nuts, halo freewheel

The wing nuts I used on the front and rear axles are Hurets, with a modern chain tensioner on the drive side rear.  Hubs are the converted Suzue front and Normandy rear shown a few posts ago, with a Halo 18T freewheel, laced to 27″ Ambrosio Extra 36H rims. The tyres were Continental Ultra Sport ( 27 x 1 & 1/8″ ), however following a couple of punctures I fitted my only pair of Gatorskins in 27 x 1 & 1/4″ and even though these look a little bit wide for the rims, I won’t be pushing them too hard.

love this stem !

The stem is my early Cinelli track stem with 25.4mm bar clamp, ‘negative rise’ and a 110mm length, paired with some 1960s (?) steel drop bars. These 25.4mm bars have a long reach, long drops and narrow tops, though at least the long ramps offer a reasonable hand hold and the drops are reasonably wide for the period.  I still think the wide topped Cinelli ‘ Giro d’Italia ‘ 42 or 44cm alloy are my favourites, but they neither fit this stem, nor suit this bike’s appearance. The older steel drop bars do seem to transmit more ‘hurt’, perhaps because of their thinner diameter compared with more modern alloy bars.

before the extra bar tape

The brakes I used are currently available ( ! ),  Dia-Compe centre pulls with Dia Compe Q.R. levers, though I would like to use some fancier drilled levers if I can find a nice pair.

I’ve fitted some period steel cable clips on the top tube, but put some thin leather strips underneath them so as not to scratch the patina —— ( lol ).

These callipers seem considerably heavier than older Weinmanns and Dia-compes that I have used, and the overall bike is heavier than ‘Flash No 1’ too.

Bar tape is Ritchey Classic with used  Cat Eye end plugs. To help hold the tape ends in place, I’ve used some short sections of 23mm inner tube ( see top pic. ).  

I am aware that the dinky little mudguards may be more 70s than 60s but hopefully they will help keep a bit of dirt out of the callipers and lower steering head bearings ! I’ve since wrapped the bar tape more thickly and added more length – for extra comfort.

it’s a nice ride ..

Hope you like it !

And Happy Re-Cycling  !

I have been fortunate enough to have done some travelling in New Zealand this year, South Island – to be more accurate, and while browsing in a back street charity shop in coastal Oamaru I came across this book called “The Impossible Ride” by Louise Sutherland.

Louise was a native of New Zealand, a registered nurse, and a lifelong cycling enthusiast and traveller.

soft cover book

She was aged in her 50s when in 1978 she took on the challenge of a lifetime, to be the first person to cycle the Tranz-Amazonica highway, and right across Brazil.

inside cover

I’d never heard of Louise previously, and was short of good reading material, so I parted with the required $4NZ ( ! ). I was pleased to later discover the author’s signature from 1990 inside the cover, which made the find even more special.

the basic story

The expression “It’s not about the bike” somehow came to mind, at least in regards to Louise’s admitted mechanical naivety, and she had to rely on the assistance of others for most mechanical help.

The bike was a blue Peugeot mixte, donated by Peugeot themselves for the journey,  having an upright riding position, with 5 derailleur gears. It looks like the kind of bike that one might ride to the local shops on !

louise & peugeot

At times Louise mentions that she would have preferred the Sturmey Archer 3-speed gears that she had always used on previous journeys, because they had never given her any trouble, unlike the derailleurs !

The bike was fitted with a front handlebar carrier and a rear pannier rack and bags whereas she was used to using a trailer on her earlier travels. From the description of some of the roads encountered, perhaps that was just as well.

The journey was solo, of around 4000km distance, from Belem, at the delta, to the Peruvian border, and there were many struggles – with the biting insects, the storms, bike falls, and the dust and mud. Small in stature, she travelled with an open heart, having her faith in humanity and the local indigenous people (mostly) confirmed, and she completed the journey, contrary to the warnings of many.

sharing a brazil nut

“I was never lonely while cycling, I always had my bicycle to talk to.” she would say. Sleeping was mostly in a hammock, wherever she could find a village, town, hut, or even two trees, and there were many off-route diversions and new found friends along the way.

My copy was the second edition of her book, the first being after the actual ride, self published after much difficulty, in 1982. The main purpose of the book was to raise enough money to buy a VW Kombi fitted out as a mobile clinic to help improve the health of the Indian people living along the Tranz-Amazonica ‘highway’, which was relatively new at the time, being without many services and mainly surfaced with dust, dirt, or mud, depending on the weather conditions.

There is a reasonable amount of information about Louise on the internet including a Wikipedia entry, and an interview by British TV on YouTube.

Sadly, for someone so full of life and determined, she suffered a brain aneurysm and died suddenly in 1994 aged 67.

Hers is a wonderful story, shining brightly among many great legends in the world of cycling.

See Ya !
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