Here’s another freebie, from a fairly recent local hard rubbish extravaganza …

eek ! a very rusty rider ..

This Cyclops ‘Solitaire’ looked rather tragically rusted, and would be a ridiculous amount of work to completely de-rust.  However, a closer look shows that the frame paint is in very good nick, and that the bike has actually seen very little use…

but the frame shows promise .. i serviced the bb and steering head.

For someone like The Recyclist, who has plenty of alternatively collected parts, a bike like this can be refurbished without a lot of cost or drama. It’s not the sort of thing one can expect to sell for a fortune though, so it’s more a ‘project for a friend’ type of thing.  In this case, the friend didn’t want a bike with gears.

not sure i want to use this malvern star saddle here, but ..

Ten-speed step throughs, as with “sports bikes”, are typically heavy bikes, with ‘gas-pipe’ tubing and cheap steel accessories, however, they can be modernised and lightened like this one, by simplifying the gearing and/or by using alloy parts such as chain-sets, rims, stems, bars, brakes etc.  This Cyclops is intended for use in flat areas so has been converted to a coaster braked single speed.

a reliable shimano coaster, and alloy rims

The typically 110mm wide rear Shimano coaster hub has been fitted with spacers to slot centrally into the wider 10 speed drop-outs and the Sakae ‘custom’ chainset has had the large 52T ring removed by drilling out the rivets. I went a bit too far with the first drilling, so I drilled all five rivets right through the arms, and then countersunk the holes. ( oops … accidental pseudo-drillium ! ). Using the inner ring gives a pretty good chain-line with the original spindle fitted ( at least in this case ).

oops, i mean … nah, it’s drillium – no more big ring !


nearly there, needs a chain and some mudguard tweaking


ready to ride !

A 20T rear sprocket will give easy pedalling at modest speeds, when combined with the remaining 40T front ring.

the pink mixte, revisited

Some mixte style step-through bicycles, though not all, were made with better quality tubing. They tend to be more rigid than standard step-throughs, as well. This one shown is only 1020 Hi-Tensile, which is a very basic steel, yet as with many older basic bikes, when given lighter components and with generously sized tyres and a good saddle fitted, these can often ride quite well.

Happy Re-Cycling !     


as bought – “before”

as is now – “after”

I bought this one locally, but it turns out it’s come a long way – from North End bicycles in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada !  Well, it was sold there 30 years ago, at least. I wonder if the shop is still trading ?

Researching the model on the internet shows a couple of others that were listed in Canada, and I haven’t seen many Kuwaharas in Australia as it seems Apollo is the common ‘Kuwahara’ made brand here. I’d rather fancied a higher end Apollo ( IV or V ), so I guess this is sort of… ‘it’ !

sugino vp110

It’s a 57 x 57cm c.t.c. frame, a good size for me. Running gear is Sugino VP ( cranks and seatpost ), Suntour ( alpha-5000 derailleurs & shifters, 6-speed indexed ) and DiaCompe (brake levers and callipers ).  The Dia-Compe callipers are labelled to match the alpha-5000 Suntour gear.

yum ! ishiwata cro-mo..

Frame tubing is Ishiwata EX triple-butted cro-moly and the frame is quite light and has an appealing ring when tapped. The Tange fork sings like a tuning fork, in the same way, so I’m hoping it’s a really nice ride. The wheels were Araya 700c with Suzue hubs and a not-so-flash Selle Anatomica saddle was fitted.

i couldn’t help a little bit of lug-lining

The head tube paint was chipped on one side as though it’s been given a rough ride in the back of a ute, but the frame is straight and looks in good nick otherwise.

On dismantling, the bottom bracket is in great condition for a 30 year old, and the reason is that the cups have rubber seals for the spindle and there is a plastic seal between the cups – brilliant !  So it’s a clean and regrease only, plus ‘routine’ new 1/4″ ball bearings – yay.

I did myself a favour and reassembled the BB with copa-slip for next time. There was one crank spindle nut cover which I had to drill out, as the metal cap had fused to the crank, and the allen key hole rounded off. At least you can break the chromo-plastic ones and chip them out…    It’s a good idea to re-fit these covers’ threads with a little anti-seize as well.

The steering bearings were also straightforward, cleaned and re-greased.

A few mods. seemed in order, starting with the cranks – I happened to have a similar crank set in 110mm, so I swapped it for the existing 130mm Sugino VP so I could fit smaller rings. The 52/40T has become a 46/34T. This sounds drastic but it’s not as severe as one might think.

I first fitted a set of old Campagnolo record hubs with Nisi rims, but the notched braking surface on the rims does not make a happy noise when stopping, and also, I sadly couldn’t get a small ‘hop’ out of the rear rim. Hops can be quite annoying when noticeable.

sadly, these nisi rims didn’t work for me — note the nicely brazed-on brace for the seat stays

So I decided to use a set of 32H new Mavic Reflex rims on a Shimano RX100 7-speed hub rear and 105/5700 on the front, and these wheels ride nicely and brake quietly.

Tyres are Tufo S33 tubulars in 23mm.

105 front hub, with RX100 skewers & mavic reflex rims

I kept the original callipers, front derailleur, shifters, and seatpost and changed the levers to a set of drilled TRPs. These levers are modern non-brifters and ‘aero’ cabled with a dog-leg partway down the lever. They look good and work pretty well, but I really think that while the ‘dog-leg’ levers may be better suited to braking from the hoods than traditional levers, perhaps they’re not as easy when braking from the drops.

drilled TRP levers

I was told by the previous owner that this bike was once used by a female triathlete for training, which could explain the short 60mm ‘Win’ stem. I replaced it with an 80mm Genetic stem, and 44cm Cinelli ‘Giro d’Italia bars replaced the Win Kusuki bars that were on it. The Cardiff leather tape seems more comfortable than the Brooks equivalent, but I think that all leather tapes come in too-short-a-lengths !

hot summer = a sweaty rolls

New brake and gear cables, and chain fitted, and the rear derailleur has been changed to a Shimano tricolour 600, now working friction mode on a 7sp. 12-28T cassette.

i decided to go with this better condition r.d.

One might think that 46 x 12T is a low top gear, but I rarely find myself above 40km/h, so I really think it’s plenty. The 34 x 28T bottom gear, however, will be very useful.

how she rolls – just don’t sweat it !

Though I’m normally a confirmed Brooks person, I fitted a San Marco ‘Rolls’ saddle, though I find the suede finish is prone to getting very wet with perspiration in hot weather-  ( today’s ride temp was at 35C degrees, for example, according to the Garmin – somewhat different to that of Winnipeg ! ). The Rolls is pretty comfortable, and a great looking saddle too, but in the end I may still go back to a Brooks.

Happy Re-Cycling !

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 !

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…