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as found

as found

This bike is an ideal candidate for refurbishment, showing clues to having been used little and parked carefully. The decals are in good condition and there is little paint scratching. It’s original and complete except for the missing seat post and saddle, and I’ve already dated it from the number ’84’ stamped onto the Sakae Custom-A crank set. Sadly by 1984 some nice Apollo details had been dropped, like the alloy head badge, which has been replaced by a metallic decal. The rims too are cheapish Kin Lins on Joytech hubs – Araya on Shimano would have been more likely a few years previous.

rims gone..

the rims & spokes are pretty well gone..

The main issue for the recyclist is the rust – which is to only be expected from the bike’s location. Swansea is low-lying and surrounded by salt water so the chromed steel rims have gone, the spokes and transmission are rusted up and the paintwork is affected by a few ugly rust spots – though they’re not terminal. The mudguard ( fender ) stays are very surface rust-y although the stainless guards themselves are almost unmarked. I don’t think the wheels had ever been removed, judging by the lack of burrs on the nuts.

crank extractor

the crank extractor

When dismantling a bike for overhaul I like to start with a releasing agent on all accessible threads before removing the pedals, followed by the taking off of vulnerable or clumsy parts like chain sets, rear derailleurs and guards. The guards are better removed after the wheels, and it’s also a good idea to slightly loosen the headset, bar clamp and head stem nuts before removing the wheels, to test that they’re not frozen up.

intersting shifter mount - suntour

interesting shifter mount – suntour friction

Often one of the worst trouble spots is the fixed bottom bracket cup, but that takes longer to get to and is probably best removed from a fairly bare frame to avoid damage to other components. Plastic crank axle bolt covers and steel pedal axles in alloy cranks are possible nightmares too. If the plastic cover breaks rather than unscrews, pick it out bit by bit with a small flat screwdriver. if a fixing has both a hex head and screw slots use the hex head if possible. Socket or ring spanners are preferable to open ended or shifting spanners for releasing tough bolts.

the suntour honor rear derailleur is heavy but reliable..

the suntour honor rear derailleur is heavy but reliable..

If you’re new to this, take photos as you go and keep related components together in separate containers. Replacing nuts and bolts back on removed assemblies can help identify where they go later. For paired components such as brake and shift levers. pedals, brake callipers etc. it’s a good idea to dismantle and overhaul one at a time so that there is always an assembled one on hand for cross reference. Concentric assemblies such as headsets can be kept together by threading onto thin wire and tying together in their order of assembly.
Even though i’ve done quite a few of these jobs it’s amazing how easy it is to lose things or to forget part sequences and more so if I am only working sporadically on a project which is why I like to keep organised.

When the chain is this rusty it’s perhaps easier to cut it off with bolt cutters and shout the poor steed a new one. The freewheel here is a classic Suntour 5-speed ‘Perfect’ 14-28T which has a lovely click to it when coasting. This one was frozen up, but it will free up with some oil. The surface rust is typical from lack of use and is relatively easily neutralised. More importantly, I check that the teeth are not chewed up by the chain. This freewheel is unworn on all cogs but a well used one with no rust could easily be worn out, typically on the middle or small cogs depending on the type of use it has had.

pie-plate and 2-prong suntour 'perfect' 5sp.

pie-plate and 2-prong suntour ‘perfect’ 5-spd.

Take the freewheel off before disassembling the back wheel – if you’re going that far that is ! The wheel rim is used as a lever with a 2-prong Suntour tool held in a bench vice and the wheel nut ( or Q.R. skewer ) tightened onto it. Like a steering wheel the rim is turned anti-clockwise until the threads just let go, then remove the nut ( or Q.R. ) and wind the tool and freewheel off by hand. I then disassembled these wheels by cutting the spokes with a bolt cutter for speed – though I usually remove good spokes carefully with a key for re-use if I am keeping the rims.

joytech hubs - the front is worth overhauling

joytech hubs – the front is worth overhauling

These are all the parts of these wheels that I will keep – the 95mm Joytech front hub, the freewheel and the 126mm rear Joytech hub.( I have better rear hubs so I may not be using this one ). The front will be overhauled and re-used as I have many needy sets of typically 95mm wide ‘ten-speed’ forks not to mention this bike’s !

crank axle complete & in good nick

crank axle assembly in reasonable nick

I was pleased to find a plastic shroud over the crank axle. How many old bikes don’t have these and then need a new BB because crud has fallen down the tubes and contaminated the bearings – OK, so no one services BBs, right ?

I’ve lost count … I mean, how much would it cost any maker to have fitted one of these sleeves ?

i'm still working...

i’m still working…now’s a good time to remove the BB.

P.S.  I’ve been enjoying the L.A. 84 single speed conversion lately – it’s so simple to ride !

yummm !

yummm !

To be continued …

the L.A. 84

the L.A. 84 originally

as converted - version 1

as partly converted – version 1 – three speed

You may remember a while back, dear reader, that I converted a Malvern Star L.A.84 into a three-speed. Well, there were a couple of issues that have caused me to re-think it.

the new version

the new version

Firstly I might say that the L.A.84 has a rather good frame in springy Chro-Moly steel that is a pleasure to use because of its reasonable lightness and good ride quality. It’s much better if one gets rid of the heavy Takagi crank-set ( see top pic. ) and replaces it with an all alloy model. The Dia Compe model 500 brakes are decent, as are the wheels with their Shimano hubs and anodised Araya rims.The original levers are only so-so, as were derailleurs.

a grey ghost

the grey ghost

What caused me to change it again was the Revo-shifter for the 3-speed Nexus, not because it didn’t work but that it restricted the type of handlebars I could use as it won’t go around bar bends and also reduces the right-hand-grip space which can be annoying over a long period. They really are designed for flat or ‘north-road’ style bars that sit high, and I lament the disappearance of the old trigger shifters. While the Revo-shifter worked with the Tange moustache bars i decided i wanted to refit drop bars again.

sturmey-archer single speed

sturmey-archer single speed

Plus, the coaster version of the Nexus was not ideal for a ‘sports bike’ being a bit hard to deal with in combination with a front hand brake. A non-coaster version would have been better for this bike and i could have done that, but instead of fitting a standard freewheeling 3-speed,  I decided to convert it to single speed using a Sturmey Archer flip-flop hub with only an 18T freewheel fitted. This hub was new and reasonably priced and I matched it up with a 95mm Normandy high flange front hub ( 1975 vintage ) salvaged from the Oxford in the previous post. i love the look of hi-flange hubs and like to combine old and new components too. This French made Normandy now has new cones and bearings and polished up well.

restored '75 normandy hi-flange

restored ’75 normandy hi-flange and classic 50s wing nuts

The rims I used were unloved orphans – the front is a Ukai and the rear an Araya, both 27″ alloy with very similar profiles. i can now keep the other wheels with their original rims for a different project. The new wheels are 3-cross with new 296mm spokes, good practice for my truing jig. The Bontrager Select K tyres were re-fitted. I am sorry I didn’t get more of these at the time as I can’t find any now, they are a nice light and fast rolling 27 x 1 & 1/4″. These rims are also both Schrader Valve holed so i re-fitted the Electra rocket ship valve caps. Ka-bling !

giro, fizik, SCR-5

giro, fizik, SCR-5

The brake levers are Cane Creek SCR-5, these are comfortable and have quick releases ( which the callipers do not ). I don’t mind that they are modern pre-brifter style as they work so well. Cables are Jagwire teflon coated and the bar tape is fizik super light in blue, as it was the best colour i could find to suit. Bars are Cinelli Giro d’Italia 42cm with blue Cinelli end caps. i lengthened the stem to 100mm by fitting a Genetic from my collection. Though this bike has a 59cm seat tube, the top tube is only 56cm, so 80mm was a little too short.

b-17 imperial narrow, SR laprade post

b-17 imperial narrow, SR laprade post

The rest of the bike remains as it was. Gearing is 48x18T which is higher than I would normally use but suits the relative lightness of the L.A.84. The gearing is good between about 20-35 km/h which is where I spend most of my time on the flat. Building up speed is gradual at first so as not to stress the knees, and then it comes into its own at sensible middle speeds. The frame probably wouldn’t suit serious fixed gear use because of the front facing pressed rear drop-outs.

luxury for your chain - a hot bath !

luxury for your chain – a hot bath !

The chain was shortened from the 3-speed version as it had a 22T rear cog, and I treated it in a hot bath of ‘Linklyfe’ after cleaning it. It is now thanking me as i ride ! I may change the pedals to classic cages with straps, but I do like the Speedplay Drilliums…

3/4 rear view

3/4 rear view

i am pleased with both the appearance and the ride, and when i think of some of those multi-coloured urban fixed gear conversions i feel that this is a better way to use an older classic frame without destroying all its history in the process.

noice...

noice…

Happy Re-cycling !

Life is short, as we know – but the re-cycle-athon goes on forever …

Welcome to ‘Re-Cyclocross’, a fun outdoor event for amateur re-cyclists. Here is a typical re-cyclocross bike :

oxford international

oxford international

This event traditionally begins at “Chuck-Out Time”, the twice yearly hard waste council pick-up event that’s coming to a suburb near you …. ( OK, so some councils have sadly done away with this tradition but it’s still going strong around these parts ).

This is basically how it goes :

A provincial sport based around finding as many classic ten-speed bikes as possible in a given time, hoisting them over one’s shoulder and carrying said ten-speeds to a waiting ute or van, to then be whisked off to the re-cyclist’s grotto for assessment and / or repair.

I would note here that unlike regular cyclocross where the bike is shouldered to surmount steep hills or obstacles, in re-cyclocross this is usually done because the found bike has no wheels… and I’ve noticed this de-wheeling happening a lot lately. In some ways this is good because the average tyre-kicking citizen is less likely to pick up and keep an incomplete bike.

protour crx100 62cm

protour crx100 62cm – a decent frame

One begins by parking at an appropriate location considering carefully the age demographic of the chosen suburb. For example, new estates are generally a waste of time as the residents tend to only chuck out outgrown kids’ bikes.

no-one wanted this - not even me !

no-one wanted this cheap hybrid – not even me !

Hmmm, then again, the humble kids bike need not always be overlooked as they can be a useful supply of 110mm coaster brakes and 95mm front hubs, often only lightly used. These can be  laced into classic 27″ rims if 36 hole. However I don’t always pick these up as it’s a shame when the bike is complete, as these 16-20 inchers usually are.

hi-stop 110mm coaster from child's bike

hi-stop 110mm coaster from child’s bike

Nevertheless, it’s the classic ten speeds that are the main appeal, like this just found beauty, an Apollo ‘Capri’ ladies 27″ —- cool bananas !

bike find of the week - rusty but straight, paint is reasonable

Often to be found in the older areas where they have had plenty of time to age and rust quietly unused in the garage for a few decades while their owners are otherwise occupied with life. I say ten speeds because one is lucky to ever find a three speed anymore, they are quite rare.

apollo capri

apollo capri – classic !

Anyway, after parking the van the sporting method is to mount one’s bicycle and set off on a block by block time trial around the suburb, carefully balancing the need for speed with the subtle skill of picking out a handlebar or other clue whilst whizzing past countless piles of the once loved leftovers from our culture of materialism.

aha-there's one -- and no, i left it there

aha-there’s one — and no, i left it there

20km/h is plenty fast enough for this section, unless one is being pursued by scrappies or the council truck…this time though, I see less scrap merchants around. Falling iron ore prices, perhaps ?

At least one need not be concerned about other cyclists, they are generally in a different race, busy minding their own business or strava-ing away.

roadmaster gx10 k-mart -  too heavy !

roadmaster gx10 (k-mart) sports – too heavy !

The usual opposition are those scrappies and tyre-kickers driving around in their trucks, utes, 4WDs etc. They will think nothing of snaffling one’s ‘new pride and joy’ while one is engaged in a sprint back to one’s van … ( whew, that was lucky ! ).

Being able to judge bike quality quickly is a skill I’m still working on, because I prefer to swoop quickly and then examine the spoils afterward, at leisure.

speed star single speed - interesting, but poor quality

speed star single speed – interesting, but poor quality frame

Sometimes one sees a lot, sometimes little. Even a single wheel can be useful if it’s the right kind. People don’t generally throw out perfectly useful bikes though, there is always something wrong, however minor.

My best find was a nice silver Shogun Samurai a while back.

a nice find if i do say so ... shogun trail breaker

a nice find if i do say so … shogun trail breaker

This time the best find was probably this Shogun Trail Breaker MTB with Shimano Exage 400 LX components. Many parts will need to be improvised though.

yay, replaceable chain rings and a quality frame !

yay, replaceable chain rings and a quality frame !

All in all I guess the event is a combination of orienteering, time trialling, sprinting, cyclocross, and ‘couch potato in the auto’. ( The truly dedicated would probably use a bike trailer or bakfiets to do the pick-up, adding to the difficulty and immediacy ).

And remember, if that neglected Tommasini or DeRosa has been gazzumped when one returns, it’s only a game … and one should have carried something that good away on the bike immediately … sigh.

off track

But wait – don’t relax yet, the event isn’t over !

The final stage of re-cyclocross is the ‘dismantle-athon’. There are a couple of reasons for this, one being the need to store the useful bits away in as little of one’s limited space as possible. The second reason is the ‘partner factor’ i.e. ” Where did that come from ? You have enough bikes already !!!! Grrr !
Needless to say, the speed of the dismantle is paramount, adding haste to the re-cyclists spanner-work skills !

In this way one can chuck out one’s unwanted bits at one’s very own chuck-out a few weeks later, while appearing as a non-hoarder by actually getting rid of stuff and re-cycling useful scrap metal. Ahh, such subterfuge – I love it !

Happy Re-Cyclocrossing ! ( and don’t forget to smell the flowers when it’s over ).

serenity

serenity

A Giant Revisited :

 

commuting - newcastle street art

commuting – newcastle street art

This is my one and only ‘road MTB’, a 1990s Giant Boulder 550. I’ll be frank, I like it mostly because it has a classic horizontal top tube, a nice purple single-colour paint job ( even if a little worse for wear now ), and while being too big for me as a mountain bike it’s an ideal size for the road with a 60cm C-C seat tube and a 59cm top tube.

the non-drive side

the non-drive side

The actual seat tube is almost 63cm C-T which means that I can run the saddle and bar tops almost level with each other for comfort, and I have a good reach with just an 80mm stem. The lack of stand-over height doesn’t concern me here, I can touch the ground with one toe from the saddle and I tend to ride cautiously in stop/start environments anyway.

From the previous rebuild I have retained the Panaracer Ribmo 26 x 1.75 tyres and Tektro RL520 V-Brake drop bar levers. The RiBMo tyres are tough and fairly heavy, being peaked in the centre with a thick layer to help against punctures, and so they ride on a narrower footprint when vertical and a wider one when leaned over.

After some riding, I felt that my last build wasn’t quite right, and it has taken a little time and the right parts to figure out the improvements. It might be noted again that this frame was found as hard rubbish, with no wheels or seat post. The only original bits are the frame, the fork, and ( now no longer ) the rear Acera-x derailleur. The original cantilever brakes I had long since replaced with the more efficient V-brakes and the riser stem and flat bars disappeared with them.

This latest version’s adds are :

suzue promax 36h

suzue promax 36h

A new Suzue Promax 36H front track hub – it has very smooth bearings, solid high flanges, and is really good looking with its opaline decoration. Rear hub is a recycled Joytech – it’s one of their better ones for thread-on freewheels, but they have made some junk also … Rims are Sun MC18, also recycled, with 2mm plain spokes.

Recycled Winpista alloy bars 41cm c-c with black KT leather tape and SR 80mm stem. Wider bars wouldn’t really suit here as there is plenty of leverage with this frame geometry.

sakae custom 52/36

sakae custom 52/36 double

The major change though has been the chain set – the triple ring 48-38-28 has been replaced by a recycled Sakae (SR) Custom 52/36 compact chainset. Although it only has swaged on cranks and a non-replaceable ‘big ring’ this is a much simpler and lighter rig. The old 48T big ring was too low for the 6-speed (14-16-18 -20-24-28T) freewheel cluster, at least for the lower overall ‘geared’ 26″ wheels . 52T is much better on the flat or down hill with the 14,16 or 18 cogs. The 36T small ring is a bit low when the going is easy, but great on slight inclines or strong headwinds at 36 x 16T or lower. I would like a 13T small cog on this, perhaps as a 7-speed, as the 52 x 14 is only just high enough for downhills, but I don’t want to lose the 28T low gear. ( Note – I have since fitted a 7-speed cluster 13-28T and changed to friction shifters and that has improved things greatly when in the small ring ).

Compact chainsets seem to do better with a large range of rear cogs to avoid having two nearly completely different sets of ratios. This avoids excessive shifting between the front rings which was happening here while running as a 6-speed.

For a moderately fit person the 36 x 28T will climb up a decent hill without trouble, while eliminating some of the weight and complexity of the triple.
Bottom bracket is now a Gist 110mm sealed square taper to suit the new chain set.

This model MTB originally came with a micro-drive triple chainset ( 38-32-24 – tiny rings ) and an unusual front derailleur that was integrated with the BB and cable operated from above. It did take some fiddling to fit replacements as the original chain set was worn out. At least the seat tube wasn’t oversize for a standard band-on derailleur but the cable had to be run in an outer, which is cable tied on to the down tube. The 16 tooth up-change from the 36 to 52 rings took a degree of care and was a bit clunky compared with, say, a 42/52T – as one would expect.

I swapped a to a better ‘recycled’ Shimano front derailleur and fitted a new Tourney ( basic ) rear derailleur and some new Jagwire gear cables to try and improve the shift. Along with the smoother friction shifters this has been successful.

great levers

great levers

I have settled on stem shifters as I’m not fond of the original revo-shifters which don’t fit on drop bars anyway. Down tube shifters would be miles away on this frame, and there are no bosses either. Band on fittings would not even fit on the thick tapering down tube.

Only bar-end or stem shifters would work for me here so I have gone with the easy option – and I have plenty of salvaged friction stem shifters to choose from. I find the subtle fine tuning of friction shifters can be an enjoyable challenge, mostly !

The Tektro RL520 levers work really well and are very cosy in the hands. Saddle is a Brooks B17 special “copper” on a 25.8mm Kalloy post. If the bars were lower I would use a narrower model saddle as the B17 really is a touring saddle – naturally, it works fine here.

B17 special - 'copper'

B17 special –
‘copper’

The Brooks small ‘Isle of Wight’ saddle bag  ( above ) is quite discreet and well thought out. My only minor niggle is that it’s possible that the neat toe strap front fitting could scratch an alloy seat post.

The Giant’s small wheels give it a light and quick low speed steering, yet the laid back geometry and longish wheelbase mean that overall direction changes are fairly slow.

It’s arguably the most comfortable of all my bikes ( except the Gazelle Toer Populair ) and it is very versatile. The main frame is 4130 cro-mo but it is still pretty heavy, partly I guess because it’s such a large frame – along with the weight of the wide tyres etc. I notice the weight on hills and when accelerating out of corners, mostly. The small wheels allow a very gentle side to side rocking motion when pressing on ( compared to 700C ) but are quite stable at speed, and very much so through rough corners.

Also, for such a large frame it is very flex free at the front end compared with my road bikes, perhaps because of the wider top and down tubes. These tubes appear to be ‘butted’ on the outside as they are quite noticeably thicker on each end where they form a frame joint.

I can’t exactly tell you what it weighs but it compares reasonably to some modern ‘retro’ steel framed tourers I have lifted up in the shops, though it’s very much heavier than a good steel road bike. To make it significantly lighter than it is now however would cost too much, or possibly reduce the ride quality.

one of my fave 'bike shot' trees

one of my fave ‘bike shot’ trees

I present it here again as an improved example of converting an MTB to a touring style bike, though for my taste only the classic ‘rigid’ mountain bikes have the appropriate good looks to be worth putting this much effort into. Modern MTBs with suspension forks and crazy graphics wouldn’t work as well aesthetically, at least in my opinion.

I guess this bike is nothing special either in appearance or rarity, but it does do many things very well.

Not as quick as a road bike, but its stability, rough road ability and sure-footedness are a joy. On a recent dark and rainy commute home I was only 8 minutes slower over the c.26km than on the previous dry night in spite of taking things much easier, and that surprised me !

Steady as she goes —- and happy Re-cycling !

shot on the morning commute

shot on the morning commute

The Vectre Mystery :

 

the vectre

the vectre

The young woman from my local antique shop tapped on the van window as I was parked nearby – “I think the boss wants to show you a bike” … “Uh oh”, I say to myself , ” Not another bike, I’m flat out re-cycling as it is. ”

“OK, I’ll have a look then, thanks”. It was nice they remembered me at least, though I have purchased a few bikes there previously, including the Malvern Star LA84 and Speedwell Classique 3.

So out the back of the shop I go.  He says ” I was going to keep this but don’t think I’ll ever get to ride it so I’m selling – asking $X for it. Thinks “Vectre, Vectre .. doesn’t ring a bell” so I googled it later, but with no result.

“The owner had it up on his wall, it’s from a deceased estate” . I was struck by how clear and clean the rich red paintwork was, surely this bike had hardly seen the Australian sun since the mid-80s when it was new. Well, unless it’s a repaint that is …

Also it’s a 59cm seat tube and 57cm top tube, a pretty good size for me ( meaning that I don’t have to stoop to the drops as with some smaller of my road bikes. So, I succumbed…

non-drive side

non-drive side

The Component List :

Frame and fork : Unidentified frame tubing, Columbus dropouts front and rear.

yumm

yumm

I haven’t fully dismantled the frame, so it’s hard to gauge it’s actual weight, but the quality of fittings and finish,  braze-ons and lugs suggest it’s pretty good tubing. No identifying stickers observed.

Head-set : Shimano – I can’t identify the model on Velobase, plastic covers in grey with no major lettering but definitely Shimano.

criterium 65 bars

criterium 65 bars

Stem and bars : Cinelli XA 80mm alloy quill, Cinelli “Criterium 65″ – 42cm c-c alloy drop bars.
The Cinelli Criterium bars are still made, though the current milky anodised finish is slightly more matte looking than these.

criterium 65

criterium 65

Seat post : Unidentified with black fluting and clamp, c. 27.0mm , Zeus seat post clamp pin.

Saddle : Iscaselle Tornado dark brown mottled leather covered. Now replaced by B17 Imperial Narrow due to my personal riding preferences.

golden arrow

‘golden arrow’ logo, some fine scratching

Crank set : Shimano FC-S125 ( i.e. 105 ‘Golden Arrow’ ) This early 105 version gives a visual nod to the more decorative 600EX Arabesque group, but is not as obvious by having a simpler motif. Fitted to it are Biopace 52/42T elliptical chainrings. I very much like the look of the “Golden Arrow” group, later named  “105” ( which is still Shimano’s current third level down from Dura-Ace and Ultegra (formerly “600” or “Ultegra 600″ in the 1980s ). I haven’t been aware of this early 105 group until now.

Hubs : Shimano HB6207 600 series Q.R. They’re running smoothly, though I’m sure a re-greasing will add to their longevity. ( Now done ! )

mavic ma40

mavic ma40

Rims : Mavic MA40 box section anodised grey, eyeletted, with the red diamond trademark ( pre 1988 ). Strong looking 700C clincher rims, and rather difficult to get tyres onto and off !

veloce callipers - a tight fit

veloce callipers – a tight fit

Brakes : Campagnolo Veloce side pull callipers, Shimano 600 levers — no Q.R. on either ( curses ! ). A nice looking ‘Campagnolo’ script graces these basic brakes. They have a respectable stopping ability on this bike, even with their original pads.

Front derailleur : Shimano 600EX Arabesque.

Rear derailleur & shifters : Shimano RX100 SIS with Z series freewheel cluster 13-23T – 6-speed SIS ( indexed ). SL-S434 indexed shifters.

The RX100 series is also roughly equivalent in level to Shimano’s 105 group which superseded it.

shimano 600 series pedals

swoopy – shimano 600 series pedals

Pedals : Shimano PD-6207 with toe clips.

Extras : Zefal fpX4 long frame pump ( presta valve ). Neat old school – Park Tool does a similar new version of this full frame pump.

And 2 x Duro IRC “triathlon” high pressure 27 x 1″ cotton gum wall ( ! ) tyres. New old stock. I’m wondering why not 700c ? Maybe the Mavic wheels are more recent ?

The tyres will come in handy for some other wheels I have.

This bike has very little in the way of patina, it looks so new. Cared for and ridden little. Dare I say that it’s lacking in visual character ? Red isn’t my fave colour either … ah, well.

A stored bike that is nearly 30 years old is bound to have dry bearings, and so it was that the steering failed the “no hands” test miserably. A closer look revealed that there was no seal on the fork crown race and tacky dry looking grease in there. A closer inspection showed brinelling of the races. The crown race was ISO 26.4mm so I had to wait for a headset to be ordered.

the bb shell

the bb shell

While waiting for some better tyres and the headset I decided to have a look at the bottom bracket. The slotted shell isn’t something you see on cheap bikes, and requires a seal of some sort be fitted for the vulnerable bearings. The BB is in good shape, a traditional cup and loose bearing with a protective plastic sleeve to counter the open shell.

the bb

the bb

On any old bike it will pay to service all the main bearings ( steering, BB & hubs ) unless you can be sure they have already been very recently serviced, and, ( at least in my experience } that’s generally something only real enthusiasts will have done.

The new tyres are Challenge Strada Bianca ‘open tubulars’ and they roll beautifully and steer very well. They come packed as flat ribbons much like tubulars.

However, being 30mm tyres they push the very limits of this frame’s clearances. Sadly, I think I will have to change them for 28s or 25s on this bike.

flat ! -- strada biancas

flat ! — strada biancas

The Veloce brakes have no quick releases and neither do the 600 levers so most of the air needs to go before the wheels can be removed – or by removal and refit of one brake shoe !

I may have to reconsider them too.

The headset is a now a Dia Compe – not my first choice, but the best fitting I could find with its low stack height.

The components seem to come from slightly different eras, and I think the brake callipers are 1990s where the rest are 1980s.

pelican marina

pelican marina

This bike is a definite keeper, and worthy of considered component upgrades .

See Ya !

 

the final version ?

the final version ?

the sturmey s2 hub

the sturmey s2 hub

A while back I converted my Road King ten-speed into a two-speed by using the Sturmey Archer S2 kickback hub. I really liked this hub, but disliked the “deep V” rim it came fitted with, firstly because I find aero rims ugly and secondly, the rim was very heavy, and the depth and short spokes made for very rough riding on the already non-compliant Road King frame.
So I dismantled it and found another reason for disliking deep-Vs , i.e. the spokes are a pain to work on…

s2 road king

s2 road king – one version

Having 32 spoke holes, upgrading the S2 hub required me to order some new rims and a new front hub. I settled on H Plus Son ‘Archetypes’ from Wiggle, in a bold black anodised finish with classy upper case white lettering, which really suited the frame I had chosen. The front hub is a Miche Primato 32H low-flange track model. These rims were a relative pleasure to fit to the chosen hubs  and they ran true without too much fiddling.

the mystery bike

the mystery bike

This frame is a mystery, and the previous owner could not throw any light on it. The cast rear dropouts are Gipiemme (suggesting 1970s at the earliest) , the original fixed BB cup was an older Brampton but the bike had been fitted up with a Shimano 600EX Arabesque group. I wanted this group for another project though, so I had to begin anew with this frameset.

tapping the bb

great care is needed – tapping the bb

No wheels were fitted as found. The BB is stamped “V26272″

The frame decals are “Speedwell” but have been added after some repainting – I don’t believe that Speedwell is the original brand as there are no indications of the Speedwell head badge having been fitted.

There are brazed on guides under the BB for front and rear derailleurs and for shifters on the down-tube. No eyelets or bottle cage threads fitted though.
I had to use a Tange fork from another frameset as the old ones had corroded dropouts. Coincidentally the tange fitted well, and is the right colour red also.

To up the gearing a little from the Road King’s 42 x 22T, I used a Token TK2051 crank with a 44T ring and the 22T rear cog. This gives a moderate 2:1  ( c.54 inch ) bottom gear and a good all round ‘urban’ top gear ( 1.4x – my guess is roughly 44x16T equivalent ).

I retained the original fluted SR Laprade seatpost and the 3T “Competizione” drop bars and fitted a new VP head-set and a Genetic 100mm road stem. Brakes are new Tektro R559 long throw with Dia-Compe Q.R. levers. I used Cinelli “Mike Giant” arty bar tape in black & white for some more character.

The trickiest part of this rebuild was the bottom bracket, as the threads would not allow me to fit a new sealed square tapered BB. I’ve had this problem before on old bikes, and I guess it’s because the sealed cartridges have a wider threaded area on the fixed cup than the old non-sealed ones which, over many years, allow grit and moisture to clog and corrode the inner shell threads preventing further inward travel.

heaps of swarf

wow – heaps of swarf

I decided to bite the bullet and buy a BB thread tap and shell refacing kit. The Park Tool kit was too expensive to justify for this hobbyist mechanic, so I went for a ‘Lifeline’ kit. This worked quite well but the instructions are poor – and one needs to be absolutely certain that the correct tools for each side are used ( as there are both left and right handed threads on an English threaded BB ). Luckily the Park Tool site has a useful ‘help and repair’ section and their kit functions in quite a similar way. The new sealed BB now threaded in smoothly and easily.

 

a shiny result !

a shiny result !

Tyres chosen were Schwalbe Delta Cruiser in cream, and these 35C jobs give a smooth ride and roll reasonably well at the recommended 65psi ( for such ‘semi-balloons’ at least ! )

I wanted the tyres to contrast with the black rims and I am rather pleased with the look. Tyre clearance is close at the rear and the nutted Tektro brakes work very well. They were the best I could find for the large drop and wide tyres.
With these tyres, the laid back seat tube, the longish wheelbase and thick bar tape, the bike gives a comfortable ride on the rough urban and suburban roads I often use.

isca-selle tornado

isca-selle tornado

The frame has a 56cm seat tube and 58cm top tube ( C-C ). These old style ‘over-square’ frames often give an unfashionably slow and yet lovely stable steering. To my mind it depends as much as anything on one’s riding ‘mood’ and environment as to which is preferable.

And there’s no toe overlap here, even with large toe clips.

"toy camera" effect

“toy camera” effect

I originally tried an Iscaselle “Tornado” classic saddle that I acquired with another bike, but while it looked great, it’s not as comfortable as any of my regular Brooks, so I am now trying my ‘Team Pro’ instead. Although the Italian ‘leather over foam and plastic’ saddies feel initially softer than Brooks I find that over a distance my bum somehow partially settles somewhere on the hard chassis, whereas the Brooks ‘hammock’ style keeps the pressure points more evenly supported.

now with "team pro" saddle

now with “team pro” saddle

I’ve learned a little technique after using this hub for some time, especially for the tricky down changes. The rattly freewheel sound while coasting in high can be quietened by back-pedalling very slightly, then, if necessary a small quick back kick from there will shift it to low. Still catches me out sometimes though …

I left the frame pretty much as it was, just a rough de-rust and paint touch-up.

hmmm ?

hmmm ?

I added the hand painting of the head tube inset – black with a white question mark – as being appropriate to this mystery frame and I kept the Speedwell decals as they’re part of its history now.   The lugs have been lined in white and — hey presto !

A new-old rough ‘city fun bike’.… and was it worth the trouble ? Well, I think the heavy and harder riding Road King now has to go anyway.

Happy Re-cycling !

 

 

cinelli stem badge

cinelli stem badge

The Recyclist’s bikey-nose sniffed out this beautiful steel Cinelli stem in a dusty Lambton garage – and on a tipoff.

Apparently Cinelli originally coloured their brass badges with fired glass enamelling ( cloisonne ), then later stem badges such as this ( and the head badges ) were painted, probably because of cost, again later finally moving to aluminium head badges, decals, simple engraving etc. in more modern times.

It is a miniature of the early Cinelli head badge “knight and shield” crest.
Current Cinelli products use the newer familiar graphic “winged C” motif.

as found - shame about the 'bars

as found – shame about the ‘bars

This long reach stem was connected to some Cinelli steel drop bars ( possibly Giro d’Italia model ) though these aren’t in useable condition having rusted through in the drops area. I’m guessing 1950s to 1960s, but can’t be sure.

many years of neglect ...

many years of neglect …

I think this is the 65 degree track stem – they also made a 73deg road stem and a drooping 58deg more extreme track version as well. Condition is not great and the stem bolt is somewhat rounded off – nevertheless, these are highly collectable items.

on the popular

on the popular

It now graces my ’56 Speedwell Popular, a somewhat mundane (but faithful) steed for such a regal stem.  At least the vintage is about right !

I fitted a steel Kusuki ‘Win’ Randonneur bar, as its shape and finish are about the best match I have for this stem.

love it !

love it !

A set of curly rams-horn style steel drop bars would look great – if I can find some !

a laid back frame

a laid back frame

The laid back angles of this bike mean that the stem drop is not so pronounced, and the rando bars give back a little height.

some traces of original paint remain

some traces of original paint remain

In spite of ( or partly because of ) its worn paint condition and less than perfect chrome, it is still a thing of beauty to behold …

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