Archive for September, 2011

My friend Vicki from “Bicycles in Newcastle” has passed on this donated Malvern Star.  The bike is a “popular” style, a single speed roadster with back-pedal (coaster) hub brake. It appears original except for the paint work, though I can find no traces of original paint. It needs a lot of work !


Here are some details, the serial number on this bike is on the top seat tube lug :

Serial No: 52M 32–.

Chainset : Williams 48T track style chainwheel letters ZB relate to 1961 manufacture.

Rear Hub : Perry 40 – 14 England with 2 stars on brake arm next to Perry name.

Rims : “Rigida Deco – A – made in France”, chromed steel 28″.

BB Axle : TDC No.2

Tyres as fitted : Dunlop Highway Type ” Made in Australia” ! 28 x 1 & 3/8″

Pedals : marked  “Phillips England” rubber platform.

Grips : marked “Britannia England” Black rubber.

Saddle : blue and white sprung vinyl mattress “Oxford – Made in Japan”


The above are the only markings I have found so far.

As you can see, a great deal of TLC is required — stay tuned !



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I like to recycle bikes – I used to do it as a kid, and on rediscovering bicycles later in life, I find that I still enjoy making something worthwhile from unwanted bikes.

This project is to make something decent and rideable out of a decrepit department store bike . Why bother, one might ask ?  Well, I wondered, what could I use as a “stepping stone” bike for my wife to learn on when she has little confidence in her ability to ride solo, although is a very good “stoker” on her hybrid tandem ?

This way, if she decides not to ride solo, there is not the problem of a more expensive bike to dispose of. If it is a success she can then move on to a better bike. I had on hand two unloved and abandoned bikes that were suitable, A Dunlop and a Roadmaster. I chose the latter as it was in marginally better condition, and will use some parts from the other bike too. They were probably made in the same Chinese factory as they are almost identical frames :




















Here are the two frame and fork assemblies, with the chosen one primed. The cheap suspension fork on the Dunlop weighs about twice that of the Roadmaster and I don’t see why it is necessary, other than as a sales gimmick.

The hardest part about sanding back the frame was removing the stickers – they really are sticky !  I resorted to a soft wire brush on a power drill in the end. The original colour was a tacky red and silver iridescent that is prone to fade.

I had started this project before beginning this blog, so I don’t have full “before” images. Here is a shot of the one piece steel crankset disassembled and primed, along with the complete (and damaged) one from the Dunlop.


The primed seat post and quill stem are also included. Note the single ring in gold – I have decided to make the bike a 6 speed, not an 18, because it will leave one less shifter for a learner to worry about, so I drilled out the rivets holding the three rings together. In my opinion these bikes have too many unnecessary gears anyway.

This type of bike can be purchased cheaply new, around  $100 – $150 – however I would always suggest buying from a proper bike shop that fits a bike for you and can provide good backup service. A better quality entry level bike would start from around $400.

See you in Part 2 …



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I like to convert MTBs to more upright bikes as I find flat bars uncomfortable, much preferring bars with some backward sweep. The Giant is a 1990s “Boulder 550” model which I found dumped for the council waste pickup, minus the wheels, seat and post and brake pads. The micro-drive triple chainwheel was badly damaged and parts are not readily available now, so, as the Red Ricardo has some frame alignment issues, I dismantled it for the moment and used its nice “Tracer” brand chainset and its rear wheel on the Giant.

Giant Boulder 550

Ricardo was a South Australian brand that produced some decent bikes, though there is not a lot of history that I can find. This red hybrid is called “Easy Trail” and was also a council waste discovery.

Both these frames are large, the Giant is a 61cm (24″). I can just touch the ground from the saddle with one foot. I fitted it with nice alloy V-brakes from an otherwise horrible Huffy suspension bike.  All parts are ones I had on hand, the only costs were  new pads, brake and gear cable inners and some purple touch up paint. Originally a 21 speed with grip shifters, I have converted it to 6-speed using an old click shifter and adjusting the derailleur stop screws and cable on the original Acera-X rear mech. It shifts fine and 6 gears are enough for me, keeping changing simple .

I enjoy playing around with such things, it’s amazing what is compatible between older low-tech bikes. The Giant is a work in progress, I like its tight turning circle and comfortable balloon type tyres and take it sometimes on my 20-30km neighbourhood morning rides, not expecting to win any style awards of course . It badly needs a new seat too.

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My old Speedwell 3-speed, reborn

Extract from “The Art of Easy Cycling” by the Renold and Coventry Chain Company Ltd.,  Manchester  – 1946 :

“During the last half-century the bicycle has been the great emancipator of the populace. It has brought the towns and the villages close together ; It has given all kinds and conditions of people the opportunity of knowing their country and visualising its wonderful history, as well as glorying in its many beauties”.

I am still coming to grips with the mechanics of wordpress, so I hope that you will bear with me in coming along for the ride.


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