The first thing I like to do with a bike project is to inspect the components closely following full disassembly and cleaning – then any nasties can be caught early, hopefully before too much time is wasted. A quick initial check showed a tight front wheel, loose rear wheel, loose cotter pins and bottom bracket, loose steering head bearings, seized gear mechanisms and chain. Hmm – anything else ?!?
I’ve re-greased and adjusted the front wheel and it now spins free with no play. The rear wheel bearings will have to wait, as the spline on the thread-on gear cluster freewheel is a small one that I have no tool for. The bearings appear well greased though. This bike has not been left out in the rain for long, and that makes everything much easier.
The threaded steerer tube is stamped with “Akisu 84” and I’m sure that’s a build date, so there we are – roughly 27 years old! The front derailleur and freewheel are stamped “Roots” and S.R. or Sun Race on the derailleurs. Brakes marked “Star”, quill stem “A&I” and rims “Kinlin 27×1&1/4” – for what it’s worth!
I’ve found some North Road style bars and vintage Dia Compe alloy levers plus a vintage Dia Compe side pull front brake in alloy – the rear will have to stay as the original steel one for the moment. The original road bike levers will not fit the upright bars of course.
My biggest concern is the quality of the 52-40T cottered chainset and I will have to be prepared to change it if necessary. I will fit the rear derailleur but not the front yet, as I don’t think my poor old knees can take the 52T X 14T top gear anyway, given the bike’s weight. Perhaps this is why it was not used much in the past – i.e. road gearing along with too much weight. The frame is a 61cm so is slightly large for me but still acceptable.
I can be happy most times on a low geared 3-speed, so 5 should be luxury! Incidentally the forks and 27″ front wheel would be great on my old hub geared Speedwell bike if the steerer fits lengthwise, so there’s a possible “plan B” too …