Archive for September, 2012

the cw – virtually as found

Normally when I hear the words “Road Bike” or “Lycra”, I reach for my gun (lol), but something about this particular classic has won me over – for the moment. It’s a steel framed Cecil Walker ten speed, found in an interesting central coast clearing shed for “old stuff”.  As I passed this shed, my recyclist’s nose began to sniff – I just had to stop and look !

no decals here – it’s all hand brushed

There were two bikes inside, a petrol motorised beach cruiser and this one.

how cool is that ?

The first thing that caught my eye was the classy hand painted “Cecil Walker” lettering on the downtube – I had vaguely heard of the name before, but where ? Anyway, a quick 80 bucks later, it was all mine, and I have since done some research to find that there is still a Cecil Walker Cycles in Fitzroy Melbourne, and that this was an Australian bike of obviously decent specification. It’s fitted with Shimano 600 derailleurs and 600 “starfish” headset, Italian Modolo “Speedy” brakes, Cinelli “Campione del Mondo” drop bars, Ofmega CX cranks and chainwheel,  . The wheels are 27 inch with narrow alloy rims and 27×1″ tyres.

Sadly the rim decals are almost unreadable and the Reynolds frame tubing stickers have frustratingly decayed away too.

hmm – what is this for – a generator bracket, I guess ?

The gearing looks pretty serious with only one tooth difference between each rear cog – fourteen through eighteen teeth – and at 42x18T first gear, this is surely not a hill-climbing special !

my poor hill bound knees – 52/42  x 14-15-16-17-18T

Although I didn’t buy it to ride (as I thought it too small) I have since found that the seat post and quill stem have reasonable extension, so I may get away with riding it if I can sort the other messes out.

dropouts stamped “brev. campagnolo”

Apart from some very tight bolts and a seized alloy seat post (steel and aluminium together have some real issues when left out in the weather), the biggest problem is the rear wheel. The rim is buckled and there are cracks around some of the spoke nipples (though the front wheel seems fine). A visit to the LBS to discuss rear wheel options is therefore needed, with fingers crossed. I’m not keen on putting “deep-V’s” on it , though I really have no idea what’s available, me being a complete road bike novice.

seat tube and 27×1″ tyre

The bike has had some exposure to the elements perhaps under eaves or in an open shed, the rich red paintwork crinkling and lifting from a gold underlay in places and with some surface rust on upward facing frame sections. Having looked on the web and seen some old CW frames stripped, powder coated and all  “fixied” up (yuk), I know I am NOT going to do that as their uniqueness had clearly been lost. This one is truly beautiful just as is, and the simple gold inlays in the lugs are quite a striking addition to the red top coat.

cool bananas !

Serial number on the frame is 82017, and I am naively guessing that it was the 17th bike made in 1982 – could it be that simple ? The Modolo Speedy brake was first introduced in 1979 at any rate and I also believe this bike is pretty much all original as found, apart from a reflective tape fetish of the previous owner that is now stuck on like superglue in places ….

Here is a list of parts then, for anyone interested in these classic Australian bicycles  :

Frame – unidentified grade of Reynolds steel tubing – lugged, 51cm from BB centre to seat tube top – S/no 82017 on downtube near BB

semi-arabesque ?

Headset, dérailleurs and freewheel – Shimano 600

Shifters – Shimano Dura-Ace friction levers, downtube mounted

drilled modolo “speedy” levers

Brakes – Modolo “speedy”, alloy side pull calipers, drilled alloy levers

Stem – Win? – stamped 9886DF Japan 22.2

Seatpost – micro adjust – 179 – roto – Italy 27.2 with San Marco Concor Supercorsa saddle – plastic base, padded brown suede top

cinelli bars

Bars – Cinelli  stamped 63 or 66 ? “Campione del Mondo”

Hubs and skewers – Ofmega

Cranks – Ofmega CX alloy 170mm, w52/42T chainwheel

ofmega cx – very light weight

BB – Ofmega 68.C axle, cups marked “Ofmega 34,8 x 24 FS”

Rims – alloy made in Italy – unidentified, with IRC 27×1″ whitewall tyres as found

Pedals – SR model SP-100BL

these should clean up nicely

Toe-clips – Christophe D – marked “Brevete made in France, with KKT leather straps

It does beg the question – should I even try to get it going or merely hang it up somewhere as is –  i.e  would the ultimate sensitive restoration be non-restoration ?

But then, I just can’t help myself, can I ?

pretty swanky, huh ?

Happy Cycling !


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An event forming part of NSW Bike Week, the community fun ride from 9am to 11am this morning was well attended, with hire bikes, live music, a prize draw,  and free coffee/breakfast. There were bike safety checks courtesy of Hadley Cycles.

Bernie, a well known Newcastle cycling advocate had a great range of Dutch and classic bikes on display, and for hire. It was encouraging to see so many young people hiring bikes to enjoy the track on a warm September morning, perhaps to be further inspired to get into cycling.

a pre-ride adjustment

heading off …

for all ages

This aftermarket electric assist converted Gazelle Cabby (below) was very popular – I wonder if Gazelle will do one “in-house” ?

ploughing furrows

family taxi – note the front electro hub

smile !

jazzy vanmoof 3-speed with B68 saddle

an impressive huka (?) cargo bike 

a dutch lekker bike

three classics

Above from the front, the unidentified silver bike had lovely ornate lugwork but was mostly non-original (what a great project!), the second, an original Malvern Star “Roadstar” step-thru, then an original red Repco 10-speed.

Bernie and passenger in the cabby

The park at Whitebridge is roughly the centre and the highest point of the track, and there were rides in both directions from there.

A pleasant morning indeed …













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so much rust …

Well, it’s been some time since I’ve looked at this baby – nicknamed “Dennis the Menace” –  it’s a 2004 “30 Year Anniversary” Mongoose Menace Pro, found last year as hard rubbish in a sad and rusty state.

the colours of rust – yet so much promise

And yet it was complete, with good tyres and saddle, the only thing noticeably broken was the flimsy plastic chain guard.

it’s time to dust off the cobwebs

With this kind of rebuild you may need very little money but also a lot of time to work on the rust and make good cosmetically  ( if you are concerned about cosmetics of course ).  Even if not, the bearings all need cleaning, re-greasing and adjusting.

the rear wheel – as found

If you don’t enjoy this kind of work then buy yourself a new bike and enjoy riding that, the same applies if you are the sort of person that frets about hourly rates and such, as you could probably buy two new bikes for the hours a bike shop would charge to do this super-fiddly job !

rear brake

But if you like tinkering occasionally, are not in a hurry, and find this work relaxing, the cost is little if you have a few bike tools already. For this bike I needed to buy a 17mm cone spanner for the heavy duty wheel axles, that’s all.

fork refitted

Anyway, re-assembling the steering head is just the reverse of Part 2 – except that the holey top nut is tightened down finally to take up any side play before the bar stem is tightened onto the threadless steerer to hold the adjustment. The fork was de-rusted and repainted gloss black, avoiding the decals. The “cane creek” steering bearing seals seem very water and grit entry resistant on this bike, having quite fine gaps.

the bb, with cranks off

and here are all the bits…

The Mongoose bottom bracket is very similar to a one piece crank in that it has large diameter pressed in races with left hand threaded adjusting and lock nuts on the non drive axle side. The difference is that the cranks are on either a splined or hex axle with ends that have retaining screws and the cranks themselves clamp onto the axle with their own bolts.

the re-assembled bottom bracket

The BB can thus be assembled without needing to risk damaging the chain wheel while rebuilding. Cheapo BMXs have one piece ( a.k.a. Ashtabula ) combined crank/axle. The steel cranks on this bike weigh a ton – and I can’t believe how heavy a 20″ bike with alloy wheels can be !

Some time ago, I overhauled the wheel bearings cleaned and tidied up the wheels, de-rusted and painted the spokes and blacked the tyres so they looked new ( Mr Keen ! ). I now only had to adjust the cones and fit them to the bike frame.

a big improvement – but is it right way around ?

The handlebars were a fantastic green/orange/grey colour because of corrosion, and I sometimes wish I had maybe just clear coated as they were, because the efficient rust converter stole this colour and forced me to repaint them – sometimes rust is beautiful…( can’t believe I just wrote that ) ! Then again, it was lumpy and rough, and might not have lasted.

full a-head …

I have left the brakes and cables for later, as these are somewhat complicated compared with a normal bike. Suffice to say that the fancy silvery braiding inside the cables is very prone to rusting and the plastic outers offer very little protection to it from the sun and rain. Can they be re-used ? We shall see.

some more progress

This isn’t a journey back to childhood, as you may be thinking – There were no BMX bikes around when I was a teenager, it was Dragsters and such back then – those used to lift the front wheel dangerously when you pedalled at all hard. I still think they are dicey now, and they definitely were then !

However, it should be fun messing around on an old-school BMX for a while …

P.S. You can tell this is old-school because the rear cog has more than 9 teeth, the front more than 20, and the seat doesn’t point up straight off the seat tube at some lewd and silly angle toward my designer undies – and that’s the way I like it thanks !

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unfinished but not bad, hey ?

Since the last post the bike has been mostly reassembled – the frame has been spot-rust converted and clear coated with no attempt to hide any scratches. The wheels were scraped back and rust converted and the rims trued a little – I was surprised how rust free the hubs and spokes were compared with the dreadfully rusted rims – I can only assume that the original plating was not the highest grade.

They are now rust free at least, and as it’s unlikely I will find a better set of this old redundant size rim any time soon, will have to stay mottled as they are. The front hub was overhauled, and the rear sturmey archer 3-hub speed merely cleaned externally and fed some light oil through the oiler cap.

i had to straighten the little shift chain

The cotter pins were the biggest drama in this overhaul, in desperation I had to drill them out carefully as they would not budge even with much penetrating fluid applied. The fixed BB cup was also locked tight and I decided to clean and grease it in situ, as there was no point risking the whole venture to try and remove it.

that nightmare bottom end …

The bike was given a new 1/8″  single speed chain, and the cranks refitted to the axle with new cotter pins once the wheels and stand were refitted. I used some copper-eze compound on the pins, to aid in any future removal. The chain wheel still has some imperfections in the chrome that are hard to remove.

The plastic cable outers were cleaned with detergent and the hard plastic handgrips with fine steel wool. The “upside down” rear brake cable on step-throughs is vulnerable to water entry because the cable entry faces upward and has no protection from rain running down the cable into the inner. This one will need replacement. I replaced the spring steel cable clips with dia-compe ones that screw together, as these are less likely to mark the ( already sufficiently marked ) paint finish.


The saddle is not feasible for me to repair as I’m sure it will split at the slightest use after so many years of neglect. A pity Brooks don’t seem to make white leather B66 saddles, the only white leather ones I can find are sporty unsprung “bum-polishers” .

Oh well… So I’m waiting for a honey Brooks B66s on back order from “Pedal and Thread”, and in the meantime I still have some details to go on with. The tyres are Schwalbe Delta Cruiser gumwalls – I dearly wanted creams but they were not available when I ordered from Papillionaire…anyway, the bike did have gumwalls on it before – though I’m not sure if they were original they looked very old.

no cables, no cry

On the subject of cables again, how much nicer do I think the cable free look is ?

the speedwell frame angles are just a little more laid-back

Compare the bike with my old Speedwell popular and see if you agree. Nevertheless I am pleased with the look of this c.1980 Raleigh. Aesthetically a big improvement over my wife’s learner bike  below – an angular roadmaster cheapie refurb. – well, it did a job for a while. I must have had a premonition when I chose green for that one !

a fitting replacement

I’m also happy with the way the bike shows its age while still looking reasonably shiny. I think that was the effect I wanted !

Remember – it’s only original once…..

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