Ahhh, late autumn and a young person’s fancy turns to tweed …
So it’s time to dust off the old bike and make ready for the annual Newcastle Vintage Tweed Ride on this Sunday 7th June ( the 3rd time, I think ). Which got me thinking about my 1956 Speedwell Popular, I mean what would it ride like with a more modern pair of wheels ?
I have temporarily fitted some 700C wheels with a Falcon coaster brake rear – not quite as classy as the BSA New Eadie original, but it definitely works better. The rims are Alesa alloys from Belgium, salvaged from an old Apollo hybrid, being about the most classic looking 700C alloy rims I have.
The front is radially spoked, which looks trendy but doesn’t have much vertical ‘give’ unfortunately ( short, stiff spokes ), a decision I made a while back for a different bike.
Fear not, classic bike purists, this is easily reversible back to the originals, unlike, for example, a respray of the frame ( no way ! ).
Anyway, what happens when you go from 700A – 28″ ( 37-642 tyres ) to 700C ?
Well, the bike sits lower, is much lighter, turns more quickly, and gives a rougher ride. Pros and Cons.
Although this change opens up a wider range of current tyres than the block patterned 28″ Vee Rubber oldies the problem is that most of them are too small. As the rims are now 20mm smaller diameter it helps to go for a bigger tyre, these being Continental SpeedRide 700 X 42C ( 42-622 ).
While there are still bigger gaps to your guards ( fenders ) than with 28″, these are larger than any commonly found 27″ wheel/tyre combo ( usually 32-630 ).
The Conti SpeedRide is very light and rolls well for a city tyre – it’s designed for hard surfaces mainly and the recommended pressure is up to 85psi, quite high for such a tyre.
Pretty impressive then … the bike still has stable geometry and is geared low – it’s probably best to keep it that way, with one rear coaster brake only I don’t want to be going too fast. You can tell this bike is a favourite as it sports my B17 special ‘titanium’ saddle …
It should be fun to play with for a while !
Will I take it to the tweed ride ? And what will you be riding, dear Newcastle reader ? Maybe it will make it into this blog …. 0900 hours, Islington Park , Sunday 7th June 2015.
See Ya there !