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Archive for September, 2016

the green frame

the green frame

This frame is the next project, and one that came re-built as a single speed but I’ve decided to fully overhaul it and make a few changes. I think it dates somewhere between 1958-60.

a spot of colour under a clamp

a spot of colour under a clamp

It was originally a beautiful emerald green over gold and has faded to a more sedate shade that still looks rather elegant. The paint and decals are arguably in the best condition of any of my Special Sports frames. That doesn’t mean it looks like new, however !

the head lugs differ

the head lugs differ, original loose ball headset

One difference from the other Special Sports frames in my collection is with the head tube lugs, which are similar to those on my Flash in being a bit more ornate at the top and down tubes. The other lugs are standard for the Special Sports.

serial number

serial number

I’ve had a few dramas removing the fixed bottom bracket cup from both the Flash and this bike. If you are having problems with an English ‘BSA type’ fixed cup that has no flats on it, e.g. T.D.C or Brampton, have a try at this method :

shift ... you so and so !

shift … you so and so !

You’ll need a fairly short M16 bolt and nut and some appropriate spacing washers. Five bucks or so from Bunnings ( unless you need lots of washers – I had some already ). Just make sure to use loosely fitting inner washers inside the cup, or the bolt or washers may not come back out. I’ve used a socket spanner to hold the bolt and a large shifter ( a ring spanner is better ) to tighten the nut clockwise – which also happens to be the unscrew direction of the drive side cup.

out, out !!

out, out !!

Voila !

It let go – probably had been there for 50 years. Don’t forget to put anti-seize compound on the new one !!!

the inside washers help the socket grip the bolt head fully without fouling on the cup sides

the inside washers help in engaging the bolt head fully without the large socket fouling on the cup sides.

I’m also making it a habit to re-tap the BB threads on the tight ones. The new fixed cup ( or cartridge ) should thread in most of the way by hand if the BB threads are good. Unfortunately the tap and face kits to do this aren’t cheap, but the Lifeline one ( from Wiggle ) is reasonably priced and works well.

I have quite a bit more to do on this one … it’s time for a ride !

the reborn flash

the reborn flash

See Ya !

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just cruisin'

just cruisin’ around today ..

This red Speedwell Special Sports is the only one I have that came with its original mudguards. It’s easy to spot the original red colour from the parts of the frame that had cable clamps ‘protecting’ small areas from U.V. light. I believe it dates from 1957, going by the previous owners information. Serial number under the bottom bracket is V30907 and there is a smaller set of numbers ‘3447’ on the BB where it meets the left chain stay.

The paint has plenty of patina and could be considered only as fair condition for its age.

I’ve built it up as a 2-speed semi-light roadster though I think it would have originally been a 3-speed, the reason being that it looks to have once been fitted with a frame mounted jockey wheel for the gear cable.
The Sturmey Archer S2C rear and 1984 Chair low-flange front hubs have been laced to Araya 36H anodised rims for lightness and better stopping. These simple rims have a classic look with a shape that’s not too different from the original steel rims.

2 speeds and i'm kicking back ...

2 speeds and i’m kicking back …

I haven’t used a cottered crank on this one because I wanted a 42T chain ring for the 2-speed hub. This is because a 44T is a bit high geared for my liking on the 27″ wheels. The 22T rear gives me a 42×22 low gear with the equivalent of a moderate 42×16 high gear. The tyres are new Schwalbe ‘Active Line’ 27″ white walls.

shoot that golden arrow --- i can always change it back, but 42T is great on this

shoot that golden arrow — i can always change it back, but 42T is great on this

The crank set is Shimano ‘Golden Arrow 105’ with a 42T Surly 130 pcd stainless steel chain ring. A 113mm JIS square taper bottom bracket gives a nice close clearance and a good chain line on this bike though that’s a much narrower axle than would be used on a derailleur bike with double rings on these cranks. At the moment the pedals are MKS Sylvan, but I’m soon going to fit some original Phillips, once they are overhauled.

phillips - that's more like it !

phillips – that’s more like it !

An early owner has painted white ‘visibility’ sections on the front and rear guards that I won’t be trying to remove. The only frame surface treatment I gave was gentle cleaning and a sparing layer of beeswax conditioner. Any past attempt I’ve made to brighten the candy paint on a special sports hasn’t been successful, so this is all that I do now.

morning glory

morning glory

Most of these Special Sports frames have 54cm seat tubes and around 59cm top tubes. Because the frames are a bit low for me I find them somewhat unsuitable for drop bars unless the stem is set high, so I’ve fitted this one with ‘Oxford’ style bars.  The little bell is stamped ‘Speedwell Cycles’.

The bikes have either 26.8 or 27mm seat posts and this one is a new alloy one – I’ve toned it down a little with some shellacked cloth, otherwise it looks a bit too obvious.

I could have fitted the original Monitor ‘Ventura’ steel front brake but instead decided on a ‘Cherry’ brand alloy. The problem with fitting a later brake is that the flat section of guard isn’t long enough to avoid the nose of the calliper touching the guard, but this one just fits. I did fit a small piece of rubber from an old tube between the calliper and guard to stop them rattling together. These brakes aren’t brilliant either, but combined with the coaster do a reasonable job while not looking too out of place.

For the moment the saddle is a Brooks Flyer in antique brown with a matching B4 frame bag and Shellacked Cardiff cork hand grips. I’ve fitted my PDW Take-out basket as I thought was it rather appropriate for this sedate old cruiser… and the brass badge from “Tommy Mac’s” was from my grandfather’s collection, as he used to work at their Newcastle store – possibly he was there around the time this bike was made.

Thomas McPherson & Sons

Thomas McPherson & Sons

Happy Re-Cycling !

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genuine speedwell rear hubs - only one has removable dust caps.

genuine speedwell fixed/free and fixed/fixed rear hubs – only one (top) has removable dust caps & the lone axle (bottom) has new cones on it.

Here are some Speedwell steel hubs waiting to be overhauled. They are the typical 32 front/40 hole rear combination that can make things tricky as far as finding suitable rims goes, but because I now have such a collection of Speedwell frames I know they will be needed sooner or later.

Currently I have two or three good sets of steel 32/40 rims I can use and at least four Speedwell frames I would like to get running again. They will vary between “close to original” and “variously modified” depending on the condition and completeness of each frame.

speedwell cursive on hub shell

speedwell cursive on hub shells

The hubs have shells with no oil seals or dust covers, which possibly made for better oil retention but also makes it difficult to clean up the hardened grease inside the cups. The cones in the rear hubs are mostly shot, but I happen to have one lucky last N.O.S. set that are almost the same. It might also be possible to salvage some more parts from the many multi-speed threaded steel hubs that I won’t be re-using, providing they are in excellent condition. Though it might not be best practice to re-use cones, these hubs won’t be heavily used and will roll the better for it compared with the often badly pitted originals.

speedwell front - the cracked cone is from a BSA hub

speedwell front – the cracked cone is from a BSA hub

The cones on older hubs often don’t have lock nuts and relied on the flanges on the outer faces of the cones locking into matching cutouts in the fork end on their frames.

I am also overhauling some 36 hole hubs that will be easier to find alloy 27″ rims for, such as this Normandy high flange rear and Suzue front hub ‘pair’ both with similar flange cut-outs.

converted hubs for a single speed speedwell

converted hubs for a single speed speedwell

I’ve converted the Suzue front hub from a hollow quick-release to a solid 5/16″ axle, while reducing the locknut width to fit the Speedwell forks. These are good looking hubs and as I’ve made it a policy not to re-build any derailleur bikes that have pressed rear dropouts ( unless they are really special – so many bikes, so little time ! ) then I don’t need them for other projects.

Ideally I would have the set of 36H alloy wheels for each bike that could be interchanged with an original set of 32/40 hubs with their matching steel rims – the alloys for actually using the bike and the steelies to return the bikes close to original for later display, if desired.

Because I like to ride all my bikes I prefer the better braking and lightness of alloys for general riding. Even with a coaster on the rear I feel happier having an efficient calliper front brake for riding the local streets and cycle paths.

typical 'sports' bike hub for threaded cluster - large spacer l.h.s.

typical ‘sports bike’ rear hub for threaded cluster with large offset drive side spacers and extra lock nut – the axle is nutted, not quick release

The multi-speed cluster hub’s threads being the same as for a single speed freewheel, it should just be a matter of getting the new freewheel into the correct chain line via spacers on the axle as well as by choosing the right crank axle length. If necessary it’s even possible to dish the new wheel slightly to ensure the rim runs centrally in the frame.

 these 5/16" fronts all need work -- L-R : bsa, bayliss-wylie, eska, phillips and velo (bottom).

these 5/16″ fronts all need repair — L-R : bsa, bayliss-wiley, eska, phillips and velo (bottom).

this single speed brampton was in great nick - i only have one cyclo 3/8" wing nut though - grrr

this single speed 40H brampton rear was in good nick inside – i only have one cyclo 3/8″ wing nut though – grrr

The rear fork ends on the Speedwells are 110mm or so apart, while the multi-speed hubs were for 120 or 126mm spacing. Removing the large drive side spacer and changing the lock nut or washer widths might nearly be enough to fit them. ( As it turned out this worked pretty well on the Normandy ). The axle will protrude further outward past the track nuts unless a shorter one can be sourced and the hub shell will need re-centring on the axle once the large spacer is removed.

lovely condition brampton 40H freewheel only and bayliss-wylie 32H front

nice condition – brampton 40H freewheel only, and bayliss-wiley 32H front – note flanges on cone outers

I now have many more bikes with 90-95mm widths on the front fork ends and here’s where having a collection of old 5/16″ front hubs really comes in handy. I’ve been salvaging and collecting good used axles, un-pitted and new cones, and lock nuts of varying widths from various rusty classic and ‘sports’ bikes that are fitted with these narrow hubs because not having a suitable front hub is often a stalling point for my bike projects. If the cups are not pitted and the shells are cosmetically good, any of these hubs can be made useful once again.

See Ya !

a rather nice fixed gear bike seen at the tweed ride

a rather nice fixed gear bike seen at the tweed ride

a nice peugeot mixte at the tweed ride

a peugeot mixte at the tweed ride

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