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Archive for May, 2017

after some masking, lining, retouching

The BSA team had won the Tour of Britain in 1952, and to commemorate this, the “Tour of Britain” model was released.  It wasn’t a high-end bike even then, but it seems at least the main tubes were Reynolds 531 and it had reasonable BSA and GB components and a Brooks saddle. Raleigh took over BSA in 1957 as the ‘golden age of bicycles’ was drawing to a close. Fast forward to 1978, and this model has become a pretty basic heavy steel ‘sports bike’ .

heavy metal ? – strewth !

Yet it’s still a classic of sorts, even if a heavy steel double chain set and chromed steel rims do not a racer make. The main brake and ‘suicide’ levers and the Weinmann centre pull callipers were the only alloy components to be found.   It certainly isn’t worth spending a fortune on,  yet it has appeal, I suppose, because of the BSA legend – and is fairly rare, at least here in Oz.  If it had been a genuine pre-Raleigh era BSA I would want to keep it more original, however, as it is, I think some lightening is needed. The original parts can be stored away together, just in case. I know there’s only so much one can do with a relatively heavy frame but the weight of it as standard is a bit ridiculous !

The bike was purchased complete, and mostly original, with a straight frame, some surface rust and tatty paint. It’s a 55cm seat tube and 57cm top tube.

Sorry Anglophiles, but it’s going to be wearing some lighter period Japanese clothing soon. Most of the original gear train was made by Huret ( France ) anyway, and the derailleurs are in rough shape.  The band-on down tube steel Huret/Raleigh shifters are unbelievably heavy too.

sturmey archer high flange steelies overhauled – wing nuts weren’t standard

The hubs are also heavy, but do look pretty – and being Sturmey-Archers, they are well worth keeping, while the Rigida rims are a bit out of shape – and alloys would be nicer. All the cones were pitted and the 5/16 ” front axle was slightly bent, so replacements were needed for these. The main things to deal with here were the greater width of the new cones and the different sized dust seals. This is where having a box of salvaged seals and lock-washers of differing width comes in handy. The front bearings are loose 3/16″ with a 5/16″ axle and the rear 1/4″ bearings on a 3/8″ nutted axle – fairly standard stuff for lower end bikes. Spacing for the hubs is 95mm front and 120mm rear ( 5-speed ).

pedals overhauled

When you hand test an old pedal it isn’t always a good sign that it spins for a long time – this usually means that the grease has dried up or washed away. After overhaul you can feel that the grease viscosity has slowed the spin, but they also feel much smoother. These are Raleigh 717 steel rat-traps.

raleigh type fixed cup and park HCW-11. the bolt & washers are a necessity

This model’s  bottom bracket cups were Raleigh 26t.p.i. – the type that has a very low profile 16mm spanner flat, and they proved stubborn – so I bought a Park Tool HCW-11 spanner. Though this looks thin, it is quite strong in the direction of rotation, and works very well as long as it’s held in place with a large bolt and washers, and thick gloves are used, to prevent sore hands from the spanner edge. This type of cup is also used on some lower end 1980s bikes that have the standard English 24t.p.i. threading, so this spanner will definitely get more than one use.

The steering head has loose 5/32″ ball bearings and removable cups – also with the same 26t.p.i. threading on the adjustable top race.

I was pleased to be able to research all this on the Sheldon Brown web site – god bless that man !

bring out the big guns – the lifeline bb tap & face kit

I looked at the options on the site and after some fiddling with combinations of cups, bearings and spindles concluded that 26t.p.i. was not for me. So out with the BB tap and face set, and it’s now going to have a 24t.p.i. square taper cartridge bb.  This is the most drastic ( and the most versatile ) way of solving the problem but I’m determined not to use the clunky cottered Raleigh chain set. 

 The BB is a Raleigh 71mm, not the standard English 68mm. I did remove a small amount of metal to face it, and the cartridge mount fits flush on the non-drive side – that’s O.K., thanks to it not needing a lock ring. It would take an awful lot of elbow grease to get it down to 68mm to take a standard cup and lock ring !

The steering cups will remain as is – note : as the fork threads are, of course, 26t.p.i. as well, a new fork would be required should the adjustable cup be changed to a standard 24t.p.i.  Interestingly, the fork crown lugs have a similar shape to some 1980s Tange lugs.

This bike will take some time to complete because of the attention needed by the paintwork and the BSA logos.

To Be Continued…

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