I’ve had this 1930’s step through in the back of my mind since I found it around 2015. Because it didn’t have the original paint work, I have absolutely no idea what it is. The serial number #165 is the only marking on it.
The ‘lobster claw’ rear fork ends and keyhole front fork ends helped to indicate the era, as does the square-ish head tube flanges ( usually a pre-war feature ). Fittings were mostly Brampton, with a low flange Bayliss Wiley front hub. The rear coaster hub was not the original.
While re-assembling, I realised that the fork threads are finer than the standard 24 t.p.i., so it’s lucky that the adjustable race, steerer, and top cap threads were still in good condition, as I then had no other real choice..
I don’t have a lot of 1930s parts, so planned to use a mix of old and modern components, as there’s no point trying to be precise, when so little is known about it.
Cranks are “Three Arrows” brand, made by Takagi, a Japanese company that started around 1897 and was later taken over by Shimano. These are not original, and I have no idea how old they are.
I used the 28” rims and guards from the previously abandoned 1943 Malvern Star, with a modern 2-speed SturmeyArcher S2C coaster hub, since that rear rim is a newer Japanese 36 hole. The rims are not in great condition cosmetically, however they will do for the time being.
One possible issue with using the S2C is the freewheeling noise in high gear, as these old bikes seem more pleasant with quiet coaster hubs fitted. I will have a backup coaster wheel for it, just in case it drives me bonkers, but so far it’s been fine.
Normal gearing is 44 x 22T, which gives a high gear roughly equivalent to 44 x 16T. Basically, it’s headwind & tailwind gearing.
I’ve done a little simple floral hand-painting on it, which I enjoyed doing, but it can be difficult to achieve a successful result. As you may have noticed, it takes me a long time to get into a bike-painting frame of mind. Loopy has been an occasional project for me over a few months of the lock down, giving the paint a chance to dry before continuing on.
The overall theme is traditional black, with gold lug lines, but I’ve added some floral elements to cheer it up a bit..
To make the S2C hub properly fit the channel in the vintage rear fork ends I had to add a smaller 13/32” thread locknut from an old S-A hub to the large brake arm nut on the left side and dish the rim accordingly, to centre it.
I chose the larger flange front hub to allow shorter spokes ( 299mm – 2 cross ) as the 305-312mm range 28” originals are hard to come by these days.
The geometry is a bit sporty for this kind of bicycle, i.e. there is less fork rake, and steeper head and seat tube angles than is usual for a classic step-through. It has the typical lateral flex of a step-through, but it’s a pleasant enough ride once accustomed to, so long as the hills are only moderate.
I’ve cut down and shellacked some cork grips to fit the dainty handle bar ends and shellacked a twined kick stand for it.
I would like to take this bike for a good long day ride some where, to show that it can be done without too much fuss..
Happy Re-Cycling !