A 1974 Carlton Criterium :

In which the Re-Cyclist posts updates on the work undertaken to revive this neglected old classic English red, white, chrome and blue machine ( on a budget ).

as usual .. sad but free !

The components as acquired were :

Raleigh 3-arm cottered steel crankset 40 / 49 T rings.

it weighs a ton.. sigh.

Brampton BB cups ( standard English threading ) & Phillips spindle.

Suntour 14-24T ‘Perfect’ freewheel 5-speed.

Simplex Prestige rear derailleur  ( plastic / steel ) with bolt-on hanger.

Non original Shimano tourney front derailleur.

Generic steel seat post 26.4mm.

GB Neta alloy stem.

frozen stem … damn !

Alloy drop bars unmarked  36cm wide

Brooks (?) saddle ( missing )

Sturmey-Archer high flange nutted hubs, steel body with alloy flanges 36H. – O.L.D. as measured, front = 96mm – 5/16” axle , rear = 122mm – 3/8” axle.

oh no .. more rust ( but none on the spokes ? ).

Carlton “C” decorative insert in wheel nuts.

Weinmann 730 callipers, Weinmann levers with Carlton hoods.

only one shorty mud guard ..

27” steel rims – MKS quill pedals ( non-original ) – Unbranded head set.

Dimensions – 55cm seat tube – 57cm top tube centre-centre.

There are a lot of steel bits, making the complete bike heavy, but when stripped down, the frame is a reasonable weight. I have a feeling it will ride comfortably as it seems well designed, though the medium weight tubing is not exotic. ( Possibly Tru-wel  high tensile steel ). 

Luckily the fork thread and BB cup threads are standard 24tpi ( not Raleigh 26tpi ) threading, which makes it easier to change these parts if needed. Carlton was taken over by Raleigh around 1960. 

The fork and head tube plus head lugs are chrome plated, and this continues along some of the adjacent tubing. 

The first thing I check on with such a rusty bike is whether or not the seat post or stem is seized, and sure enough, the alloy GB stem was really stuck. You hear all sorts of methods for this ( caustic soda, diesel, heat and so on ) and you may be lucky, ( or you may just make a hopeless mess ). 

My preferred way is to cut the stem off and use a step drill of about 20mm total width. It needs to have a hex shank to fit an extension rod to be used so the drill can go right down into  the steerer. I find that the step drill bit tends to centre itself, avoiding damage to the steerer.

some useful tools and a dead stem..

At some point the heat and pressure of the bit should loosen the remaining stem and release it.

Believe me, I tried to get this one out without damaging the stem, as I like the GB components, but there was no way it would release.

It’s best to avoid normal drill bits or wedges, as it’s so easy to bulge or cut the steerer. I also used a hacksaw to make some internal cuts in the stem to weaken it for the drill. It pays to put an old top cap on the fork threads for protection, while working away.

This job took quite a bit of time and much cursing.

To be continued…


2 thoughts on “A 1974 Carlton Criterium :

  1. Good work on a bicycle that looks fine for a rebuild. I have rebuilt many bicycles over the years. Most had completely worn out hubs and that was the reason they were sidelined. New hubs or even wheelsets are fairly inexpensive. Looking forward to your rebuild. I belong to the RatRod Bikes bicycle forum and they have so many ways to get parts unstuck that I had never heard of. They also a site where a rebuild like yours is loved. Good luck with the rebuild.

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