Archive for the ‘28 inch bicycle wheels’ Category

conqueror loopy

conqueror loopy

I recently had the kind offer of a bike to restore from reader Justin, in the shape of a ladies’ Conqueror loop frame. Just like yours truly, he didn’t want to see a bit of Australian history just thrown away in his local council chuck-out …

stencilled and lined...

stencilled and lined…

It seems that Conqueror was a company from northern New South Wales but there is little info on the web, as is typical with many things ‘old Aussie bike’. I spotted only one other, a red diamond frame 3-speed in the web forums.

Interestingly when I googled the brand, I came across one of my own photos from the 2013 Newcastle Tweed Ride !

another one seen at the 2013 newcastle tweed ride !

another one seen at the 2013 newcastle tweed ride !

This bike is very complete, and that’s mostly what appealed to me. It is also in pretty reasonable condition for age, and sports an original Bell ‘Lady’s’ model 80 saddle which bears a close resemblance to the current Brooks B18 ‘Lady’ leather saddle.

made in oz

made in oz

bell 'lady's'

bell ‘lady’s’

Serial number under the bottom bracket shell is V59158 and the Czech ‘Velamos’ 40H coaster hub is stamped ’58 10′ so I assume the bike was finished in 1959. This hub is virtually identical to the Favorit and Renak European coasters of the period and is very weighty compared with later 70s Shimanos.

can you believe it ?

can you believe it ?     – the original colour

As with my Speedwell loop frame the original colour was completely different to now, showing the remarkable fading power of our southern sun on bright 1950s paint. Seeing is believing – the original main colour was a bright candy red as is shown under the chain guard bracket.

The bike must have been truly spectacular when new !

lovely lining work ..

lovely lining work ..

There is a gold coating under the transparent red to reflect light through it, though it has now all degraded to a very sedate ‘vintage port’ colour. The seat stays are bolted on, much like Speedwells and Malvern Stars of the period.

Given the lovely hand-lining details it would be crazy to repaint it, still, the paint is oxidised and quite fragile.

There are hooks for a skirt guard under the back axle nuts, and the matching holes are drilled in the guard. The plastic coated wire basket has a support on the fork crown that doubles as the mud guard fixing.

an old 'woods' valve

an old ‘woods’ valve

The 28 x 1 & 3/8″ rims are Australian made and painted & lined to match the frame, the front hub is a German Durex ’55’ – 32H – in very poor internal condition. I have a much better almost identical hub shell in my box of tricks, so I should only need cones and bearings to make it go again.

'three arrows' crank set

‘three arrows’ crank set

The 37-642 tyres are one Australian made Dunlop Atlantic and one later Vee Rubber ( Thailand ) though it’s more rounded in profile than the current ones.

Stay tuned for another restoration …


Read Full Post »

I find that as time goes on I am becoming fussier about the workings of my bicycles. Whereas I used to be happy recycling existing bits unless they were really trashed, I can now much more appreciate the smooth workings of new modern components, in particular hubs, bottom brackets and sometimes steering headsets.

I am going to try consolidate and improve some of my existing bikes to this end, but keep the aged appearances where I can.

Take for example this Miche Primato 32H front track hub that I ordered for the 28″ Speedwell wheel. It spins like butter – so why then lace it to an ancient steel rim ?

smoooth !

silky smoooth !

Well, nostalgia for one thing – I was going to strip the old paint off to respray this wheel black, as I’m thinking of fitting it to my “heritage” Grandfather’s Speedwell, along with the matchng rear. There’s nothing wrong with these rims apart from the extra weight over aluminium ones and a limited 642mm tyre choice – but for a “slow bike” like the Speedwell, this won’t really matter.

white lines appeared

the white lines appeared

However, as the worn but original pin lining magically appeared under the wet and dry rubbing I didn’t have the heart to proceed further. I’m a sucker for hand lining, you see.

So, I put a little paint inside the rim once the rust was removed, fish-oil sprayed into the little rim ‘breather’ holes, and sprayed clear coat over the outside rim.

A few days later, in a couple of hours of quiet therapy, the wheel was re-laced as a 2-cross with 32 x 299mm spokes, and trued.

tell me truly ...

tell me, truly

The large flange hub was used to shorten the required spoke length, as was the 2-cross pattern.

I used spokecalc as the calculator and it worked very well and was easy to use – recommended ! Spokes aren’t cheap, and I already had these new 299mm ones. The originals were 3-cross and 312mm on a small flange “Durex” brand German hub.

in the jig

in the jig

For a front wheel without hub brakes even radial spoking would have been OK.

Also recommended is Lennard Zinn’s book “The Art of Road Bike Maintenance” for its step-by-step wheel lacing guide. This is only my third wheel re-build to date following the recent two Road Chief wheels.

The one minor issue is that this rim’s spoke offets were apparently mis-drilled in manufacture and I had to sacrifice the spoke symmetry around the valve to correctly offset the spokes each side by shifting them all by one hole around from ideal placement – ( Thanks again, Mr Zinn ).

I know it seems a little like putting tractor tyres on a Ferrari, but here is the free rolling result :

round like a gerbera !

round and red, like a gerbera !

I probably don’t need to say this again, but if you are re-wheeling an old bike, pay attention to the dropout widths. I can use this modern 100mm hub only because it’s going into a newish 100mm fork, but many old forks are 95mm or less, which will put stress on – and maybe bend – the new spindle, if a 100mm axle is forced in and tightened.

Bikespotting :

oh, wow - i like this one !

oh, wow – i really like this one !

Have a look at this “To die for” Saracen that I saw in Kotara today.

Reynolds frame, modern brake hoods and shifters, canti brakes, triple ring front mech ( though a compact double would do for me ).

The only thing that spoils the looks a bit is the rearward slope of the rack, but I would love this bike in a slightly larger size !

ho ho ho

ho ho ho

And in Blacksmiths you can now hire a beach cruiser Xmas tandem – cool !

Happy Cycling !

Read Full Post »

28 inch speedwell popular

28 inch speedwell popular

What size wheel does a 28 inch tyre fit ? Well, it seems that all depends, as the old “inch” designations roughly referred to the overall tyre diameter and are not particularly accurate because of variations in tyre widths. Not only that, there is more than one wheel size referred to as “28 inch”.

The best way to avoid confusing tyre sizes is via the ETRTO numbering system – especially the 3 digit (second) number on the tyre sidewall that actually refers to the diameter of the tyre bead seat on the wheel (B.S.D.) , roughly the the inside diameter of the tyre. This is e.g. 622mm for the common 700c wheel size.

It makes sense that this is the most important dimension to determine whether a particular tyre will fit a certain wheel as any tyre needs to be a snug fit on the rim. The other important number is the (first) 2 digit one that refers to the tyre width. From a safety point of view you can’t always match every available width of the correct diameter tyre to a particular rim width, e.g. a wide 29er MTB tyre will not be very safe on a narrow road 700c rim even though they are both 622mm bead seat diameter.


what i call 28 ...

what i call 28 inch … speedwell popular

The 28 inch tyre that I know from my youth was pretty standard on all full size Aussie bikes up to around the 1960’s. Doing some research on the Sheldon Brown site I see that it’s referred to as 700A, an obsolete French size. Strange that this is in a country with a  British colonial history.

37-642 mm, to be precise

700A or 37-642 mm, to be precise

The B.S.D. size is 642mm and they are referred to as 1 & 3/8 inch width The ones on my blue Speedwell don’t have an ETRTO number printed on them but 37-642 sounds right. They are still available, but in only very limited square pattern tread by Vee-Rubber in Thailand, or at least that’s all I can find locally.

Interestingly, my Gazelle is fitted with 28x 1 & 1/2 tyres made by Vredestein. This size is referred to as 700B and was used worldwide by many rod braked roadsters. As you can see its ETRTO size is 40-635 mm so it’s 7mm too small to fit my Speedwell. These 28″ tyres are uncommon in Australia.

40-635 mm

40-635 mm

Now I find there is another size called “28 inch” –  and I really  think that this is cheating, as they are 700x35c – i.e. ETRTO 35-622 mm, a full 20mm less wheel diameter than my Speedwell, and even 8mm less than a 27″ wheel ( excluding the tyre ). These ones are Schwalbe Delta Cruisers and also described as 28 x 1.4″  on the sidewall. Nice tyre but a poor relation in name. These are destined for “Project Road Chief”

the upstart

the upstart … 37-622

As far as I know though, all 27 inch wheels are 630mm B.S.D. – but there are a few variants in width above and below the standard 1 & 1/4″ wide. ( 32-630 mm )

To get a little off track, here are a couple of colourful cycles I spotted at Long  Jetty acting as shop adverts. I always feel a little sad for these non-working bikes — that’s the recyclist’s curse I guess, even though I know some really may not be worth restoring.

macrame mtb

tangled web mtb

doily seat cover ...

with doily seat cover …

hmmm ..

hmmm ..

See Ya !




Read Full Post »