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Archive for the ‘About me, or my bikes’ Category

the beezer, pretty much completed

This has been a bit of an exercise in ‘period’ upgrading, without unnecessarily over-capitalising the bike. The way I mostly save on expenses is to do all the work myself, to avoid labour costs.  Not only that, but it’s more satisfying, especially when building up your own wheels.

Apart from consumables – chains, cables, tyres, bar tape, bearings, brake pads – I also try and use as many recycled components as I reasonably can.

the drive-line

The new bottom bracket cartridge turns in easily on the re-tapped threads, but it tightens up well. A Genetic brand 110.5 mm axle was about right for chain line.

I’ve chosen a set of Sugino Mighty cranks in the unusual 171mm length – the original (?) drillium inner ring was worn, but I salvaged a pair of rings in 144bcd from my Ofmega CX cranks as I can no longer use these without a good Ofmega or Avocet spindle. Apparently they ( Ofmega ) are incompatible with JIS or ISO tapered spindles..

144 b.c.d. is an old ‘bolt circle diameter’, and these rings can be hard to find in 3/16″ derailleur versions, though there are plenty still being made for 1/4″ track chains. Their down-side, in the modern world, is a minimum useable chainwheel size of around 42T.

1979 b17 narrow

The fork was refitted with new 5/32″ bearings in the original headset. For lightness and reliability I’m using a Shimano 500 rear derailleur, salvaged from a hard rubbish bike and a Shimano 600 front derailleur – with the Shimano band on down tube shifters from an old Bennett. The original 25.4mm seat pin was a bit short so I fitted a longer version of the same. The saddle is a 1979 Brooks B17 narrow.

The stem is a Soma Sutro 80mm with 25.4 bar clamp and a set of Charge classic drop bars.

Brake levers are 1st generation Dura-Ace, which look similar to my drilled 600 ‘Arabesque levers’ ( these, and those, are the nicest shaped non-aero levers I’ve used ).

The Weinmann centre pull brakes would have both been retained, with new pads fitted – except that the front one wasn’t long enough to reach the new 700C wheel and so had to be replaced with a period Dia-Compe.

The rear brake had longer reach so was re-used. These centre pull brakes have a slightly spongey feel to them compared with modern dual pivot brakes – steady does it.

weinmann/alesa concave 700c – they are tough !

The original Sturmey Archer hubs have been re-laced into Weinmann / Alesa concave 700C rims to allow a decent choice of tyres, and the freewheel is a Shimano Z-series 14-24T,  5-speed cluster. The bike’s reduced weight will hopefully compensate for the 52/42T chain set and should work pretty well for me, although it is a bit higher than the original 49/40T. I couldn’t get a 28T freewheel to clear the derailleur for some reason.

The tyres are Tufo ‘tubular clinchers’ in 700 x 25C – a tight fit on these rims. I’ve grown fond of Tufos, they are well made, light, and they also ride, corner and grip quite well. Removable presta valves allow the use of sealant if punctured.

Now it’s a matter of refitting the original stainless steel mudguards, fitting the chain, cables and bar tape, and a lot of adjusting and tweaking … woohoo — I can’t wait to take it for a spin !

 

P.S.  Here’s a list of the original parts – if any one happens to be restoring one back to original ( most are not in these photos ) :

Bars : Steel drops 25.4mm unbranded

Stem : Steel quill 1″- no branding.

Headset : 1″ loose ball 5/32″ 26t.p.i threading.

Chainset : Raleigh 49x40T cottered, steel. 26t.p.i. bottom bracket threading.

Freewheel : Atom 77,  14-25T 5-speed cluster

Derailleurs : Raleigh branded – made by Huret  rear with 26 & 28T options.

Brakes : Centrepull alloy —- Front : Raleigh/Weinmann 610 — Rear : Raleigh/Weinmann 750, Weinmann alloy levers with Dia-Compe ‘safeties’

Rims : Rigida Chrolux 27x 1 & 1/4″ HP steel 36H 3-cross spoking

Hubs : Sturmey Archer high flange steel 36H

Shifters : Raleigh, down-tube, band-on ( Huret again )

Stainless steel mud guards fitted – as in these photos.

Pedals : Raleigh 717, rat-trap steel as in these photos

Saddle and bar tape ( ? ) – non-original…steel seat pin 25.4mm.

 

 

Until next time – happy re-cycling !

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1960s flash – with original paint

This one came as only a frame, forks, headset and bottom bracket so I don’t know the exact running gear. While I realised that I could almost make a complete ‘period’ bike with this frame plus the parts off ‘ Flash No. 1’ , I decided that’s a project for sometime down the track. I am estimating an early 1960s build, but don’t quote me on that !

Serial number is W19788 whereas most of my other gent’s Speedwells have a “V” prefix. Seat tube is 55cm c-c and top tube 58cm c-c. I call it ‘over-square’.  Though the frame is technically a bit small for me, the longish stem and top tube combine to negate the slightly short seat tube.   

downtube details

It does seem a few years younger than my other Flash because the head and seat tube lugs are less ornate and there is no bottom bracket oil port.  The box lining is simpler and there’s more use of decals rather than paint stencilled decoration.  The main heavy box lining looks as though it was masked off for painting, then finished off with fine free-hand lining in certain places. I wonder if there’s any old footage around anywhere showing this type of lining being done – or perhaps it was a ‘trade secret’ type of work.  It would certainly be a great skill to keep alive nowadays.

With the faded candy red paint now turned to a mellow and patina’d ‘old wine’ red-brown, this frame somehow reminds me of a well thumbed leather bound book. The Speedwell Flash frames use a lighter (or thinner) steel than the Special Sports or Popular, which makes them nice to ride, but they are also more prone to dents, especially on the top tube, where it can be knocked by the bar ends. Unlike my older Flash, there is no letter “F” ( or anything else ) stamped on this fork steerer, though the ornate fork lugs are very similar, as are the chromed and painted fork legs.

The main difference in geometry between this and a modern steel frame is the somewhat laid back seat tube, but the short-ish chain stays and less fork offset mean that it’s a bit more responsive than some other 27″ bikes of its era. The seat pin diameter is 27mm versus the 27.2mm of my older Flash.

The cottered crank axle was badly pitted, as are most others on these old Speedwells. The new chain set, for the time being,  is a Shimano Exage 300, 170mm, converted to a single ring 44T on an FSA 103mm JIS square taper cartridge BB. 

I’ve found that a 103mm bracket works best with most 80s alloy cranks when running as a single speed with 110mm rear spaced frames. If you look at the original cottered Williams chain-sets on these Speedwells you’ll see how little clearance they have from the bracket cups and the chain stays, and the same should apply with an 80s chain set on a square taper, in order to get a decent chain line.

In this case, the freewheel and chain wheel are 3/16″ capable, so with a 1/4″ chain there is also a little bit of room for any slight chain line error.

pretty close – but works well

The pedals I fitted were Phillips, but I soon changed them to Wellgo B144s as the Phillips are designed for steel cranks and have really short threads – maybe they’re not such a good idea for thicker alloy cranks. The red Wellgo pedals somehow look out of place, yet at the same time, appropriate. Perhaps it’s the colour, reminiscent of the bike’s original hue but I’ve come to like the appearance. The same goes for the non-period chainset, and anyway, all these things can be swapped back if more originality is required.

normandy rear hub w/- huret wing nuts, halo freewheel

The wing nuts I used on the front and rear axles are Hurets, with a modern chain tensioner on the drive side rear.  Hubs are the converted Suzue front and Normandy rear shown a few posts ago, with a Halo 18T freewheel, laced to 27″ Ambrosio Extra 36H rims. The tyres were Continental Ultra Sport ( 27 x 1 & 1/8″ ), however following a couple of punctures I fitted my only pair of Gatorskins in 27 x 1 & 1/4″ and even though these look a little bit wide for the rims, I won’t be pushing them too hard.

love this stem !

The stem is my early Cinelli track stem with 25.4mm bar clamp, ‘negative rise’ and a 110mm length, paired with some 1960s (?) steel drop bars. These 25.4mm bars have a long reach, long drops and narrow tops, though at least the long ramps offer a reasonable hand hold and the drops are reasonably wide for the period.  I still think the wide topped Cinelli ‘ Giro d’Italia ‘ 42 or 44cm alloy are my favourites, but they neither fit this stem, nor suit this bike’s appearance. The older steel drop bars do seem to transmit more ‘hurt’, perhaps because of their thinner diameter compared with more modern alloy bars.

before the extra bar tape

The brakes I used are currently available ( ! ),  Dia-Compe centre pulls with Dia Compe Q.R. levers, though I would like to use some fancier drilled levers if I can find a nice pair.

I’ve fitted some period steel cable clips on the top tube, but put some thin leather strips underneath them so as not to scratch the patina —— ( lol ).

These callipers seem considerably heavier than older Weinmanns and Dia-compes that I have used, and the overall bike is heavier than ‘Flash No 1’ too.

Bar tape is Ritchey Classic with used  Cat Eye end plugs. To help hold the tape ends in place, I’ve used some short sections of 23mm inner tube ( see top pic. ).  

I am aware that the dinky little mudguards may be more 70s than 60s but hopefully they will help keep a bit of dirt out of the callipers and lower steering head bearings ! I’ve since wrapped the bar tape more thickly and added more length – for extra comfort.

it’s a nice ride ..

Hope you like it !

And Happy Re-Cycling  !

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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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It’s nearly time for the Tweed Ride, Novocastrians ! It’s on August 28 this year – refer to the Bicycles in Newcastle blog for details – and attend if you can – we should be grateful that there are people prepared to put in the effort to keep this great event going !
I do tend to get a bit reflective at Tweed Ride time, and sometimes think of such pressing things as “Which bike to ride ?” or “What clothes will I wear ?” and although my Gazelle is a perfect bike for this event I still like to use an old Aussie bike if I can, and I prefer to use a different machine each year, for variety.

bracing myself for things to come ..

bracing myself for things to come ..

The 2011 Toer Populair has been covered in detail in one of my earliest blog posts, and that post has the longest comment thread of any on this blog – which has probably also helped sell a few for Royal Dutch Gazelle !

Today I had the feeling to take it out for a gentle 20 odd km. spin, to clear the head a little.

This bike would have to be my favourite for seeking out photos when I’m out and about, because of the commanding views it encourages me to take in when I’m perched upright, high on its sprung B66 saddle.

I don’t use it all the time, but when I do it’s like a breath of fresh air. There are a few differences compared with riding a road bike of course, and these include the following —  My “Toerpopulati” !  :

toer pop art

toer pop art

1)   It’s best to spin, not mash, the pedals – this bike weighs about as much as two steel road bikes and accelerates accordingly ! To save the knees, I don’t usually go above 5th or 6th of the 8 gears on the flat, and I change down as soon as my cadence drops a bit in a headwind or up a rise.  I pretend I am driving a truck, and gear change accordingly !  Probably good advice for any geared bike, really..

Once up to speed it will glide along beautifully on the flat.

Unless one has iron quads and knees, 7th and 8th gears are for soft pedalling down hills. On the flat, wind resistance at speed will stop you from using these gears with a proper cadence unless you are in a paceline (lol).

2)   One can’t really stand up on the pedals – firstly, balance is compromised and second, it doesn’t look right ! One can, however, only if no-one is looking, lean forward and hold the bars near the stem for a slight aerodynamic advantage …

3)   When doing slow sharp turns one may need to shift the inside knee out under and beyond the inside bar grip when the inside pedal is down, and back again once the turn is completed – this is actually easier than it sounds !

4)   Due to the rack and basket, I often mount the bike by first starting to roll standing sidesaddle on the left pedal, then lifting my right foot over the top tube – easy if you have good bike balance.

( Taking care not to scratch the lovely paintwork of course ! )

5)    Much as with a tandem, it’s good form not to curse when climbing long hills … it will help to imagine the fun and speed you’ll have when the long descent finally arrives.

Spin the lowest gear you can cadence up on and if necessary be prepared to walk it – that gives your quads a little recovery time as well !

6)   The bike does beautiful long slow turns at moderate speeds and encourages one to lean in line with it – and that feels great.

7)    The Nexus 8 hub is pretty much faultless as long as one remembers to ease off the pedals when changing –  Sturmey Archer 3sp. users will understand what I mean here.

8)   Roller brakes are a very gentle way of stopping – think well ahead and you’ll be fine !

9)   You will look silly on a “ToerPop” wearing any kind of lycra – don’t even think about it !

10)    You will be dropped by any moderately fit person on a good road bike – but if you’re like me, you most probably won’t care.  Just keep going, and imagine the reverse if you two were to swap bikes.

******************************************

I’ve had very few dramas with this bike : some broken spokes, some surface rust on the head fittings and a dicky switch and blown halogen on the Lumotec head lamp. Broken spokes are usually due to uneven tension, so I recently checked the front ones with my Park Tool tension meter and evened them out while truing.

The front roller brake is fairly easy to remove for spoke replacement, although the back wheel could be time consuming because of the chain case and Nexus cassette joint. Minor adjustment of spokes could be accomplished with the rear wheel in the frame.

Happy Tweed ‘n’ Toer-ing !!

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speedwell special sports

speedwell special sports

This frame, presumably a ‘Special Sports’ model was overlooked in my post ” A Brace of Speedwells ” as it came without a fork and with very sad original paintwork. Sometimes the appeal of a bike takes a while to grow, and also a little thought is needed as to how to proceed with its conservation or refurbishment.

I visualised this one as a kind of semi-sporty 3-speed fitted with some non-period components. I decided to add these components to give the bike a bit of shine and to make it a nicer user. There are parts spanning over different decades, starting with a new ‘reproduction’ chromed steel fork and a new alloy threaded head set.

Note – not having the original fork gave me the perfect excuse to modernise the bike guilt free, but I won’t be repainting this or any of the other Speedwells – except the ‘Flash’ of a couple of posts ago which had lost all its original finish after a previous owner’s repainting.

character !

that’s character !

The new fork steerer was a bit long, but instead of shortening it again I’ve added several spacers to get the bars a little higher. They were going to be 42cm steel randonneur bars in a Soma “Sutro” 80mm stem at first, as shown in these photos.

However, after some initial rides on it I began to suffer dull aches and stiffness in my forearms and hands, which became quite unbearable both on, and finally, off the bike as well…

I put it down to the narrow diameter and very rigid bars, a problem made worse with the thin leather tape. The combination had no give at all. I now conclude that the beautiful and tactile Brooks bar tape is only suited to drop bars if there is  a deal of compliance in the bike as set up, unless the tape is heavily overlapped and/or the riding position is quite upright.  In this case even overlapping the tape more didn’t help.

I’ve since changed to Tange moustache bars after unsuccessfully trying thicker tape. The pain has now subsided and yes, I can feel some flex in the much wider bars as weight is applied to them – a good thing in this case !

I’m now using Cardiff cork grips on the ends but would like to add some bar tape around the levers as well. I’m still trying to figure out what to use so that it doesn’t look silly, however at least the bike rides well now !

Wheels are 27 X 1″ alloy presta valve 36 holed rims with a Sturmey Archer high flange front hub (new) and the compact Shimano 3S hub that I restored some time back ( Yes, I know it’s not period or marque  correct, but… ).

well at least the front one is a sturmey-archer !

well at least the front one is a sturmey-archer !

Using the new fork meant that I could also use a more modern 100mm wide track style hub – yay !

Brakes are modern Tektro R559 ( nutted ) extra long drop with Dia – Compe levers. The Tektros work much, much better than what would have been the original callipers, and they are great for older frames with large clearances or where 27″ to 700c conversions are being contemplated when standard road brakes just won’t cover the 8mm smaller diameter .

They don’t really have a classic appearance but are at least nice and shiny, and actually stop the old bike rather well.

New Jagwire brake cables were fitted, and an original Shimano 3S click shifter has a jockey wheel mounted near the bottom bracket. The top tube cable clips are re-cycled Shimano ‘Dura-Ace’ … Cool Bananas !

a cable jockey tucked away

a cable jockey tucked away

The Shimano click shifter works pretty well but is a bit plasticky looking compared with period Sturmey Archer triggers. The moulded face-plate doesn’t survive outdoor neglect as well either.
I like the way this gear cable runs along the down tube as it means the top tube isn’t visually overloaded with cable and it hints a little of the old Sturmey Archer cable jockey wheels – albeit at the opposite end of the seat tube.

miche xpress chain set

miche xpress chain set

The BB is a Miche Primato sealed 107mm with a Miche X-press chainset ( JIS ). The X-press chainset has quite a classic style – for a modern crank anyway, and I think it suits this bike.
Gearing is 48 x 21T – i.e for second or ‘normal’ gear, a little lower perhaps than for gearing a single speed. Tyres are Continental Ultra Sport 27 x 1 & 1/8″ – I didn’t know these were available until recently as they are also hard to find.

what's left of the down tube decal

what’s left of the down tube decal

I’ve learnt that with the old Speedwell paintwork a rub over with a beeswax leather dressing will help keep the paint together and also bring back some colour and lustre, whereas a glossy clear coating is rather more final and not as natural looking.

seat tube decal

seat tube decal

It would appear that this frame has faded from a purple-red originally, with the down tube paint stencilling of the earlier Special Sports seemingly replaced by a different style of decal to the other examples I have. This makes me think that it’s a later model than the others, as is suggested by it not having a bottom bracket oiler – but again I am only guessing.

The frame number is W(?)23725 – I’m not absolutely sure of that ‘W’ though.

The shine of alloy and chrome helps lift the dull paintwork and yet makes it more subtle at the same time.

backlit

backlit

It’s a responsive but not overly quick handler that can do a surprising turn of speed for an oldie – especially in a tailwind !

Happy Re-Cycling !

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ready to roll ...

ready to roll …

It’s entirely possible that I may one day get this bike closer to original, but in order to do that I would have to know just what that ‘original’ was. This is a problem with many old classics that have been altered here and there over the years by owners like me, perhaps just attempting to keep them going while still looking ‘respectable’.

I don’t always see the point of keeping un-rideable totally original bikes either, unless they are in unsafe condition – or are so rare or unique as to almost be museum pieces.

the driveline

the driveline

The serial number is A94488 on the bottom bracket, and from the Williams chain ring code (AU) the bike might date from 1955 – but this assumes that the chain wheel was the original.

As the non-drive crank was a rusty fluted Magistroni, it’s hard to be absolutely sure that this was the case. Some research also indicates that these particular Weinmann brakes likely date from the early 60s, so they may ( or may not ) have been later additions. That means the frame number is perhaps the only real clue to its exact age…

I wanted to use the existing rims at first, however the alloy was somewhat pitted so I declined that. Anyway, they didn’t match either – like the hubs. The half price new grey “CD” finish Mavic reflex rims were too good to pass up. I originally wanted silver ones but I’m getting to like these now.

The bike rides really well considering the tyres are 23mm but then they are Tufo tubulars ( model : C-Hi composite carbon ).
I used 23mm as this is the recommended size for the Mavic rims, otherwise I would have gone wider.

this is not a 'path racer'

this is not a ‘path racer’ – it’s too modern !

In spite of the skinny tyres the Flash rides better than my other single speed, based on a Cr-Mo Malvern Star L.A.84 frame set, and that’s on 27″ wheels with 1 & 1/4″ ( 32mm ) Bontrager clinchers. Also, any bike that can make a fairly new Brooks Team Pro saddle feel relatively comfortable must have a decent amount of compliance to it !

Based on my experience with these tyres and my other Tufo ( S33 ) tubs I would describe the Tufo tubulars as having more of a “papery patter” to their ride on typical corrugated suburban road surfaces as opposed to the “thump and bump” that some other frames and some clincher tyres can give.

The Weinmann 610 ‘Vainqueur 999’ centre-pull brakes work surprisingly well, even at near maximum drop for the 700c wheels and I’m happy with the Dia-Compe levers too, which were salvaged from an old cantilever braked MTB. The curved levers also seem to visually match the curved wing nuts on the hubs.

an attempt at comfort - grips and tape

a successful attempt at comfort – grips and tape

You’ll notice the bars have a ‘mixed-up’ look with Cardiff cork grips butting onto the lever clamps then some short lengths of bar tape finished with shellacked twine. This isn’t just for decoration as the combination makes the ‘bar’s grip area wider and more evenly comfortable and it eliminates pressure points when my palms are on the lever clamps – ( as that’s my preferred hand position here ).

I’ve always liked these Cardiff cork grips…

At 46 x 20 on the freewheel, the bike will spin out at speed in a tailwind or going downhill, but it’s a joy otherwise, being easy to accelerate from low speeds or spin up short sharp hills with a little run-up.

If using the fixed cog I would probably fit an 18T or 19T just for the sake of downhill runs.
Even though the cranks, bars and stem are all steel, the bike overall is about as light as any of my other more modern steel framed road bikes.

In the end, I’ve tried to treat this old Speedwell with some respect – albeit in my own way – although I have taken some liberties as well and there’s now even more departure from whatever was the original.

Happy Re-Cycling ( and riding ) !

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