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Archive for the ‘bicycle hubs’ Category

genuine speedwell rear hubs - only one has removable dust caps.

genuine speedwell fixed/free and fixed/fixed rear hubs – only one (top) has removable dust caps & the lone axle (bottom) has new cones on it.

Here are some Speedwell steel hubs waiting to be overhauled. They are the typical 32 front/40 hole rear combination that can make things tricky as far as finding suitable rims goes, but because I now have such a collection of Speedwell frames I know they will be needed sooner or later.

Currently I have two or three good sets of steel 32/40 rims I can use and at least four Speedwell frames I would like to get running again. They will vary between “close to original” and “variously modified” depending on the condition and completeness of each frame.

speedwell cursive on hub shell

speedwell cursive on hub shells

The hubs have shells with no oil seals or dust covers, which possibly made for better oil retention but also makes it difficult to clean up the hardened grease inside the cups. The cones in the rear hubs are mostly shot, but I happen to have one lucky last N.O.S. set that are almost the same. It might also be possible to salvage some more parts from the many multi-speed threaded steel hubs that I won’t be re-using, providing they are in excellent condition. Though it might not be best practice to re-use cones, these hubs won’t be heavily used and will roll the better for it compared with the often badly pitted originals.

speedwell front - the cracked cone is from a BSA hub

speedwell front – the cracked cone is from a BSA hub

The cones on older hubs often don’t have lock nuts and relied on the flanges on the outer faces of the cones locking into matching cutouts in the fork end on their frames.

I am also overhauling some 36 hole hubs that will be easier to find alloy 27″ rims for, such as this Normandy high flange rear and Suzue front hub ‘pair’ both with similar flange cut-outs.

converted hubs for a single speed speedwell

converted hubs for a single speed speedwell

I’ve converted the Suzue front hub from a hollow quick-release to a solid 5/16″ axle, while reducing the locknut width to fit the Speedwell forks. These are good looking hubs and as I’ve made it a policy not to re-build any derailleur bikes that have pressed rear dropouts ( unless they are really special – so many bikes, so little time ! ) then I don’t need them for other projects.

Ideally I would have the set of 36H alloy wheels for each bike that could be interchanged with an original set of 32/40 hubs with their matching steel rims – the alloys for actually using the bike and the steelies to return the bikes close to original for later display, if desired.

Because I like to ride all my bikes I prefer the better braking and lightness of alloys for general riding. Even with a coaster on the rear I feel happier having an efficient calliper front brake for riding the local streets and cycle paths.

typical 'sports' bike hub for threaded cluster - large spacer l.h.s.

typical ‘sports bike’ rear hub for threaded cluster with large offset drive side spacers and extra lock nut – the axle is nutted, not quick release

The multi-speed cluster hub’s threads being the same as for a single speed freewheel, it should just be a matter of getting the new freewheel into the correct chain line via spacers on the axle as well as by choosing the right crank axle length. If necessary it’s even possible to dish the new wheel slightly to ensure the rim runs centrally in the frame.

 these 5/16" fronts all need work -- L-R : bsa, bayliss-wylie, eska, phillips and velo (bottom).

these 5/16″ fronts all need repair — L-R : bsa, bayliss-wiley, eska, phillips and velo (bottom).

this single speed brampton was in great nick - i only have one cyclo 3/8" wing nut though - grrr

this single speed 40H brampton rear was in good nick inside – i only have one cyclo 3/8″ wing nut though – grrr

The rear fork ends on the Speedwells are 110mm or so apart, while the multi-speed hubs were for 120 or 126mm spacing. Removing the large drive side spacer and changing the lock nut or washer widths might nearly be enough to fit them. ( As it turned out this worked pretty well on the Normandy ). The axle will protrude further outward past the track nuts unless a shorter one can be sourced and the hub shell will need re-centring on the axle once the large spacer is removed.

lovely condition brampton 40H freewheel only and bayliss-wylie 32H front

nice condition – brampton 40H freewheel only, and bayliss-wiley 32H front – note flanges on cone outers

I now have many more bikes with 90-95mm widths on the front fork ends and here’s where having a collection of old 5/16″ front hubs really comes in handy. I’ve been salvaging and collecting good used axles, un-pitted and new cones, and lock nuts of varying widths from various rusty classic and ‘sports’ bikes that are fitted with these narrow hubs because not having a suitable front hub is often a stalling point for my bike projects. If the cups are not pitted and the shells are cosmetically good, any of these hubs can be made useful once again.

See Ya !

a rather nice fixed gear bike seen at the tweed ride

a rather nice fixed gear bike seen at the tweed ride

a nice peugeot mixte at the tweed ride

a peugeot mixte at the tweed ride

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( As the late, great, Elvis used to say once upon a time… )

no, it's not mine - but i wish it was !

no, it’s not mine – but i wish it was !

And this Recyclist has certainly been a-rubbing a lot of hubs lately, perhaps in the forlorn hope that the Hard Rubbish Genie will grant him his wishes for an unloved De Rosa, Tommasini or similar to be cast aside, unloved, on the footpaths of his home town …

Anyhow, enough dreaming, it’s luck, observation, haste, and a trained bikey-nose that bring home the bacon on hard rubbish days.

I like the idea of having a mini-warehouse of preserved, restored, and useful parts, hopefully well organised and ready to hand at a moment’s notice. Not only that, but storing things as parts mean that one can do a proper and complete bike rebuild without having to scavenge through a whole yard full of rusty bikes. To be honest though, one has to be a bit selective as to which parts are : (a) most desirable, and / or (b) most likely to be useful in a future restoration considering the limited time one has available to pre-overhaul them.

recycled hub for apollo capri

recycled 95mm hub for apollo capri 27″

In the case of old hubs, it’s a good idea to get inside and check the bearings and cones, but you can usually feel any roughness at first by slowly turning the axle around with the thumb and index finger much like a “safe-cracker” feeling for the ‘combination’. If the bearings drag then either the hub is too tight or the bearings are shot, ( often both ! ) and usually the cones are pitted as well. A firm wiggle of the rim or axle will indicate any looseness or play. Any hard rubbish bike will likely need it’s hubs overhauled as the grease is inevitably dry ( and should be checked regardless ).

small flange steel 'chair' and generic high flange 95mm o.Ld.

36H small flange steel ‘chair’ and generic high flange 95mm o.Ld. hubs, 5/16″ axles.

Sometimes I find a ‘jackpot’ hub like this steel Japanese “Chair” brand from a Graecross Pro Ten that is in beautiful running order. Smooth races, shiny ball bearings and pit free cone tracks.

A thorough clean in solvent, the application of fresh grease, and re-assembly / re-adjustment … job done.

These hubs are really useful for restoring the more basic ‘ten-speeders’ as they have the 95mm locknut width and skinny 5/16″ axles to fit many low end to mid range 50s thru to 80s bikes as so often their axle is bent ( roll it on a flat surface ) or the cones are shot. Being a common 36 hole hub it will fit many classic (or even some more modern ) rims.

I make it a policy to save whatever straight and unworn parts I can off these front hubs – axles, shells, nuts, cones, etc. Yes I know that steel forks can be forced wider, but I prefer not to do that if I can avoid it. These skinny ‘roadster and sports-bike’ hubs will need careful adjustment and more frequent overhauls if they are to last.

I can never say enough times that if you want to be a serious recyclist you should be able to overhaul hubs, dismantle, clean and rebuild wheels. I’m so glad that I’ve learned the basics, for the sake of convenience – and my wallet. You will be too.

To clean hubs I use old toothbrushes, kerosene, rags, ( fine steel wool and rust converter for steel shells ), then to polish the shells it’s fine steel wool again, autosol, rags, and also calico cloth buffers on both a dremel tool and an electric drill.

ofmega road hubs

ofmega road hubs – classy looking, but fragile

A pair of Italian Ofmega road hubs look very much like classic Campagnolos in appearance with their steel oil hole cover clips. They are 100mm & 126mm over the locknuts and suitable for a 5 or 6 speed thread-on freewheel. Ofmega hubs are said to have more fragile cones and races than Shimano or Campagnolo. This is probably true, in my limited experience, but they do look great, with their elegant curves and milky alloy finish.

ofmega thread-on rear

ofmega thread-on rear

and the front ..,

and the front ..,

early shimano 600 pair

pretty & pretty bulletproof – early shimano 600 pair  w/uniglide rear

A pair of Shimano 600, the rear with an early Uniglide 5-speed freehub that takes a cassette where the smallest cog is the ‘locknut’ . I have a close ratio corncob 13-17T and 14-28T cassettes to match. Later Hyperglide cogs will fit these only if the wide positioning key / lug is filed down but you still need that final locking cog at the small end. 1980s Shimano 600 hubs are very well made, pretty, and long lasting too if routinely serviced.

thread-on sunshine rear hub - year unknown -1980s ?

thread-on sunshine rear hub – year unknown -1980s ?

Sunshine ( a.k.a Sansin ? ) is a brand I haven’t had much experience with, but this seems to be a decent mid-range rear. This hub was found to be in good internal condition and cleaned up nicely.

this suzue needs a better skewer

this suzue needs a better skewer

apert from that, it polished up ok

apart from that, it polished up ok

1975 normandy pair - cones and bearings required ..

1975 normandy pair – cones and bearings required ..

The high flange Suzue front and the 1975 Normandy pair needed new cones and bearings, though that’s not to say they all will. High flange hubs look great but as they use shorter spokes than low flange ones their wheels may be less compliant than equivalent small flangers. Although not the only factor for ride quality It’s worth considering your riding preferences and tyres with any particular frame-set you’re considering fitting them to.

shimano O-type coaster c.1984

shimano O-type coaster c.1984

This Shimano O-Type coaster has been more recently copied by other manufacturers such as Hi-Speed and Falcon, however this one seems lighter than the newer copies. As with any old coaster a front handbrake could be a good idea in modern traffic or if the coaster fails to brake well after rebuilding – and you won’t really know until it’s up and running. This one dates from around 1984 and is a good stopper.

the same coaster after overhaul

the same coaster after overhaul

Hopefully, the next few posts will feature a few bikes that are now wearing some of these hubs.

these hubs go on forever - almost

a sturmey archer, spotted out and about : these hubs go on forever – almost

Happy Re-Cycling !

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