This bike is an ideal candidate for refurbishment, showing clues to having been used little and parked carefully. The decals are in good condition and there is little paint scratching. It’s original and complete except for the missing seat post and saddle, and I’ve already dated it from the number ’84’ stamped onto the Sakae Custom-A crank set. Sadly by 1984 some nice Apollo details had been dropped, like the alloy head badge, which has been replaced by a metallic decal. The rims too are cheapish Kin Lins on Joytech hubs – Araya on Shimano would have been more likely a few years previous.
The main issue for the recyclist is the rust – which is to only be expected from the bike’s location. Swansea is low-lying and surrounded by salt water so the chromed steel rims have gone, the spokes and transmission are rusted up and the paintwork is affected by a few ugly rust spots – though they’re not terminal. The mudguard ( fender ) stays are very surface rust-y although the stainless guards themselves are almost unmarked. I don’t think the wheels had ever been removed, judging by the lack of burrs on the nuts.
When dismantling a bike for overhaul I like to start with a releasing agent on all accessible threads before removing the pedals, followed by the taking off of vulnerable or clumsy parts like chain sets, rear derailleurs and guards. The guards are better removed after the wheels, and it’s also a good idea to slightly loosen the headset, bar clamp and head stem nuts before removing the wheels, to test that they’re not frozen up.
Often one of the worst trouble spots is the fixed bottom bracket cup, but that takes longer to get to and is probably best removed from a fairly bare frame to avoid damage to other components. Plastic crank axle bolt covers and steel pedal axles in alloy cranks are possible nightmares too. If the plastic cover breaks rather than unscrews, pick it out bit by bit with a small flat screwdriver. if a fixing has both a hex head and screw slots use the hex head if possible. Socket or ring spanners are preferable to open ended or shifting spanners for releasing tough bolts.
If you’re new to this, take photos as you go and keep related components together in separate containers. Replacing nuts and bolts back on removed assemblies can help identify where they go later. For paired components such as brake and shift levers. pedals, brake callipers etc. it’s a good idea to dismantle and overhaul one at a time so that there is always an assembled one on hand for cross reference. Concentric assemblies such as headsets can be kept together by threading onto thin wire and tying together in their order of assembly.
Even though i’ve done quite a few of these jobs it’s amazing how easy it is to lose things or to forget part sequences and more so if I am only working sporadically on a project which is why I like to keep organised.
When the chain is this rusty it’s perhaps easier to cut it off with bolt cutters and shout the poor steed a new one. The freewheel here is a classic Suntour 5-speed ‘Perfect’ 14-28T which has a lovely click to it when coasting. This one was frozen up, but it will free up with some oil. The surface rust is typical from lack of use and is relatively easily neutralised. More importantly, I check that the teeth are not chewed up by the chain. This freewheel is unworn on all cogs but a well used one with no rust could easily be worn out, typically on the middle or small cogs depending on the type of use it has had.
Take the freewheel off before disassembling the back wheel – if you’re going that far that is ! The wheel rim is used as a lever with a 2-prong Suntour tool held in a bench vice and the wheel nut ( or Q.R. skewer ) tightened onto it. Like a steering wheel the rim is turned anti-clockwise until the threads just let go, then remove the nut ( or Q.R. ) and wind the tool and freewheel off by hand. I then disassembled these wheels by cutting the spokes with a bolt cutter for speed – though I usually remove good spokes carefully with a key for re-use if I am keeping the rims.
These are all the parts of these wheels that I will keep – the 95mm Joytech front hub, the freewheel and the 126mm rear Joytech hub.( I have better rear hubs so I may not be using this one ). The front will be overhauled and re-used as I have many needy sets of typically 95mm wide ‘ten-speed’ forks not to mention this bike’s !
I was pleased to find a plastic shroud over the crank axle. How many old bikes don’t have these and then need a new BB because crud has fallen down the tubes and contaminated the bearings – OK, so no one services BBs, right ?
I’ve lost count … I mean, how much would it cost any maker to have fitted one of these sleeves ?
P.S. I’ve been enjoying the L.A. 84 single speed conversion lately – it’s so simple to ride !
To be continued …