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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 !