Posts Tagged ‘classic ten speed’

as found

as found

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 Sadly by 1984 some nice Apollo details had been dropped, like the alloy head badge, which has been replaced by a metallic decal.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.

rims gone..

the rims & spokes are pretty well gone..

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.

crank extractor

the crank extractor

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.

intersting shifter mount - suntour

interesting shifter mount – suntour friction

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.

the suntour honor rear derailleur is heavy but reliable..

the suntour honor rear derailleur is heavy but reliable..

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.

pie-plate and 2-prong suntour 'perfect' 5sp.

pie-plate and 2-prong suntour ‘perfect’ 5-spd.

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.

joytech hubs - the front is worth overhauling

joytech hubs – the front is worth overhauling

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 !

crank axle complete & in good nick

crank axle assembly in reasonable nick

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 ?

i'm still working...

i’m still working…now’s a good time to remove the BB.

P.S.  I’ve been enjoying the L.A. 84 single speed conversion lately – it’s so simple to ride !

yummm !

yummm !

To be continued …


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on a test ride

on a test ride

Repco is a long standing name in this country, mostly known nowadays for its automotive products, and as far as cycling goes they once had a range of 10-speed bikes ranging from this model right up to superlight and triathlete chro-moly racing bikes. Of course the exotic models are much more rare, though there are plenty of Travellers still getting around.  The Traveller was the basic “pressed steel everything” model, and exists today in name as a vastly different freewheeling single speed commuter – a cheap, aluminium framed, department store bike selling for around $100.

This bike was bought for twenty bucks with a straight 58cm frame, a lot of component rust, and without me initially knowing what I would do with it …

a nice touch

a nice touch

So then, thinking how to approach a rebuild, given that I already have both a ten speed light roadbike and a heavy-ish commuter that I’m reasonably happy with. Keeping things simple I have opted for a five speed by removing the front deraiileur and small ring, sacrificing low gear but retaining simplicity and some flexibility.

wall flower

wall flower

I have to confess, I like my gears, I can only ride single speed for so long before I start to pine for them. I’m not greedy about it, I mean, an uphill gear, a neutral gear, and a downhill / tailwind gear and I’m pretty happy. A few more than this is a bonus but only until overkill is reached …

With my resto’s,  a lot depends on the parts that I have on hand… and my ‘semi – conservation’ style may not appeal to the perfectionists … I like to keep some character or imperfection here and there.

These are roughly the steps involved in this case :

Frame : Basic lugged hi-tensile “1020” steel, some surface rust, some scrapes on the paint and decals though the overall condition is not bad. Finish is a slightly metallic black with silver lettering on the decals which have started going opaque. I personally dislike new paint jobs on original frames, as uniform “perfect” paintwork lacks character and the bike can easily become prettily anonymous.

another person's take on the humble traveller

another person’s take on the humble traveller – as a commuter

Removed all fittings and bearings for overhaul or replacement, and to access, clean and inspect the frame. Fish-oiled the inside of tubes, steel wool and phosphoric acid converter on the rust spots, lined the lugs gold (always nice on black) and touch-up the worst scratches by hand, including the silver decal lettering where scraped off.. Clear coat the paint areas to regain some lustre and conserve the finish.

Wheels : Original Femco steel rims, very rusty chrome on the front one, replaced with a Shimano/Araya overhauled steel 27″ Q.R. Nutted rear cleaned up nicely with some TLC and I fitted new gumwall tyres.

Stem : Heavy chromed steel stem swapped for Nitto Dynamic 10 alloy 100mm – a beautiful looking stem makes such a difference. I overhauled the original headset as it was reasonable.

synthetic cork is comfy but lacks the looks of leather

synthetic cork is comfy but lacks the looks of leather

Bars : Unappealing rusty chromed drop bars replaced by the unused steel drop bars from my Malvern 2-star coaster braked bike. These have an old-fashioned deep drop and an unusual dappled finish, courtesy of some brutal rust removal and clear coat. I had some Serfas brand spongy black bar tape which I twined on the inner end and fitted with home made “shellacked wine cork”  bar end plugs. These give a bit of character and don’t cost.

Luckily the frame is relatively large so the bar drop relative to the seat height is not too bad for me, though I am stretched out a bit.

Cranks and bottom bracket :  Removed the bolts holding on the small chain ring and guard, keeping the original 52T chain wheel and crank. Replaced the original square BB with a slightly shorter used square tapered to help with the chain line. Tried to get the chain wheel as close to the chain stay as possible so I could use first gear 28T cog with the large ring. It works well without chattering. New SunTour 5-speed chain fitted. MKS Sylvan pedals fitted to replace steel rat-traps.

hard, but a good pedalling shape

team pro – hard, but a free pedalling shape

Saddle and seatpost :  I kept the original chromed 25.6mm seatpost. I find the variation in seat post width really amazing on older bikes e.g. 25.4, 25.6, 25.8 then into 26’s and 27’s, unlike say, with 1″ quill stems, there are so many slight variations  … and you really need a snug fit with these. The saddle was a throwaway plastic  item on base model bikes of this vintage, and a Brooks is always called for, of course ! I happened to have a spare team pro model on hand. These are as hard as rock to begin with, but even then, they are still more comfortable than plastic…

Brakes :  As I have no suitable light replacements, the heavy steel callipers have been retained for the time being, fitted with new basic Jagwire road pads. New cable inners fitted. Recycled Dia-compe alloy road levers of a similar vintage with the “suicide” levers removed.

Derailleur :  Original Shimano “Skylark” rear derailleur replaced with a better quality used Shimano. (The models were all named after various birds at one time ).

living green

living green

A Quick Ride :

The bike is heavy-ish, but fairly comfortable, and much more stable than my smaller, lighter Cecil Walker.

Sure, it would be better if a little lighter – alloy cranks, brakes, wheels and bars would have helped here. The 5 gears work well on the flat, but are a little limiting on steeper hills.

The ride is rough, but I think softer tyres would help here. More testing to do … well, someone has to do it !

night ride

night ride

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here comes the sun

here comes the sun

That’s the forecast maximum temperature here today, so it’s time to get riding early, taking Cecil for a speedy spin The heat is coming from the inland heart, so it’s dry and draining, but not like the sweaty sea-breeze humidity more usual at this time of year.

And Cecil’s configuration is settled – for the moment – with the fitment of the original alloy front wheel and a salvaged steel rear one. I have decided to postpone a new rear alloy rim until I get a feel for how much I will use the bike.

Unlike some of my other bikes, Cecil wants to just go and go, having a more loose and temperamental feel. It doesn’t like being parked ( no kickstand either ) and wants to run off from where ever I leave it, like an edgy racehorse  …



It likes to go fast too, and seems to turn just by thought, rather than by any physical effort. The B17 “titanium” saddle was quite unnoticeably comfortable from new, at least on the c. two hour rides I have so far done on it, I’m impressed.

The whole bike has a very free-running nature, though I still have some derailleur fine tuning to do. The steel rear wheel hub was actually 125mm ( not 120mm ) over the locknut width, so I cut 5mm off the axle and the hollow locknut spacer with a hacksaw, leaving the locknut on the axle in case the threads needed help afterward. This has properly centred the rear wheel in the frame, but of course requires re-setting all of the derailleur stops ! The steel wheel adds to the weight and well negates the minuscule titanium saddle advantage, but who’s that serious about such things anyhow ? It’s still the lightest bike I own and I’m not a boy racer …

fill that bottle...

fill that bottle… it’s hot out there

The smallest cog is now quite close to the dropouts and is giving some adjustment trouble that I haven’t been able to sort yet. I could do with some gel grips on the levers too, as they become hard to hold after a while, and the drops have the most comfortable grip position for me, so I change hand positions quite often, unlike the all-day easy grip of my swept back roadster bars…

pavement eater

pavement eater

For those wanting for a good non-gumwall 27 X 1 & 1/4″ tyre, have a look at the Bontrager “select K”. they ride pretty well and are a modern looking semi-slick kevlar design that works well on older bikes too.

smooth and grippy

smooth and grippy 27s

find some shade...

gotta find some shade…

Finally, what is perhaps the best thing about riding a well made old steel framed road bike ?

You can go relatively fast, but don’t feel obliged to wear all that lycra advertising – I mean really, when you, the rider, have to pay good money to buy gear that overtly advertises corporate brand names ?

Why doesn’t some clever person make lycra that looks like normal clothes ? Perhaps a safari suit and tie, for example ?

Just kidding, but that’s the modern world for you !

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the cw – virtually as found

Normally when I hear the words “Road Bike” or “Lycra”, I reach for my gun (lol), but something about this particular classic has won me over – for the moment. It’s a steel framed Cecil Walker ten speed, found in an interesting central coast clearing shed for “old stuff”.  As I passed this shed, my recyclist’s nose began to sniff – I just had to stop and look !

no decals here – it’s all hand brushed

There were two bikes inside, a petrol motorised beach cruiser and this one.

how cool is that ?

The first thing that caught my eye was the classy hand painted “Cecil Walker” lettering on the downtube – I had vaguely heard of the name before, but where ? Anyway, a quick 80 bucks later, it was all mine, and I have since done some research to find that there is still a Cecil Walker Cycles in Fitzroy Melbourne, and that this was an Australian bike of obviously decent specification. It’s fitted with Shimano 600 derailleurs and 600 “starfish” headset, Italian Modolo “Speedy” brakes, Cinelli “Campione del Mondo” drop bars, Ofmega CX cranks and chainwheel,  . The wheels are 27 inch with narrow alloy rims and 27×1″ tyres.

Sadly the rim decals are almost unreadable and the Reynolds frame tubing stickers have frustratingly decayed away too.

hmm – what is this for – a generator bracket, I guess ?

The gearing looks pretty serious with only one tooth difference between each rear cog – fourteen through eighteen teeth – and at 42x18T first gear, this is surely not a hill-climbing special !

my poor hill bound knees – 52/42  x 14-15-16-17-18T

Although I didn’t buy it to ride (as I thought it too small) I have since found that the seat post and quill stem have reasonable extension, so I may get away with riding it if I can sort the other messes out.

dropouts stamped “brev. campagnolo”

Apart from some very tight bolts and a seized alloy seat post (steel and aluminium together have some real issues when left out in the weather), the biggest problem is the rear wheel. The rim is buckled and there are cracks around some of the spoke nipples (though the front wheel seems fine). A visit to the LBS to discuss rear wheel options is therefore needed, with fingers crossed. I’m not keen on putting “deep-V’s” on it , though I really have no idea what’s available, me being a complete road bike novice.

seat tube and 27×1″ tyre

The bike has had some exposure to the elements perhaps under eaves or in an open shed, the rich red paintwork crinkling and lifting from a gold underlay in places and with some surface rust on upward facing frame sections. Having looked on the web and seen some old CW frames stripped, powder coated and all  “fixied” up (yuk), I know I am NOT going to do that as their uniqueness had clearly been lost. This one is truly beautiful just as is, and the simple gold inlays in the lugs are quite a striking addition to the red top coat.

cool bananas !

Serial number on the frame is 82017, and I am naively guessing that it was the 17th bike made in 1982 – could it be that simple ? The Modolo Speedy brake was first introduced in 1979 at any rate and I also believe this bike is pretty much all original as found, apart from a reflective tape fetish of the previous owner that is now stuck on like superglue in places ….

Here is a list of parts then, for anyone interested in these classic Australian bicycles  :

Frame – unidentified grade of Reynolds steel tubing – lugged, 51cm from BB centre to seat tube top – S/no 82017 on downtube near BB

semi-arabesque ?

Headset, dérailleurs and freewheel – Shimano 600

Shifters – Shimano Dura-Ace friction levers, downtube mounted

drilled modolo “speedy” levers

Brakes – Modolo “speedy”, alloy side pull calipers, drilled alloy levers

Stem – Win? – stamped 9886DF Japan 22.2

Seatpost – micro adjust – 179 – roto – Italy 27.2 with San Marco Concor Supercorsa saddle – plastic base, padded brown suede top

cinelli bars

Bars – Cinelli  stamped 63 or 66 ? “Campione del Mondo”

Hubs and skewers – Ofmega

Cranks – Ofmega CX alloy 170mm, w52/42T chainwheel

ofmega cx – very light weight

BB – Ofmega 68.C axle, cups marked “Ofmega 34,8 x 24 FS”

Rims – alloy made in Italy – unidentified, with IRC 27×1″ whitewall tyres as found

Pedals – SR model SP-100BL

these should clean up nicely

Toe-clips – Christophe D – marked “Brevete made in France, with KKT leather straps

It does beg the question – should I even try to get it going or merely hang it up somewhere as is –  i.e  would the ultimate sensitive restoration be non-restoration ?

But then, I just can’t help myself, can I ?

pretty swanky, huh ?

Happy Cycling !

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