Posts Tagged ‘road chief bicycle’

retro thang

retro thang

Well, here it is finally – a sporty retro cruiser – and if that’s not an oxymoron, I don’t know what is !

It’s taken a while because I had to find the room to store it assembled.

It could be a poor person’s “Guv’nor”,  without the laid back frame angles, painted wheels or the front hub brake.

Or the price – but the Pashley “Guv’nor is a beautiful bike nonetheless … I’m not pretending this is as good.



Simple, lightweight and relatively low-cost – I know that some might not like the brazed on cable stays remaining, but you never know, I might want to convert it back to a ten speed one day !

There will be some further detailing to come – after some thoughtful test riding, as usual.

Anyhow, here are the parts I used ;

as found ...

as found …

Frame : Road Chief 10-speed steel – 54cm  —- ( O Ye of little faith ).

Headset:   A basic new  Dia-Compe gold alloy  – 1″ threaded

combined reflector and brake stay

combined reflector and brake stay

Bottom bracket / Chain set :       Miche Primato BB / Miche Xpress  forged alloy 170mm – 48x18T

The “X-press” chainset looks more traditional than the trendy “Advanced” model, as well as being significantly cheaper.  The resulting chain line worked out nicely though I had to use spacers to match the hub to the dropouts.

trad. chainset

trad. chainset

Pedals : Genetic gold alloy track with Wellgo clips and Urbanvelo brown leather straps

Seat post :   similar to original plain steel 25,8mm – ( up for revision later on ).

Saddle  :     Brooks B17N brown

Wheels :  Recycled – 36H Alesa 700c alloy rims, Hi-flange front steel hub, Falcon coaster rear.    My first recycled wheel rebuild ! Not perfectly true, but pretty close.

Stem :   Nitto Dynamic 10 cm quill

Bars  :  Inverted alloy ‘tourist” style with cardiff cork grips shellacked

inverted tourist generic bars

with inverted “tourist” bars

Front Brake  :  Dia comp DC750 long reach centre pull calliper, recycled Polygon alloy lever. The long reach calliper is for the change from 27″ (630mm) to 700c (622mm) wheels.

dc-750 calliper

useful dc-750 calliper

Tyres : Schwalbe Delta Cruiser 700x35c

Hub-shiners  :  made from a worn out leather belt ! I’m rather pleased with these.

the little bolt weighs it down on the hub

the little bolt weighs it down on the hub

and the rear with schwinn dome nuts

and the rear with schwinn domed wheel nuts

more fun to come !

more fun to come !

See Ya !


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Anyone remember the Road Chief ten speed from several posts back ?

No ?

I’m not surprised !  Not a very desirable bike …

as found ...

as found …

But here is the surprise – the frame feels quite light compared with some of my other salvaged frames, and I think it would make a sound base for a semi-sporty single speed even though it isn’t made of anything exotic …

And for some time I’ve been wishing for a wheel truing jig so that I can swap and / or rebuild some hubs and rims for various projects.

I also want to reuse some of the many parts that are building up in the recyclist’s shed, meaning using as few new bits as possible and keeping the cost down..

One of my little jobs a while back was to repaint the frame in rattle can “Hunter Green”, while masking off the nicely cracked road chief decals to keep some history there.

a little better, yes ?

a little better, yes ?

The head tube decal was damaged, so I made a new metal one from some scrap copper, masking it off with clear coat and dipping in sodium polysulphide (sepia toner for photos) to blacken around the “R”, then I clear coated over it again and pop-riveted it to the frame. The back of the rivets needed filing down to clear the fork steerer. The bike is fitted with a new Dia-Compe headset as the old one was shot. Not sure about the gold now though !

all done with a few hand tools ...

all done with a few hand tools … i need to ‘antique’ the rivets yet

I was going to have a go at building a wheel jig, but never seemed to get around to it – ( as you don’t ! ). So I’ve taken the easy way out, being well over trying to true wheels in the frame…and bought this basic Ulix – it came with no instructions but the operation is straightforward and I have some repair books that include wheel building etc.

Upon having a quick play, it is obviously going to be much better than truing in a frame or fork…


“Project Road Chief” will be a ‘poor person’s take’ on the Pashley Guv’nor – use the search term “path racer”  to get an idea, but don’t worry about the pedantic and opinionated forum arguments about the definition – I just loosely read it as ” all-rounder, single speed, moderately lightweight, cream ‘semi-balloon’ tyres, retro look, relaxed frame angles with inverted ‘tourist bars’ — hmmm.

Perhaps “cycle-path racer” or “cafe racer” would be better terms for such vintage style sports-roadsters …

I plan a caliper brake front and a coaster brake rear, 700c alloy wheels and cream 35c tyres, modern alloy chainset and a leather saddle. I’ve salvaged the alloy rims from my Apollo Nouveau Cross and removed the hubs as they run too roughly. This will be my first attempt to build up a new-recycled wheelset, and that brings me to the very basic but compact Falcon CF-E10 coaster hub, of which I have a couple of salvaged spares. I’m hoping that it is robust enough to perform well as it doesn’t look as finely made as the older coasters.

One of these is on a small wheeled Schwinn ( a salvaged kids bike ) with 28 spokes, unsuitable of course, as the intended rims are 36 hole. The other hub is a 36 hole 20″ wheel but the axle is too short for the spacers needed for 126mm dropouts ( coaster hubs are around 110mm wide ) … so what to do ?

the old innards - note the ususal rusty driver screw

the old innards – note the ususal rusty driver screw

Easy ! Swap the internals with the long axle to the 36 hole hub – well, it sounds easy … but we shall see. Extra spacers should cope with the dropout width as I am fitting small into larger. The issue here will be maintaining a straight chain line for efficiency, which will mean reducing the crank axle width and/or using an offset rear cog. Luckily this hub takes the 3-lug and spring clip Nexus/Alfine style cogs of which I have many examples to choose from ( thanks, Shimano ).

28 vs. 36 holes

28 vs. 36 holes

the overhauled coaster

the overhauled coaster

Another problem with updating the many old ten-speeders I am finding is that the front fork dropouts are designed for wheels having only 95mm locknut width and with skinny 5/16 inch axles. An easy way around the locknut width may be to fit thinner locknuts to a modern 100mm front track nutted wheel – not always possible. Filing the dropouts out for a larger axle could affect safety, so I can’t recommend it – or else one can fit a wider 100mm fork, but that’s  less appealing if it’s an ugly modern non-lugged unicrown type.

the recycled front hub ...

the recycled front hub …

In this case I am going to try fitting the 80s 700c Alesa brand 317 alloy  rim to an old but overhauled high flange steel hub. Many of the old chromed steel rims I find are too rusted to give pleasant rim braking and they are often dented as well, from having being ridden over bumps with low tyre pressure. For recyclists like myself, this often means having less good wheels than good frames on hand, which is another reason why I want to try some wheel rebuilding.

Speaking of wheels, here’s a trick for removing an old BMX 4-prong 40mm ‘Dicta’ brand freewheel without the proper tool – I used some old unidentified pawls from my scrap box and put them in a vice 40 mm apart as shown – put the freewheel on the “tool” – (with the wheel axle, bearings etc. removed first) – face down and turn the whole wheel anticlockwise – it beats a trip to the bike shop to be told “come back later we’re busy” – so there, LBS !

post-removal, showing "tool"

post-removal, showing “tool”

This freewheel is part of top secret “Project Haro” – but that’s another story !

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Here’s my latest classic 27″ wheeled acquisition, for your enjoyment :

note the later huffy cheapo upright saddle

note the later huffy cheapo upright saddle


I love hard rubbish season – it’s full of surprises …… this is a typical converted “fisherman’s bike” of the ten speed era, before the ubiquitous MTB took over, lovingly equipped with zip tied and taped drain pipe rod holders, and with the drop bars up-ended no less, in that dawn of time style invented by the men who bought (or were sold) sports bikes when they should have had uprights.


pvc fishing rod holders - they are so practical you've gotta love them

PVC fishing rod holders – they are so practical you’ve gotta love them


Single speed, three speed, ten speed sporties — Hey, come to think of it, aren’t there lots of guys still doing that sporty image thing, buying today in carbon fibre 22-speed ?  (lol)


I don’t think many carbon frames will outlast this salt water special, at least not with the same amount of abuse and neglect…


features front sports fender and rear zefal MTB mud flapper

features rusty  front sports fender and rear zefal plastic MTB mud flapper


I’ve concluded that any road bike brand that sounds like a macho truck name and is fitted with ‘suicide’ brake levers is most likely a heavyweight clunker, e.g. Road Chief, Road King, Road Master, etc.  – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun riding (or messing around ) with it !


old style non-original platform pedals

these old style non-original platform pedals can be overhauled 


Probably use this one for parts, it’s so far gone, and of low quality components, but who knows ?

The bottom bracket is shot, but the old style pedals will be just about perfect for my classic ladies Speedwell once they have been de-rusted and overhauled – as they still have most of their yummy diamond tread intact.


Happy Cycling !

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