Posts Tagged ‘roadmaster’

Now it’s time to look at the brakes… these are the very common “V-brakes” or “linear pull brakes”.

they're not as complicated as they look ...

V-brakes ( and also cantilever brakes ) all use the same sized bosses brazed onto the frame seat stays and the forks. They have a thread in the end to take the brake arm securing bolt and a little flange with 3 holes for return spring location.

brake boss on fork

Normally V-brakes use the middle hole and the tension is then adjusted via the little bolts or screws on the side – screwing them in increases the spring force. Many cheap bikes use badly plated chromed or painted brake arms that rust quickly (yuk), some use alloy (which I like), and these ones are steel, partly encased in plastic (so-so). The spring-and-adjusting-bolt holders on cheapie brakes are often made of plastic and that can be a problem – if they get a lot of sun over a period of time the UV can weaken them and cause them to break. The same can happen with the common plastic “C-star” brand brake lever brackets if they are really old and neglected and left outside too long. These were all OK though, so I cleaned and “armour-alled” the plastic bits before re-fitting.

front brake fitted

The curved metal “noodle” tube between the cable and brake arm needed de-rusting as usual – it has a separate plastic inner core for the cable to slide on. I will touch up the last rusty bits by hand later and fit a cover ferrule to the sharp cable end.

To adjust V-brakes, I first screw in the cable adjuster at the levers, align the pads to the rims (can be tricky) and squeeze the pads onto the wheels then release slightly, make sure the cable slack is just  taken up and then tighten the domed nut onto the cable before balancing the return springs via the little screws on the side so that the brakes release cleanly and evenly.

some progress

With the wheels fitted, the ratty Roadmaster is starting to look a bit like a bike again. I used the least knobby tyre from my used collection for the back wheel … and the bars from my purple Giant. It’s no Bella Ciao, but hey, neither is the price!

no it's not a Bella Ciao --- lol

As this is a minimal cost project I used the original chain – this took at least an hour to free all the seized links, loosening them by hand and wire brushing away all the surface rust.  At least I didn’t get greasy fingers as it was bone dry! Saved at least $20 on a new one. Of course I checked it wasn’t too worn first…

It was soaked in hot linklyfe chain grease and hung up to cool. The chain was then refitted around the drive and jockey wheels and the link pin pushed back in from its “almost out” position with the rivet extractor. Now I need to fit the rear brake and gear cables. Oh, and find a seat…

the recycled chain

colour matched recycled bell - made from two broken ones !

low budget saddle

Found a seat –  it’s a $20 Repco from  Big W, it seems OK, comfort wise at least for shorter journeys. $8 each for gear cable inners and a rear brake cable from the LBS and we’re almost there.

woo hoo !

Now I’d better stop before I start twining things … there are a few details to go yet !


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I like to recycle bikes – I used to do it as a kid, and on rediscovering bicycles later in life, I find that I still enjoy making something worthwhile from unwanted bikes.

This project is to make something decent and rideable out of a decrepit department store bike . Why bother, one might ask ?  Well, I wondered, what could I use as a “stepping stone” bike for my wife to learn on when she has little confidence in her ability to ride solo, although is a very good “stoker” on her hybrid tandem ?

This way, if she decides not to ride solo, there is not the problem of a more expensive bike to dispose of. If it is a success she can then move on to a better bike. I had on hand two unloved and abandoned bikes that were suitable, A Dunlop and a Roadmaster. I chose the latter as it was in marginally better condition, and will use some parts from the other bike too. They were probably made in the same Chinese factory as they are almost identical frames :




















Here are the two frame and fork assemblies, with the chosen one primed. The cheap suspension fork on the Dunlop weighs about twice that of the Roadmaster and I don’t see why it is necessary, other than as a sales gimmick.

The hardest part about sanding back the frame was removing the stickers – they really are sticky !  I resorted to a soft wire brush on a power drill in the end. The original colour was a tacky red and silver iridescent that is prone to fade.

I had started this project before beginning this blog, so I don’t have full “before” images. Here is a shot of the one piece steel crankset disassembled and primed, along with the complete (and damaged) one from the Dunlop.


The primed seat post and quill stem are also included. Note the single ring in gold – I have decided to make the bike a 6 speed, not an 18, because it will leave one less shifter for a learner to worry about, so I drilled out the rivets holding the three rings together. In my opinion these bikes have too many unnecessary gears anyway.

This type of bike can be purchased cheaply new, around  $100 – $150 – however I would always suggest buying from a proper bike shop that fits a bike for you and can provide good backup service. A better quality entry level bike would start from around $400.

See you in Part 2 …



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