Raleigh Sports Model C.1939-1942 – Please stop eBay!

I know I shouldn’t… I know it, but I’m weak. I see a nice part and I buy it. It’s going to really get me in trouble… The story behind this buy is:

A couple of weeks ago a new hit popped up on my Raleigh Blue Streak search on eBay. I have 95% of the parts I need and nothing I actually needed was listed. However, the results that came up showed a crank set in better condition than the one I already have and the price wasn’t too bad either so I waited, bid and won. After checking out the sellers other items I ended up with a few more parts and one of them being this frame set. At first I thought I’d just add it to my watch list. It sat there for a bit and then I decided to ask the seller how much he’d accept for the frame and for a hub I wanted for another build. I thought it was a fair price so I agreed to buy it.

I picked it up on Sunday morning. The chap I bought it off seems to have exactly the same addiction as me. In the kitchen was his freshly built 30’s path racer and outside in the garden and in the sheds were multiple bikes and bike parts… I’m pretty sure he also said there were some in the loft. We spoke for a bit about the bikes and apart from getting this nice frame I’ve always made a new contact for parts… missing out the eBay middle man.

So the frame. It hails from the beginning of World War 2. The Sports Model preceeds the start of war but in those earlier catalogues the bike is clearly shown with a coloured head tube. Despite the name “Raleigh Sports Model”, the frame carries a lot of weight! Thick, heavy tubing with no fancy lugs. Climbing hills will be fun. The frame still has all the original paint/enamel on it and despite a few rust patches it’s in really good condition, so much so that I’m thinking of just polishing the frame and applying a clear coat to preserve the originality.

As with most old Raleigh’s the “standard” gearing was a fixed / freewheel hub with optional Sturmey Archer. It seems the bike did indeed get the Sturmey Archer treatment but I’m going for the fixed / singlespeed option. I already have a Baylis-Wiley front hub which fits perfectly along with a set of peroid Raleigh wing nuts. I also have a British Hub Company rear hub that suits both the frame and the fixed / freewheel standards. Digging through my boxes I’ve found a set of fixed cogs that I can fit and a nice Phillips freewheel.

You’ll notice the Brooks saddle too. That’s come from my “old” fixed gear (it’s been relegated after bending the frame). It’s not period correct but it suits the bike. As for the other parts, I think I have a set of brakes that will fit, along with the crankset and handlebars. The rims are going to be the hardest thing to find! 26 x 1 1/4″ are rare, so very rare and finding ones in good condition for a reasonable price is even harder. I do have other options but I’d like to stick with the original wheel size if possible.

I’m in no rush to get this bike built. This is another one for my own collection so it will be on the back burner for a while. Still, what do you think? A part of British cycling history.

Cyclists POV 34 – Rake Rage / Wet Road SMIDSY

I don’t know how the injury happened but these next few videos are going to be short as I wasn’t riding much over this period. I developed a knee injury (maybe a strain?) but I ignored it and carried on riding. It got worse… And hurt. So I had to take it easy for a few weeks. It feels good now though *touch wood*

In this episode:
Rake Rage – Riding down a road that get quite quite busy, especially with those on two wheels so finding a rake in the middle of the road was quite strange. I wonder how many people just drove right by.

I’d Be The Same – I really, really want to work towards getting a motorbike and a licence. Sunny days, two wheels and some nice fast roads. Sounds like fun.

Well Someone Wasn’t Happy – I think it was the car coming the other way that didn’t appreciate the overtake of the Civic. It didn’t seem overly wild, but it isn’t the best place to overtake.

False Start – This made me laugh. Seeing the Clio in the back of the BMW would have been even funnier. Obviously not paying attention.

Instant One Finger Salute – AD58 UBB – I can clearly see the car approaching the round about before I cross that exit so they can clearly see the island is not clear for them to pull out… Or so you’d think. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the car cross the line and I genuinely thought I was going to get hit. They slammed on the anchors and I instantly gave them the middle finger salute.

Sorry? Thanks? I Didn’t Mind – So I’m not entirely sure the message behind the light flash but I generally take it to mean sorry or thanks. They did pull across my path but there was time to react. No harm done.

One Day In A British Summer – The morning was glorious! Shorts and T Shirt, warm, dry and sunny. By the time I left work it was like another world. Soaked!

Theme Park Traffic – At certain times in the morning, when the park opens in the Summer months the local roads just get so clogged with traffic. Both directions just get filled with slow moving traffic. Luckily for me I can zip right through on two wheels!

Backing track by Ryan Little
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Ryan_Little/Before_Dawn_II/04_Heartless

See.Sense. V2 Bike Lights – My view

The dark nights are here and I wanted to upgrade my bike lights. My main light source comes from a Hope Vision LED light. It’s brilliant. Super bright to light up the way but it does drain the 4 AA batteries quite quickly when on full power! I’ve used that along side a set of cheap Cat Eye lights, and last winter I tried out a SMART 2.0 rear light. The SMART light didn’t even last the winter before it started to malfunction (wouldn’t light properly and wouldn’t turn off) and the Cat Eyes that have served me well for years finally started to dim down. They weren’t going to last another winter so I started the search for a new set, something I could invest in.

The word cheap often means you have to buy two, three or four units so I went straight to the most expensive light sets. Those were too expensive so instead I looked around the £80 mark and saw these See Sense lights. They came in three levels: Standard, Intense and Elite. I watched the promotional videos and ordered a set of the standard lights. They sounded great.

Here’s a short video from my perspective.

Powering on and off is simple.
Fitting to the bike is simple. Once you find the right spot (the rear of the case is angled so you can chose which side to direct the light) it really is just a case of wrapping the elastic strap around and securing on the fitting. On my modern roadie I mount the front light on my handlebars due to the head tube being quite big. On my older steel bikes I tend to mount the front on the head tube. The rear light fits nicely to any stem (or seat tube) and I’ve even managed to fit it to a pannier rack.
Battery life seems good! There is a sequence of lights that flash on powering down that give an indication to the battery life left but I find them quite hard to judge so every few days I pop the lights on charge and I’ve not run out of charge just yet. (I tend to cycle 2 hours a day – I think they could easily last me the working week, although that might be stretched with the dark nights approaching).

Riding with them. I like them. Whether it’s a placebo effect or not… I’m unsure but I do feel like I’m seen more, especially when I’m filtering. I really do like the fast flash response to slowing down / car headlights to give that extra bit of warning to whoever may be following you or in front – that’s a great feature and it works well for going through dark spots (tunnels, bridges etc) too.

Two things I will warn about. The first is these lights are not designed to light your way home on a dark, unlit road. I rode through a patch where several street lights were out and there was virtually zero light thrown on to the road in front to show any nasties. (That’s where my Hope light will come in). The second is the glare. These lights, even the standard ones are bright! I’ve tried to show them to the best of my cameras ability but I still think they are a lot brighter. Get the angle right (if mounted on handlebars) or you will be dazzled by the light flashing away!

Would I recommend them? Yes, definitely. Sure you could buy several sets of cheaper lights but the reactive nature of these lights, the technology in them and the brightness really won me over.

Note: This video isn’t sponsored. I bought these lights with my own, hard earned cash. I just know this video should be useful to a few people.

Note 2: I’m set to take delivery of a set of the new RevoLights around Christmas time so expect a video on those too!

Track info here!
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Ryan_Little/Before_Dawn_II/09_Believe_in_Me

France Sport – New Rims

The last update post for this bike was, all in all, positive. I’d done the work and had taken it down to show my Grandpa to get his approval. He’d relived a few memories and confirmed my thought that I’d chose the wrong rim size. As soon as I got home, I searched eBay and found a set of 26 x 1 1/4″ Dunlop Light Alloy rims, haggled a bit and bought them. They were pricey but the condition was great and the front had a hub that matched the original rear hub I was set to build into a wheel.

I took delivery of them not long after I placed the order. Condition wise they looked as good as they did in the pictures but they had even more potential. Being alloy they have been saved from the dreaded rust and a good polish would get them shining again so I started work with my Dremel polishing them up. I soon found the cordless Dremel I had (and the Dremel polishing compound) wouldn’t really cut it so I went out and bought a wired Dremel, some Silverline polishing compound bars and a lot more polishing attachments! Over a weekend, sitting for hours, I managed to polish both rims up to a near mirror shine.

The wheel was ready to be built but I needed to work out the spoke length. This seems to be a hit or miss subject so I took all the necessary measurements and used various online calculators to get a rough size. Each calculator seems to vary slightly, and from my minimal experience, I’d say they seem to overestimate the length. I ordered one or two mm shorter than the average and waited for the delivery.

After building the wheels for the Viscount, this wheel build seemed a lot more natural. I could remember the pattern and quickly laced the wheel. The truing it always a bit harder. I don’t have the professional rigs and jigs but I do have a well made homemade jig which gives me a rough idea to the left / right and up / down movement. It takes time. Now my complete job isn’t perfect, there is slight variation but I don’t think I quite have the skills yet to get a perfect build. The wheel was ready to be fitted.

*Actually, before fitting the wheels I fitted some cloth rim tape and some new Raleigh “Sport” tyres.

The new wheels looked great. I was excited to get out and about and see how much speed I’d picked up with the new gearing and thinner tyres. Unfortunately the new chain was not happy with the original cassette that my Grandpa was using. Under slight load it the chain simply skipped over the teeth and I couldn’t get any drive. The old and new just didn’t want to mate. Fortunately, being the clever guy he was, my Grandpa had sent me the old chain in a box of bits that came with the bike. I’ve cleaned it up, fitted it and it works a treat.

I’ve been out, taken some pictures, shot some video and enjoyed a quick ride. The ride is smooth and fast and the shifting seems to be very precise with the adjustments I’ve made. I’m happy with it. One or two bits to change now (chrome) and I’ll be ready to show it off at L’Eroica Britannia next year.

R.I.P. Grandpa

Cyclists POV 33

Not uploaded one of these in a while. I’ve been a little distracted… Sorry!

Fixed Gear Fail – I’m 95% sure this incident ruined my fixed gear. I’m not sure how the wheel dislodged so violently; I didn’t hit a pot hole. After repairing it at the roadside and carrying on my journey the bike felt “different” and when I got to my destination I checked it over and found there was a definite lean to the rear wheel… I think the rear triangles are bent…

The Squeeze – It always seems to be this particular island. I don’t understand why some people feel the need to cut in so close when I’m taking my line and there’s a second empty lane. They didn’t get far. I followed them all the way down the road until they pulled over in a car wash….

More Observation Required – Not from me… from this person who, for some reason, decided to pull out and block off the exit.

Cyclist Wanker – Seriously, this guy, again. I get the cycle rage, I really do. Firstly he’s flying down the path and if someone had stepped out of one of the drives without looking…. well it would have hurt! Then to jump onto the road and squeeze passed… I just think this guy is a dick.

Water Hazard – Just your casual burst water main!

Wet Drain Covers – I almost stacked it here! It was raining, obviously, I was soaked, my brakes were near useless and I wanted to overtake but after checking and seeing the car I thought I’d let them go by first. What I didn’t see was the drain cover… My front wheel hit it and slipped out but somehow I didn’t go down.

At Least He Gave Me Space – Well, that’s it really. I was expecting to get squeezed out there but no. Impressed.

Queue Ahead, Failed Overtake – I laughed. It’s not hard to miss a line of cars queuing but they totally mis judged everything and had to pull back in behind.

– Everyone loves a slow mo classic –

Sneaky Biker – I didn’t even hear him filter up next to me! The first I knew was when I suddenly heard the bike accelerate. Ninja!

Another GoPro – I thought I was the only one around here!

Shit Hit The Fan – Clickbait / Troll 😛

Soundtrack by Ryan Little
Track “Thank you For Playing (God Speed)”
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Ryan_Little/~/Thank_You_for_Playing_God_Speed_-_Mastered

British Eagle – The Eagle Will Soar Again

*typical evil genius laugh* It lives. IT LIVESSSSSS!!

Doesn’t she look nice! It hasn’t been an easy ride, and it’s probably cost me around £300 for everything but I would stand by this build and say it’s better quality than a brand new £300 bike! From a battered, patched up and seized bike (minus the wheels) to a wet weather / winter ride using quality parts. I’m pleased!

I left the last post explaining how I’d made a mistake with the forks. I’d forgot to check the length of the threaded portion and when I went to install them I quickly discovered the problem. My freshly powder coated Reynolds forks were virtually no use. I contacted Mercian but their response wasn’t too promising. Instead of adding mroe thread with a die they were suggesting a process of removing the old steerer tube, welding/brazing in a new tube of the correct length and then repainting the forks – sounds pricey! I started looking about for dies so I could attempt the cutting myself and found one in China but before I clicked the submit order button I decided to try someone else. The fabrication company that we use at work were my next port of call. I popped down for a chat, explained what I wanted and I was offered a few alternatives. They could use a die to cut more thread in, but there wasn’t a guarantee it would work because they had no way of telling if the tube had been hardened. Alternatively they suggested using a lathe but the layout of the forks made that a logistical nightmare. The last option was to bore out the threads on the upper bearing race. It made sense but I wasn’t quite convinced it would fit well enough.

Luckily eBay came to my rescue and I found a pair of beautiful yellow Columbus forks in exactly the right size – for only £15! Cheap, but there was a reason for that… they had a stem (cut off) seized into the steerer tube. I fancied my chances so bought them. My plan of attack was simple:
– Penetration spray
– Filing flats into the exposed stem to grip with an adjustable spanner
– A little “persuasion” from both side with my trusty hammer
– Fire and ice cycles
The plan may have been simple but reality wasn’t. Days passed as I tried each method daily but the stem wouldn’t move! My last resort was the selection of drill bits at work. A stem made of an aluminium alloy should be fairly easy to drill through so it should be a quick process, right? Well yeh, it was. I initially drilled down the centre with a 17mm drill bit which ultimately created a lot of heat but the stem was still stuck. I followed that through VERY carefully with a 21mm bit. The tube itself has a diameter of 22.2mm so I was really looking out for the side walls, trying not to damage then. Millimeter by millimeter I at the stem away until I thought I was hallucinating. As I looked into the tube I could have sworn part of the old stem had been on the right as I’d started drilling, now, at this point, it was on the right. I tried to drill again and this time the portion ended up at the top. IT WAS FREE! A light tap from the underside and it dropped right out. No damage to the forks at all!

That evening I rushed home and got the rest of the bike put together. I swapped out the crown race on the forks and fitted them first (I need to get a couple of silver spacers to match the headset) and then fitted the NOS replacement 3TTT stem and the original bars. On went the brake levers and I adjusted everything to my riding position before fitting the new brake cables and taping them in place on the bars. I’ve chosen to use some yellow cloth bar tape for a more “vintage” look but I’ve double wrapped the bars for more comfort. The only thing I want to change now is the grubby white brake hoods…

Everything is now tightened down and adjusted. She’s ready for her maiden voyage. I’m looking forward to it (I’ve also treated myself to some Shimano R260 Carbon Shoes 😉 )

Circa 1990 British Eagle
Reynolds CR-MO Frame
Columbus Forks
Shimano 600 (Ultegra) Groupset
Shimano Exage Brake Levers
Campagnolo Khamsin 700C Wheelset
Michelin Krylion Carbon Tyres
3TTT Record 84 Stem & Forma Bars
Tange Headset
Look “Delta” type pedals (unsure of exact model)
SKS Mudguards
Soffatti Leather Saddle

Viscount “President International” – Finished

She is a beauty!

I’m over the moon with how this build has turned out. My only criticisms are the lack of chrome rims and the lack of decals. The first was a genuine mistake when ordering new rims (and a semi misleading picture) and the second is purely down to nobody produces the exact Viscount decals. I have found some, but when I ask a question and the seller ignores me I don’t find that too promising for a potential sale.

Anyway, the finishing touches. Starting with the wheels I replaced the old rusted spokes and the badly painted rusted rims with a brand new set of alloy rims and stainless spokes. I’ve built the wheels myself and trued them to the best of my ability with my jig. They seem straight and true, and the white wall tyres finish the bike off perfectly. Building the wheels wasn’t actually too hard. I’ve built one wheel before and this time the whole process seemed ten times easier. I feel like I could lace another set from memory any time now.

After using white wall tyres I had to use white cables; clean and crisp. They’re held down with a series of brand new cable clamps which the bike lacked in its original state. The Sturmey Archer hub has taken a bit of tweaking to find that sweet spot for “2nd” gear but I think we’re there now. I took her out for a quick test ride and all seemed well.

I’d love to get £250 back for the bike and maybe make a small profit; we’ll see. A lot of money and time has gone into this build but I’ve tried to focus on quality. It’s lasted 40 years already, I’m sure it will last another 40! (My Carrera Vulcan cost more and barely made 2 years without a complete rebuild!)

What do you make of the finished bike?

BSA “Tour De France” c.1976 – Battered, bruised and… burnt?

I should not be allowed on eBay. Someone should ban me from it until I’ve cleared the back log of bikes I have. Sometimes the urge to put in a “cheeky” bid to test the water gets the better of me and I end up winning. Oops

Back in 1976, BSA, owned by Raleigh, produced this entry level sports bike. Whether the name represented a “Tour De France” achievement or not, I don’t know, but from what I’ve read people have mixed opinions of the bike. Some seem to fondly remember wanting to own one and others loving the ride however there are those that look down on this “basic” bike and shun it. At the time this bike was first purchased it would have cost the buyer £96.95, which is apparently worth roughly £727.26 in today’s money! That seems a crazy amount! I paid a whole £12.50 for this bike and it came with two spare handlebars!

Ok so it’s not in the best condition and it is missing a couple of small parts but really I don’t think it’s going to take that much work to put right. The paintwork is clearly the worst part of the bike. A strange shade of faded red / orange with a fair helping of stone chips and what looks like a burn on the down tube. The top tube has taken a good knock at some point, leaving a good sized dent, but structurally it looks straight. I’m not really worried about the paint though. Seventies paint can easily be stripped and it won’t be hard to respray in a deep red and fit new decals.

I chose to take a chance on this bike mainly because the chrome looked to be in good condition. There worst component is the front derailleur and I think with a bit of work with the Dremel and polish I can polish it up nicely. If worse comes to worst, I can replace it with the front derailleur I have left over from my fixed gear build. Raleigh really seem to have put their name on this bike with the components, only leaving their branding off the Brooks saddle and the Weinmann / Union hubs. Hopefully I can save the Brooks saddle. It’s definitely seen better days, however with some treatments I’m hoping it with supple up and not tear apart on the first ride.

The plan of attack is going to be something along the lines of:

Strip the bike and sandblast the frame (checking for any defects)

Clean and polish all components, replacing any that aren’t deemed useable.

Respray the frame in a deep red and replace decals.

Find a replacement top tube pump, rear caliper, brake levers and seat post pin.

Possibly replace the rims with 700C

Buy all cables and consumables.

Build and sell.

It’ll be a nice bike when finished I think. It’ll fit nicely into next years L’Eroica Britannia!

New Camera – D3200 – RTTW

In 2008 I bought my very first DSLR, a Nikon D80. It’s served me well! In the 7 years of service I’ve shot hundreds of thousands of photos all over the country. Combined with some good lenses and some amazing flash gear it produced some really amazing photos but times change and in recent years I’ve only really used the camera for documenting builds. Unfortunately the D80 is now on par, in megapixel terms at least, with phone cameras and the lack of a video function was bothering me.

New camera time.

Without really doing any research I’ve ended up buying the Nikon D3200. It’s a “refurbished” unit and only cost me £150. I can use my old lenses but they aren’t compatible with the autofocus unfortunately. It has more than double the pixel count of the D80 and can record in 1080p. I’ll have to program myself to the different button layout but the few shots I’ve taken so far have been brilliant.

What I really wanted to try out though was the quality of the video recording. On Saturday I made a quick decision to grab my cameras, pack up the bike and ride out to see the convoy of motorbikes for the “Ride To The Wall” 2015 event. It’s a ride of rememberance, where thousands of bikers join together to ride to the National Memorial Arboretum and pay their respects. I decided to go and watch the biggest convoy leaving from Drayton Manor park.

I set my camera up on a tripod and left it to record the whole ride. The camera impressed me. The camera lets me do everything I wanted to do and the raw footage looks great (in my opinion). I’m aiming to get out early one morning to ride around and take some time lapses of the sunrise and in the evening of the sunset. I’d like to see how it copes with the low light and changing light. So far, I’d impressed with the quality.

As for the D80, I’ll probably end up selling it. It’s served me well but this upgrade was long overdue.

British Eagle – Nearly There

I am so happy with the potential outcome for this bike. Considering the state I got it in, giving up on it because everything was seized and almost throwing it away, I think it’s turned into a beautiful bit of kit.

So what’s changed? Well the colour for a start! I decided to ditch the old metalic blue and go for a classy black number. It might not be the right choice of colour for a winter bike but style sometimes comes at a cost… I found some new Reynolds forks in the same style and set about stripping the paint… only… I couldn’t. The original paint was so tough that a good few coats of Nitromors barely even touched the surface. Sanding was an option but being impatient I decided to take a trip to the powdercoaters and get it sand blasted. My aim was to spray the bike. It would be cheap and easy but would it last? No. It had to be powdercoated. Black was still on my mind however something else caught my eye….

MOD Green! The finish, the colour, just wow. I love it.

Digging through my drawers I managed to find some of the original parts for the bike. I still had the old handlebars, bottle cage and brake levers so I was going to need a lot more components to complete the build.

Groupset: Shimano 600 (Ultegra) I set about searching eBay for parts, mainly looking for a modern STi groupset but also keeping my eye out for older sets. I really don’t like downtube friction shifters and I really did have my heart set on a shiney new set however at £70, I couldn’t turn down this set. It looks almost brand new! Nearly all the decals remain and the only imperfection is the shiny scuff on the drive side crank arm. What’s even better is the downtube shifters are indexed for the rear derailleur so there shouldn’t be any more guess work in shifting. Everything fits the frame perfectly.

Handlebars & Stem: I decided to look back over the old photos for this one. I wanted something close to the original in terms of the stem but back then, I really didn’t know much about parts. As soon as I glanced at one photo I recognised a badge. Zooming in, I was certain. The stem I’d snapped off was a 3TTT stem! Doh! I ran a Google image search which brought up some early 90’s catalogues which confirmed my thoughts but also revealed the identity to the weird shaped bars. The stem I needed was a 3TTT “Record” and the bars I have are 3TTT “Forma” bars. I looked through eBay and found a few high priced stems but at £80 a pop I was put off, until fortunately, I found a NOS “Record” stem at just £25.

Pedals: I’ve given the old Look pedals a good clean and they seem to work still despite the paint flaking off. I’m going to give them a go and if they don’t work out I’ll buy some Shimano SPDs.

Seat & Seatpost: What I really want is another Brooks saddle! The reality is I’m spending too much money so for now I’ve settled for the old mountain bike saddle I had on the fixie. The seatpost I went for, one of the cheaper used items on eBay (£15), is also an old mountain bike model. It was in a right state when I got it. The alloy was scratched, dull and embedded with dirt but hours of polishing with the Dremel has brought the shine back. It fits perfectly into the seat tube now with a brand new stainless clamp bolt.

Wheels: Well I already said I had the Mavic wheelset, and I did buy a spare hub to rebuild the rear hub and a new set of Shimano skewers but what I’ve actually ended up fitting is a Campagnolo wheelset. One of the sellers I follow, who is fairly local, and often has nice bike parts listed from house clearances, just happened to list a few 700C wheelsets. I ended up winning the Campagnolo set for just over £20 and also a “back up” Alexrims set for £10. Both wheel sets are in great condition but the Campag are the nicer of the two. They’ve been wrapped in some Michelin Krylion Carbon tyres, which again, were a pretty good buy at £25 for a pair!

Headset: I actually still have the old headset but it seems to be missing some parts. After having a look around I went for a Tange headset. It was reasonably priced (at £15) and looks to be a good quality bit of kit. It was easy to fit but here’s were I’ve run into a problem. Numpty here didn’t bother to check the thread length on the forks when buying them and they’re 10mm or so too short! I was all set to get the bike on the road last weekend but this has really thrown a spanner in the works. I’m currently looking for somewhere to add some more thread (I’ve tried Mercian but they haven’t replied yet…) but if worst comes to worst, I’ve found the correct size die on eBay and I’ll attempt to do it myself. I’m kicking myself at this rookie error.

Everything else is ready to go! I don’t know when I’ll get this finished off but looking at what I’ve achieved – I will see it through. From a £10 scrapper to a beautiful commuter. For what I’ve spent I could have just bought a brand new bike (all be it a cheap one) but where’s the fun in that?!

Keep an eye out for the finished bike. Hopefully it won’t be a long wait.