Another day of cleaning and I’m happy with the finish. I said in the last post there was a bit more rust under the dirt than I was expecting but after yesterday’s cleaning session nearly all (on the chrome) has vanished. It’s still in a completely original form. I could have started replacing cables and such but everything works so I felt it was pointless.
I’ve popped it onto eBay to see if it gets any interest. [ Click Here ]
Hopefully it will go to someone who will look after it and maintain it’s working state.
In the first post I introduced the Meteor in all it’s dusty and dirty glory. A last second decision to place a bid on a bike I had very little information about had resulted in a bit of a disappointment. The disappointment being; it’s a junior bike. Nevermind, my intention remains the same and that is to give it a good clean and sell it on.
It looks like it could have been a “barn find”. It’s not as severely rusted as a well used bike but it is covered in a very fine layer of dust / dirt. From the pictures it didn’t look too rusty. It looked like there was mainly dried grease, with the odd spot of rust on the frame but after a wipe down I can see there is a bit more than I expected. Just spots, but lots of them. The chrome looked in good condition too and it is. So far everything I’ve touched, bar the rear rim, has cleaned up nicely. Unfortunately the short winter day beat me today so with the light fading I had to call it a day.
These two components took up most of my time today. I spent a good couple of hours with fine wire wool and polish going over each rim and then onto the spokes, trying to get them both as clean as possible. An extremely tedious job but I think it’s been worth it. The dirt that was covering every component did a good job of hiding how pitted both rims were but they’ve cleaned up surprisingly well. The rear is the worse of the two with more pitting and unfortunately some peeling. The spokes had a good wipe down with the wire wool to try and bring a bit of shine back to them and then it was onto the hubs. I stripped down both front and rear, cleaned everything up with some paint thinners to get rid of the old grease and reassembled. They were both running quite rough before but with the clean and fresh grease I’m happy to say both spin beautifully.
Both rims and hubs are Sturmey Archer components. Front and rear hubs have the engravings clearly visible and if you look closely both rims are lightly stamped with “Sturmey Archer England”. Sizing wise the bike runs 24″ x 1 3/8″ wheels and will benefit from new tyres before being ridden properly. The freewheel fitted to the rear is stamped Atom 77, with Atom being the “brand” and 77, well I’m not sure on that but it’s either the “model” or the year produced. ’77 fits into the era this bike would have been produced. It spins freely, has all its teeth and cleaned up nicely. I would have loved to remove it to clean underneath but unfortunately I don’t have the right tool.
Seat / Seat Post
BROOKS! In terms of saddles, Brooks is always a name I associate with quality. I have one on the “France Sport”, a nice leather one; unfortunately this one isn’t leather. It’s a moulded plastic model with a bit of a scratch in it. It’ll still add some value to the bike. Thankfully the seat post wasn’t seized and came out without a fight. It had a fair amount of surface rust but that was soon removed with the old wire wool and polish. It cleaned up nicely and I greased up the seat tube so it shouldn’t seize up in the future.
Dirty but fully working. I’ve got no idea what “brand” they are as all they are stamped with is “Made in England”. There is a possibility they’re Sturmey Archer items too but the washer with the stamp on isn’t in the greatest condition to read. Both calipers and levers were covered in grease and surface rust but again, the one I’ve managed to finish has cleaned up nicely. The levers have a bit of play in them so I’m going to see if I can find a way to tighten them up. Apart from that, once I’ve had chance to clean the front and the levers there’s nothing more they need.
This is the last thing I managed to do before the light failed me today. I quickly managed to removed the stem (without it being seized!), removed the forks and cleaned everything up. The chrome has cleaned up beautifully with little wear on the cups or the bearings. Around 24 5/16″ bearings came out of both races. I say around because I always drop one or two. Luckily I always have spare bearings so loosing one or two isn’t a issue. There wasn’t actually any grease in the lower race and the top race was extremely dirty. The fresh grease was much needed!
Until next week some time, that’s it. Jobs left to do:
Clean and Polish: Stem, Bars, Front Caliper, Brake Levers, Cranks, Bottom Bracket, Derailleur
Clean and Lubricate: Bottom Bracket, Chain
I’m glad to say I’ve made a bit of progress on the Wayfarer. Today I decided to take the bike to work with me so I could have a play in the warmth and light that our workshop offers. As I described i the last post I was a bit stuck with the cotter pins. I’d tried to remove them the wrong way and they’d got a bit stuck.
The non drive side was the less damaged side. I’d tried to remove the cotter pins by taking off the nuts and bashing them out with a hammer. Unfortunately with the pin being seized all it did was bend. If I’d carried on hammering it I would have had two mushroomed pins. All it actually took to remove the pin today was a chunk of steel to act as a flat surface and a big lump hammer. A few hits with those two and the pin was free. I know, I was surprised too!
The drive side was another story. That side was destroyed. When I’d bent that pin before, I decided it would be a good idea to cut the bent section off and use a punch to hammer the pin through. All this actually did was crush the pin more and mash it up so it filled a bit more of the hole. I tried knocking it out again today after the success of the non drive side but it was still stuck fast. My next option was drilling it out. I’ve got plenty of good quality bits at work so I measured up the hole for the pin (turns out around 9.5mm) and began to drill. The pins are soft so it ate straight through the mashed top but as soon as the drill made contact with the axle it stopped. It wasn’t going to go through the hardened steel so I downsized and tried again. I got a bit further with an 8mm but a 6mm was needed to go all the way through. A couple of taps later with the lump hammer and punch and the pin was out. Easy. I don’t know why I had so much drama with it before!
The only casualties seem to have been the pins themselves. Looking at the axle it seems completely unscathed and the only damage I can see on the cranks is the faint mark of where the drill bit caught the side. Touch wood, I’ll be able to re-use them.
The bottom bracket didn’t put up too much of a fight. The non drive side came away just fine but the drive side was a bit more stubborn. That needed my new technique of clamping the spanner down to the frame (check my Instagram shot) so that it wouldn’t slip off the tiny notches. It worked. Both sides have very dirty and rusty threads and the bearings were dry, nothing a good clean, new bearings and grease can’t sort though.
It’s all ready to strip down and re-paint / powder coat now then. One thing I have noticed when taking the photos for this post if the frame is dented. Whether they’ve always been there or I dented the frame last year I don’t know, but I think it’s going to need to be stripped and repaired with some filler by hand, much like I did with my fixie. It’s not the best time of year to start spraying in the garage though!
Another step closer to finishing.
I’ve decided to go down the more, cost efficient, route on this one again. Instead of buying a brand new front wheel and tyre I’ve decided to clean up and re-use the original front wheel off the bike as well as using the original tyres off my Falcon. It’s not the look I wanted but it will do the job.
After inspecting the wheel I noticed a bend close to the hub in one of the spokes. I didn’t really want to leave it in there in case it become a weak point. Thankfully I’d kept the spokes from the rear wheel I stripped down and after finding a straight one it was a relatively easy task of removing the old and fitting the new. I was pretty lucky with the nipple too as it didn’t put up any fight when it came to undo it. Replacing one spoke is easy. With the tyre off, I used my spoke key to grip onto the nipple tightly and loosened it by turning it clockwise (If you’re attacking it from the tyre side it’s the opposite / normal way to loosen and tighten, ie. anti clockwise to loosen). Once the nipple is removed it really is just a case of feeding the spoke back through the hub, making sure you remember how it was orientated, then grabbing the new spoke and fitting that. Building a whole wheel will be a whole other story and it’s something I’m going to attempt with the rear wheel.
I used some Halfords rim tape to protect the inner tube before installing the old tyre off my Falcon and starting on the bearings.
I don’t imagine these bearings have been touched since the bike was made so they were a little rough and everything was covered in thick, dirty grease. I’ve covered this before but in case anyone missed that, this is my method:
– Undo the locking nut and cap from one side of the hub only.
– Scoop out all the bearings from that side.
– Slide the axle out the other side with the opposite locking nut and cap still attached. (Make sure you catch all the bearings.
– Degrease and clean the hub and all components.
– Apply grease to the cup that’s still on the axle and set the clean bearings into that grease.
– Cover those bearings with a bit more grease.
– Smear the axle with grease and apply a bit to the hub (where the bearings will sit)
– Slide the axle back into position through the hub and rest the “completed” side on the work surface so that it can’t fall out while you work on the other side.
– With the incomplete side up, apply some grease to the hub where the bearings will sit and to the inside of the cap.
– Fit the bearings into the grease in the hub.
– Fit the cap and locknut so that it pinches everything together.
– To get an idea of how tight the hub is I like to hold the axle and spin the wheel to see how much resistance there is. I adjust it so that the bearings don’t sound rough (too tight) but not so much that the axle can move (too loose).
– (With the bearings spinning to your taste) Hold the bearings cap with a thin bike spanner while you tighten the locknut to it.
Job done. I’ve so far cleaned up the faces of the hubs but I’ve still got to clean the back sides and the spokes. I should be able to get the whole wheel sparkling like new. It’s just going to take a lot of de-greasing and a lot of polish. I think the next step will be to re-assemble the old rear hub to see if it’s still usable. If it turns out to be OK, I’ll buy some new spokes and get the old rim repainting before attempting to rebuild the whole wheel. Then it’s just down to fixing the cranks, buying and set of pedals and a chain and the bike should be finished.
Finally I can post a decent update on this build. Now that the frame is all sprayed and I’m happy with the finish I’ve begun to assemble all the parts. Most of the parts I’m using are going to be originals for now so I can save a bit of money but I have had to splash out of a few parts.
The first job was to reassemble the fork and stem combo. After popping down to Halfords to get some new ball bearings and grease I got everything prepped. The cup for the forks had to be refitted and all the other sections cleaned up but then it was just a case of adding grease and assembling. I like to work by squeezing a layer of grease into the cups to set the bearings in and then covering the tops before. It really is so simple to do. If you’ve got rough bearings in your steering, take some time out to strip the forks, clean and regrease everything.
Next thing to be re-assembled was the bottom bracket. In the name of saving money I decided re-using the old gear was the best idea so first I had to clean everything up. The old cups and axle were caked in old grease, dirt and rust and it was down to my Dremel to clean it all up. I don’t know how I’ve lived without one to be honest. It did such a neat job. The sanding attachment and the wire wheel attachment worked perfectly and soon the cups and axle were shining. The threads in the frame needed to be cleaned too, they were full of paint but a small pen knife and the nylon brush on the Dremel shifted all that. Everything was then de-greased before starting the assembly. The cups were lined with grease, bearings fitted and packed full of grease before screwing into the frame. For such an old bit of gear it still works perfectly.
Next up I’m going to be messing with the original cranks and chain rings. The original cranks will be fine to use but they’re fixed onto the larger chain ring which at 48 teeth, might be too big to use for a fixie. The smaller chain ring is removable but should be perfect to use at 40 teeth. I’m thinking I’ll trim off the outer, larger chain ring and get the cranked powdercoated black before going any further. There’s no need for the outer chain ring to sit there unused. I’ll also be replacing the pedals for some modern black items.
I have a few things on order so hopefully they’ll be another update coming soon.