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.
I was getting all ready to write out a nice post about my plans to change the design of my fixie. It’s coming close to the 1000 mile mark so I thought it’s only right to spruce the old girl up a bit. In the first few hundred miles the bike got beat up quite a bit, trying to fine tune the chain tension etc. A respray is long overdue but I also wanted to change the style of all the components.
I wanted to flip things around. The light frame would go dark and the dark components would go light. Essentially I was going for a black and chrome look. It would look a little more “period” than it does currently. This, of course, meant buying a Brooks saddle and a chrome seat post to start with. I opted for a B17 model in black. I got it for a good price and it’s in pretty good condition. I rode with it on Friday and I can safely say it’s just as comfy and supportive as all the other Brooks saddles I’ve ridden.
The next buys were a new set of bars and a new stem. I didn’t want flat bars anymore and I didn’t want the tradition drop bar, although I would have gone for the sleek sloping style that are on the France Sport if I could have afforded a pair… Instead I went for a set of “North” bars (or at least that’s what I’ve seen them called). I think they’re meant to be used as riser bars for town bikes but instead I’m mounting them upside down so there is a very slight drop. They’ll be wrapped in a black cloth tape and fitted with a matching period brake lever. Stem wise, I wanted to go back to chrome or polished alloy. I still have the original SR stem from the bike but it only has a 60mm reach and I feel comfortable with a bit more. My searches on eBay threw up lot of choices, too many choices, but I found myself leaning towards the alloy stems with a “sleek” design. On my watch list was a renovated “Biba” stem which was beautifully polished, however as £40 it was quite pricey. I kept looking and to my surprise another “Biba” stem popped up under the title “Unusual British Made Stem”. The seller had noted the two cyclists in the logo but hadn’t seen they also spelt “biba”. It was only £10 so I bought it without waiting. It’s needs a slight polish but it’s exactly what I was looking for.
As for the next steps I’m hoping to get my hands on a “Rudge” crank set because I love the hand design and possibly some new pedals. The frame will be stripped and repainted a gloss black and the bike will be good for another 1000 miles.
Well… actually that’s all just a “wish” at the moment. I had a slight accident on Friday riding to work. While trying to flip my non drive side pedal, without hitting any form of pot hole, my chain jumped off the sprocket, wrapped itself around the hub, locking and pulling the rear wheel out of alignment in the drop outs. This was at around 20mph, possibly more and was quite a violent motion. I skidded to a stop, realigned the wheel and tensioned the chain and rode on. Something didn’t feel right though. When I got to work I checked the bike over and noticed something that concerned me. Looking at the bike from the rear, aligning my sight down the seat tube and head tube, shows the rear wheel has a lean to the non drive side and it also seems the rear triangle is now bent slightly too.
The chain has slipped off and locked up before but never this violently. I asked my work mates to have a look too and they said the same thing. The rear triangle looks bent… I’m going to try and find a frame alignment tool and check it out so fingers crossed. It would be great if I could just bend it back but the more I bend the steel, the more it stresses and eventually the more likely it is to fail…
Over the weekend I was busy “dog sitting” so I couldn’t really get anything big done. In fact, the only thing I could really do is give the old girl a good wash, polish and wax. In all honesty, she’s a 10 yard car. Looks great from a few paces away but as soon as you get close you see all the scratches, touch ups, mismatched paint, stone chips, cracks, and dents that previous owners have left. Still, from those 10 yards away, with a good polish and wax, she looks amazing.
I decided to take all my polishes and wax with me, set up my GoPro and film the whole thing. It took a good few hours but it’s been condensed down into a 4 minute time lapse. Unfortunately, again, YouTube has decided to block the video from mobile playback and some countries (I don’t know which) because of my choice of song. I tried to pick an instrumental to avoid this happening but I guess they’re that picky.
AutoGlym products are my weapons of choice (apart from the Turtle Wax soap):
Turtle Wax Soap
Autoglym Deep Shine Polish
Autogylm Fast Glass
Autoglym Vinyl and Rubber Care
Autoglym Instant Tyre Dressing
Autoglym Leather Balm
Autoglym Aqua Wax
Here’s the results:
If only the paintwork was just as good looking up close!
My replacement gear knob turned up today too. After the listing on BuddyClub UK for a Toyota was wrong and the incorrect knob returned I received the Subaru fitment today. In case you missed it in my last post, the listing on the website for Toyota is for a M8 threaded gear knob. As far as I can tell this only fits automatics. The Corolla needs an M12 gear knob and the only one that matched (after deciphering the part codes) was the Subaru one. It fits perfect.
The standard one was well worn, so this is more of a visual upgrade. Ideally I was looking for something heavy to help with shifting but the BuddyClub Type B actually seems lighter than OEM. I’ll have to see how I get on with it, whether the comfort and “feel” are improved or not. For now at least, it looks better (it actually has the blue BuddyClub logo stuck on top now… I just forgot to take a photo).
What better way to spend a beautiful sunny Sunday? Well I could think of loads of ideas but today I ended up spending most of the day cleaning. The Corolla was first on the list after the UK got hit by rain contamination with sand and dust from the Sahara. I’m not religious with my car cleaning but the thin layer of speckled dust was annoying. It’s a bit of a chore cleaning the car without a hose so I’ve developed a technique of soaping a panel at a time with the microfibre mitt I have before wiping away all the residue with a chamois washed in clean water. It’s not ideal but it get’s the job done. Three hours soon disappeared from washing and polishing the car! It got almost the full works today with all my Autoglym gear. Full bodywork polish, all the tyres dressed, all windows polished, plastics polished and anything vinyl or rubber was treated to a wipe over with some Vinyl and Rubber care. I must admit, despite knowing the old girl needs a full respray, she don’t half look good with a good polish.
I’m going to have to do something about the front bumper soon though. It’s obviously had a terrible respray at some point in its life. There’s paint flaking off and a million and one stone chips 😦 It’s like a giant dot to dot on the front bumper. Another annoyance… I found out someone again has hit my car. With what, I don’t know but the drivers side rear quarter has a “nice” new scratch down it. It looks like something with green paint has hit it. Nobody has any respect for anyone’s property anymore…
That three hours on the car tired me out a bit but I carried on with the mountain bike next in line. It was caked in mud and after my last ride out along the canal it had been left with a flat tyre. On that ride I think I picked up about 6 punctures and I couldn’t find the culprit. It got to the point where I walked the bike home. Those “fat” tyres I put on in January seem to have absolutely no puncture protection. Everything is drying up now though so I swapped out the rear tyre for one of the “slimmer” Panaracer tyres I was using last summer. The bike was stripped of all it’s guards and given a good clean in every places I could find dirt. The chain in surprisingly shiny still! All the gearing got a good dose of Muc-Off dry lube so it’s all ready to roll again now.
I have found another potential issue though. I found out the steerer tube was wobbling about a bit in the headset and on stripping everything down I found the pressed in bearings seemed a bit rough. I’l have to replace those at some point (and I’ll probably re-do the frames paintwork at the same time). I’m not entirely sure why the front forks had come loose though, the top nut was tight. I added an extra spacer just in case and tightened it all back up and the play went away. It’s a never ending world of work!
By the time I’d done all that I didn’t really feel like starting on the road bike so that will have to wait till tomorrow!