Everyone loves yellow right?! I know I do.
The last post was really just an introduction to the Viscount. I wasn’t really in bad shape; the stickers and frame had scuffs and there were spots of rust on the frame but the main issue were the rims. The old rims had been painted to hide the rust and pitting ,a cheap and nasty fix, so I decided to strip the wheels down and buy new rims. I’m yet to build the wheels up so here’s what’s new.
I decided to bite the bullet and get the whole frameset powder coated the gorgeous Signal Yellow. It’s a risky choice, in terms of profit, but when it comes to quality vs a rattle can spray job it’s a million times better. The components were all dropped off on Monday morning and I picked them up on Wednesday, along with another build…
The finish is beautiful. Smooth and solid all over. In fact, the only imperfection is my attempt at knocking out the dent on the rear mudguard.
I’ve cracked on with reassembling the frame this weekend and it’s looking good. The bottom bracket and crankset went on first. I don’t think there’s a spot of rust on them now and after cleaning out the remnants of the sand blasting the bearings are spinning smoothly. The cranks are stamped Nicklin, which brings me to something I found interesting. Nicklin, are the company that bought Williams, which would make sense seeing as this chain ring closely resembles a Williams model. This makes me think Viscount chose some good quality parts for their bikes.
The headset is another good quality item, made by TDC and after clearing out all the old dirt and grease I found it was almost perfect. New bearings and new grease and the bike was ready for it’s bars. After looking over the original bars I decided to swap them out for a spare set I had which had better chrome. I borrowed a set of brake levers from my spares pile too as the original ones were mismatched and with the finish so far, everything needs to be top quality.
I stripped the calipers down and polished up each part before assembling and fitting the mudguards. My Dremel really came in useful here, so much so, I’ve ordered more polishing compounds to use it on my other projects. It seemed a shame to put the old rusted bolts back on the bike so I’ve used some brand new stainless bolts – I hope whoever buys the finished item appreciates these little details!
Refitting the seat post and seat is about as much as I can do at the moment. I’m waiting on a few more parts to arrive before fitting all the cables and building the wheels. How’s it looking so far?
It seems like every post I make about my fixed gear build is one saying I’ve fixed it again after something went wrong. Hopefully, this will be the last one!
On its last outing, after the last fix of bending the chain ring back into shape, I had constant problems with the chain popping off and flexing. I figured it was down to the damage caused before, but also that I’m using the smaller chain ring of the original double set so it’ll never be as strong as the solid outer ring. I wasn’t entirely sure what to do until I started buying a few bikes to do up.
A solution presented itself when looking over the new bikes. They’re all old three speed bikes, with one single speed ring up front and the three gears inside the Sturmey Archer hub. A single speed chain ring up front… with a cotter pin crank… Putting two and two together told me I should take one of these chain rings and put it on the fixie with a new, stronger chain and that’s exactly what I’ve done!
I had chose to take the chain ring off a very rusty Raleigh Wayfarer but my original technique of removing the cotter pins failed drastically and now I had two mushroomed pins holding the cranks to that bike. I found this guy on YouTube who has a channel dedicated to fixing bikes and watching a few of his videos gave me some ideas on how to remove the cranks. Low and behold, on another bike, I left the nut on the cotter pin, used a big punch on top of the nut and with one swing of a hammer the pin was free and I could swap the cranks over!
However, as with every simple job, something went a tad wrong. When I put the new crank on the fixie I found the BB was very stiff and then found the shell was unwinding itself from the frame so I ended up stripping all that down, cleaning everything off and regreasing it. The “new” crank and single speed chainring went on fine then. It’s sightly bigger than the old one but that just means more speed 🙂
As for the chain, I decided to ditch the cheap Clarks chain I bought after only using it for 180 miles. It felt so weak and it’s been nothing but trouble so I went for a Izumi chain this time. I saw it had good reviews on Chain Reaction Cycles and my first impression is it has a more sturdy appearance and feel than the Clarks chain. It looks solid, feels heavy duty and seems well made. I had a slight problem with it being a bit big for one of my chain tools but it went on smoothly and rides well!
When it was all back together I took it for a test ride and I’m happy to say there were no issues whatsoever. I even managed to set a couple of PBs on some local climbs. Hopefully, this will be the bike fixed completely now and it’ll last a good while! It’s always a learning process but now I think I know the best way to go about doing a fixed gear conversion on an old Raleigh! I’ll get it right first time with the other builds 😉
I’ve lost track of time with this. I don’t remember how long it’s been sitting in my living room waiting to get fixed but now it’s done. Well, fixed should be used loosely. Everything is back together and working but it wasn’t the most ideal solution. Some may remember but on the last outing for the fixie, the chain slipped off, got caught on the chain ring and bent it (partly down to a bolt being missing from one of the mounting points?!). I had to walk the bike home, it chewed up a load of paint work and I was royally pissed off. The aim was to buy a new Bottom Bracket and crank set but finding a match for the old Raleigh threading is difficult and I never have the money to spare so I decided to “bodge” the fix.
The old chain ring is steel so although it’s bent I thought it should bend back into shape with some careful persuasion. I had to strip the crank off, and with the cotter pin coming out really easily the job was done quicker than I thought. The old chain ring was persuaded back into shape with my trusty hammer and after fitting and giving it a few spins it all seemed straight. A few little tweaks were needed with some mole grips but it seems to be back to normal… I replaced the bolts with some fresh ones, trimmed them down and added lock nuts so I don’t have to worry about them coming loose again. The chain went back on really easily too. I replaced a few links and the job was done. Everything span as it should…
I’ve taken it for a quick test ride and nothing went bang so I think it should be good for a while… I’m looking forward to some more fixie cruising!
Just as I’m getting to love this bike, something, possibly me, has broken it. It’s a really nice bike to ride and I was loving riding to work and having a detour home but now it’s officially out of action. Dead. Until I can source some more part that is.
So here’s what I think happened. I’m riding to work earlier this week in my work gear. I’ve never had a problem with trousers flapping around but as I’m cruising along I got a horrible snag as part of my trousers got pulled into the chainring and luckily it came straight back out. It didn’t sound or feel good but everything seemed fine.
Then on one of my detours home wile playing “the filtering game” I heard a couple of clangs/ bangs/ noises… I don’t know how to describe it but it sounded like something had popped under tension. The bike still rode though so I got it home, decided to clean the chain and in the process found one link had bent and was about to dislodge from the pin holding it in place. So that was what the sound was…or was it.
That link was replaced straight away with a new link and spinning the wheel / crank by hand it seemed fine. On the way to work the next day though it was pretty rough to start with but it did settle. Again though, it started making a weird clunk every now and again while out on a ride with a friend before eventually disaster happened. She doesn’t like to ride on the road so it meant hopping up and down curbs and on one of these instances my chain popped off. It then got caught in the rear cog and locked up the rear wheel. No bother, I’ll just feed it back on and be on my way. Unfortunately I found that it had chewed the master link on the chain but it had also bent the chainring. Weirdly a bolt was missing from that spot too but even with it pinched up to where the bolt should be it was still bent. So bent it was catching on the frame and chucking the chain straight off. I had to walk the bike all the way across town to get it back home.
I’m sad to say, for now at least, the fixie is dead. I can fix it, and I will, I just don’t have the cash at the moment. I’m going to have to break out the Holdsworth for the daily commute now and get used to those damn clipless clip pedals… Hopefully I’ll find some cash soon. I don’t want to be without the fixed life for long…
The “final” order for this build turned up today! Everything looked spot on but it’s not exactly going to be the final order… I’ll explain further on in the post.
So the final stages of the assembly have begun. With the new order arriving I could get cracking and get the bikes back on two wheels. I was a bit concerned I’d order the wrong combination of wheel / sprocket and lockring but luckily it’s gone together perfectly. The wheel is beautiful, perfectly black and no brake surface, exactly what I wanted. The hub has one side with a single ring of threads for a single seed freewheel (which I’ll buy at a later date) and the other side has two rings/steps of treads. The set closet to the spokes is for the sprocket to screw onto and the Token 14 tooth sprocket went on without any issues. The smaller step of threads is for a lockring to hold the sprocket in place. It’s a reverse thread so that when you’re cycling it won’t work itself loose, and again, simple to fit. It honestly took me no more than 60 seconds to assemble the gearing on the wheel. I already had the tyre and inner tube ready. I’d mistakenly bought a 700C tyre for the build before I realised it had 27″ rims but thankfully the new 700C wheel allowed me to use the tyre. It’s just a simple black Continental City Ride tyre but without masses of colourful designs it works well with the solid black wheel.
The back end is looking gorgeous. That leads me to explain how it’s not quite the final order. After fitting the rear wheel and having a look at the overall product I decided I didn’t want to use the original front rim. It just doesn’t look right. The bike won’t feel complete to me without a new solid black wheel and tyre so I’m on the look out for a new front wheel now too. Still, that won’t stop me getting it rideable.
The cranks were the next thing on my list to be assembled. They needed a bit of TLC first with the chain ring being coated in old grease and dirt and the cranks suffering with patchy surface rust. I gave the cranks a quick blast over with the Dremel and some sand paper and the chain ring got a good de-grease before being assembled. The new pedals screwed right in and I was able to fit the cranks to the bottom bracket. I do need to re-cut the threads on the crank bolts so for now, they’re just rested on the bike. I’m actually quite happy with how it looks with a silver crank set. It’s saved me spending a pretty penny getting them powder coated.
The bike isn’t quite fully assembled right now though. All that I really need to do is fit the chain but somehow I’ve ordered one that doesn’t fit. It goes over the front chain ring fine but it seems to big for the rear sprocket so it’s going to be back to Chain React Cycles for a replacement. The listing for the sprocket didn’t specifically state the 14T needed a 1/8″ chain and I’ve bought a 3/32″ so no riding until I can get that sorted!