Tagged: Clean

Viscount “President International” – Colour Change

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?


Raleigh Scorpio – From Rust to Riches

Riches may be a tad too far in descriptive terms but for a bike that was seized and covered in rust it hasn’t turned out too bad at all. If you consider all I’ve really done is a strip and clean the outcome is brilliant. OK so it’s not going to win any awards but it’s another bike saved from the scrap and for someone (I hope) it’s going to open up a new world of exploration.

The final job I had to do was to sort out the rear wheel. That was the only thing stopping me from aligning the gears and the rear brake and getting the bike on the road. Unfortunately the original wheel had a bent / broken hub so I went on the look out for a replacement. I found a rear wheel in excellent condition on eBay, made an offer for it and it got accepted. It arrived, I swapped out the axle for the Raleigh gear but unfortunately it wasn’t the right fitment. Despite a bit more spacing the chain sat far too close to the chain stays for my liking and the dish of the wheel was completely wrong. I had to find an alternative.

Fortunately for me, I’d been watching a complete 27″ wheel set and with it ending at around 9.30am on a work day I managed to win it for the starting price. A low starting price. I was expecting to pick them up from the Post Office on Thursday after the failed delivery attempt but to my surprise the Parcel Force guy recognised my name and turned up at my work in the afternoon to deliver them. (He’s not a stalker, just recognised my name from delivering to my workplace regularly) While this set wasn’t as completely rust free as the last replacement, I’m happy to say it did fit!

At the weekend I stripped down and cleaned the axle, giving it a fresh coat of grease before fitting it to the bike. The dish was perfect and the chain line was spot on. I swapped over the tyres, aligned the brakes and gears and gave everything a final check. It was finally ready for the road!

The test ride didn’t start off too well. You may notice one shiny new component missing from the finished picture…? If you didn’t, it’s the pump. The nice new chrome steel Raleigh branded pump I’d bought seems to have had a terrible fitment. Less than a mile into the ride the pump had fallen off three times, bouncing across the road. On the third time it fell into / under the rear wheel of the bike and got bent so a little further down the road I threw it straight in the bin. Things picked up after that and I tried to put the bike through it’s paces. I racked up 20 trouble free miles and called the bike complete.

If you’re interested in buying the bike after seeing the progress, it’s available on eBay [HERE]

Overall I think the build went well. It was a bit of an experiment to see how well the Oxalic Acid treatment would work and on reflection, I am impressed. It wouldn’t have been worth completely stripping the bike down to have parts send off and replated and sprayed and although it still does look rough up close, I have to say I really like it. For anyone who does buy the bike; you always have the option of upgrading to 10 speed should you feel the need. The frame has all the guides built into it…

Well that’s it. I hope you like the finished bike and I hope you’ve enjoyed following this build. Onto the next one!

Raleigh Trent Sports & Smiths Speedo

One of the main reasons I decided to chance a bid on this bike was because I was the old mechanical speedo and thought “How cool!”. The bike has been awesome but unfortunately when I first cleaned the bike I found the speedo didn’t work. The cog on the end of the cable kept skipping off the face of the wheel plate. I pulled the speedo off and stripped it down. Initially I thought the mechanical cable had seized but what I actually found was a tiny cog had seized inside the speedo itself.

For weeks I kept spraying the unit with WD40 and Penetration spray but nothing seemed to have an affect and the cog remained siezed. I’d essentially given up on the part and it was left on my workbench to gather dust. That was until yesterday when I was out in the garage checking over another bike (post to come). My Dad popped around and he noticed the speedo and started looking at it. I grabbed the cable, plugged it into the mechanism and tried to demonstrate how it was all seized but to my surprise it worked! The weeks (or months) of sitting on my bench had allowed the remnants of the fluid to penetrate right into the corrosion and freed the whole thing up.

I borrowed my Dad’s ultrasonic cleaner earlier and gave the mechanism a good clean in some Methylated spirits before stripping out the offended cog and greasing up all it’s associated components. One circlip held it in and it gave me no trouble what so ever. The whole unit went back together without a hitch and is no sitting pride of place on the handlebars of the Trent Sports.

I had a quick test ride up and down the road and I’m happy to say it works! The speed rises and falls smoothly but at a standstill the needle seems to rest at 3mph. I’ve no idea how to calibrate the unit so I’ll just have to remember that when I’m out riding the speed the unit shows is probably 3mph faster.

You’ll notice the unit doesn’t have a glass lens on just yet. This was missing when I got the bike but a new one is on order (along with some new brake blocks!)

Another “new” addition to the bike is a Carradice saddle bag. It’s a big bag giving some extra storage for my food runs and despite its size, it doesn’t interfere with my legs at all. Of course this means I can’t attach a camera or lights to the seat post any more so I might have to make up a bracket for the pannier.

All in all though, I’m really pleased with these two latest “developments” for the Trent Sports.

Raleigh Scorpio – R.I.P. Wheels

Well this hasn’t quite gone to plan. After a bit of work I’ve found both wheels need replacing. I gave both the oxalic acid treatment to clean up the chrome and this brought about the first problem. The rear wheel was useable, but the front wheel showed up a lot of flaking chrome. A little bit of flaking wouldn’t have bothered me but when sections are patched with dark, rust stained steel I figured the wheel wasn’t fit to go back on the bike. Luckily in this case I had a spare. I still have the front wheel from my fixie lying around so I used that.

Now the rear wheel. In the last post I mentioned I’d noticed a wobble in the freewheel as I span the wheel and after a bit of Googling I decided to strip it down, clean it and rebuild to see if that solved the wobble. First though I needed some new tools. I didn’t have the right freewheel remover to get it off the hub and I also needed a pin spanner. Luckily Park tools had everything I needed in the form of the FR-4, SPA-1 and SPA-2.

The SPA’s (I only needed one, but wasn’t sure which one) were needed to undo the lock ring inside the freewheel. The lock ring is a reverse thread and it’s easier to loosen before removing the complete freewheel from the hub. Once the freewheel was off I removed the lock ring and carefully slid the centre section out. There’s a lot of ball bearings inside so it can be a tricky job! I almost knocked the top race into the bottom and mixed them up which would have been a nightmare to sort out… fortunately the few bearings that fell were easily identified. The to race had 34 bearings and the bottom 40. Each race was cleaned and regreased at a time to save confusion before reassembling.

Note: The pictures actually show a clean freewheel. Before I removed it from the hub I spent a good while scrubbing and scraping each cog to remove the years of dirt and grease that had built up. I’m actually pretty impressed with how clean it looks considering!

The freewheel felt and sounded much better after the clean and grease but that’s about as far as this wheel will go. I fitted it back on the hub and began refitting the axle but in the process I found the real problem of the wobble. As I was spinning the wheel to check the resistance from the cones I saw the wobble was still present. There is definitely no play in the freewheel so the only thing it can be is the hub. In fact, I know it is the hub because I saw the gearing side flange wobbling as the wheel span. It’s no good to me now so there is a “new” wheel on order.

It’s a bit of a pain in the ass but having a good set of wheels under you is definitely needed!

Raleigh Scorpio – Just Waiting On The Wheels

As I write this the wheels are getting the Oxalic Acid treatment. They’re the last parts I need to clean before I go ahead and finish off the rebuild. I have everything else cleaned and installed ready and waiting! I’m a little concerned with the rear hub though. After inspecting both wheels and seeing they spin fairly true, I noticed the freewheel was spinning in a pretty strange way. It looked like it was wobbling, getting further away and closer to the spokes at various points of rotation, however the bearings were pretty stiff and when spinning the freewheel by hand the wobble seemed to be non existent. Touch wood, it was only down to the stiff bearings but thinking worst case scenario, the hub could be damaged and in need of replacement.

Hopefully it’s an easy fix.

Apart from that worry the bike is looking quite nice. It’s far from perfect but considering it’s only really been cleaned it’s quite a transformation from what it was. I’ve polished up the brake levers and calipers, having stripped them down into their individual components to make sure all surfaces were polished. The rear derailleur has been stripped, cleaned and greased. When it came to the mudguards I began to clean them but realised they had a plastic protective layer covering them. It was dull and discoloured so I pulled it off to reveal bright shiny chrome. Unfortunately in places the protective cover has actually helped contain small amounts of rust so there are parts I can’t clean. There is still a slight improvement to their original condition though.

Accessories wise I decided to buy a Raleigh branded steel pump as the bike was missing one. I’ve replaced all the brake and gear cables but can’t align and tension until I have the wheels sorted. When it came to the handlebar tape I wanted to keep with the age of the bike and avoid the cork tape. It was hard to find something that wasn’t cork based on eBay but after pages of searching I found some self adhesive cotton tape. It’s a bit more difficult to apply than the cork tape, and the rolls could really do with a bit more length but having said that, I’m really impressed with it. It looks and feels good. To go with the tape I managed to find some Raleigh branded screw in end caps which are a massive improvement to the standard screw in caps!

If all goes to plan, tomorrow I should have the bike up and running and out for a test ride!

Before I leave, I’ve managed to date a few parts which give a clue to the age of the bike. During the last stage of cleaning I’ve managed to find a few date stamps. The brake calipers (made by Weinmann) almost always come with the “clock” date stamp and after the dirt was removed I’ve discovered these parts were made in the late 70’s. The rear caliper was made in October ’76 while the front caliper looks to have been made in April ’76. The rear derailleur matches up with these dates showing September ’76 so if I was held down and forced to place an age on this bike I’d say pretty confidently it was produced in late 1976 (or early 1977). I don’t think it’s seen much use over those 40 years but it definitely hasn’t been looked after.

Raleigh Scorpio – Reassembly Begins

The cleaning continued with a few more parts soaking in the Oxalic Acid. After the first batch the only components that needed doing were the pedals, crank arms, chain ring(s) and shifter. The wheels will be done soon but I need to mock up something to soak them one at a time. Before soaking, the shifter had a few rust spots and was generally a bit stiff while the non drive side crank, pedals and chain ring were suffering a fair bit from a good coating of rust. I left them all in overnight and in the morning I had some lovely clean components. The pedals were a bit too badly corroded to be rust free but the difference in before and after is brilliant.

With all the chrome cleaned I decided to start reassembling the bike. I’ve used new ball bearings and a good amount of grease in everything I’ve put back on. The bike had been neglected so much before that the old grease had almost solidified and in some places had disappeared completely. The new grease and bearings have got everything turning smoothly again. I even decided to strip down the pedals and replace the bearings and grease in them. It’s a job I’ve never actually done before and I found it really simple. Both pedals had thick, black, treacle like grease in the outer races and nothing in the inner. The new grease and bearings were definitely needed!

This bike won’t be perfect cosmetically. It’ll be far from it. The frame would really have benefited from a complete respray and parts definitely need replating but I wanted to see how much of an effect a deep clean would have. So far, I’m pretty impressed and I hope it will impress the new owner when I come to sell the complete bike.

Raleigh Meteor – Up For Sale

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.

Raleigh Meteor – The cleansing begins.

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

Raleigh Meteor – A tiny one.

Those last few seconds in an eBay auction are a tense time for me. I don’t show my cards till the end. Not till the very end and sometimes I the delay in the web submission doesn’t even reach eBay in time. I wasn’t even sure I wanted this bike but I thought it looked too clean to pass up so I placed a bid in the last few seconds for £2.36 more than the starting price. I won it by the 36p. Always, always use the pence, it’s won me so much stuff.

Anyway, the bike, the listing, I didn’t really know much about it. I’d seen it, clicked watch and forgot about it until the end. I was going off pictures and barely any information. That was a bit of a mistake on my part as I was expecting a men’s racer but when I went to pick it up I was presented with a junior racer. Ah well, it’s still something to add to the collection and I don’t think I paid over the odds for it.

I can’t work on it until the weekend so these pictures are all that’s appearing for now. Generally, I think the condition is pretty good. Everything is original and although the chrome is pitted with small amounts of rust I don’t think it’s too severe, so a bit of wire wool and polish should sort that. The brakes and gearing look in perfectly workable condition with plenty of life in both. The frame, well that’s dirty… nothing a clean and polish won’t fix. At the moment, all I think it needs is a damn good clean and to grease up the bearings. That and the tyres replacing, maybe the grip tape too.

All in all, happy. Too small to ride, but may be something to keep as a wall piece or something to sell on.

Waxing Timelapse & New Buy

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).