Finally, I’ve got my ass into gear and began work on the road bike. My XC bike is painfully slow on the road so hopefully I’ll complete this before the summer ands and get some rides under my belt. I’ve tried to do a bit of research into this bike but I’ve found nothing yet. It has the Raleigh badge on the front and stickers reading “Predator” and “Fuzion” but I can’t track down any info on it. The only thing I know for sure about this bike is it’s old (and it didn’t cost me a lot of money). It certainly shows it’s age too.
While stripping it down I found it needs plenty of work if I’m going to restore it (that’s a big IF). The rims are corroded, a few spokes are broken, nearly every bearing is loose or noisy, the brakes and gears all need reworking and the paint is scratched to death. So that’s left me with a bit of a dilemma. I have three options whirling round my head; restore it keeping as much of the original parts as possible, upgrade it using some new fancy parts or convert it to a fixed gear bike. While I’d like to restore it back to it’s original glory I think tracking down replacement parts and getting everything re-chromed is going to cost me a bit of money. The same goes for upgrading it, but at the same time, if I’m going to fit a few upgrades I might as well use a modern frame and do a proper job. The third option, turn it into a fixed gear bike, came about last night when I posted a photo on Facebook. It was suggested to me and I have to say I’m about 90% convinced. I need to do a bit of research into it first but it looks possible.
Anyway, the teardown. Old and very worn parts.
A slightly wider wheel on the rear and the worst, condition wise of the two. Very corroded and pitted, snapped and bent spokes and a worn hub. I couldn’t find any brand markings on the wheel or hub unfortunately. The front wheel is in slightly better shape but the hub is a lot noisier. The rim has Van Schothorst stamped on it and the hub has Nakano so hopefully with a bit of research I can find some info on these parts.
The rear cassette doesn’t look too worn, it may be good with a clean up. It’s a 5 speed cassette with 14/16/18/20 & 22 teeth but again, no brand name. The freewheel on the other hand clearly states T.C.& Sons and seems to work freely.
The bottom bracket is still well and truly stuck in the frame. It’s going to take a fair bit of soaking in penetration fluid to free it up but hopefully I can get it out as it sounds pretty rough. The crank set is 165mm and is in a fair condition but the peddle bearings a little worn and it was a fight to remove them. It’s only a 2 speed chainring set, worn, but possibly useable. 40 & 48 teeth on the chainrings.
The bike comes fitted with Wellman brakes which really need some work. The cables are slack, the pads are pretty much non existent and the levers themselves are fairly loose.
Shifter and derailleur wise. The shifter was tube mounted made by Shimano. All the cables have pretty much had it. The front derailleur is again a Shimano piece but the rear derailleur is a Sachs Huret item. All of the shifting equipment should be salvageable.
And that’s where I am at the moment. One stripped bike (almost). Plans to turn into a fixed gear and a lot of work to do!
On Saturday, Mallory Park hosted a show I’d never been to before. I heard about it through Track Ninjas, a forum I’m part of who run Track Days (Check them out here). I was invited to the event through Facebook and being so close I couldn’t really turn it down. The show was PPC in the Park, hosted by Practical Performance Car magazine. I was intrigued to see what sort of show it would be and I was pleasantly surprised.
It seems most shows and meets I see advertised at the moment get plastered with the latest fad of “Stance” or whatever other name people use to describe the cars. While it’s nice to see a shiny, well kept car, when they’re all imitating one another it’s boring. What I like to see is individuality and this show had it in bucket loads. I guess I should have guessed from the title of the show really. Practical. Performance. Car. The cars on show definitely lived up to that name. There was so much variety. Old and new stood side by side. There was something for everyone!
I got there at 7.30am and headed to the Paddock to find out stand, instantly realising my car was a little out of place. The Corolla isn’t a track car, it isn’t anything special, and maybe it shouldn’t have been in the paddock on stand… A little later and the rest of the club arrived and the stand was organised and set. It was a nicely mixed stand from Track Ninjas. Honda, Toyota, Skoda, Seat, Peugeot, Renault, Subaru, were all represented on the stand but there was much more to view around the paddock.
At one end, a row of MX5s and Imprezas faced off against each other. On show on the Impreza stand was one of the late Richard Burns, WRC cars. It’s an incredible machine. Behind these cars stood some of my favourites in the show. “The Bootlegger Camaro” is one of my dream cars. I have a massive soft spot for old American Muscle cars and this ticked every box. Looking around it, everything looks so straight forward. A huge block in the front, huge wheels on the rear and a custom interior. I can’t deny advances in technology help make cars better but cars from this age are what I like to see. Mechanical cars, old engineering, nuts and bolts. The car looked like it would be a pleasure to work on. I want to know more about this car so if anyone has any information about it please get in touch.
Another car that caught my eye was one I honestly had no idea what it was and I’m a little ashamed to say that. I saw it out on track while I was watching one of Marky_J’s sessions. It looked a dream to drive and I tracked it down in the paddock. The amount of detail that had gone into this car was amazing to see. The whole car was flawless. It looked like it was built to serve a purpose. A custom splitter had been made with what I can only guess were brake ducts built in (I couldn’t quite see where they went). Perspex windows, roll cage, slicks. This was a track monster. I want to do more research into this car. All I know is it had the “Sunbeam” badge on the back so please someone put me out of my misery and link me to a build. It was an inspiring sight and it’s given me a few ideas for my track build.
The track time proved popular and it was great to see old and new cars battling it out. A few from the Track Ninjas stand ventured out and came back with varying experiences. With everything, Health and Safety comes into play so there are certain rules to abide to and at every event some people forget these rules and make it difficult for those trying to enjoy the time on track. Marky_J experienced a couple of these individuals on his sessions but that didn’t stop him enjoying the session in his Integra. I managed to get my GoPro mounted to his car for both sessions so when I get to a good broadband connection I’ll upload them (though you’ll have to excuse the wind noise!).
Road cars weren’t the only thing on show. Melton Autograss Club and MASCAR were present demonstrating the variety. The Autograss cars were impressive. After taking various slow road cars, it looks like they’ve cut out every pieces of metal possible and shed as much weight as they can and mounted engines in the rear. Rough looking machines but fun! The MASCAR machines are scaled down stock cars for budget racing. They were out of track giving a demonstration into what they’re capable of. The fastest and most insane things on show weren’t cars at all though. The Pat Van was on show and demonstrated its speed along with a few crazy Go Karts. Crazy means putting superbike engine into a Go Kart. These things are apparently capable of 160MPH! Around 150-400bhp in a 150KG frame is going to either going to scare you to death or leave you with a permanent grin. I can’t forget another insane build I saw. A push bike, lengthened with a gas canister and pipes built into the frame. Brings a new meaning to nipping to the shops for some Cornflakes.
The imagination and creativity and this show was so refreshing to see. It really is a place for petrol heads. If you haven’t been before, get down next year! I’ll be there again. I’m hoping to be there with my own track build and I’m hoping in the mean time I can track down a few of the owners to the cars I want to know more about.
Thanks to Hou, Marky_J and Track Ninjas for organising the stand and inviting me. Thanks to PPC and Mallory Park for putting on the show. And thanks to everyone for bringing their amazing cars to show and inspire.The whole album for my photos is on my Facebook page. I hope you like them.