Tagged: Forks

British Eagle – The Eagle Will Soar Again

*typical evil genius laugh* It lives. IT LIVESSSSSS!!

Doesn’t she look nice! It hasn’t been an easy ride, and it’s probably cost me around £300 for everything but I would stand by this build and say it’s better quality than a brand new £300 bike! From a battered, patched up and seized bike (minus the wheels) to a wet weather / winter ride using quality parts. I’m pleased!

I left the last post explaining how I’d made a mistake with the forks. I’d forgot to check the length of the threaded portion and when I went to install them I quickly discovered the problem. My freshly powder coated Reynolds forks were virtually no use. I contacted Mercian but their response wasn’t too promising. Instead of adding mroe thread with a die they were suggesting a process of removing the old steerer tube, welding/brazing in a new tube of the correct length and then repainting the forks – sounds pricey! I started looking about for dies so I could attempt the cutting myself and found one in China but before I clicked the submit order button I decided to try someone else. The fabrication company that we use at work were my next port of call. I popped down for a chat, explained what I wanted and I was offered a few alternatives. They could use a die to cut more thread in, but there wasn’t a guarantee it would work because they had no way of telling if the tube had been hardened. Alternatively they suggested using a lathe but the layout of the forks made that a logistical nightmare. The last option was to bore out the threads on the upper bearing race. It made sense but I wasn’t quite convinced it would fit well enough.

Luckily eBay came to my rescue and I found a pair of beautiful yellow Columbus forks in exactly the right size – for only £15! Cheap, but there was a reason for that… they had a stem (cut off) seized into the steerer tube. I fancied my chances so bought them. My plan of attack was simple:
– Penetration spray
– Filing flats into the exposed stem to grip with an adjustable spanner
– A little “persuasion” from both side with my trusty hammer
– Fire and ice cycles
The plan may have been simple but reality wasn’t. Days passed as I tried each method daily but the stem wouldn’t move! My last resort was the selection of drill bits at work. A stem made of an aluminium alloy should be fairly easy to drill through so it should be a quick process, right? Well yeh, it was. I initially drilled down the centre with a 17mm drill bit which ultimately created a lot of heat but the stem was still stuck. I followed that through VERY carefully with a 21mm bit. The tube itself has a diameter of 22.2mm so I was really looking out for the side walls, trying not to damage then. Millimeter by millimeter I at the stem away until I thought I was hallucinating. As I looked into the tube I could have sworn part of the old stem had been on the right as I’d started drilling, now, at this point, it was on the right. I tried to drill again and this time the portion ended up at the top. IT WAS FREE! A light tap from the underside and it dropped right out. No damage to the forks at all!

That evening I rushed home and got the rest of the bike put together. I swapped out the crown race on the forks and fitted them first (I need to get a couple of silver spacers to match the headset) and then fitted the NOS replacement 3TTT stem and the original bars. On went the brake levers and I adjusted everything to my riding position before fitting the new brake cables and taping them in place on the bars. I’ve chosen to use some yellow cloth bar tape for a more “vintage” look but I’ve double wrapped the bars for more comfort. The only thing I want to change now is the grubby white brake hoods…

Everything is now tightened down and adjusted. She’s ready for her maiden voyage. I’m looking forward to it (I’ve also treated myself to some Shimano R260 Carbon Shoes 😉 )

Circa 1990 British Eagle
Reynolds CR-MO Frame
Columbus Forks
Shimano 600 (Ultegra) Groupset
Shimano Exage Brake Levers
Campagnolo Khamsin 700C Wheelset
Michelin Krylion Carbon Tyres
3TTT Record 84 Stem & Forma Bars
Tange Headset
Look “Delta” type pedals (unsure of exact model)
SKS Mudguards
Soffatti Leather Saddle


Raleigh “Wayfarer” – Baring All

It’s time for an update.

With all the trips I’ve been doing to the powder coaters this week I thought I’d drop the Wayfarer off to be stripped. This bike was most definitely used and abused by the previous owner. Parts have been seized and others covered in rust. The rust had got to the rims so much that I had to cut through the spokes to free the hubs and ended up chucking the rims after finding holes on the bead seat. I wasn’t too concerned about the frame but I feared the mudguards would have the same fate as the rims. The underside of the guards were caked in mud and the tips were covered in rust and flaking paint. It didn’t look good.

I dropped the frame, forks and mudguards off to be stripped on Thursday and picked the components up this morning. Packaged in clear bags they all looked really nice. The guys over at Central Wheel Components had also taken the time to remove the head badge and fork crown caps. At first glance, it all looks good.

The forks are by far the best part of the bike (condition wise). They don’t shown any signs of pitting and there are no dents are far as I can see. The brazing is fairly messy but I think this one part is ready for paint.

The frame didn’t fair quite as well as the forks but it’s still in a good, useable condition. The downtube has a couple of dents on either side that will need to be filled and the chain stays have a small amount of pitting on the underside. That’s one thing I hadn’t noticed before handing the bike over. The blasting is super fine and has really cleaned up all the lugs nicely. It shouldn’t take much more work to get a “nice” frame from this.

If anything was going to cause some problems it was going to be the mudguards. As expected the stripping has brought out a lot of pitting. The tips and tails are the worst affected but the side walls also have a fair share. In places there are some fine holes letting light through, showing that the rust has definitely taken hold but I think the guards could be saved. A good rust treatment and some high build primer should… should, sort the pitting. I would like to save them – I hate throwing parts away.

If you’ve noticed the one missing “body” part, have a cookie, if not, the missing part is the chain guard. I’ve decided not to spec the Wayfarer with the original 3 speed Sturmey Archer hub and instead use the Huret 5 speed gear set that I picked up in that bargain job lot, thus, the chain guard won’t work. I’m hoping it make the bike more user friendly and attractive to potential buyers. That being said, the derailleur needs a lot of cleaning before going anywhere near the bike. The jockey wheels are so caked in old dirt and grease that they’re locked in place. They may not have even been cleaned since ’76 – at least it’s period correct!

So that’s the plan with the Wayfarer. Fix a dent or two in the frame, treat any pitting and cover with high build primer before spraying in the original blue and fitting new transfers. A 5 speed conversion to finish off and it’ll be done.

Raleigh Winner – Assembled 95%

All it needs now is a bottom bracket cable guide and then it can be 1005 status.

It wasn’t easy though. Although it looked like the bottom bracket threads had been protected while being stripped and powder coated, I had a massive fight with both cups. It took a while to find the sweet spot and not cross thread and strip the frame. That part was an absolute nightmare.

Ignoring that, the headset cleaned up nicely and got treated to some lovely new grease. The rear derailleur was stripped right down, cleaned, greased and reassembled. A shiny new chain and cotter pins were fitted. I broke out the new cables, fitted them and adjusted the brakes. Basically, it’s all greased and back as one bike.

I actually really like the finished look. If I’d been given some money to change the wheels it would have made the bike near perfect in looks. They’re about the only thing to really let it down. Too badly rusted and pitted for a polish to work, I could only replace a spoke, try an alignment and get them fitted with new tyres.

It’s a nice look though, wouldn’t you agree? I just hope the new owner doesn’t leave it out in the rain…

Raleigh Winner – Powder coated.

Here it is, yellow. While this post is an update for the Frankenstein it’s mainly going to be a review of the service I received from “Forge Finishing”.

I initially made contact with “Forge Finishing” via a web submission. Man flu had got me by the throat and stolen my voice. The form was submitted at around 1pm on the 6th Jan. In short, I explained I’d had their company recommended to me and I’d like a rough price for one bicycle frame to be powder coated yellow. The response I got at around 5pm on the 9th said I would need to pop in with the frame to get a quote. I tried on the Saturday but the building was all locked up. It turns out their opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am till 4.30pm. If I was to pop in, it would have to be in my lunch break or at 4pm on the Friday.

I took the frame in for a quote on the 12th during my lunch break. When I explained I’d emailed and been told to come down for a quote I was met with a couple of awkward confused looks. The person responsible for the quotes wasn’t in at that moment but I was told their bottom price is usually £30 plus VAT. I was asked several times if I wanted to just book it in without a real quote but I asked if I could leave the frame with them and have them call me with a genuine price. Being lunch time, they said I might not receive a call today but would be quoted by tomorrow (the 13th).

The rest of the day went by without a phone call as did the 13th so at 4pm, before they closed for the day, I called them. There was a bit of searching around and then I was told it would indeed be £30 plus VAT. I wanted something a bit cheaper but I was willing to give them a try so I told them to go ahead with the job, all the details were taken and that was that.

One thing I hadn’t actually asked for was when I could collect the frame. I went down to “Forge Finishing” on Friday (16th) just before closing to see if the job had been done. It hadn’t. I won’t try and give 100% accurate quotes but I was told they had to concentrate on their “normal” business first and that the person looking after the frame would get it done “some time next week”. Understandable. Main business comes first however I was also told that the frame (and other parts) would have to be done after hours. I really have to question why a business would take on work they can’t actually complete in work hours. Had I been told to start with, I probably wouldn’t have left the frame with them. To me, fitting things after hours means rushing and rushing doesn’t mean quality. The last thing I was told that day was I’d get a phone call when the work was complete.

Guess what? I didn’t receive that phone call. Instead I waited all week and after work today (around 4pm) I went over to “Forge Finishing” to check. There was a bit of shuffling through paperwork but then off they went to collect the frame. I’ve no idea whether it was completed at the start of the week or the end but I really think their communication is lacking.

The frame was given to me all wrapped up in bubble wrap. Before anyone asks, no, I didn’t check it over there and then. I should have. While the quality over the majority of the frame is pretty good, to a level I’m happy with, there are parts I really don’t like. The steerer tube is my main gripe. It looks to me like the frame was hung up by that tube and during the stripping process some paint was missed and coated over. There is a rough finish, almost bubble like and definite ridges to the coating. I’m happy the important bottom bracket threads were protected though! There’s a couple of small things too. Parts of the cable guides haven’t been coated (I’d imagine it’s quite difficult to get into small spaces?) and there is a small scuff on the rear drop out. I’d give the quality a 6.5/10.

For a trial, I don’t think they passed. I’ve been speaking to other companies too who I’ll also try and and review but taking this instance, I wouldn’t want one of my own, or a paying customers bike to go through the process at “Forge Finishing” with those obvious mistakes.

Raleigh Winner – The Frankenstein

I have far too many bikes on the go at the moment…

I’m doing this one as a bit of a favour / Christmas present. It’s a late 70’s / early 80’s Raleigh Winner but I’m calling it the Frankenstein because it’s not all original. When I first saw it I thought it looked “odd” with the BMX style chrome forks and what seemed to be 700C wheels and after a bit of research it turns out I was right. Those parts are “new”. The original bike should have come with 26″ or 27″ wheels with matching skinny painted forks. It was a lower end bike for Raleigh and came in either 5 or 10 speed, retailing at around £120. This bike is only a 5 speed but it does have the cable guides underneath for the front derailleur. Anyway, the job is to strip it, clean it and make sure it’s fully working.

It came apart really easily. Everything was stripped off without issue, apart from the drive side bottom bracket cup. All the parts are in a nice pile on my work bench waiting to get stripped, inspected and reassembled. The frame is going to get powder coated. With it being a Frankenstein I don’t feel the need to keep it original and with the paintwork being covered in scratches and flaking paint in parts I think a colour change is in order. The forks just need a good polish so it’s only the frame that will need powder coating on this one.

Speaking of the forks, they’re the first thing I started to clean. I’ve got no idea where they originate from or how old they are but they only needed a quick wipe down with the super fine wire wool and polish to get the shine back. There are a couple of scratches on the inside legs but there’s no major damage. The front brake got the same treatment too, first being stripped down to it’s components, then being clean individually before being greased and reassembled. There’s no branding on either forks or brake, but I’d like to assume the front brake matches the rear Weinmann brake.

The handlebars were next, before the light left me today. They’re 100% an original part looking at all the pictures from original bikes. The stem is a SR item, the bars are stamped with Raleigh’s own logo and the brakes are Weinmann dual pull. Even the clear grip tape matches the pictures of original bikes, that was quickly removed though. Everything had a good clean and polish before new grip tape was wrapped around.

That’s it for today. Next job is to clean the rest of the components while the frame is powdercoated. A simple black will do. (Correction, Yellow has just been requested)

Blue Streak – Another Fixed Gear Conversion

I did a bit of eBay sniping at the weekend…

I haven’t fully finished the first fixed gear conversion or “Project 80’s” (which was originally a Raleigh “Predator”) but I’ve gone and got myself a new project. I spent ages trawling eBay, adding a load of cheap old bikes and frames to my watch list and when the time came I popped in a 3 second bid to win a frame (and later some forks) for £1.70 (and £5.50). I was actually surprised I got it so cheap. Maybe it’s because it’s winter now nobody is interested in a bike project but I think I got a bargain!

The frame is off an old Raleigh “Blue Streak”. It’s very tatty and didn’t come with anything at all. It’s been completely stripped bar one bottom bracket cup which I guess is going to need drowning in penetration spray before it has a chance of coming out. Before buying it I had no idea how old the frame was but hitting Google I’ve managed to found out the frame is from the 1960s! The “Blue Streak” was a model named after a rocket booster program of all things and according to few sources was a short lived model. Back in their prime they looked pretty nice, but alas, I won’t be restoring it to its former glory (like the picture below). It must be a bit of a classic frame because I couldn’t find any information about the Raleigh “Predator” I turned into the first fixed gear.

The forks aren’t original to the frame, instead I bought a set of Reynolds 531 forks from the same seller. They were listed as “suitable” for the frame but at first look they look a tad tall. That may be resolved when a headset is fitted (or a few spacers) but last resort will be trimming a bit off the top. It seems Reynolds 531 are on of the top makes to use as the Wikipedia page says there were “the standard of excellence for many decades”. £5.50 bargain. If I can’t use these forks for any reason I’ve actually just sniped another set of forks for £3 so I’ll try those when they arrive 🙂

The plan is to strip both items back to bare metal, respray and rebuild into another fixie. It’ll probably a build to sell on when I’m finished but it will keep me busy over the winter and hopefully it will go to a good home when it’s done!

For now, I need a new project name so I can use it hash tags. I thinking Project: Fixed Streak? No? Yes?

Keep an eye out later in the week. I managed to bag another old Raleigh at the weekend but this time it’s almost complete.

Small Fixie Update.

To keep things flowing, here’s a small update. (The Sun and the heat is really distracting so I apologise for the lack of updates)

The bike is ALMOST ready for colour. I’d left off last time with the first coat of primer being applied but it needed some more work. The body has some imperfections and rough cuts from removing all the cable guides which needed sorting. I gave the problem areas a good sand down with a flat block so I could see where the paint was left and where the filler was needed.

I only needed a small amount of filler so chose some Iposon P38 and mixed it up. It was still pretty warm outside; too warm. Using the normal amount of hardener in the mix; I found the filler went off REALLY quickly. I’d only applied two sections and before I had chance to scrape off the excess I found it had already set. It’s not a massive problem but it meant a lot more sanding. I didn’t make the same mistake twice so for the remaining areas I used less hardener and it all went on fine.

With the weather so hot, everything set within half an hour and I could begin the sanding. Using a flat block again I took all the excess filler off and blended it all in. A quick wipe over with some paint preparation wipes and it was ready for another can of paint. It’s still not ready just yet though. I want to make sure it’s absolutely perfect so I’ll be sanding it down again and checking for any more imperfections before applying the top coat!