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!
One bike down, seemingly endless more to go.
Today, I finished the Puch. I spent the beginning of the week searching for parts on eBay, looking for brakes and gears before finding one seller with everything I needed in terms of components. I got those ordered and went back to my usual “consumables” supplier for the rest. By sheer luck, everything arrived first thing this morning so yet again, I’ve spent most of the daylight hours in the garage.
The frame I was given had the stem, handlebars and crank set attached which all seemed to spin smoothly, however, the first thing I did was strip the lot down. The grease in both headset and bottom bracket was pretty thick but it was well covered and fairly clean. Still, I pulled everything out cleaning it up and putting my own grease back in. The same happened with the wheels, with the bearings being stripped, ceaned and regreased. A bit of fine tuning here and there and all the bearings were moving freely and smoothly.
The parts I’d ordered… The Union pedals went straight on. They didn’t need cleaning at all; beautiful condition. I’d ordered a Shimano downtube shifter and a Shimano Tourney derailleur. Both were in excellent condition and fitted straight to the bike without issue, almost. The frame doesn’t actually come with any fixed cable guides so I’ve had to cable tie and tape everything to the frame. Nothing major… just a small cosmetic issue. I did almost get caught out with the brakes though. With the huge choice that was offered to me on eBay I ended up picking some Italian Galli calipers and some unbranded shifters. Firstly, I forgot the ferrules so I had to “borrow” a pair off one of my other builds. Secondly, the calipers didn’t exactly fit. The front was fine it had good reach and worked well but the rear, well, it didn’t. It was a few millimeters too short and would have ended up using part of the tyre to brake. It was also too close to the frame and was catching on one triangle leg. Solution? Use some spaces to clear the triangle and extend the mounting hole by a few millimeters so the rim could be used for braking. It worked.
Apart from that little “problem” with the rear caliper everything went together really well. I even took it out for a test ride after and I’m really impressed with how smooth it runs and how easy it is to select gears. Unfortunately I picked up a puncture… One last thing to repair before it goes to it’s new owner (when it’s sold).
Tomorrow… another bike.
If you’re interested in the bike, it’s on eBay here.
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.
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
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.
It’s just a small update for the “fixie” build today. Last time round I’d assembled the front wheel and got that ready for fitting. I’d stripped down the hub and rebuilt that, along with replacing a spoke and assembling the inner tube and tyre. It is all good to go but before I put it on the bike I wanted to give all the spokes and rim a quick clean. I was being a bit optimistic thinking it was going to be a quick clean. The spokes didn’t look too dirty but after cleaning one with some metal polish and seeing the amount of dirt it removed and the effort it took I realised it was going to take a while. In an attempt to speed things up a bit I started off by using a light grade of sandpaper and wet sanding all the spokes and rims. It worked really well, but the polish was still needed to bring the shine back. Two hours or so after starting I had a clean front wheel.
After cleaning it all up I have noticed the rim could really do with being replaced. There are quite a few rough patches on the brake surface where the chrome has worn away and rust started as well as a couple of dings but it will do to get me rolling (and I don’t have the money spare now, damn rear hub)
Before I detail on the rear hub… The crankset is now ground down and just needs a clean up and polish before fitting to the bike. I’ve decided to saves a few pennies and not get it powder coated so for now, it’ll be staying silver/chrome.
The rear hub… I was hoping to clean the original hub up and re-use that for the final assembly. The idea was to just replace the rim and spokes after giving the original gear a good clean and rebuild. It didn’t exactly go to plan. The cleaning went really well; A good dose of degreaser took it from a rear hub thick with 20 or so years of dirt and grease to a perfectly gleaming chrome example. Unfortunately that’s where I discovered a problem. One half of the hub broke away. I thought it might have just be pressed together so I carried on assembling the hub with new grease and bearings only to find when it was all together the hub was useless. Even with the whole thing assembled, both sides of the hub could move independently. I guess it must have been welded together originally but over the years the rust has eaten that away.
There’s nothing really I could do about that hub so I’ve had to spend a little more in my final order for the build and buy a complete new rear wheel. The whole order should be with me tomorrow but I found it a bit difficult deciphering all the information that the internet could throw at me when making my choice. I went with a Halo Aerotrack wheel with a track (flip/flop) hub. That wasn’t the problem. Choosing a 120mm axle hub was easy. The problem came with choosing the gearing. I was originally thinking one of those “single speed conversion kits” would be what I needed but I couldn’t work out why they all had Shimano style grooves in them. Then there was just single sprockets with those grooves in and some without. It then dawned on me what the conversion kits were for; Singlespeed, not Fixed Gear. Although they both use just one speed the single speed keeps the ability to coast with a freewheel or freehub and the conversion kits were to replace the rear cassettes on Shimano Style freehubs. Having a fixed gear means of course, you don’t use a freehub or freewheel. The conversion kits were out of the question and the Shimano style sprockets were too so it was just down to the threaded sprockets.
I managed to find out that fixed hubs have two sets of threads. One for the sprocket and one for a lock ring to stop the sprocket working itself loose. After looking through the Halo website I found out the right thread information and I’ve hopefully order a sprocket and lock ring to suit. We’ll soon see!
Another step closer to finishing.
I’ve decided to go down the more, cost efficient, route on this one again. Instead of buying a brand new front wheel and tyre I’ve decided to clean up and re-use the original front wheel off the bike as well as using the original tyres off my Falcon. It’s not the look I wanted but it will do the job.
After inspecting the wheel I noticed a bend close to the hub in one of the spokes. I didn’t really want to leave it in there in case it become a weak point. Thankfully I’d kept the spokes from the rear wheel I stripped down and after finding a straight one it was a relatively easy task of removing the old and fitting the new. I was pretty lucky with the nipple too as it didn’t put up any fight when it came to undo it. Replacing one spoke is easy. With the tyre off, I used my spoke key to grip onto the nipple tightly and loosened it by turning it clockwise (If you’re attacking it from the tyre side it’s the opposite / normal way to loosen and tighten, ie. anti clockwise to loosen). Once the nipple is removed it really is just a case of feeding the spoke back through the hub, making sure you remember how it was orientated, then grabbing the new spoke and fitting that. Building a whole wheel will be a whole other story and it’s something I’m going to attempt with the rear wheel.
I used some Halfords rim tape to protect the inner tube before installing the old tyre off my Falcon and starting on the bearings.
I don’t imagine these bearings have been touched since the bike was made so they were a little rough and everything was covered in thick, dirty grease. I’ve covered this before but in case anyone missed that, this is my method:
– Undo the locking nut and cap from one side of the hub only.
– Scoop out all the bearings from that side.
– Slide the axle out the other side with the opposite locking nut and cap still attached. (Make sure you catch all the bearings.
– Degrease and clean the hub and all components.
– Apply grease to the cup that’s still on the axle and set the clean bearings into that grease.
– Cover those bearings with a bit more grease.
– Smear the axle with grease and apply a bit to the hub (where the bearings will sit)
– Slide the axle back into position through the hub and rest the “completed” side on the work surface so that it can’t fall out while you work on the other side.
– With the incomplete side up, apply some grease to the hub where the bearings will sit and to the inside of the cap.
– Fit the bearings into the grease in the hub.
– Fit the cap and locknut so that it pinches everything together.
– To get an idea of how tight the hub is I like to hold the axle and spin the wheel to see how much resistance there is. I adjust it so that the bearings don’t sound rough (too tight) but not so much that the axle can move (too loose).
– (With the bearings spinning to your taste) Hold the bearings cap with a thin bike spanner while you tighten the locknut to it.
Job done. I’ve so far cleaned up the faces of the hubs but I’ve still got to clean the back sides and the spokes. I should be able to get the whole wheel sparkling like new. It’s just going to take a lot of de-greasing and a lot of polish. I think the next step will be to re-assemble the old rear hub to see if it’s still usable. If it turns out to be OK, I’ll buy some new spokes and get the old rim repainting before attempting to rebuild the whole wheel. Then it’s just down to fixing the cranks, buying and set of pedals and a chain and the bike should be finished.
Finally I can post a decent update on this build. Now that the frame is all sprayed and I’m happy with the finish I’ve begun to assemble all the parts. Most of the parts I’m using are going to be originals for now so I can save a bit of money but I have had to splash out of a few parts.
The first job was to reassemble the fork and stem combo. After popping down to Halfords to get some new ball bearings and grease I got everything prepped. The cup for the forks had to be refitted and all the other sections cleaned up but then it was just a case of adding grease and assembling. I like to work by squeezing a layer of grease into the cups to set the bearings in and then covering the tops before. It really is so simple to do. If you’ve got rough bearings in your steering, take some time out to strip the forks, clean and regrease everything.
Next thing to be re-assembled was the bottom bracket. In the name of saving money I decided re-using the old gear was the best idea so first I had to clean everything up. The old cups and axle were caked in old grease, dirt and rust and it was down to my Dremel to clean it all up. I don’t know how I’ve lived without one to be honest. It did such a neat job. The sanding attachment and the wire wheel attachment worked perfectly and soon the cups and axle were shining. The threads in the frame needed to be cleaned too, they were full of paint but a small pen knife and the nylon brush on the Dremel shifted all that. Everything was then de-greased before starting the assembly. The cups were lined with grease, bearings fitted and packed full of grease before screwing into the frame. For such an old bit of gear it still works perfectly.
Next up I’m going to be messing with the original cranks and chain rings. The original cranks will be fine to use but they’re fixed onto the larger chain ring which at 48 teeth, might be too big to use for a fixie. The smaller chain ring is removable but should be perfect to use at 40 teeth. I’m thinking I’ll trim off the outer, larger chain ring and get the cranked powdercoated black before going any further. There’s no need for the outer chain ring to sit there unused. I’ll also be replacing the pedals for some modern black items.
I have a few things on order so hopefully they’ll be another update coming soon.
This has been on my “to do” list for a while now!
A couple of posts back I managed to diagnose that the Corolla had a faulty steering rack. The inner arm had somehow become loose and was able to move up and down freely causing play at the hub and banging over even the tiniest bump. It’s not a job I’ve been looking forward to and it’s been hard finding the money to sort it but I’ve finally made a bit of progress.
The usual website came to my rescue; eBay. I managed to find a replacement rack and the next day it was in my possession. It’s not a brand new rack, or a refurbished one but it’s been removed from a low mileage car and after checking it over it looks spot on. This isn’t a part I want to go “bad” again so before attempting the installation I’ve decided to replace the parts I can get to.
Naturally the outer tie rod ends will be replace but I also wanted to replace the inner tie rods, just in case. I attempted to change them on the car before finding the worn rack but it was near impossible. With the new rack being much more accessible it was far easier to work on. The outer tie rods have to be removed along with the rubber boots to gain access to the “nut”. For days before I had soaked the join in PlusGas and even with that help it still required a fair amount of force to loosen them. The inner rods just screw into the rack so it’s only the one big “nut” on the ball joint you have to undo. Fitting is exactly the same as removal…just in reverse. Wind the new inner tie rod on, make sure it’s done up as tight as possible, then pack the joint with grease, cover with the boot and secure down with clips or cable ties.
The rack is ready to fit now… I’ve just got to find a suitable place and time. It’s going to be a two person job with removing the heavy subframe but at least the Corolla has an electric power steering system and not a fluid system! Hopefully I can get time soon…