I’m really getting somewhere with this project now. Having started with just a bare frame I’m happy to say my shopping list is very nearly complete. It’s taken a lot of searching to find the parts I have so far and a lot of luck with the auctions but I think I’m almost there. The last few parts will be an extremely tough find though.
The shopping list:
Pump Clips – Campagnolo
Rims – 27″ x 1 1/4″ Endrick
Tyres – Dunlop White Sprite
Handlebar – 15/16″ Steel Maes, taped and plugged
Stem – 2.5″
Brakes – G.B. Alloy
Mudguards – Britton’s Celluloid, Electric Blue
Gears – 10 Speed Benelux “Mark 7”
Chainwheel – 46/49T Double
Saddle – Brooks B15 Leather
Equipment – Polished Alloy Pump & Twin Coloral Bottles in Handlebar Carriers.
In the last post, all that time ago, I’d managed to find the original crankset, chainwheels and pedals. They’re matched exactly to the photos I’ve found and thankfully, I didn’t pay too much for them! Here’s what I’ve found since.
A Bluemel’s Featherweight pump. I found this in my Grandpa’s garage along with two other pumps. For some reason I thought this bike needed a white pump but after reading that brochure again, I think I’ll swap the pump out for the polished alloy Afa pump I also found.
Ok, the brochure does specify steel but I must have missed that first time around. I found these alloy G.B. Maes bars on eBay for a good price so snapped them up. I’ll work on polishing the alloy up so that it shines like steel – it’ll be fine!
Now there’s no mention of a brand on the advert with regards to the stem, however, after careful studying of the photos I narrowed my choice down to a select few. The photo shows a specific style, with the handlebar clamp bolt angled on the front underside, the stem bolt should be raised and the rear of the stem should overhang. The Titan stem’s jumped out at me and after a few failed attempts to get one I came across this recently rechromed item and made sure I won it. It’s a beauty!
Finding a Brooks saddle isn’t hard – eBay is littered with them. Finding a specific Brooks saddle in good condition becomes a little more challenging. I don’t think I paid much for this example, less than £30 and for that price I’m very happy. It is used and it does have some tiny scuffs but it’s in excellent condition and will look great on the finished bike.
The brochure stated G.B. alloy for the brakes and that’s exactly what I’ve found. I did do a bit more research than that though. Looking through picture after picture I tried to identify the specific model. In some pictures I saw the Sprite engraving and so, found a set and bought them. They’re in good condition and will look even better after a thorough polish.
Now these are the parts I love the most and the parts I’ve had most trouble finding. Starting with the “Mark 7” rear derailleur, I looked around and found a few examples but they were either extremely high in price or poor condition. I’ve honestly searched for months until I found this specific derailleur. It only cost me £25 and all it really needs is the red filling in on the logo. After that I kept an eye out for the shifters and the front derailleur. Lots of single sided shifters were popping up but never a double. When this one made an appearance I couldn’t let it slip away so bought it straight away – I think that was another £20. The front derailleur is proving to be a very rare part. I’ve seen one in the UK and I was beaten to it. I’ve seen a few more rod shifters pop up but I need one to work with my downtube shifters. If worst, does come to worst, I do have an option in the States but at over £200, I really want to avoid that…
To get the bike working, I’m only really missing the wheels. I don’t think they’ll be too hard to find but I may need to send them off to be rechromed along with the crankset and pedals – I won’t know until I find a set. As for the hubs, the catalogue doesn’t specify a brand so I think I have free range there. The only other parts (apart from the front derailleur) that I need to source are the mudguards. The brochure states “Britton’s Celluloid” but I haven’t found anything under “Britton’s”. In terms of Celluloid, well there’s lots of them. I’ve seen lots of NOS Celluloid mudflaps pop up in all colours of the rainbow, however finding the right colour is tough. It’s hard to match what I see on eBay / Google to the exact colour I need. I think I’ve found a couple that are a near match – close – so close.
I’ll start contacting companies to see if I can get the transfers replicated next and after that, it’s strip and spray time! I’m excited!
You’d have to trawl back through a hundred or so posts on here to find the original post about this bike. I saw bike but it’s actually just a frame. A frame I picked up for next to nothing with a set of Reynolds forks for another fixed gear project. It hasn’t actually moved since I hung it on the wall in my garage though. Time to change that.
I’ve been doing my research into the Blue Streak. Gone are the plans for a fixed gear, instead I’m going to restore it with as any original parts as I can find. Google has been pretty helpful for this bike. In the image search you can find a few examples in varying states from various angles and if you follow the web pages you can find out even more about the bike. The most useful thing I found was this:
A catalogue page from back in the 60’s when the bike was produced. It’s listed the major components which makes it 10x easier finding them. I haven’t had to sit through endless vague eBay searches trying to compare bad listing pictures to examples on the bike. I know the exact Brooks saddle to get, the exact brand used for the gearing, brakes and handlebars. It has so much detail on it but there are one or two things I’ve had to look harder for.
One of those components is the crank and chainrings. The catalogue states “49T/46T double chainwheel” and nothing else. The only thing I had to go off was the pictures. Lady luck must be with me at the moment because in my first eBay search for something like “vintage chainset” or “cotter pin crank” I found an exact match. Spot on. Even down to the pedals and tooth count. I won the auction too, for a mere £10. It arrived at the weekend and it is indeed an exact match with the Raleigh branding. The seller couldn’t confirm the exact model of Raleigh it came off but he did tell me the bike it came off was purchased in the 60s! Age has taken it’s toll with the chrome starting to pit but I’ll see how a polish cleans it up.
I also took the chance to buy some straps and the seat post fittings.
One of the other components I’ve struck lucky with is the stem. I haven’t bought it just yet but from a eBay search for “vintage stem” and comparing the pictures I managed to find an exact match it two Titan stems. One, being brand new is a crazy price, the other is more my price range but does has a fair amount of pitting in one patch.
Talking of eBay, the list of parts I’ve found is stacking up with the calipers, levers, bars and derailleur in my watch list. The Google images have been such an amazing help pin pointing a specific model. The only thing I’m struggling with at the moment is the mudguards. I’m going to have to get really lucky to find them.
The Blue Streak was inspired by the Space Age in the early 60’s so the bike comes with some pretty awesome graphics. Replicating them is going to be tough. I doubt I could replicate them by myself but I’m hoping I can send the photos off to a graphics company to duplicate. If I can get those done right it will make the restoration first class. It’s a rare bike. Only in production for a small amount of time.
It’s all lining up to be a pretty awesome restoration.
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…
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.
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)
A new bunch of goodies arrived in the post on Friday so a bit more of the “Project 80’s” Fixie has been assembled.
Originally the bike had the typical narrow drop bars but I didn’t fancy those on this new build. I wanted to be able to cruise around comfortably so I opted for some simple flat bars. Of course that meant I couldn’t re-use the original brake levers, not that I wanted to anyway. The amount of play they had was ridiculous so I opted for a low price Avid brake lever that I’ve fitted with a new cable from a Shimano set I had lying around. Not wanting to spend too much I have re-used the original brake “caliper?” but with the new lever and cable it seems to be working really well. I went for the low cost option with the grips too, just buying some simple slide on grips but they were an absolute pain to fit. It took ages to move them up the handlebar millimetre by millimetre into position that I wish I’d just spent a bit more and bought some lock on grips.
When I bought the bike it didn’t come with a seat or seat post so both of those were needed. As I started the project I’d actually picked up a new seat post from Halfords but it turned out to be a fraction of a millimetre too big even after cleaning up the inside of the tube. I was on the lookout for a smaller one but 25mm and below must be super rare. My boss actually came to my rescue though with a suggestion of cutting a slit down the seat post so that it compresses slightly when installed. I’ve got to give it to him, it worked a treat. I cut a slit front and back and the seat post slid into the tube (although it still is pretty tight). With the new seat fitted I’ve managed to get it roughly where I need it and finished it off with a silver quick release clamp.
The last bit for this update involves the cranks. One pedal was well and truly seized into its thread and not even a soaking in PlusGas would shift it. It actually took a length of scaffolding hooked over my spanner to eventually crack the seal the rust had formed. A lot of effort just to remove a pedal! Once that was off I set about trimming down the chain rings. I’m only going to use the lower chain ring on the bike (which is around 40 teeth) so that’s made the large chain ring a bit pointless. I decided that I’d either trim all of the teeth off and turn it into a chain guard or completely cut off the outer ring. The decision was made for me when it took longer that I though to just cut off a couple of teeth. It would have taken many a battery charge and a few cutting discs to remove all the teeth so I concentrated on cutting the fiver points that held the large chain ring in place. The Dremel just about made it so I’ve just got to tidy up the “stumps” and get the it all powder coated black before fitting.
Hopefully all being well the bike should be hitting the roads soon!