Tagged: Rebuild

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


BSA “Tour De France” c.1976 – Battered, bruised and… burnt?

I should not be allowed on eBay. Someone should ban me from it until I’ve cleared the back log of bikes I have. Sometimes the urge to put in a “cheeky” bid to test the water gets the better of me and I end up winning. Oops

Back in 1976, BSA, owned by Raleigh, produced this entry level sports bike. Whether the name represented a “Tour De France” achievement or not, I don’t know, but from what I’ve read people have mixed opinions of the bike. Some seem to fondly remember wanting to own one and others loving the ride however there are those that look down on this “basic” bike and shun it. At the time this bike was first purchased it would have cost the buyer £96.95, which is apparently worth roughly £727.26 in today’s money! That seems a crazy amount! I paid a whole £12.50 for this bike and it came with two spare handlebars!

Ok so it’s not in the best condition and it is missing a couple of small parts but really I don’t think it’s going to take that much work to put right. The paintwork is clearly the worst part of the bike. A strange shade of faded red / orange with a fair helping of stone chips and what looks like a burn on the down tube. The top tube has taken a good knock at some point, leaving a good sized dent, but structurally it looks straight. I’m not really worried about the paint though. Seventies paint can easily be stripped and it won’t be hard to respray in a deep red and fit new decals.

I chose to take a chance on this bike mainly because the chrome looked to be in good condition. There worst component is the front derailleur and I think with a bit of work with the Dremel and polish I can polish it up nicely. If worse comes to worst, I can replace it with the front derailleur I have left over from my fixed gear build. Raleigh really seem to have put their name on this bike with the components, only leaving their branding off the Brooks saddle and the Weinmann / Union hubs. Hopefully I can save the Brooks saddle. It’s definitely seen better days, however with some treatments I’m hoping it with supple up and not tear apart on the first ride.

The plan of attack is going to be something along the lines of:

Strip the bike and sandblast the frame (checking for any defects)

Clean and polish all components, replacing any that aren’t deemed useable.

Respray the frame in a deep red and replace decals.

Find a replacement top tube pump, rear caliper, brake levers and seat post pin.

Possibly replace the rims with 700C

Buy all cables and consumables.

Build and sell.

It’ll be a nice bike when finished I think. It’ll fit nicely into next years L’Eroica Britannia!

British Eagle – Nearly There

I am so happy with the potential outcome for this bike. Considering the state I got it in, giving up on it because everything was seized and almost throwing it away, I think it’s turned into a beautiful bit of kit.

So what’s changed? Well the colour for a start! I decided to ditch the old metalic blue and go for a classy black number. It might not be the right choice of colour for a winter bike but style sometimes comes at a cost… I found some new Reynolds forks in the same style and set about stripping the paint… only… I couldn’t. The original paint was so tough that a good few coats of Nitromors barely even touched the surface. Sanding was an option but being impatient I decided to take a trip to the powdercoaters and get it sand blasted. My aim was to spray the bike. It would be cheap and easy but would it last? No. It had to be powdercoated. Black was still on my mind however something else caught my eye….

MOD Green! The finish, the colour, just wow. I love it.

Digging through my drawers I managed to find some of the original parts for the bike. I still had the old handlebars, bottle cage and brake levers so I was going to need a lot more components to complete the build.

Groupset: Shimano 600 (Ultegra) I set about searching eBay for parts, mainly looking for a modern STi groupset but also keeping my eye out for older sets. I really don’t like downtube friction shifters and I really did have my heart set on a shiney new set however at £70, I couldn’t turn down this set. It looks almost brand new! Nearly all the decals remain and the only imperfection is the shiny scuff on the drive side crank arm. What’s even better is the downtube shifters are indexed for the rear derailleur so there shouldn’t be any more guess work in shifting. Everything fits the frame perfectly.

Handlebars & Stem: I decided to look back over the old photos for this one. I wanted something close to the original in terms of the stem but back then, I really didn’t know much about parts. As soon as I glanced at one photo I recognised a badge. Zooming in, I was certain. The stem I’d snapped off was a 3TTT stem! Doh! I ran a Google image search which brought up some early 90’s catalogues which confirmed my thoughts but also revealed the identity to the weird shaped bars. The stem I needed was a 3TTT “Record” and the bars I have are 3TTT “Forma” bars. I looked through eBay and found a few high priced stems but at £80 a pop I was put off, until fortunately, I found a NOS “Record” stem at just £25.

Pedals: I’ve given the old Look pedals a good clean and they seem to work still despite the paint flaking off. I’m going to give them a go and if they don’t work out I’ll buy some Shimano SPDs.

Seat & Seatpost: What I really want is another Brooks saddle! The reality is I’m spending too much money so for now I’ve settled for the old mountain bike saddle I had on the fixie. The seatpost I went for, one of the cheaper used items on eBay (£15), is also an old mountain bike model. It was in a right state when I got it. The alloy was scratched, dull and embedded with dirt but hours of polishing with the Dremel has brought the shine back. It fits perfectly into the seat tube now with a brand new stainless clamp bolt.

Wheels: Well I already said I had the Mavic wheelset, and I did buy a spare hub to rebuild the rear hub and a new set of Shimano skewers but what I’ve actually ended up fitting is a Campagnolo wheelset. One of the sellers I follow, who is fairly local, and often has nice bike parts listed from house clearances, just happened to list a few 700C wheelsets. I ended up winning the Campagnolo set for just over £20 and also a “back up” Alexrims set for £10. Both wheel sets are in great condition but the Campag are the nicer of the two. They’ve been wrapped in some Michelin Krylion Carbon tyres, which again, were a pretty good buy at £25 for a pair!

Headset: I actually still have the old headset but it seems to be missing some parts. After having a look around I went for a Tange headset. It was reasonably priced (at £15) and looks to be a good quality bit of kit. It was easy to fit but here’s were I’ve run into a problem. Numpty here didn’t bother to check the thread length on the forks when buying them and they’re 10mm or so too short! I was all set to get the bike on the road last weekend but this has really thrown a spanner in the works. I’m currently looking for somewhere to add some more thread (I’ve tried Mercian but they haven’t replied yet…) but if worst comes to worst, I’ve found the correct size die on eBay and I’ll attempt to do it myself. I’m kicking myself at this rookie error.

Everything else is ready to go! I don’t know when I’ll get this finished off but looking at what I’ve achieved – I will see it through. From a £10 scrapper to a beautiful commuter. For what I’ve spent I could have just bought a brand new bike (all be it a cheap one) but where’s the fun in that?!

Keep an eye out for the finished bike. Hopefully it won’t be a long wait.

Norman “Rapide” – Stripped & Parts Collection

In this second post for the Norman I’m beginning the hunt for parts as well as stripping down the frame to get a better idea of the condition. The stripping came first and knowing the trouble the alloy / steel mix can cause I thought I was going to have a fight on my hands. Fortunately the bike gods were looking down on me and the stem came out with ease – a bit of penetration spray and a tap on the stem bolt shifted the wedge and I was able to twist the stem free.

After removing the bottom bracket, I think I can safely say at some point in the past someone has removed one cup (and possibly the axle), lost a few bearings and left the bike exposed. There was practically no grease in and around the axle or the remaining bearings and I even tipped out some dried leaves and the crumbling carcass of a wasp – nice. The bottom bracket cups are made by T.D.C and could really do with being replated and the axle is a Bayliss Wiley #15 item, which needs a good clean.

The headset, thankfully, has been left untouched and in each cup was a good layer of thick, dirty grease. It’s protected the bearing surfaces and left them in brilliant condition. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about the outer surfaces exposed to the elements – these will need to be send to be replated in chrome. I’m not sure of the brand on the headset but nearly every part is stamped with “Made in England”.

Once everything was stripped I soaked the chrome forks in Oxalic Acid to see if they would clean up and rubbed the frame down with some WD40. The original blue on the frame is beautiful. After the dirt was rubbed away a deep blue shone through and colour was seen in some of the transfers. The forks cleaned up about as well as the frame but both will need to be completely re-done. One discovery on the forks was some red detailing around the crown.

The search for 100% original parts for this bike is not going to be easy. I only have the one brochure shot to go by and although some parts are listed, most fall into the break in the page where unfortunately it looks like two or three words are missing.

There’s absolutely no mention of a brand for the chain ring but what I can see is a pattern. To me, the brochure looked to show a single chain ring with a 3 arm spindle, flowing into a chainring with intersecting lines creating a flat topped triangle. It’s very vague and a good few cranksets match. I was scrolling through eBay, following different searches when I found this one particular set. It looked to have the right design, but it also had the red detailing on the cranks, much like the forks. I bought it, just in case. Continuing to look, I’ve found Williams do a similar design but it appears to be a very rare design. I’ve test fitted the crankset I have on the axle and the non drive side looks to line up nicely but the drive side has something obstructing it. I think there’s a slight lip around the cotter pin hole that’s stopping it so I’ll have to investigate that. There’s no branding on this crankset as far as I can tell.

The only mention of the brakes in the brochure is cut off by the page join so all I can read is “Continental P…*missing words*…t alloy. Silver cables”. It’s not much help so I’ve gone with the safe bet by buying a pair of GB Superhood brake levers and GB Sport calipers. I really can’t pinpoint a specific design or brand with the details I have so hopefully this choice will be ok.

Lastly I’ve looked into the gearing and I had some choices with this. The standard gear for the bike seems to be “light alloy front and rear (hubs) with track nuts. Fixed or freewheel”. However there are additional options underneath listing “Continental derailleur gear. Mondial or Simplex, Sturmey Archer 3 or 4 Speed with tr…*missing words*…olite, Airlite, or Duralite special light alloy hubs.”. I already have a fixed gear, well, two if you count the option I have on the France Sport and I already have a nice Sturmey Archer 3 Speed in the Trent Sports so I decided to look for the derailleur option. Having looked through the Veterans Cycle Club Library at the few Simplex brochures and looking around at for sale adverts I decided to go for the set up pictured below. The derailleur is in excellent condition and looks to have already been refurbished. I believe it’s a 5 speed however I’ll have to double check that.

That’s where I am right now. I missed out on a set of Phillips pedals that I believe the bike came with but I’m keeping my eye out for more. I’m also watching a few sets of Airlite hubs which are pretty pricey! I’ve got till next summer to get this bike done though so there’s no rush!

British Eagle – Can I Save It?

This bike hasn’t exactly been my best buy. My last post regarding this “build” was months ago, probably well over a year ago, and nothing has really happened since. It cost me a grand total of £11 and was one of those buys that occurred because I just thought I’d chance it. Unfortunately that chance paid off and I had to drive all the way to Huddersfield to collect it… around £50 in fuel!

I was hoping I could make it into a nice road bike for the following summer but after picking it up and starting the work I realised it was in pretty bad shape. The Reynolds CR-MO frame had several “repairs” to the paint job, the stem was stuck firm and eventually snapped off (destroying the forks too), the seat post wasn’t completely seized but didn’t come out unscathed and the cranks really took some work to remove. I’m now just left with the frame and a bottom bracket that has brittle plastic cups. Plastic cups that round off whenever a C spanner is used.

So the question is, can I save it?

Well I’ve started to look back over the bike. Sanding back parts of the “repaired” frame reveal some quite nice tubing underneath. There is one area of damage on the top tube, a pretty nasty dent, but I think it should be ok. The fact that it has Reynolds tubing is a bonus, even if it is the less desirable CR-MO tubing. Having said that, I’ve done some research into “CR-MO” and it brought about a possible date. According to this forum post, Reynolds started giving their CR-MO tubing numbers in 1991, so it is suggested (by looking at the sticker) the bike was produced in the late 80’s. Unfortunately I can’t find a catalogue to back this up and the parts I did have are long gone so a more precise date will remain a mystery (although looking at the old gear seems to suggest early 90’s?).

Either way I do want to try and make something out of this frame but first I need to get the bottom bracket off! Right now it seems the only way I’ll be able to do that is with some careful grinding and cutting – the plastic BB cups are beyond help!

Today I took the frame in to work and had a play in my lunch break. There was absolutely no way the BB was coming out simply by undoing the cups so I had to take some heavy handed action – the kind of action that could have trashed the frame. First I grabbed a big screwdriver and a hammer and began to chisel off the tops of the plastic cups. They didn’t put up much of a fight and underneath it revealed another layer – a dust cap. I popped that off and underneath that I pulled out a bearing retainer and evaluated the situation. What I was left with was what looked like a tightly packed shell. A layer of plastic was on the outside, bound to the threads of the shell while internally sat a metal shell holding the bearings and axle.

I took a chance and began to hit one side of the axle in an attempt to knock it through. It moved popped out the other side after a couple of hits and soon after I had the internal cartridge out. That just left the remains of the plastic cups stuck to the shell. My gut instinct was to grab a hacksaw blade and carefully cut through each cup in two places so I could gently prise the shell out. This was the point I could have really damaged the threads. If I cut too deep I’d go straight through them and if I used too much force levering the sections out I’d probably squash the threads. Regardless of the risk, the method worked and the frame was finally free of a bottom bracket.

The old bottom bracket cups had the Axis stamp on them as well as the country of origin, Italy. It would have been a bit strange to have Italian threading on an English bike but luckily the threads turned out to be 1.37″ x 24 TPI – the standard English / ISO thread. That only left the question of – have I damaged the threads?

Of course I haven’t 🙂 At home I had the old external bearing BB from my Holdsworth lying around so I used that as a trial. The drive side went in without any sort of trouble but the non drive side decided not to thread. Instead I grabbed a spare steel cup and trialed that. Fortunately that went straight in so I’m happy to say, the frame can be saved!

Hiding in the back of the garage I also have this 700C Mavic wheelset that I was given last year. The rear rim has a bit of damage and the rear hub is missing the bearings but I think I should be able to use them on this build. I’ll scout around on eBay for some components and see what turns up. I’m thinking a nicely resprayed frame, some carbon forks, alloy bars and seat post, along with a modern STi brake/gear combo. Finished off with some mudguards and I should have a winter commuter.

Happy days.

Raleigh “Blue Streak” – Part Hunting

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 aim:

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.

Frame Pump

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!

Kerry’s Single Speed – Done!

This, ideally, should have been posted last Sunday. I’d laid down the primer, allowed it to dry and sprayed on the top coat ready for reassembly on Sunday. It didn’t go quite to plan in terms of colour though. I wanted a nice bright yellow bike but it seems grey primer reacts with yellow paint and turns it green. After using up all the cans I had I was still left with a green bike, however, I actually liked it. It had highlights and shadows and some character. Sunday came and I started to reassemble the bike.

Not wanting to damage the new paint in the jaws of my work stand I grabbed a cloth and wrapped it around the top tube. I fitted a brand new bottom bracket, axle and crankset, refitted the forks with new bearings and fitted a pair of used bars. When it came to fit the wheels I opened up the clamp and heard the distinctive sound of sticky paint. My heart sank. The cloth I’d grabbed had the faint smell of white spirits and while the bike had been clamped in place the paint stripper had eaten straight through the new paint right down to the metal. Devastated.

I couldn’t go any further with the assembly so I looked around for solutions. I had a can of white paint so I tried to respray the top bar in white but it just didn’t look right. I needed more of the primer and yellow top coat I’d used before. It was ordered Monday and arrived Wednesday. The whole bike was taped and covered apart from the top bar so I could respray it, but the for the final coat I removed the masking to blend in the new paint work. It covered up nicely.

I’ve spent today adding the final touches to the bike. A bit of polish here and there, double checking all the bolts and more importantly fitting the brake cables. The cables have been routed with some new cable clamps as the bike was originally designed for rod brakes. It looks tidy and I’m happy with the overall finish.

From an old battered frame to a working single speed bike. What do you think?

If you are interested the bike is for sale here.

Kerry’s Single Speed – The Start

This is a mysterious bike. It’s one of five frames I picked up in a “job lot” last year and possibly the only one where I don’t recognise the manufacturer. As it stands, I have a ladies bike frame, made from steel, in a blue colour with only the head badge as a distinctive marking.

That head badge reads:
Kerry’s – Great Britain Ltd – London E(I forgot the number…)

Now you’d think that would be enough to find some information out about the company / bike but you’d be wrong. Try a Google search and the only related links lead you to someone asking the same question as I am… Who are Kerry’s? I have no idea, but, I can tell you some things about the frame… It’s steel, blue, has horizontal drop outs and all the mountings for rod actuated brakes.

The drop outs were a happy coincidence as I have a set of 26″ single speed wheels lying around and they’d work great in this frame. Test fitting them also revealed the frame spacing was perfect for the wheels so that idea is set in stone. By the end of this I’ll have for sale a “vintage” ladies single speed town bike. I’ve actually already gathered all the parts I need, including all the paint so here’s where the build starts.

Stripping and priming!

The eagle eyed among you may have already guessed what I’m about to discover. Blue is not the original colour. I started to strip the paint off with a good dosing of Nitromors and some coarse wire wool. The blue paint stripped off with ease but it left a some what impenetrable green layer underneath. No decals, just hard green “paint”. I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and say the bike was originally sold in this dark green and in later years someone decided they just wanted to paint over the top of everything. I think the green paint looks better than the blue but I need it all off to start again so here is where the manual labour begins.

The green layer didn’t seem to react to the nitromors and wire wool so I’ve been forced to remove all the old paint using good old sand paper. Today, I’ve spent most of my time in the garage inhaling paint dust. My snot is now black but the bike is bare. Stripping off the old, and original paint revealed a few things. On the underside of the bottom bracket shell is the stamp “DD”, on the non drive side rear drop out is a five digit number and all the welds / joins on this bike as terrible quality.

This leaves me thinking the brand “Kerry’s” was probably a house brand, perhaps a catalogue brand. A budget bike where quality didn’t really matter. Maybe the “DD” stamp relates to the shop it was sold in and the five digit number is the frame number? Either way it’s slightly disappointing to find such low quality welds but the build must go on.

Six cans of primer later and the frame and forks are drying in the garage. Tomorrow I’ll be applying the colour, a lovely shade of gloss yellow, and then on Monday I’ll start fitting all the components. With the bike originally designed for rod brakes I’ve made two slight modifications in order to fit caliper brakes. The front fork has been drilled out ready to accept a nice new caliper and the seat stays have had a plate welded to them in order to fit the rear caliper. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out. It’s not going to be anything special but I think it should be a nice little town bike for someone.

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 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.