She is a beauty!
I’m over the moon with how this build has turned out. My only criticisms are the lack of chrome rims and the lack of decals. The first was a genuine mistake when ordering new rims (and a semi misleading picture) and the second is purely down to nobody produces the exact Viscount decals. I have found some, but when I ask a question and the seller ignores me I don’t find that too promising for a potential sale.
Anyway, the finishing touches. Starting with the wheels I replaced the old rusted spokes and the badly painted rusted rims with a brand new set of alloy rims and stainless spokes. I’ve built the wheels myself and trued them to the best of my ability with my jig. They seem straight and true, and the white wall tyres finish the bike off perfectly. Building the wheels wasn’t actually too hard. I’ve built one wheel before and this time the whole process seemed ten times easier. I feel like I could lace another set from memory any time now.
After using white wall tyres I had to use white cables; clean and crisp. They’re held down with a series of brand new cable clamps which the bike lacked in its original state. The Sturmey Archer hub has taken a bit of tweaking to find that sweet spot for “2nd” gear but I think we’re there now. I took her out for a quick test ride and all seemed well.
I’d love to get £250 back for the bike and maybe make a small profit; we’ll see. A lot of money and time has gone into this build but I’ve tried to focus on quality. It’s lasted 40 years already, I’m sure it will last another 40! (My Carrera Vulcan cost more and barely made 2 years without a complete rebuild!)
What do you make of the finished bike?
As I’ve said before, I’m always on the hunt for bargains on eBay. I don’t like spending a lot but I always end up spending too much in a month because I find these bargains. I’m still on the look out for the last piece of the puzzle in the Blue Streak build, a Benelux front derailleur. It’s a rare part, so naturally I have an eBay search set up to notify when a new listing pops up including Benelux. This time I didn’t find the part I needed but if you’re lucky, this is what £40 can buy you.
A whole heap of old tools. There’s a couple of Brooks spanners in there and a King Dick chain tool but in all honesty, I wouldn’t spend more than £10 on that lot. I would however spend £40 if it included all this.
That’s a lot of goodies right there! The listing popped up late in the evening as a “Buy It Now” style and after I’d had a look through I just had to buy it. To me, there’s a lot of useful parts in there and they’re worth a lot more than £40. The seller was fantastic too, emailing me first thing in the morning to let me know how and when he was going to post them out and when I should receive them. I got a knock at the door first thing this morning with the parcel. So here’s what I got.
Three hubs in total with one pair of GB wing nuts and a few other random wing nuts. The Sturmey Archer hub was one of the most eye catching pieces. It’s a three speed dyno hub that has a date stamp of 1967. It’s the AG model which means it has some wide ratio gears on the inside and comes fitted with a 20 tooth sprocket. It’ll go nicely on a town bike of that period to run some Dynamo lights if it all works. It definitely needs a bit of grease but cosmetically it looks pretty sound. The front hub and rear hubs unfortunately don’t have any form of stamp or marking on them so I’m a bit hard pressed to say what brand they are. The rear hub is a useful find though. I noticed it hiding in a picture on the listing. Look closely and you’ll see both sides are threaded (one side with two sets of threads). I’ve got myself a nice “flip flop” track hub here, something I can run both fixed gear with a lock ring and single speed. Very handy.
First is a 18 tooth single speed freewheel by T.D. Cross & Sons LTD., stamped “De Luxe” and “AB”. The teeth are starting to show signs of the shark fin wear, the mechanism is a little stiff and someone has really given it a beating when trying to remove it from a hub. The prong slots are completely mashed but it may still be useable… maybe. A 1961 catalogue lists this freewheel with three different chain sizes, none of which seemed to be stamped into the freewheel.
Next up is a 3 speed Cyclo freewheel (14/16/18) which is cosmetically great but the internals are not engaging as they should. I can spin it both ways by hand freely so I would say either the pawls on the inside are broken or they are completely gunked up and frozen in place. It’s a “Type B” freewheel but looking through the catalogues that are floating around I can’t pinpoint an age. A 3 speed freewheel with Type B appears on the catalogues of the 50’s and 60’s but reading on the number of teeth don’t seem to match up. It does look like the rings could be interchangeable though; there seems to be a lock ring on the rear of the freewheel.
The remaining four freewheels are all products of Regina. The first is a large 3 speed freewheel stamped G.S.Corse S.I.C.C. MERATE. There’s no date stamp that I can see and again cosmetically the freewheel looks quite good, however the mechanism is very rough. The tooth count is 16/22/25. It’s a slightly odd looking freewheel as in it almost looks like it’s missing a ring with the exposed threads and the jump from 16 to 22.
After that I have two four speed freewheels (14/16/18/20 & 15/17/19/22) both are in good condition and have exactly the same markings as the three speed, although they aren’t as abbreviated. They read Regina Gran Sport Corse – Soc.Ital.Cat.Cal.Merate. On the rear of the smaller freewheel I’ve found a numeric stamp of 1148 and on the larger freewheel a stamp of 455. The smaller freewheel seems to be siezed but the larger rotates and locks in place as it should, although it is a little rough. They look to be 70’s items so I’ve no idea what the numeric stamps on the back are for.
Lastly I have a 5 speed freewheel with exactly the same markings as the 4 speed, however the rear only has two digits stamped and they read 61. The smaller and larger rings look to be the most worn but the freewheel mechanism does work. Tooth count is 15/17/19/21/23. I think with a good service I’ll be able to use all the freewheels.
I picked this out straight away in the listing. I knew straight away it was a GB Spearpoint stem. It’s a forged alloy stem which would have polished up really well but unfortunately it’s broken. it wasn’t visible in the pictures but the handlebar clamp has sheared off so I’m afraid all it’s good for is a decorative piece.
I have three shifter which fortunately match up with the three derailleurs I have in this lot. The newest is a Huret shifter, complete with the rubber hood, dated to 1976 I believe. It’s in great condition and should work well. The second shifter is also a Huret item but this one is a few years earlier. It again comes complete with the rubber hood and although it is functioning it is in need of a complete rechrome. Date wise, it’s hard to tell. The rust is obscuring any small date stamp and the catalogues online only go back to the 70’s. I’d imagine this shifter (which is matched to the derailleur) is at earliest a 50’s part. The final shifter is a Cyclo part of the same era as the early Huret. It’s in better condition cosmetically but it came in pieces so I’m going to have to play around for a bit and get the right alignment to get it working fully.
This is where I knew the £40 price tag was a bargain. The first derailleur is just your standard 5 speed Huret from the 70’s. It’s clogged with grease and dirt but looks like it should function well after a clean. Once I’ve cleaned it I’ll be able to tell the specific model and the appropriate freewheel to use with it.
The two earlier derailleurs are where the money is though. The first is an early Huret. It’s not too bad cosmetically and I’m hoping the rust will clean up from near the hanger section. Mechanically, the jockey wheels are very stiff and need to be regreased but the gear selecting action seems to be fine. The second is jewel to me. It’s a Cyclo Benelux “Mark 7” 4/5 speed derailleur which seems to be mechanically sound. It will need a good service and clean but (in my mind at least) this is quite a desirable part. I spent a long time looking for one of these for my Blue Streak build and although I’ve already found one, having a spare won’t hurt. The date of this derailleur is circa 1960.
Unfortunately I don’t really have a complete set out of any of these parts so these brakes will mainly be for spares. What I got was half of a Weinmann Type 810 caliper, a complete Weinmann Type 730 caliper, a near complete GB Coureur and an incomplete pair of Raleigh calipers. The complete Weinmann I should be able to use, along with the GB once it is cleaned up but the Raleigh set are missing some essential parts and look to use the double ended cable system rather than the clamp at the caliper end.
The crank set will be a nice one once it is cleaned up. It’s a Williams crankset with a Williams 48 tooth chainring. Unfortunately the chain ring does look to be quite worn with the shark tooth shaped teeth so I think that is going to stay as a decorative piece but if I can find a replacement I will reuse the cranks. The pedals on the other hand need a lot of work. The axles are very loose and as you can see rust has displaced the chrome. I can’t make out what brand of pedals they are but I’ll have a good root around once I’ve cleaned it all off. It’s, again, quite hard to pin point the date of these. The brochures online jump from the 30’s to the 70’s. The 30’s brochure definitely shows a similar crankset but I find it hard to believe it is that old.
There were a couple of other small odds and sods in the parcel, like spokes and chains but nothing really that noteable. All in all, I think the £40 price tag was an absolute bargain and after a good clean I should be able to put all these parts to good use.
Always keep your eyes peeled on eBay!
My mind changes a fair bit. I’ve only recently bought the Carradice saddle bag and webbing pouches for panniers but I’ve gone and bought a completely new set. The old set up was more than enough for me but it just looked a bit cluttered. I had a look around eBay and saw a few sets I liked. Missing out on the first couple, I managed to win the auction for the next set; a pair of Altura Arran 36 Panniers. Yes they are modern but they have more than enough storage to carry a change of clothes, coat and food for the winter trips to work. They should be waterproof too… hopefully.
They were so simple to fit and look a lot neater on the bike. I’m happy.
Next up, I decided to change the pedals. The bike came with a set of Union flat / cage pedals but according to the original brochure the bike should have a set of nice quill pedals. My excuse to buy a new, rather expensive, pair was that these Union pedals had a bit of play in them and seemingly no way to strip them down and repack the bearings. I could feel the movement in the pedal axle as I rode and began to picture a pedal breaking off at some point. The decision was made and eBay had the goods. There were lots of different quill pedals from cheap, rusted worn pedals to the super expensive NOS pedals. I opted for the middle ground and bought a beautifully shiny used set. Stamped “Made in England” and “SA”, I want to presume they’re Sturmey Archer pedals. I could be wrong, who knows, all I know is they’re gorgeous and make me want to strip the whole bike down and do a complete restore to get the paint to match!
Last but not least, the speedo is finished. The glass I ordered arrived and has been fitted. It was a little smaller in diameter than I wanted but it was still a fairly good fit in the rubber seal. I’ve applied a thin layer of black sealant to the edges so *touch wood* it shouldn’t fill up with water in the rain.
I just need to find a set of 50’s lamps now and get the dyno hub working!
One of the main reasons I decided to chance a bid on this bike was because I was the old mechanical speedo and thought “How cool!”. The bike has been awesome but unfortunately when I first cleaned the bike I found the speedo didn’t work. The cog on the end of the cable kept skipping off the face of the wheel plate. I pulled the speedo off and stripped it down. Initially I thought the mechanical cable had seized but what I actually found was a tiny cog had seized inside the speedo itself.
For weeks I kept spraying the unit with WD40 and Penetration spray but nothing seemed to have an affect and the cog remained siezed. I’d essentially given up on the part and it was left on my workbench to gather dust. That was until yesterday when I was out in the garage checking over another bike (post to come). My Dad popped around and he noticed the speedo and started looking at it. I grabbed the cable, plugged it into the mechanism and tried to demonstrate how it was all seized but to my surprise it worked! The weeks (or months) of sitting on my bench had allowed the remnants of the fluid to penetrate right into the corrosion and freed the whole thing up.
I borrowed my Dad’s ultrasonic cleaner earlier and gave the mechanism a good clean in some Methylated spirits before stripping out the offended cog and greasing up all it’s associated components. One circlip held it in and it gave me no trouble what so ever. The whole unit went back together without a hitch and is no sitting pride of place on the handlebars of the Trent Sports.
I had a quick test ride up and down the road and I’m happy to say it works! The speed rises and falls smoothly but at a standstill the needle seems to rest at 3mph. I’ve no idea how to calibrate the unit so I’ll just have to remember that when I’m out riding the speed the unit shows is probably 3mph faster.
You’ll notice the unit doesn’t have a glass lens on just yet. This was missing when I got the bike but a new one is on order (along with some new brake blocks!)
Another “new” addition to the bike is a Carradice saddle bag. It’s a big bag giving some extra storage for my food runs and despite its size, it doesn’t interfere with my legs at all. Of course this means I can’t attach a camera or lights to the seat post any more so I might have to make up a bracket for the pannier.
All in all though, I’m really pleased with these two latest “developments” for the Trent Sports.
Call me mad, but I’ve bought another two bikes and these two aren’t in the best of shape… As usual I’m always browsing eBay and looking for old bikes. I saw these two pop up a week ago and despite being described as very very rusty I saw potential so decided to watch them. They were a fair distance away from me so I had expectations of leaving the auction to run without my input, however on the day the auction was due to end they still only had one bid. The fifteen minute warning popped up on my phone and they were still sitting there with one bid. This was the moment I considered buying them. I figured the opening bidder might have put their max bid on so with 10 seconds left I put a mid range tester bid on to try and figure out how much they’d bid. I was outbid. So with three seconds remaining I stuck in my maximum and won.
I picked the bikes up today.
The first is a Raleigh Scorpio. I haven’t properly dated it yet and I haven’t found any specific catalgoue for it but from what I have found I feel pretty confident saying it’s late 70s. It’s a 21″ frame with all it’s original 5 speed gear. The leather seat is the thing that caught my eye, knowing full well they are easily worth the £30 I paid. I thought it might be a Brooks saddle and I was almost right. The saddle is stamped “Wrights” and after a quick Google it turns out they are a company owned by Brooks. Instead of sharing the same quality of saddle with their parent brand, Wrights saddle use a slightly lower quality leather but in effect, are still a Brooks production. It does show signs of wear but compared to the saddle on my Trent Sports it’s in brilliant condition!
Overall the bike isn’t too bad. The chain was rusted solid and chucked straight away and the bearings are all rather rough but I really do think most of the components will clean up. The worst part looks to be the stem where the rust has bubbled up under the chrome to a point where a polish won’t really work. Shame, it’s a really nice stem!
For now, this bike will go into storage until a few of the others I’m working on are finished and with the tear down hopefully I can dig up some more information about the Scorpio.
The second bike is a mess. It’s 100% the worst condition bike I’ve ever bought. It’s covered in rust, battered and broken. This bike was not loved.
Let me introduce a 1954 (dated from the Sturmey Archer hub) Claud Butler. I love the designs on the bike. Despite it’s appearance I love the old worn transfers, the chrome plating on the frame under the paint and the beautiful stem. It’s going to test my patience and be a massive challenge but I want to restore the bike to original.
I’ve had a quick search around on the Veterans Cycle Club Library but unfortunately all the catalogues around that times only list “road” or “race” bikes. I’m going to have to look into the history of the bike a lot more to find out about its production and original equipment. As it stands, it isn’t pretty.
I think almost all the bearings are either completely gunked up or seized. The seat post is alloy and I know from experience removing an alloy seatpost from a steel frame can be a massive fight. The rear wheel is locked in place and speaking of wheels, the rims are rusted, missing spokes and bent. The Bluemel mudguards are smashed out of shape and will need a lot of careful loving to persuade them back into shape. It really is fit for the tip but looking at all the details on the frame I feel I have to save it.
So what do you think? Am I mad for thinking these bikes can be saved?
(Apologies for the poor quality phone pictures)
My Saturday routine now involves the ’54 Raleigh “Trent Sports”. The “All Steel” heavyweight. My first post about this bike was to simply introduce it and my plans to strip it down and refurbish the whole thing, however it hasn’t quite worked out like that.
I spent one of my weekends a few weeks ago cleaning up the bike. It was covered in years of grime and fine deposits of rust build up. It had one puncture and the tyres needed replacing but all the gearing and brakes were free and working. I wanted to see what it looked like under all that grime so carefully I wiped the frame down with some very very fine wire wool and WD-40 taking care not to remove the painted on details. I spent hours carefully going over the whole bike. The result? Well it’s cleaner but the paintwork has been damaged by the years of grime leaving dark spots all over the bike, but the weird thing is…. I like it.
It’s original, untouched, a work of art. If I tried to repaint the bike I would have to learn how to replicate the frame details or find someone very talented who could replicate exactly the fine designs. Don’t get me wrong, it would be awesome to have a beautifully restored bike but I want to use this for my weekly food runs and perhaps over the winter as daily. I’d always be worried about damaging the beautiful (and no doubt expensive) paintwork. My decision has been to now, leave the bike as it is.
I bought a set of tyres and tubes and fitted those. There was a bit of a struggle with the pannier rack but I managed to work my way around that and later on I found out the little trick I was missing… Nothing has been touched apart from those parts. I’ve left the original cables in place, left all the bearings as they were and simply begun to enjoy the bike. Unfortunately one part had to be removed. The Smiths speedo is unfortunately seized. The cable itself is fine but the mechanism inside the dial has had water seep in at some point and it’s rusted solid. I’m in the process of trying to rescue it but it’s a slow process; the gears are very fragile now!
It’s a slower pace of life on the ’54. The Sturmey Archer gearing took some getting used to but after a few rides I’m better at predicting what gear to change into and when, that even the biggest hill (around here) isn’t really a problem. I’m happy to cruise around on a super comfortable Brooks saddle for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning while I load the panniers with a few local goods.
Speaking of the panniers, what do you think? I looked around and had my heart set on a gorgeous Brooks set but at around £150 they were a bit out of my price range. eBay had a good selection of new and used but nothing really stood out to me until I saw the ones you see on the bike now. They’re military webbing pouches and although they’re not the biggest, they work perfectly for what I need. They’re simply clipped in place (with a couple of cable ties for security) and away you go. I love them.
I’m really enjoying riding this bike every week. It’s not just me that likes it though as it’s had a couple of compliments thrown its way. Last week I rode passed a Motorcycle awareness event at a local showroom so stopped by to have a look around and after speaking to a few of the guys there they begun to admire the old girl and look her over. Yesterday’s encounter put a smile on my face though. As I was riding home I could hear a car approaching from behind but it wasn’t going fast so I was preparing for some anti cyclist abuse but to my suprise, the first thing I heard was “Nice bike”. I looked around and saw a chap matching my speed , window down, with a smile on his face. It’s all on video so I’ll post that below, but to have someone drive by and feel the urge to compliment the ’54 really made my day.
That’s the first moving compliment I’ve ever had!
I think I might be turning into a collector of Raleigh’s…
In my usual style of scouting eBay for new bike listings I’ve come across a few I wanted to win. The first was a Raleigh Trent Tourist (to go with the Trent Sports I have) but I was outbid on the very second the auction ended. The second was a ladies Raleigh Trent Tourist which actually went for a whole £1, but I’d decided it was too far for me so that one bid wasn’t mine. The third was this bike. All the listing described was that the bike had no chain and was labelled “the all steel bicycle”. The pictures showed what looked to be a fairly good condition bike. Sturmey Archer dyno rear hub. All the guards. Both lamps in tact. It got my senses tingling. I knew it was old because of the “all steel” reference and had a guess at late 1940s. A bit of research later and I was sure it was the Raleigh “Superbe Sports Tourist”. The only problem was the bike was located a good 60 miles away from me but I decided to take the chance. The auction had started at £15 and before I bid had attracted two others who had bid it up a whole £1. I placed my bid, the maximum I wanted to chance, expecting to be outbid and to my suprise, I won. I only paid £17 for this bike.
I went to pick it up today. A good hours drive in the sun and I was there. The seller had a few others in their garage and explained her father (or actually it could have been grandfather…) liked to collect things related to transport. This was part of the clear out from his collection. They had a few nice bikes there, a couple of which were being held back as they’d been in the family for a long time. One of the others was of the 1930’s era but I don’t think they knew this bike was just as early.
Another hours drive and I was home and checking over the bike. The frame still has the original green paint, all be it showing signs of corrosion. The model labels are long gone but someone had tried to rescue two by covering them in, I’m guessing, a clear nail varnish. Unfortunately the gold pin striping has also not fared well with the time and only a faint shadow remains.
Considering the bike is nearly 70 years old the chrome is in pretty good condition. The front rim looks like a good, careful polish will get it gleaming but the rear will take some more work. The crankset seems to fit in between the two rims on the scale of corrosion, where as the handelbars and stem have suffered at the hands of some silver paint. Touch wood, once that silver paint is removed I’ll have enough good chrome left to polish up.
The great thing about this bike, for me anyway, is how original it is. The original lamps finish the bike off nicely and the best bit is the lenses are completely in tact. They haven’t fired into life yet but I’ll have a play and see if I can get them working.
Cork grips and patent stamps are a couple of the details I really love about this period bike. The Sturmey Archer trigger and the hub both have their Patent numbers stamped, pride of place.
Well here’s a few pictures:
My research came from the 1947 Raleigh Brochure. The pages in their describe perfectly this model. Prior to the 1947 Catalogue, the Superbe Sports Tourist does appear but it has black paint.
So back in 1947 this bike cost £20, 12s, 3d, which, in todays money is roughly worth £550! Bargain 🙂
I’m thinking this will be a strip down and rebuild, trying to get it as close to original as possible but we’ll see what a good clean throws up first!
Edit: One thing I have noticed after looking at the brochure again is the bike is missing the lower rear gear cover 😦 One small thing that could really effect the value.
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
It’s time to update things with the Rekord. Don’t get excited though, nothing has changed with the looks… it’s still rusty as hell and I still love that look. It’s far too rusty to get back to original. Anyway…
After the introduction post last year I’ve ridden it once or twice to the shops and back. I’m a bit torn riding it. It’s fairly comfy but it’s slow as hell. Riding any sort of incline becomes a complete chore and standing up to pedal doesn’t make it that much easier. It’s definitely a flat land bike. Of course it didn’t help that the Sturmey Archer 3 speed wasn’t working properly but it still rode.
Instead of fixing the gearing, the first thing I sorted was actually the dynamo. I tried checking the original dynamo out with a multimeter but either I couldn’t figure out how to use it properly or the dynamo was dead. Step two was to check the lights by carefully arranging 6V worth of AA batteries in a line, grounding one end and sending power to the lights with the other. Bit awkward to do by yourself but it confirmed the lights worked. Generally 1 + 1 = 2 so I figured the old dynamo was dead. EBay had a massive choice of all different kinds but I managed to find one that looked similar and placed the order. Fast forward to the new dynamo arriving, cleaning the mounts back to bare metal, fitting and adjusting and I have a working dynamo light. (No pictures of this part I’m afraid however there is a video on my Instagram)
I really needed to get the gears sorted. Tonight was the night.
A lot of these old town / shopper / folding bikes ran the Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub. It’s quite a daunting contraption on the surface that I didn’t really want to mess with. I searched YouTube for any videos relating to the workings of the hub and luckily a guy I subscribe to has two really useful videos.
Stripping down and cleaning a 3 speed Sturmey Archer hub – Click Here
Adjusting the cable and shifting on a 3 speed Sturmey Archer hub – Click Here
These videos helped no end. I was still a bit nervous about breaking into the hub to inspect the gears but honestly… it’s not that hard especially after watching the videos. It’s like anything like this, as long as you take your time and arrange the parts neatly, they’ll go back together just fine. Granted I didn’t strip the entire mechanism down but I pulled out all the clutch and bearings to give them a good clean and grease and I had no issues. The old grease was full of dirt and rust. A soak and a wipe around with some paint thinners soon cleaned it all up though. New grease (stupidly I left my new bearings at home) and the hub was back together in no time.
I still had a bit of trouble with the gear adjustments. I understood perfectly the principle of the 3 gears and their alignment but getting it into practice took a good few attempts. I get 2nd and 3rd working but lose first. Find first, then lose third. A tweak here and there with cable tension and I had all gears. It’s strange shifting with these old gears though. If you ride normally and drop a gear, or change up it won’t change. You have to stop pedaling to change gear or it just won’t go. I like old technology but shifting like that is a pain. Thank god for the indexed derailleur.
That’s it for tonight. One more bike working pretty well. Problem is now, do I sell it for some much needed cash or keep it…somewhere. (Distinct lack of space at the moment)