Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Westfield Sports Roadster


My latest project is a 1947 Westfield Sports Roadster bicycle. This yet another example of an American company trying to build a version of the English-style light roadster for American riders. We see similar offerings from Schwinn, Cleveland Welding/Roadmaster, and a host of other American companies who tried to capitalize on getting American adults to bicycle. Westfield/Columbia offered both Sports Tourist and Sports Roadster models.











The Sports Roadster, which is this bicycle, offered a diamond frame, English-style fender paint scheme, gothic/Columbia-style fenders, and laid back frame geometry somewhere between an English roadster and a balloon tire cruiser.









The dropouts are styled after the American cruisers of the era, but the seat stays bolt to the seat mast similar to a Raleigh DL-1 or an English roadster. Wheels are 26 x 1.375 (ISO 599), which is an American version of the English light roadster style wheel. 










This should be a nice project for summer, and a fun bike once cleaned up and back on the road.






 The rear wheel features a coaster brake.This particular bicycle also has a period correct addition of a Philco center pivot caliper in front. These brakes were popular aftermarket brakes during that era, and gave you added stopping power.







Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Enjoy Good Weather When You Have It

This time of year in Virginia gives rise to lots of different weather. The start of this week involved summer heat around 90, with lots of humidity. Today was a pleasant 75 and breezy. Tomorrow will be 55 and rainy.

That means it's time to take the good weather days in hand and take every chance to ride. You never know when you'll get rain, and the oppressive heat and humidity of summer are just around the bend.

Today was a chance to take out the Columbia Three Star Deluxe for the first time in awhile.



Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Slowly Returns- Schwinn New World



Slowly but surely, the warmer weather is returning to Virginia. We broke 60 last weekend, and broke 60 again yesterday. Today is in the 50's, though this week is supposed to be chillier. Nevertheless, recent rains have washed away the road salts, and the weather is warm enough for some fun riding.







This past couple of weeks, I have been riding the 1940 New World. You may recall, this was the bike I bought as a core, then built up some nice wheels and put some nice parts onto it. The bike is very agile and, with its aluminum rims, quite light for a 75 year old, steel bicycle.

This bicycle also varies from my 1947 New World. The 1947 has "flat" type touring bars and a lower stem. This 1940 New World has a tall stem with a set of 1940s-era Wald bars that have a little more rise and pullback to them.










This New World rides a lot like a Raleigh Sports because everything in the cockpit is closer together than otherwise would be, considering the slack frame. I like that.









As a side note- I spent a substantial part of the winter after New Years rebuilding some guitars/basses/amplifiers. They are not the topic of this web log, but still something interesting.























Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sturmey Archer Hub Gear Ratio Notes

One of the nice things about Sturmey Archer AW hubs with the 3-spline cog is that you can change your gear ratio as needed.

For Sturmey Archer AW sizing in a 26 inch wheel I like:

[Front] - [Back]

(Note if you are running a conversion cog and inch pitch gearing, divide these numbers of teeth in half)

Very Hilly Terrain:

2-1 (46-23), (48-24)- this ratio is the max low that Sturmey Archer suggested back in the day for the AW hub. They suggested not going lower because they believed it exerted too much force on the hub internals. I've not tested this theory, but 2-1 is pretty low. N is mostly a climbing gear but not bad on a flat into the wind. I suppose you could go lower, but I don't press it with older hubs and I stick to the old Sturmey Archer advice. Perhaps the modern hubs will tolerate it, but I haven't messed around with new hubs much.

Moderately Hilly: 

46-22, 48-23- works reasonably well. Goes OK on a flat. Can climb in L, or smaller hills in N. Has slightly more top end than 2-1 but not much.


Somewhat hilly, or if you like a lower gear a little below stock: 

46-20, 46-21, 48-22, 48-21- Climb mostly in L, N is peppy enough to run well on a flat or into a breeze. I like this ratio for all-around riding. It's a little slower than stock, but I like how it lets you "spin" a little more and is easier on the knees than stock.

Flat:

46-18, 48-18 (18 is stock), 48-20- I think Sturmey Archer set the stock gear ratio too high on these hubs. 18 strikes me as not making the most of that low gear for climbing. On a flat, stock goes well (or 20 on a 48 tooth sprocket), but your climbing is somewhat limited and you may need low gear for going into the wind. I don't run any of my AWs with an 18 tooth cog anymore.

Top end boost:

46-16, 48-16 (this is if you want a really high gear and a lot of top end speed) I fooled with this briefly but didn't like it. It's fast but you had better live in a very flat area.

FW and SW Notes:


The rule I follow for the FW-  the gear ratio when converting between AW and FW is that the FW should be 1 tooth on the rear cog higher (smaller cog) than for the AW. The reason for this is that the FW has a lower high gear than the AW does, while providing a bottom gear. The second gear "L" is slightly higher than the AW's L but the AW doesn't have Bottom. That said, if you want max climbing, go 2-1 on the FW and you'll have better climbing than the AW. I run my Raleigh 4-speed (1958) sports 2-1 because I wanted a "climber" alternative to my standard 3-speed sports (1974). The FW is a lot of fun as well and a nice alternative if you want bottom gear.

For the SW, I don't like changing the ratio substantially because the hubs tend to cam-out more if you put a big cog on the rear, at least in my experience. I also suggest swapping out the SW on any bike you're going to ride substantially, or be climbing with. The AW is the way to go over the SW.
 
For Sturmey Archer sizing I like:
[Front] - [Back]
Very Hilly Terrain:
2-1 (46-23), (48-24)- this ratio is the max low that Sturmey Archer suggested back in the day for the AW hub. They suggested not going lower because they believed it exerted too much force on the hub internals. I've not tested this theory, but 2-1 is pretty low. N is mostly a climbing gear but not bad on a flat into the wind.

Moderately Hilly: works reasonably well. Goes OK on a flat. Can climb in L, or smaller hills in N.
46-22, 48-23

Somewhat hilly, or if you like a lower gear: Climb mostly in L, N is peppy.
46-20, 46-21, 48-22, 48-21

Flat:
46-18, 48-18 (18 is stock), 48-20

Top end boost:

46-16, 48-16 (this is if you want a really high gear and a lot of top end speed)

For Sturmey Archer sizing I like:
[Front] - [Back]
Very Hilly Terrain:
2-1 (46-23), (48-24)- this ratio is the max low that Sturmey Archer suggested back in the day for the AW hub. They suggested not going lower because they believed it exerted too much force on the hub internals. I've not tested this theory, but 2-1 is pretty low. N is mostly a climbing gear but not bad on a flat into the wind.

Moderately Hilly: works reasonably well. Goes OK on a flat. Can climb in L, or smaller hills in N.
46-22, 48-23

Somewhat hilly, or if you like a lower gear: Climb mostly in L, N is peppy.
46-20, 46-21, 48-22, 48-21

Flat:
46-18, 48-18 (18 is stock), 48-20

Top end boost:

46-16, 48-16 (this is if you want a really high gear and a lot of top end speed)