Sunday, December 3, 2017

Pleasant Surprises - Warm Days in December

This time of year, you need to take all the warmth and daylight you can get in order to ride. We're into the short days of the year, and coming into the "cold season". It gets cold here, but not truly frigid. Nevertheless, it's still cold enough to make riding a pain sometimes.



So when you get a 60 degree day in December, with lots of sunshine, you take it and ride as much as you can. I took an extended ride today on the 1963 Raleigh DL-1 Export Model.

It's a very smooth-riding, pleasant bike.


The leaves and various debris is really falling now, so you have to be careful of anything that can cause a flat. But the ride is still welcomed, especially considering we could have snow already and, salt on the road could end riding for awhile. I'll take every day like this I can get this time of year.

I even got a chance to put this bike on the work stand outside in the sun and give it a good cleaning and maintenance check.

Whenever you do an in-depth re-build on an old bicycle, about a month or so into riding the bike, you should put the bike back on the stand and check several things:
  • Check wheel trueness, both lateral and for hop/drop
  • Check spoke tension even if the rim is pretty true
  • Check the front and rear hubs for play in the bearings
  • Check the internal gear hub oil level
  • Check for oil on the rims if you have oil-filled hubs
  • Check that the brake pads are "wearing-in" properly; adjust brakes as needed
  • Check that the tires are seated correctly still 
  • Check the headset for looseness/fork for play
  • Check that the saddle, seatpost, and handlebars are still tight
  • Check the bottom bracket: for any play in bearings and check crank cotters and arms for play
  • Check chain line; chain tension; and check for undue wear to the chainring and cog
  • Check for any "rattles" - fenders; chainguard; rack; etc.
  • Check dynohub for tightness of wires to terminals; check lights for function
  • Check shifter chain for proper adjustment.
Basically, you're "checking" all the places things can begin to "wear-in" wrong. You want to correct any issues now, while you've only got about a month of riding on the bike. This can prevent damage that may occur if you keep going and something is out of whack.


It sounds like a lot, but really you will probably only find one or two things that are off. I did a check on this DL-1 and found all that was needed were: adjust brakes for wear-in and tweaks to the rear hub cone as well as the bottom bracket bearings. Everything else was rock-solid.

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