Saturday, January 5, 2019

Phillips Roadster Update

The Phillips roadster is pretty close to done. I am very busy lately, but it was a nice day so I took a ride.

I have added Bridgeport valve caps (built-in Schrader valve tool).

I have also added a bell.  This particular type of bell is a new/current production model that I especially like. It is known as the "Origin 8 Time Clock Bell". The first of these I bought went onto my Raleigh Export Model. It has held up well so far, and sounds a lot like an old mechanical clock bell, or an old-type elevator bell.

The striker is stainless steel and the bell itself is brass. The bell is heavier than some of the other models in production today, but I think it goes really well on these old rod brake roadsters. The other nice feature is that the bell comes with a plastic sleeve that protects your handlebars and which holds the bell securely.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Phillips Rod Brake Roadster

A few more pictures of the Phillips roadster in action. I've painted a few screw heads and a few other details.

 I still need to do some mending on the old Dover Exonite grips. I also need to get a set of Bridgeport Schrader valve caps onto the tubes instead of the modern, plastic domes.

 But it's coming along toward the finish line. It's a really classic, simple, and handsome old bike.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Phillips Rod Brake Roadster Update

There has been lots of progress on the 1930s Phillips roadster. The bicycle is re-assembled and basically is set up.

A few, small things remain: painting fender mounting screw heads to match the fenders, repairing the old Dover Exonite handgrips, adding some Bridgeport valve caps instead of the plastic ones, and some cosmetic touch-up here and there.

But it's nice to finally have this bike on the road. It rides in a manner very typical of the "old type" roadsters from before WWII - gallows seat post; very upright riding position; stubby handgrips; no chain guard at all; and sort of just a "hefty" feel to the bike. The braking is actually not bad at all for steel rims and rod brakes. The 1930s Sturmey three speed hub runs reasonably well. The really heavy, square-cut frame lugs hint that this is an old-school rod brake roadster from the earlier days than the more common, 1970s-era Raleigh DL-1 bikes.

Overall, I like this bike. It's very different from the later, more common roadsters we see from Raleigh. This is a more primitive roadster, that still belongs to the same general family of bicycles. But it certainly is something different. I will say lots of people look as I go by - this old Phillips is certainly different from most of what's on the road today.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Phillips Rod Brake Roadster Update

An interesting aspect of this older Phillips rod brake bicycle is the use of a rear brake bell crank that threads into the bottom bracket. Phillips advertised these in their catalogs during the Birmingham years going back many decades and into the 1940s-50s. This particular bell crank is a sort of a work of art - heavy, solid metal pieces and that form a bell crank, which then threads into a half-round nut that is inside the bottom bracket.

 The internal nut is contoured to match the inside of the bottom bracket and to lock in place - this helps the mechanic to tighten the bell crank into place without having to shove a wrench inside the bottom bracket. It also helps keep a low profile so the nut stays out of the way of the spindle.

Reassembled, we can see the pros and cons of this system, compared to the Raleigh type, which is externally mounted. The Phillips type is very clean in appearance - the bell crank emerges cleanly from the bottom bracket. It also provides a very solid mounting point for the bell crank. However, servicing the system can be a pain - if the bell crank comes loose or you need to access that nut for any reason, you have to go into the bottom bracket. Everything on the Raleigh style can be done externally. But the Phillips style is still a nifty piece of design.

The bottom bracket bell crank connects via a rod to the upper bell crank. In true Phillips style, the upper bell crank mounts to the side of the head/down tubes lug. This, in turn, connects to the handle bars.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Cooler Weather - October 2018

Thus far we haven't actually had any really nice, "fall" weather. We seem to have gone from mid-80s and very humid, to 50s and cool. That being said, at least the cooler weather has brought drier conditions with it. We've had a copious amount of rain over the summer - many more inches than usual. I've had more "rain outs" this summer in terms of rides than in the past two summer combined.

So over the weekend, I got a chance to take out my Raleigh Twenty and my Raleigh Sports bikes. I love these 1970s-era Raleighs.

They're simple, reliable, and classy. These later Raleighs are often maligned compared to the earlier, 1950s-era bikes. And while these bikes may not be quite as well-finished or refined, they certainly are still very well-made and ridge wonderfully.

This 1974 Raleigh Sports is especially good. I've been riding this bike around for over 15 years, and it's one of my absolute favorites. In fact, I think this is a sentimental favorite of mine, given how many years and thousands of miles I've put on this bike.