Monday, December 4, 2017

DL-1 Night Ride Rig



Here's a look at my 'night rig' for the DL-1 Export Model. It's basically two light systems: the original Dynohub with headlamp and tail lamp, and a pair of more modern, rechargeable LED lights.

The old-type headlamp has a halogen bulb in it, while the original rear light is a stock bulb.
 
The modern headlamp is a Cree LED with three beam levels and an emergency flash mode.
The rear modern lamp is an Ascher LED with two beam modes and two emergency flash modes. The Ascher recharges with an LED cable while the Cree uses a an AC adapter type head.

The LEDs do the majority of the work, but I do run the original lamp set at the same time.
 






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.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Shorter Days of the Year - Raleigh Twenty

We've had a fairly mild late fall and start of December so far, which is a good thing. I've been able to ride more than usual - often 4-5 nights/days per week. I've been mostly riding Raleighs this fall: a DL-1 Export Model and a Sports.


But today, I took out something a little different - my Raleigh Twenty folder. This little bike is compact, but has the feel of a regular bicycle. It rides a lot like a Raleigh Sports, aside from the somewhat different turning characteristics of the smaller wheels.

But this bike really is a lot of fun. I do recommend the Twenty as a first vintage folder for many people - they have some quirks but generally clean up and re-build a lot like many other old Raleighs. They also can be had at reasonable prices, and parts are still mostly available.

To me, the Twenty is the classic folding bike. Many were made, they ride really nicely, and they combine the cachet of an old folder with a very roadworthy package. The Twenty is a great place to start if you're looking for an old folder, and it's also a great place to expand if you're already a collector of the full-sized vintage Raleighs.


I plan on riding as long as I can into the winter. Once we get snow and salt on the road, that's it, but for now I'll keep going. This Raleigh Twenty will be on the road with my other bikes, as long as I can keep at it.





Sunday, November 19, 2017

1940s Schwinn Continental Wheels and 1941 Schwinn New World

I've written a number of times about a 1941 Schwinn New World 3-speed that I rebuilt last fall. When I did the re-build, the wheels I built were of a basic, 1950s-type pattern: chrome Schwinn S6 rims; 1950s Sturmey Archer AW hub; and a chrome steel Schwinn front hub.

I recently acquired a more premium set of wheels - a set of wheels from a 1947 Schwinn Continental 3-speed. The Continental had some upgrades over the standard wheelset: particularly stainless steel S6 rims and aluminum front hubs with oiler ports. Combined with double-butted spokes, the Continental 3-speed had a great set of wheels for that time period, or really any period of 3-speed bikes.


I bought these wheels specifically to upgrade the 1941 New World. As a rule of thumb, saving weight on a wheelset is one of the best places you can save weight on a bike. Weight off the wheels contributes substantially to the "feel" of the bike, as to quality wheel components. With that in mind, I tuned-up the Sturmey Archer AW hub; cleaned the wheelset; and trued them. I combined the wheels with the white wall Kenda tires (ISO 597), and put them on the New World.

The result is a tuned-up New World: a posh, sporty wheelset on a classic Schwinn fillet brazed bike. I rode the bike today, and despite adverse conditions and severe wind, it performed nicely and was quite a joy to ride.




 The rear hub is a standard steel AW with a 10-47 (October 1947) date code. It's a little newer than the 1941 New World, but of the same general era of Schwinn 3-speeds. The hub required a tune-up: one replacement planet gear; one new pawl spring; and a new ball ring.








The days are getting shorter and colder, but today was still ride-able. The New World is a handsome, simple bicycle. If one characteristic about this one stands out, it's the well-balanced, sporty feel to the bike. It's surprisingly light and responsive for this era of bicycle construction, and everything just feels "right" on this bike. It's not my lightest, fastest, or more robust bike, but it is one of my most comfortable and pleasant to ride.




Saturday, November 18, 2017

1963 Raleigh DL-1 Export Model - on the Road

We had a breezy, warm day here today. It was mostly dry, but there were a few showers in the area during the mid-afternoon. It was still good enough out to take this Raleigh DL-1 Export Model for a ride around the area.


I've talked before about the various types of "roadster" bicycles - "light roadsters"; "hybrid roadsters"; and "full roadsters". This DL-1 is certainly a "full roadster" with slack frame angles, 28 inch wheels, and rod brakes. With a full roadster, you really notice the slack handling and cushy ride. This DL-1 is no exception - it's definitely different than a Raleigh Sports.

I really like this very dark green color on the bike. It looks black in low light, but outdoors, it's definitely a very dark green. The chain guard is aftermarket - switched years ago, and is a slightly lighter green. I love these deep-well chainguards. They give enough protection from the moving drive train, but do not have the inconveniences associated with a full chain case.


I even re-used the original wiring in this electrical system. It's no match for a modern, LED light, but it works OK for when you want cars to see you more easily (though it does not really help the bike's rider see much). The Indian-made replacement spindle from Yellow Jersey bicycles in Wisconsin is running nicely - it's a smooth-running drive train and a pleasant gear ratio (44 teeth in the front; 21 in the back).


Definitely autumn now: