Monday, March 25, 2013

1935 Hercules 3 Speed Model G

If you caught my previous post, you may have noticed that I have yet another project. It seems like just as I start finishing up one bike, another comes along and keeps me doing repairs perpetually. If the garage had a crapper and heat, I'd be living there...

Anyway the latest is a mid-1930s Hercules 3 speed bicycle. A fellow familiar with them posted a message telling me it probably is a "Model G" "All Weather" or "All Black" bicycle. The Model G was apparently the basic Hercules 3 speed of the pre-war period, with mostly black painted rather than chrome plated parts. He said it likely had a chain/gear case originally but that the part was likely removed.

The bicycle has a 24 inch frame and 26 x 1-1/2 (650b apparently) wheels. The rims are Westwood and painted black like the rest of the trim. Obviously, the bike then is a rod brake model. The parts I'm missing presently are a seat,pedals, and handgrips. I will be replacing the tires. I believe the kickstand is not original as well, so I may end up sourcing a better one of those. I have the seat post and front rod brake set up despite them being off the bike in the above picture.

The rod set up at left is old-type side mount rear linkage. Raleigh used center yokes generally, but Birmingham Hercules and Phillips apparently used a side mount.

The hub is a Sturmey Archer Model K with a 1935 date code. The Model K predated the long-running AW. I got a couple close-ups of the hub stampings. If you want to know more about the model K, try here:

At right is the K 5 code.

Here is the Sturmey Archer scroll label on the hub.

 The front hub has no markings, but does have a metal oil port on it. The Model K rear is missing its oil port. I'm probably going to try an AW-type rubber port for it. The metal ones leak. Many of the AW parts supposedly interchange with the K, though there are a few exceptions (the clutch in particular). Fortunately, I tested the K and it seems to work fine.

 I have begun to take the bike apart to clean it. I set it on some cardboards on a placeholder, junk seat. The Hunt-Wilde handgips are going to go too, so I'm not concerned about them.
 On closer inspection, you can see where someone has done a home paint job on this bike. It turns out they primed, then spray painted the over the original paint. Then later on, they housepainted over the spray paint. The finish is sort of a mess. That does not necessarily mean the original paint is lost though.

I started by applying some Acetone to the house paint and letting it compromise that layer. I then took a Dremel polishing wheel on the slowest speed and began to work. Sure enough, off came the house paint and the thick layer of home spray job. Underneath was a layer of white home job primer, again a messy affair. However, underneath all that is the original black paint. The orignal paint was apparently scratched and scored to a degree before  priming with the home job.

Above, you can see the front of the front fender. The original paint is the shiny, even black. The home job being removed is that grey colored, sort of marshmallow-like stuff with white edges. There is actually a fair bit of original paint left, though contending with the scoring will be a pain. 

 Here is the front fender after removal of the home job. There's a fair bit of black left, though you can see the scratches where the scoring was done for the home spray job. My suspicion is that someone with a bit of paint knowledge did this, because they at least knew they had to "rough up" the surface to do an overspray, and they indeed applied a home spray primer. This doesn't make life for me much easier.

 More of the front fender. You can see the scoring. I suspect that being black and actually still being pretty dark and not faded, I will be able to fill and level the score lines and make the original finish presentable again.

 This afternoon I removed the rear fender, which also has the spray job and the house paint on the outside. The insides of the fender are the original paint. Yet another hallmark of a home job- just the reachable areas were done.
Here's the rear fender on the bike. My belief is that the bicycle never had a white tip on its fender originally. The catalogs describe the Model G as the "All Black" "All Weather" model. The pictures show all black fenders and no white. My guess is that the home job spray guy saw other English bikes and wanted some white of his own. Time and effort will tell what state the original paint is in underneath it all.

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