Sunday, September 28, 2014

Manton & Smith Bike Continues

The MS bicycle project continues to take shape. The bad news is that the fork was cracked around the crown and down the drive side leg a bit. I believe it could be fixed and straightened, but there would be a substantial loss of the unique paint job, and the bill for the repair would be substantial. I'd probably be looking at a new steerer tube and a substantial braze or weld job on the drive side leg.

The upshot is that I've bought a 26 x 1-3/8 chrome replacement fork. These forks can be bought on Amazon or ebay for relatively little money, are made of mild steel, and are reasonably solid. They have a "retro" look to them, which can be made to work with this bike.

More bad news came in the form that the headset on this bicycle was an oddball dimension. I could not even get vintage, mainline "American" sized parts from the 1950s to work. Apparently this bike used some sort of other size that is neither the common "vintage American" size, nor the more modern "ISO" size. I ended up removing the frame cups and headset, replacing with a Wald unit, which is fitting given so many of the parts on this bike were already made by Wald.

In the end, this bicycle is headed a little more toward "custom" than the usual build, but so far that seems alright. The bike has a little of the look of the earlier lightweights, which often had plated forks mated to wildly painted frames.

Progress continues with more assembly. I've nearly gathered all the parts at this point.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Manton & Smith Progress

The MS roadster continues to come together very slowly. I had a little time to rebuild the bottom bracket set and to mount the head badge this weekend.

The bottom bracket was composed of old Wald parts, with a 52 tooth chain ring that had been painted a couple of times. My plan to build a 3-speed coaster brake wheel set for the bike urges a smaller chain ring. I have a nice clover-type chain ring with 46 teeth in my parts bin, so I will give that one a try. My plan is to run 46 teeth in front, 22 in back, giving a nice range of gears with the three speed hub. The ratio is the same as I use on my 1974 Raleigh Sports and is pretty forgiving but still has a little top end to it, when you need a little more speed.

The head badge mounted via #2 U-Type drive screws at 1/8 inch long. I used the same method as with my 1958 Raleigh: clean out the holes, mock up the head badge to make sure it aligns, then tap in the drive screws. The screws in this case are a size larger, but still look sharp without seeming clunky.

The Weather is Just Too Nice Not to Ride

 The weather lately has been excellent: temperatures in the 70s with low humidity. It's perfect riding weather and it's light enough in the evening to ride. I took the Schwinn New World out tonight and got a couple shots:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Manton & Smith Clean Up

Stripped the MS frame today and cleaned out the bottom bracket and headset cups. I used WD40 to wipe up the frame and fork, then used Scratch Doctor polish to polish the paint. The paint looks nice, though there is a little touching up to do before it's done.

I also cleaned up the handle bars and stem, polishing them with Simichrome. Simichrome is my pick for cleaning up metal parts, especially plated stuff. It's not cheap, but it does a great job. It is also worth noting that the bike makes heavy use of older, Wald parts. The bars, cranks, and stem are all marked "W" or "WALD". Manton & Smith was a small builder, so bought components from outside companies like Wald.  It is likely that this was a straightforward, relatively low cost bicycle in its time.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Manton & Smith (MS) Fenders

I devoted today to refurbishing the MS fenders. They really didn't need much done to them.

I did some minor dent removal, removed the braces, polished, and touched up.

The braces were held on by some old screws, which I believe the shop that repainted the bike used. They were uniform, decent quality screws but all had been cut by hand once installed. I removed them and will replace them with rivnuts for a smooth look.

The previous owner, "Fred" etched his name inside the fenders.

Touch up went well. I used an automotive grade touch up paint for the red. The front fender received both exterior and fender well touch up.

I only got the fender well of the rear done because it needed a little more patching.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Manton Smith Roadster Project

Just in time for fall... it's time to think about moving on to the next project. I'm down to working only very sporadically on bicycles, mainly when the weather is colder and the days shorter. I spend most of the late spring and summer riding and playing golf, while bad weather times are spent in the shop building and repairing bicycles. I still have a backlog of projects, and this is one of them.

I find it hard to pass up unique lightweight/roadster bikes. This particular bicycle has been identified as a Manton Smith roadster from the 1940s.

This is a straightforward bicycle with welded joints and a diamond frame. The rear drops appear to be inserts welded into place rather than stamped out of a single piece of tubing. The frame came without a badge.

Bottom bracket does not have a serial number on it, but the non-drive rear drop has "M&S Co." stamped on the side. The seat tube has a partially remaining decal with a shop in Brooklyn NY on it. Paint is obviously red with white spears and has blue accents around the spears.

Wheels are a mis matched set- Centrix rear hub with a generic, black out front hub. Rims are mis matched as well. The tires are 597 MM/schwinn sized, but I suspect one of the rims is an old-type 599 ISO size.

The bicycle appears to have received a professional quality repaint at a shop in Brooklyn New York at some point in the distant past. As one member of the CABE pointed out, the bottom bracket cups are painted red, which indicates a repaint.

Nevertheless, the quality of the paint is outstanding, and all the details, including the thin blue stripes around the white spears, are spot on. There is no crazing or deterioration characteristic of home job repaints. I think a pro in a shop did this one, using quality paints, masking, and professional methods.

This bike, along with my wife's modified New World will be my projects this fall and winter.