Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Raleigh Chain Ring: Cleaning

I got a little work in this evening on the Raleigh Sports project. I managed clean off the old grease on the chain ring and do a little polishing.  There are some scratches, but nothing too bad.

Raleigh chrome, like its black paint, was outstanding. It tends to be quite durable and shine up nicely. This particular chain ring is a 48 tooth. It will be paired with a 24 tooth cog. I'm a fan of the 2:1 ratio. My other Sports is a 46 with a 22, so not quite 2:1, but pretty close.

Believe it or not, I still don't have a bicycle work stand. For this particular job, a decent step ladder with a fold-out work tray will stand in. The tray is plastic so will not damage the paint.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

1958 Raleigh Sports: Hedging Bets With a Sturmey Archer FW

As many of you likely know, the Sturmey Archer SW hub has a bad reputation for reliability. The root of the problem is that the design can allow the hub to cam out of gear in second or third gear. Its unreliability is unlike the very reliable AW. The 1958 Spots has an SW hub.

I recently came into possession of a 1956 Sturmey Archer FW four speed hub. This is essentially the four speed version of the classic AW. It has two gears below normal: a bottom gear and a low gear. It has the usual normal gear, and it has a modest over drive. The bottom gear is lower than the AW, but the high gear is also lower than the AW's high.

The result is a lower geared hub with greater hill climbing potential. If I have one gripe about the AW, it's that the low gear sometimes isn't quite low enough, even with a larger rear cog. This FW hub will need a dust cap, cog, spacers, and cog lock spring. I can certainly swing that. It has the all important non-drive side shifter push rod, which is key.

The bottom line is that I now will have a choice between the stock SW or the four speed. I am actually leaning toward the FW and making this Sports more suited to hilly trails and terrain than my 1974 (AW with a 22 tooth cog). The set up would be a 24 tooth rear cog and FW hub. I lose a little top end, but gain a fair bit on the bottom for climbing.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Polishing and Cleaning Bicycle Paint, etc.: 1958 Raleigh

I had a chance to work on the 1958 Raleigh Sports project a bit this afternoon. I fired up the space heater and got to work. My task for today was to further disassemble the bicycle, remove the old headbadge rivets, and generally clean up the bicycle in preparation for rebuilding. 

The first order of business was to remove the headbadge rivets. Someone in the past ground down the original headbadge rivets, removed the heron headbadge, drilled new holes, and placed a new, larger badge on the head tube. The original rivets were quite soft and ground down pretty far.

I removed them by pulled the fork, then driving the original rivets into the head tube using a 1/16 inch punch. The punch size was perfect for the holes. The rivets drove in and fell out quite easily.

I followed that by moving on to cleaning up the finish. As I posted earlier, it's best to polish and get your paint ready before touching it up. This gives you a chance to see exactly what you need to match. Raleigh black paint is very durable and polishes up nicely. The decals remain in excellent condition as well.

After working the frame, I moved onto the fork and chainguard.

Even the small, brightwork clips that hold the cables and chainguard in place were polished.

I also paid attention to the lamp bracket and headset parts. Attention to detail pays off: having nice paint with shiny bright work will set this bike apart from refurbishments that cut corners.

I used Simichrome on the brightwork and NuFinish Scratch Doctor on the paint.

At this point, the bicycle is pretty well broken down. I still need to clean and lubricate the bottom bracket parts. This is very likely going to be an attractive bicycle.

Compared to the first picture in this post, you can see how the polish blended away the rather obvious paint fading outline. The badge that was on this bicycle appears to have been a large, oval badge. I will fill in the oval scratches where the badge was and then place a vintage, Raleigh heron badge back on the bike using the original rivet holes.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bicycle Wheels and Fender Touch-Up: 1958 Raleigh Sports

I previously have discussed cleaning up bicycle wheels using a Dremel Tool, and using bronze wool. This evening, I used a metal wire brush with brass bristles. Once again I employed WD 40, and the wheels for cleaning tonight were from the 1958 Raleigh Sports. As you can see, the rims are the Westrick/Raleigh pattern and in pretty good shape. The spokes are the stock, galvanized type and useable as well.

You may notice as well, I have a relatively large cog on the rear wheel. That is a 24 tooth Sachs cog from Bike Smith Design. They stock many obscure parts and tools for old Three Speeds, and I recommend them as a supplier.

 I am experimenting with the use of a Sturmey Archer SW (Super Wide ratio, wider than the AW slightly) with a 2:1 gearing ration of 48 in front and 24 in back. I like low gearing, but don't want to go too low. Sturmey apparently recommended not going beyond 2:1.

Earlier this week, I cleaned and polished the fenders. Raleigh black paint is well-known for its longevity. It often cleans up better than expected and tends to keep rust at bay pretty well. My advice is to polish the parts before you touch them up with paint. That way, you will know exactly what your cleaned up paint will look like, allowing you to better match your touch-up.

In the case of different colors, polishing will reveal the proper hue so you can mix and match your touch-up as needed. There's nothing more frustrating than doing the touch-up, then polishing and finding out your touch-up no longer matches. With black, you're not so much missing the color as the level of gloss. You'll want to know whether to use gloss, semi-gloss, or flat black. Polish your paint will give you an idea of what you need. Usually it's gloss or semi-gloss. With Raleigh paint in this condition, it will definitely be gloss.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

1958 Raleigh Sports Bicycle Project

Late late year, I acquired a virtually complete and original 1958 Raleigh Sports bicycle. It even had the original, notorious Sturmey Archer SW hub.  I lately have been taking the bicycle apart and cleaning things up.

This evening, I pulled off the back fender and washed it out using a plastic brush and some clean water. I put it in a bathtub and scrubbed it gently. As you can see the tub actually has more rust than the fender. I guess the tub will near cleaning too in the near future...

I also have been cleaning up the wheels, which are in decent shape. This is basically the start to a new project, one that hopefully will end with a very complete, and largely original Raleigh bicycle. 
I have already don the front fender. It is cleaned and polished. I will need to do some minor touch-up work on it, but it is almost ready to go.

The perishable rubber parts will be replaced for riding, but the durable parts should be original. I also have a nice, Carradice roll bag for the seat when this bike is done.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

3 in 1 Blue Can Oil Availability

As I have described in the past, 3 in 1 blue can oil is appropriate for the common Sturmey Archer 3 speed bicycle hubs that take oil lubrication. Blue can is simply 20 weight motor oil. That type of oil is very close to the original Sturmey oil.

It is now available at Lowes stores. I previously had been unable to find it there, but now they stock it in at least some locations. This is a good development because it makes the oil easier to find.