Sunday, June 28, 2015

1940/41 Schwinn New World For Sale- June 2015 in Northern Virginia

For Sale- 1940/41 New World road bike. Mostly original bike with a few upgrades to make it more ride worthy. Has 26 x 1-3/8 wheels. 21.5 inch frame. Rims are new Sun CR18 alloy, spokes are DT Swiss stainless. Hubs are 1954 Sturmey Archer AW 3 speed aluminum alloy rear and Schwinn script front. Shifter is old type Sturmey quadrant top tube. Has Schwinn Built USA caliper brakes and Schwinn brake levers. Bars are old type Torrington with script strike. Old horse hair "hammock" saddle. Great bike that just needs some grip wrap on the bars. Has new tires and brake cables/housings. Original, working Schwinn locking fork with both the original Yale key and a new spare.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

1940 Westfield Sports Roadster Bicycle

 The Westfield Sports Roadster is assembled and adjusted. It is a simple, rather primitive bike, but also of rather good quality manufacture. This one appears to be from 1940- "E" serial number with original tires having a 1940 date code.
 The Sports Roadster features a simple, diamond frame and a single speed coaster brake. There really is not much more to it- it's pretty simple.
 The bike has double bladed fenders, that is the front fender has a blade on the leading edge, and the rear fender has a blade on the trailing edge. Bars are Torrington company manufactured.
 The bike has a conventional kickstand and single piece bottom bracket set. As I mentioned earlier, the bottom bracket set is somewhat unique in the sense that there is no "drive pin", rather the chain ring slides over a taper in the crank.
 The bike has the English-style white rear fender with a dart shape transition to black. The rear fender terminates in a blade.
 Another shot of the bottom bracket. These are Torrington #10 pedals with new manufacture rubber blocks in original pedal frames/axles.
 The Sports Roadster decal is classy and in excellent condition.
 The handgrips are newly made in the USA. They are the "short" coke bottle design meant for ladies or lightweight handlebars.
 Some of the original box stripes are still present. These were painted on by hand and are faded gold in color. Front hub is Westfield manufactured.
 Another shot of the bottom bracket.
The rims are original stock lightweight rims. The originals to this particular bike had severe plating loss, but I was able to locate another set of originals in great condition. The size is ISO 599, but 597 (Schwinn S5/S6 tires) will work.
 The frame has slender seat stays, fat chains stays, and rear-facing drop outs with adjustment screws. The rear hub is a New Departure Model D with the pre-war style small brake arm.
 The saddle is a replacement in the Brooks B66 style, but with more primitive decoration. The bag is a Banjo Brothers Minnehaha bag.
 The reflector is a small "raspberry" type that I added. The original was long broken off.
A view of the rear "blade" fender, which adds a lot of character.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Longer Days of the Year

Summer starts on June 21 this year, which means we are now within a week of the longest day of the year. That means the chance to bicycle after dinner, in the waning hours of the day. Here in Virginia, it stays light enough out to bicycle without a light until probably 8:45. After that a light is helpful, not so much to see, but rather to be seen by cars. The weather is warm and humid. It seems like a world away from those days in winter, when you hope to just get one or two days in a week that you can ride without having to worry about ice causing a fall, or road salts ruining your bike. This is the time of the year you really have to enjoy when you get a chance.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Westfield Sports Roadster Rims and Tires

 599 mm tires and 26 x 1.375 Rims

One of the biggest issues with old, American-made roadsters is the fact that many had a now-obsolete rim and tire size, 26 x 1.375. While these tires at first glance seem like regular, 26 x 1 3/8 tires as you would find on millions of English bikes (the Raleigh Sports in particular), this is actually a totally different rim and tire.

26 x 1.375 has a bead seat of 599 mm, whereas the common English size is only 590 mm. The result is that English bike tires won't fit an old, US lightweight with the 599 rims.

One trick is to try to slip Schwinn roadster tires onto the 599 mm rim. These are 26 x 1 3/8 x 1 1/4 and are 597 mm tires. This is very close to 599. However, the fit only works on some wheels. 599 rims with low side walls seem to work best.

Unfortunately, the rims on this bike have relatively high side walls and seem to allow the use of both a coaster brake and caliper rim brakes. The low side wall tires from the period appear to be made only for the coaster brake. The result is that the rims on the Westfield Sports Roadster simply will not allow me to slip the 597 tire over the side wall. I spent over an hour trying various methods to slip the tire on. No luck.

I am not interested in running 70 or 75 year old tires on this bike. Many of these old tires have dry rubber that cracks under stress. Actually, that is a "best case" failure because you can see it coming. The worst case is a tire with a hidden rot in the cotton chords, which then delaminates during a ride without much warning. This is much less common than cracking rubber, but still possible. The bottom line is that I always put fresh rubber on an old bike.

The Basic Durability Test Must be Passed

Every bicycle I re-build needs to be able to withstand what I call the "basic durability test". This test involves the bike being able to withstand a 1 hour ride on pavement of "average local condition" five days per week. This amounts to about 60 miles in a week, if I ride at an average of 12 mph. This is not particularly fast, but taking into account stops at lights and signs, it's what I would call an "average" ride. I just don't think 75 year old tires would hold up under such a test, so I put fresh rubber on all my bikes. This includes tires, tubes, and brake pads (where we have hand brakes).

 Time to Source Rims

I now need to source a rim that takes 590 (preferably) or 597 mm tires, but retains a profile very close to the original rims. The spokes for the original rims are just a hair short, even though they are stock and original to the bike. My plan is to source a rim very close to the original profile, but perhaps a hair smaller. This would allow reuse of the original spokes and hubs, but a simple swap of the rims. The idea here is to get as much originality, but allow the use of modern, new tires. I have a couple ideas, which I will pursue this coming week.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Westfield Sports Roadster Continues (1940?)

I did some work on the Sports Roadster this weekend- lots of little assembly of fenders, braces, reflector. I am basically assembling the bike into a handful of components for easier assembly when the time comes.

I also found that the serial appears to start with the letter "E" rather than "L" on further inspection. One of the tires also had a 1940 date code in it. I am leaning toward this being a 1940 bike rather than a 1947 at this point. Either way, it's a very nice, interesting example of an early modern "lightweight" roadster of American production.

Here is the New Departure Model D hub in its "guts form". You can see the stationary and mobile discs that rub together when you pedal backwards to slow the wheel.

The bottom bracket set is curious. Rather than featuring a "drive pin" like most one piece cranks, the crank axle itself is tapered and the sprocket "keys in" over the tapered section. The teeth on the sprocket are of a "blunt" profile, but the sprocket is still standard width.

No summery day is complete without a bike ride. This 1949-50 Columbia Three Star Deluxe is perfect for a warm day of light travel and riding. This one also has a New Departure Model D- a simple, but effective brake.