Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Raleigh Sprite 5 Speed Continues

With rainy weather, I have some time away from riding to do work on the Raleigh Sprite in the shed. Tonight I trued the wheels and mounted rim strips, tubes, and tires. These tires are the basic, Duro white walls from Thailand. The production quality likely is less than that of the old Dunlop tires that came with the bike, but they are fresh and in much better condition.

A new facet of this project is rubber restoration. I normally just clean up the rubber parts. In this case, I am soaking the Dare/Raleigh grips in a mixture of alcohol and Oil of Wintergreen. The bath should have a softening and restorative effect on the grips. They were not in bad shape as they arrived, but were a little hard. This will hopefully soften them nicely before I put them back on the handlebars.

The next step is to start reassembling the bike.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sturmey Archer S5 Bell Crank

Progress continues on the Raleigh Sprite. Yesterday I received a replacement bell crank and a push rod. If I have trouble with the push rod I repaired, I will use this one. It took quite a bit of searching, but it's looking like I have the specialty parts I need to complete this once I get a little more time to work on it.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

1970 Raleigh Sprite

I previously received a damaged Raleigh Sprite from about 1970.  The Sprite 5 speed of the late 1960s and early 1970s was the high performance version of the 26 inch Raleigh Sports. The Sprite later changed to 27 inch wheels and a 10 speed derailleur set up. I like this five speed variation better.

The bulk of the damage took place to the chain ring and rear hub shifting components. The Sturmey Archer S5 push rod was badly bent, the non-drive bell crank was ground off, and the chain ring was bent.

At this point, I'll wager Fed Ex will refuse to pay for the damages. The seller/shipper was accommodating and fair, but I'll bet Fed Ex walks away from this. Anyway, a weekend's work set most of this straight.

I straightened, smoothed, and blued the push rod.

I straightened the chain ring in a small vice. I also cleaned and smoothed the teeth on the chain ring.

Once the damage was repaired, I started working working on the rest of the bike. I cleaned up the painted parts and polished them. For this task, I like NuFinish Scratch Doctor or Meguiar's car polish.

 This Sprite's bronze green finish glows nicely.

I matched and patched up the paint finish where needed. I also cleaned and polished the Westrick pattern wheels. 

This bike came with a classic Brooks B72 saddle. Cleaning and treatment with Books Proofhide really brought out a nice brown, aged color.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Good Weather Continues For Now

This time of year, the days are starting to get shorter. Autumn arrived on September 23, just a day ago. However, the weather here in Virginia remains good for the time being. It has been quite dry lately, but unfortunately the rain will arrive this weekend.

In any event, here are a couple of evening shots of a 1974 Raleigh Sports.

This time of year it's good to have a little lighting in the evening. The Dynohub does not put out much light for seeing, but still is helpful for having cars see me on the bike easier.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Raleigh Sprite 5 Speed Beat Down...

Along with the 1938 Cadillac, I have a late 1960s Raleigh Sprite 5 speed project in the Shed. I received this project last week and was hoping to clean it up and run it as a "high performance" version of the Raleigh Sports, which really is what the 5 speed version of the Sprite was.

Unfortunately, Fed Ex roughly handled the two boxes making up this project. This included punching the axles of the wheels through their box, to the point the non-drive side bell crank was hanging out of a box and was ground against the shipping equipment down to almost nothing. The damage is visible in the pictures. The bell crank should be a long domed nut, the same on each side. Fed Ex managed to grind half of it off.  They also bent the S5 hub's push rod that matches up to the bell crank.

In short, they really made a mess of this.

Other pictures show extensive damage to the boxes. They also managed to bend the chainring and bash-up one of the front axle "R" nuts. The "core" of the bike seems to have done OK though.

The result of this is a Fed Ex claim for damages, which will reportedly soon be processed. I'm not optimistic. They'll probably try to dodge out of this and blame the shipper, which is something I think unfair.

So I guess I need a Sturmey Archer S5 bell crank and possibly a push rod. I may also need a chain ring, though that might ultimately be fixable.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Autumn Weather and a Raleigh Sports Bicycle

The official arrival of fall is just about a week away, though the "traditional" fall season began last week. In either event, the weather will be improving somewhat here in Virginia and beginning to transition away from oppressive heat and humidity. There are certainly a few hot and humid days left, but today was certainly more of a fall day.

Better weather means good chances to ride. I ride after work, and as long as Daylight Savings Time is in effect, I have enough daylight to ride in the evenings. On the weekend, this also means more time to ride. I took a right ride before dinner tonight, on this 1974 Raleigh Sports.

This Sports was my primary transportation in college and for the first semester at law school. I eventually got a car when I rented an apartment in the suburbs and started commuting to school rather than living on or next to campus. The bike made a good campus bike when I used it in that role.

I later used it more on the local bicycle trail as a fun rider. I've put many miles on this one.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Vintage Airplanes, Cars, Motorcycles, and Even Some Bicycles

A bit off topic: but an album of my visit to Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in New York on August 30, 2015. There were a couple of old bicycles present, but this is mainly about the aircraft, automobiles, and motorcycles:

About Old Rhinebeck: