Sunday, September 25, 2016

1958 Raleigh Sports 4 Speed (FW)

For some time, I have wanted to straighten the original thimble fork for my 1958 Raleigh Sports. I had previously replaced it with heavy duty replacement fork made by Raleigh Industries. The heavy duty fork was a "Rudge type", but I always wanted to get that original fork straight and put it back on.

Over the summer, I bought a Bessey pipe vice from Home Depot.The vise has a "pipe" cradle on one side and a standard, flat set of jaws on the other. You can pad the flat side with standard vise pads, and use an old inner tube to pad the pipe side. I stuck the fork steerer tube in the pipe cradle and straightened the errant fork blade a short distance with the Park FFS-1 frame arm.

With that done, I replaced the HD fork with the original. This bike has a great FW four speed hub and a four speed shifter. It's a lot of fun, and set up with low gearing. I have three climber gears and one cruising gear.

Someone removed the original Raleigh badge and replaced it with a Schwinn badge. I filled the Schwinn badge holes and put an old Raleigh badge on the head tube with some U-type drive screws. This badge is probably older than the rest of the bike, but it goes well with it.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

1974 Raleigh Sports and Col de la Vie Tires

The Col de la Vie tires are very good, premium tires for a Raleigh Sports. They have given a "sure footed" feel to this bike, and soak up the bumps well.

The side walls quote a pressure just below 45 PSI. Harris Cyclery quotes 55 psi. I found that at 45 PSI, they were very cushy but very slow. That might be good on gravel or such. 50-55 PSI they ran much better.

They are only slightly slower than Kenda K40s at the same pressure, but much cushier. They have an "all 'rounder" type tread that is not quite slick, but has small knobs. They handle dirt/sand/stones better than Kendas.

The hardest part is getting them to fit. It's a very close fit in the fenders. I did get them to go OK on my 1974 Sports.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Panaracer Col de la Vie for Raleigh Sports

I was under the weather a bit today, so only put in a couple of hours today. I've been gradually upgrading my 1974 Raleigh Sports 3 speed. I previously switched to a retro LED headlamp for my Dynohub set.

Today I changed the somewhat petrified Kenda K40 tires that I put on in 2003. I decided to upgrade to Col de la Vie Panaracer tires. These tires have skin-type soft walls rather than colored rubber. They are much larger and barely fit within the fenders, but do fit OK.

They run a bit slower than the Kendas, but they are much better at handling bumps, and have more an "all arounder" tread than a street tread. They do equally well on dirt, gravel, and pavement.

Now we turn to the old tires. Both are somewhat petrified. But the darker tire on the right was the rear and exposed to oil over the 13 years. Look at the difference. Remember that excess oil from the Sturmey hub will head toward the rim and tire. Over the course of years it can be quite hard on the tire.

 The tire at right is the rear tire. It's plainly darker from 13 years of intermittent oil exposure. This is even despite occasional renewal of the grease seals in the hub. Keep those seals fresh and keep tire clean.

Even the front tire is petrified to a degree. Rubber chipped off like dust when I took it off the rim. This one was not exposed to oil.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Busch and Muller Lumotec Classic

We really start to lose daylight this time of year. I am still able to ride in the evening after work to some degree, but only with the help of a good headlight. With that in mind, I began thinking about whether I could upgrade to a better headlight on my 1974 Raleigh Sports.

My approach was simple: a good quality, LED headlight that captures the classic look of the 1950s-60s chrome lights.

I thought about modifying an old shell to take an LED, as I had done on a 1958 Sports. But this time, I didn't want the battery and instead wanted to use the dynohub on the 1974 Raleigh.

Blogger Adventure suggested a Lumotec Classic Headlight. It looks reasonably good and was able to be adapted to the vintage Raleigh mounts and vintage wires.

The result is a reasonably powerful light for around $50 that can be used with a vintage tail light and set up.

The LED is a big upgrade to the old Sturmey Archer headlight. The LED uses less electricity, puts out more light, and even has a stand/park light function thanks to a capacitor in its circuit.

The light looks reasonably good, and will help me extend the riding season during the weeknights several weeks longer in the spring and fall.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Not Quite Fall

It's "customary" fall, that is, after Labor Day but before Thanksgiving. However, we are technically still in summer. And it feels like it. The 1974 Raleigh Sports is running well, though I am going to give a Busch and Muller LED Classic Headlight a try on it some time next week. For now, it's heat, humidity, and the Raleigh Sports on the road.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Extra Light

With the days being shorter now, I need a little extra light. The Dynohub and vintage lamps work fine when there is still some daylight, but when it's truly getting dark, a modern LED is the way to go. The 1974 Raleigh Sports could well use the extra light.

I picked up a CREE LED that comes in a polished aluminum shell, and it really does a nice job. It has a rechargeable battery and even green indicators to tell me how much charge the battery has.

It has 3 beam settings and fits right on the handlebars with a rubber strap. It is completely removable and can work on any of my bikes.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Seasonal Bicycles

For some reason, I tend to associate some of my bicycles with certain seasons. I associate autumn with my 1974 Raleigh Sports.

I bought this bicycle as a basic Sports model for $30 in September 2003. That month, a hurricane hit the area where I was living, knocking power out for around two weeks. During the blackout, my Specialized Expedition bicycle was stolen.

I replaced the modern Specialized with the 3 speed Sports as my commuter bike. The Raleigh turned out to be a gem, and over the following months I gradually upgraded it in various ways, all the time focusing on period-correct features.

So I have come to associate the Sports with fall. This is when I bought the bike, and I have fond memories of riding it late into the night under the parking lot lights at my university's campus in 2003-2004.

The bike remained my commuter into the first semester of post-grad school, when I finally got a new car. However, the Sports remained a fun rider on the local bike trails and I still have it. I have a strong sentimental attachment overall to the bike, and I make a point every fall of giving it extra ride time.