Monday, August 28, 2017

Raleigh Sports and Fiber Washers for Raleigh Brakes

I took a ride down to the park this evening. The clouds were finally starting to drift in, and it turned out to be pretty dreary, but cool and dry. We will have rain here tomorrow. The Raleigh Sports is a great bicycle for all around riding.

I also received in the mail a bag full of M8 red fiber washers. These are the style used on Raleigh and early Schwinn ("Schwinn Built", not "Schwinn Approved") brake calipers. Sheldon Brown remarks that these red fiber washers are used as buffers to properly space the halves of the caliper and to provide some lubrication while preventing binding.

I used a vernier to measure the fiber disc off a set of Raleigh brakes from the 1960s, and found that an M8 fiber washer is very close. So I ordered a bag from England (could not find a good price on small bulk - 50 or so).

On examination, these red fiber washers from Britain are much like the old Raleigh washers. In terms of hardness, they're the same thickness as a Raleigh fiber washer when new, but slightly harder. They strike me as being closer in size to Raleigh fiber washers, but more of a hardness like the Schwinn-built caliper washers. With a drop of oil, they work nicely.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Good Weather & 1947 Schwinn Continental

Good weather today to ride this 1947 Schwinn Continental. It's a quick, agile bicycle that is a joy overall to ride.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Nice Weather

We had an 80 degree day - rare, really nice day in August for this area. We normally have high heat and humidity, but today was a perfect day to get some yard work done. I also got a chance to dust-off and clean up a couple nice, old Schwinns: a 1947 Continental and a 1947 New World. Both of these are great old, American-made 3-speed bikes.

After getting my yard work and cleaning done, I worked a bit on my 1958 Raleigh Sports. I cleaned and oiled the kickstand mechanism, and put some fresh oil in the rear hub and the bottom bracket. It really did not need much. I also cleaned the canvas saddle bag.

I love how the decals on this particular Raleigh have held up so well for 59 years.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

1947 Schwinn New World Out and About

A couple shots of this 1947 Schwinn New World three speed out and about this evening. Tonight was a trip down to the park. Today's weather was a little improved over yesterday's weather. The remaining days this week are supposed to be quite nice. I'm hoping to get in some more rides.

The "AS" monogram pedals are a nice touch on this bike, as is the skiptooth-to-Sturmey gearing.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Late Summer: Schwinns and Raleighs

A few shots of late summer riding here in old Virginia: 1947 Schwinn New World; 1958 Raleigh Sports; and a Magnolia blossom.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

1947 Schwinn New World

A fine evening to ride. I took out this 1947 Schwinn New World. I upgraded this bike with a set of pristine, original wheels from a late 1940s Schwinn Continental - Schwinn dural hubs, stainless Schwinn rims, and double butted spokes.

I topped it off with a classic 1940s-50s French lighting set with an Ideal headlight and an amber headlight bulb. 

It's a really comfortable bicycle and is a joy to ride.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

LED Tail Light; Pictures from This Week

A few pictures from this week - very humid and warm. I have been riding my tall frame Raleighs this week and really enjoy them.

 This Raleigh Sprite 5-speed is a solid bike in a really nice color.
 This 1958 Sports 4-speed is also great, and has a lot of the "golden age" touches from the 1950s.
 The Carradice Zipped Roll bag is a great choice for this bike, especially the black and wide model.
 I recently purchased an Ascher LED light set. These kits come with a white and a red slip-on (or rubber clamp-on) light. The white headlight is pretty weak, but the red tail light is great. I may buy a red piece of plastic to put over the white and make a second tail light out of that.

The Ascher lights recharge with a USB Amazon-type charger. They have several brightness and flashing modes. The thing I like most is that it's sort of retro. It has a black rubber body and a little chrome trim ring. They slip right onto your saddle bag and when you don't need them, you just pull them off and put them back in the bag.

This is the light on low brightness. It supposedly will get about 7-9 hours on a single charge. If it does, that's really good.

 The headlight is still the homemade Miller with an LED insert. It functions well enough, though it isn't great at focusing the beam.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

1958 Raleigh Sports Bicycle

Another humid day here. I took a little time this afternoon to clean and do a little maintenance on my 1958 Raleigh Sports. It's running well, but has some grime built up on the drivetrain and around the brakes. A little wiping with a rag solved this. I also gave each brake caliper a couple of drops of light oil.

One of the other things that I do is to use John Deere Ultraguard rubber treatment on the cable housings and grips from time-to-time. This helps keep them from drying out and keeps them clean.

One thing I did notice was that I was starting to get a little duller sound from the Sturmey Archer hub pawls. What I do is listen to the sharpness of the "clicking" sound of the pawls when in Normal or High gear, and when coasting. I believe a little bearing grease may have gotten into the pawls - not much, but a little.

You can 'thin' this out with just a shot or two from a WD-40 or Kano Kroil bottle. Be careful to use only a very small amount - you don't want to wash all the oil lubrication out of the hub, or make a mess. But just two squirts of WD-40 thinned that right out and the hub was sounding normal again. It shifts very smoothly and is a joy to ride.  The WD-40 should not be regarded as a lubricant, rather you are working to thin-out the lubricant already in the hub. The best lubricant for the hub is 20-weight oil, like Sturmey Archer "blue can" motor oil.

 I've put quite a few miles on this bike over the past couple of years, and I really enjoy it. I find the 23 inch frame on 26 inch wheel platform a good one. The Raleigh Sports really got a lot right about putting together a nice utility bike. I suppose that's a big part of why they were made for so many decades.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Schwinn New World Summer Rides

Before the rains set in, I got a chance this afternoon to ride this 1941 Schwinn New World for a little over an hour. I took it down to the local nature preserve, and the bike always seems to perform well.

 This particular frame size and the angles of this frame make for a very docile, pleasant bicycle. It's very stable and reliable at slow speeds in traffic, and it runs just as well as faster speeds. I really wound it up on the way home, and it handled the higher speeds just fine.

 Overall, it's just a simple, fun, pleasant-to-ride old bicycle. And it gets bonus points for being American-made.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sturmey Archer 3 and 4 Speed Shifter Repairs

One of the many, old Sturmey Archer parts worth fixing is the "click" shifter, especially 1930s-60s era shifters. The quality of these shifters is quite good, and they often need only minor repairs to be fixed.

Over the weekend, I fixed three such shifters using the guts of a damaged shifter I had sitting in my parts bin.

It's not all that difficult. You drive out the binder pins running through the shifter from the back to the front with a small punch. Once apart, notice how all the parts line up. Clean up everything, removing old grease and rust. Usually the issue is a broken or weak flat spring. Either replace the spring with a spare or gently tighten the spring by pinching it together with your fingers, a clamp, or a vise. Lightly oil everything and reassemble.

The most important step in re-assembly is to put the binder pins back into place. You do this at first by hand: put the pin in and press it through to the back with your fingers. It should be very close to just going all the way through by hand. It may just, barely stop at the back plate. Make sure it is lined up with the holes in the back of the shifter.

Once that is done, you use your hammer and an anvil or similar metal plate to tap the pin faces from the front with a hammer and properly sized punch, so that the backs of the pins strike on your anvil or metal. This will flatten the backs of the pins back out and the shifter will be back together. user "BigChief" has a very good write up on this subject as well, here:

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Sturmey Archer Four and Five Speed Hubs

Three new arrivals this weekend: a 1961 Sturmey Archer FW four-speed hub; a 1967 S5 five-speed hub; and an Indonesian 'early-type' rear reflector.

 The 1961 Four-Speed FW hub came from England. The exchange rate is currently good, and these parts go in England for much less than they sell for in the US. This particular hub is missing a few of the small mounting parts, but these are all parts that I have in stock in my spares box. It's in decent shape, though the oiler cap is flopping around loosely. Thankfully, the shifter rod is straight - these tend to get bent. As a bonus, the hub came with an original Sturmey 22 tooth cog.

 The 1967 Five-Speed S5 hub looks to have been used very little, if at all. The hub shell is shiny; the mounting hardware is clean; and the cog shows very little wear. Even the early-type sheet metal bell crank is relatively intact. It just needs a little straightening, but otherwise works nicely. This is one of the cleanest S5 hubs I've ever seen. Date code is 10-67, so it's a first year hub.

Finally, I got an Indonesian-made black body reflector. The black body early Raleigh reflectors are known for drying out and cracking. I've repaired cracks in my original on my 1958 Sports several times. But I thought I'd see what is being made today in different parts of the world. This reflector has a soft, pliable body and it looks very close to the original. It's slightly smaller than the original, with serrations around the outside circumference of part of the housing. However, it's pretty well-made and presentable. I've had good luck with these Indonesian-made rubber parts in the past, and this reflector really is not a bad option.