Thursday, 15 July 2010

Renovating a Raleigh Twenty: Part 5 - Chain

I decided to break the old chain at the half link. Although I'd cleaned and oiled it and it was ok in practice, it was stretched/worn beyond acceptable limits. I counted 93 links in the old chain.

Then I attached a fresh half link to the new chain. I'm replacing with a Wippermann Connex 100 1/2" x 1/8".

Here's a photo of the chainwheel (which as I mentioned earlier I'd straightened a tad). The cotter pins are new and I had applied just a little grease on their flat faces in a bid to prevent them seizing up in future. I tapped them in, rode it, tapped them in again, rode it and finally tapped in again and tightened the nuts. I'm happy that they are in properly now, but not stupidly tight.

The connector link is now in place. This is really so much easier than using a chain tool to re-connect. There are 93 links in the new chain too.

The outer plate goes on next.

The spring clip is then placed in position. With a screwdriver, just slide it so that it clips in place. NB: A reader, JJ, pointed out that the clip is the wrong way around. I think he's right! The closed side should be facing the driven side of the pedals - I must have been confused because the bike was upside down. However, it doesn't matter now, because since then, the bike was stolen from my student cousin to whom I loaned it.

The joined chain. Lovely! One thing I noticed is that since the wheel axle is now nutted a bit closer to the chainwheel (because the new chain is shorter than the old stretched one), the gear cable tension had to be re-set. It didn't take long, but I hadn't thought of that effect of the new chain.

Anyway, she rides so much better now. I could feel the increase in efficiency first from the serviced bottom bracket and then another incremental improvement with the new chain.

Raleigh Twenty on a train

Well, she's not as small as a Dahon and nowhere near the compactness of a Brompton. Here, I haven't dropped the handlebars, or seatpost, so the folded package could be smaller than in the photo. Definitely useable, but not in a busy train I'd suggest. Fairly easy to fit inside the boot of an average car - I have managed to pack both a Dahon Speed D7 folding bike and this Triumph Twenty into the boot of an estate car, without the rear seats folded and with quite a lot of space to spare. This photo was taken before I'd changed the pedals and serviced the bottom bracket.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Renovating a Raleigh Twenty: Part 4 - Bottom Bracket

I was intending to service the bottom bracket and change the chain today, but was stumped by the fact that the old chain had 93 links. That's possible because of this half link with cranked plates - photo of the old chain above. I don't have a replacement, so had to order one. Anyway...on with the bottom bracket for now.

Above is a photo of the bottom bracket with the retaining ring removed. The cotter pins came out with no difficulties, thankfully, but I'll need new pins when I re-assemble.

Here's the axle cleaned up, with shiny new 1/4" balls, 11 each side. Cups were in reasonable condition and although the axle has bearing wear, it's good to go for a while yet.

I forgot to take a photo of what was inside the bottom bracket shell when I opened it. It was dry, balls were all present, but there were flakes of rust scattered around, mainly over the middle of the axle inside the shell. The photo above is after I'd cleaned it and packed the chainwheel side cup with ball bearings and grease. (The chain wheel side cup is welded in place). Looking inside, you can see that the shell itself is absolutely fine, the steel is in great condition actually. So, the flakes of rust must have fallen through from the seat tube opening - at the top of the cylinder. So, the frame saver that I squirted down the seat tube was needed! I decided to make a sleeve, in the good old fashioned way from a washing up liquid bottle.

Thing is, that nowadays, washing up liquid is not sold in cylindrical bottles any more! So, here's some transparent plastic taken from a bottle of some potion, nabbed from da boss's toiletries collection.

After a bit of snipping with scissors, in goes the sleeve. It butts conveniently against the lip of the chain wheel side cup. The ends overlap at the bottom, in case any water gets in there, it has a way out.

Here you can see the sleeve after being trimmed to size and in position. The outer edge is just inside the thread on the shell.

After screwing in the cup, I gave all the stay tubes a few squirts of frame saver. I've been doing that as I work round the frame, and the only tube that still needs some frame saver is the big chunky down tube.

On eBay, you can buy these cheepo plastic pipettes for pennies. These are great for all sorts of uses round the house, including squirting engine oil into the Sturmey Archer AW hub!

Next time I'll assemble the cottered cranks and fit the new chain. By the way, on close inspection, the chain wheel was not totally straight. Clearly it had been knocked from the side at some point in history. Actually, I had not noticed until now. A couple of whacks with a hammer, and the chain wheel was much straighter! That's the beauty of steel...

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Shimergo Reynolds 531C road bike

I bought this Reynolds 531C frame brand new from SJS Cycles' eBay store. Originally, I fitted it with Shimano down tube gear levers, but later, I replaced them with Campagnolo Ergos, in a configuration widely known as Shimergo. This article by the CTC's Chris Juden explains it all. And I describe how I did it here.

Campagnolo Veloce 10 levers. These fit the hands really well. A friend of mine has a bike that is all Veloce 10 and he says that this Shimergo bike shifts just as well if not better his all Campag groupset.

Side view. I love the ride of 531C steel. It has a kind of springy, live feel. Steel is real!

Rigida flyer rims, allow hubs.

Closely spaced teeth numbers on the rear block.

I love the blue and red contrast! Personal taste, I guess.

Campag Veloce levers fit the hand really nicely.

Trusty Stronglight Triple and cartridge bottom bracket.

Shimano Tiagra rear mech.

Front brake, Shimano Tiagra dual caliper, in the evening sun...

Raleigh Twenty Links

Here are some of my favourite sites about the Raleigh Twenty:

1. Fabulous Raleigh Twenty to Life site.

2. Sheldon Brown's pages which I am sure are responsible for causing a number people to develop Raleigh Twenty addictions!

3. The history of the Twenty by Tony Hadland.

4. A super site by Hartley Martin collecting information from many Raleigh Twenty owners round the world.

Awesome Wooden bike

A wooden frame? This beauty is to die for! More details here and click here for the Waldmeister website. Marcus Wall Meyer seems to be a genius...the prices are tasty too!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Iceni Road Bike Photographs

In an earlier blog post, I explained that I'd bought this frame from Askew Cycles, and built it up from that. Here are some more images of the bike.

A view more from the front. Do you like the orange handlebar tape? Not to everyone's taste, I suspect!

It's a Reynolds 520 frame, which I think is the same as good old weldable Chro-Moly 4130. The Reynolds site says that it is similar in properties to old 531. Well I'm not sure about "standard" or touring types of 531, but my view is that 531C feels a bit springier, whereas 520 feels more "solid" in comparison. Still feels great though. Just my view.

Selle San Marco Rolls saddle, which I find very comfortable, and Lezyne saddlepack, which is nicely made and well designed.

The view from the "driving seat".

Stronglight Impact Triple chainset 28-38-50, the middle and outer rings are alloy, the inner one is steel.

Tektro brake levers, pedals Shimano SPD one side/flat other side, and Shimano 105 brakes front and rear. The whole bike cost me just under £500 in total for the frame and all parts. I dunno how long I spent building her, but I enjoyed every minute! Less than 1000 miles on the clock so far and a number of day rides of over 60km. She's a comfortable climber with lowest gear of about 23 inches (28T front, 32T back), also pretty nippy.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Renovating a Raleigh Twenty: Part 3 - Progress Update

So here is a photo of where I've reached so far. She's ready to roll. For comparison, below is how she looked when I bought her.

So far, I've done the following:

1. Cost of bike: £10
2. Remove kickstand and chainguard
3. Washed her. Removed down tube and seat tube labels. I'm still rubbing off the gummy sticker backing. It comes off with meths and elbow grease - doing it bit by bit
4. New gear cable and indicator protector cap: £5
5. Adjusted gear cable and lubed hub for smooth shifting
6. Dismantled forks and headset, spray frame saver inside forks, steerer and head tube
7. Serviced headset, with fresh ball bearings: £1
8. Changed pedals (I had some in my parts box)
9. Replace front rim and serviced hub: £18
10. New tyres front and back: £20
11. Alloy seat tube (the saddle is one I had lying around): £10
12. New rear brake cable: £5
13. Cleaned front brake cable and fitted new Dia Compe dual pivot calipers (photo below): £12

She's now a real pleasure to ride. Weight has reduced by 1.1kg so far (is currently ~14kg including the rack and pedals). Front braking is very good now and the back brake is satisfactory too. My 8 year old son and my wife love just riding about for the sake of it.

To dos:

1. Rear rim replacement
2. New rear brake
3. Strip and service bottom bracket
4. New chain

Still not sure about replacing the handlebars - they feel so chrome cruiser cool!

Renovating a Raleigh Twenty: Part 2 - Replacing a Bicycle Rim

This is a sequence of photos to show how to replace a rim. Old wheel, new rim a Sun ICI-1 alloy job, some basic tools and some engine oil. The rim is 451 diameter - that's about 21" and is bigger than the normal folding bike 20" which are usually 406. The upside is that pedal clearance stays as original, and being tall, I like the bigger wheels. The downside is that tyre choice is limited.

After removing the tyre and tape, this is what I saw! A rotting rim - definitely dangerous. I wondered whether it was possible to re-use the nipples though. Liberal spray of WD40 to loosen things up.

Quite rusty nipple heads. So, out came the wire brush....

And the wire brush worked wonders. As you can see, I've loosened all the nipples now, so that the spokes are not under tension and I know that each nipple unscrews.

Now using masking tape, fix the new rim next to the existing one, like the photo above.

Tape it up, new rim to old, in a few more places.

Start off by transferring the spokes that are nearest to the new rim. In this case, 28h, that means every other spoke.

After that, start transferring the other spokes. Here at the top left, you can see the first spoke transferred over to the new rim.

All spokes now transferred over. It's now laced up. Cut the tape off and tighten up all spokes so that the tension is even all round. You can use a spoke nipple initial setting tool for that. I don't have one, so I just used a screwdriver to bring the spokes up so that they were level with the bottom of the slot in each nipple. Then felt them all by hand and adjusted by feel. That was how I set the initial tension. It's really important to get that starting point right, because it helps to ensure that the rest of the tightening up procedure goes smoothly.

Before starting to tension the wheel up in earnest, it was time to dismantle the hub. The ball bearings were bone dry, but they were all there and in pretty good condition.

So this is the hub dismantled. A simple and quite well made design, I reckon. One cone moves, the other screws down to a bedding ridge on the axle. The cups were really dirty.

I've cleaned up the cups and all the parts, ready for greasing and re-assembly.

Assembled. All I need to do now is wipe off the grease outside the hubs, put the wheel in my truing stand and tighten it up progressively and steadily.

Here is my truing stand! The stool is to sit on. It's a pleasant and relaxing job, I find. I start off with whole turns on each spoke, then spring the spokes by hand (wearing leather gloves helps for that), and check for hop and wobble. If either are present, remove them. I try to work out why the hop or wobble exists - at early stages, it's normally that one or two spokes are too tight or loose. The idea is to get them all even tension and the rim nice and circular. So after some full turns, then I move to half turns, and finally quarter turns on every spoke.

I use the brake pads as a guide for working out where the wheel needs some work.

The finished wheel, shod and ready for fitting to the bike. The whole sequence above took me about 2 hours in total. It went very smoothly and is incredibly satisfying to build an smooth running wheel that is fast and true. I've now made four wheels in total over the years (two involved lacing up from the start and the other two were rim replacements). This was the easiest and the best yet!

The original steel rim weighed 550g, while the new alloy rim was 320g. That means I saved 230g just by replacing the rim! That's the same weight as a packet of butter rotating around the perimeter of the wheel.