Thursday, 16 December 2010

Tyres: Raleigh Twenty 20, Shopper, Stowaway, Triumph 20, BSA, etc

Most Raleigh Twenty bikes had ISO 451 diameter wheels. Despite the 20 name, this is closer to 21" than the common 406 BMX size wheels. So, is there a decent selection of modern tyres to fit the Raleigh Twenty wheel (451 diameter)? I've been looking out for them and here is a list (if you know of further ones, please post a comment with details - thanks!):

- Kompact (hard packed race)
- K-West (road, commute)
- Small block eight (photo left: hard packed race and trail, well regarded by MTB and cyclocross riders)

- Drop the Hammer (hard packed race)
- Holy Roller (pavement and hard packed race, staggered block pattern, see photo below)

- Minits Lite (fast road, commute, baldies pictured at the end of this post)

- Comet (fast road, commute)
- Champ (file tread)

- Record (traditional)
- Shopper (traditional)

- HS110 (traditional style)
- HS371 Mow Joe (knobbly, photo below)
- HS377 Road Cruiser (heavy touring, 457, not 451, but would probably work)
- HS399 Durano (high mileage road)

- Traditional style 37-451 (SJS Cycles ebay shop)

- Powerblock (bmx racing)

Most of these are either 28-451 or 37-451. You can get full details from the manufacturer's websites. As to retailers, you would have to search around, for example: Chainreactioncycles, SJS cycles, Winstanleys, Dereks Cycles on ebay, West country recumbents and Mailorderbikes, to name just a few.

Rejoice in your rubber!


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Cheap n Easy Windproof, Warm, Cycling Vest (Gilet to the posh)

We've had a cold spell recently in the UK. I wanted to ride my hybrid bike over the frosty landscape, but the wind was icy - felt like it was blowing right through me. Enter the cheapskate's answer. The photos below explain how to make this garment. It took me five minutes but it works very well.

Cut a body-width length of bubble wrap. The good old standard stuff that folks use for parcels and packaging. Then cut a hole in it for your neck. I cut one side of the hole more curved than the other, to enable it to go on easily and the back to sit on the shoulders properly.

Here it is on a clothes hanger. Wear it on top of your base layer and under the top layer, bubbles on the inside. It really does keep your core warm even in the cold wind. The open sides seem to allow a fair amount of perspiration to evapourate too. Remember, in cold weather, don't hang about in sweaty clothes. Get inside, showered, warm and dry quickly.

Dahon Wheels but better

I ride a Dahon folding bike regularly. However, the factory wheels have been problematic. Every few months I break a spoke. I'm no spring chicken, mind you. Total weight including baggage in the morning is under the 105kg specified max for Dahon bikes, but not that much under!

So, I tried to find a solution. And I think I may have found one. Paul Hewitt Cycles. They have a great reputation for wheel building. I sent them my Dahon wheels and for a reasonable fee, they serviced and re-built them for me. Apart from spokes and bearings they re-used all the parts that I sent them. Yes, a re-cycled cycle wheel.

I've been riding it for about a month and it has been superb. No broken spokes. Also, an improvement I didn't expect - a more planted assured feel to the ride! Highly recommended.