Thursday, October 24, 2013

Harmless Neighborhood Eccentric

I received a short message from Jonathan, with a link to his "rolling stock."  It is quite the impressive stable, and I will just provide a link to the aptly named Harmless Neighborhood Eccentric blog that they are stored at.

Joy, pure joy

You may have a problem, Jonathan, but it's not worth solving.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Black and Tan 3 Speeds

These bikes are the oddest couple posted on this blog in recent memory.  We've got a 1950's Humber that is done up in very traditional styling.  And then we have the '54 Armstrong.  Which will have the traditionalists preparing their all caps lock responses.  But it's an amazing bike.  Mat says:

Hey there.
I enjoy your blog very much, especially the very classic machines.
I've been working on these two bikes: a 1954 Armstrong and a Humber that I believe is from the 50's (it came without wheels). I use the brown bike for commuting most every day.
I've named the black one "Not as I do" as a play on the current state of Armstrong in bicycling.
I've always wanted to see what an English Racer looked like with Deep-V's. When I got my hands on a rear wheel with a modern Sturmey Archer SX-3 fixed gear hub I was on my way. I had a front wheel made to match (red hub, black wheel, looks very vintage Hot-Rod), added some sturdy tires and and 'just-right' sized basket. It's a great feeling bike that rolls much quicker than it did with 26x1 3/8" steel wheels. I threaded a BMX cassette on so I don't have to fixed-gear it.
The brown one is such a classy ride. It came as a non-rolling frame with brakes, drivetrain, bars, but no seat or wheels. I waited around for a wheelset to come my way, added a nice fat vintage (old) Brooks saddle and of course, white tires. It's got a huge basket, a little too big actually, because I tend to overload it. The bike turns heads everywhere.
A few photos are up on flickr in the 'bikes' set. I hope you'll consider adding the bikes to your blog, please let me know if you have any questions about the builds.

Great gosh almighty.

Old Raleigh

This bike is undated and not even a model is identified.  Nor is the name of the sender known, other than "Neighbor Dave".  But whoever it is, they have an amazing set of pictures at their Picasa site.  The description is as follows:

i just bumped into your blg and thought my bike might interest you.
i bought it about 1 year ago and have done a fair amount of research on it resulting in a determination that it's a circa 1920's with some other prewar parts on it.
 seems someone converted the brakes from rod to cable back in the 30's, along whith a wheel conversion from 28" to 26" singlespeed flip flop rear hub, the freewheel dats to 1924 if i've done the research properly.

With the number of photos available at Picasa I decided to just show two pictures here, a before and after.

1971 Raleigh Sports

Owen sent this bike months ago, and it's been lost in my inbox.  His description:

Here's my 1971 Raleigh Sports, though many of the parts are from a '64. I picked up both a '71 and the '64 off the side of the road, where they were sitting with a "free" sign. The '64 was in much better condition, but the headtube was ovalized, so I transferred most of the parts onto the '71. It's definitely more of a rider than some of the amazing restorations on the blog, but it still shines. Lots of fun to ride, too.
Just noticed the bars/seat height look a little weird in the pictures. It's comfortable, though!

Here's a link to the slideshow.  Sorry for the delay, Owen!

Monday, April 29, 2013

1971 Raleigh International

Mark sends in an unusual (to begin with) submission for the site.  He does a nice job of documenting the switch from external gears to internal, so I'll let him do the talking:

The bike is a 1971 Raleigh International - not something one would typically associate with an internally geared hub as it was second from the top of Raleigh's road bike lineup. The bike came to me built up in decidedly unoriginal fashion, with a wide range rear and a triple in front, among many other modifications to fit the frame out as a lightweight touring bike. At some point in its early life, the frame was repainted in burgundy, which I rather liked, and after digging into the restoration decided to stick with that hue.

Now, my original plan had been to keep the build as a light touring bike, but a number of factors led me down a different road. First off - and most importantly - I really don't like triples. After discovering that the wheels would need to be completely rebuilt, I thought about a 700c wheel set that I have hanging in the studio - CR-18 rims, with the rear built around a Sturmey-Archer SRF-3 hub. My thinking was that I'd temporarily build a club style three-speed until I got around to rebuilding the original wheels. This idea went by the wayside as soon as the "temporary" build was nearing completion. I fell immediately in love with the simplicity of the drive train and the clean, functional overall look.

Here is a photograph of the bike as it was when it first came to me. (After a bit of cleanup and detailing, and the addition of a vintage Carradice bag.)

What is not clearly apparent in the previous photograph is just how beat up the paint had become. With so much bare metal showing, things had progressed well beyond "patina" or beausage!

After stripping and repainting (by Groody Brothers), I initially built the bike up as shown here.  Aside from my distaste for the triple chainrings, I also realized that I had just built up a bike that was redundant - a duplication, in a sense, of another bike in my stable: a comfortable, long distance rider. Hmm, what to do, what to do?

This is how I decided to move forward. 

I prefer the riding position of drop bars, so I kept the rather lovely gold anodized Fiamme Milano bars and stem. The Mafac levers and center pull calipers function precisely and flawlessly, so they also remain. The saddle is a well broken in Brooks Pro, secured by a Campy seat pin. The original Campagnolo headset was rebuilt and re-installed. The front rack is a vintage Jim Blackburn and the rear Carradice is supported by a Bagman "knock off" that I fashioned myself. I added SKS Longboard fenders because I ride a lot, the roads aren't always dry, and bikes you intend to ride should be sensible. Fenders are sensible. The tires are not especially fast, but they are a comfy and bullet proof 700 x 38 size. And with a 42t chainring up front paired to the cog in back I wind up with nearly a perfect gear-inch match to the "normal" and low gears I use 95% of the time on my Boulder Brevet. Ultimately this has become a simpler and much more elegant rider configuration than what I started out to build - and I'm quite happy with the results.

If you're interested, here is a link to a more complete gallery of images, documenting the various components and stages of the build(s).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Evil Twin

Jon sends in some photos and description of a bike he refers to as The Evil Twin.

Late last summer, I moved to an area in South Carolina with an excellent 15-mile bike/jog path system known as the Swamp Rabbit; my big-framed Raleigh DL-1 was the perfect bike for this trail. In fact, I enjoy riding my Tourist on the Rabbit so much that I wondered what it would be like to experience it on a 'path racer' version of the DL-1. A little research revealed that early English path bikes shared much in common with Raleigh's 28" rod-brake roadsters: similar frame geometry, 28" wheel diameter, rear-facing dropouts, front rod brakes and internal-hub 3-speeds. So, as Autumn progressed, I began acquiring parts on eBay, by mail-order and from the local bike shops. By Christmas I had most of the required hardware in hand, much of it from the UK- a Williams 46-tooth chainwheel with cottered cranks, a Sturmey-Archer SC3 3-speed coaster-brake hub with a Sturmey top-bar-mounted lever shift, a set of DL-1 rims, a honey tan Brooks B-17 saddle, cork grips, French Lyotard alloy rat-trap pedals, and a vintage Raleigh stem with an add-on front rod-brake lever to mount on it. The inverted North Road-style handlebars came from a '60's-vintage 26" Raleigh, the tires are new Schwalbe Delta Cruisers and the three-note horn is a NOS Rampar accessory part. I found a decent Tourist frame from Sam Fitzsimmons in Baltimore- late '70's-era judging by the head bracket, which, instead of the "Heron" outline, had a simple hole for a DOT-mandated reflector. I wet-sanded the whole frame down, touched up the chips and scratches with black enamel, polished out the whole thing, and added a set of repro Raleigh Sport stickers to get that vintage vibe. Rims were stripped and powder-coated black. The ranger tan Acorn roll bag gives it a nice period attitude.I did the bolt-on stuff in my apartment, but Joe Badeime at The Great Escape, my LBS, rebuilt the hub, built the wheels and did the final build and adjustment. How's it ride? General handling is much like my big roadster; with a big turning radius and smooth ride, but the unsprung B-17 seat is a little stiffer. The larger crankset means I feel the hills a little more, but in third gear it has long legs. Now I have two DL-1s, Original and Extra Spicy. Because it's more comfortable, I will still ride my "stock" DL-1, but it's a kick to experience a late-1970's bike with path racer genes that go back 60 years earlier.