Sunday, September 07, 2008

1956 Raleigh Sports project bicycle build, tear down!

When rebuilding or restoring an old bike one of the first things you need is a good working area and place for storage. You need a dedicated shelf or box to put every little piece you take off the bike. You'll be saving yourself a ton of time and headache medication from looking around for stuff later on. Keep everything for now. Even though you might think you won't use a certain part, you just don't know what might happen down the road.

This is especially true about custom jobs like the one I am attempting. Tearing down the bike was pretty straight forward. I removed the wheels, fenders, chain, brake calipers and cables. These parts were not going back on the bike. I then removed all the brackets, seat, seat post and handle bar. These went on the storage shelf. I was left with the frame, bottom bracket assembly with cranks and the fork assembly.

I removed the fork from the frame and I was very happy to find that the bearings and cups were in decent shape. These old bikes did not hold the bearings in crowns. They have all individual bearing balls. One must prepare for such a thing when dismantling a fork. Lay down a blanket on the floor or a big empty bucket because these little suckers will fly all over the place. Reassembly is pretty straight forward, make sure you have the same number of bearing balls on top and at the bottom of the fork head set. Lay down some grease in the top cup on the frame and on the bottom one of the fork. Insert each ball bearing, grease the cup under the frame and on the one you screw on the top of the fork. Carefully insert the fork and be ready to screw it in right away. Did I mention that this was a bit of a messy job? It is. :)

I was also going to repack the bottom bracket with grease. But this one is equiped with cotter pin crank arms. In order to remove these, you must hit the cotter pin out. I partly removed the nut on the cotter pins and whacked them 2 or 3 times with a hammer on each side...nothing happened. No movement at all. That's the way of the cotter pin crank, it's a 50/50 chance that they are seized every time you need to remove them. The only other way for me to remove them is to drill out the pin. Now I am on a time limit for this build and the bottom bracket seems fine. No looseness anywhere and the thing cranks over pretty smoothly. So I decided to let it be.

Next step was to go over the frame with a Scotchbrite pad dipped in soap water to remove some house paint splashes and to generally clean the frame before applying a coat of clear lacquer all over the original finish. I also cleaned the chrome parts with a steel wool dipped in Mother's polishing cream. Another part that required some attention was the seat. The Brooks B66 leather saddle was not in bad shape, but the hide was starting to become a bit dry. It was wipped with Dubbin at least four times. The result was pretty good.

Next I located a stem and handle bar in my pile of parts. I really don't like the riding position of the original. Now that the frame is ready, it's time to figure out if those new parts fit on the frame...and that's for next time.

For more info on a complete bike tear down, including fork removal, consult my blog on the subject: http://bikeoverhaul

I bought two lights for the bike so that now sets the spend-o-meter at $21 CDN.

Til next time, ride safe and Godspeed.

Gerry :)


Ken Davidson said...

Good stuff. Keep it coming.

Your philosophy of 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' and 'just good enough is good enough' suits me down to the ground.

I'm developing an old Raleigh 20 folder, to be a bike Friday with BMX wheels. Not for me replacing the BB with expensive Phil Woods stuff and the like - it's now got a cotterless crank from a later Raleigh, and I doubled up two bearing races at one end to take up the slack. Not excellent engineering, but not too shabby either! (It'll be a low miler so...)

Now I've got to either conjur up some DIY drop bolts to get brakes that actually work - or delve into the quagmire that is brazing, to get some V brakes on the thing. Maybe not.

I await the next episode of 1956 Raleigh Sports with keen interest!

Gerry Lauzon said...

Glad to see that I am not alone in my way of thinking. If you want V-Brakes on the back, you can use the bracket from a cheap suspension fork that you can bolt to the frame. Looks bulky, but doesn't require welding. I've done so in the past and it works pretty good.

Gerry :)

Vic Val said...

A quick tip for removing cotter pins...Remove the nut and take off the washer. Spray cotter pin with lots of silicone spray. Replace the nut and position it one or two millimetres from its tightened position. Position the crank so that it is at 6 o'clock. Using the heaviest hammer you can, give it an almighty smack. I have only failed in one of these attempts out of ten or so. Cheers, Vic

Ken Davidson said...

Thanks Gerry, though it's the front where I want the brake: on the basis that if I'm gonna have one brake I want it on the wheel where all the load is going to go under braking. The drop at front is more than 80mm, the rear is 100+mm!! I've seen V-brake bracket kits, that use 'jubilee' clips to attach to the forks - great place for chaffing and rust to start. I'm going to dry a dual-pivot sidepull with a drop bolt, or I could change the front fork and stem like so many seem to do. Aaaah, but the cost! ;)

Gerry Lauzon said...

Vic, thanks for the great tip, I'll be sure to try it out. I knew, if not why, that it worked better by wacking it at the 6 o'clock position, but never considered the silicone. Ken, just slap on a cheap rigid mtb fork with brake bosses on then. You could install V-Brakes right away.

Gerry :)

trebor58 said...

That V brake seems ok but can I suggest using a dual pivot brake on the front they have excellent braking on alloy rims and good on steel rims.
Depending on pads used you may lockup front wheel so test accordingly

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