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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.