Friday, August 26, 2011

"Free Spirit" Brittany 12 Speed Ladies Bicycle Sold by Sears and Roebuck 1986

Hello and Welcome,
This bike has made two appearances on the blog already. I thought some of you might want to see what became of it. I will not go into detail about the rust removal since we already covered that part. Left Click on Pics to Enlarge. Click on Back(<)Button to Return.

Above: A before pic of the Brittany. It is amazing how kind the camera is to a bicycle. The surface rust is barely visible in this photograph. While the rust was not very bad, it was pretty much everywhere.
Judging by the "lack of wear" on these original tires, I would guess this bike saw very little action. There are other indicators that you will see as we move on.
Above: As usual I start with the Bottom-Bracket and Crank. If you blow this pic up you can see a little bicycle engraved into the bracket along with the number 10. Also there is an arrow pointing towards the drive side. I have never seen this before. I imagine this was done for the assembly workers. It should be a 12, as this is a 12 speed and not a 10 speed. But a good idea just the same.
Above: I realize that 99% of you probably already know this. This is for the other 1%. The reason they call it "packing the bearings" is You don`t just smear grease on the bearings, You pack the area surrounding the bearings with grease.(as seen in the above pic)
Above: The drive-side bearing is in place with the exposed bearing surfaces facing out ward. Since the drive-side cup is already in place I will add a little extra grease to the outer surface before inserting it into the bracket shell. Notice I have coated the entire bracket with grease to protect it from corrosion.
The excess grease will be wiped-off before mounting the crank/arm.
Above: As some of you have (that I have heard from)I am making using the Teflon on the cup threads part of my routine. Why wait until it creaks? It makes sense to me too!
Above: Being this crank is chrome plated steel I used the Turtle-Wax Chrome Polish and Rust Remover and a little brass brushing as well. I removed the ring guard and small chain-ring for cleaning and polishing. I could have gotten away without doing that on this one. But it is always better to take it apart if you can.
Above: I did not take any pics of the Headset re-build. However if you are interested in seeing that. I did take some pics of that on the Men`s Brittany.
I will make it a point to cover that when I post the men`s Brittany.
At this point we are ready for some tires, pedals and a chain.
Above: This is important! The first set of numbers indicate the tires size, in this case 26 inch x 1 & 3/8 inch. But the second set of numbers is just as important. They are the I.S.O. numbers. In this case 37-590. The second set of numbers have to do with the inside diameter of the tire. If you have a tire that blows off the rim (modern) when inflated chances are the I.S.O. number might be incorrect. I have noticed this has to be watched carefully especially with 26 inch road tires.(37-590 vs 37-597) And also with some of the cheaper 27 x 1&1/4 inch tires. In particular cheaper tires sold at hardware and department stores. So watch the ISO numbers carefully and you will save yourself a lot of grief.
Above: I have centered the valve stem to the the inflation info on the sidewall.
Normally if there is a tag on the tire`s sidewall, I will center the valve stem to the tag. And make sure the tags both face the drive-side of the bike. It just looks more professional. But if there is no tag I center the valve to the inflation info. I actually picked this up from a reader. Never too old to learn something new.
Above: I decided to go with the classic style Greenfield kick-stand. A huge improvement over the department store kick-stand that was on the bike when I found it. As for the Wicker Basket it is a Schwinn detachable basket. I like these because the bracket keeps the basket out in front of the handlebars leaving ample room to route the brake cables. The stem-mounted shifters presented another problem. The lower adjustable brace that zip-ties to the head-tube spread-out the shift cables a little too much. To remedy this I disconnected the cables and re-routed them through the brace. And to clear the stem-mounted shifters I had to pitch the basket a little. I would have preferred it to be level.
Above: I wanted to get rid of this little paint chip on the down-tube. Not a horrible chip, just in a really bad spot. So instead of trying to match the paint, I decided to modify the pin-stripe piping a little.
Above: I cut an appropriate length piece of 3M Plastic Trim and Repair Tape. Then place it on a non adhesive surface, like this cover of the Blue Book of Bicycle Repair. (The usefulness of this book knows no bounds!) Then using a straight edge and a razor knife I cut a new pin-stripe. Then I used the knew piece to modify the piping to hide the paint-chip.

Above: Not bad :) Then to maintain a balanced look, I added a stripe to the opposite end. I had to stop working for the day after that. Seems I pulled a muscle patting myself on the back.

Above: I had plenty of extra Jag-Wire white cable housing left-over from the Parliament. So I decided to "Girl it up" a little more. Also I found the blue lever covers on a Schwinn Continental (go figure) and thought they might Girl it up even a more.
A view of the rear. There was a small but stubborn dent on the back fender, right where an English classic would have a reflector. So now it does, end of problem.
Sometimes it is better to eliminate a problem that a repair might make even more noticeable. Of course this only works if the dent is in the correct spot. This is the second time I have done the reflector thing to hide a defect or damage. And anything that makes the bike more visible at night (and looks correct) can only be a good thing.

Above: It`s a good idea to file the sharp edge off after trimming the kick-stand to proper length.
Until Next Time..Please Ride Safe and Remember to Always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE!

Friday, August 19, 2011

GIANT "Attraction" finished

Hello and Welcome, It seems like I have been all over the place lately with the restorations and other posts. But in reality, that is exactly how it happens in the shop. When I am waiting for parts to arrive I normally jump into another project. Sometimes I can finish a complete restoration project while waiting for a special order to arrive. When I last posted about the Giant (including the rust-removal post) We had finished the bottom bracket and crank. The headset was rebuilt and I had cleaned-up the brakes. Oh yes and we had a seat-post. And I believe I had done some work on the wheel-set. So I will try to pick it up from there.
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Above: The Shimano rear derailleur all cleaned-up and be re-mounted. The derailleur is in good shape. But honestly, I would have expected something a little nicer on a Giant.
Above: The front derailleur all cleaned-up and mounted. The chain I used is not new, but is in excellent condition. I cleaned and lubed the chain and it is running smoothly through the rear gears and jockey wheels. I used White-Lightning "Clean-Streak" on the derailleurs and will lube them with Tri-Flo.
Above: I went with a Phat tire. These are 26 x 2.125 Cruiser Tires. These are not Kenda they are C.S. They appear to be the exact same tread pattern as the Kenda. I think they might use the same mold. I went with black-walls because I liked the way the black-walls looked on the Black Ross High-Tech I overhauled for a friend a while back. Don`t let the "knobby looking" tread pattern fool you, These babies roll smooth.
Above: Look closely and you can see the original rear axle is bent. The pie-plate was yellowed and brittle. I could hear the plastic cracking as I tried to remove it. So I promptly tossed it in the wheelie-bin. (a garbage can with wheels) I just happened to have a matching axle in stock. Yah gotta get lucky once in a while!
Above: I must admit, It does look better without the pie-plate. The replacement axle is actually a hair shorter. I think it looks better "nearly flush" with the axle-nuts. Note the new Jag-Wire derailleur cable. I did re-use the housing, it was in fine condition. (no cracks/no rust) The wheel polished-up nicely (after brushing) and looks good with the new phat tire. (all the cables were eventually replaced with new Jag-Wire cables)
Above: An "out of focus" shot of the new jag-wire brake shoes. I think the Jag-Wire logo looks real cool. Next time I`ll try to get a better shot.
I swapped the shifters for a nearly identical set (actually a little nicer) off a parts bike. One of the originals was cracked. The right (rear) shifter can be switched to friction. And I think That is Great! Especially with a cheaper rear derailleur. The Velo Ergonomic Gel Grips are very comfortable. And as you will see, are a good match with the saddle. They are also the same combination I used on the Nishiki "Garbage Day Rescue" bike.
Above: A shot of the Velo Tempo Z1 Saddle. The saddle and grips are both very affordable and both very comfortable as well. Note the ZeFal tail light mounted on the seat-post, which is set a little low. This bike is a little tall but still very comfortable for me.
I went with two Ze'Fal water-bottle cages. I can go through one bottle of water very quickly this time of year. At 7.99 a pop it is not a huge expense. I have seen these at Walmart, K Mart and Miejer`s and at my LBS. And they do also match the gray and black saddle and grips. (not intentional)
I also made another last minute change and added these dual-sport pedals with old fashion toe-clips and straps. I don`t care what you call them, but I do not like plastic pedals. Except maybe on a child`s tricycle.
Above: So here is the finished project, I think it came-out pretty good. That is the same Ze'fal light set I have been using lately. You can find these for under 20.00 U.S.(if you shop around a little) I use them more as "be seen" lights, as I do not normally ride after dark or before sun-rise.
Above: The Giant Attraction shown from the left side. I also installed a new Greenfield kickstand. I have had to purchase a few kickstands lately. It seems my supply of quality "salvaged kick-stands" is exhausted.
Above: A front-left view of the bike. I`m going to have trouble pricing this one.
I may offer it at one price including lights and two cages, and a lesser price with no lights and one cage. Or I may add a rear rack and front mud-guard and offer it up as another Urban Commuter. I really hate this part. I wish I could keep them all or give them all away. But this rescue and recycling thing has to pay for itself.
Well that just about covers it for this restoration. While I was waiting for the tires to arrive I worked on the bike I used in the rust-removal post. It came out
really sweet. I knew it was going to be a nice little bike when finished, but it has surpassed my wildest expectations. Also all that is left to do on the Parliament is to replace the rear wheel with the refurbished original. And also do the paint touch-up. Coming up with a price for that one is going to be a nightmare.
Above: The last preview of the Parliament before I finish it. I really mean it this time..LTMS
Until Next Time, Ride Safe and Remember to Always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE
Cheers, Hugh

Monday, August 15, 2011

Removing Surface Rust using Brass Brushes

Hello and Welcome, There may be no more important tools in my shop/garage than my selection of Brass Brushes. I have known about using (fine) brass brushes to minimize scratching to chrome for a long time. So long in fact, I do not remember who taught me that. I suspect it was my father. I can remember him using brass-wool on an old Winchester 32/40 half round in about 1968. The barrel of the old Winny had been shortened in about 1905. So cleaning off the old patina at that point really did not matter.

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Above: Removing the surface rust from a chrome seat post using a fine brass wheel-brush mounted on a 18 volt rechargeable drill. Originally I used a 4&1/2 inch angle grinder with a brass wheel brush. But the drill being much slower seems to be mimic hand brushing the chrome better than the high-speed grinder.
And the drill is also much safer, a lot less brass frag flying around.
Above: After brushing I used the Turtle-Wax Chrome Polish and Rust Remover. Then I touch it up with the brush then buff (again) with a rag. As you can see the old seat-post really pops now!
Above: As you can see, the brass brushes come in a variety of sizes. I mainly use the wheel-brush and the detail brush (smaller wood handle brush). But on deeper or heavier rust, I`ll use the bigger hand brushes as well. I also have a tiny brass brush attachment for my Dremel type tool. But honestly I don`t use it much.
Above: Pedals are where the brushes really shine. The wheel-brush will do most of the work. But the detail brush is a must for the inner surfaces.
Above: The same two pedals after brushing and polishing. I also used the Turtle Wax Chrome Polish and Rust remover on these.
Above: Sometimes it is something as simple as this seat-post collar bolt and nut. As you can see it looks pretty shabby.
Above: The same collar bolt and nut after just a few minutes with the brass wheel-brush. It is the details that will take your restorations to the next level. What a great chemical free way to clean-up a nasty looking small part.
Above: A section close-up of a handlebar from a bike I am currently restoring. This is a perfect job for the brass wheel-brush. I sometimes leave the stem attached and use it like a handle. This also allows me to leave the vintage grips alone. Thats a big plus when the grips are in excellent condition.
Above: The same handlebars after brushing and polishing. I was able to loosen the brake levers, slide them out of the way. Then after brushing, polishing and buffing the area I just slide them back into place. I was also able to wheel -brush the levers while they remained on the handlebars as well. And of course the whole assembly got the Turtle Wax treatment too. I did remove the shifters for cleaning and polishing.
Above: A close-up of a section of the front wheel on the same ladies bike I am restoring now. (along with the Giant and the Parliament) I hand brushed these rims. I think it is easier to damage the rims with the wheel-brush attachment. And when the rims are boarder-line as to being savable or not, the hand brush just works better for me. I am more likely to use the wheel-brush on a higher quality chrome steel wheel. (like an old Schwinn) This wheel belongs to a Free-Spirit.
Above: The front wheel after brass brushing and polishing with Turtle-Wax. The fender struts were also brushed and polished as were the hubs and flanges. The spokes were cleaned (one at a time) with Armor-All cleaning wipes.(twice) A few of the spokes might get touched-up latter with fine wet sanding paper. Any spokes that get sanded will also get polished with spray detailing wax on a rag.
Above: Probably the most important part of this post. I position a fan to blow the dust away as I am brushing. I also have a exhaust fan in the gable that comes on automatically when the lights are turned on. I position the fan so that it blows the dust in the general direction of the exhaust fan. The floor fan does not have to be set on high, mine is usually on low. I know this works well because I have Asthma. If it did not work I would be the first to notice.
Above: The rack and struts and saddle springs. 25 years of storage has left them with a light coat of surface rust. Not bad at all considering.
Above: The same area after brushing and polishing. The rack and saddle were removed for brushing. I took the saddle hardware apart (except the springs) for brushing as well.
Above: A before shot of the rear brake caliper. The brake calipers were removed for brushing and polishing too.
Above: An after shot of the rear brake caliper. I did not take these calipers apart completely. First I scrapped the old brake shoes. Then I just released the return spring and brushed them with the detail brass brush. Then I polished the calipers with Turtle-Wax.
Above: I Do Not Brush Alloy Components. These calipers were removed, taken-apart and cleaned and Polished with Mother`s Mag and Aluminum Polish. Mothers works on straddle cables too.

I hope you found something useful here. The Giant is pretty much finished, I will be posting it soon. Also, about the Parliament. I just had the original rear hub serviced by my friend Joe in Pontiac Mi. He is the only one who still had the correct removal tool for the free-wheel. He has been at the bike shop for as long as I was in Masonry, which is about 32 years. He has been a big help to me on more than one occasion. So if your ever over near Wide-Track and Perry in Pontiac Mi. stop in and say hello. There are not many around like Joe anymore. He reminds me of the guys at Powers Schwinn in RoyalOak Mi about 45 years ago.

Until Next Time, Ride Safe and Remember to Always.. RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE

Friday, August 12, 2011

GIANT "Attraction" Re-Assembling the Bottom Bracket and the Three Piece Crank

Hello and Welcome. The heat-wave has finally passed and things are now returning to normal. Unfortunately I had to keep the outside work to a minimum while it was hot. So this week I have been busy getting the property cleaned-up. I did manage to get some shop/garage time in this week as well.
Above: The parts are de greased and ready for re-greasing and assembly. Pictured are the bracket, the drive side bearing cartridge (by itself) and the left side cup and bearing cartridge together. Also shown are the lock-ring and the crank-arm retainer nuts. I used the White-Lightning "Clean-Streak" to clean these up. I used my home made parts cleaning station. Notice: The drive-side of the bracket is longer than the left side. Sometimes the difference is not this noticeable. Might be best to mark the drive side end of the bracket.
Above: My home-made small parts cleaning station. Basically a cheap pot and strainer. I place dirty paper towels in the bottom of the pot, that speeds up the evaporation or drying process of the cleaner. It will evaporate by it self, but it does smell bad. This way I can dump the mess into a trash-can right away and be rid of the stink. There is never a shortage of dirty paper towels around here.
Above: The first thing I like to do is smear some grease on the drive-side cup which is still in-place.
Above: Now I lightly grease the bracket itself including the middle part to protect it from corrosion. After I grease the bearings I slide the drive-side bearing onto the drive side end of the bracket so that the exposed bearings surface are facing the cup (or out-wards). After I insert the bracket I turn it a few times to make sure the drive-side bearings are rotating smoothly inside the drive-side cup. Now that I know everything is feeling smooth I pack the left side bearing cartridge with grease and slide it onto the bracket with the exposed bearing surface facing out. (as seen above)
Above: Now I grease the inside of the left-side bearing cup. I slip the cup into place and thread it into place turning it clock-wise. But before I do that I have something else I want to do.
Above: Before I screw or thread the cup into place I wrap it once (counter-clock-wise) with Teflon Tape. If it were loose I could wrap it two or three times
without a problem. And I would also cover the entire threaded surface if I was not not convinced the threads were tight enough. But in this case it is being done to improve the seal and prevent possible creaking. The reason I wrap the tape counter clock-wise is so that as I thread the cup in (clock-wise) the tape will not bind up.
Above: Just like a head-set I tighten the cup until I feel the bearings grind a little, then back it off a hair. Also just like a head-set I don`t want to feel any grind or play. Note: It may never feel quite as smooth as the head-set, these are larger bearings. Once I am satisfied that is is not too tight or too loose, it is time to thread the lock-ring into place. Notice: I hold the threaded cup in position with a wrench while tightening the lock-ring. This will prevent me from accidentally over tightening the bearing cup.
Above: Here I have wiped-off the excess grease and I am now ready to install the left side crank-arm. Look closely and you will see some of the Teflon has made it`s way to the outer edge of the threads.
Above: I have slid the left side crank-arm into place. It will not slide on all the way. It`s ok, that is what the retainer nut is for. I normally start the retainer nut by hand to ensure it is not cross-threaded.
Above: Pretend my left hand is on the crank arm (it is actually holding the camera) this helps me get more leverage while tightening the retainer nut. Quick-Tip: Do not use an extension on the ratchet and do not use a deep or long socket. Keeping the set-up short will make it easier to keep the socket on the nut when tightening. After this, just screw the center dust cap into place and you are finished. (on this side anyway)
You might want to turn the bike around on the rack now. The chain-ring or crank side goes on the same way. Only one problem, this crank is a mess. I`ll have to take it apart for a good cleaning.
Above: The chain-rings cleaned-up easily using bio de greaser (the green stuff). I noticed a slight dent or bend in the bash-guard. No worries the chain-ring guard is thin and should be easy to straighten out.
Above: The chain-ring re-assembled and mounted, look at that baby spin! That went real well, or so it seemed. Once I got a chain on it, I found that not only was the bash-guard bent. The whole unit was bent. It kept throwing the chain right off the big chain-ring. Oh brother! What happened was this. The original chain was rusted badly. So I cut it off and tossed it and never spun the crank to see if it was straight. "My Bag" Well Thank God I never throw any good part away. I had another generic crank "same size" ready to go.
The replacement 3 piece crank works fine. It could use a little touch up on the flat satin black paint. I want to dig around first and see if I have a nicer 3 piece crank stashed around here somewhere. If not, then maybe I will re-paint it.
Above: This is me using the brass wheel-brush attachment on the rechargeable drill to clean-up the seat-post. I`m going to do a post in the next day or two about the brass wheel brush and how wonderful it works. After which I will post the finished project. Yes it is finished. And I think you are going to like it.
But right now it is late and I`m dog tired. So till next time RIDE SAFE and Remember to always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE !
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