Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sears Free Spirit "Brittany" deja vu in blue

Hello and Welcome, Last August I restored a blue step through Brittany. Eleven months latter here I am restoring the exact same model bike in the exact same color. Minus the rear rack.
Above: The blue step through lugged frame Brittany that I restored in August 2011.
Above: This ladies bike showed up here when I was knee deep in some other work. I do not have any pics of the entire bike before the restoration. This pic shows the rear wheel, tire and fender struts with the original front tire in the background. I show you this pic to give you an idea of what the front end looked like before I worked on it.
Above: Front wheel after light rust removal and polishing. The struts had some more substantial surface rust. I used a copper scrub pad and med. 420 grit automotive wet sand paper on the struts and a few of the spokes as well. The wheel required very little truing as this bike was put away when it was virtually brand new. One of the indicators that it was stored when still new is the underside of the fenders or mudguards. Absolutely no rust what so ever. They cleaned up like new with a few "Armor All Cleaning Wipes". There were other indicators of the unused condition of this bike I will get to Latter.
Above: I removed the side pull caliper brakes for rust removal and polishing. The cables were replaced although I could have easily justified leaving them alone. But for a couple of bucks I would rather just replace them. Old cables regardless of how they look have a tendency to snap even after being lubricated. The brake shoes were replaced because they had hardened. Again not a big expense, especially if you purchase them in bulk. I like the Jag Wire X Caliper brake shoes (vintage style) that come on a card of 40 or 20 sets.
Above: The original brake shoes are hard as rock, but show no visible wear. Another indicator the bike was put away when it was virtually brand new. Also the gum wall tires, while the side walls are brittle the tread appears to be all there. I discovered a few things that I think probably contributed to the bike being packed away so early in it`s life. I`ll get to that a little latter as well.
Above: While the saddle's cover does not show even the slightest scuff mark, the underside is rusted pretty badly. If only they had found a dryer place to store it. These rusty coil springs did lead to me to coming up with a new rust removal technique.
NOTE: Unfortunately I do not have a "before pic" of the underside of the saddle. I am using this pic only to show the parts that were removed for cleaning / rust removal. Above:First I took the underside of the saddle apart (rails, springs, spreader etc..) Then I removed the rust from the outer surfaces using a fine brass wheel brush on the (low speed) 18 volt rechargeable drill. (safety glasses)
Above: I crammed this copper scrub pad into the inner part of the coil spring. For this part you might want to wear mechanics gloves, a little rough on the skin. I inserted a power screw driver tip into the copper pad. (slotted works best) And while holding the spring by the outer surface only I turned on the driver rotating the pad inside the coil spring. As you can see, it pushes the pad to one end. So you will need to do this from the opposite end of the spring as well. It was much quicker than the sand paper method I used last time around.
Above: Although some of the rust was too deep to remove leaving a shiny surface, it is still about 98% better than it was. I think this bicycle cruiser sprung saddle has many good useful years left in it.
Above: To remove the handlebar grips first I tilt the stand so the soapy water will flow down into the grip. I used a small slotted screwdriver to "Carefully" pry open a spot to add the mixture of dish soap and water. (mostly dish soap) If you do this very carefully, you can remove the grips without damaging them. I just dip my fingers in a bowl and let the mixture run off my hand. I guess you could use a turkey baster or syringe if need be. I had planned from the beginning to use cork handlebar grips which I install with hardening gasket sealer smeared inside the grips before sliding them onto the bars.(this will hold them firmly in place) I then coated the cork twice with amber Shellack using a small paint brush (about 2" wide). I use a small piece of cardboard held in my other hand to catch any drippings.
Above: The surface rust on the touring brake levers was removed easily using the fine brass wheel brush on the 18 volt rechargeable drill/driver. (safety glasses) One of the cork grips was slightly split. The hardening gasket sealer took care of that just fine. I kept the small split facing downward just in case it was noticeable. (it was not) Then the two coats of Shellack sealed it up from the outside as well.
Above: The rear derailleur was an easy clean up. First a quick spray and brush using the White Lightning Clean Streak. Then after wiping it off, a little brass brushing on the chrome. Then a little polish on the chrome parts and she is good as new. The rear wheel only required some Turtle Wax "Chrome Polish and Rust Remover" then a little touch up with the brass brush. The spokes got cleaned with Armor All wipes and a few were lightly sanded as well. The free wheel only required a little spray and cleaning between the gears with a rag "shoe shine" style. I also added a little oil to the free wheel holding the wheel flat and spinning the free wheel by hand. And adding a few drops of oil to the seam where the free wheel spins on it`s axis. If you have the freewheel facing upwards the oil should work its way in no problem. You should be able to feel the freewheel spinning easier as the oil works it's way in. Then just wipe off the excess.
Above: A shot of the rear wheel and derailleur and free-wheel all cleaned up. The rear fender struts also had some surface rust which I removed using the copper scrub pad along with a little sanding and brass brushing. And as always on this style bike I installed a new set of Kenda 26 x 1 - 3/8 HP Gum Walls I also replaced the inner tubes(schrader valve) with fresh Kenda's as well.
Above: The front derailleur was the same story as the rear. Just a quick spray and brush with the White Lightning. Then a quick wipe down and a little brass brushing. And finally a wee bit of Turtle Wax Chrome Polish & Rust Remover. They should all be this easy!
Above: A pic of the cotter pin crank set. Unfortunately those rusty bolt heads are fake, they are actually rivets. But fortunately the crank set was not "all that bad" and cleaned up fine without breaking down the chain rings. Had they been bad I would have had to break out the Q Tips. (which I have been known to do)
Above: The road crank set finished. A few more other good indicators of this bike being put away new are the following, the block pedals. After cleaning the metal parts with Turtle Wax Chrome Polish I scrubbed the blocks with hand soap using a fingernail brush. The rubber blocks look new and show no wear at all. Everything looks sharp and not rounded off at all. Also the individual sprocket and chain ring teeth show no wear what so ever. Not rounded off in the least, still sharp like new. There was no need to degrease the bearings and cups. They were wiped off clean with a rag, then re greased and put right back in place. As I mentioned before, They should all be this easy.
Above: The threaded head set was the same story. Break it down, wipe it off then re grease and re assemble. I really deserved an easy one after the Rusty Raleigh Sprite and the Raleigh Teton Mountain Tour projects. The Trek 330 I am doing now is almost as easy as this one was too! But that is another day.
Above: The stem and touring handlebars cleaned up beautifully with just the slightest amount of pitting on the handlebars. For this I mostly used the copper scrub pads and the Turtle Wax chrome Polish and Rust Remover. I did use the wheel brush on the stem bolt and the wedge nut. And maybe a little on the handlebars and stem as well. The head set parts got a little brushing as well.
Above: This pic really shows just how pristine the inner bicycle fenders are. All I did was wipe the inner fender off with a couple of Armor All Cleaning Wipes. The only problem I found was the mount screw that holds the top of the fender in place at the cross brace was loose. This caused the fender to rub the rear tire. This along with the front and rear axle cones being set much too tight is why I think this bike was "parked" in the first place. I thought to myself, "This bike must have been a nightmare to ride". It really annoys me to think that, the improper assembly of this bike might have turned this person off to cycling altogether. I mean this might have been their first exposure to cycling. And what a lousy first impression that must have been.
Above: I found this old Pletscher kickstand on the shop floor, it looked pretty nasty. I decided to try and clean it up with the wheel brush. I did this because this bike had one of those old dime store kickstands. The crappy ones that you really did have to kick! (hence the name) As I was cleaning up this old Pletscher stand I found on the side of the bottom mount plate these words "Made in West Germany". Now that is what I call an upgrade! And to think this crappy looking old stand almost got tossed in the wheelie bin. Ok! That is about everything I was able to photograph. Here are some pics of the finished project.
Above: A shot of the drive side and my wife's flowerbed. No worries, the flowers did eventually get watered.
Above: A close up of the twice shellacked cork handlebar grips
Above: A pic from high in the front
Above: A close up of the stem mount shifters (New Jag Wire shift cables as well)
Above: A little closer from the front right
Above: A really cool shot of the rear brake. Well this is the part where I realize I do not have any pics taken from the left side of the bike. LTMS.... Maybe they will send me one via e mail, as I do not know how to download pics from my phone.
Above: Coming Soon! TREK 330 Restoration AND Hugh (me) enters the 21st Century!!! Until next time Please RIDE SAFE and Remember to always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE Cheers, Hugh
A sincere Thank You to those of you who have been using or just checking out "Hugh's Online Bike Shop". It is pretty well stocked now and it is getting a little more organized every day. If you have not visited it yet and would like to. The link is in the top right column just below the Followers. Also I have been adding "word links" to most of the products and components mentioned in the blog posts. This will make it even easier to shop while visiting the blog. Just like "Hugh's Online Bike Shop" the word links are powered by Thanks for your continued support. Cheers, Hugh

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Raleigh Teton Mountain Tour restoration.

Hello and Welcome, About a month ago a friend asked me if I would be interested in restoring his son's vintage mountain bike. I had already seen the bike and remembered thinking it sure would clean up nice with that chrome frame. So of course I said yes.
Above: Rust on chrome does not photograph well. So you will have to trust me on this one, the surface rust was everywhere. Here I had stuck one of my salvaged wheels on the front but soon decided not to use it. Also I put a Tempo Z1 Bicycle Saddle on to see how it looked and decided I would pass on that as well.
Above: I really do not like restoring bikes that have been left out in the weather. As a rule they always have unseen or unexpected problems. This bike was no exception to that rule. On the up side, it does have one of my all time favorite crank sets the Shimano 3 Speed Crankset (Bio-Pace) . I installed these vintage West German made pedals to see how they look. These I did use after some clean up. That plastic water bottle cage is gonna have to go for sure.
Above: Although rusty I am going to try to refurbish the MTB handlebars. I like to call this style handlebar and stem unit The Flying V. And the thumb shifters are the most trouble free shifters I have ever used. You can have the twist the grip shifters, I`ll take these any day. There were no grips to speak of. In place of grips, the grip areas were taped-up hockey stick style. Not real comfortable, but it got the job done. For a while anyway.
Above: Here I have trued and cleaned up the rear wheel and hub. I also cleaned-up and sanded "some" of the spokes. I also re greased the axle bearings. But something in there did not feel right to me. And I was about to notice something that I somehow missed.
Above: Sprocket or gear # 4 is missing 3 teeth in a row! I am going to blame this oversight on the heat wave and bad lighting. All I can say is, how could I clean this free-wheel (scrape spray and brush) and not see that? And it is about to get even better!
Above: I tried to get this 5 speed freewheel (on the left) to break loose and it just would not budge. It would seem Mother Nature has worked her magic on this freewheel. And I suspect a lack of assembly grease contributed to this problem as well. It was time to give someone younger and stronger a shot at it. Thanks to Daniel at Cycle Therapy in Waterford Mi for getting the job done. He was just about to give up and then it it broke loose. You can clearly see how the slots for the removal tool are elongated. That is from from the extreme amount of pressure it took to break that bad boy loose. Good work Daniel! Earlier after I removed the axle I could see it had a slight bend and one of the cones looked a little scored. So I went to see Joe at American Cycle and Fitness in Pontiac Mi. I knew if anyone had the axle and cones I needed in stock it would be Joe. He had everything I needed So I purchased the new axle and cones/spacers and a fresh set of bearings. Joe pointed out to me that the modern spacer is a little wider and I should reuse the old one. Although they looked identical when I placed them side by side I used the old one anyway. I`m not about to question his judgement.
Above: Here I am installing the new (and straight) bicycle rear axle, cones, spacers and bearings. The replacement Free Wheel (salvaged) is a Sun Tour Perfect jut like the original except it is a 6 Speed freewheel instead of a 5. This I have done before with no problem. I just removed the pie plate and adjusted the derailleur and it works perfectly. I do not think it would have been such an easy fix with index shifting. But with friction shifters and derailleurs "No Problem".
Above: I am jumping way ahead with this pic, but there it is looking and working fine. The rear derailleur was really dirty. As I scraped the crud off the inward side of the lower Jockey wheel, it came of looking like a worm. As always I used White Lightning Clean Streak and a good brush and a few paper towels.
Above: Here I have removed the crank set, taken it apart and cleaned and polished each piece. The picture pretty much tells the rest of that story.
Above: Although it is hard to tell from this picture, the bottom bracket and shell were in good shape. And both cleaned up nicely using the clean Streak and brush. I believe this pic shows all the tools needed to take the bracket and crank set apart.
Above: The bottom bracket and crank set reassembled and looking pretty good. At this point I had not yet touched the front derailleur and still had plenty of rust removal to do.
Above: Here is the front derailleur cleaned and polished. This is my pot and strainer I use for de-greasing small parts. I stuff the pot with dirty paper towels when I am spraying the parts. I also use a parts brush to speed up the cleaning process. And brushing conserves the de-greaser as well. white Lightning Clean Streak is a citrus based parts cleaner.
Above: The threaded headset rebuild went well but has since been problematic. I have done a bunch of these, but this one just will not stay tight. But no worries, I have done some research and come up with a couple of possible solutions. One cheaper the other a little more expensive but more likely to be a success I think. So look for that post in the near future. I will say this though, I think the problem "might" have been caused by the rider continuing to ride the bike when the head set was very sloppy (loose). However we have not talked about it yet, so I will reserve judgement. But that does not really matter. What does matter is that I get the damn thing working properly. Those of you who visit the Face Book page may have seen already what I am considering for a fix. I am hoping for some positive feedback from the Face Book page. Onward and upward!
Above: One thing Steve (the owner) was looking for in this restoration was comfort. He wanted a comfortable saddle that was not too big. The perfect solution the WTB Speed V Comp saddle one of my all time favorites! This saddle has worked out great for Steve.
Above: Another concern Steve had was the grips. Very understandable after using the hockey stick tape. I told Steve "I don`t think they make a more comfortable grip than these Specialized Ergo grips". He is very pleased with the grips and the saddle. The brake levers being replaced was mostly cosmetic. Although these Shimano MTB brake levers lighter and have adjustable reach as well. So they are definitely quite an improvement. I was able to clean up the thumb shifters. Had I replaced them, I would have installed the same type. Basic, simple and reliable... what else do you really need?
Above: Never mind the rusty spokes. This front wheel was actually in pretty good shape. First: It is straight and needed very little truing. Second the axle is straight. Third the cups bearings and races are in excellent condition and only needed cleaning and fresh grease. I think you get the idea.
Above: The front wheel after a little TLC. I sanded and cleaned the spokes. I removed the axle and bearings and cleaned and re greased everything. I trued the wheel and replaced a couple of spokes with spokes of the same size and thickness. I polished the outside of the hub and flanges. Also cleaned up the outer axle and spacers. And I cleaned up the rim as well.
Above : As for the brakes I replaced the cables and housings with new Jag Wire Basics brake cables. I also replaced the straddle cables with new Dia Compe. I switched the hanger to a simpler design (unmarked). The brake shoes I replaced with new Avenir shoes. Avenir is a Raleigh accessory company. I cleaned up the caliper arm mounting bolt heads with the wheel brush. One of the return springs was bent, but it was not difficult to bend it back into shape. Also both the front and rear reflector mount brackets were badly rusted. So I replaced them with some "like new" salvaged ones.
Above: I had to cut the hole longer in the reflector mount bracket so the brake cable could pass through unimpeded. I used a flat file to do this using the existing hole sides for a guide working both sides towards the front. The file cut through this much faster than I thought it would. As you can see, some of the rust on the handlebars was too deep to be good after rust removal. But I will most likely be replacing the bars as part of the head set fix anyway.
Above: I cleaned up and installed my old Cannondale wedge tool bag for the restoration including a patch kit and some basic tools. Latter I added a new Schwinn frame mount pump and a new Ze'Fal bicycle light set. So far no pics of those. I`ll take more picks when I do the headset fix next week. Also I added a New Ze'Fal water bottle cage. As some of you know I really like the Ze'Fal water bottle cage design and use it often.
Above: Here is a shot of those vintage West German touring pedals all cleaned up. And the new chain as well.
Above: This shot really shows the kind of rust I was dealing with. As you can see the original reflector mount bracket was way beyond saving.
Above: A shot that shows how bad some of the surface rust was on the frame. Only the high quality of the original chrome work made this frame saveable. Well Done! Raleigh of America.
Above: Finally some pics of the finished project (less frame pump and lights)
Well that is all I have for now. Until next time, Please RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE!! Cheers,Hugh P.S. I am going to publish this tonight and proof read it tomorrow. So Please excuse the typos and mistakes. They will be taken care of eventually. Hell it`s not like you come here to learn to spell...Cheers
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