c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

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c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:16 pm

I am the new custodian of a Bullock single speed/fixed road bike. It has been in the same family since new, c1932.
The daughter of the original purchaser has agreed to provide a written recollection of her father and his much loved bike, and the purchase date will be confirmed.
It is my intention to conserve the bike, and return any replaced parts to original.
The next step will be to fully dismantle, inspect and clean, reassemble and replace tyres and tubes. Spokes will probably be replaced as well.
It will only be ridden on nice sunny days.
I am aware that the seat needs replacing, so a tensioned leather seat will be selected. The brake lever was put back on the bars so it didn't flop around. The bike had another stem/bars on it, with the original bar and stem installed stored with the bike. There is no clear evidence that this brake lever was mounted on these bars. The current brake has been modified in the past to accept some modern brake pads.

Should you need further photos to help in any advice, please ask.

I am seeking informed advice on
1. the brake, (if this is not the correct period, what might be suitable (bearing in mind the rims)
2. how to clean the paintwork
3. How to stabilise and protect the paintwork
4. How to stabilise the nickle plating

or any other suggestions would be appreciated.
Now to the bike
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Philip
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by BNA » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:28 pm

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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby hartleymartin » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:28 pm

Looks like a gorgeous old bicycle. Westwood rims... I'm always a little perplexed as to why they fitted rear brakes first rather than front brakes. Those Phillips brakes are a rather interesting curiosity. I'd like to get my hands on a set and put them on an old bicycle, but they are unlikely to come up cheaply enough.
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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby flashrider » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:32 pm

Awesome post Clyde!! Who says that Draughthorses are all agrarian bluster and might? We have one here that is refined and appreciates fine bespoke cycling antiquities. Plus one on all your q's there's as I have a Hartley heading my way...
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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby elk » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:33 pm

Good on you ,

In my slightly informed opinion I think you're doing the right thing by conserving it rather than doing a reno . I'd only replace the spokes if they were knackered . They don't look too bad and a little ( and I mean a little ) heat and oil on the nipples will help you tension them . A set of new spokes wouldn't look right and you'll save money .

I'd use stainless wool on the plated parts , car polish on the paint and then just wipe it over every now and then with an oily rag .

That brake looks period correct to me .
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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby WyvernRH » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:56 pm

hartleymartin wrote:Looks like a gorgeous old bicycle. Westwood rims... I'm always a little perplexed as to why they fitted rear brakes first rather than front brakes.


Same reason that 1920s-30's motor bikes often had a stronger rear brake that the front, you were riding on crappy dirt/cobbled roads on the whole. The received wisdom was that if you lock the front you are dog meat, if you lock the back it is easily (sic) controlled and this is basically true. From experience with motorcycles I can say that if you control the braking a stronger front brake is still better in almost any conditions BUT generally folks took this advice very seriously and went for the back brake option. Also the 'feel' on those Phillips brakes is crap, they are either off (mostly :) ) or on, like really on, not much in between. This could put you on your backside real quick on dirt, cobbles, setts or wet tarmac if you were braking the front wheel.
Cheers
Richard

PS, nice Bullock by the way!
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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby scratchman » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:48 am

WyvernRH wrote:
hartleymartin wrote: Also the 'feel' on those Phillips brakes is crap, they are either off (mostly :) ) or on, like really on, not much in between. This could put you on your backside real quick on dirt, cobbles, setts or wet tarmac if you were braking the front wheel.
Cheers
Richard

PS, nice Bullock by the way!

have to agree, just looking at the design it seems that they would go " over centre " real easy, the ratio of the levers is all wrong
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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby rustychisel » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:13 am

that's rather a beautiful old bike, and I suspect your decision to restore 'as is' might be the right one. But it's pretty far gone, from the look of the photos, and if you were planning to ride it often I'd suggest a complete restoration and repaint, but for a 'Sunday casual'...

The principal problem might be how to approach things like the nickel plating, which is bound to be badly pitted. Do you get it redone or live with it? Anyway, very nice.
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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby gclark8 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:42 pm

I have one of these on my freebee page...
Cheers,
George.
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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:59 pm

rustychisel wrote:... and if you were planning to ride it often I'd suggest a complete restoration and repaint, but for a 'Sunday casual'...

I have a freshly repainted 1948 Spearman frame which I am collecting the period parts (Simplex 3 speed) for.
This one will be more of a pleasant ride for coffee, and given the comments on the effectiveness of the brakes, I will probably ride it with the wheel in the fixed mode.
Thanks for the assistance to date, particularly the identification of the brakes.
A retired Chemist friend has advised
Do not use steel wool on the chrome/nickel plated parts, or you will scour
off the remaining electroplate. A trick that I have used successfully goes
like this; wearing rubber gloves, dip a piece of cooking alfoil in vinegar
and gently rub the wet foil onto the plated surface - do not try to scour,
just repeatedly wipe it across the surface. You will gradually see the rust
go. Eventually, you will have bright electroplate and grey steel showing.
Wash the surface with plenty of water, then hot water, methylated spirit and
let it dry. When dry, wax the surface with good car wax. The process is
actually an electrolytic one, the acetic acid of the vinegar acts as an
electrolyte to assist the solution of the iron oxide (rust) into solution,
leaving bright steel. You will need to keep waxing to prevent rust
reforming.
Philip
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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby scratchman » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:38 pm

Clydesdale Scot wrote:A retired Chemist friend has advised
Do not use steel wool on the chrome/nickel plated parts, or you will scour
off the remaining electroplate. A trick that I have used successfully goes
like this; wearing rubber gloves, dip a piece of cooking alfoil in vinegar
and gently rub the wet foil onto the plated surface - do not try to scour,
just repeatedly wipe it across the surface. You will gradually see the rust
go. Eventually, you will have bright electroplate and grey steel showing.
Wash the surface with plenty of water, then hot water, methylated spirit and
let it dry. When dry, wax the surface with good car wax. The process is
actually an electrolytic one, the acetic acid of the vinegar acts as an
electrolyte to assist the solution of the iron oxide (rust) into solution,
leaving bright steel. You will need to keep waxing to prevent rust
reforming.

cool, I'm going to try that 8)
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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby Torana68 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:40 pm

if its nickel your probably pushing it up hill to save much, I use a small bronze brush and wd40, chrome was a farily new process back then but it does last a lot better
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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby im_no_pro » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:17 pm

scratchman wrote:
Clydesdale Scot wrote:A retired Chemist friend has advised
Do not use steel wool on the chrome/nickel plated parts, or you will scour
off the remaining electroplate. A trick that I have used successfully goes
like this; wearing rubber gloves, dip a piece of cooking alfoil in vinegar
and gently rub the wet foil onto the plated surface - do not try to scour,
just repeatedly wipe it across the surface. You will gradually see the rust
go. Eventually, you will have bright electroplate and grey steel showing.
Wash the surface with plenty of water, then hot water, methylated spirit and
let it dry. When dry, wax the surface with good car wax. The process is
actually an electrolytic one, the acetic acid of the vinegar acts as an
electrolyte to assist the solution of the iron oxide (rust) into solution,
leaving bright steel. You will need to keep waxing to prevent rust
reforming.

cool, I'm going to try that 8)


Havent tried it with Vinegar, but Al-foil+ water works a treat.
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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby WyvernRH » Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:12 pm

rustychisel wrote:that's rather a beautiful old bike, and I suspect your decision to restore 'as is' might be the right one. But it's pretty far gone, from the look of the photos, and if you were planning to ride it often I'd suggest a complete restoration and repaint, but for a 'Sunday casual'...

The principal problem might be how to approach things like the nickel plating, which is bound to be badly pitted. Do you get it redone or live with it? Anyway, very nice.

Oh I dunno about 'pretty much gone' I think he is trying to acheive the same effect I was when I 'reactivated' this Victory' racer from the early 30's
Before:
Image
After:
Image
Image

I just couldn't get rid of the original paint over nickel finish, it was so nice, if blemished. The bike rides superbly and after a lot of work the finish has, ahem, patina.... :)
Further info on his thread http://bicycles.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5893&p=92694&hilit=victory#p92694

Cheers
Richard
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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:49 pm

Richard,
thank you, your post shows shows exactly the effect I was after!
It has been privately suggested that I seal the parts and frame as follows:
clean bike carefully with hot soapy water, - then towel dry, - then clean again carefully with Gum turps - watch it does not move paint, - then shellac any parts which may further rust, ie handlebars, ( use white shellac/french polish) - finally natural beeswax for a 'matt/sheen' finish or thinned white shellac all over.
There are several methods of 'finishing' the resto, I have found these methods most satisfying and of a vintage patina and appeal.

I have used shellac and beeswax when I have built and restored furniture, and I enjoy working with them.
And they are reversable.
I will of course be careful not to ride in the rain, and how I wash the bike.
Philip
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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby Kid_Carbine » Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:26 pm

The good old Philips & Philco brake has been around since Adam threw a leg over his first roadster. They were a universal fit & did not require a brake bridge or fork crown to be drilled.
They were used on Westwood rims because they could. There were no other brakes that were a universal fitment, cheap & readily available, so they were used.

It would be quite accurate so say that by todays standards, braking performance was poor, ..... on a good day, ..... but they 'sufficed' & they were seen in their countless thousands for at least 60 or 70 years, so finding some should not be difficult at all.
Hell, I threw out quite a few over the years & still have one or two new ones in a box somewhere.

A good old Roadster would be positively naked without one.

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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Mon May 03, 2010 9:26 pm

The conservation is progressing well, but I am now needing more help
Any suggestions on how to source suitable brake blocks for the Philco brake?
I have been able to get the correct holders for the blocks.
I would prefer something that may grip as it intended to be occasionally ridden.

So far it has been taken apart, steel parts soaked in oxalyic acid, then polished. Frame and forks cleaned and polished with beeswax.
Philip
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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:32 pm

ended up making new brake blocks from urathane. They work if you anticipate the traffic well, and apply well in advance.
Frame cleaned, and coated with beeswax/gum turpentine to conserve the original finish,
most fixtures soaked in oxalyic acid, then lightly rubbed back before also being treated with beeswax/gum turpentine to seal them.
new tyres (Michelin World Tour), new tubes, new handlebar tape (with two coats of shellac to dull vibrancy of the red), corks as handlebar plugs, new chain (3/16"! to fit the rear fixed cog), an old Lycette saddle frame over which I moulded a new leather saddle cover, with custom machined copper rivets), my old toe clips, new Brooks toe straps.
And a 20km ride this morning. It was a conversation starter at our group ride coffee stop. With the sprung seat, and the wide lower pressure tyres, it is a plush ride.
Then to visit those who had entrusted the bike to me.
Image
Pictured here are (right to left) Betty Young, the wife of the original owner the (late) Horace (Albert Edward Young), her daughter Dianne and son-in-law Graeme, with the pets, (left to right) Isabella and Lucy
Philip
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Re: c1932 Bullock road bike: informed advice solicited

Postby reeva65 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:23 pm

i just finished a resto on a similar bike..

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=68421
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