Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking

Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Postby RobertFrith » Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:07 am

I picked this bike up off the Dragsters/Lowriders/Cruisers etc forum.
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For it's time it would have been a pretty basic machine however in some respects it's special; I like it because
• it was fairly well known local brand and was made only about 7ks from my home
• the humpback frame style is an attractive alternative to a skidstar
• the blue paint has a beautiful patina, the Swansea script on the downtube is faded but legible and the decals on the head and seat tubes are in good nick
• it seems to be unmodified except for the tyres

I haven't been able to ride it yet, things that should turn easily don't. I was originally interested in an older frame that I could do a path racer number on, something that I could do weekend rides with the family on, would look cool without sacrificing functionality.

The Swansea is so pretty and original I can't bring myself to do anything other that a renovation on it. To that end I have a couple of questions for cleverer people than me :D first a few notes on what I've done so far...

Cleaned and regreased the front hub. The axle has a bit of a woof in it. The hub looks disturbingly like one off a Repco Traveller verge find I was about to throw in the bin. I'm going to investigate pilfering the axle and cones from that one.

The original steel seatpost (25.4) is functional but rusted and maybe a tad short for me, I think finding a replacement in good nick should be easy.

Pedal bearings seem perfect.

I've started dismantling the cranks and bottom bracket. A sticky cotter pin has halted progress there. I'll either buy a cotter press or take it to someone who has one.
I pulled the chain off. I think the chain is the stiffest thing on the bike. I've had it in kero today but it still does not want to go round corners. I have a few other chains kicking round but none of them mesh anywhere near correctly with the original chainring(they all sit proud of it - either too narrow or the links too short??). If I wanted to get a new chain what should I be looking for?

It has a single speed coaster brake rear hub. Centrix from W Germany. I can hold the axle with my fingers and roll the wheel forward without too much resistance. If I hold the axle and try to turn the wheel by turning the sprocket she's a no-go. Should I be afraid of pulling this to bits? Looks like it needs tools I don't have - where's a good place to look for them? Or should I just hand this over to someone else?

The original bars are fun but badly corroded. If I replace the bars where can I get some period handgrips?

The quill stem wedge bolt loosens up easily and I've tapped it down with a hammer, can't shift the stem though... anything else I can do? The headset feels good so maybe I should leave well enough alone.

What are the tusks that run from the stem to the front axle? Are they functional or decorative??

As I mentioned I quite like the state of the paint job but wouldn't want it to decay further. I don't even mind preserving the light rust on the rims. Will simply moving this bike indoors and not riding it too much be enough to protect it?
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by BNA » Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:37 am

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Re: Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Postby RobertFrith » Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:37 am

Some pics of the parts discussed above;

Centrix single speed coaster brake hub
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Handgrip
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Swansea front hub
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Repco front hub
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Re: Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Postby mark field » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:06 am

regarding those " tusks" as you put it, check closely for any sign of something being clamped on- usually a section will have corrosion to a lesser degree (something protecting the finish), or worse (something allowing moisture/dirt to be trapped and further adding to the corrosive process, or even metal on metal reaction) that might help you figure out what was there once if anything, first thing that comes to my mind is a basket of some sort, or an aftermarket product not actually for that bike. i would say its an incomplete carry rack or cosmetic suspension (non functioning ,just for the bling ) someone will know though. anyway nice score.
steel is the real deal.
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Re: Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Postby RobertFrith » Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:25 am

I've been busy answering a couple of my own questions.
Fixie/BMX chain is the right pitch and width so that's easy.
I reckon the tusks are simply cosmetic bling of the period (BTW what period is this bike likely to be?). The corrosion is even all the way down, so no evidence of anything else ever having been fixed to them. Here's how they mount at the top;
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Re: Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Postby metalrideroz » Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:08 am

25.4 post is BMX size so theres a million of those around.

I've rebuilt a coaster hub by the same maker but it looked different. Easy rebuild because the clutch mechanism is self contained and just slots onto the cogs driver inside the hub. The braking surface was the inside of the hub shell not seperate brake drums.
I didn't take photos, but the insides look like this http://www.flickr.com/photos/29091369@N07/6044597587/ as apposed to this http://www.flickr.com/photos/dno1967b/5546918643/

Does the hub have an oil port? You can just run fresh oil through it till all the old stuff has seeped out the sides.

Also last two digits of the serial No. should be the year of manufacture.
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Re: Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Postby bicyclepassion » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:34 pm

You should be able to get the grips off by soaking the ends of the handlebars in boiling water for a few minutes.
I have some NOS stems the same as that, if you have to butcher that one to get it out. The bars and stem are the same as used in the Malvern Star Skidstar GT, 1969/70ish, and the bars are hard to come by, so try and salvage those. I think they were called skidbars or speedway bars, depending on where you lived. I have some NOS internals for the Centrix hub, if you want to make it perfect. As stated above, they like oil, not grease. The driver wont engage if you grease it.
I like those extra stays on the front, almost certainly put there purely for looks.
The seat, rear mudguards, stem, bars, cranks and rims (Araya Japanese?) would suggest late 1960's.
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Re: Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Postby RobertFrith » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:38 am

There are two numbers on the bike, the one under the BB is 82/61, the one on the chain stay near the dropouts is 39348. Others have said that the last two digits of the Swansea numbers were the year of manufacture, together with what you're saying it looks like it could be a 1961 model?

The NOS centrix internals sound good. I'll get the existing unit open before I decide but could you let me know how much you're chasing? Also for the stem? Thanks Rob
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Re: Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Postby RobertFrith » Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:29 pm

I gutted the coaster hub this evening. It came apart easily and seems oily but not dirty inside. I've never been inside one of these creatures, looking forward to understanding how it works :shock: They didn't seem to match either of the pics metalrideroz posted. No oil port either Lloyd. I'll post a pic once i have the bits cleaned up.
Haven't been back to tackle the stem yet.
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Re: Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Postby RobertFrith » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:46 am

Hub internals. No oil port on the shell so when I reassemble this one should I use oil or grease. If oil what grade?
Also, there is some wear - is it significant?
Thanks

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Re: Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Postby metalrideroz » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:49 am

Doesn't look worn, those ridges on the brake drum were worn nearly smooth on mine and it still works ok. Can't say for sure as it's not in front of me but usually only the bearings need grease, the brake and drive bits work in oil.

Strange it doesn't have an oil port though, so maybe it does use grease as it would be stupid to have to pull it apart everytime it needs a top up and the oil usually leaks out everywhere anyway. Basic 20w50 works fine.
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Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Postby RobertFrith » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:25 pm

Oil on the brake grease on the bearings it is then.

I reckon I have half a chance of having this bike ready for the Freo tweed run in two and a bit weeks.

Waiting on a cotter press for the BB.

Anybody got any tips for getting the stem out? Wedge bolt loosens up and drops easily. Can't budge the stem though... The headset turns quite smoothly so I don't really neeeed to get it out, I'd just like to know I can.
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Re: Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Postby metalrideroz » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:26 pm

RobertFrith wrote:I reckon I have half a chance of having this bike ready for the Freo tweed run in two and a bit weeks.


If i can find some 27x1s by then I will ride my Swansea aswell, if not I will be on the old red thing.
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Re: Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Postby RobertFrith » Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:40 pm

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Stem out, I used the plank in the top of the forks method to get some leverage against the handlebars. Took about 5 min of gentle back and forth and it came quietly so to speak. No rust to speak of.
The top frame cup is bit knackered, anyone got any idea where I can find new 1" bearings and cups to suit a bike of this age?
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Re: Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Postby HappyHumber » Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:54 pm

RobertFrith wrote:I reckon I have half a chance of having this bike ready for the Freo tweed run in two and a bit weeks.


I see by the bearing cup you've jinxed yourself making that statement, Rob... ;)

And as for the hub internals... now I know where the BBC props department got the bits for Dr. Who's Sonic Screwdriver back in the 70s.
Do you enjoy talking in circles? Love arguing over silly semantics with like minded people?
Try an online forum today!
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Re: Swansea 2 Swan Renovation

Postby ghostpoet » Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:57 pm

Those cups are pretty rare, but the West Australian Historical Bicycle Association should be able to help. You can Google or PM me for details. I have chatted to Peter Wells on a couple of occasions. An absolute gentleman and an amazing man, doing what he does at his age. He'll be able to narrow down the age of the bike too.
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