Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

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Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby cmc75 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:22 pm

Hi,

Long time lurker, first time poster. Like many of you, i have more bikes than I can ride. That didn't stop me from recently purchasing for a modest fee (rather than my usual trick of council clean-up) a badly treated but reasonably original Speedwell. The reason given to SWMBO was i "rescued" it before someone got it, stripped it, threw the rusty parts in the bin, stripped off the original paint (box lining and decals included) painted it flouro pink, and put orange wheels on it. The Sturmey Archer AW and Williams cranks date it to 1959, and from comparing pictures of bikes with similar paintjobs, I think it's a special sports. After cleaning off some spraypaint/grease/dirt/unmentionables, it's come up really nice, and I'm trying to keep it as original as I can. I'll put up some pictures when i get some more posts up. Anyway, I'm after some opinions on wheels and a crank problem.

Wheels - the rear AW 3 speed is laced to a chromed steel Araya 27" 40-hole rim (were Arayas put on Speedwells in this era?) It's in ok, condition, some pitting, spokes DED dead. I'm toying with the idea of putting some alloy 700c rims and running something like Schwalbe Delta cruisers in 35mm creme. The reason behind this would be: better braking, much better tire selection, take a lot of weight off (not a big concern) and i like the look of the slightly fatter tires. BUT, would it take too much away from how the bike originally looked? Compounding the problem is finding a classic looking silver rim in 40 hole that will also come in a 32 for the front. The velocity Dyad is ok but hardly era correct looking. Any suggestions? Anybody got some half decent 700c that resemble an older steel rim tucked away? The front a Durex 55 from Germany, any idea if that would have been original?

The Cranks - Williams B100 that had seen better days but came up really nice. That was until i test mounted them on the spindle and noticed a problem. The hole in the arm that accepts the bb spindle is elongated (i guess from riding it with a loose cotter for too long) meaning that when the cotter is installed, the crank is pulled off-parallel to the frame. Has anyone had any luck bending the crank bank by a few degrees to compensate for this (que solid workbench and BIG lever)? Or will i just be wasting my time to have the cotter wear too fast from this problem anyway?

Anyway, any help appreciated, I hope to get some pics up soon, if only to help someone else ID a frame or part or something.
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by BNA » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:35 am

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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby silentbutdeadly » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:35 am

Wheels - look to the UK specialists like SJS Cycles and others that do many heritage and odd rims. Don't go 700C.

Crank - two options: first is to weld up the hole and re-drill it; second is to drill out the hole and drift in a correct sized sleeve. I prefer the latter and a decent small parts engineering shop could do it. Don't try to bend the cranks as it'll convert them to scrap...
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby cmc75 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:49 pm

Good idea with the cranks Silent. i did think about shimming it but it would be hard with an egg shaped hole, so making it round again would make it easier. I've just bought an old lathe, but may have to get a bit more experience before attempting this job :shock:

Re: 700c, do you say not to do it because it won't be original? 8mm difference in diameter shouldn't make it look too different as the larger tires will come out to about the same diameter as 27"?
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby silentbutdeadly » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:19 pm

cmc75 wrote:Re: 700c, do you say not to do it because it won't be original?


Mostly. But also because there are so few modern 700C rims that look the business on an older bike without looking...well....naff. The only ones I can think of off hand is some of the Rigida rims that VeloOrange and others do.
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby bicyclepassion » Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:43 pm

The araya 40 hole rim on the back would not be original for 1959, the front Durex may be.
Crank straightening has been covered before, but the easiest way is to mount the crank on an old frame, lay the frame on the ground, stand on the frame, use the biggest shifter you can find on the crank, and pull it up or down to bend the crank to where you want it. I did not invent this method, I think they have been doing this since about 1890. Better still. buy a new or good used Williams crank and throw that one away.
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby Johnj » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:12 pm

I've had a similar vintage Speedwell that came with a Durex front hub, so I'd say that's an original. Mine had Dunlop chrome rims, check this thread if you haven't seen it already.

I have another bike of a similar period with Kaga 28" chrome rims, don't know when Japanese rims started coming in, must have been the early 1960s I guess.

A decent set of Williams cranks shouldn't be too hard to find. You might try advertising in the marketplace forum.
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby cmc75 » Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:06 pm

Thanks guys,

Yep, another set of Williams, the only problem is that when they come up now, they usually go for large $'s, hence trying to figure out if it's feasible to fix these ones. There's also the fact I'm stubborn, or as I term it, like a challenge.

John J, yep , seen your thread, very nice looking machine, your paint is in better nic than mine and mine is blue, but apart from that I think they could be twins. Do you ride yours much or is it a wall hugger? I've got a 60's speedwell that I ride to the shops that always gets some looks and comments, funny for something that was once quite pedestrian.

Regarding the rims, still sleeping on that one...
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - Pics added

Postby cmc75 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:18 pm

Well, it took a while but the resto is now pretty much done. You can see what I started with in the first couple of pics. Still need to put in some more period correct tubes, and find the correct rear brake blocks (the ones with the tab that hit the seatstays under heavy braking). A summary of work and changes:

* A few hours with metho/turps/gum remover/water/wet and dry snadpaper to take off the aftermarket spraypaint/duct tape/refelctive tape/grime.
* a few coats of clear to protect whats left of the original paint. It looked very dull without it and polishing would have just taken off more pinstriping.
* dissasemle amd clean/polish EVERYTHING! A linishing wheel is your friend for this.
* replace Williams cranks with some less worn Williams from '56.
* Service SA AW-3 hub, making sure all the bits go back in.
* Lace original hubs to 700c Velo Orange Raid rims. This meant putting a 40 hole rear into a 32 hole hub, which needs two different spoke lengths, head scratching, and diagram drawing.
* replace saddle and pedals with something more period correct, replace bars with something more cruising friendly.
* new cable inners/outers, make new SA cable with brazed brass tube.
* new tyres. The Michelin World Tour were the closest I could find to matching the old Dunlop Speed whitewalls. They measure out to about 34mm width, and are pretty cheap.


What it started like:
Image

Now:
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32 into 40 means 4 spare holes per flange, evenly spaced. Worked, ok, in the end...
Image
Monitor Ventura brakes, not as sought after as the Speedster model, but in reasable condition and they stop well on aluminium rims.
Image
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Durex 55 hub, made in Germany (the same as the hub on JohnJ's 58 Speedwell, so I'm guessing it's original
Image
Sturmay Archer even stamped their pullies
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I'm guessing a TCD replacement shifter, functional but not as nice looking as a '50s unit
Image
Managed to save the oiler cover
Image

Pictured with my 65'ish Speedwell, a curbside find years ago. Unfortunately it didn't have too much original on it, so it's a bitser fixed wheel at the moment. It is the boomerang style of decal, which I haven't seen many of, maybe they didn't do this design for too long before switching to imported frames? I've got a 56 frame which I'm replacing the top and down tubes on as they were badly crimped in a previous head-on by someone. Hopefully will another pic soon with all three. How may Speedwells can one own?
Image
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby grantw » Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:20 pm

Nice work, it looks great.
Image
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby speedywheels » Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:03 pm

Very nice to see someone else likes Special Sports bikes. I have 7 old Speedwells, mostly Special Sports bikes. They bring back strong childhood memories and I like them a lot, but because I hardly ever ride them I think I only need only half as many. Good to see your bikes are going concerns.
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby cmc75 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:27 am

speedywheels wrote:Very nice to see someone else likes Special Sports bikes. I have 7 old Speedwells, mostly Special Sports bikes. They bring back strong childhood memories and I like them a lot, but because I hardly ever ride them I think I only need only half as many. Good to see your bikes are going concerns.


Seven! Pictures man, we (I) need pictures!
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby speedywheels » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:56 pm

Sorry I can't post pictures, the picture posting instructions are all double dutch to me, and I am a very slow learner.

Frailer5 kindly posted pictures of some of my Speedwells on page 73 of the Repco Appreciation page.
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby frailer5 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:15 pm

speedywheels wrote:Sorry I can't post pictures, the picture posting instructions are all double dutch to me, and I am a very slow learner.

Frailer5 kindly posted pictures of some of my Speedwells on page 73 of the Repco Appreciation page.


PM me again re any more pics; you can email them to me and I'll upload to my smugmug, do links, and get them on this thread. Have a huge unused limit on smugmug.
Easy peasy. I upload/download graphics crap all day at work... do it in my sleep.
.... sorry, the crap is the work stuff, not your Speedies. :)
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby ldrcycles » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:49 pm

Looks really nice, good work. :)
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby frailer5 » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:12 am

Uploaded for Speedywheels.... (site may be down [smugmug] for 30 mins for maintenance, around 1400 EDST.


Image


Image


Image


Image


Image


Image


Image
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby ldrcycles » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:55 pm

Wow that purple one REALLY stands out!! My favourite but they all look good :) .
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby cmc75 » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:14 pm

Speedy, they are awesome, a full rangle from well used to the purple boomerang that looks like it's just come off the production line. My girlfreind thought I was getting a little Speedwell obsessed, so I showed her your collection. You wouldn't by any chance be hiding away some Speedwell blue mudguards would you?

Thanks for uploading Frailer.
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Re: Restoring a 1959 Speedwell - opinions sought

Postby LG » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:51 pm

I'd like to echo the 2 posts above. That's a mighty fine speedwell collection there Mr speedywheels.
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