Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking
15 posts • Page 1 of 1
I collected my latest bike today. It's a Hercules Balmoral, from the 1950s. It's not quite ride-able at the moment, but is otherwise complete except for a pedal end cap, a cotter pin nut.
My plan is to strip it down, clean, grease and polish, but not repaint or re-chrome. I'll replace the saddle with a Brooks B66 and need to sort out some new brake pads plus the shift lever is a bit stiff but I'm hoping it will work. I've no experience working on this age of bike, so if anyone has any tips or sources for brake rubber and old school dunlop tyres I'd appreciate the advice.
DSC_0065 by _granty, on Flickr
DSC_0080 by _granty, on Flickr
DSC_0079 by _granty, on Flickr
DSC_0066 by _granty, on Flickr
It seems as though you the right idea with your 'restoration' . I think I have some 26" tyres in the shed. I will check on the weekend and let you know. I don't think new ones are available in oz, but someone else may know better. Mark
There are a few places online selling the 26 x 1-3/8 tires (i was looking recently for a Healing but ended up using some old ones off a Raleigh), in terms of local retailers i believe there's a place called Moruya? Cycles that stock them.
When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments- Elizabeth West.
I've commenced stripping the Herc down and so far things are going well. It's quite impressive that a 60 year old can come apart with spanners and screw drivers without recourse to blow torches and drills. I've had more trouble with bikes from the 80s.
After I got her home on Thursday I hosed her down to remove much of the dust and grime and today when I placed her in the workstand for the first time I noticed that the chain case has a sump drain, impetuous fool that I am, I opened it and behold, oily water draining onto the garage floor. Feelings were mixed at this point - I was kind of glad that it hadn't sat there for longer than a couple of days, but I wish I'd thought of putting a bucket under it first.
Also I'm sure that there is a fast process for removing a westwood rim from a full fendered bike with stirrup brakes, but I'm yet to work it out. Just how would you fix a flat on the road on these things without recourse to 3 wrenches and 2 screwdrivers? Or is that why old time saddle bags where huge?
I've now got most of the stuff I need to complete the rebuild of the Herc, a new antiqued B 67s, new tyres, tubes and rim tape and a million ball bearings for the rolling bits. Only the cotter pin bolt is proving elusive.
I'm slowly rotating the rims through a shallow tray of brown vinegar and that's working very well, along with assorted brake rods and bits and pieces, generally everything is coming out pretty clean. The 3 speed hub a Hercules B type 4 (exactly the same as the Sturmey Archer AW) has been stripped, cleaned and reassembled and I've just spent a pleasant hour repacking the bottom bracket and head set with new bearings and grease. I only lost one bearing
I've now reassembled most of the Herc, excepting the front wheel which is still chellating ( I got a hold of some molasses and a bigger bucket so it's nearly done). Last night I hooked up the gear changer and was very happy to find that the 3 speed was working just fine and I've almost found the miracle gap between the wheel spacing, chain length, fender clearance and chaincase alignment that means nothing is scrubbing. If I ever get a puncture on this bike I'm calling the nrma.
Tuning the rod brakes is becoming interesting, after the cleanse, the various pinions in the rod system now have quite a bit a play in them. This translates to almost no braking power at all at the rear, as the lever has to take in a lot of slack before the pads start moving. Are there any fixes for this?
might sound obvious but adjust them at the handlebar?
As to fixing punctures on this type of bike, it was usually done without taking the wheel out of the bike. (believe it or not)
Without going into all the gory details, you would try and locate the hole, then remove one side of the tyre, pull a section of tube out near the hole, patch it, and put it back in.
When I was kid, hanging around the local bike shop, this is how they mended a puncture in the back wheel of bikes with coaster brakes, chainguards, racks, etc. Which was most of the bikes they worked on. The front wheel was usually taken out, as it was quicker.
This was only if they were pretty sure it was just a simple puncture.
When I started working in my own bike shop, I always took the wheel out straight away, and didnt take the shortcut for the 'simple' puncture. This way, I could check for rust, maybe put a new rim tape in, adjust cones etc, and do the job properly. Or if the tube already had umpteen patches, put a new tube in.
When the long since retired bloke who used to own my 'childhood' bike shop saw me doing this one day, 'just to fix a puncture', he went crook at me, saying 'I would go broke doing that all day'!
You should be able to adjust the brakes with that telescopic linkage up near the handlebars.
I just did a mental face palm about fixing punctures Warren. That's exactly how I did it on my Speedwell Mustang when I was a kid. I seem to have gotten stuck in the idea of replacing the tube, as opposed to repairing it.
I will twiddle some more with the brakes and see how they go.
Most of the rust has been removed from the front wheel so I cobbled the old girl back together just now and went for a ride up and down the street.
I live on bit of a hill, and it was drizzling, after sunset and I was wearing thongs, so it was a leap of faith, not enhanced by the quick realisation that I hadn't tightened the head stem properly .
After tightening, I set off down the driveway and up the street, the ratios on these 3 speeds is great, first made the 10% grade OK, and third on the way back down was too tall. Reckon I'll spend most of the time in second gear!
Apart from various rubs that I need to adjust (amazing the difference body weight makes) the drive train feels sticky and the pedals want to push forward when coasting. Any ideas why and how to correct it?
have you flushed out the hub and put in new oil of a suitable grade?
Good point. I will tomorrow
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