Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking
It all came in bits so I had to buy new little bolts, cost me about $10 ea with shipping - ouch
edit just realised that I have put the crank in 72° out of whack - should be pointing at the "S" not the "A" -oops
Very nice build. Will be cool to see this back in action.
PM user 'Kempie' on here. He is local and has a set of Airlite hubs he is looking to sell.
Pretty sure they are laced to tubs as well. Not sure of the make though. Could be what you are after.
Love the bike mate, I've been watching it come together
I've just been given an old Swansea road bike, drop bar with a curved TT, single speed with a freewheel and kickback brake. Lovely old thing.. Everything works though its been sitting 30 odd years, the tyres even held air!!
I'm chasing any info on the swansea brand I can, and do you happen to know how the serial numbers worked??
Good luck with the rest of the build mate.
Peter Wells, the current president of the West Australian Historic Cycle Club has a register of numbers. There isn't any code in them as far as I know so he just triangulates in from bikes with known histories. I'll PM you with his number. Your bike sounds like a "humpback" like this one of mine.
Until you can pin Peter down, Ben....
my first introduction to Swansea was via the Canberra Bicycle Museum. The website is archived and most of the hyperlinks are wonkier than a fast gravel downhill off the Darling scarp just after after week of good rains (remember those?).... but they have a bit of blurb of the history of the company if you scroll up/down and do the ol' [ctrl-f] string search for Swanswea.
Also.. if you go via http://trove.nla.gov.au/ and search some of the old print newspapers and mags.... there's some ads to be found there about the brand.
Since I keep misplacing my common sense down the shed, I guess I'll have to borrow someone elses off the internet.
Yeah, sadly the Canberra Bike Museum pieces are about all that exists on the web about Swansea. This should get you there. The article there was written by Peter Wells based on interviews with Nell Baldwin, the widow of one of the brothers who owned the firm. As Peter says in the article no factory records exist.
Rebuilt the rear wheel last night. Franks's original 1959 Airlight hub and Fiamme rim have been reunited. Laced it on my knees as we played Cluedo, trued it after the gang had gone to bed. V. proud of my multitasking I wanted to check the chainline as the frame didn't come with a BB spindle or LHS cup. Spun a sprocket on the hub and popped the crank on. The chainline looks good but to be sure I went to drop a cotter pin in - it wouldn't go
I thought 9.5mm cotters were right for British cranks. I have them fitted to two other bikes, both with Williams cranks, both 9.5mm. Are BSA cranks that different? Does anyone know what size cotter pins I need?
Need to get track lock rings for this too. What's the go for a vintage build?
what thickness did the rechroming add (so reducing the width of the cotter pin hole)?
let me help you prepare your ebay advert, ask me how
3/8" or 9.5mm should be the go I would have thought?
A few points here tho,
(1) I think you had these cranks re-chromed? If they didn't put a plug thru the holes this may have led to metal being deposited around the inside of the lip of the hole for the cotter. Try putting a reamer or a hand file (gently!) down the hole to clear any debris.
(2) Check your cotter pins for accuracy. Not unknown for modern cotters to be out of round, over/under size or have a slight flared lip on the thread end of the body. There is an American chap who makes accurate, high quality metal cotters in all sizes. Expensive but worth it.
(3) I just checked back on the thread to see how the cranks were identified and it was Warren who said they were BSA. He should know so I'm not going argue but I have a set of 5-pin cranks exactly like that with ' Italia' stamped in the back of the crank where the 'E5' is on yours and unsurprisingly they take Italian size cotters.
I reckon (1) is most likely?
reckon you're right; there's about 3mm of new chrome extending into the hole. 5 minutes with a file and all is fine. I'm surprised at how much difference it made.
Built the front wheel this morning, the old Fiamme rim I found locally on the 'bay has a few more wrinkles than the back one that came with bike but I have them pretty well ironed out.
I'm in a position to re-assemble the bike, I'm missing only a seat post binder bolt, but I'm not excited about some parts not sure about some others... so, bearing in mind that this a 1959 (maybe 1958) track racer your opinions on the following would be most welcome;
bike came with steel Alps Industries bars, more road than track to my mind. Asbestos said that his dad, the original owner, tried a few and settled on these. The stem is Cinelli. Most of the bikes in Racing Bicycles 100 Years of Steel from the period seem to have bars of unknown origin. I have a set of GB Ventoux "Map of Britain" bars which I think are a better match for the bike. Velobase has them rather vaguely as "60's / 70's" so I'm not sure if they're age appropriate.
I have a Wrights Olympic. Velobase is inconclusive, saddle looks old though so I reckon it will be better than the eighties thing I took off it and threw away. Suggestions welcome.
Haven't attempted to deconstruct the better of the two chains I have. It's late and I'm tired so I won't stir the camera into action this evening. I recall its link has a pair of tiny bolts - watch this space ...
Bike came with none. I have a pair of Sheffield's. Sprints I think, according to VB they were made from the 40's to the 60's. Should do the job.
EDIT, pedals have Made in England stamped in the end plate and 501 in the body, dunno what they are but Sheffields they ain't. They look the part so they'll do for now.
But for the seat post and handlebar pinch bolts I could ride it. Breaking and reconnecting the inch pitch chain went smoothly, though I've had to substitute the BSA branded chainwheel for a smaller one as the chain was too short to accommodate it. There's a front brake sitting there. I'd like to be able to ride this bike and to me that means being able to stop it reliably. It's a shame to add complexity but I think it's likely I'll keep the brake, fork was drilled for one anyway. I have a GB Coureur with GB Superhood lever, should be OK period-wise? The lever's the biggest issue as It'll get taped in to some degree. Pedals and caliper can be easily changed at a later date if necessary.
The bike looks fantastic. Great work!
Check out this or maybe this
I'm looking forward to seeing the final result
there's an endless stream of leather saddles passing by my fleabay window. It's hard to get a feel for the condition of the leather from the photos. I suspect some of the sellers "revive" knackered saddles with neatsfoot oil which probably does a great job of softening them and shortening their lives.
In some respects adding a new Brooks is probably well and truly in tradition of renewal. A few years of riding and the new saddle would settle right in in an aesthetic sense. Of course a new Brooks Swallow or B17 Narrow is still more expensive than most of the highest priced secondhand stuff.
Have a look at Hilary Stones web site. He has a few leather saddles up for sale.
With regards to your handle bar tape, what is your concern with the lever? Is it how to wrap the cotton with a lever attached?
What I do is position the lever on the bar before I wrap it. Tape the clamp into position with some electrical tape. Remove the lever leaving the clamp in place and then wrap the bars. Once the tapes done I reinstalled the lever. And what do you know it's in the right place and the tap covers the clamp without going over the body.
Another thing I have learnt with cotton tape is to soak it before I use it. When its wet it really stretches when winding it on. Once it drys out it shrinks and becomes super snug. Its not going any where and doesn't roll up on the edges. It looks even better once its shellacked.
Thanks for the wetting tape tip. My concern was simply commitment; if I put a brake on or put an inappropriate lever on it would be non trivial to change it or take it off later once I'd taped the bars.
I don't know about Oz but in the UK it was not uncommon, especially with earlier 'loop' type clamps to tape up to the lever, bind on, then restart the tape above the lever and finish at the middle of the bars. Pictures of my Hartley at the recent Sydney Classic Bike show displays the popular (in South West London at least) 'Harlequin' colour combination using this technique (although I hadn't done the normal cotton whipping at the ends of the tape below the levers and in the middle of the bar then)
Thanks Richard, I been back over a few readers' bikes from late 50's early 60's on classic lightweights... looks like anything goes. Some wrap as far as the brake lever, some wrap either side, some wrap the loop in and then put the lever over, some wrap the bar and put the loop over the tape.
I couldn't find your Hartley on the Sydney Classic Bike Show facebook page, do you have a link? I harlequin taped my Rotrax using the ever-so-subtle same colour method
I've committed to having a brake. I bought this Burlite caliper and unknown lever today;
Here you go Robert,
Note that this is a simple 'block' Harlequin. Some folks got real flash with two tape colours wound together then reversing the sequence above the levers or crossing the tapes to form diamonds etc etc. I don't have the patience for that sadly.... Normally I would get the wife to 'whip in' the ends of the tape with coloured twine just below the levers and in the middle of the bars like below (single colour only tho' in this case)
Where did you find the Burlite you lucky fellow? (By the by, that one may have had a replacement centre bolt by the look of it)
The Burlite came from a friend who was selling a few bits and bobs, it came with a non matching GB Hiduminium caliper.
I did my Rotrax bars in a non contrasting two tape diamond pattern. It does mess seriously with your head, especially as you go around the corner.
Turns out the Burlite is a rear brake and the GB is a front. I transposed the centre bolts when cleaning them. Looks like I'll have a GB Hiduminium front brake for the and a lonely Burlite for the cupboard. Taped the bars over the past couple of days. White could be a mistake. I'm figuring on a tobacco colour once it's been shellacked.
my attempt turned out more honey coloured.
You could tint the shellac to get the colour you are after
let me help you prepare your ebay advert, ask me how
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