Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Suspense: 1979 Raleigh Superbe

Well, after the small amount of work I did yesterday and today, I think the only thing the bike is waiting for is the package of spokes.  Maybe a light bulb, too, but I'll get to that.

I cold-set the frame yesterday.  I had been planning for the longest time to go out and find a 2x4 as suggested in Sheldon Brown's article, I then got the bright idea that this tubing might be soft enough that it didn't need the additional leverage, and I my guess was correct.  I'm willing to bet the new spacing change (front 90 to 100 mm, rear 110 to 130 mm) isn't perfectly symmetrical, which can lead to problems depending on how bad it is.  I think I'll be fine seeing that the unrefined tubing of these bikes is so flexible, anyway.  Tightening the axle nuts would probably result in bending the dropouts to the right position as opposed to bending the axle.  Fingers crossed.

Something that I have been overlooking is the fact that the original switch for the Dynohub headlight is broken and incomplete.  I quickly drew up an idea last night, using a nylon bolt for its insulating properties, and went to the hardware store today to see what I could find.

To keep the metal switch piece and the bolt from rotating relative to each other, I cut of two of the four "leaves" that resulted from punching the metal piece, and then cut the head of the bolt to fit between the remaining two.  One later cracked off so I'm wondering what I'll do once the two pieces break loose from each other down the road.  Deciding how to keep the bolt from wobbling was kind of a dilemma but in the end, I just stuck a piece of an old inner tube around it.

I used a few nylon and metal washers as well as pieces of inner tube to get the switch to spin right and seal the hole at the top of the headlight.  I tried to melt the nylon into the groove I cut at the top of the wing nut, but rather than actually melting, the nylon turned into a brown goo that cracked right off once it cooled.  The flame from the Bic lighter was probably too hot so I ended up just super gluing the threads and it works fine.

I don't know why Sturmey-Archer or Raleigh decided to move the switch to the top of the headlight bucket.  It's not just ugly.  The bucket on my '58 Sports (left) just has a hole in the bottom where the toggle switch sticks out so there's no need to seal it, as rain runs down and out anyway.  On the other hand, if not sealed, rain would naturally run down into the headlight bucket on the '79 so SA/Raleigh had to drill an additional drainage hole in the bottom.  There is no logic there as far as I can see.  I sort of like the hinged front, but it's harder to pry the light bulb out because I can't hold the piece in my hand.

Hooking everything up was easy but for whatever reason, the light doesn't shine.  I'm pretty sure I have it right and plus, the fact that the Dynohub's motion just got extra notchety indicates that there is some kind of magnetic or electric field in action.  It's possible that the incandescent bulb was fried, which is pretty easy to do.  I wanted to swap in the LED from my '58 just to see if that was indeed the problem but I can't figure out how to remove the old bulb without breaking anything.  It's different from the older headlight.

The Pletscher-style rack arrived yesterday but because the original fender bolts and the bolts they gave me were all too short, I bought new ones.  I don't know what kind of bike the bolts would have worked for since old steel bikes have the skinniest tubing.  That was even before I put pieces of inner tube between the clamps and the frame to prevent scratches.  Also, ever since the beginning of this build, I have been mystified as to what threads the fender holes use.  The whole bike uses metric dimensions because it was built in Canada, but M5 bolts are too small and M6 bolts are too big.  Not by much, though, as the old bolts fit into M6 nuts. Oh, and the threads don't appear to be English, either.   It has taken many trips to and from the hardware store throughout the past few weeks to try to resolve the issue.  In the end, I decided to use skinny M4 bolts up front because they slide right in and don't have to bear weight.  I got M6 bolts and nuts for the back and proceeded to cross-thread that junk like there was no tomorrow.  I don't have a drill or a tap.  At least it won't loosen on its own.

You may also notice that the metal piece that holds the fender to the brake bridge has been flipped so that the eyelet faces backwards.  I did this to make the fender more easily removable so that if I ever have to, I can just unbolt everything and slide the fender back instead of having to bend it downwards to clear the bridge.

Well, this is how it sits now.  The rack is as level as I can make it and the hubs are sitting there right now because I'm curious to see if the frame springs back any after I stretch it.