Thursday, January 26, 2017

Summer Jams

Here in Michigan, and I'm assuming in other places as well, we're having a very peculiar winter. Usually, by this time of the year, I would have to wear a balaclava under my helmet just to ride my bike. However, this year, our winter has been both too cold to ride at one time, and so warm that I hardly needed a jacket this past weekend. We seem to have settled between the 30-40 F range for the most part, which is still unseasonably warm. For the first time in my life, I felt a type of winter melancholy creep in the moment the trees became bare despite the mildness and my usual ability to enjoy Michigan's wide range of weather.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Urban Assault 3-speed

What comes to your mind when you hear the words "Urban Assault," or an urban assault bike? A 3-speed? Surely not!

Falter Star Rider Full-Size Folding Bikes

In late April of 2016, when I was taking a break from the grind of finals week, I found a 1960s Falter "Star Rider" folding bike for a low price on eBay located in Macomb, MI. I was fairly interested, but had no way to get to Macomb. I also wasn't sure if I was interested enough to weigh myself down with yet another project.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Rosalynn Gets A Third Brake, Plus the Most Unfortunate Tri-Coaster Adventures

And by "unfortunate," I do not mean that anything actually went wrong while I was riding, as the early Sturmey-Archer tri-coasters are known for in the wrong hands.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Raleigh Cottered Crank/Bottom Bracket Service

When I got my first bike that had cottered cranks, a 1958 Raleigh Sports, I didn't know anything and thought "Oh, how convenient! I can probably just undo the nut, use some WD-40, and slide it out! And nope ...

Note: Sheldon Brown and John Allen have already written an excellent article on dealing with cotter pins and they do a better job explaining, so look at that first. As with the article on SW hub service, this one is meant to be a one-stop guide that hopefully supplies enough information to bring someone from start to finish on a compete rebuild of the bottom bracket, covering more than just pin removal.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Rod Brake Service

Rod brakes are an ancient, finicky system. Tuned well, they can provide decades of maintenance-free service in dry weather. However, there are many ways by which their operation can be compromised and the seemingly innocent adjustment of handlebars, stem, and chain tension are a few things that demand extra attention with rod brake roadsters. Also, if you are like me and happen to live in an area without a significant following for vintage or utility cycling, it is likely that no shops in your vicinity will service rod brakes. Rod brake roadsters may seem intimidating to work on at first but I will attempt to dispel any self-doubt that may exist due to the smattering of poorly-given advice on the internet. If you have patience, some basic tools, and can turn a wrench, you can give your own rod brakes a full service. 

This post will cover several different things you can do with rod brakes to make them perform better than new. The order in which these tasks are completed will vary with the condition of the mechanism. If your brakes need a full overhaul, don't hesitate to tear them apart and do all the steps at the same time. With rod brake roadsters, basic maintenance, even a simple wheel removal can take much longer than expected. Take this as motivation to get everything dialed in correctly the first time. First, let's go over the names of some parts just to clarify what I will be talking about: