Sunday, June 5, 2016

Two steps forward one step back (Raleigh Super Course Part IV)

My goal for this weekend was to get the headset back reassembled and get the fork and frame back together, close but no cigar.

Which is not to say that no progress was made.  The bottom bracket cups went from half way done

To all the way done

 In fact the bottom bracket is ready to go back in but I find it easier to wax the frame with it out and to that end the frame got the first of 3 coats of wax while it was cool on Saturday morning.

I noticed while waxing that the area around the seat post cluster was quite a bit more dull and scratched than the rest of the frame which I attribute to the common practice in the 1970s of wrapping your chain bike lock around the seat post to store it when not in use.
Chain plus paint equals dull scratched paint, fortunately in the intervening years in addition to coming up with cable and u-locks they have even solved this issue for chain locks
chain wrapped in cloth no scratchy
 I was planning to put on wax coats 2 and 3 today but it hit 90 degrees in Seattle on Sunday and at about 80 we Seattleites start to melt , 9 months of rain no problem - 80+ degrees oh no!,
so addition coats of wax would have to wait.

Now back to the headset.  Normally I like to replace the headset bearings with new bearings in a cage, but when I dry fitted them I realized that wasn't going to work as the cage was too big.  The late 60s early 70s French bikes get grief for having "odd" sizing for threading, stems, etc.  What I had forgotten is that the same era Raleigh's are just as bad because they use their own proprietary sizing (BSA) that makes them an equal "challenge"  to work on.  I had already recycled the original loose bearings because I knew I would replace them.  A search of the parts closet yields this..

On the far left the bearing I need, I have one and need 50, in the middle a bearing I have tons of but is too big (wheel hub bearing) and on the far right the headset bearings in a cage I thought I would use until I realized the Brits had screwed me.  So Goldilocks went to Amazon and soon it will be just right with a 100 of the 5/32 bearings heading my way.

Not all was lost to the heat of the day however,  I had noticed that Joe's Super Course came equipped with an AVA stem and in the era of this bike AVA cast aluminum stems had issues, enough so they got the nickname "Death Stem" which is about as good as it sounds.

They had a habit of cracking which is not a behavior you want in the component that keeps your handlebars attached to the rest of the bike.  Now this part had obviously done its job and to the naked eye showed no issues but I don't like to take chances so it was off to Bike Works to find a replacement.

As I have mentioned before Bike Works in the Columbia City neighborhood of Seattle is a bike "kitchen" that does lots of great things for the community and it is a my go to source for old bikes and bike parts.  Its kind of vintage bike nerd Nirvana..
rebuilt and refurbished vintage bikes awaiting a new owner rather than a landfill

And its half a block from an awesome bakery too which doesn't hurt - yes I stopped by.

While I was at bike works I also remedied another item, as I have worked on vintage 10 speeds over the years I have noticed that the stock handlebars tend to be a bit narrow.  Since I was already looking for a replacement stem, I figured I would have a gander at handlebars.  I am also a bit of a sucker for handlebars with nice engraving in the center where the stem goes.

I found replacements, more shots to come when they are cleaned up, and the bars are bit wider than the stock ones.

As usual I keep an eye out for vintage bikes and saw this nice Miyata 710 outside my favorite caffeine provider recently.

I think they wanted to raise their handlebars.....

And while taking a lunchtime walk at work I spotted this  Trek 560

Speaking of work I got the very good news on Friday that my contract will be extended another 9 months which will allow me to give notice at the second job and get back more time in general and, hopefully, more time to finish bike projects.

Until next time. Ride.Smile.Repeat.


  1. Ryan: Since we're going with new bars, I'm wondering if it's not too late to go with street bars?

    1. Not at all in fact I was thinking of raising that very subject with you. I will email you off line

  2. Your attention to those little details is what makes your flipped bikes so great for the person who ends up with them. I hope they appreciate the love and care that went into it.

    1. Thanks Jim, I always want to put a solid bike out but when its family or friends I want to go the extra mile . There have been interesting packages arriving at my mailbox so I should have some fun posts coming up on the 'ol super course.,,,