MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

1958 CARLTON FLYER - INTRO

FINDING THE FLYER

BUILDING THE FLYER

REFURBISHING THE FLYER

RIDING THE FLYER

 

BICYCLES OF ENGLAND

 

 

 

 

BUILDING THE CARLTON FLYER

Preparing the Flyer for a test ride was a bit of an adventure.  I stripped the bicycle completely, lubricated everything that needed it, replaced what had to be replaced, and assembled the bike.  No effort was made to pretty the bicycle up, at this point in time.  All I wanted to do was ensure that the bicycle was good to ride before getting into a full rebuild/restoration.

Though there were some how do I tune this thing up properly issues, the bicycle came together quickly and I was rewarded with the first ride.  I did not intend to go far.  My entire purpose was to ensure that the bicycle would ride well and it did.  There were a couple of minor frame issues, but then that is often the case with old road bike frame sets.

With the test ride out of the way, I turned my attention to restoring the bicycle.  Since it was an all chrome frame and all art work was gone, I decided that a paint job would be in order.  But that could wait until all of the component issues had been addressed.

Wheels are easy to tune.  They are all pretty much the same.  I started by removing the tires and cloth rim liners (now, that is pretty old).  The wheels were then completely cleaned, rims, spokes and hubs.  I used a soft brass brush to clean off most of the debris.  I did not want to have to disassemble the entire wheel and one of the easiest ways to clean an assembled hub is with a brass brush.  That, some chrome cleaner and a bit of aluminum foil was all it took to get the original wheels looking pretty good.

With the cleaning out of the way, the hubs came apart.  The hub lock nuts on the rear, indicated that the wheel set was from 1958, suggesting the bicycle's vintage to be late fifties.  That matched the information supplied by the original owner.

With the hubs rebuilt, each spoke nipple was lubricated with WD-40 and freed up, in preparation for truing.  Each wheel, in turn was mounted in my home made truing stand and set-up to within ten thousands of an inch.  Once trued, the wheels were stress relieved, checked again and set aside, waiting for new tires (the old ones were pretty much shot) to be installed.

The wheels turned out quite nice.  Normally, before I do a wheel set, I remove and discard all spokes, replacing them with new straight gauge stainless ones.  However, the Carlton's spokes were just fine, even though they did show a patina of oxidation here and there.  The rims, Dunlop Lites, were in great shape with nary a flat spot.  The steel was showing a patina of oxidation but nothing that was not fairly easy to clean up.  Once the wheels had been refurbished, they were clad with new set of tires and set aside.

Brakes do, from time to time, present a tuning challenge.  But the center pull Coureur 66 callipers needed no special effort to set up.  The original levers did not come with the bicycle.  A set of Universal Model 61 levers were substituted.  Fortunately, I happened to have a set of NOS (new old stock) Universal hoods tucked away in the Old Shed.  True, the Universals were anything but original, but I had no intention of leaving the Carlton to sit until just the right piece showed up.  And that is part of the beauty of restoring an old road bicycle.  You don't have to have just the right stuff right away.  As long as it works, it will do until the exact right component comes along.  And when the part does surface, fun is renewed all over again.

The levers had already been positioned on the bars, for the test ride. With that in mind, the original issue Cresta handlebars were wrapped with a cork/rubber cushion tape and, like the wheels, set aside waiting for full assembly of the bicycle.  Again, the tape would hardly be considered original or period correct.  But it does offer a good degree of cushion against the hand pain I would otherwise experience if I decide to go with the correct cloth stuff common in the Carlton's day.

The bars were supported by a GB stem, an older version of those found on bicycles from the seventies.  These older stems are quite ornate and suited the vintage nature of the Carlton perfectly.  Though an oxidized mess "as found" the stem responded well to a careful marching polishing on my home made polisher.  Many an alloy component has risen from its oxidized grave to shine again and the resurrection is relatively easy to implement.

The transmission, a Benelux Super 60 model, was of a design that I am pretty much unfamiliar with and had suffered a fair amount of oxidation.  It was, however, quite serviceable once cleaned up.  Tuning was not a straight forward task, but I did finally manage to get everything to shift as it was supposed to.  Once set up it did the tranny did work pretty good but any kind of fast shift was out of the question.

Since refurbishing the transmission, I have seen a few examples of the old Benelux gear changes offered on Ebay.  My guess is that this really old stuff will become very pricy in days to come but it is not all that expensive at the present time.

With everything working the way it should, the Carlton and I spent a couple hours together just to make sure that the frame set's integrity had not been compromised.  Once assured that all was well, I prepared to restore the bicycle.  Perhaps, restore is a strong word but this is as close as I have come to a full restoration.  Let's call it a full refurbishment.

NEXT - REFURBISHING THE CARLTON FLYER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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