MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"  

SIXTIES PHILLIPS - INTRO

FINDING THE PHILLIPS

BUILDING THE PHILLIPS

RIDING THE PHILLIPS

 

BICYCLES OF ENGLAND

 

 

 

 

BUILDING THE PHILLIPS

FOR MR. PHILLIPS

Both the man's and ladies Phillips bicycles were in good condition, cosmetically, but the ladies was by far the nicer of the two.  By that, I mean the components on the ladies bike were in better shape, the ones on the man's having suffered some oxidation damage.  I decided, when still in Winnipeg, to strip the ladies bike and use those components on the man's.

The Phillips build started out as an Ebay listing, offering only the man's frame and fork set for auction.  The listing period came and went, with the frame set selling for a fair price.  Before the bicycle auction had run its course, the eventual buyer did inquire about having the bicycle built up as part of the transaction.  I honestly enjoy building a bicycle for someone on-line.  It takes about three days of focused effort and each day sees a bicycle build status report sent to the buyer.

Arrangements were made for me to build the Phillips, and I got started by completely stripping the frame and forks, which had already been checked for structural and geometric integrity.  Once stripped, the entire frame set was cleaned up and waxed.  It takes a good hour or two to wax a frame set.  This because of all the little, hard to get at places, on a bicycle frame.  A quick wax job misses many nooks and crannies, leaving a wax residue in horribly obvious places, such as where the tubes meet the lugs.  With the frame and fork set whistle clean and waxed, attention is turned to the mechanics of the bicycle.

The bottom bracket and head set cavities were cleaned with a brass wire brush and polished with a scouring pad, prior to blowing all debris out.  Once cleaned, the cavities are coated with a light layer of grease, to prevent oxidation and possible thread seizure in the future.

Both the bottom bracket and head set were thoroughly cleaned and inspected.  Found wanting nothing, each was lubricated and installed in the frame set.  The component grouppo, pirated from the ladies Phillips, was also thoroughly cleaned, inspected and, once again found to be in very good condition, lubricated.  Everything was then set aside in preparation for the build.

The Huret transmission and Universal crank rings showed almost no wear, and polished up very easily.  The results, though not high end, are none-the-less very attractive and offered a great vintage feel and appearance to the bicycle, once built up.  The Huret shifters are unusually long and did take a bit of getting used to when test riding the bicycle.

The original Altenburger "Synchron" brake set, original issue to the Phillips, was retained and required almost nothing to complete the refurbishment.  Disassembled, cleaned, lubed and put back together, was all needed, prior to installation and adjustment.  The Altenburger brake set is definitely Old School and adds considerably to the vintage quality, and appeal, of this nice old English bicycle.

So too does the beautiful, and barely worn, Stronglight cottered crank set.  This old steel set was in great shape to begin with and needed nothing more than a good cleaning and polishing.  The results are certainly pleasing to the eye and the feel, once again, pure vintage.

The cottered crank set has put up with a great deal of criticism over the years but most of the problems are maintenance related, in my opinion.  As often as not, the cotter pins would be installed incorrectly, loosen off in short order and wear out prematurely.  A properly assembled cottered crank set is just fine to use and will outlast just about any alloy crank ring set.  Additionally, the Old School design looks like it belongs on a vintage bicycle.  My opinion, of course.

Proper cottered pin installation is very important if any degree of dependability and durability is to be achieved when assembling a cottered set-up.  I built a cotter pin press, that is useful for both removing and installing cotter pins.  The press is just that.  A tool that can apply even and direct pressure to the cotter pin and ensure that it is properly and TIGHTLY installed.

With most of the original components cleaned and installed, the Phillips was coming together nicely.  Most of the components, brakes, transmission and cranks, were installed but were waiting for final tuning.  The next concern was choice of saddle.

Let's face it, a bicycle of the Phillip's vintage and appearance needs a leather saddle.  Just to be period correct, if for no other reason.  The original plastic covered butt perch would not do the bicycle justice.  I decided to go with one of my favourite saddles, and a personal saddle at that - a gorgeous Brooks B17 "Special" large rivet honey saddle, with saddle bag eyelets.  This is a wonderful saddle, that I used for a season or two.  It is the only Brooks saddle that I have ever purchased new that fit me, right out of the box.  The saddle did not need to be broken in to be comfortable - for me.

I decided to let the B17 go as part of my retirement downsizing exercise.  The saddle, originally mounted on my late seventies Cambio Rino 2000, was now homeless.  An original Rino saddle had been found for the Cambio Rino and it replaced the Brooks one that finally came to rest on the Phillips.  To this day, I do not know if the Phillips owner realizes that he got one of my best saddles.  And today, I regret letting it go.  If you find a just right saddle - keep it!  They are hard to come by.

The Phillips was starting to look like a bicycle again.  The wheel set selected for the Phillips was a more modern version of those originally issued though hardly period correct.  Mr. Phillips had requested more modern wheels, asking if they would still suit the bicycle.  The original wheels, both the ladies and the man's sets, had suffered oxidation damage.  Neither set was worth dragging all the way home, from Winnipeg.

The wheels selected for the Phillips were of Asian origin, with Shimano high flange hubs laced to steel rims.  The high flange hubs looked much like the original hub set and could achieve a more vintage appeal with the installation of "wing nuts".  Increased strength and vintage appeal was the result.  Even I took a liking to this old wheel set.

The original handlebars and stem, both steel units, were discarded in favour of a beautiful embossed GB alloy stem and alloy handlebar set.

I cannot remember where the translucent blue cable casing came from, but it seemed to blend in with, or even compliment the appearance of, this old bicycle.  About all that was left to do to the control center was wrap the handlebars.

Now, handlebar tape is another one of those things that should be period correct to maintain appearance.  However, rider comfort will be sacrificed if that level of period correctness is to be achieved..  The Phillips all but demanded cloth handlebar tape, even though it was originally issued with incredibly poor thin and slippery plastic tape.  I did have a few rolls of this plastic tape tucked away, but I hated the idea of using it.  I have tried the cloth tape on other bicycles and it does offer improved grip.  The grip, however, is harsh and I much prefer the feel and comfort afforded by cushioned tape.  With this in mind, I presented the tape options to the new owner, who chose to go with the more modern cushion tape commonly available today.

Hoods were not an option for two reasons.  First - where would I get some original Altenburger hoods?  Second, why would I want to cover up the Altenburger lever decal.  Care was taken to wrap the bars and brake callipers so that the effect was neat even though no hoods were used.  And this brings up another consideration when wrapping the handlebars...

Where do I set the levers?  I know where I like to set the levers, for my own use.  I also have the option of test riding the bicycle, before wrapping the handlebars.  If the brake lever position is not right on, I move the levers and test ride again.  I repeat this process, until the right position is achieved.  In the case of the Phillips, I sent the levers in line with the handlebars, and the lever tips in line with the bottom of the bar drops.  I mention this only to help others not waste money wrapping bars, only to discover that the levers need to be moved.  Test ride the build first, then wrap the bars!  If at all possible.

That just about completed the Phillips build.  Everything was assembled, tuned and ready to go.  All that was left was the need to test ride the bicycle before boxing it up for shipping to Mr. Phillips.

NEXT - RIDING THE PHILLIPS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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