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Hints and Tips - 3

Posted: Monday 21st September 2020

Author: Peter Underwood

My friend Geoff Adams tell me that when he is building up a machine for the first time he has four plastic washers cut from plastic sheet.  There are two to go under the front track or wing nuts plus two for the rear.  When you are building up a frame fresh back from the restorers this stops the nuts from chipping off paint from the front or rear ends as you have the wheels in and out time and time again trying to get everything to gel together.

I have started coating the curved washers on the brake bolts (to line up the bolts with fork crown or seat stay bridge) with what we in the UK call Evostick, a contact adhesive.  This stops the washers scraunching into the new paint when you tighten the bolts to secure the brakes.  David Palk told me about using this method on cable/gear clips etc and I realised it would work on the brakes as well.

One of my favourite occupations is assembling, dis-assembling and re-assembling bottom brackets so as finally to get the correct length of axle (only joking – I hate it).   From time to time you may come across a set of caged bottom bracket bearings, usually in a more modern set-up.   Keep a set of these for this tiring job and it makes it much easier as you don’t end up with balls rolling about in the shell in spite of your efforts to secure them with grease.  When you finally come up with the correct axle length, whip out the caged bearings and replace with the correct balls (11 in total each side). Why take out the cages you may ask?  If you live in the UK and present your pride and joy to the style police (you know who you are) it is just conceivable they could take out the bracket to check the correct balls are in there!

Nick Hando says:

At the weekend I was told a tip for cleaning and polishing chrome. It’s so good (miles better that Autosol) that I just can’t keep it to myself, so here it is.
Use ordinary kitchen foil, scrunched up and wetted (very important), and rub the area to be polished. Magic! Try it, you’ll see.

From Peter Brown:

I have just been browsing your website hints and tips section and noticed there was a small piece on cotter pin removal.  I know there are (rather expensive) specialised tools for this but a Machine Mart car ball joint splitter at just over £8 works reliably with little effort and no damage.  See

The best cleaners I have found are Carplan Tetroclean engine degreaser for removing oil and grease – I have various size containers for soaking parts in, and after a few days the oil and grease comes off easily with the aid of an old tooth brush.  Rustins Rust Remover deals with rust easily, does not harm chrome, leaves no visible residue, and requires nothing abrasive.  Just soak for up to half an hour and wipe with an old rag.

One of the most useful tools I have, which cost me £1-50 from a local shop, is a ½” diameter magnet on a telescopic rod.  It pulls bearings out of bottom brackets and hubs without losing them, and retrieves those small parts which always seem to fall and bounce into the most inaccessible places.

The manufacturers mentioned by Peter Brown are UK companies but I’m sure that similar products are available world-wide.

And now a tip from Flash (Webmaster of Hetchins site):
Use white Teflon plumber’s tape to wrap the threads on pedals; this keeps the axles from siezing in the crank arms and, being a dry lubricant, does not attract grit. This can also be used for wrapping the threads on the rear hub to ease removal of the cog block, and bottom bracket cups.

Roger Langworth sends in two hints:

1. Before you cut a brake cable wrap a piece of Teflon tape around the bare cable before you cut it. This stops the likelihood of the cable fraying. It also works if you have a frayed cable that you have to re-use. Make sure you wrap the tape in the direction of the cable twist and it neatly pulls the cable together. Leave the tape in place until you have threaded it through.

2. If like me when you have the bike on a workstand the handlebars always twist at the wrong moment and slam into the frame. Take an old inner tube, take a piece with the valve still on it at one end and cut a length about a foot long. Then with a Stanley knife cut through the tube a slit about 1/2” long a couple of inches from the end. You are then able to loop the tube around the front wheel and the frame to keep it in place, by hooking the slit over the valve.

Geoff Mace offers some tips

A tip for fitting rubber brake lever hoods:
Apply petrol with a brush on the inside of the rubber hood and on the lever.  The hood will then slip on easily and the petrol will evaporate leaving a tight fitting hood. Using petrol will help removing hoods for subsequent re-fitting. This can also be used for fitting golf club handles where spped and accuracy is the essence before the grip grips!

Where bare gear control wires pass through steel eyelets that are welded to the top of the bottom bracket or steel guides welded to the underside of the bottom bracket corrosion and frictional wear will occur. To obviate this I slip the greased control wire at this point through 3mm OD nylon semi flexible pneumatic tube for a short distance past the eyelet or guide. It is held in place by the bend in the wire and does not look unobtrusive at all.

When putting on BLACK  handlebar tape you always have the trouble when it comes to covering the brake securing clip. I have found that instead of covering the clip with the handle bar tape I put 3 layers of plastic self adhesive electrical tape 75mm long one on top of one another and set at the required angle across the bars and adjacent to the hood.
I repeat the same on the other side of the same hood and then wind on the handlebar tape. This leaves just a small triangle of insulation tape either side of the hood which is almost invisible to see.
This proceedure could be used on other handlebar tape proving you could find a suitable colour match of electrical tape.

Chris Harrington offers advice on preventing scars to newly repainted frames being rebuilt

I have found that a complete build up to the frame of all those components sourced from the jumbles and swaps before repainting removes most of the need to adapt bits to fit snugly after painting. A complete build and ride for few miles pre paint establishes what is needed and once rectified enables the excited enthusiast to quickly and confidently put together the latest pride and joy .

Eddie Wallace on Sturmey Archer

‘dedicated’ triggers for ASC hubs which are fairly difficult to obtain nowadays, but all is not lost. One solution is to modify a standard 3 speed trigger, for which there is practical information ‘out there’. Another (and fairly well known) solution is to use a 4 speed trigger, adjusting the indicator with trigger in position 2. This gives the three gears in positions 1, 2 & 4. Position 3 gives a ‘no drive’ situation. Personally, this is my own favoured combination, as the ‘no drive’ position enabled securing crank arm to chain stay when ‘off road’ thus reducing damage to those boulders etc. that crop up frequently, in the wrong places! The pedals & crank arms benefitted too! I always resisted engaging position 3 when riding, as a sure fire way to the early demise of the internal dogs, if the adjustment wasn’t quite right. Another solution, & not so well known, is to swap the ASC indicator (K807) for K804, 4 speed version (and much more readily available). Now, using 4 speed trigger and adjusting indicator in position 3, (as for a 4 speed hub), One gets 1/2&3/4, for the 3 ASC gears, positions 2&3 both giving the middle gear, and drive in all positions. A safer alternative.

Mike Baker, VCC, Bromsgrove.

Metal polishes.  I use MAAS, which is an American invention, brilliant for removing rust on chrome, such as steel cranks, then keeping rust at bay permanently if it is occasionally renewed.

Fitting headsets. When a frame returns from spraying, you will probably find some paint  has made its way inside the head tube, making the fitting of  the top and bottom cups difficult. Buy a length of steel bolt, slightly longer than the complete assembly, with a nut and  2 large washers, wider than the cups, and pad the washers with rubber. Place the top and bottom cups in the head tube, liberally coated with Wynns friction proofing , tighten the bolt slowly and evenly with the nut, and the cups will pop into place.

Handlebar  brake hoods. Assemble the bars and stem before fitting to the frame, and loosely fit the brake hoods to the bars. Place the straight part of the bars onto a level surface, e.g a workbench, then place the tips of the levers equally on to the level surface before tightening the brake hoods. Both brake hoods will now be at the same height on the bars. If you wish to raise or lower the position of the hoods, place a piece of flat wood under the tips or under the straight part of the bars.

More hints invited.

Thanks for reading

Posted: Monday 21st September 2020

Author: Peter Underwood

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