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Vol. 1, Issue 3

Posted: Thursday 18th June 2020

Author: Peter Underwood

We hope that one of our first events for this year will be by the Boot and Back which is to held near Buntingford just off the A10 on March 3. It is easier for us to catch the train to somewhere nearer the event and then ride home afterwards. This saves making too early a start on a March morning.

Things have been on a hold during this winter’s rather extreme cold spell as there is no heating in the garage. I have managed to do a few jobs that can be done indoors such as rebuilding a set of ‘Dural Forge’ Mafac brakes to replace the ‘Racers’ on Patricia’s Gillott. The other side of the coin is that some of the jobs needing to be done around the house have been sorted out. The roads have also got very dirty what with frost, rain and on top of it all the sugar beet season when local farmers and hauliers vie to see who can deposit the most mud on the quiet roads we like to use. As a result we have been riding our modern bikes most of the time and have spent nearly as much time washing them as riding them.

Several people have mentioned to me that some re-plating concerns are getting very pricey, especially for the smaller items. A good source for chroming of components is Prestige Electro Plating – Unit 9 – Station Road Industrial Estate – Wombwell – Barnsley. Tel: 01226 751389. They say that no order is too small for them, on top of this they do not have a minimum charge. I recently had ten small items (bolt heads, etc.) re-plated for our Mafac brakes and the charge was under £5 including return postage. They were returned in less than two weeks. Obviously to be fair on them I also use their services for larger items such as cranks, stems, etc. They return the items by the same method they are sent, e.g. if you use record delivery or register they will do the same.

I have a Simplex rear mech., new old stock and was told that it was four speed by 1/8″ and I thought that it would cover 5 x 3/32. However the best I can get out of it is to range over four of the five gears, perhaps I was sold a dummy, it was actually sold to me in a box and when I saw that it was marked three speed I sent it back to exchange for a four. This replacement gear had no markings in the plates either. I wonder if it is possible to extend the range by shortening the outer tube which contains the slider rod which carries the plates and pulleys. (have since been told no way!) I have a feeling that this may not work if the springs were made to compress too much.

Any ideas? I was told that some Simplex gears have washers in the 1/8 versions and that removal of these closes the cage walls to size for 3/32. I have had a look but cannot see washers on mine but I must remove a pulley to check. Sudden thought here, I wonder if changing pulleys will do if there are no washers? This gear is fitted on the new Flying Scot and I wonder if I may get the same problem with the Simplex I hope to fit on the Frejus.

Like most people I am looking for a very good condition 5-speed Osgear but could manage with just the lever and correct fork mechanism. I have a complete three speed Osgear with double de-tensioner lever and an eye on the tension arm. It is complete with seat tube chain guide but no cables and I would like to do a swap for the 5-speed version. I also have several other spares for Osgear and a lovely old Simplex 3-speed lever and arm, minus bracket, for a Simplex (Osgear type) gear.

Some of you will be painfully aware that I got a scanner from Father Christmas and it has turned out to very useful so far. I suppose the next logical step would be to acquire a digital camera but in the meantime I am using a conventional one. The main advantage would seem to be that one could just take the images or even image required and deal with it there and then. It always takes me ages to use up a 24 exposure film and by the time you find out that the image you want is not up to scratch it could take a further month or so to go through the whole thing again. One day I took some really good photographs of bikes using a neutral coloured garage door as background. They came out clear and well focussed but the shadow behind was so strong it became a real distraction. The moral is not to take pictures in strong sunlight of course. Digital’s are very cheap at the lower end of the market but to get a decent lens the price seems to be at least £300.

I am looking for:

A very nice condition BSA 1″ pitch chainring, with good chrome, to go on my R O Harrison track machine as I have a new greased-up pair of 5-pin cranks. As they are fluted on one side only I am told that they are pre-war. My main interest is 1946 – 1959 so if anyone has a perfect pair of 1950s cranks and would like to do a swap I would be willing to oblige.

Also, I am still looking for a Cinelli stem 11 – 12cm in good condition if possible but would consider one needing re-furbishing. I want this for a Frejus Supercorsa ‘M’ frame which is my next project.

I also need a pair of sprints, early 1950s with large flange hubs gear/fixed, 15/17 DB spokes in very good condition.

Our collection now consists of, complete machines:

  • 1948 Gillott road machine (Patricia’s) 1966 Gillott Track machine
  • 1949 R O Harrison Shortwin – road 1951 R O Harrison Madison – track
  • 1951 Ephgrave No. 1 – road 1955 Ephgrave N0. 1 – track
  • 1956 Maclean Super Eclipse – road 1951 Hobbs of Barbican – road
  • 1959 Hetchins Magnum Bonum 1953 Flying Scot – road

Machines under construction:

  • 1949 Paris Tour de France 1951 Frejus Supercorsa ‘M’

I have a printed specification (available on line) of each machine should anyone be interested. Completed machines include images.

Hint: If working anywhere near double chainrings, for example moving an obstinate pedal, put the chain onto the larger ring. If your hand should slip this will prevent multi perforations of the skin and probably much swearing.

Thanks for reading

Posted: Thursday 18th June 2020

Author: Peter Underwood

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