Sunday, 30 November 2008

Day 1 & 2: Huffy/Raleigh Sportsman

The first shiny bits made their appearance today. I've got the wheels, fenders, chain guard, kickstand, etc. off the bike, but have left the handlebars/stem/fork assembled and the saddle and post on so that I can upend the bike to clean from all angles. I always clean everything first before I get too serious about the technical bits like bearings, crank, hubs, etc. Part of the reason is so that I can handle the bike without getting too dirty, and I also like the psychological boost I get from sprucing everything up. I washed the whole frame with Pedro's Bio-Clean squirted on a wet cloth, then went over it with rubbing compound to get a deeper clean and to coax what luster is left out of the paint. The fork and its chromed cap came out beautifully, but the head tube reveals the overall poor condition of the paint. The head badge turns out to be chromed copper, which explains the greenish hue it had. I made a go at the handlebars, and confirmed that much of the chrome is flaking off, but what remains shined up better than I expected; same with the stem. I didn't take a photo of that yet.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

1955 Huffy/Raleigh Sportsman

This is my new project for winter: a 1955 Huffy Sportsman, made by Raleigh, with a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub. This guy is a bit the worse for the wear, and I think quite a lot is going to have to be replaced. The chrome is mostly shot, and the frame has got a good bit of rust, but it's a solid old "British steel" bike. All of the components are Raleigh-made, and many of them are stamped "Raleigh Industries."

My favorite part is the chainring with the letters "NR", which I can only assume stands for "Nottingham Raleigh" (Update: nope, it's R.I.N. for Raleigh Industries Nottingham; the "I" is a bit hard to see). I haven't been able to find any other examples on the intertubes of this particular chainring design (wrong again--apparently common for brands taken over by Raleigh. See this thread at, about 2/3 down the page, as well as this bike).

My final goal is for this to be a cargo bike, all fitted out with racks and baskets and whatnot. I've got a lot more photos up at my Flickr account, with a bit of explanatory text, so go check them out. And, of course, I'll be blogging about the restoration here as I go. The previous owner has even promised to check in, as he expressed a desire to see this old bike returned to its former glory. I'll do my best!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008


I know I have some readers in India, and perhaps even a few from Mumbai. As the current crisis unfolds there, our thoughts and best wishes are with you.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Coolest Chainring Ever

...was posted today on Bicyclog: an Israel Cycling Manufacture (ICM) bicycle from the 1970s, and I just had to bring it to everyone's attention. Yes, that's a camel. How cool is that?

See more photos here.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Who's That Blogger?

I'm pleased to announce a new periodic feature on the Old Bike Blog, written by Shelly from Riding Pretty. Shelly will be guest-blogging about green products and methods for cleaning and fixing-up your old (or new) bike. I'll be returning the favor by guest-blogging at Riding Pretty about some basic tasks to confront at the beginning of an old bike refurbishing, including changing tires and tubes, adjusting saddle and handlebar height, chain care, brake maintenance, and lots of other things. 

Both features will be aimed at helping new cyclists get to work on that old Schwinn or Huffy that's been collecting dust in the garage, but more experienced gear-heads might benefit too, especially from Shelly's green tips and tricks. So, watch this space over the coming weeks for Shelly's guest posts, and check out Riding Pretty for my bike care basics.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Post-Raleigh Hercules: Can Anyone Help?

I received an email from Yanek of Bicyclog (which documents some of Tel Aviv's more interesting bicycles) asking if I knew anything about the Hercules brand. Apparently, Yanek has stumbled upon that dream of all old bicycle lovers: mint-condition old bikes in the back of someone's defunct shop.
I found an old bike shop here in Tel Aviv, (its not operating). I made an appointment with the owner of the shop, and at the back I've discovered these 4 black and one blue HERCULES 3 Speed bicycles the blacks are in mint condition directly from the factory, only the tires been eaten by the rats. and the blue is been slightly used. I wanted to ask you if you know how much this bike worth, and if you know something about this model or this brand.
I gave Yanek a partial answer, based on what little I know about Hercules, which is that they were bought by Raleigh in 1960, and that they manufactured their own 3-speed hubs before the buyout. These, however, have Sturmey-Archer hubs, so I'm guessing that they are 1960s or 1970s bikes.  If you know anything more about these bikes, and can help Yanek determine dates and values, please leave a note in the comments.

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