Susan’s City Slicker

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Jul 17, 2022
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Ashland Va
With only 35 days left, I am starting another build. This will get me in all 3 categories.

This bike is for my sister in law. The main priority is to build her a nice bike, so I will not make any compromises to get this done before the deadline. But I think there is a chance.

The bike was literally salvaged from a landfill. My brother in law saved it right before it was about to be run over by a bull dozer.

The frame is bent, but I think it is salvageable. Not sure how yet, but I am going to try to figure it out.

My sister in law wants a green city bike with a basket. She gave me a very reasonable budget. Enough for new rims, a saddle and basket for sure. So hopefully I can combine old and new and make something nice.

Assuming I can straighten this frame!




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Good thing the bend is only in the seat stays. Are the chain stays good? It might not be too tough to get it straight. Hopefully the rear rim didn't take a hit.
One way to check your work is to put the rear wheel in the drops and check the clearance of the rim and frame. They axle fits into the drop on a flat edge so your alignment with the seat stays and chain stays can be exact.
I had to straighten out one of my stays a bit. I simply clamped a couple of straight pieces of lumber to the stay and used c clamps to squeeze it back into shape

I bolted in a pair of axles to use as alignment guide, just make sure they both line up, and you can be sure everything is straight
Thanks. I really appreciate the pictures. I think I can do something similar.

Covid has been running through this house, and I have been using it as an excuse to isolate in the garage. However, I think I finally caught it. Everyone is fine, it is just like a nasty cold. I might need a day of rest.

Here are some better pictures. I think it is just the seat stays. It doesn’t look quite this bad in person. I spent a some time taking pictures from the angles that highlight the problem. It does need to be fixed

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Success. I used a vise and a lot of body weight to get the bend out of the left side. Then some ratchet straps to get the curve out of the right side.

Next up I am going to try the lemon pledge trick I keep reading about in here.

This may end up being more of a major repair as opposed to a rat-rod. Not 100% sure where this is going yet.

I realized Sturmey Archer had a coaster brake, so I ordered a 1960 SA AW 3speed off eBay. Got a good deal.

The Sturmey Archer front hub is designed without locknuts to hold the cones in place. Sheldon Brown wrote about this. Even if you get the cone’s adjusted properly, if the wheel is ever installed reversed it will screw things up. This is likely what happened to this bike as the cones are heavily pitted. I am going to search my piles of parts for a replacement front hub. I thought about resurfacing the old cones and adding locknuts, but that has its own challenges.

I am working on sanding the rust off the handlebars so they can be painted. But in true ratrod spirit I came up with this alternate solution. I found this BMX stem on Husky a while back for $2.77!! I couldn’t resist the price, and it fits this bike! Will need to be repainted if I use it. Happy to have a couple options.

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Making progress. I was able to rebuild both wheels using new 26x1 3/8 rims. They turned out beautiful with red spoke nipples. The rear had a SA AW 3 speed hub circa 1960.

I have been concerned about the design of the front hub without locknuts as mentioned above. I did resurface the cones to remove the pitting. However I am concerned about someone installing the front wheel incorrectly. The bike is 50 years old and chances are a future bike mechanic won’t know about the odd front hub.

But I just read @Ride 'em High ’s review of the Tannus solid tire. Did some research and amazingly they make a 26x 1 3/8 tire. Maybe this is my answer. At $49 a tire it isn’t out of reach. That could mean many many years without the need to remove the front wheel. I will be sending this bike out into the wild and hope it will last another 50 years.

Better pictures to come, but this is the best I could do right now. The BMX bars are just a test at this point. Will try out a few options.


Curious if anyone else has an opinion of the Tannus solid tires.
I occasionally pop some (easy to replace without removing the tire) spokes on my rear wheels, likely because there's a little less shock absorption, but I ride mine like a maniac...

...that said it's been a welcomed trade off for worry free off-roading. I find they have far better traction than rubber, even in the rain. I know it's unorthodox but I keep the brakes on my rainy-day bike on the tire rather than the rim and it stops on a dime while wet. I once gashed one open. it still worked fine but when I wrote them as to the safety they offered me a new one under warranty without my even asking so I'm kinda overwhelmed with the amazingly attentive service. First installation can be frustratingly hard but as you can tell I find the pay-off supremely gratifying. When you're ready I suggest searching for the installation video using zip-ties. Sometimes angles make a big difference pushing pins in and I'd be happy to offer tips if needed. I buy about a pair a year, per build.
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Make sure that front tire is in the right direction if you but a raliegh front tire on backwards it will lock up.
That’s exactly what I’m worried about. I sell or give away all the bikes I build. I’m worried that the next guy to work on this will put the wheel on backwards. That’s why a tire that never goes flat sounds appealing.

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