May 11, 2006
Rolfast rolling fast
Tonight I saw one of the bikes and thought it looked cool. It was an old Light Blue Ladies Rolfast single speed that had already once been restored and painted. It was in pretty rough condition though. I started scrubbing the rust off the chrome fenders and it was difficult. Cheap fenders mean chrome is rubbing off down to the metal. It's better than rust though. As I got into it, I found it much more work to do it right than I anticipated. Haha, at one point there were four of us working on one bike. Then they left and I was working on it for an hour by myself. It's still not done. Cleaning congealed grease is tough though. It was really caked on.
I have discovered that doing one thing leads to another. First I tried cleaning the rust and grease off the cranks and chainring. Then I noticed that the bottom bracket was loose. Even though it was moving freely, there was a lot of caked grease around there. I tried to tighten it but then it felt gritty. So, I took the whole thing apart and cleaned it. There was a LOT of caked grease in there. The fenders were the worst though. I still have more work on those to do. Then come the wheels.
Why am I putting this much work into a bike that will probably only sell for 50-60 bucks? Because it's a cool bike and could last another 50 years once rebuilt, providing that the new owner takes better care of it. It rides nice and looks cool. Tomorrow night I have to finish it. But I'm close. So in my opinion these are some things that differentiate restoration from simply making it work...Thorough cleaning, breaking down all the parts and removing all the rust, cleaning and replacing bearings if necessary, relubing everything, replacing broken parts with similar vintage parts and putting it all back together like new. It's very rewarding to take something destined for the scrap heap and make it like new. So it's worth it to me to spend some time making it good. Someone will love riding this bike!
Posted by carl1236 at May 11, 2006 9:59 PM | Bicycle Restoration
The '64 Armstrong is a beautiful restoration. I have an Armstrong 3-speed that I believe to be circa '66, it is red similar to the one in the photo yet my rear rack is chrome and there is a painted chain guard. I have been riding it for over five years now but I really need to work on the internal hub 3-speed. I have never taken one of these apart to rebuild them and I'm having troubles finding any information about the Armstrong 3-speed. Does anyone have any suggestions or have any experience working on these styles of hub's?
Posted by: matt brooksmith at September 20, 2006 12:47 PM
Check the rear hub. The sturmey Archers all have dates stamped into them. Unless the wheel was replaced that should be the year of your bike. There is a lot of information on Sheldon Brown's website about the sturmey archer hubs. You can even find the repair manuals and exploded view diagrams. Where do you live? If you live in the Twin Cities there are resources that can help you with that hub.
For starters there is a 3-speed club here. Several places also have parts for that hub. Do you know how to adjust your gears so it shifts properly? Just asking, because some hubs I see aren't really bad, just need a little adjustment on the cable and it hits all the gears again. And sometimes the cables are rusted and not shifting properly either. Anyway, I've never torn one apart, but I now have a defective one to practice on. So that will be another winter project, which I'm going to take over the dining room table for some weekend. Good luck with that hub.
Posted by: John at September 20, 2006 11:22 PM