ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Sunbeam Has Arrived!!! posted by: Craig McNeil on 1/31/2006 at 2:31:22 AM
The 1927 Golden Sunbeam I mentioned in the previous post a few days ago arrived today. It's every bit as nice as I hoped. Give me a couple of days to get it polished up and I'll post pictures. Here's the first impressions:

1. The bike is complete and original except for the pump (early Zefal painted to match frame), lights (British made Everready's) and possibly the rear reflector (It's old but mounted a bit off center).

2. Paint is very thick and in excellent shape. A couple of chips on the top tube and a little paint loss on the seat stays from where the rack or a light slipped but no dents or rust! I think it will clean up beautifully.

3. Some paint loss on the brake levers and on the handlebars in front of the grips where the hands rested but still in great shape. Once again no rust. Just a nice dark patina where the metal is exposed.

4. Mudguards are very thin, extremely light and remarkably dent free! I almost thought they might be aluminum but a quick check with a magnet confirmed they were very thin steel.

5. Original hand grips with removable ends to store patch kits etc. One side still has the small storage tube with a wooden plug!

6. The wheels are the original aluminum (Romanian I believe it was called). They were most likely finished in black when new however only the center section retains that finish. The braking area and the rim edges have lost it. The front rim has a "War Grade" Dunlop. The rear was replaced about 3 years ago however I was supplied with the other Dunlop that was replaced. The tires are 26" x 1-1/2". The Dunlops say they are made for F9 British Rims. I think this is the same as a 650B. Am I right? The tires say "Inflate Hard." Matthew you've got to help this Yank. How does that translate into PSI or BARS???

6. A majority of the box striping is still there with a lot of it in great shape. The headtube has the insignia "The Golden Sunbeam" with the sun logo although the word "Sunbeam" has been mostly worn off. The downtube has faint lettering saying "The Golden Sunbeam." It's a bit hard to read though. The headtube also says something to the effect of "Maker - John Marston - Wolverhampton England" (I'm going on memory on the exact wording because the bike is still at my office and not at home where I am now).

7. There are maybe two 1/2" dents on the top of the chaincase and one 1/2" dent at the top front. The rest of the case is perfect (better than my 1952 Sunbeam and much better looking in person than the photo I originally shared). It has the decals saying "Sunbeam" and "The Little Oilbath."

8. As Allan mentioned about his Sunbeam in my previous post, the brake blocks are old and rock hard. They appear to be non standard so I'll have to figure out a work around to get decent braking.

9. The original Terry seat covering is a bit rough (hey, its only about 78 years old) I have a slightly newer 3 coil Terry saddle that I'll use until I decide if I want to restore the original one or replace it with a Brooks.

10. The bike feels very tight and ridable so far. I still need to pump up the tires tomorrow and do a test drive but so far I'm pleased as can be.

11. Pedals are original and spin smooth

12. Now for the most important part. I can staddle the 26" frame flat footed!!! The top tube is a bit friendly if you know what I mean but dismounting will be quite doable with the proper amount of care!!

Anyway that's my first impressions. As mentioned I'll post some pictures in a couple of days and I hope everyone enjoys looking. I've been searching almost 3 years for a pre-war Sunbeam and this is a great original example to find.

P.S. I plan to ride it 2 miles to work everyday just as it was meant to be used. I think it can take it!

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: Sunbeam Has Arrived!!! posted by Craig McNeil on 1/31/2006 at 4:15:24 AM
The dents I mentioned on the chaincase are 1/2" long not 1/2" deep!!

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Sunbeam Has Arrived!!! posted by Dick in FL on 1/31/2006 at 7:17:02 AM
Does this Sunbeam have the special 2 piece rear axle that allows one to remove the tube without removing the wheel? If so, and when you get arpound to it, please post some pictures and description of how this works. Also, how did it come to be on this side of the pond?

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: Sunbeam Has Arrived!!! posted by sam on 1/31/2006 at 4:03:02 PM

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Sunbeam Has Arrived!!! posted by Matthew on 1/31/2006 at 6:31:37 PM

This is a two-fold instruction; first do not take the lazy option of airline, compressor or footpump. Use a hand or possibly stirrup pump and set to work, its hard!

Second inflate hard! Now you need to squeeze the tyre between your thumb and fore finger but not from side to side like you would squeeze your nose but top to rim. If you can only just make the tyre deform then it is hard. This will be at about 2 Bar(ish) or roughly 50psi.

The technical bit is that the angle of depression in the tyre tread is inversely proportional to the effort applied at the handle of the pump and can be expressed in camels per cubic fortnight (imperial camel = 1 US moose)

Beware of over inflating old war grade tyres. I personally wouldn't ride on War Grade tyres as the youngest of them are now very elderly. I have had war grade blowouts and my Dad went deaf for a short while after a very elderly tyre on the trade bike burst when he pumped it up. I was most disappointed recently when a vintage Herc developed a flat tyre, the original red buytl rubber 'John Bull' tube ahd fallen to peices!

Matthew - flattered to be asked,.


   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: Sunbeam Has Arrived!!! posted by Craig McNeil on 2/1/2006 at 1:12:58 AM
Thanks for your response Matthew. I knew you would give me advice that I could easily understand:-) It's unfortunate I just threw away my imperial camel to US moose calibrator. It would have come in handy. I guess I'll rely on the squeeze test. Disclaimer: if you are new to this forum please ignore this thread for your safety and the safety of those around you. I didn't get a chance to try out the bike today because of work. I can assure you that I was only going to pump the tires just enough to avoid any pinch flats. I wanted to ride it down the street and back to test braking, shifting, handling etc. I plan on installing new tires and tubes right away. This leads me back to another original question: Is the 26" x 1 1/2" F9 rim the same as a 650B? Any help would be greatly appreciated!! By the way, I have a friend who was attacked by a US moose while he was sitting in a canoe on a river in the NW US a few years back (true story). After that experience he thinks the conversion factor is closer to 1 US moose = 0.75 imperial camels!!

Craig - wishes he was as witty as Matthew

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: Sunbeam Has Arrived!!! posted by Craig McNeil on 2/1/2006 at 1:20:54 AM
Actually I mean 1 US moose=1.25 imperial camels!

Craig - wishes he could calculate as well as Matthew

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: Sunbeam Has Arrived!!! posted by sam on 2/1/2006 at 4:15:07 AM
Schwinn middleweight tires should fit.check sheldon brown's to be sure---sam

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Sunbeam Has Arrived!!! posted by David on 2/1/2006 at 4:05:04 PM
26 x 1 1/2 is NOT the same as Schwinn middleweight tires. The former has a bead seat diameter of 584mm which is the same as the French 650B. (Schwinn DID use this size on Town & Country tandem) Kenda makes a tire in this size. See Sheldon's article on tire sizes: http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

And be sure this old 26 x 1 1/2 isn't something weird and even less standard!

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Sunbeam Has Arrived!!! posted by Craig McNeil on 2/2/2006 at 3:18:03 AM
Thanks everyone for your responses.

David, I remember reading somewhere that the 26" x 1 1/2" (650B) tire was used on French touring bikes, early Raleigh mountain bikes, the tandems you mentioned and some prewar Roadsters. This is what leads me to believe that this is a 650B wheel.

The bike however actually has a mountain bike tire on the rear but it's not very knobby. The front tire is a Dunlop Champion (not a war grade like I originally thought - only the replaced rear tire was that). The front Dunlop tire says "Made for British F9 Rims."

It's rather confusing.

If they are 650B sized rims what's a mountain bike tire doing on the rear unless it was made for one of the early Raleigh mountain bikes that used that size?

If it's a British F9 rim is that the same size as a modern mountain bike rim or a 650B rim or neither? All of the tires simply say either 26" x 1 1/2" or "Made for a British F9 rims." There of course is no metric size indicated on these old tires. See the confusion?

I did a quick check on Sheldon's site and he did reference the 26" x 1 1/2" tire size but he did not reference the F9 rim with that size.

I may just order a 26" x 1 1/2" (650B) tire and see if it fits.

It was far easier to understand Matthew's imperial camel to US moose conversion than it is to understand old tire/rim combinations!!

Craig McNeil - Very very tired (tyred)

(Matthew, I'm starting to get the hang of these signatures!)

PS to Dick in Fl: I haven't verified the rear axle question yet. The nut assembly doesn't look like the pictures I've seen but that doesn't mean it wasn't modified before my bike was made. I wish I wasn't so busy at work this week so I could spend more time working on the bike. As soon as I find out you will be the first to know - along with the others that is:-)

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Sunbeam Has Arrived!!! posted by Matthew on 2/2/2006 at 10:30:08 PM
We are often re-tyred, always two-tyred but never exhausted!

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: Sunbeam Has Arrived!!! posted by Craig McNeil on 2/3/2006 at 2:59:18 AM
So far I haven't been able to find a 650B (584) tire in the US that isn't a gumwall. That of course wouldn't look proper.

I have found reasonably priced 26" x 1 1/2" (584) tires in the UK at St. Johns Street Cycles,www.cyclesofyesteryear.com and www.theoldbicycle.co.uk

The shipping will be about the same cost as the tires but that's OK. I'll order them up plus maybe some woods valve tubes for the proper effect.

The big news is I may have found a source for some vintage Sunbeam brake blocks!! Allan, if you're still out there, post again and I'll tell you where!!

Craig - "Tireless"

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Sunbeam Has Arrived!!! posted by David on 2/3/2006 at 3:06:57 AM
That's right about the 650B. (I think there's even a French group trying to revive their use "Les amis du 650B") Anyway, you might try getting a cheap Kenda, gumwall and all, just to see if it IS correct. The mountain bike tire seems very bizarre.

AGE / VALUE:   Rollfast trike posted by: Jason on 1/30/2006 at 11:35:11 PM
I am trying to find value, model, and any other info on a rollfast trike. It has a headlamp, a three speed gear changer, and a speedometer. It also has a basket on the back inbetween the rear tires. This trike looks really old, and I can't find another one anywhere on the net like it. If anyone could help me I would be greatful. -Jason

MISC:   Brooks made by Sturmey Archer ??? posted by: Bruce on 1/30/2006 at 4:39:36 PM
Does anyone know when Sturmey Archer starting making Brooks saddles? item 7215619532 has a NOS Brooks saddle in a box stating it is sturmey archer.

   RE:MISC:   Brooks made by Sturmey Archer ??? posted by Dick on 1/31/2006 at 3:06:36 AM
Excellent question. I had no idea Brooks was ever a Sturmey Archer product. Of course it all belonged to Raleigh and corporate brand shuffles are common in the business world.
Dick in L.A.

ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Novice Question posted by: Gil on 1/30/2006 at 12:55:40 PM
Picked up an older Sports on eBay last week (listed as '49, but the hub stamp is unclear). Full chain case, functional but weak dynohup lights, B66, childseat. My problem is that upon close inspection, the offside seatstay is bent inward about 1/5'' out of line and both pedals are not perpendicular to the frame - the pedal spindles or the crankarms or both may be bent. Bent frame aside, are bent crankarms/spindles a common problem on these bikes? Is it correctable? The seller has offered a refund because he was unaware of these problems. I am inclined to take the money and run, but if I looked like this at fifty something, I would probably count myself fortunate. Any words of wisdom or experience?

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Novice Question posted by Ralph on 1/30/2006 at 6:51:02 PM
It's fairly common to see one of these problems on an older bike. But if you've really been blessed with a triple whammy you're in a league by yourself. There are tools and repair techniques to repair both bent seat stays and crank arms. Unless you really know what you're doing, don't try this yourself. The only hitch is that bike shops that will do this work for you are getting a little scarce. Lots of stores will tell you that the bike isn't worth repairing and the labor could be a little steep.

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Novice Question posted by Matthew on 1/30/2006 at 7:33:07 PM
A sorry but true enough tale and not uncommon. Poor or few photos on eBay or poor descriptions lead to items of less than expected quality being sold. However there is good hope in this case. The pedals and or the cranks can be replaced so they don't represent such a problem. The seat stays are more troublesome if they are the brazed on type. You can do more harm than good trying to correct bent frame components if you aren't skilled in this area but you might be blessed with bolt in seat stays? In which case just unbolt them and look for some spares, some one here might be able to help you out. Failing all this you could take the refund and start again or negotiate a partial refund and use the cash for repairs of the bike which I think you actually would like to keep?

Matthew - advice is cheap and easy!

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: Novice Question posted by Mike on 1/30/2006 at 9:10:15 PM
Ask around your local bike shops to inquire before doing anything final. Those problems can be fixed by an experience mechanic, but many shops decline to do the work for legal reasons. I had a damanged fork prong that my local shop refused to fix because of the legal liability issues with fixing it. Many shops simply plead this excuse now. Check around and see if you can find someone who will do it. If you're new to these bikes don't try these fixes yourself. Compromising these parts with a sloppy fix can lead to serious injury if they fail while riding, even at slow speed.

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Novice Question posted by Gil on 1/31/2006 at 3:44:18 AM
Thanks for the responses. Very perceptive Matthew. I am keeping it. It's worth it just for some of the parts, but the goal is to get it into daily short commuting shape. I have a friend with a shop so we'll have a go at it. Another question: How does one remove the drive side crankarm given that it is attached to the chainring and the chainring is fully enclosed in the gearcase?
Still can't make out the year on the hub, a 1 is fairly clear, also FW and Four Speed. The hub cleaner appears to have got the rest.
Thanks again to all for the advice,

   RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Novice Question posted by Dick in FL on 1/31/2006 at 7:32:47 AM
Gil, if you get on your knees so that you can get an eyeball next to the chaincase, you will note that there is a so-called "pie-plate" that snaps into place over the chainring. Just palpate its circumference with your fingertips (like a safecracker) and you will discover how to pry it off with a dull butter knife. In the middle of this pie-plate is a small sliding panel which opens up the space where the crank passes through. This needs to be at maximum opening for the pie-plate to navigate past the crank. Finally, the right crank does *not* separate from the chainwheel. (" ... let no man put asunder.")

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Novice Question posted by Matthew on 1/31/2006 at 6:41:26 PM
Dick is right on this one Gil. You probably need to take the pedal off to get the pie tin over the crank. Slipping the chain off will also help, just open the little rear quarter section of the guard and run the chain around until you can see the joining link then split the chain BUT put some string throught the links of both ends first or you'll lose the blessed thing! Tie the length of string to the frame and it won't run away inside the guard - lost for ever. As with all repairs take your time because if its your first time it will take at least twice as long as you thought.

Matthew - full of rubbish

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS: Novice Question posted by Mark Stonich on 2/1/2006 at 2:54:07 PM
Are you anywhere near Minneapolis MN?

If you have the right tools, and I do, bent seatstays and crankarms are an easy, safe fix on old British roadsters.

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Novice Question posted by Ralph on 2/1/2006 at 3:08:58 PM
Same offer holds if you're near Cleveland. I also have the tools & know how.

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Novice Question posted by Matthew on 2/1/2006 at 6:07:46 PM
Three cheers for the forum!
We have the technology, we can rebuild.
This thread is what its all about.

Matthew - faith in humanity restored.

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Novice Question posted by Gil on 2/2/2006 at 2:47:38 AM
Hip, hip! This is an outstanding forum. My compliments, and thanks, to the members. Everything is coming along nicely, but "twice as long" may turn out to be wildly optimistic - it's an education - no complaints here. Idiot that I am, I did not think to take any before pictures.

Dick, just so with the driveside crankarm: "What RI has joined together..." Mark and Ralph, thanks for your encouragement and offers of assistance. I'm in Baltimore (close enough to Philly for British Bike Weekend) but a friend runs the big, uh, chain bike shop here. They have all the tools of reconstruction/destruction and some good wrenches. We'll see.
These bikes are great! Trying to split my time between working on it and searching the archives to avoid running over old ground is a challenge. Prepare for more newbie questions!!

ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   RALEIGH BIKE-3 SPEED wood handlebars posted by: fred on 1/29/2006 at 9:07:59 PM
my dad has a RALEIGH BIKE-3 SPEED wood handlebars I have checked several site and none list this as an option is it possible or has it been replaced?

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   RALEIGH BIKE-3 SPEED wood handlebars posted by Matthew on 1/29/2006 at 9:24:20 PM

Do you mean wooden handlebar grips? They are rare but not unknown and probably not fitted by any cyccle company since Edwardian times. However you can buy wooden grips made by clever wood turners. However wooden handlebars? Well that's news to me. It would (wood) work but I can't say i vere seen them and Idon't think a Raleigh 'All steel' would have them.

Matthew - wood you believe it.