Wednesday, June 3, 2009
My Vintage Ride
c.1950's Universe Gent's Roadster bicycle.
22" Gent's frame running on 27" x 1-1/4" wheels (frame designed to take 28" x 1-3/8" wheels). Unfortunately the only original parts are the frame, forks, seat-post and bottom bracket. It has been refurbished using a variety of second-hand or salvaged parts, including 27" x 1-1/4" wheels, 3-speed Shimano hub, gum-wall tyres, north road style handle-bars and a tall quill stem, mudguards, rear carry rack, brakes, etc.
I plan to put 28" x 1-3/8" wheels into it. I have a pair of wheels, but the rear wheel has a single-speed coaster-braked hub. I have a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed AW hub which will have to be laced into the rim. I intend to use good quality stainless steel spokes to ensure a long service life.
I'd like to also fit it out with a more period-appropriate set of lights and a pressed-metal carry rack. I've bought a set of alloy mudguards to suit 28" wheels to replace the rusty chromed steel ones currently on it. I'd also love to get my hands on a chain-guard to suit the frame as well, but Universe cycles in Parramatta have informed me that they are completely out and not sure when they can obtain new stocks.
How does she handle? Well, with a long wheelbase of approx. 44" (112cm) and a long offset on the forks she's very stable on the road. However, this does also mean a fairly wide turning circle. Stability is a definite plus - I can power up a hill in 1st gear with only one hand on the bars. I can also brake one-handed without compromising the handling (a cause of my second bicycle crash). Stability is ideal in a bicycle which will be used for commuting and hopefully touring too. I can see why North Road handle-bars were so popular in years gone buy - they have such a natural and comfortable hand position. My seated riding position is very upright and easy - the sprung leather saddle has been taken from my retro-fied MTB, which I now find very uncomfortable and will probably sell in the near future.
Anyway, I'll be taking this machine on the Sydney Tweed Ride on Sunday, so if you read my blog and recognise my bicycle, come up and say g'day!