• Thanks @jeff80
    I will take you up on your offer, can I come and pick them up?

  • Of course, ouu can either meet me in central London- (I work at the National Gallery ) next week or I live bloody miles east-in East ham, so you can always collect some from me there. Whichever suits you best.

  • couple of 50's Clauds:

    23" 1950 Avant Coureur Special (I think) with lovely Harden Hubs on Dunlop LA alloy rims, GB brakes and a Simplex chainset . Shame about the rusty down tube on this lugless number.

    Andy Bone / Paragon still at home in Nottingham.

  • bit of a disastrous test ride of the 1948 Carlton;
    a somewhat bent simplex tour de france mech, 3 snapped spokes and a possible bent rim


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  • Ah no, did the derailleur let go or something? The rim should pull straight again. Fingers crossed.

  • the adjustment was wrong and it ran too close to the spokes and got tangled when I changed to the largest cog. The Simplex Tour de France works on a spring loaded plunger and has no limit screws and I had allowed too much adjustment....I think the rim can be saved so will have to save up to get it sorted as I just splurged on 3 entire wheel rebuilds the other day...

  • This was an all too well known failure back in the day.

    It was usually caused by the arm of the mecahism getting bent (often by someone other than the owner!), but faulty adjustment was certainly another cause. Benelux and Huret were just as bad, and this problem was perhaps the main thing which made the Campag Gran Sport such a revelation. With a Campag, if someone knocked your bike over it would only push the mech over against the spring - as soon as you picked it up it just sprang back to where it was before with no harm done.

    In this case, I note that the block is very close to the hub flange, which meant there was no margin of error to avoid this disaster - a spacer (or two) behind that block might have secured a longer life for the unfortunate TdF mech.

  • Yes, I did think that to, although sadly after I'd screwed the block on-which is now almost impossible to remove due to being 'chewed' up where the removal tool fits by a previous owner . You live and learn...

  • Is the freewheel one of the two prong jobbies? They can be a sod to get off once the slots start to shear.

  • I happen to have a spare block (if I can find it, that is) 16, 19,22. If you can repair or replace the mech you can have it.
    Remove the old block by dismantling it and then unscrewing the centre holding it in a bench vice. Do not cut the spokes to remove the damaged rim before doing this!

    Personally, I would want to convert this machine to 5 speed, since I think a 3 speed derailleur is more trouble than it's worth, unless you can use a wide ratio double chain ring set up. The TdF will not cope with this.

  • yep that's the type. I guess dismantling as explained by clubman it is the best option

  • I have a spare period 3 speed so no problems. How do I go about dismantling a rear block?

  • Assuming your block is like all the others I've seen:

    There should be a disc just outside the damaged slots which the removing tool would have fitted into. The disc is often stamped "unscrew" with an arrow pointing clockwise since it normally has a lefthand thread. This disc is the outer cone of the freewheel bearing and should have two small holes into which you can insert a punch or the edge of a chisel to unscrew the disc. Once this is off the outer part of the block with the sprockets comes away revealing the centre which can be removed in a vice.

    And if you can re-assemble it afterwards you're a cleverer person than I am.

  • If you have a MIG or TIG welder you can also blat a weld across the two parts and take the whole thing off with a chain whip. You do destroy the freewheel this way, though.

  • Just a question for anyone who has and has set us a Simplex Tour de France rear derailleur - I can only get mine to work with a very slack change-I already had a disaster with on when it over shifted into the wheel, now my replacement one, which only seems to shift a 3speed block, will only cover the full range when the chain is very slack indeed-so slack it falls onto the chainsetays when oil the smallest cog.

    I've already had to adjust it rather further than it wants to on the push/pull spring as it doesn't have flats, (it's an early alloy version I think), and some threads are damaged so I can't shift it anymore. However, it does shift, but as I say only with a very slack chain.

    any suggestions or advice/thoughts?

  • I have set up a Simplex TdF and made it work fairly well (which is possibly as well as they ever work!), but I certainly would not claim to be an expert.

    I'm not clear about exactly what your problem is - are you saying that if you have the chain tension correct it won't change, or that you can't get the tension right?

    I suppose you have got the jockey cage the right way up - it's not rare to see them fitted upside down so that the the top jockey wheel is too far away from the sprockets, which might cause the sort of problems you describe.

    It's worth mentioning that these old 'plunger' mechs were never easy to set up, especially in comparison with parallelogram gears, and I'm talking here about a time when they were current and new spares were readily available.

  • Yes, the jockey cage is correct, but it will only shift properly when the chain is very slack, and when I shorten the chain the jockey cage moves too close too the block and snags on the cog teeth. As stated, this version is very hard to adjust as the adjustable part that fits through the tension spring has no flats to turn, and also no secondary outside knurled part to adjust it like some versions...

  • have you read this?
    http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/sim­plex_adjustment.html
    Take it slowly and make sure you are satisfied that each step is completed.
    I will message you with the Simplex Fitting Instructions issued by Simplex.

  • yup, read that but mine lacks some of the adjustable parts mentioned . the fitting instructions should help though! Thanks

  • the initial chain line is critical. And make sure the derailleur is not bent.

  • Is this the model ?
    I had plenty of problems adjusting it and it still isn't perfect. I'm not sure if you can see it but I bent the end of the plunger spring around so it would tighten up against the carrying arm, because as you said there is no slotted barrel cup to adjust or hold the spring in place properly.
    Also ensure to turn the tension arm spring as far you can clockwise before tightening with the pivot locking screw and then pull back spring and hook behind the carrying arm to give maximum tension.


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  • It's slightly later and 3 speed I think (not that it's marked), but basically yes. I'll give your spring bending advice a go tomorrow , that's a good idea. I'll re-jig the tension arm spring as well, to see if that helps it change up to the largest sprocket more successfully. Thanks

  • I've just re-read these posts and I'm beginning to think I can see an answer. I believe the problem is that the chain is too long, and this causes the jockey cage to be too upright to allow the bottom sprocket to engage. I'm assuming here that the main problem is getting onto that bottom cog - if it won't change onto the others we'll have to think again.

    It's quite clear to me that the main use for these mechs is for us to get pleasure by trying to figure out how to make them work - actually using them isn't nearly so much fun.

  • True but it's a bonus if you can use them as well. I rode mine from Paris to London last summer and it gave me no end of joy. Though I was no where near as quick as the other riders on their modern bikes the gear changing was consistent and reliable.

  • Couple of pictures of the trip just to get us in the mood for our next pre 50s ride.


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Pre 1950s rides of LFGSS: old bikes, vintage rats, classic lightweights

Posted by Avatar for luckyskull @luckyskull

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