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clubman

Member since Jun 2008 • Last active Dec 2017

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  • in Bikes & Bits
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    I wonder whether a mech intended for 4 speed 1/8th would work on a 5 speed 3/32" block - the width of the blocks must be similar, and since 5 speed blocks are still pretty common this might solve a problem.

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    I am using machine with a Cyclo Standard 3 speed 1/8" chain combined with 3/32" T.A. Cyclotouriste chainrings (46/32) at the front. The front changer is modern and intended for 3/32" chain. It is cable operated, but I doubt whether this makes any difference.

    I did not expect this to work very well, but I thought I'd try it to see what happened - it works almost perfectly, making the bike a pleasure to use - I'll try to find a picture to post here soon.

    A very long time ago, as a teenager, I had a Benelux rod changer which I used because it was all I had. Although I would rather have had Campag, I never remember the Benelux giving trouble. It only had to cope with 48/52 rings, but as we know in those days a three tooth difference was the norm.

    As mentioned above the Simplex rod changer I used recently worked perfectly on a three tooth difference, but it was a bit awkward to reach and was more difficult to adjust than a modern changer. It was necessary to move the frame pump from the normal (for me anyway) position at the front of the seat tube. I don't know the exact weight, but it seemed quite heavy since it is all steel.

    So, my experience is that almost anything will work on the chainrings.

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    I certainly would not describe the Simplex Tour de France as 'rugged' - it was flimsy and very prone to going into the spokes with terminal consequences. It was also tricky to set up compared with the Campag Gran Sport, and could never cope with anything bigger than a 23 tooth sprocket. Even restricting yourself to 22 teeth you would still have been well advised to pray when engaging bottom gear, especially when it mattered in race.

    It is a misconception (encouraged by the trade, naturally) to imagine that professionals 'adopt' equipment through choice - they use what they are paid to use - and this has even applied to top 'amateurs' at times. I have heard that Dave Bedwell (an independent at the time, so perfectly entitled to be paid) when asked why he still used a Simplex (in 1960) he replied: 'Cos I get paid three quid a week to use it'. My informant was dead impressed at the time because as an apprentice he only earnt £3.17.6d (£3.87.5p). Another story is that a big name in Cyclo Cross was given a new 'plastic' Simplex for every event he rode.

    Paradoxically, Coppi insisted on having a Simplex TdF for the 1949 Tour, which he duly won. He did this in the face of strong opposition from his Italian sponsors. This was before the advent of the Gran Sport, and I think the alternative would have been the 'Cambio Corsa' which Bartali had used to win the previous year. This victory must show either that Gino was the greatest rider ever, or prove the power of prayer. Times change and we change with them, but Fausto never had any time for the Cambio Corsa.

    There were plenty of Simplex adverts in 'Cycling' in the late '50's and early '60's, usually a full page near the back, with plenty of those excellent Daniel Rebour drawings.

    Going back to the original question about that double pully, if you look at the text on the copy of page 154 (is it from The Dancing Chain?) you will note the words 'second cable to adjust the cage torsion spring' which is exactly what I was talking about in my previous post. This was certainly a Huret feature and quite possibly Simplex also. I don't think it's possible now to be sure what any particular double cable roller was intended for when it was installed, so I suggest you use it any way you can.

    What a pity the 'Fifty Years of Simplex Development' was not more carefully edited. The large number of errors makes the whole thing a bit doubtful. For example between page 49 and 50 Henri Pelissier changes to his brother Charles, and on page 58 Louison Bobet is only credited with two Tour victories when in fact he won in 1955 also.

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    The original firm was called Colne Finishes Co Ltd, this in turn morphed into C. Lovibond Enamelling Ltd. Both these were (mainly) at Arlington Works in St Margarets (near Richmond). In the end I lost the premises and sold the goodwill and myself to Malcolm Bell Ltd in Hampton. Bikes were never a big part of the business - our main line was electronic front panels and boxes.

    Most of the frames we did were resprays for the owners, but I did work for Ken Ryall, Bicyclecraft (Staines), Clive Bonavia, Dave Russell, Mike Mullett and Cliff Shrubb.

  • in Bikes & Bits
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    I've just looked at this thread after quite a long absence, so my comments are a bit late, but.....

    'Thin' Paint
    As some of you know, I had the misfortune to be in the stove enamelling business from the early '70's until the late '90's. I painted a lot of bike frames.

    I guess when you ask for 'thin' paint, you are saying you don't want powder coat. Powder was unheard of when I started, but I think it has now almost completely replaced wet paint (stove enamel) Powder is much easier to apply than wet paint - in fact it is a classic example of de-skilling. It's quite time consuming to get the knack of using stoving paint, and stoving lacquer is particularly difficult, especially when you're putting it over transfers (decals).

    Powder is efficient and needs almost no skill to apply, but it's always going to look 'puddingy'
    compared with well applied wet paint. Obviously, the old paintwork that people want to replicate was stove enamel.

    A further note on lacquering: Traditionally lacquer was applied over the transfers to seal and protect them, but when I was in this game I would often be presented with ancient transfers which were a treasured possession of the frame's owner. However, the owner rarely had he faintest idea of how they should be applied - and there are quite a few different methods. In addition some transfers will take stoving (not that hot -120C) and others will not. Of course if a transfer is 30+ years old it may behave differently from when it was young. I just mention these things to give an idea of the problems.

    Double Gear Levers

    Cyclists' obsessions vary from time to time. When derailleurs were young there was a feeling that the pressure exerted by the chain tensioning spring caused significant drag (not a ridiculous idea, as anyone who has ridden fixed will confirm).

    It was noted that while chain tension was important at certain times (e.g. rapid descents), it was not necessary at other times (e.g. climbing). So some gears allowed for slackening the tension at the will of the rider - Huret and Simplex had gears with this feature. So I suggest the primary purpose of the second lever was for chain tensioning. Strangely most of the pros in the '50's seemed to have been happy with rod changers at the front - they knew the system worked and generally there was only three teeth difference between the rings, so they weren't asking a lot from the changer.

    In conclusion I'd like to mention that I rode the Kent CA 12 as recently as 2012 using a Simplex rod changer (don't ask me why, I have no answer), and although it worked perfectly I had some difficulty in reaching it during the last couple of hours.

  • in Rides & Races
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    Are you thinking about riding, Hippy?

    I'd like to ride, but I'm thinking of coming as photographer, and you often make a good subject.

  • in Rides & Races
  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    I'm in a bit of a rush now, but I'll give you a short descriptiion of the club here soon.

  • in Miscellaneous and Meaningless
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    There is certainly a rule that gossip heard in the club should not be discussed outside it, but there is nothing to say the club itself should not feature in the news, and in the past the club's activities were widely reported.

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