Monday, January 5, 2009

Huffy/Raleigh Cleanup

I've lost track of the number of days I've worked on this bike so far, so no more "Day 5", "Day 16", "Day 146" updates.

I've mostly been hard at work on the cleaning. I'm still waiting on a special-order lockring spanner wrench to get the bottom bracket apart, and in the meantime, I've taken down the front wheel and cleaned and repacked the hub. I didn't take photos of the process because cameras and bearing grease aren't a good combination in my less-than-capable hands, and I still haven't been able to hire that assistant (or housekeeper, for that matter). But here's an after photo of the front rim and hub, shown beside the rear wheel for a before/after comparison.

My project over the weekend was to completely clean and repack the pedals, which are in good enough condition to reuse. They were in such rough shape that it took me an entire afternoon, but I'm pretty happy with the result. The photo below shows the clean bits of the outer bearing assembly of the right pedal. More photos at my Flickr photostream.

Basically, all the other parts (except the rear wheel--I'll have something to say on that later) have now been cleaned once, just to see what I'm dealing with in the way of chrome and paint disintegration, and I'll be cleaning everything very thoroughly and meticulously again before reassembly.

The story isn't great for the chrome, which I'll post on later, but the paint isn't too bad. I won't have to repaint everything; the fork, for instance, is in brilliant condition, and most of the down tube is almost pristine. There are some trouble spots, however, where rust has done away with the paint almost entirely. For repainting, I've settled on the front and rear fenders, the chain guard, the top tube and head tube, and the seat stays and chain stays. All of the decals on the chain guard and frame will be preserved, however. Hey baby, I'm rollin' on a Huffy and I want people to know it! (that was some subtle sarcasm--for those who don't know, Huffy developed a rather poor reputation in the half-century since this bike was made).

Anyway, I promise more regular updates in the new year as I work on this project. I'm hoping to put everything back together and assemble all of my replacement parts by spring, but I'll also be finishing and defending my PhD dissertation between now and March, so I may drop off the edge of the blogosphere for a little while in late February. Just so you know.


  1. Nice one Thom! I'm impressed that you're doing a complete rebuild of the wheels. I was just about to post something on a partial rebuild on a 70 year old wheel and you've made me think I should've replaced all the spokes...

  2. Thanks! I'm encouraged, for sure.

    On the spokes, I don't think I'm going to have to replace any, actually. A few of the nipples need replacing, but the spokes are fine. I also rebuilt the Runwell's rear wheel with the original spokes and nipples, and I haven't had any problems.

  3. Nice bike. I have a Raleigh that is similar, and another bike that's the opposite. Instead of a Huffy made by Raleigh, this one is a Raleigh made by Huffy.

  4. Huh, that's very interesting, I didn't know there were Raleigh/Huffys. I remember seeing and commenting on your Raleigh 3-speed when it was posted on the Old Three Speed Gallery blog. What a lovely find, and beautiful work on the cleanup.

  5. Is this like the Tigon/Liger thing? You have a "Huffeigh" and Doohickie has a "Rally"...

  6. Yes, just like that! And I've heard that once they cross-breed like this, the offspring are sterile.

  7. Totally terrific, Herculean clean up Thom. How many pounds of steel wool or bronze wool did you go thru? I do not see any pitting either. Do you still have fingerprints on your digits? after all that rubbing or do you use electric tools or dremel? Thanks Ed with bronze wool and paste wax and latex gloves. Does anyone weigh there bikes. ? My 60 cm. Raleigh Super Record made in Japan 1981 which is now a fixie with alloy rims and Panaracer lightweigh tyres no rack or lite only a Bell weighs 24 lbs.