Thursday, April 23, 2009

1955 Huffy/Raleigh Sportsman FINISHED!

Sweet Fancy Moses, this has been a long project! I started this back at the end of November, which makes it just shy of a full five months. Here's what I did:

-replaced crappy saddle with less-crappy used Brooks B72
-replaced stuck stem/bars after sawing off original
-replaced badly pitted and gouged crank axle
-replaced crank cotters
-replaced missing hub hardware and shifter cable
-replaced tires/tubes/rim tape
-replaced brake shoes
-replaced grips
-cleaned and repacked headset, bottom bracket, hubs
-sanded, primed, painted fenders, top tube, chain stays
-touch up and clear coat entire bike

The photos above are actually a bit disingenuous, since the chain guard isn't attached due to the chain rubbing on it terribly ("grinding" is really more the word). I was a bit worried about that from the beginning because of the wear patterns on the inside of the guard when I bought the bike, but I thought they might just be from years of neglect. I can't quite figure out why it's rubbing, actually, since the attachment points on the frame don't leave a lot of room for interpretation or adjustment. It must be on correctly, but it still rubs. Still working on that one.

Otherwise, it runs very well. It's very comfortable and smooth and surprisingly light. I had some trouble with the rear sprocket, the teeth of which had been misshaped due either to a too-tight or poorly maintained chain. When under way, the chain sounded like it was grinding through a poorly-adjusted derailer, which clearly wouldn't do. I swapped out the sprocket from the Columbia, and in the process, discovered that the sprocket on the Huffy had been put on backwards. I put it on the Columbia the right way to see if it would run any better, and it did! So, the Huffeigh sprocket is now working just fine on the Columbia, and the Columbia sprocket is working just fine on the Huffeigh. Thank you, Sturmey-Archer, for making such brilliantly-interchangeable parts.

I had planned on this being a cargo/grocery bike, but it turned out to be entirely too gentlemanly to be a beast of burden, so the Wald wire pannier rack I bought is now on the Columbia, which has been re-dubbed the grocery bike, while the Huffeigh will fill the Columbia's previous function as general run-around bike.


  1. What's that spiky thing on the downtube? I've seen that on a lot of old bikes and have never figured out what it is.

  2. There's another one obscured by the pedal in the photo--they're braze-ons to hold a frame-mounted pump like this one:

    It's a classic touch on English 3-speeds, especially Raleighs, but you'll see them on all kinds of other bikes, too. Someday I'll get me one of these!

  3. Looks gorgeous!

    Your pictures reminded me that I really need to place my bell in a better location. The way it is on now just looks too tacky.

  4. So is that a compliment or a critique of my bell placement? ;)

  5. Compliments of course! I read to learn and imitate. Sincerest form of flattery and all that...

  6. Congrats on bringing the Hufeigh back to life, Thom! I love the way its (his?) age and character shine through. I can’t recall if you had previously commented on this particular bike’s personality ... but I think that the words “poised” and “companionable” might come in handy.

    I discovered your blog just this past week and have really enjoyed reading about your (and your readers') bike rejuvenation projects. Thanks very much for the helpful information and inspirational thinking.

  7. Nice job, Thom! Where's the chain guard rubbing? Near the rear hub?

  8. Thanks! No, it's rubbing right over the chain ring, right on the curve of the guard. I saw some marks there when I was originally taking the thing apart, but I just figured it was due to poor adjustment or something. I can't think of a way to fix the situation--or what could be causing it.

  9. That looks terrific! Awesome work and well worth the time and effort. Enjoy the great ride!

  10. HI This is Scott here. Yuu bought the bike from me back in Nov. I lost your blog address and then just found it. I came on and Voila!!! there she is , my old Huffy that I never got to giving some good lovin. I am glad she found her way into your hands and now is alive and well and loved. NIce work!!! stoked I was able to follow it. thanks...!!

  11. Scott! Glad you found me again. It was a real project, for sure, and had to get some new parts on the way, but it turned out very well. It is indeed well-loved, and will be my companion for many years, for sure.

  12. Great looking ride.

    I like the tires that you put on it. I was wondering if you can point me to where you found them? I'm having trouble finding blackwall versions online. I have a Hawthorne lightweight that I believe is a Raleigh frame. Your help is appreciated.

  13. @ Brian: the tires (or tyres) are Michelin World Tours, which I first saw at Harris Cyclery's 3-Speed Parts page on their site, and then ordered through my local bike shop. As tires go, they were very reasonable, although I don't remember right now exactly how much. I've been very happy with them so far, but they were a rear bear to get on the rims. Find the link to Harris in my "Shops" sections at right.

  14. Look at the chainring from the front or top, backpedal the crank and make sure the chainring is running true. If it is bent it will move in and out, and hit the chainguard. If the chainring is not bent (it is steel...) then the axle may be bent, or the cranket not square on the axle, cotter in crooked etc. Hope this helps.