Sunday, May 11, 2014

1950's Armstrong Project

So my buddy needed a bike, low budget. I got a Trek from another friend for him but while the gesture was most appreciated, the frame is 60cm and my friend is 5'11" with short legs. Not a good fit. So I got to thinking - (I know, dangerous, right??) I have an Evolution in 56cm, which would be better, but after some discussion I discovered he wanted to ride on trials too, but he did not want a flat bar, so a pure road bike is not very good fit, and I do not have any spare Cyclocross bike sitting around - enter the Armstrong.

I picked this bike up from the dump. It was too nice, and probably too rare at this point to scrap. I do not have a good track record for documenting my projects in the before state, so I will do my best to document the entire process. So this is what it looked like when I got it. Some parts are original, and some are not, like the Shimano 600 derailleur and the Shimano brake levers.

I broke down the brakes, which are original. This is what they looked like before an OA bath.

Here is the stem before the OA bath.

Here is the broken down crankset before the OA bath.

This is the Brooks seat before being cleaned up. It is not original, however I date it from the '70's.

After several failed attempts to get the freewheel off and removing the nipples, I just clipped the spokes. I hate doing it, but sometimes you have to.

The rims definitely need some help.

The circa 1970's Carlisle tires are shot and went in the circular file.

The bars need help too, but I am not too concerned considering they will be covered.

As you can see the bike was originally bright mustard yellow - maybe it is not from the 50's???? That seems like such a 70's color....

Some pics of the frame...

Mmmmmm, OA Bath!!!

Later that evening....

So I had to make a decision about what kind of components to use on this bike. Ideally when restoring a bike you want to return the bike to its original factory configuration, or as close as you can get. Since this is not technically a restoration, and more of a project I decided to stick with Shimano 600 since this bike was already equipped with this line of components. So I just happened to have a Shimano 600 headset. I think it will work very nice on this bike.

Here are the cups installed on the frame - it was a tight fit. I think will set the stage for this build. All of the dimensions and threads have really tight tolerances. I think modern bikes have looser tolerances. 

Here is the fork all cleaned up. I actually took the buffing pad on the drill to polish up the paint a little bit. The picture does not do it justice, but I think it looks 10 times better.

Here is a snapshot of the fork, headset, stem and handlebars re-installed. 

A closeup of the headset. I just really like the styling. 

These are the brake levers that were on the bike. They are Shimano, but are basically trashed. It is hard to tell from the pic, but they are also bent. 

I found these BEAUTIFUL Shimano 600 levers on e-bay,  and for a reasonable price. They look almost new. They even had the ferrules, but no hoods. 

The only issue is the clamp is made for a 1" bar and the original bars on the bike are 22.2mm. I originally thought I could just use the clamp from the old levers, but the thread pitch was not correct. I looked through my stuff and I found a set of shims (middle) that worked perfectly.

This is how it looks installed. Now I just need to find out where my buddy wants them on the bars.

So the chainring bolts did not look that great, so again I went through my stuff and found these. They are obviously not correct, but they will look overall better that the original ones.

The original cotter pins were in really rough shape, as you can see, the threads are a little messed up. I ordered some new ones - they came all the way from Greece! 

The bottom bracket has been disassembled and I repacked the bearings. The old grease was like glue. 

The crank has been re-assembled with the freshly packed bearings, new cotter pins and new chainring bolts. 

Even though they are not correct, I installed a new seatpost binder bolt and handlebar binder bolt. The old ones were not only incorrect, they were in terrible shape. This bike is going to be ridden, so the parts need to be very functional.

I had some black and aluminum MKS Sylvan pedals laying around, thought they would look good on this build. The toe cages came from another set of pedals. I removed the strap and I am going to leave them off. I believe they are death traps, but just the toe cages are helpful and safe.


After some cleaning an polishing:

An update coming soon! Goodies have arrived!!

Here are two Shimano 600 rear derailleurs. One came with the bike and one was purchased by the owner. Between the two I will have one good derailleur. 

Here is the derailleur completely rebuilt.

The owner purchased front and rear Shimano 600 hubs. The rear came with a Uni-glide body and Hyper-glide body. Here I am rebuilding the rear hub. 

The finished project with the Uni-glide body installed - which after some consideration I will be putting the Hyper-glide body back on to support an 8-speed cassette.

Before and after pictures of the Shimano FE (VIA) front derailleur that came with the bike. I did not find any reason to change it. 

Next up is wheels!!