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Articles about Old Bicycles and Parts
There's a great company called "Bike-alog" who mainly provides a wholesale database service for bike shops.
They also list specs for most bikes available in the U.S. market.
They have kindly made available their bike specification database for all older models, going back to the 1993 model year.
Bridgestone bikes have acquired a cult status.
The Raleigh Twenty has a stiffer frame than most similar-looking folders of its era, and has good riding characteristics. With upgraded parts, it can perform pretty well for not too much money.
The Chicago Schwinns were among the most bomb-resistant bikes ever built, and they were built with unique technology .
Collectors, hobbyists, and nostalgia buffs are rediscovering the uniqueness and enduring quality of the Schwinn built electro-forged bicycles. This article is a detailed description of the Schwinn E/F frame building process.
This article originally appeared in the Rivendell Reader.
Nottingham-built Raleigh bikes used a number of unique, proprietary threadings and dimensions, making it difficult, but not impossible, to upgrade them with modern parts. This article covers the pitfalls and strategies for dealing with them.
Lots of information on English Raleigh bikes
any younger mechanics are unfamiliar with some of the idiosyncrasies of English-made 3-speed bikes. Nevertheless, there are an awful lot of them still on the road, because they were built to last, and they still come in for repair. An all-around bike mechanic should be up to speed on these bikes. These bikes are actually very easy to work on, but you do need to know a few of their quirks.
This page is mainly about the running changes to the specifications and equipment of the Raleigh Sports 3-speed, and related models. For more general information see my article on English 3-Speeds.
This page features descriptions of 48 Sturmey-Archer hubs from the 1930s to the present.
Scans of some Sturmey-Archer brochures from 1935, 1938. You need a fast connection or a lot of patience!
French bicycles are often of very high quality, but they have their own idiosyncracies and interchangeability problems. This article tries to point out the pitfalls that you may run into in maintaining or upgrading a French bicycle, and offers solutions to common problems.
By Tom KunichIf you like the ride of your old French bike, but hate the parts, check this out!
By Tim MacNamara with Sheldon BrownIn the 1970's an English "ærospace" company which built, under the names "Lambert" and "Viscount", surprisingly inexpensive, very lightweight bikes made with "ærospace" tubing. Now, that, in itself is not as impressive as it might sound since the aerospace industry specs a pretty wide variety of steel tubes for different applications.
"Revolutionary" saddle designs come onto the market every year, and these new technologies have much to offer for many riders. Nevertheless, many others may be best served by a technology that has not changed substantially in this century, the tensioned leather saddle.
HTML version of the commemorative booklet celebrating the first fifty years of Sturmey-Archer.
Dynohubs are nifty electrical generators built into special bicycle hubs. They were made by Sturmey-Archer in England for several decades, but are no longer in production. Similar hubs are currently made by Sanyo and Union. Shimano makes one too, but it is not available in the U.S.
Many older bicycles use wedge-shaped fasteners called "cotters" to hold the cranks onto the bottom bracket axle.
These cotters have a nut to hold them in place after they have been driven or pressed in.
They can be difficult to remove, especially if they have been in place for a long time.
The early history of the U-lock, including interviews with the inventor, Stan Kaplan, and with Michael Zane, who commericalized the lock .
One-piece cranks are mainly found on older American-made bicycles, and children's bicycles made for the U.S. market. One piece cranks use a single metal forging as left crank, right crank and bottom bracket axle.
Biopace chainwheels are particularly suitable for touring cyclists and time trialists, or any application that involves a steady, fairly constant cadence. They allow healthy, efficient pedaling at slower cadences than is possible with round chainwheels. They are especially suitable for triathletes and mountain bikers. The triathlete benefits because the motion is a little bit closer to that of running, making the transition easier.
Bicycle tires come in a bewildering variety of sizes. To make matters worse, in the early days of cycling, every country that manufactured bicycles developed its own system of marking the sizes. These different national sizing schemes created a situation in which the same size tire would be known by different numbers in different countries. Even worse, different-sized tires that were not interchangeable with one another were often marked with the same numbers!
What size seatpost does that old bike need? Look it up here!
I have always loved riding bicycles, especially for the feeling of freedom and self-sufficiency that they give.
When I was a kid, the Marblehead town dump was one of my favorite hang outs, and I eventually noticed that there were lots of bike parts there. I had long done my own bicycle maintenance, with the help of a friendly bike shop owner, so I knew enough to be able to put bikes together out of parts from the dump.
Some of my bicycles have individual articles about them, including:
The most beautiful work of art I own, and lots of fun to ride!
The day I got my Elswick Tour Anglais was one of the most amazing of my life.
An English classic, dignified and stately.
As old as it is, this is still a deligtful bike to ride.
An encyclopedic listing of bicycle lore, technical data and opinions.
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Last Updated: by Harriet Fell