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1956 Racer Rebuild

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DesmoDog

Look Ma, No Hands!
With the generous help of a member on another forum who sourced some spokes and a headset washer for me, I was able to make more progress on the Racer today.

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The tires are just rim protectors, they're both further gone than I thought so I'll be ordering new ones. I need to knock the rear fender back into shape before I install it. Or do I? I'll clean it up before I decide. I'm not going to use the grips or the stock bars either. They're both just too far gone. Not gonna do it! I'll probably use the bars off the donor Breeze.

So a chain, tires, seat, grips, maybe brake cables and it should be rideable? The trigger shifter seems a bit messed up but I think I can fix that. Oh yeah, brake pads too. That's not a huge list... this thing shouldn't take all that much more time to get back on the road.
 

DesmoDog

Look Ma, No Hands!
Work continues on this but I ran into some tech issues and couldn't post pictures for a bit... I think they're solved now.

I ordered a chain a while back. It was half price. When it showed up, it was also half length. Just like it said in the description I kinda glazed over... so I've been waiting for my next parts order and not all that stressed about getting this done until it gets here.

I did pound out some of the dents in the rear fender.
Fender_6820.jpg


It's not perfect but it fits the rest of the bike as is so I'm good with it. I also put a new rear tire on it. And this would have been a good time to put a new chain on it...
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I was missing one of the brake cable fittings, so I improvised with some aluminum.
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I'd show the after shot but I never took one. You'll just have to wait until I install it.

I also cleaned up the bars in prep for putting the brake levers in place so I can hook the brakes up. But I only took a "during" photo.
Bars_6838.jpg


I put a new front tire on too, but didn't take one of that. Imagine a shinier version of the one shown earlier. As an aside - it's true, the Kendas available for this size rim are a pain to seat correctly - I ended up using the same lube I use when installing motorcycle tires. With that they slipped right into place but I've never had to do that to a bicycle tire before.

The last thing I did tonight is work on the shifter. It's a true trigger and not a thumb shifter
Trigger_6844.jpg


But it's all bent up and doesn't work
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Trigger_6852.jpg


A few minutes with a needle nose pliers and it works again, but still looks a little tired. Just like the rest of the bike so we're good. I didn't take pictures of the current shape. Imagine the same trigger a little less bent and more functional.

This thing is actually pretty close to being rideable. An hour or two to hook up the shifter and brake cables. The chain should be here early next week but I haven't found a suitable seat. I'm probably going to end up banging the original one a little straighter and running that until I source something else.
 

DesmoDog

Look Ma, No Hands!
It's funny you said that. When I was half asleep this morning (actually right around the time you posted it) I was thinking about what type of oil I was going to use to lube it. Same stuff I put in the hub probably. (Not 3 in 1 or WD40...)

I was also wondering why there's a hole in the trigger's face and the marking on the internals? Was it Shimano that used a bellcrank on the hub? That had a mark to use when adjusting it. But the trigger will sit in the same position no matter what the cable adjustment is, so that's not it. It can't be a gear indicator* - you can't see it while riding and only one gear is marked anyway if I rememember right.

*I'm of the opinion that gear indicators serve no useful purpose anyway. I've had this conversation regarding motorcycles, and no one has been able to tell me what decisions they make based on the information a gear indicator provides. I think they're a waste of space on the dash but that's a thread for a different forum.
 

DesmoDog

Look Ma, No Hands!
According to UPS, the rest of my parts should be here on Tuesday. In prep for that I set some other parts in place to see if I was missing anything. Along the way I proved to myself that the fork is bent. No surprise with all the other stuff that's bashed out of shape on this. I noticed it when I couldn't get the bars to line up with both the axle and the crown of the fork. If I still had access to the fancy Park tools I could fix it easy enough. I'm not sure how I'll deal with it without the tools though. For now I'll leave it and press on.

From there I decided to check the frame. With a quick and dirty set up the frame looks to be spot on, which was surprising.
Frame_8024.jpg


The distance from the seat tube to the string is within half a millimeter from side to side. Sweet.

I haven't had any luck finding an appropriate seat so I thought I'd try to straighten the frame on the one it has. When I looked closer I found one of the springs had broken and been "fixed". Along with the bends, I'm not sure I want to deal with it. If I could find a couple springs it might be worth pulling the whole thing apart and working on it, but in the meantime I slapped on a seat from a '66 Breeze. That got me thinking - I wonder if the frame/springs from a later seat could be modded to work under the '56 seat? It looks promising, maybe I can find something with a trashed cover and use it as a donor.
Seat_8021.jpg


Here's the brake cable fitting that used to be the aluminum rod that I showed earlier. Oooh. Ahhh. Magic! This shot also reveals another secret. I bought some replacement brake pads that were less expensive than the Kool Stop inserts. They're too long and hit the frame if the brake is allowed to open all the way. But once they are installed/adjusted the cable won't allow the caliper to spring open that far so I'll go with them.
Brake_8029.jpg


Nothing is tightend down, I need the grips to know where the levers need to go. They're in the same shipment as the chain. But here's how it sits now.
Mockup_8033.jpg


Speaking of grips... I was thinking about "coke bottle" grips for my next bike but can't seem to find any reproductions for bicycles. Are they out there? They are easy to find for motorcycles. The only thing there is I'd have to buy two sets to get a pair for a bike since the throttle grip has a larger ID. But they're cheap enough that isn't out of the question.

I had it out of the stand and sat on it to get a feel for the size. It'll work, but the '62 and it's larger frame should be perfect. I rolled back and forth on it a little and wondered how long it has been since the bike would do that? I couldn't even roll it over to my car when I bought it! Even the paint on it looks good to me now. Oh sure, if you get close it's pretty rough, but from a few feet away it looks pretty good for a 66 year old bike that got ridden hard and put away wet.

It may not be obvious in that photo but the seat that's on there is off of a violet Breeze, so it doesn't come close to matching anything... I'm not too proud to ride it like that until I find something better though! For now it just keeps the bike from sliding out of the stand. The seat post is so small the grip is questionable.
 
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DesmoDog

Look Ma, No Hands!
The chain and grips showed up today, so I put the this thing together and took it for it's first ride in who knows how long.
Racer_6863.jpg


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Some of it cleaned up better than I thought it would, some of it didn't clean up at all... but it rides pretty dang nice for a bike that wouldn't roll when I got it. I now have zero plans for repainting it, this is what it's going to look like (except for the seat) for as long as I own it. It's a survivor, that's cool with me.

The shift cable needs to be adjusted, it found neutral towards the end of my short ride. That wasn't unexpected, the cable seemed loose to start with but all the adjustment was gone already. As I was putting it away I realized I can move the cable anchor near the headset to get more adjustment out of it so that should be an easy fix.

I just volunteered at a local bike repair co-op so maybe they'll have the tools I'll need to put the fork back into alignment? We'll see. If I'm just riding along it's fine, but gets annoying when I look down at it. Everything is just a little off...

But it's pretty much done. I'll adjust the shifting and maybe tweak the trigger position but other than that all it needs is a seat that doesn't clash with what's left of the paint and it'll be good to go. Well, except for the fork that is.

I'll probably add some before/after pictures at some point but I have other things i'm supposed to be doing rigt now, so that will have wait.
 

SirMike1983

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Those trigger shifters are fully serviceable by knocking out the pins from the back, disassembling, straightening everything, setting the spring tension, then reassembling and flattening the pins on an anvil. Some of them improve vastly and on some you have to replace all the innards.
 

Drosentreter

Wore out three sets of tires already!
I have a fork in red off a 57 racer if you’re interested. Along with a seat/seat parts. And other parts. Pm me with what you need.
 
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