Love my Lenton....but

Discussion in 'Vintage Lightweight Bicycles' started by LouB, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. #1 Posted Jun 12, 2017

    Look Ma, No Hands!

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    as the title says...but that 49/46 Williams half-step chain ring and the Cyclo 5 speed (big ring is 22T) is just too tough for me to enjoy riding. First off--what were they thinking? be ok for Kansas or Miami, but cant imagine anywhere else that would have worked. So, if I'm going to keep and enjoy the bike, I need to change the drive train. I want to keep it old school. I have a 52/36 cottered crank that would slip right on. So...what to match up to it. What FD/RD and what free wheel whould work (upper 20's to low 30T's.) Not sure if there is anything British that would work, but that not critical...just want to enjoy this oh so British bike, retain its character as much as possible and not die on the hills around here. RLGP 03.jpg RLGP free wheel.jpg
     
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  2. #2 Posted Jun 12, 2017

    Cruisin' on my Bluebird

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    Lou, your front derailleur should work fine with your new crank/chainrings.
    Next trick is find a freewheel.
    You're going to have to remove the old one and measure the overall thickness (width), and match that with a new (old stock) freewheel.
    aaP6120001.jpg
    Good news is the threads should be easy to match.
    A call to Yellow Jersey would be smart - he can probably fix you right up, or make a great recommendation - he's also the first choice for rebuilding old freewheels.

    Any short-cage rear derailleur from the mid-60s through 70s should work fine with a 28t max rear cog. Chain wrap shouldn't be an issue.
    The 36T/28t combination would give you a 35" low gear, which should get you out of the Olmos Basin in any direction, just fine.
    Right now, your low gear is 57", and I can't blame you for squirming with that.
    (yesterday on the final climb, when I pulled away from you on my Moser, I was in a 66" gear, and made most of that climb in a 73" gear - just checked my gear chart).

    Any RD older than '86 should work fine with the cable pull of your stock shifters.
    I have a nice Shimano 600 EX RD you can check out - very high mileage, bought new in '78.
    968CD72B-7B15-4A3C-922A-9AED0010B3FA.jpg
    Ran since '78 to about 6 years ago on my Grand Prix, and started off my Moser before I made the Chorus upgrade - it has the red jockey wheels below.
    aP5190022.jpg
    I have that French stem set aside to bring next week, I'll add the RD to the cigar box

    If you want to keep your RD in the family, look for a Cyclo Super 60 RD
    IMGP5667-filtered.jpg
    But the Shimano 600 EX is probably a better RD, and came new on many race bikes into the late 80s
    And IMO, there is no better FD than Shimano 600 EX - still running on my International.
    a000P1010006.jpg
     
    #2 bulldog1935, Jun 12, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2017
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  3. #3 Posted Jun 12, 2017

    Look Ma, No Hands!

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    That just makes perfect sense. I'll get cracking on this. Its too sweet a ride to part with! Thanks Ron.
     
  4. #4 Posted Jun 12, 2017

    Look Ma, No Hands!

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    Just realized I have a Suntour GVT, long cage. That would work also--correct? with the correct width free wheel.
     
  5. #5 Posted Jun 12, 2017

    Wore out three sets of tires already!

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    Ron, I have a Shimano 600 group of that same vintage minus that RD; if it is a spare I would be interested
     
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  6. #6 Posted Jun 12, 2017

    Cruisin' on my Bluebird

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    Yes, it would work, but you don't need the long cage and big chain wrap. That kind of chain wrap is what you need with a triple, or if you go to even larger rear cogs (32t)
    aPB150001%202.jpg

    If you start going too wide with 5 rear cogs, (wider than 14-28t) with the 52/36T crank, you're going to have such cliffs in your gears (giant steps between gears) that you won't be able to ride with a group.

    here's basically the gear chart we were discussing above - look at the semi-log graph and remember most of our riding is 65" to 85" - this the range narrow steps are a benefit, especially trying to keep up with friends on newer bikes.
    It would be better if you could make that 52T ring smaller (48 or 49T on the big ring would be perfect)

    What you don't want are gear steps larger than 10 inches from about 50" to 85+/-"
    You wouldn't want wider rear cogs without going back to half-steps on the rings

    However, look at this option using even wider rear cogs with the VGT, your original 49/46T half-step crank, and a 14-32t 5-sp freewheel (or even 14-34t)
    This is a really good half-step gearset.
    The low is equivalent to the lowest gear on my Moser (39"), and the steps are really nice for chasing in a group ride.
    You would find yourself using every gear with nothing duplicated.
     
    #6 bulldog1935, Jun 12, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
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  7. #7 Posted Jun 12, 2017

    Look Ma, No Hands!

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    That's brilliant. Sounds like an excellent solution.-- and I've got some of the parts. I'll pull the parts tomorrow, measure the free wheel and go from there. Thanks Ron.
     
  8. #8 Posted Jun 12, 2017

    Cruisin' on my Bluebird

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    The British always seemed glued to high gearing. The stock gearing on a 3-speed or 5-speed internal gear hub bike was 48-18, even on the 28 inch wheel DL-1. The club bikes had nice, medium-ratio hubs, but then the medium ratio was applied to 48-18 usually, still pretty high if you have hills to climb. I haven't even bothered with an 18 tooth cog in years. I really like 46-22 on a 3-speed, but high gearing seems to have been universal for Raleigh.

    My 10-speed Grand Prix has 52 and 40 tooth front chainrings, which offers a pretty good range. In a perfect world, I think I'd rather do 48-40 or 48-38.
     
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  9. #9 Posted Jun 15, 2017

    Cruisin' on my Bluebird

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    Measure the width of the freewheel???

    Most any 5 speed freewheel with normal threads will work..
     
  10. #10 Posted Jun 15, 2017

    Cruisin' on my Bluebird

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    ??? o_O
    Not a 1960 Raleigh hub and axle with 114mm rear dropout spacing and 8mm axle.

    I know, I just designed and had a custom hubset built by Phil Wood.
     
    #10 bulldog1935, Jun 15, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
  11. #11 Posted Jun 15, 2017

    Wore out three sets of tires already!

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    This is why every british working man back in the '50's had legs like Sir Chris Hoy! Lol!
     
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  12. #12 Posted Jun 19, 2017

    Look Ma, No Hands!

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    Got my Raleigh branded Suntour GVT derailleur and freewheel (14-32) today. Lovingly stripped the Benelux RD off and packed it up along with the Raleigh freewheel for future use. Now to install the new goodies, dial them in and get to riding these hills. I'll post pics when complete.
     
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  13. #13 Posted Jun 19, 2017

    Cruisin' on my Bluebird

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    I got more spanish cedar cigar boxes if you need them - great for stashing bike parts and fishing reels
    f3be14a1-3903-4089-984e-178bde51a908.jpg
     
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  14. #14 Posted Jun 21, 2017

    Wore out three sets of tires already!

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    Do you find that the 46-22 gearing makes the bike....sluggish or does it provide better hill climbing while being fairly speedy?
     
  15. #15 Posted Jun 21, 2017

    Cruisin' on my Bluebird

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    It makes high gear your cruising gear. Low and normal work as climbers or headwind gears.

    I would go 46 - 20 if you are not worried much about hills where you live.
     
    #15 SirMike1983, Jun 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
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  16. #16 Posted Jun 26, 2017

    Cruisin' on my Bluebird

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    not to derail Lou's thread, but on my daughter's Nexus 8, I turned city gears into touring gears by adding 2 teeth to her drive cog and taking 2 teeth from her chainring - gave her 4 cruising gears to 85", and 4 climbing gears down to 25"
    aP9290009.jpg
     
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  17. #17 Posted Jun 26, 2017

    Cruisin' on my Bluebird

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    I like having 2 different climbers for every cruising or downhill gear. I'm not sure there's a hard rule about it, but I follow that as a rule of thumb. I don't mind losing a little top end because I'm running original brake calipers on steel rims, which means it's really easy to out-ride your max braking power. If I broke 20 mph, I'd consider that pushing it on original brakes. But if you have the braking power to safely stop from a higher speed, then higher gear would work well.

    My theory behind high gearing of stock bikes is that the shops would get a large number of returns if people "spun out" too easily. If someone buys a bike and it's hard to pedal, they probably just say "I need to get better at this". If someone buys a bike, spins hard and gets passed by everyone, they'll complain. At least that's part of my theory.

    The worst offenders were the American-made balloon tire bikes. Many came stock in the 1930s with 52-18 equivalent gearing (skip tooth maybe, but same ratio). On a bike that already weighs 40+ pounds, that's nuts. They're fun to look at, but disasters from a gear/drive train perspective when you need to go uphill. I remember climbing some rather steep incline bridges over the local water treatment plant on one. It was brutal trying to power up those. Some of the coaster hubs are very well-manufactured though.

    The English 3-speeds were next worst because they just said "48-18" and that was the ratio for many years. They later went to 46-18, which is marginally better.

    Some of the early derailleur bikes from England also had some very high ratios, probably because they had club and competitive riders in their 20s-40s in mind.

    There's no shame in dropping the gear ratio to something more manageable. As I said, I haven't run an 18-tooth rear in years. I have a couple 20s, a few 22s and even a 24 (Raleigh Sprite 5-speed).
     
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  18. #18 Posted Jun 26, 2017

    Cruisin' on my Bluebird

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    Here's her Nexus 8 drivetrain with 22t drive cog and 42T chainring
    gear no. gain ratios/ gear inches
    1. 0.53 / 27.5
    2. 0.64 / 33.6
    3. 0.75 / 39.0
    4. 0.85/ 44.4
    5. 1.0 / 52.2
    6. 1.22 / 63.8
    7. 1.42 / 74.0
    8. 1.62 / 84.2
    anyone should be able to sustain a 15% grade on that low, which happens to be what is necessary to get home

    I set her up with this when she was 11-y-o - it was her first full-size bike.
     
    #18 bulldog1935, Jun 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
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  19. #19 Posted Jun 27, 2017

    Look Ma, No Hands!

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    Absolutely Ron. I recall my ballloon tire bike in the 50's and walking it up steep hills was just normal. Didn't even think of trying to ride it up them.
     
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  20. #20 Posted Jun 27, 2017

    Cruisin' on my Bluebird

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    I think you were replying to Mike. But my first bike, at 6, was a Sears Jetliner that was too big for me.
    The Higgins on the right
    jchiggins_cat.jpg
    But we lived in Mobile, and it was flat enough to ride it. I remember the asphalt there melting under the kickstand and letting it fall over.
    We moved to a hill in Oak Hills Terrace (NW San Antonio) when I was 8, and I couldn't ride it anywhere. So dad sold it, and got me a Sears The Rail 5-sp derailleur bike (24" wheels), and it was freedom - I could ride it anywhere, and always left the driveway heading first uphill.
    1966_SearsCatalog.jpg
    I was floored when I saw what my dad paid for this - the purple one.
    You've met Stevo - we met in 6th grade, and rode our 5-speeds everywhere. We went to Pat Neff Jr. High, and climbed that giant hill on Evers Rd. every day.
    My climbing legs have some muscle memory.
    We also frequently crossed town, from home to Dibble's Hobby Shop, over by Jefferson High School.

    ps - that's Steve's daughters in the photo above with my daughter - they grew up on kayaks and bikes together
    aP3150017.jpg
     
    #20 bulldog1935, Jun 27, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2017
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