- is a resource of practical information about fixing up older bicycles, especially renovating Moulton bicycles. It is aimed at anybody who may never have done much mechanical work: young people, women, people interested in cycling and recycling, people of limited means. You can do your bit to preserve a link to a golden age of British engineering.
Why restore old bicycles?
If you are anything like I was at the age of fourteen, you may well have tried to fix a loose pedal by banging in the cotter pin with half a brick. Except that you have probably never heard of a cotter pin because it is old technology. Old bicycles are very longlasting. There are still plenty of them left for restoring at low, low prices. They tend to hide away in sheds and at the back of garages with scatched paint and stiff chains, old-fashioned and unloved. If you visit your local household waste recycling centre, chances are high that there will be a classic Royal Enfield like the one shown just waiting to be saved from the scrap metal skip. You could probably have it for a tenner, do maybe 20 hours work and own a very collectable bicycle that rides in a vintage way.
Moulton bicyclesMoulton of the 1960's and early 1970's. These cycles have a different frame design and smaller wheel size to ordinary diamond frame bikes, but respond to the same techniques of refurbishment. Moultons are quite exotic bikes though, elegant and sophisticated, with the added challenge of full suspension.
The Moulton Mk3 on the right was renovated using some new parts and some recycled parts. That's the great thing about working on old bicycles. You can buy bits that you like from all kinds of different sources and bolt them all together. There are not many other machines these days that can be stripped and rebuilt like a Meccano set. Furthermore, there's never been a better time to become a bicycle restorer. EbaY makes the gathering of quality components easy and cost effective. There are pages on this site that give you a photo-illustrated re-build of the Moulton suspension units, with several techniques to make the job much easier.
Bicycle hub, as the name suggests, is enthusiastic about internal hub gearing. Over a century ago, manufacturers in the British cycle industry were racing to introduce the first three-speed hub. Competition to refine the little machines was intense, the prize being millions of hub sales. Sturmey Archer made the best three-speed gear. When first introduced it would have cost you a month's wages. Now, you can pick up a Sturmey three-speed for a few quid, and it will almost certainly work without fault. Fichtel & Sachs were a German firm creating several desirable hub gears, automatic and "Duomatic" two-speeds, hybrid hub/derailleur gears and Torpedo three-speeds of bombproof durability. Nevertheless, all hubs love to be serviced. The site will show you how to take apart, repair and reassemble many different kinds of hubs, with every step photographed.
The literal meaning of nostalgia is "to look back with pain". Many people feel sadness when looking at brochures, photos, advertisements etc. from a bygone era. But pain? If so, it is pain in a good way, judging by the bittersweet delight of seeing a 1970 Raleigh Chopper in first-class condition. Bicycles are powerfully evocative of childhood adventure, a good reason for re-visiting their enduring charm. And they are practical, clean and great aerobic exercise. Watch out though. The original Chopper was responsible for many a childhood visit to the dentist.
Perhaps it is just me, but is the chap in this advert modelled on a young Sean Connery?