Bicycle Hub

- is a resource of practical information about fixing up older bicycles, especially renovating Moulton bicycles and Sturmey Archer hub gears. It is aimed at anybody who may never have done much mechanical work: young people, 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?

enfield right small

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 bicycles

Restoring Annie Mk3

My particular interest in classic bicycles is the Moulton 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.  

Turquoise Mk3

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.

Hub Gears

Sturmey Brochure

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.

Website Update, Covid19 Lockdown, April 2020

Originally, this site was created to help with learning Joomla! at Cirencester College in 2009. I continued to add to it during 2010 but when I moved some 60 miles from my workshop to begin a new job, there was no spare time to keep creating new content. As Jake Thackray once sang, "Time has no time to spare, and the years pass by as they must." My Joomla! version and the slideshow extension was not updated to the latest versions and unfortunately collected some malware.

brian perkins very small In August 2018, my hosting service closed and in trying to migrate the site to Guru Cloud Hosting, past neglect was discovered. Guru Cloud are very hot on site scanning and they wouldn't allow me to transfer any part of the original website. It was all lost. Thankfully, Moultoneer and talented restorer Rod Laver sent me a link to Wayback Machine where an archive of Bicycle Hub exists. I was able copy and paste all the text and see the layout, and I still have the photos, so all I needed was the time to rebuild the whole site from scratch on a fresh, clean installation of Joomla! The Covid19 lockdown has provided me with that. Guru's Control Panel allows me to easily maintain and automatically update the site and the few extensions that will be used.

Things have moved on a lot since 2010 and as well as new extensions for Joomla!, cyclists seem to have moved from forums to Facebook. To find out how to do something, many people first turn to YouTube. There are certainly several channels there that have good quality content for bicycle restoration. Nevertheless I think that there is still an advantage to the photosets of procedures that illustrate this site; you can easily stop on an instruction and a photo on your device until you have done that particular step. I do find the idea of demonstrational videos appealling and will try to add some to future pages.

Brian Perkins, Olney, Bucks. 13/04/2020