Since I've been sick the past few days and the weather has been absolutely HORRIBLE I had to find something else to keep me occupied... I've had a few projects that needed doing so it seemed like the time...
Anyone who was out with us last summer might remember Amber's CCM Cheetah - it's a 20" Mustang-style bike from the '80s. Unfortunately the brakes on it were absolutely terrible - really long reach U-brakes that have had 20+ years of abuse. Not a lot of stoppie stoppie, more squealie squealie.
It also had a very old Sturmey Archer AW which was getting a little worn out. The AW hubs are pretty indestructible but as they wear out they start getting finnacky.
The first stage of our little 'brake improvement' package is a 16" drum brake front wheel we scored a few months back. It's apparently off an old Schwinn Cycletruck - very nice little wheel with white-letter tires. Looks AWESOME on the bike. Most importantly it STOPS whereas the old brakes didn't do much of anything.
The next thing to do was to deal with the back brakes. I scored a 28-hole Sturmey S3C tri-coaster back at the end of the summer to replace the AW on this bike. Yeah, not the best hub in the world but it's in good condition and works well. I'd rather get a new SRC3 but that's a bunch of $$ and the 28-hole ones are a little tricky to find.
I got to use this opportunity to build my first ever wheel... I've never done one before but I got a truing stand for Christmas so I figured this was the best chance... Swapping the same basic hub in means the spoke length is the same and everything.
When I started tearing down the wheel I discovered a few of the spokes were not in the best shape. Not a huge surprise really given the age of the bike. Ok, let's go buy some new ones... Oh. You don't have any that size? Ok, next bike shop. After doing that a few times I discovered that nobody stocks spokes that short - a 20" wheel with a fairly large hub needs pretty short spokes. Simon's Bike Shop to the rescue! Simon's has a spoke cutter so they can make spokes of any size. Half a dozen new spokes later and I was back at home finishing off the new wheel.
The 3-speed that was on there had been put on by the previous owner and the shifter cable setup wasn't particularly good. It was just zip-tied on and it looked like crap. Plus lots of nasty bends that cause binding and such, not a good thing.
I had a couple of these Sturmey Archer pullies that I bought at Harris Cyclery - they're a mail order place that has a lot of Sturmey stuff. Rigged up a new shifter cable setup - I think it looks a hell of a lot better! I really like taking the cable through below the chainguard, I have the same basic setup on my Manhattan. Figuring out a cable pathway on a step-through frame was a bit more of a challenge but this works and Amber likes it.
The bike rides WAY better now - the 3-speed works awesome and the brakes work REALLY good, it stops about as well as my Felt now. Tremendous improvement and a nice way to spend a day or two when I was stuck inside and couldn't get out!