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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:37 pm 
Newbie

Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:22 pm
Posts: 4
Hi everyone,

New to the forum because I have just completed restoring my dad’s 1955 Hercules Aston Club.

The bike was in a really sorry state; years of not being ridden and left in a garage. I think there was more rust on it than good bodywork/chrome etc.

Anyway, I collected the bike over Christmas 2018 and got it back home. Stripping it down was far easier than I expected. The only thing I had to get my LBS to do was remove the DS BB cup.

I knew that I wanted my rebuild to include as many of the original bike parts as possible, whatever state they were in. However, some parts I knew would have to be replaced – for instance, the wheels, tyres and cables.

Over the course of a few months, I split the bike and its components into 4 groups:

Happy to re-use the part despite its age and condition
    Wheel hubs
    Cranks/Chainrings
    Badge on head tube
    Seat post
    Gear shifter
    BB assembly
Original part but restored
    Frame (full respray)
    Handlebars (re-chromed)
New parts from the right era (1950s)
    Brake and gear cables
    Brake levers and callipers
    Cable clips and gear cable pulley
    Pedals
Modern equivalent but still in keeping with the right look
    Stem
    Wheel rims and spokes
    Saddle
    Brake blocks
    Tyres
    Headset
    Mudguards (still need fitting)
    Rear cog (the old one was unbelievably worn)
    Chain (old one was so worn it was over an inch longer than it should have been)

Some parts I replaced are not the original specification purely because I could not find exact replacements (eg brake levers, callipers and cables).

One of the biggest obstacles I had was getting the decals for the frame – I (predictably) could not find any anywhere. I photographed the decals and a colleague was able to digitise them into a format that would be suitable for printing. I then managed to find someone online that was able to print waterslide decals and specifically who was able to print the colour white.

The frame is not perfect – years of rust left the frame quite pock-marked and this does show through the new finish. I was lucky though that the colour is identical to the original (flamboyant blue).

Problems… well, there were a few. Not to mention sourcing parts, but the wheel rebuilds were very troublesome. The original rims were 26 x 1 1/4 but the closest I could find to this with the correct number of spoke holes was 26 x 1 3/8 (ETRTO 590-35). I also ordered the correct spoke lengths based on the old ones. Try as I might, this did not work (even with the same lacing pattern) as the spokes were too loose so I eventually ended up getting shorter spokes. I now suspect that the original wheels were the other flavour of 26” (ETRTO 597-32). Well, you live and learn.

And the ride? Very comfortable (way more so than my carbon road bike :D ) although the braking is woefully inadequate and it does have a tendency to slip out of 2nd gear :shock: .


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:25 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:11 pm
Posts: 2178
Location: wellingborough
Very nice indeed .
I picked up a similar aged Hercules Aston Tourist about a year ago which was in a nice clean original condition see lower picture for as found condition upper picture is as current spec ie 27" wheels


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:49 pm 
Newbie

Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:22 pm
Posts: 4
That's a very nice machine you have there. I'm a little jealous of the white mudguards you have as they seem the right spec for what i wanted for mine (the original ones had long-since gone and dad had replaced them with a set of aluminium ones that had more holes in them than a piece of Swiss cheese).
I like the position of the pulley for your gear cable - makes for far neater cable routing. Is that the correct position for it? Mine is where it is because that's how it came!
Also, what front brake pads are you using? The ones I have got are pretty useless on my steel rims.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:09 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Tue Feb 02, 2010 6:11 pm
Posts: 2178
Location: wellingborough
Thank you , the original guards on mine were shot so i sourced a pr of 27" blumel one's .
The guide has not been moved so presume original position .
I am using 27" alloy rimmed wheels as the original 26" rear rim was flat spotted and because i wanted to use it all year round i wanted safer braking that alloy rims offer along with some late 70's style calipers and modern V brake type pads giving an increased pad area .


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:21 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:07 pm
Posts: 1617
Location: Cotswolds
The simple way the old british wheel sizing works means that 26 x 1 1/4 rim is exactly 1/4 inch larger diameter than 26 1 3/8, so that the outside diameter of the tyre is 26 inches.
The rear wheel spokes would have been crossed 4 times.

The only way the middle gear can slip is if you are miles out of adjustment or pawls are slipping, lubrication might help the latter.
Check that the gear slip position between high and middle gear is about right, the indicator rod could be wrong. Assuming 3 speed.

Keith


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:54 am 
rBoTM Winner
rBoTM Winner

Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:53 pm
Posts: 228
Location: London
Lovely work. Here's an Aston Club I restored a few years ago: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=358361&hilit=Hercules&start=10

Sadly, mine was far too small for me so got moved on.


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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:17 pm 
Newbie

Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:22 pm
Posts: 4
keithglos wrote:
The simple way the old british wheel sizing works means that 26 x 1 1/4 rim is exactly 1/4 inch larger diameter than 26 1 3/8, so that the outside diameter of the tyre is 26 inches.
The rear wheel spokes would have been crossed 4 times.

The only way the middle gear can slip is if you are miles out of adjustment or pawls are slipping, lubrication might help the latter.
Check that the gear slip position between high and middle gear is about right, the indicator rod could be wrong. Assuming 3 speed.

Keith


Thanks for the info on the wheel sizes. The old spokes did cross 4 times but it appears that my LBS gave me some duff advice, not to mention the fact that they could have told me that I had the wrong-size rims :x
As for the gears - it is a 3-speed. My dad told me it always slipped out of 2nd when he rode it (and it's been a very long time since he rode it). I'm pretty sure it is adjusted ok and it only seems to pop out of gear with me when I am pushing it so I suspect perhaps that the pawls might be slipping. Have you got any advice on re-lubing the gears please?
S


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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 10:19 pm 
Newbie

Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:22 pm
Posts: 4
nonowt wrote:
Lovely work. Here's an Aston Club I restored a few years ago: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=358361&hilit=Hercules&start=10

Sadly, mine was far too small for me so got moved on.


Thank you for your comments. Your Aston Club looks fantastic. Shame it was too small for you though.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:49 am 
rider | rBoTM Winner
rider | rBoTM Winner
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Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:42 pm
Posts: 5452
Location: West Yorkshire
An school friend of mine had a very nice Hercules 'sports/racer' bike around 1960. He wasn't a 'proper' cyclist but occasionally came out with us. I seem to remember it was a darkish flamboyant red with everything chromed steel and it might have had a derailleur which could have been one of the Hercules made ones. Very heavy (even then!) and I've always wondered what happened to it!

The Hercules derailleur -

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The Hercules hub gear -

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I wonder if Keith could comment on these given his vast knowledge - and experience - of this era?

I had a complete Hercules catalogue which I donated to a VCC related library.


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