Rob Atkin wrote:
So all the buyer has to do is buy a longer post and oil/grease it at proper intervals (like any bike)?
You could fairly accurately equate this bike mechanically and structurally with a 1980's Dawes Galaxy tourer but with 2" wide tyres.
I know RoughStuff Fellowship riders that will off-road there old Dawes Galaxies through appallingly muddy and wet conditions. But after such a ride they will carefully listen to all the bearings knowing full well that they may need so strip them down, clean out and re-grease them. As not to do so would eventually lead to irreversible damage being done.
The biggest maintenance issue with an old Cleland are the bottom bracket bearings. In order to have a short wheelbase and good clearance 90mm wide bottom bracket shells were used. The only axles and bearings long enough were Bullseye 140mm long units originally intended for BMX use. Their axles runs on fine needle bearings that run directly onto the plain gauge axle only 2mm away from the exposed sections of axle. So grit can all too easily get into the bearings where it will start to grind away the axle surface. The old solution which was fairly effective was to make some improvised bearing shields using modified 35mm film containers and lids.
The thing to understand here is that the maintenance of later Clelands and Highpaths is not like "any other bike" As in response to early mechanical failures he mud defences evolved quickly:
*externally sealed bottom bracket bearings fitted with grease nipples
*sealed bearings buried deep within the hub brakes so that the dirt can't even get near to them
*improved chain and freewheel guards
The Clelands and Highpaths eventually became the all weather all year low maintenance machines that Geoff Apps always intended. Even if you ride one through deep mud every day the only maintenance needed will be to clean and oil the drivechain. Despite 24 years of being heavily abused, my 1988 Highpath still has nearly all of its original components and bearings. The exceptions being one set of worn out front brake shoes gears, many chains and bottom bracket axle that snapped.
I think it is important to differentiate the all weather mud-plugging reputation of the later Clelands from the less capable and miraculously preserved Cleland No5.
It would be a shame if a new owner unwittingly trashed this bike in the mistaken belief that its as tough as later Clelands or other old mountain bikes.
This low maintenance obsession continues in Geoff's modern bikes with their hub gears, and stainless steel chain that runs through tubes etc. But it is not that surprising when you realise that he always keeps his bike either outdoors or ready to go, on the back of his car.