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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:13 am 
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I've fancied a 1950's BSA for some time. I'm quite taken by the Tour of Britain model and have recently seen a couple of on here which have kind of spurred me on to find or build one. Okay, it's a factory bike, not artisan built, but I suppose I'm a BSA fan from my motorbike days, so with 531 tubing and good quality British made components, whats not to like? Anyway, I decided my preference is for a BSA Small Heath made bike, as opposed to the mid 1957 onwards Raleigh/BSA Coventry or Nottingham built jobs. Nothing against Raleigh, I have a couple and love them but this time I want a BSA made before Raleigh bought them out and used their name.

I started my search for a pre 1957 Tour of Britain with a frame size between 21" and 22". Little did I realise that time has marched on and while these bikes were once around in big numbers, I guess because they were relatively cheap, they don't seem to be anymore. Not that they are particularly sought after or worth much money, but I guess the passing of fifty to sixty years has taken it's toll and they're just not around anymore. Nothing came up as a complete bike in my search and after a while this is the best I could find, so I bought it on e-Bay. I'd describe it as a bit of a tired old boy that needs some loving (just like me!).
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BSA ToB rs.jpg
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What to do with it? Well, hopefully the frame, forks, headset and maybe bottom bracket are re-useable after refurb. I'm really torn on a frameset re-paint but won't rush into it. On one hand I love originality and recognise that it only lasts until the first re-paint.. On the other hand, I hate doggy looking bikes so will see how the original paint comes up before deciding.
I think the frameset dates somewhere between 1954 and 1956? Pump pegs under the top tube and gear cable braze-on chain-stay make it different from the 1953 bike. The later 1957 bike has different paint and graphic! Any ideas anyone?
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BSA ToB rs2.jpg
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Anyone for Shimano MTB gearing? It's not staying on here..
To replace it I'm looking for a 53 Benelux derailleur and either a three, or four speed cyclo freewheel. I had thought a Mk.7 Benelux, but I don't think they came out until 1957, after my bike was made? I would like to stay with the original spec if I can. Does anyone know of parts for sale?
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BSA ToB Frame No..JPG
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There's a frame number here under the paint. I think 't9' are the first two of maybe five or six digits. I've tried to date a BSA before from the frame number, but without success. Can anyone help with any info please?

I'm expecting the refurb to be a slow job, buying parts as I can afford and find them. I'll try and keep the thread updated as I go on for anyone interested.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:13 am 
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Some bits and pieces that I've recently found and bought for my 1956 BSA.
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My grateful thanks to twosheds for pointing me in the direction of this BSA Continental De Luxe hub when it came up.
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A bit of luck finding this hardly used 32 hole Dunlop Stainless Special Lightweight rim for my new front hub.
I need to have a measure up now to establish the spoke lengths.
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This might well be the wrong light bracket for my bike, but I couldn't resist it because it's logo'd (mug!)
Bruce or Mike, can I please ask you to confirm that the seat post diameter is 26.4mm. I want to buy one but am currently many miles from home so can't measure mine for the diameter. Many thanks.
I'm looking forward to getting back to Blighty and starting work on it..


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:39 am 
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Location: In a shed, somewhere in North Yorkshire
My seatpost is 26.8mm mate, it was a nice snug fit.

Correct light bracket, mine is rusted to hell, but I won't be fitting it anyway.

That is a nice rim, they don't come up like that very often! I recommend Madgetts Cycles in Diss for your spokes and nipples. They have the proper 17/15 gauge spokes which are so much more elegant than the thicker modern spokes. I also used spoke washers because the steel hub flanges are thinner than alloy ones.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:12 pm 
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I seemed to have missed this when you first posted it. Nice looking frame. The patina looks good, in my opinion. I think it's worth keeping.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 7:04 am 
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twosheds wrote:
My seatpost is 26.8mm mate, it was a nice snug fit.

Correct light bracket, mine is rusted to hell, but I won't be fitting it anyway.

That is a nice rim, they don't come up like that very often! I recommend Madgetts Cycles in Diss for your spokes and nipples. They have the proper 17/15 gauge spokes which are so much more elegant than the thicker modern spokes. I also used spoke washers because the steel hub flanges are thinner than alloy ones.

Thanks for yet more information Bruce. I am lucky to benefit from your experience with the Tour of Britain Model.

Like you have achieved, I am looking forward to building my own wheels. I am from the Motorcycle industry and I built spoked motorbike wheels for some years, but that was a long time ago, I've not done a bicycle wheel before. Anyway, I decided I wanted to build my wheels for this bike so I've recently bought a wheel building book on the internet by a guy called Roger Musson. It's an interesting read and not surprisingly contains many similarities to motorcycle wheel building, which of course it would have, both being spoked wheels. My book also mentions using spoke washers on older steel flanged hubs, as you say because they are thinner than modern alloy hubs, so I may do this to hopefully prevent any spoke breakage at the spoke flange. Thanks for the tip on your spoke supplier. I'm still looking for a large flange BSA rear hub and a 40 spoke Dunlop rim. Neither are around at the minute, so I will order my spokes for both wheels when I find these parts and can measure the rear ERD accurately to determine the rear wheel spoke lengths.

BTW Is your original seatpost branded, or just a generic chromed mild steel part?

As always, Thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:11 am 
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Jonny69 wrote:
I seemed to have missed this when you first posted it. Nice looking frame. The patina looks good, in my opinion. I think it's worth keeping.

Thank you Jonny69. I agree with you regarding the frame finish. I would love to keep the bike's character that is in the original frame paint. I did think that a fresh coat of paint was part of a bike's renovation but I no longer have that view. I now prefer to see old bikes looking like cared for, but still old bikes. Scrapes, blemishes and defects are part of their history and to re-paint them wipes out that history forever. I know many people will disagree with me and what is right for one person differs for another, it's whatever turns your crank I suppose. I quite like what this guy has done with his old Claud Butler frame using an Oxalic acid solution to de-rust and clean up his frame, followed by a clear top coat. I'm thinking of doing something similar with my BSA. Your opinions are welcome

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZevADI6 ... e=youtu.be

Does anyone have any experience and can give feedback on using this stuff? Please let me know.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:25 pm 
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yorkie1956 wrote:
BTW Is your original seatpost branded, or just a generic chromed mild steel part?


Its a generic one Dennis, - no branding on it.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:00 am 
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twosheds wrote:
Its a generic one Dennis, - no branding on it.

Brilliant mate. Shouldn't cost much, I'll keep my eye open for one.
I've also bought some more stuff for mine which I will put on here when I get time for anyone interested.
One of my buys is a half-step BSA chainset. I've never seen one for sale before and this monstrosity has had a hellish hard life. Absolutely nothing like yours Bruce. In fact I can't believe I paid money for it, it's that bad. Knackered small ring that I just know is going to cost a fortune to get lazer copied and overall, more chrome missing than still intact. I really must stop biding with a glass of red in my hand!!
Do you have the bottom bracket spindle dimensions for your half-step chainset Bruce? From what I can establish I think I'm going to be looking for something like a 135mm cottered spindle?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:56 pm 
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Bottom bracket is about 129mm. A Bayliss Wiley one. I can't remember the number for it, its in the frame now.

Can you post a picture of the knackered chainwheel? I have a spare one which I might be prepared to swap for a good cause. It has nearly all the chrome on the outside face, but not much on the inside, and the teeth are pretty worn. I am part-way through making a clock out of it, as I haven't got an outer ring to go with it.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:46 am 
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twosheds wrote:
Bottom bracket is about 129mm. A Bayliss Wiley one. I can't remember the number for it, its in the frame now.

Does a No. 14 bottom bracket spindle ring a bell? I know Bayliss-Wiley stamped them in the middle of the spindle. Their No. 14 one was 5 1/16" in old money, so 129mm.
I'm so pleased you've said, because I was taking my data from here. http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/bblengths.html
I would have bought the 135mm one and I think I would have been wrong..
Thanks mate. What would I do without you?

twosheds wrote:
Can you post a picture of the knackered chainwheel? I have a spare one which I might be prepared to swap for a good cause. It has nearly all the chrome on the outside face, but not much on the inside, and the teeth are pretty worn. I am part-way through making a clock out of it, as I haven't got an outer ring to go with it.

Attachment:
BSA Double Chainse4.jpg
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As you can see, the teeth have more hooks than a cloakroom on the smaller chainwheel.
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php2M2gZfPM.jpg
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But are not bad on the larger chainring.
Attachment:
BSA Doudle Chainset.jpg
BSA Doudle Chainset.jpg [ 203.21 KiB | Viewed 973 times ]

The chrome suggests it might have spent it's later life as a boat anchor!
And yes. I paid money for it.. And I know it belongs in Steptoe's yard. And my only defence is that it's all I could find.


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