1970s(?)ish Falcon city/road bike - Beginner restoration


Dirt Disciple
Thanks guys for the tips - I'll let you know how the cup removals go. Took a while but I get what's meant now - the screwdriver goes inside the head tube and pushes the opposing bearing cup out, tip of the screwdriver to the bottom of the cup seat, pushing each part of the cup out in sequence as it goes round the cup.

I did see a few other posters in various forums saying this was something to be very careful with, in order to avoid cracking the frame. I see there are two tools available - a split pipe (which I could make myself, I'm assuming), or a threaded corkscrewy-style thing for more precise seating. Is it worth making/getting either of these? Or will patience and dexterity be fine? I can apply both but only for short periods!

I'm just having a look at wheels now. Think I will follow the advice and go for a new pair, as I don't fancy taking on the rust, nor the spokes & alignment. And I gather a freehub/cassette is generally regarded as better than a freewheel, if replacement is an option.

So, unless you're determined to make a catalogue-prefect reproduction of a Falcon Tempo, ditch the steel wheels in favour of alloys. I'll admit I haven't looked in detail at the pictures but would expect the originals to be "27 x 1.25" size rather than the now far more common 700c. Whilst you should still be able to find 27s reasonably easily, it may be possible to change to the 700c size if you wish PROVIDED THAT there is sufficient spare adjustment capacity in the brakes - you need 4mm available. This also drops the whole bike by 4mm which alters the geometry but it is unlikely to make a significant difference. If it were me, I'd just stick with a basic no-frills pair of alloy 27s.

You're spot on - the tyres each say "27 x 1 1/4". They also say "32-630". And front 70 psi, rear 85, if that makes any difference.

Just read a better article than the one I had up before, and it makes (a degree of) sense now. So the above means the wheel and tyre assembly has a diameter of 27 inches, the diameter of the circle formed by the tyre seating bead is 630mm and the width of the tyre/wheel is 1 1/4 in or 32mm. Is that right?

I also measured the forks and dropout spacings, which had interior measurements of 95mm and 123mm respectively, and outer measurements of 102 and 131mm.

So will any old set of 27in wheels do the trick? I'm guessing the rim diameter will make no difference to me now, as I'll be getting tyres at the same time. Will I need to find out the specific width and spacings of the hub, or is any given hub likely to fit? And freehub/cassette vs freewheel... will there be any huge benefit to one or the other on this bike - and will it be a simple swap if so?

So many questions!

I bought some primer yesterday - planning on taking the plunge pretty soon (weather's meant to be good tomorrow & Tuesday!) so I should have either some paint porn, or a dire warning about diy paint jobs for you to comment on/laugh at shortly.


Dirt Disciple
Yeah, go for it -
Pimp your Falcon up in Pearlescent Barbie Pink.
You know it makes sense.
Strangely, it really would look good!
The four-split tube head cup removal tool makes life a lot simpler.
Remember you insert the unsplit 'handle' end through the cup you are intending to remove first, then out through the other cup,
then the splayed split end pops open as it passes behind the inside of the cup you are now ready to knock out. So if you want to make it yourself it needs to be springy steel, and not too
robustly thick walled.
Try gently with the screw driver technique first to see if they budge, only then resort to the split tube tool if it proves to be necessary.
Take care,


Dirt Disciple
On the rear hub topic, 1stly the significant measurement for hub choice is between the dropouts, known as the OverLockNut (OLN) dimension.
Older hubs were 120 ( up to 5 gear/sprockets) or 126mm (5, 6 or 7 gear/s) OLN.
- Free wheel cassettes thread onto threaded hubs, this is your frame's era.
Freehub cassettes slide onto splines on freehub extension of freehubs, later (wider) frame's era.
Your frame was designed/built before freehubs with even longer OLN's were introduced so not easily suitable.
There were some late 80's early 90's 126mm freehubs made, but
1: even they may be too wide for the frame with the 6 or 7 gear cassettes available,
2: likely to be difficult/expensive to source as only produced for a short period before 130mm OLN hubs were introduced for more geared cassettes.
Unless anyone knows better, I would stay with the equivalent to what it has now, a freewheel threaded hub body with a 5 gears thread-on freewheel.
The alternative: Spreading the rear triangle to allow wider OLN hubs is possible, but another whole can of worms, see Sheldon (cold set) Brown's website if you want to see what it entails!
By the way, his site is brilliantly informative for compatibility and other technical issues.
Happy Bank Holiday,


Retro Guru
I'm going to be lazy and use ebay results, but your local bike shop may be able to supply similar.
This kind of thing would do: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SET-27-x-1-1 ... xywbNQ9o50
, although these: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/27-x-1-1-4-A ... SwcapewV4X are inherently better.
As a very rough rule of thumb, from worst to best:
  • steel cheapo hubs, steel rims, steel spokes
    better quality steel/steel/steel
    fancy-pants composites

As you go down the list, the quality of machining tends to improve, the weight reduces and quick release hubs tend to find their way in there from about alloy/alloy/steel onwards. A bog standard 27" wheel will tend to have 36 spokes. Up at the fancy end of wheels, fronts tend to have fewer spokes than rears.
You're there or thereabouts with your inch an mm observations. The inch sizes are "nominal" meaning you'll be doing well to find anything that actually measures to 27" or 1 1/4" anywhere on the bike. Smaller tyre section = less rolling resistance & higher pressure (as a sweeping generalisation).


Retro Guru
PS/ There's a set of 27 x 1 1/4 wheels/tyres/block in the for sale section, and athough my personal view is that the price is over-ambitious, I'd say they were a fairly well suited spec for your build: Pelissier hubs (I think they came out of the same factory as the ubiquitous Maillard/Atom ones) Rigida rims and a Suntour block with very sharp looking teeth (as in factory cut sharp, not worn to a point).
<cough half the asking price />


rBoTM Triple Crown
rBotM Winner
Sounds like your getting there and yes it really would have been easier to show you how to remove the cups rather than explain it but I think you've got it now.

Barbie pink Falcon Tempo? Well I did do a ladies one in a pink, orange, red fade for my wife's friend so does that count?


Dirt Disciple
Well, it's taken a while for me to get off my bum and do it, but I've just begun priming. Quite pleased with the results!

Two coats over the last few days. I now understand what a run is, although having gone back and looked for a second time I couldn't see them.



Link to gallery

Bit of a weird effect on the head tube, perhaps caused by too much paint or applying it from too close (?) - it's gone all dry looking and powdery. I'll revisit in the morning and remove/start again if necessary. Planning to do another touch up coat of primer tomorrow, then paint shortly thereafter, weather allowing.

Allen - going by your guide, I'll leave a week between coats. I found a can of paint which purports to exactly match my car, which I'd quite like. I'm guessing if it's car paint it will work the same as any other metal paint, on top of metal primer? This is the stuff:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paints4u-MAZDA ... amp;sr=8-4

I've used Halfords grey primer and have a can of Hycote clear lacquer. My default assumption would be that grey on grey, over metal, would help it look good/hide any errors.

I masked up the chromed fork ends and all the insides etc, but one thing I forgot was the fork crown race, now beautifully primed. I was planning on replacing it if possible anyway as it is a bit worn. Measured the steerer tube at 25.4mm (1, below) and the outside of the bottom lip of the crown race as 36.9mm (2) but now looking at the available sizes https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-headsets.html it's not clear what I have.

I went back and tried to measure the top lip of the race. Measuring the outer edge of the very top of the race came back as 28.6mm (3). I tried to measure the inside diamater of the ring and it came back as 27.4mm (4). Not sure how accurate I could have been though. Should I take it off to check? In which case, paint over it and then take it off at the end? Or remove it now and mask over where it was?

1: http://cowdreycc.co.uk/wp-content/uploa ... 134336.jpg
2: http://cowdreycc.co.uk/wp-content/uploa ... 134326.jpg

3: http://cowdreycc.co.uk/wp-content/uploa ... 134356.jpg
4: http://cowdreycc.co.uk/wp-content/uploa ... 134411.jpg

Ooh... I also came up with a tentative rough colour scheme.

I found my car's colour, #666563 ish, on a website selling the paint. Think it goes nicely with #5BC0EB (or any similar blue), with a little dash of #EEE444. I have some handlebar tape on the way in a similar blue. Any thoughts? :D

Galaxy Grey
Mid-light blue
Light, slightly pastel yellow


Dirt Disciple
Having said that, that frame is crying out for a 5 speed sturmey build, 700c rims and long reach tektro dual pivot brakes...

But because I am a responsible and conscientious person I would never recommend that.
Oaklec, I've done a good 'un. I found a Sturmey Archer hub, for a fiver, which perfectly fits the dropouts.

Will have to do a bit of research as to what exactly it is, how it works, how to get it going etc. Feels like it might be a bit stiff, dunno. It's in the garage, I'll take a pic. Fun to come no doubt.

I also got a 700c front wheel, a modern one, as it was cheap. Seems to be a very close match to my front wheel in terms of hub width and rim diameter.

I'm guessing, if I wanted to fit that SA hub, that I could find another 700 rim.. and then would have to just find spokes of a certain length, as I'd imagine there wouldn't be anything out-of-the-box to fit?


Retro Guru
Before you go too much further, count the number of holes in the SA hub as (I think it goes without saying) its fairly important that there are the same number in whatever rim you find.
Spokes are ordered to fit the combination of hub flange diameter, rim diameter, spoke crossing pattern (the extent to which spokes are tangential to the hub. Longer spokes are a bit more forgiving, radial spokes give a firmer ride) and wheel dishing (this being the offset of the rim from the hub flanges. If you look at your original back wheel, you'll see that the spokes on the right of the bike are shorter than the ones on the left). Whilst it is doable, I wouldn't recommend you building your 1st wheel at this point in your experience and would leave it to your wheel builder (try local old fashioned bike shop first) to work out the spoke length needed. If you are determined, there are some good tutorials online as well as spoke length calculators. Get familiar with the overall process before working out spoke length.

Btw, not sure why you'd put a SA hub on this but each to his own. They're great bits of (British) engineering for sure but...why?


Dirt Disciple
Fair enough, yeah that does all sound a bit complicated for now. Thanks for the tips. I had assumed it was a case of getting the right length of spoke and then just putting it all together.

Well I'd seen them mentioned, and I do think they look quite cool. Plus I was going nearby anyway, and it was a fiver. I'm also quite bored.

Might just learn a bit about it, I can't remember ever having ridden a bike with one of these before.

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