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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Bike Crazy Part 2: The Rudge Reports

Merry Day before Xmas!

Friday I got a Christmas gift of sorts: A 1953 Rudge Sports from Mr. Todd Boulanger. As I've mentioned previously, Todd received this bike many years ago but never found the time to do anything with it, so he's passed it on to me. As the photographs will tell, the Rudge is in fairly rough shape. Those wheels are shot, all cables will need to be replaced, and for god sakes the drop bar needs to be flipped! But amazingly the finish of the bike is in decent shape. Yes, there's plenty of surface rust here and there, but nothing some elbow grease, lemon juice, and aluminum foil can't fix.

Since Mr. Raving Bike Fiend is in town, I hope to tackle the restoration project in the next few weeks. When the idea of getting this bike came about last spring, I was thinking of doing an extensive restoration. Because of lack of money, I'm more concerned with getting it rideable and keeping it as original as possible. The short list of things that I want to do to it:
  • Flip those bars! Instead of grips, I want to wrap cork tape and shellac it. I know that rubber grips is more period appropriate, but what the hey.
  • As for wheels, I'll put the 26" x 1 3/8" steel wheel that came from the Raleigh Wayfarer on the front for now. As for the back, it might be able to be fixed. If not, I'll find another wheel. Building new wheels will either be a "Phase II" project or not happen.
  • Brakes: Replace the calipers with the old ones from the Wayfarer if needed. Put salmon Kool Stop brake pads on.
  • Fenders: Take the current ones off and either leave it fenderless for now, or put white plastic fenders on.
  • Replace cables.
  • Replace pedals if needed with the ones I took off the Wayfarer. Fix cranks.
  • Overhaul anything that needs it (bottom bracket?) and lube/oil everything.
  • Install my Brooks B17 Narrow saddle.
  • Install my Union bottle dynamo/lamp (which I got from Justine of Mid-Life Cycling) on the front fork.
I love the trigger shifter!
And that chainring! Talk to the hand!
Well worn...but still there.
When you used to lubricate bottom brackets with oil instead of grease, an oil port is handy!
The wheels are shot, but the front has a cool S-A hub with oil port.
And the AW hub from 1953.
I'm not going to put all the photos I took of the bike on the blog, so go check out my flickr set 1953 Rudge Sports Three-Speed for more.

Another year, another bike. I can't go by a full year without getting another bike! It's been a trend since 2006, where I've at least received one new* bike per year. Some years I received two! Here's the rundown:
  • 2006: Schwinn Collegiate ('60's vintage), Centurion Accordo (mid '80's)
  • 2007: Univega Safari Ten ('70's vintage)
  • 2008: Surly Long Haul Trucker (new!)
  • 2009: Centurion Super Le Mans ('70's vintage)
  • 2010: Worksman cycle truck (unknown year), Raleigh Wayfarer ('70's)
  • 2011: Rudge Sports (1953)
So the question is: what bike or bikes will I acquire in 2012? Time will tell.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and ride your bike!

*New to me, that is. All the bikes were used except the LHT.


  1. Nice project! Looking forward to seeing what you do with it,my firend :) Have a very merry Christmas this weekend!

    Disabled Cyclist

  2. I always love a new (old) project. Have you ever checked out the forum ratrodbikes? Really cool vintage/cruiser/clunker/3spd stuff over there, and a lot of good advice on restoration projects.

  3. Stuart- No, never checked out radrodbikes. I'll take a look when I get a chance.

  4. Looking forward to following the restoration project.

    The oil ports are interesting, never seen those before (haven't seen a bike that old before).

    How are the cotter pins? Those can be a pain on those old bikes...

  5. Looks like a fun project. Love the hand chainring!

  6. PV-Haven't really looked. The cranks are a bit out-of-line, so we'll have to do some stuff with them.

  7. That's pretty dang nifty! I've always loved the Rudge hand emblem but don't really know much about the bikes. I do remember a reference to a Rudge-Whitworth bicycle from a Sherlock Holmes story.

  8. Looks fantastic! I love the old rudge cranks with the Hand symbol.

  9. hello, my dad has a 40's rudge to restore, and I live in UK, where can I find spare pieces for an original restoration?

  10. Guilherme, as I am in the US I won't be much help in that department. Rudge past 1943 was a Raleigh brand, so what you need to be looking for is Raleigh parts. There should be plenty in used bike shops if you look. If it's more esoteric, eBay or another site that specializes in Raleigh from that era. Anyone from the UK want to chime in with suggestions?

  11. The Rudge is looking great, enjoying reading the updates (though a little behind).

    Have you tried mixing vinegar and salt with the lemon juice? The salt seems like a bad idea, but maybe the vinegar? About to try shining up the chrome fenders (they were a little rusty for this year's tweed ride).


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