Today was the perfect day to finish the restoration of this 1965 Sears/Puch 3 speed. It was cold, rainy, windy, and the streets were strewn with wet leaves. In other words, a typical Autumn day in Portland and one that shows off the practical gear on this 56 year old bicycle – fenders, internal gears, chainguard, and flat pedals.
I enjoyed my first spin on this bike so much, that I quickly rode back to my shop and installed a kickstand (a replacement from the original – slightly shorter to allow a better angle when parked) and a rear saddlebag so I could go on a longer jaunt if needed.
On the initial test ride, I found that the single bolt handlebar/stem adjustment was not sufficiently tight, and also found myself freewheeling when trying to shift from 3rd to 2nd gear – a sign that the shifter cable needed a little more tension. Those were easy fixes, but the restoration itself was a little more involved.
The headset turned out to be a 3 notch model, and one for which I needed a special tool. That meant purchasing this nifty Hozan which has a bottom bracket lock ring remover on one end, and a properly sized tool for removing this type of headset on the other end.
I wasn’t able to get a proper bottom bracket adjustment with the existing cups, so I replaced them with a British model, and then also need to use its special tool – a Park HCW-11 which fortunately I already had on hand. That did the trick, and the bottom bracket adjustment came out beautifully.
Although built in Austria by Puch, the bike was equipped with an interesting array of OEM parts from various countries, including a Raleigh spindle and cottered crankset, which was easily removed and reinstalled using Bikesmith’s cotter pin press.
The bike also had a mismatched wheelset, with the rear rim being a British Dunlop, and the front a Japanese Araya. Likewise, the brake levers were also a mismatch with an older Swiss Weinmann on the left and a newer Japanese Dia-Comp on the right. Probably, the Japanese parts were installed after a mishap, likely back in the 70’s judging by the style of the components.
Added to the mix were the brake calipers – the front being a “Schwinn-approved” and the rear a Weinmann. Schwinn didn’t make calipers at this point in history so I believe this one was also made by Weinmann, but probably dates to the 1970’s and was a replacement part. I like keeping a bike’s history intact so I left everything as it was. All of these components are very nice and are working perfectly.
Setting up the Sturmey Archer 3 speed system took as much time as much of the other mechanical work. While the hub cleaned up beautifully and was in great condition after lubrication, it took a few passes to get the cable tension just right so that shifting was spot on. It’s been awhile since I have worked on a Sturmey Archer set-up and had forgotten about using this all important clamp to help with the initial cable tension. It has a special ferrule with shoulders that fit over the clamp. Once the the cable is installed in the shifter, this clamp can be loosened and repositioned to get the first pass at cable tension after the indicator spindle has been connected.
I also spent a lot of time cleaning and waxing the paint, and doing a little touch up painting on the more egregious areas of paint loss. While the quality of the paint and frame tubing is not up to Raleigh standards, the bike looks attractive and offers a similar ride to my 1950 Raleigh Sports Tourist. By lowering the gearing with a new SA 22 tooth cog, this bike cruises along at just the right cadence on level roads, and can get up the hills so much easier in first gear. The new gear inch range is 40 – 73, a significant improvement over the 50 -88 range with the original 18 tooth cog. That’s going to be perfect for my plans for this bike – an office errand machine for noon time jaunts and lunch outings. I’m looking forward to putting it into service, and it will be easy to enjoy this bike in all types of weather, even today’s.