Friday, October 18, 2013

Scorcher Project - The End is Near...

Scorcher - A fast, reckless cyclist who scares horses and old folks.  This term was current in the late 19th century.
---Sheldon Brown


The Scorcher Project for the most part is now completed.  I spent yesterday installing the chain, seat, shifter cable, handle bar grips, and headbadge  I took it for a quick shake-down ride to try the 5-speed hub, and top tube shifter.  It also gave me an opportunity to set the initial seat and handlebar height,  and just get a feel how it rides with the unusual handlebar setup.

I was impressed with how nice it shifted and the very useable gear range of the 5-speed hub.  The jury is still out on the handlebar.  I had trouble keeping the bar from rotating in the clamp.  I kept tightening up on the bolt but stopped for fear of stripping it.  I will need to shim it with something.  I've used aluminum duct tape before on another bike and it did the trick.  The overall riding position felt comfortable, but your hand position is lower then on a typical Sports, giving a more racy feel.  The coaster brake took some getting use to, I haven't had these on a bike since I was a kid; however, it did stop nicely.  I do like the bike's clean look without having all the brake hardware and cables attached.

These are the shifter parts that came with the hub.  The long thing in the middle is a fulcrum lever, with its plastic cover above.  The bottom part is a pulley that the toggle chain runs on.  I really didn't want to put these modern plastic parts on a Raleigh "All Steel" bike, so I used an old school axle nut with window instead.  Seems to be working OK.

That's better

One thing I noticed about using this hub on a 3-speed Sports frame was that the coaster brake lever did not align properly with the left chain stay.  When I installed the brake arm clamp on the chain stay it pulled the brake arm lever inward causing the hub to tighten up.  I used an old AW hub axle spacer and some washers to position the arm outward and this fixed the problem.  I need to make a proper sized spacer in the future.  
Brake arm and clamp.

Spacers to move arm outward.

I had removed the headbadge when the frame was powder coated.  I was able to source some #0, 1/8" drive screws to re-install the badge.  The headbadge shown is from the 1953 Sports, not the one I installed which is the original 1970 badge.

#0, 1/8" drive screws.

Original 1970 headbadge re-installed.

Brooks B-17

I had this two legged stand in the extra parts bin, so I installed it just to have a stand.  Not sure if it will stay, I do have the original, but its in sorry condition.

This is the "Scorcher" before going on its first shake down ride.

Please share your comments.


  1. Thanks Graham, quite a comment coming from a toggle chain guru.

  2. Hello Robert, just a quick note to say I dropped in at your blog today. Didnt get any coffee though..Great, will definitely visit more in future!
    Regards, Hein (theleatherbug)

  3. Looks like she's coming along nicely.

    1. Thanks, trying to find best position for seat and handlebars. Those unique bars produce a usual riding position, but I've been happy with the ride thus far.

  4. Awesome! How did the shakedown ride go? Any issues you had to sort out?


  5. Just getting the seat and handle bar positions set. I also added some half-toe-clips (Velo-Orange) to the pedals to help postion my foot on the pedal. I was very happen with how the 5-speed hub shifted, with the top tube lever.

  6. May I ask what size tires and rims you used on that bad boy? I'm doing something very similar with my '74 Raleigh Grand Prix. Yours is a beauty!

    1. The tires and rims are 26 x 1 3/8 which is a common size for English three-speeds.