Raligh update #3

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about the Raligh. I’ve been working on it but not as much as I’d like. You know how it is: school, work blah blah blah. Same old sob story, poor me. Anyways I’ve started in on the home stretch and it’s turned out to be a very long one.

The drive train on this thing is nasty. It’s the front and rear derailer, the chain rings, the cranks and the bottom bracket. That’s pretty much the hard stuff, specifically the derailers. These things have about 20 years of crap built up on them and it’s obvious that a few parts are bent. Here are the before pictures:

The front derailer:


The front chain wheels / rings:



Rear derailer:


And finally the cranks:

Those of you who’ve done this before will notice the cotter pin through the cranks. I’ll get to these in a in a bit but first the good news … the front chain rings and the kickstand cleaned up great!

So now the bad news: I got everything off the frame except for the cranks. Cleaning the 20 years worth of lubricant and dirt off the frame was a pain in the ass and there’s still more to be done but I can’t get to it all till the cranks are off. But these cranks do not want to come off. Stupid cotter pins. I’ve never seen cranks with cotter pins in them and I now know why.

I did some research and found that there are cotter pin presses out there but none are less than $50 + shipping so I rigged up my own boot-leg press. I took a 3 inch c-clamp I had laying about, cupped the out-going end of the cotter pin in a 10mm socket and used the clamp to press the cotter pin out. I left the nut on the threaded end, one turn out to keep it from completely bending over. It looked like this:

That was till the c-clamp broke. I should have seen it coming when I had to turn the clamp with a pair of 9 inch pliers. It wasn’t as dramatic as you think, I just ended up pushing the threaded bit through the plunger a bit. It sank right into the hollow part of the socket. The plunger wasn’t spinning much after that. You can see the plunger pushed through in the following pic, this thing was flat initially:

So one c-clamp down I looked for other options. I went with a solution recommended by the late great Sheldon “No Clunk” Brown. His site is the first google hit for “cottered cranks” and he has a laundry list of things he’s done to get cotter pins out of old-school European bike cranks. After soaking the cotter pin in WD-40 penetrating oil I tried his claw hammer & pipe method. I didn’t ding up the frame like I was afraid I would but I did some damage to the threaded end of the pin. It didn’t budge.

I figured this was a good time to take a break so I sat down with a whiskey and read some of Sheldon Brown’s journal entries and accounts of some of the rides and events that he attended. Really cool to read about a bike enthusiast riding around the north shore of Massachusetts just a few towns over from where I grew up. Some of the pictures made me nostalgic for New England, especially the one of his bike propped up against a beautiful New England field stone wall.

Sheldon put a wealth of information into the public domain through his website. He basically was blogging every day before a blog was a blog. He passed away but his site is still out there, complete with pictures of his kick-ass beard. His advice was a big help so, thanks man. I’m still working on way to get these pins out, hopefully it won’t come down to using the drill 🙂

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