Granny Cruiser, ride on!

There has been a lot of small progress with Granny Cruiser over the past two months, which I haven’t bothered logging here. As me and Niina finally got the bicycle assembled to a usable condition last weekend, a wrap-up post is definitely in order. But before delving into details, please meet “Granny”..:

Granny Cruiser ready to roll :)

Not too bad at all for a bicycle made mostly out of scrap spanning three (or four?) decades! We did end up buying a few parts/accessories too; these were a LED lamp, a front basket, a new seat and some spare parts for the rear hub. The first two are still waiting to be installed and thus missing from the picture above. These items added up to somewhere around 20 euros, in turn upping the total costs for the project to somewhere between 40 – 50€. Factor in all the labour costs, and you’d end up with a totally different price tag though ;)

As for the details, let’s start with the chainguard. This was a very last minute addition, but its definitely my personal favourite on the bicycle. A great little piece of retro detail.

Coming straight outta scrap pile, a retro chainguard named.. Granny?

Some weeks ago, cycling past this one bureau building I noticed a pile of bicycle scrap in front of it. Of course, I just had to stop by for a look-see. It was here that I found this awesome piece of bicycle retro, buried under all the rusty wheels, frames and whatnot. The same instant I catched a glimpse of the chainguard, I knew it has to be modded to fit this project. I actually forgot it next to the pile as I took some other usable parts with me too, but returned to pick it up the day after. Good thing that I did, as less than a week later the entire scrap pile was gone. Clean-up, a bit of modding, light sanding, fresh paint and it’s a winner. Love it!

The chainguard had to be installed a little bit off-centre with the pedal crank, but there was little choice as I wanted to use only the existing mounting holes. Niina doesn’t mind this little visual flaw, so I’m trying hard not to be arsed about it either :)

The refurbished retro chainguard installed.. off-centre (grrrr!)

Whilst on the topic of parts pulled from the same pile of scraps, the other stuff I took was a relatively modern el-cheapo ladies city/hybrid frame. Wheels missing and spots of rust here and there but seemingly decent, albeit a bit scratched, black plastic SKS mudguards attached. Not carrying any tools along, I decided to drag the entire frame with me in order to take a closer look. I had a hunch these mudguards might sort of “blend in” better with the wheels than the various shiny metallic ones we had tested so far.. Detach, clean, attach to Granny frame and sure enough, a much better looking combination! The black goes way better with the seat, basket and the chainguard.

The rear mudguard is a bit off-centre with the wheel and also needed new installation holes to be drilled (plus the old ones patched up). But otherwise, despite the couple of decades (or so) of difference in age between the frame and the mudguards, the combination is a good fit. Maybe I’ll shorten the chains and nudge the rear wheel forward some time later, just for a slightly more balanced overall look.

Briefly touching the topic of chains, I decided to toss the slightly rusty ones from Donor #1 and instead use the chains from Donor #2, extended with a short piece from Donor #3. I don’t have a chain extractor tool, so I just drilled away a couple of chain rivets to obtain the short piece. This was then joined with the longer chain using one extra locking chain link. It was surprising to see how much drilling the rivets can take, but with a steady (forceful) pressure applied on the bench drill and drilling aided by some Cut-n-Cool, the rivets gave in eventually.

To bring a bit of (fresh?) bling to the project, Niina bought these golden star and glittery letter stickers. Surely enough, a project like this has to be branded.. ;)

Stickers installed and frame ready for varnish!

As the stickers are of some paper-based type, we decided to attach them before spraying the layers of lacquer. No idea how well this “encapsulating” solution will last in the long run, but the stickers did at least seem to withstand the first shower of rain Granny received.

What it says!

Last but not least, the rear hub. I was wondering about the part already on my previous post, but to sum it up the rear wheel tended to skip when more torque was applied. After braking, you also had to pedal away “slack” for about 1 to 2 cycles before the hub actually latched to transfer the torque/force.  Now, I’m not sure whether all the following info about this hub is off any relevance to anyone. Nonetheless, I did spend quite a while figuring it out so the least I can do is to share it with TEH INTERNETS! Who knows, maybe someone will have less hassle fixing their Favorit hub thanks to my “research”.

The first thing I tried was to replace the bearings. Other than making the hub maybe just a little bit more snugly fitting to assemble, no luck there. Presenting my case to some friends and colleagues in the know about bicycle mechanics, I was eventually able to piece together that the five rollers indicated in the picture below could be the likely culprit. Apparently, working together with the winged-part-I-don’t-know-the-name-of (visible on the top right corner of the picture) and the “cup” they’re placed in, these rollers are responsible for transferring the force to the wheel axle.

Lollers, its a exploded view showing the rollers. Not that the hub in the picture is of exact same model that Granny has.

As it turned out, this hub is actually old enough to be serviceable part-by-part. As far as I know, modern hubs are more of the drop-in-replacement type, IF serviceable at all. Best thing is, despite the hub is from the late 70s / early 80s, spare parts are still available! So.. a bit of shop searching, 3 euros for a replacement set of rollers, some repair work and the hub was restored to working condition. This time it’s up yours, planned obsolescence :)

Old and new rollers side by side.

Just for comparison, I measured the old and new rollers with a digital caliper. The difference in diameter is around 0,3mm per roller; doesn’t sound like much but apparently it’s enough to cause problems.

New hub rollers in place

The repaired hub does still retain some of the slack when alternating from braking to pedaling and vice versa. But it’s not even close to as bad as it was before the repair, maybe something like 1/4 cycle tops. Apparently, this slack is also slightly characteristic for these Favorit hubs.. Or so they tell me. Nonetheless, skipping is gone so I’ll left it at that! Front hand brakes would be a good addition when/if sudden stopping is required, but sure, the slack in braking could also be anticipated for by getting a feel of Granny :D

Ok.. Before I get too carried away with the “elderly” jokes, I’ll just leave you with a set of links to the earlier posts about this project. You know, just in case you want to take a peek..

Might do a post about the LED lamp later on, if I manage to complete the retrofitting mod I’m planning at the moment. Big thanks to everyone who helped with this project!

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