Saturday, 7 December 2013

ARCHIE WILKINSON

I got this from my brother around 1996 (free), someone had given it to him and he wasn't interested.  I left it at his house so I could ride it when I visited Birmingham.  However when I wanted to adjust the seat height the frame broke at the bolt mounting, it looked like a fatigue fracture. The frame is fillet brazed and very light, way below 4lbs it is lighter than the 653 John Fern frame I have. I took the bike home and set about it.  It came with solid aluminium forks and I knew that aluminium has a fatigue limit, the bike was old and a typical catastrophic failure would have likely killed me.  I removed them, cut them up and took them down the tip.  I stripped the frame and took it in to work.  I was working for a company which trained young people in engineering.  A handy place to work if you like mucking around with bicycles.  It seemed out of true on the surface table, and I deduced it had an offset rear triangle (produced by some framebuilders to reduce or eliminate dishing of the rear wheel).  It was probably just out. I addressed the broken seat clamp by removing the other side and filing the frame down at an angle then milling a slot the seat tube below the top joints, this would allow me to clamp it using a split clamp.  I prepared the frame and had it blasted and powder coated in Digbeth here.

Archie Wilkinson are famous for bicycle speedway, and I only recently discovered them online.  Already originality has gone out of the window so what happened next is excusable.

People learn from their mistakes, so never again will I cut off mudguard mounting lugs to save weight!  Or remove a stupid amount of metal from the bottom bracket to save weight. I needed a set of forks, and some 531 forks from a scrapped Raleigh would have matched the frame but for the missing mudguard mountings so I took a set from another scrapped Raleigh and a Campag headset from the same bike.  The chainset was from a Peugeot Carbolite special 101 (that's French marketing for Hi-Ten).  I removed the inner 48 from a double using a burr in an electric drill.  With a 108 mm axle this 52T sprocket lined up perfectly with a 21T fixed sprocket giving me about 67".  It is my lightest bike, weighing in at just over 20lbs.

Photos of this bike maybe found here.  Today 23/03/2014 I went for my first fixed ride this year, the cockpit is very short with the short and high stem and I found it uncomfortable.  Also today I changed the stem for a longer one (Profile cro-mo, very light bought on eBay for a song) due to the maximum height line it is a lot lower than previous one and a little bit lower than the saddle. Up the road and back and it is a big improvement. The steering head bearings had been causing me problems, there was a lot of play at the lower race, it seems that I had fitted a caged set of bearings from a smaller headset. I fitted a larger diameter cage which improved things but if this is not the solution I will have to fit loose balls. Another thing I changed was the handlebars, the previous ones had oxidised inside the stem and took some removing also I spotted a nasty gouge in the aluminium.  This is a stress raiser and the last thing anyone needs is the handlebars to break.  I like the new set up and hope it will serve me well for getting into shape in the spring.

24/08/2014 I have been using this once a week in good weather for distances varying from 21 to 30 miles and it is a nice ride.  I have a black Brooks B17N on there along with the carbon fibre 27.0 seatpost from the Genesis.  Problems with over inflating the rear tyre caused a sidewall failure.  I'm on Michelin World Tour 700C x 28 now, it has a nicer feel.  The front one will be replaced with the same when it wears, as the Michelin Transworld City ones were squirrelly on corners and picked up flints in the tread.  I will hang it up when the wet weather arrives and dust it off spring 2015.

25/09/2017 Well, earlier this year I stripped this down and stopped riding fixed. Much later in the year I had the R T Shayler back from Jason and transferred all the bits from this on to that.  So I am back on fixed but this Archie Wilkinson will never be ridden again, the frame was out by 6 mm at the rear, now I can be bothered to measure it and I believe there is a twist in the frame. On a good note I sold the Campagnolo headset on ebay for £27!