project british eagle….

Readers of this blog may recall a post in which I made reference to a bike I had acquired, an old late 80’s British Eagle MTB which had been converted to a touring bike.

Well, as I mentioned in that post, my long term intention was to have the frame shot blasted and then rebuild it with some newer parts in a slightly different style.  That’s now underway.  Last night I stripped the bike down, and it currently looks like this:

Stripped down and ready for blasting

Stripped down and ready for blasting

The actual operation was probably the best lesson I’ve had in bike anatomy, though a lot of the guts are very different these days; the quill stem for example was way more fiddly than a modern fork/stem.  Wielding a no 4 and 5 allen key and a monkey wrench, I got going and took off all the Shimano Deore XT groupset components, cables, etc, and a lot of TLC is going to be required for these:

a little tired after 20 years!

a little tired after 20 years!

The wheels will be stripped and lubed, and I intend to shoe them in a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Plus street tyres.

new tyres coming

new tyres coming

The plan goes like this: I have to get the cranks, chainset and BB removed by a bike shop as I lack the tools for this and don’t want to trash them!  Then, it’s off to Thetford to be shotblasted.  One problem with the frame is that I’ll have to somehow repair a dent in the tubing caused by a particularly ham-fisted attempt to remove one of the bottle cage eyelets with a hammer!!

Thenceforth, I need to find a spray shop who will do bike frames, and I’m thinking about a nice shade of blue, but a less eye watering one than at present. The frame and forks then completed, a new stem will be fitted, I’ll probably keep the existing alloy seatpost, but as you can see a new saddle is needed, and I have my eye on a nice Brooks B17 for that purpose.

new saddle for sure

new saddle for sure

I’ll have the bars sprayed black, with some Ergon grips, then it’s a case of fitting rear carrier rack, cleaned and fettled groupset, new cables all round, new pads on the brakes, and I should then be good to go.

The project will take some time, and indeed I’ve got to start ringing round for spraying quotes too.  If you live in Suffolk and you know of a paintshop that will do bike frames, leave a comment!

But I hope i’ll end up with a top notch retro tourer, you can see in one of the pics my similarly retro panniers.

Postscript – no LBS help was needed with the chainset/cranks/BB.  I bought a crank extractor for a very reasonable £9.99 and eventually managed to get the old fashione ball- bearing BB mech out (plenty of skinned knuckles and brute force!)

In case any of you are restoring, or considering restoring an older bike, there are a couple of useful links you might use.  Firstly, I have come across atlantic boulevard from the black pudding capital, Bury, who do frame renovations at all levels – from bare metal to full frames that need stripping down.  They also claim to be able to find and apply vintage frame transfers to give the bike a realistic look.  If their quote checks out ok, then Project British Eagle will be packed off there in a week or two’s time.

There is also a fantastic shop in Penrith, H Lloyd Cycles, whose online catalog of decals for older frames is worth a browse.

Check back and see how she progresses!!


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