Upgrading my Speedwell

I have alluded in earlier posts to an upgrade of my circa 1955 Speedwell. This has now been done. I decided that the brakes, being inadequate in some conditions and being inclined to overheat on hot days when travelling downhill, needed to be improved, and in the process I also decided on 3 speeds, though I could adequately cope with the single speed. Three speeds allows me to ride more easily up hills without getting out of the saddle. Similarly with braking, which I had effected by standing to jump on the back pedal brake when I approached intersections. I had the choice of either making the Speedwell a bike for special occasions that did not require a lot of hard riding, or changing it so I could safely use it everyday, I opted for the latter and this is how it looks now … I have not had a chance yet to take it on many rides, but will do so and will write a full report then. So far,  I am overall pleased with the changes. The improved braking and 3 speed gearing make a huge difference. The new wheels have changed the feel of it in a way I did not expect: it feels like a new bike now, rather than an old one. I have been told that there is less flex in the aluminium wheels and that is why. There are also the wider tyres to take into account in this, though I do appreciate the safety of the reflective walls and the puncture resistance they possess. The gears make a clicking noise which is not loud or intrusive, but is different from the totally silent ride I had before. I think that overall I will be happy that I have made these changes as I now have a fully functional and much safer bike with more style than a modern one and which cost much less than a modern equivalent.

This entry was posted in Speedwell, Vintage 1950s Speedwell, Vintage bikes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Upgrading my Speedwell

  1. Pingback: Out and About Bikespotting – The Sensible Alternative : « a new recyclist

  2. petermc says:

    It’s always good to see re-cycling going on – I’m looking forward to the ride report !

  3. anniebikes says:

    Wow, what a lovely rendition of an older bike. I especially like the white sidewalls. I have difficulty finding those tires here in Vermont. I wanted to put them on my Miyata, but settled for the basic black. I think you’ll appreciate 3 speeds.

  4. Vicki says:

    I do like the recycling approach too Peter, it sits better with me.

    Annie, the tyres aren’t white walled, they have a reflective strip on them, which is made much brighter in these pics by my flash reflecting off them! They are Michelin Tracker Reflective tyres. I would have loved white wall tyres!

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