PROJECT RUDGE

With the crank away for a re­build, Rick turns his at­ten­tions to wheel build­ing

Classic Bike (UK) - - Contents -

Istrug­gle with down­time. Hav­ing ex­pected to be re­assem­bling the en­gine this month, the need to leave the crank with Al­pha Bear­ings for a re­build over an un­cer­tain time frame threw me off kil­ter. Of course, there’s plenty else to do and maybe it’s just me, but when I have a job mapped out in my head I can eas­ily lose the thread when such an in­ter­rup­tion oc­curs. So in a way it was a good thing when Mike Wild from the Rudge En­thu­si­asts Club asked me if I’d dis­play the bike on the club stand at Stafford Show. He re­alised it wasn’t fin­ished, but said it would make an in­ter­est­ing talk­ing point on the stand.

Although it added a bit to the work­load, at least the show dead­line fo­cused me on a new di­rec­tion to fill the down­time. First was the wheels. I don’t re­place spokes ha­bit­u­ally; in my ex­pe­ri­ence, rusty spokes are stronger than they look (the thing to look for, by the way, is ‘neck­ing’ due to cor­ro­sion where the spoke en­ters the brass nip­ple, if there is no weak­ness here I worry no fur­ther) but since this bike will carry a side­car, it made sense to start with a new set. There was a spare rear hub and rim in the bits with the bike, so I re-used the old spokes to build Ben a spare wheel which he could strap to the side.

Paul Horton (rudge.parts) sup­plies cor­rect Rudge spokes. They are dou­ble-butted – thicker gauge at ei­ther end, where they need it. These are dif­fi­cult to get from most sup­pli­ers, be­cause the blanks have to be spe­cially made for the 19, 20 and 21in wheels Rudge used, rather than be­ing eas­ily cut from straight wire. Paul sup­plies all sizes for a very rea­son­able £65 per wheel and they fit­ted per­fectly. I wanted to make the bike look show-ready, which meant sort­ing the head­light. The glass was miss­ing and although I’d picked up an ex-wd piece from a jumble for a fiver, it turned out to be ½in too big. For once I gam­bled and won, man­ag­ing to trim off the ex­cess with a cir­cu­lar glass cut­ter.

But I had one worry. I’m pleased with the er, ar­ti­san fin­ish on the bike, but wouldn’t vis­i­tors to the stand think that ‘The Classic Bike Restoration Project’ had been painted by a par­tic­u­larly chal­lenged three-yearold? So I wrote a dis­play board which ex­plained that my goal was to re­store the bike to match the fin­ish of its orig­i­nal parts and hoped for the best. I needn’t have wor­ried – the Rudge was well re­ceived by club mem­bers and pub­lic alike. I was al­most smug when I spot­ted a rosette on the head­light... but it turned out to be a Best Club Stand award. Well, hope­fully the project bike did its bit to help.

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The mag­neto is the right one – a BTH KD1 with side­ways-exit ad­vance ca­ble – but its stiff to turn and there’s no spark.

ABOVE: A Vitrex cut­ter pared down a bar­gain piece of head­light glass to fit

RIGHT: Rick and friend with the bike on dis­play at Stafford Classic Bike show Sprocket sits on a ta­per; there’s no key so with nut off, give it a sharp tap in ro­tat­ing di­rec­tion with a soft ob­ject to spin it off. To strip it, the points need to come off first, along with any earth­ing screws or brushes that point in­ward from the out­side.

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