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Old 04-23-08, 08:54 PM   #1
nosferaustin
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Benelux

I bought a Huffy the other day (posted about it here). Turns out it's actually a late 50's or early 60's Raleigh Sprite, rebadged as a Huffy. Anyway, it's got Benelux components. Are they worth trying to salvage? I'll need to strip them, clean them and then try to piece it all back together again to try to get it working. Is it worth the time, do you think? I know that, from what I've read, they're not the greatest parts but I'd kind of like to keep this bike as original as I can. Any suggestions or tips? Any good web sources for 'restoring' this ol' thing?

Any help or advice is much appreciated.
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Old 04-23-08, 09:01 PM   #2
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That is a tough call. If you have a normal-low bandspring rear derailleur, it is indeed cr@p, but at least it is original cr@p. What I did with my very similar Cyclo was to replace it with a same-period Campagnolo Gran Sport, which was a vast improvement, great-looking and capable of hitting all gears.

My biggest objection to reverse-action rear derailleurs is that a slipping or snapping control cable will throw your chain into your spokes.
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Old 04-23-08, 09:51 PM   #3
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That would work. Now, to fine Campy derailleurs that won't break the bank...
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Old 04-23-08, 10:03 PM   #4
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Question - are the Cyclo's springs limited only by the cable, and no limit stop of any kind? Never seen one in person, hence the question.

Incidentally, let me know if you do dump them - I do fancy oddball components.

-Kurt
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Old 04-24-08, 11:29 AM   #5
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Question - are the Cyclo's springs limited only by the cable, and no limit stop of any kind? Never seen one in person, hence the question.

Incidentally, let me know if you do dump them - I do fancy oddball components.

-Kurt
Haven't figured out the operation, yet. It's not working at all. I removed the components from the bike yesterday evening so I can do a throrough cleaning. This is the first I've seen one of these as well (it's actually what drew me to buy it, that and I was confused by the English 'Huffy'). Once I get it working, if I can, I'll decide whether to leave it or "upgrade" to Campy.
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Old 04-24-08, 01:57 PM   #6
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I limit the travel on mine with the cable length - to keep the chain from going off into the spokes.

If the cable fails - well - the thing is so stiff, crusty, cranky, and lame, I doubt it can travel much on it's own. But it sure looks cool, and it's period correct, and that's what counts. No one in their right mind, back in the day, would put any fancy Italian crap on a Sports or a low end racer.
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Old 04-25-08, 06:28 AM   #7
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That is a really cool looking bike, and it looks to be amazingly original-- like, even the orginal bar tape. Personally, I don't think a vintage Campy makes any more sense than, say, Suntour. I'd get the Benelux system working as well as possible, and then find out if the bike is fun to ride. It may turn out to be a bike that you only want to ride once in a while, in which case it makes sense to keep it as the classic it is. On the other hand, if it turns out to be a bike you want to ride a lot, take the Benelux stuff off and store it, and put less valuable, and more functional, derailleurs.

Thanks for the Benelux manual, too! That may prove to be a valuable resource. In fact... do you think you do a better scan of it some time?
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Old 04-25-08, 07:55 AM   #8
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That is a really cool looking bike, and it looks to be amazingly original-- like, even the orginal bar tape. Personally, I don't think a vintage Campy makes any more sense than, say, Suntour. ...
At least the Campagnolo would be period-correct.
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Old 04-25-08, 08:06 AM   #9
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Can I second that request for a quality scan of the instructions? I'd love to post it on my page about my bike.

http://www.sciencemonster.net/machin...%20sports.html

I could really use some instructions! I've taken the derailler apart - it's pretty basic inside, but it'd be great to have factory instructions for adjusting the damn thing. One hint: If you take apart the lever, there's a little paper disk in there that is needed to maintain friction. Mine fell apart when I pulled the thing apart, and the friction wouldn't work right until I cut up a piece of heavy paper stock and replaced it.
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Old 04-25-08, 08:30 AM   #10
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At least the Campagnolo would be period-correct.
I understand, and you make a good point; my point is that for a period correct restoration, you can't beat the Benelux even with a better period-correct derailleur. If you're not going to ride the bike, it doesn't matter if the Benelux doesn't work. If you're going to ride the bike, in my opinion, it makes more sense to 'upgrade' the derailleurs the way a ca. 1970 owner would have done; that's why I suggest Suntour. Of course that hypothetical 1970 owner might have gone Huret or Simplex or even Campy; but I think a 60's Suntour would be perfect. I also suggest, don't hurt the Benelux!
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Old 04-25-08, 08:54 AM   #11
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Thanks for the Benelux manual, too! That may prove to be a valuable resource. In fact... do you think you do a better scan of it some time?
I'll do a real scan of the docs this week-end some time and post or e-mail them to anyone who's interested. Those are just digital pics I snapped on the dining room table.

I haven't had a chance to really tear into the Benelux parts yet, I plan on getting some cleaning time in this evening. I'm a little nervous about pulling it all apart, hopefully I'll get it all back together again. I think I've decided to do what you recommended and leave this as original as possible. The saddle will obviously need to be replaced, as it's unridable as is. I'm thinking of trying to find a Brooks B-72, since a lot of the old Schwinn's had them, I can't off the top of my head remember the saddle brand name that's on it now (I'm at work, damn jobs!) but it's not Brooks.

I doubt this bike will ever be a daily rider, it weighs too damn much! But, I will enjoy the occasional spins down to the Farmer's Market and the discussions sure to come up at the bike valet!

Thanks to eveyone for their comments so far, I'll post the progress, slow as it's sure to be.

Any suggestions on getting the cables working smoothly? They're pretty unique looking (to me) and I'm not sure that modern cables are going to work (for the brakes, anyway, the shifters should be replaceable). I really like the idea of keeping (or replacing with the same) the white cable housings, as they're not anything like any of the more modern cables. I'll snap some photos of what I mean when I get home.

Last edited by nosferaustin; 04-25-08 at 08:56 AM. Reason: because "og" does not equal "of"
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Old 04-25-08, 09:21 AM   #12
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Re. your seat, I suspect someone who knows what to do would be able to get that saddle into usable condition; not usable for century rides, but good enough for the purpose you describe. I won't pretend to be the guy who knows what to do, but no doubt the first step is to get some oil into the fibers.

Re. the Benelux, same thing, more or less; are you sure it needs to come apart? Get some penetrating oil in there, and let it do its job, then apply gentle force. What's the derailleur made of? If there's no brass in it, you may be able to soak the whole derailleur in a molasses water solution to dissolve the rust; then dry it and apply penetrating oil....

Re. the cables, same thing, almost. First get some oil in there, then get the cables moving. It may not be necessary to replace anything, but it shouldn't be hard to replace the inner wire if necessary. If the housing is bent, straighten it carefully, by hand. If it pinches the inner wire, you may be able to unpinch it with pliers. You're missing a couple clips to hold the housing to the frame, especially the down tube; those will help a lot.

I have a ca 1951 Norman, very rusty, the brake cables on which were frayed and completely frozen when I got it; oil and gentle force got them working, but I still can't get the nuts on the caliper loose, so haven't replaced the cables-- but the brakes work fine!
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Old 04-25-08, 11:19 AM   #13
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I was intimidated by my Cyclo when I first got it, but it's really simple to take apart and put back together. The spring is low tension, and it's all very logical.

That said, I picked up an early 1960s-era Svelto I swap in when I need reliability. It's not as pricey as a Gran Sport, but it's a simple little cool bit of engineering. And at $20, it was a hellava lot cheaper than even the Cyclo.
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Old 04-25-08, 11:05 PM   #14
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Well, I did some cleaning on the rear derailleur this evening, it shined up really well and seems to be working properly. I did end up taking it completely apart and had a little difficulty puting it back together again because of the spring tension (and my general awkwardness, I guess). But it looks great and I'll definitely be re-installing it. Thanks again for all of the advise. Tomorrow, the front derailleur! And I'll get those scans up as soon as I can.
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Old 04-28-08, 05:23 AM   #15
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Haven't scaned my docs yet (scanner's not working at home) but I did find this link: http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/benelux-adj.html with some good info.
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