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Old 07-27-10, 08:48 AM   #1
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souping up a Raleigh Twenty

I have a Raleigh Twenty that I barely do anything with. It seems to me that this would be a really good hauler, once I upgrade it.

First, there's the headset. What are the possibilities?

Then there are the brakes. I've heard that Tektro makes some decent long-reach dual pivot brakes. But are they really good? I just discovered this adapter, which would allow me to install V brakes or cantilevers. Looks like a great idea, and I wouldn't have to ruin the paint job and braze on mounts, but it would cost $80 a pair, and that's before buying the brakes.

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Old 07-27-10, 08:55 AM   #2
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Wrong forum, Tom! All things Twenty have been discussed ad infinitum in the folders forum.

But here's a few answers.

Headset: save your threaded top nut, replace everything else with a threadless set (Aheadset).

Brakes: front wheel gets a drum brake. Rear wheel, you have to make a drop center bolt of some kind, but that's not as hard as you'd think. The frame has three mounting holes IIRCt, so you can just make a beefy plate that bolts to those three and has a fourth hole farther down, where you mount the caliper brake of your choice. I have yet to do this to mine... but I'm pretty sure 3/4" plywood, suitably weatherproofed, will do the trick.

Cranks: best solution is to leave the original. If you don't like that... go to the folders forum.
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Old 07-27-10, 09:35 AM   #3
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You've already read what Sheldon Brown wrote about the 20, right?
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Old 07-27-10, 09:48 AM   #4
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Brakes: front wheel gets a drum brake. Rear wheel, you have to make a drop center bolt of some kind, but that's not as hard as you'd think.

Cranks: best solution is to leave the original. If you don't like that... go to the folders forum.
Or do a rear drum brake as well.

cottered cranks right? You might be able to swap in a 73mm MTB spindle, keep the old cups and go to square taper.
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Old 07-27-10, 10:56 AM   #5
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There are cheap-o versions of that same horseshoe adapter on a select few Huffy models. They work, surprisingly enough.

-Kurt
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Old 07-27-10, 01:11 PM   #6
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Grand Bois, yes, I have, and I've also read what John S Allen wrote about it. Allen and Brown were friends. I talked with Allen extensively about his Twenty conversion when he did it in 1979. It was inspiring.

I don't feel the need to make it lighter, only more functional and pleasant. It's the only three speed I've ridden that's geared right, i.e. low enough.

I converted a Twenty in 1980, thanks to John S Allen. I put a SA 5-speed hub on it, alloy rims, and drop handlebars. But in the end, I didn't like it. I ended up putting it in the garbage. I know, insanity, but I had a tiny apartment and there was no craigslist at the time. (There wasn't even an internet.)

This time around, I'll live with the steel rims until and unless I feel they're slowing me down.

Kurt, thanks for the tip about Huffy horseshoes! I might have a Huffy or two lying around.

rhm, thanks for your ideas, too! I realize this is the "wrong" forum, but it's kind of like looking for your lost contact lens in the room with the better light rather than the room you lost it in: this is where my friends are, so I ask here.
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Old 07-27-10, 03:23 PM   #7
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Hey, since someone else brought it up - how about fitting 700cc tubular wheels to a twenty? I have an extra fork from a mixte for the front, and I was thinking of cutting off the brake bridge and kickstand cross piece to fit the bigger wheel in back. Would that compromise the frame too much?

Before anyone screams at me - this is a beat up frame with trashed paint left over from combining two messed up bikes into one good bike, so I did my part already to save a bike...
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Old 07-27-10, 03:26 PM   #8
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its made for a 20" wheel....if you can get a 700 in there you are a magician.
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Old 07-27-10, 03:31 PM   #9
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Why would you even want to do that?

And I'm sure that tubulars hold a lot less than 700 cubic centimeters of air.
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Old 07-27-10, 03:31 PM   #10
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Like I said - with a hacksaw...thin little tubulars should just barely fit. If only all those little structural pieces weren't in the way...

WHy would I do that? I dunno. Becaseu I can? I like the comfort of big wheels, and don't like the twitchiness of 20 inch wheels.
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Old 07-27-10, 03:41 PM   #11
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OK, and in the end, you'll have ... what?
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Old 07-27-10, 03:42 PM   #12
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A bike, much like I like to ride, that I can take onto BART - the local commuter railroad that bans non-folding bikes during commute hours.
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Old 07-27-10, 09:32 PM   #13
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OK, I get it. Well, I look forward to your results.

We have the same rule here on NJ Transit. If you have a folding bike, you can bring it on the train any time, any day. But you don't necessarily have to fold it. It just has to be able to fold.
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Old 07-27-10, 11:45 PM   #14
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Grand Bois, yes, I have, and I've also read what John S Allen wrote about it. Allen and Brown were friends. I talked with Allen extensively about his Twenty conversion when he did it in 1979. It was inspiring.

I don't feel the need to make it lighter, only more functional and pleasant. It's the only three speed I've ridden that's geared right, i.e. low enough.

I converted a Twenty in 1980, thanks to John S Allen. I put a SA 5-speed hub on it, alloy rims, and drop handlebars. But in the end, I didn't like it. I ended up putting it in the garbage. I know, insanity, but I had a tiny apartment and there was no craigslist at the time. (There wasn't even an internet.)

This time around, I'll live with the steel rims until and unless I feel they're slowing me down.

Kurt, thanks for the tip about Huffy horseshoes! I might have a Huffy or two lying around.

rhm, thanks for your ideas, too! I realize this is the "wrong" forum, but it's kind of like looking for your lost contact lens in the room with the better light rather than the room you lost it in: this is where my friends are, so I ask here.

Bloody Heathen! Putting a perfectly good Twenty in the Tip!
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Old 07-28-10, 08:24 AM   #15
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Well, I was living in NYC, and I saw the superintendent's kid took it for himself, so it didn't go to waste. Of course, he probably had no idea what it was or its odd history. Still, riding a bike is better than not riding a bike, so good for him.
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Old 07-28-10, 08:32 AM   #16
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Well, lest this discussion devolve into Tom's poor lifestyle choices(), let me change the subject a little more....

Okay, so you don't want to ruin the paint by brazing on cantilever studs. Fine. But I do want to ruin the paint by brazing on cantilever studs. What's the best route? Do you know someone in NJ who will do this reasonably fast, and reasonably cheap?

By the way, Sciencemonster: the Twenty is twitchy because of the fork, not the wheels. Many people bend the fork back a little bit, to increase mechanical trail a tiny bit; and this renders it stable. Bigger wheels will, of course, do the same thing-- not because of the increased gyroscopic force, but because they will increase mechanical trail.

Also, by the way... regarding that U-thing that lets you bolt canti studs onto your frame... could you hack apart a dead suspension fork, and use the appropriate bit of that? I have a couple of those lying around... and a hack saw... and a grinder....


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Old 07-28-10, 08:46 AM   #17
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rhm, I imagine welders who can braze are easy to find. A car mechanic or motorcycle mechanic might be willing and able. Or maybe a machinist?

Also, it looks like attaching the horseshoe at the brake bolt would be OK but supplementing it with hose clamps on the fork blades or seat stays would be even better.

I thought the twitchiness came from the crappy plastic headset. No? Do you think replacing it wouldn't be a big improvement?
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Old 07-28-10, 08:49 AM   #18
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My Twenty is also twitchy because the fork I have left over after building one good bike outa two is the one that is all bent up in the steer tube.

So since I didn't hear anyone aghast that I would cut off these two little seemingly important structural members, I will assume that it's not that big a deal and start hacking away.

Sorry to hijack your thread, Tom, but I figured it was best to keep Twenty hacking adventures in one thread...
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Old 07-28-10, 08:57 AM   #19
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So since I didn't hear anyone aghast that I would cut off these two little seemingly important structural members, I will assume that it's not that big a deal and start hacking away.
Do it, sounds like you've got a good candidate for experimenting with so might as well if you don't mind the possibility of ending up with nothing (never stopped me before )

If the 700c's don't fit you could always try a 26" or a skinny 650B
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Old 07-28-10, 09:04 AM   #20
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This:

http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=10801

and a real headset + canti brakes, does wonders with the handling and braking on an R20. Ya gotta cut the top of the headtube by about an inch, tho.
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Old 07-28-10, 09:23 AM   #21
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I was thinkin gof updating with something like that, but I just happen to have an extra fork in the same color, which prompted me to thinking of putting bigger wheels on it - that and I just scored some extra tubular wheelsets.

Whatever you do with a twenty, that plastic headset is awful. That has to go.
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Old 07-28-10, 09:45 AM   #22
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cycle_maven, excellent idea. Ya know, with a good front brake, I could leave the rear one alone. I haven't yet tried Kool Stop brake shoes to see how much it improves performance. The price is great, and installing it won't be the hardest thing.

sciencemonster, the more, the merrier.
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Old 07-28-10, 10:18 AM   #23
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If you shorten the head tube and use a fork with a shorter steerer tube and a regular headset, how critical is the cut? Is that a machine shop job, or could I do a careful but not perfect hacksaw cut?
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Old 07-28-10, 10:30 AM   #24
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If you shorten the head tube and use a fork with a shorter steerer tube and a regular headset, how critical is the cut? Is that a machine shop job, or could I do a careful but not perfect hacksaw cut?
I used a hacksaw and a flat file, with a machinist's square to tell where to file to get it square and flat. It does make it impossible to fit an original R20 fork, but for me it was no great loss. I added a stem extender and a standard quill stem to get the handlebar rise. It's no longer quick-release, but I suppose I could tape a 6mm allen wrench to the handlebars and make it quick-ish release.

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