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Dutch single-speed bike

Old 04-29-10, 04:31 PM
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Dutch single-speed bike

Someone came to me for some minor repairs today. I oiled the coaster brake hub, inflated the tires, oiled the chain, added a kickstand and bell.

Anyone recognize anything here?

The coaster brake isn't working so well. I told her to come back in a week. I'll probably want to overhaul it.



The full photo set is here.
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Old 04-29-10, 06:41 PM
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Well, I recognize you from your avatar and other pics, what do I win?
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Old 04-29-10, 06:42 PM
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Cute, Chris. I am hoping someone knows something about the bike or the rear hub.
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Old 04-30-10, 07:38 AM
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It's possible the coaster brake wants grease, not oil. Wonder if that detail could impair braking? The only coasters I've dealt with were greased.
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Old 04-30-10, 07:53 AM
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I have an old bike maintenance book from the 50's that devotes 5 or 6 pages to servicing and rebuilding coasters, but it doesn't include Torpedo. I've been meaning to scan it into .pdf format...
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Old 04-30-10, 08:04 AM
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F&S Torpedo hub from the Reichenbach works, date F = 1963.

"Wettig gedep(oneerd) Handelsemerk" = Registered Trademark.

I could not read the name on the side of the frame, though.

Last edited by rhm; 04-30-10 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 04-30-10, 08:45 AM
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I'll check my old copy of Glenn's tonight, and see if it has anything on Torpedo coaster brakes.
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Old 04-30-10, 08:56 AM
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Here's some excellent reading on the Torpedo coaster brake hub.
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Old 04-30-10, 08:57 AM
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I'm accustomed to greasing coaster brake hubs, and I'd prefer to do that, but since it has an oil hole, I thought I'd try oil first. I told her maybe it will start working better now that I've oiled it. But either way, I want her back in a week so I can evaluate it and overhaul it if needed. It's the bike's only brake, and it's not working adequately. She didn't even notice, which is why I don't trust her to evaluate it. And we have steep hills and the infamous Joizy drivers here.
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Old 04-30-10, 09:13 AM
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Theoretical question: Does the size of the cog effect the power of the brake? It seems to me with a bigger cog, and a lower forward gear, you'd have a more powerful brake. What do you think?
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Old 04-30-10, 09:16 AM
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Good point, and I'm sure it makes a difference. But I was pleased to see that the bike is geared well. A lot of old bikes were geared really high, but this one isn't. Maybe the Dutch had a different attitude towards single speeds than the French did. In 1981, on my long wandering tour, I saw old women in France riding single speeds with a very high ratio.
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Old 04-30-10, 09:28 AM
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Is there a hole already in the front forks to mount a hand brake? I'm dong this to my wife's bike while also converting it to a 3-speed w/coaster brake. It's nice to have an option to stop if you drop your chain, although that's pretty unlikely going down hill.
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Old 04-30-10, 09:53 AM
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No, there's no hole, so I would have to drill one. I told her I would like to do it for her.

By the way, she just read this thread and might come back.

A customer of mine had his chain fall off his balloon tire coaster-brake bike. He was going fast down a hill, so he crash-landed it. He gave me the bike, didn't want anything for it, and bought a modern mountain bike from me. So it can happen!
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Old 04-30-10, 10:04 AM
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The foot-jam may not be an intuitive move, but it can save your skin in such instances if you can remember it!
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Old 04-30-10, 10:05 AM
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Where do you jam your foot when your bike has fenders?
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Old 04-30-10, 10:17 AM
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Probably in my mouth...
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Old 04-30-10, 10:21 AM
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Old 04-30-10, 10:27 AM
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I made the addition of a front brake to a Schwinn Racer single speed that originally had only a rear wheel coaster brake. This required finding a likely-looking brake and then marking and drilling the fork.

It was a pretty quick and effective modification that improved my confidence in the bike. I later learned that setups like this, with a footbrake in the back and handbrake in front, were sometimes offered on British bikes in the fifties and sixties.

Flushed with my success, I drilled the rear bridge and then added a hand brake for the BACK wheel. I now had a bicycle with three distinct and moderately spiffy brakes!

In its final evolution, the Racer lost its coaster brake due to the desire to convert to a 3-speed hub with non-Schwinn 26x1 3/8" wheel. The bike lost a third of its braking spiffitude cachet, but gained two-thirds in available forward speeds and overall spiff factor.
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Old 04-30-10, 07:05 PM
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Glenn's has information on several hubs grouped together, including Komet, Pixie, and F&S Torpedo Boy. Not sure how close it is to your hub. I could scan the pages and email them to you, if you would like.
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Old 04-30-10, 09:26 PM
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gna, thank you for your offer. I'll let you know if I need that. I've taken apart a few coaster brake hubs, so this may not be too hard. I used to have a Glenn's. I probably still have it somewhere, but my house is big enough for me to get super disorganized, and there are books I haven't spied in years.
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