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seekimfly 10-06-13 05:19 PM

Hi! I'm new to the forum with a new 1968 Robin Hood in want of some TLC.
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Hello there!

I posted on the bike mechanics forum since I just got a 1968 Robin Hood that I'm trying to fix up so I have A bicycle to ride. That's right, I'm not only fixing up a bicycle for a first time, but it's also the only bicycle I own and will be the first time I own and ride a bicycle since I was a kid. I know it's ambitious, and probably a bit crazy, especially since I'm in law school full time... I really think I inherited my grandfather and mother's mechanical inclinations though, so hopefully I'll have a beautiful rideable bike after some time.

I don't know how the protocol works here, so I wanted to introduce myself. I'm sure some of you probably have a lot of opinions about what I should do and how I should do it.

First, I'm not sure if I should re-post my post from the bike mechanics forum here? Here's the link. I'll let you guys decide and tell me so I know for next time what to do or where to post.

Second, I'm planning on going to get new tires and tubes this week, but in the meantime I took a break from studying and removed the chain (it had a master link of some sort). It looks pretty rusty and definitely dirty and dry, but I don't think it's totally corroded through and I don't think I have any shark tooth sprockets, so I'm thinking it might still be a good chain? I tried measuring it but it actually measured under what Sheldon Brown's site said it normally would new, so now I'm wondering if 3speed chains are slightly different or the same chains used on newer bikes. Do you all think it's worth trying to clean? If so, given how rusty it is, what should I use? Citrus degreaser? Dawn dishwashing liquid? Something else? Should I soak it or just wash or do something super involved that someone mentioned by cooking it in the cleaning liquid? Or, am I totally bonkers and should I just be replacing it? If I do clean it, what should I use to lubricate it afterwards? I know that's a contentious issue, but I'm thinking I might have to do something more heavy duty since I might have to "strip" it in some way to really get it clean and "de-rusted." Am I totally off? Sorry for the crazy rant, I've been doing a lot of research and am still pretty confused.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing whatever advice and opinions and comments you'd like to send my way!


Howard 10-06-13 06:26 PM

Nice! I think the advice given on the link (mechanic forum) was pretty good. New tires & tubes, and maybe rim strips, join a coop and learn how to repack bearings with their tools.

While you never can tell by just pictures, the rust on the saddle springs and handlebars appears to be cosmetic, and ought to come off with some time, effort, and bronze wool.

The rear hub might be a little gummy inside, but is almost certainly going to be fine. I've pulled some apart to clean them, on one or two others, I just added some 10W30 and rode it gently (shifted carefully) for the first 50 miles or so.

The brake cables ought to be pretty standard parts by 1968 (early 50's was the transition, I think), so that shouldn't be any big deal.
I like them, and think you have found what looks like a good one.

Oh yeah, the chain is probably fine. If it turns but makes funny noises, lube it. You can get really fancy stuff, but remember, this type chain has been in use for at least 75 years, and a lot of fancy lubes and solvents didn't exist back then.

and like they said on the other thread, a coop ought to be a lot of help.

Gasbag 10-06-13 06:48 PM

Greetings & welcome. I highly recommend reading and searching this thread while you are putting your three speed together, tons of knowledge to be found there.

Three speed chains don't wear out very much and unless it is rustier than the picture appears, I would clean it with a brass bristle brush using a penetrating oil such as PB Blaster and leave it soak overnight. Hang it to drip dry for a day, soak it in any motor oil overnight and hang it to drip dry followed by a rag wipe. Should get you down the road for some time to come.

Your Robin hood appears to have been in storage a fair while, so don't neglect to lube the hub, crank, and headset bearings because the lube is probably long turned back into crude. Also oil or replace the inner cables. The brake shoes may also need replacement.

It sounds like a bit of work and money but the old three speeds can be put into very serviceable condition on a low budget (read that college) and it can be a very enjoyable process.

fixed1313 10-06-13 09:31 PM

Welcome aboard, looks like you have a fun project. You will have a very enjoyable bike to ride once you are finished. All the advice given above was what I was going to say so I wont repeat. I will reiterate that you should read the "English 3 Speed Thread" mentioned above. Have fun with your project and keep us posted.

David Newton 10-06-13 09:44 PM

I bought a new Robin Hood 3-speed in the fall of 1970, when I started college. It was shiny black and my first English bike. If Robin Hood was a "down-market" bike from Raleigh, it sure didn't seem it at the time, the paint was beautiful.
Fix it up and enjoy yours!

gbalke 10-07-13 07:42 AM

Welcome to the group. My first English 3 speed was also a 1968 Robiit upn Hood; like your except blue in color. I bought it as a surprise Christmas gift for my wife. Spent several weeks tearing it apart, cleaning
it up and getting it ready for her. That started my vintage bike hobby. They actually are quite easy to rebuild, all it takes are the proper tools, reliable information which is available here and elsewhere on the internet and a little bit of patience. Take your time, reach out to us here if you have any questions and enjoy.

gna 10-07-13 08:13 AM is a good link to have.

The mechanics forum is good, but some posters are not familiar with some of the idiosyncrasies of these old bikes. Not a bad idea to hang out here, too.

Lascauxcaveman 10-07-13 12:01 PM

On the chain, specifically, since you already have it off the bike, an easy way to rehabilitate it would be to coil it up lying flat on a rag, hose it down with a healthy dose of WD-40 and scrub the grunge off it with an old toothbrush. Flip and repeat. Get it really wet with WD-40 in the process, and let it soak in for a couple hours or days. After that, wipe the whole mess dry with a rag. Since it's showing some rust, go ahead and work your way down the full length of the chain, working each link to make sure they all are free to move as they should.

Lube it with whatever oil you like after re-installing it.

If that sounds like too much work, your local bike shop has a new chain for you for around $20.

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