You've met this old bike before, when she was done up for bike polo duties. Well, she's moved on ... again.


A bit of history, I bought this bike ... frame (coz that's all that's left) for $20 from ebay. The components were very low end and the wheels steel rimmed horrors with some of the cheapest hubs I've ever seen. Surprisingly though, the frame is quite light and seems quite sound. Nice to ride too. Sure, it'd be plain guage tubing but a nice frame for all that.

I stripped off all the bits, added better bits and it became my track bike ... and won one race and came second in two more. Mind you, her entire race history was three races but she spent a lot of time practicing and circling the Edwardstown velodrome over two seasons.

Later, she became my bike polo bike and it's in that guise that you've seen her. My son's track bike eventually donated its frame to become the basis of my current polo bike and the poor old Road Chief found herself back in the shed again.


So I started thinking.

Once I'd recovered from the shock, I assembled the various mental whisps to come up with the following plan - I was going to rebuild her without spending ANY money. (I didn't achieve that of course but ...)

Here she is.



The frame is the Road Chief frame (that being the heart of the bike).

The crankset is a real ring-in being a proper RPM track crankset - hey, I was using what I had at hand. If anyone has an old roadie crankset they'd like to donate ...

The rear wheel has an alloy rim and what appears to be a reasonable hub. It didn't have an axle installed and I couldn't find the ball bearings, so I liberated some balls out of a couple of caged sets (that didn't fit) and installed a quick release axle from the box. The skewer itself is one I dug out of the box and doesn't match the front one. Once a freewheel was screwed on, the chain line was out and while this isn't a problem with single speed, I redished the wheel to give a straight chain line.

The front wheel has a steel rim (and weights a flamin' ton - anyone got a 27", 36 spoke, alloy rim they're not using?).

The tyres both maintain a firm pressure but I'm really not sure if this is because they aren't leaking or because they're so hard I wouldn't notice even if they did lose all their air.

Both wheels are 27" and this was deliberate as it allowed me to use some old calipers I had.

The calipers came from a mate and, I believe, originated on an Indy 500 ... or maybe he kept the calipers and I only got the gears, which seems about right. They're a modest model roadie caliper from the eighties though, one step up from them flimsy Dia-compes we all loved.

The cable fittings on those calipers are the same sort but come from two different brakesets I had in the box.

The brake blocks I found in a box, partially used, probably on one of the many polo bike incarnations.

With the brake blocks set to their absolute limit, they just reach the rims ... though that may be problematic on the front (don't use wide blocks, use blocks with a narrow footprint).

Cables were new (eek, spent money) but the outers, though new, were offcuts from other jobs.

The aero brake levers came from a Repco Superlite I bought to make my son's polo bike.

The handlebars and stem (too long) came from an old OCR3 I bought for parts to build the lad's commuter.

The handlebar tape started life as two inner tubes that were put aside when they were assaulted by glass. I simply cut the tubes open (to lay them flat), then wrapped them on as you would with bar tape you paid for.

The seat post was bought for this bike when I first used it as a track bike.

The saddle is an old Avocet Touring II - I think it came on that Superlite.

The bike computer came on a second hand mtb I bought years ago (and then sold a month later, without the computer)


I DID have to buy a freewheel, which was a tad annoying - at $22, it was the most expensive purchase for this project.

I had a couple of little used chains in the box and was planning to use one of these, but both turned out to be 3/32 so I had to spend money AGAIN and buy a 1/8 chain at $12.

Dunno what the cables cost, not much though.


So that's the beast. The old Road Chief has been recycled yet again.


So how does she ride?

Well, I'm really wary of them tyres so if I find I'm using her (shopping trips etc), I'll lash out and get some new ones.

Thanks to the super long neck, the reach is longer than I usually use but surprisingly, that wasn't a problem on this morning's ride (over a massive 3km).

The bike is actually rather comfy for an old brute.


I piled the lass and her bike, the dog and his trailer, into the car and went exploring on some local bike paths. Her little legs kept the trip to a modest 3km but that'll increase as we do more riding.

This final picture shows the dog and his chariot.


Now, what can I build next?


Views: 618

Comment by Julia on July 11, 2011 at 17:17

I love reading stories of bike re-cycling (there's a name for a website)! Too often manufacturers want us to upgrade to something lighter faster stronger newer (more gears for road, fewer gears for MTB, bigger wheels smaller wheels). Keep it up Richard :)

Comment by Rob (Chewbacca) on July 11, 2011 at 23:34
Very nice Richard, nice to see an old bike put to good use and not just ending up in the hard rubbish. Thanks mate for sharing - awesome
Comment by Alexander Langman Hender on July 17, 2011 at 5:08

I like it mate.

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