Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My 1965 Malvern Star 2 Star bicycle - Part 1

I was born in the mid 1960's and in my teens I derived much pleasure from riding around the streets of a small country town called Busselton, Western Australia, on my Malvern Star 10 speed Sportstar. Since then I have always had a soft spot for the old Malvern Star bicycle.......and then a year ago I stumbled across this old mid 60's (probably 1965) Malvern Star 2 Star bicycle.

I've always loved the 2 Star....a bit better that the 'single' star, a little bit rare, a little bit special, although not as sought after as the Malvern Star 5 Star. And in particular I've always liked the two star configuration on the head tube, not as busy as the head tube on the Malvern Star 5 Star......and all linked to a bit of Australian cycling heritage that was worth restoring!!

The 5 Star head tube......beautiful but busy.

In the 1940's and 1950's the head tube of the 2 star looked great....two large stars for all to see (as below), and when painted up they do look stunning. Here's an image of a restored 2 Star with new decals courtesy of Greg Softley from Cyclomondo (decal reproduction) - have a look at his Flickr photo stream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cyclomondo/................ absolutely stunning.

Malvern Star 2 Star on gts753's photostream.

Then in the 1960's the 2 Star head tube took on a slightly different look as you'll see. The stars were a bit smaller, slightly more refined.....and so my endeavours began to transform the old girl pictured below.

The 2 Star as I found her.

The 1960's 2 Star head tube....with a more refined star design.

I initially stripped the bike down and took her apart carefully, taking photos along the way for later reference. Unfortunately the headset had split and was beyond repair, however everything else was OK.

The original red paint wasn't too bad although I discovered that rust had started bubbling underneath the paint in places, so it really needed to be removed. I initially considered gently rubbing the frame back and clear coating it in an attempt to restore the original colour and decals, but it was too far gone!

The frame was my main focus in terms of restoration....so I had it sandblasted and primed as below.

2 Star frame and forks.
1960's 2 Star head tube with primer.

After sandblasting and priming the frame I had it stored in the back room for the following 6 months.....due to family and work a committments finding time to do any further work was difficult. Then last month I finally had a chance and took the frame out for some further attention.

Firstly I obtained the reproduced Malvern Star 2 Star decals from Greg Softley at Cyclomondo (an eBay store). These decals are fantastic, perfect decal reproductions that are easy to apply - and inexpensive too!

After a considerable amount of contemplation and planning I went to my local paint store and grabbed a color card (swatch) of the colour I wanted to paint the frame and took the swatch and my primed frame to my local auto panel beaters for painting. After much discussion with the auto paint man it was decided that the paint should be two pack - a strong durable clearcoated auto finish that will last for years.

After the initial coat of paint I was given the frame back so I could apply the decals and paint up the features on the frame myself. After making sure it was painted up nicely I returned the completed frame to the auto shop for a final clearcoat......and here is the result. 

Before fitting the headset.......

My preferred colour combination

 ....and after fitting the headset.

2 Star head tube

Malvern Star 2 Star frame

Before and after comparison:

Malvern Star 2 Star
I don't have much room in my house and was initially going to hang the finished frame on the wall, but after coming this far I really would like to build her up and ride off into the sunset......and when I do build her up I'll post some images in a 'Part 2' sequel.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pashley Guv'nor stem

When I initially purchased my Pashley Guv'nor about 6 months ago I was not quite happy with the stem and handlebar setup. My Guv'nor was delivered with a Japanese made Nitto Technomic brushed aluminium 130mm reach stem and chromed steel inverted moustache handlebars. Nitto stems are brilliant, and of excellent quality as Japanese parts always are.

The standard Guv'nor Nitto stem setup.

This combination was neat and functional, and captured the essence of the 1930's path racer styling, but for me it just wasn't quite right....probably because of the dull brushed aluminium (stem) and shiny chromed steel (handlebar) combination - for me the materials and finish of the two components were mis-matched. Furthermore, aluminium bicycle components did not surface until the late 40's after the war, so the brushed aluminium finish on the 1930's path racer just wasn't right!

I understand that the earlier Guv'nors were also fitted with a brushed aluminium stem, the Cinelli XA model, and the same chromed steel moustche handlebars, this combination also presented the same material mis-match issue.

The Cinelli XA stem - nice but not quite right!

Soon after purchase I got hold of some chromed steel Lauterwasser handlebars and fitted them to the bike with a new old stock Reynolds polished aluminium stem as pictured below. The polished stem looked good, and it was hard to tell that the two materials were actually different (more info February 16, 2011 post. "My Pashley Guv'nor")

Polished Reynolds stem setup.

This wasn't a bad looking combination, however, the wider Lauterwasser bars presented another problem to the setup. The extra handlebar width put extra pressure on the aluminium stem which was not quite rigid enough, allowing the handlebars to rock from side to side a little too much for my liking.

....so I really needed to get hold of a  chromed steel period stem. The hunt was on!

After looking around and making a few phonecalls I managed to find a new old stock chromed steel stem from the 1960's, 22.2 quill diameter, 25.4mm clamp diameter, 70mm reach, finished with as new chrome. It was a "Malvern Star" OEM item that was laying around on a shelf in a bike shop in Melbourne. Lucky me!!

I had it sent over and fitted it to the bike with the Lauterwasser bars.

Malvern Star chromed steel stem.

Chromed steel bars, chromed steel stem............this was the right combination I was looking for and it looked a treat.....and because the stem was made of steel it provided the handlebars with better rigidity and less flexing.....a solid all steel ride, just brilliant!

After a few hundred kilometers riding around Perth I was very happy with the new handlebar setup, steel on steel, and a nice firm ride....then one day whilst having a look at vintage stems on eBay I spied a new old stock Titan chromed steel stem! WOW! It looked great, it was the exact size for the Guv'nor - and with a longer quill for more height, and it would suit the Guv'nor perfectly.

180mm quill height, 70mm forward reach, 25.4 clamp mm, 22.2mm quill diameter.

Titan chromed steel stem - a work of art!

According to VeloBase.com Titan stems were made in Belgium between the 1960's until the 1980's. If you do a Google image search on "Titan stems" or have a look at VeloBase.com, I'm sure you'll be suitably impressed with them. 

I got the stem from eBay and replaced the old "Malvern Star" chromed steel stem - I had planned to use the Malvern Star stem for another project anyway.

After fitting the Titan stem I gave it all a good polish and dropped some red enamel paint into the engraved Titan logo on the front of the stem. Here are some images of the fitted stem for you.

Titan stem and Lauterwasser handlebars - a nice combination.

I've ridden this setup for a couple of hundred kilometres now and it certainly does ride very well, and for me the combination of chrome on chrome is more aesthetically pleasing and truer to the period of the bike........but of course, each to their own!

Until next time...

Ride safe