Tuesday, June 02, 2009

newest oldest bike

I've just acquired a rather old but still completely functional steed. It's a CCM "Red Bird", and the serial number dates it to 1937! Holy smokes, that's 72 years ago!!


I plan to get more info on its history from the guy that passed it on to me from a friend of his.

The only things I've added were the bell and a perhaps even older seat (which is covered with some black fleece, but under that is some worn leather with horsehair padding!). The bike did have its old-style seatpost that is shaped a bit like the number 7, and I'll see if I can fit this seat to it.

The bike has its original but rather faded paint, but some of the detail work is still there:

as well as various stickers:


and the rather cool head badge, where the name is cut out of the metal:

The bike rides just fine, but has a few issues. The easiest to fix is a slightly reluctant coaster (back-pedal) brake. I'll just open that up for an overhaul, and do have some replacement brass brake "shoes" if they are needed.

A little more fussy is that at some point the bike's hubs got re-laced into cheap steel 27" rims, when it originally came with Canadian 28" (700C) wheels. I'm presuming they are the original hubs, as they have oil ports that seem to match the one on the bottom bracket shell.

The single rear cog even has a slot in it for easy spoke removal, which is a feature not seen in a long time.

These replacement chrome-plated wheels with their skinny tires and flat braking surfaces just do not look right on this bike.

I have access to a complete front wheel from the "railing bike" at the re-Cycles shop (a dead CCM from 1945 that was going to be an outside sign bike, but instead now graces the shop's library railing), as it did not fit the installation and was simply snoozing in a basement corner, and had escaped being spray-painted. I dug it out tonight and was pleased to note that the painted rim matches my bike!

So I either use this wheel as it is, or only its rim and lace in the bike's original hub (this other wheel does not have an oil port). For the rear wheel, I could either remove the one from the railing bike and carefully strip the spray-paint (and simply substitute any old single-cog wheel), since it wold be the correct colour, or find one online.

The bigger challenge is that the stem is seized, and its bolt loose. It has probably been this way for quite some time, and I fear that the stem bolt has snapped off inside at the top of the wedge. But the bolt, while loose, will not back out, so until I can get it in a vice and tug it out I can't see what is really going on.

I'm applying some Liquid Wrench inside the head tube at intervals to start freeing up whatever rust might be holding things, but if the bottom end of the bolt is stuck in the wedge then I may have to unfortunately cut off the stem. This would allow me to dismantle the headset and pull out the fork, then hopefully get the conjoined mess out. Via the "English Roadsters" discussion group at OldRoads.com, I've been offered a replacement stem if needed.


An interesting feature on this bike is that it sports non-cottered cranks. And it is not the usual one-piece / Ashtabula crankset. I was told that CCM pioneered this, but need to get more verification.

And here's the most worn part of the bike:

I'll post more photos as the "restoration" continues.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

hey mark,mark here.i cant believe how much your ccm colour looks like my 1923 massey-harris silver ribbon colour!unreal.it will clean up nice.im excited to see the resto.

Shawn McLeod said...

Any update on this? I am looking to pick up a very similarly styled CCM/Cadet model in much worse shape! But I'd love to see current pictures if it still is around?

Mark said...

Shawn, I did get it back on the road late last year. Time for new photos and a blog post!