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The Carlton is still a joy.

Discussion in 'off topic' started by George J, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    My Carlton bike - original sold in 1984 - gave me a nice short exercise this morning!

    I rescued the old bike from being scrapped more than ten years ago now. I had it re-enamelled at Argos Racing Cycles in Bristol, where it lost its chrome plating on the forks, and also its rather faded light blue/green metallic paint with Ivory white points. I chose a simple block green. Officially MOD Mid-Brunswick as used on staff cars. The saddle is a Brookes B17 and very comfortable it is. I built the bike up with mainly Super Record running gear.


    The pictures are the top three ...

    After months of my right knee really ruling out cycling, some improvement meant that I decided to have a ride out ... With a minimal commute these days, and a good bus service, I'll scrap my Skoda Fabia 1.9 SDI at the end of the month. For what it is doing, the car costs too much to insure and tax. The fuel is neither here nor there in comparison.

    Cars are such money pits. Any repair at a garage is likely £200 as a starting point.

    Best wishes from a delighted George
    Weekender and gavreid like this.
  2. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    The Carlton at the half-way point on a sixty mile ride out in Norfolk many years ago now! We went over to a mutual friends so I could audition ELS 57s. That was the beginning of replay that gave me as much joy as the old Carlton bike!


    Best wishes from George
    Tarzan, TheDecameron and gavreid like this.
  3. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    Great stuff George :)

    Have you come across Mike aka Spokesmann on Retrobike? I think you'd like his collection of Carltons and Suns

  4. glancaster

    glancaster In the silicon vale

    Lovely looking classic bike.

    Is it missing a friction shifter -- looks like it only has one from the pics, but possibly just obscured?

    Interesting shaped handlebars too. I don't recall seeing the like.

    You say you are scrapping your car -- are you sure you can't get any money for it? Those engines are noisy and slow, but reasonably efficient, simple, and unless unlucky they just go on and on to starship mileage. Lots of taxi drivers used to swear by them. Someone might pay a few hundred quid for it, depending on condition of course.

    Kind regards

    - Garry
  5. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Dear Garry,

    The non-visible shifter is hiding behind the tube. These are very rare friction "C" Record shifters, which I was given in a box of bike jumble. An amazing find, and much better than previous Campag friction shifters. My goodness, you have to be careful taking them to pieces for a clean though. Not just your normal nylon friction washer in there!

    The handle bar is what is called a North Road bar, and was normal enough on competition road bikes [possibly not the highest levels by then] into the 1950s. I find it much more comfortable than riding on the hoods or using a modern drop bar. I fact I can do neither before I get hand or shoulder cramps. But I did not want a normal modern flat bar on a classic frame, and in fact I find the NR bar the most comfortable that I have used on any bike. Far nicer on a long ride than a flat bar for example. Your hands just fall naturally to the bar, and there being several alternative positions from the corner to the tail, I never get numbness or cramp with it

    I would rather not stand by an old car in case the new owner had troubles. Easier to take it to the scrap yard for £90 and certainty over the removal of the car from the road in case I was somehow held responsible for some offence by a new owner, like a speed camera.

    Dear Gav,

    No I have never pursued any cycle forum. I love fettling them, but have absolutely no interest in competition, or indeed comparison.

    Best wishes from George
  6. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    Your choice. The breakers often sell on good cars, a mate of my Dad used to have a steady stream of them back in the day. You could try the "We buy any car" outfits too, if it has an MoT it's worth more than £90 to them and they just put it out to trade. As far as being held responsible, you won't be if you fill out the paperwork as necessary. You and the buyer fill out the V5, he gets one half, you the other. Both go to DVLA. Any bother, you have a record of the sale. The new owner cops for it.
  7. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Dear Steve,

    I have scrapped two cars before at CRS Metals in Malvern. The reg doc is signed in your presence as a scrappage, so no chance of the car surviving. They immediately grab the car by the roof with a crane! They cannot pay cash these days at a scrapyard, because of copper thefts, but their money is good. The car has MOT till next Spring, and absolutely no corrosion underneath. The engine is good, but not good from the pollution point of view. If there are any Taxi drivers reading this let me know and you can have the car for £90 for the engine!

    It starts on the second compression every time, even during the Beast from the East two years ago. I change the oil every six months even with less than 4000 miles in any year since I got it just over two years ago.

    It is a sound fuel economic car that is far from sound ecologically. I am not sentimental about it. It has done the job I needed it to do.

    Best wishes from George
  8. glancaster

    glancaster In the silicon vale

    I have but a single shifter on my older bike, as it's a 1x5, and I did a quick and dirty (*) conversion of a previous bike from 3x8 to 1x8. I just wondered if you were also a fan of 1x. (Although it is really triples I hate. A double I merely dislike, perhaps tolerate.)

    I'm not so familiar with 1950s bikes. I think you are right that a flat bar would be sacrilege on that bike. That shape seems a nice compromise, for a cyclist who doesn't want to go full-on Wiggins. It's basically a drop bar that doesn't drop that much, so you lean forward less. Pleasing to the eye too.

    Fair enough, although I basically agree with Steve :D

    You might be surprised with how ecologically sound that engine actually is. OK, a lot of disease-causing crud comes out of the exhaust, as it doesn't have a particulate filter, but the CO2 emissions are relatively modest (and, it's a pre-dieselgate engine, so no cheating as far as we know). It is CO2 that is the main greenhouse gas emitted from car exhaust. Think local vs global pollution.

    Kind regards

    - Garry

    * Actually, not that quick, but I certainly got dirty doing it. My language too, at times.

    P.S. If I was in the market for a car like that, I'd bite your arm off for £90. If that's a serious offer, you could try the PFM classifieds section?
  9. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Dear Garry,

    The Carlton was originally 2 by 6 speed, but you need exactly the right freewheel unit if the chain is to be free of the frame on top. It is unreasonably tight at best and interference with the wrong freewheel block.

    I reverted to 2 by 5 and this is easy, considering the 126 mm axle compared to the standard of a 5 speed freewheel of 120 mm. I use the IRD Defiant freewheelers. Good quality, a bob or two more compared, but are durable and work. Click quite loud on the over-run! I get them from SJS Cycles, and always change the chain at the same time as the freewheel. The Super Record front chain rings seem to go for ever. I change the chain and freewheel about 2000 miles and that might thought cautious. I have fallen off a bike because of a chain jump. Not funny if a car is behind you at the lights.

    On the car, it will go. I am sure it is not the worst engine ever made for diesel crud, but it is not great. Incidentally, it never makes black smoke, but not everything terrible is visible.

    Best from George
  10. glancaster

    glancaster In the silicon vale

    Hi George

    I'm about to take my 1x5 freewheel bike the other way, to a 1x7 cassette, with new wheels. The main reason is that the old steel wheels are heavily dented, and with poor braking in the wet. My thinking goes that if I'm changing wheels anyway, I may as well do a bit of extra modernisation at the same time. I'm hoping all the more modern stuff will actually fit! Having done as much internet research into the possible issues as I can bear, and got all the bits I think I need, it will soon be time to get the spanners out.

    I may be back here if I need some help. Or if it goes really badly, I may pretend I never mentioned it ;)

    Kind regards

    - Garry
  11. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    You are doing the planet a favour by *keeping* that car rolling. It burns modest amounts of fuel and whilever it's around a new car isn't being bought. It's generating no emissions other than fuel until it dies, a new car now being built generates half its lifetime emissions in the act of being constructed.

    Do yourself and the planet a favour. Advertise it on here at £300, sold as seen, it will go in a day and it will do someone a lot of good. Probably for a few years to come. Why waste something that basically works? In addition, can you afford to walk away from £200?
    Dan K likes this.
  12. cctaylor

    cctaylor pfm Member

    Some may consider this sacrilege but, l turned my 1984 Raleigh Royal from a 2 x 5 into a 3 x 7. Replacing 27 1 1/4 wheels for 700C with 28mm. I use the bike as commuter/utility and we have steep hills around here. I carefully spread the rear triangle to take 135mm OLN.

    The original wheels were past it, the gearing was way too high for a bike sold in a tourer configuration.
  13. glancaster

    glancaster In the silicon vale

    5 to 7 is not sacrilege, but quite sensible. I wouldn't want to go much higher with friction gear changing. It might have been Sheldon Brown who said 'seven is heaven', but I can't find the link now. As I wrote above, I'm attempting the same thing.

    2 to 3 is something I would only do in extremis, if I really needed the extra range, but it sounds like you do.

    You didn't necessarily have to go all the way to 135mm, as the usual road standard is 130mm. 135mm is more for hybrids and mountain bikes (although there are other fatter widths available now too). Still, as long as it worked, no problems.

    I'm changing my wheels in the same way as you, except for OLNs I'm going from 126mm => 130mm at the back and 96mm => 100mm at the front. I'll probably just squeeze the wheels in to start with then, once I'm happy, I'll cold set the frame using some mixture of Sheldon's and RJ the Bike Guy's methods. That's the plan anyway.

    Kind regards

    - Garry
  14. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Update, as the Skoda has gone, but not quite as planned. The front suspension developed a serious knock very quickly. Apparently something was worn out. The mechanic I asked bought it for the scrap value, but being a car mechanic, he took it on with the expectation of it being [for him] an easy repair. Likely hundreds of £s for me though.

    I am glad it has gone to someone I know, and who knew the car, as nobody is under any illusions about it, or going to be disappointed.

    The consequence is that the Carlton is now number one transport again. It has no grandad bail-out gear, so I cannot go up all the hills round here. I have a little Raleigh [made in the Carlton works], which will be set up with a low bottom gear to allow me to easily visit my friends at the top of the hill. Walking a bike on the A44 between Bromyard and Worcester is about as risky as it gets. There have been three fatal RTAs on my stretch in the last month. I believe that the speed limit should be reduced to 40 mph from Bromyard's Petty Bridge [over the River Frome] all the way to the County border with Worcestershire at Whitbourne. About four miles away.

    What they do in Worcestershire is their own business! But it is a horrendously narrow, twisty and hilly road that is still taken at Brands Hatch style speed round bends with sight lines often less than a hundred metres.

    Best wishes from George
    Whaleblue likes this.
  15. glancaster

    glancaster In the silicon vale

    Sounds like a result George!

    There are certainly some roads a cyclist needs to approach with great care, if at all. I live fairly near the A34, which is the main north to south road in these parts. It's a dual carriageway with similar speeds and traffic levels to a motorway yet, as it's an A road, cycling is still legally permitted (there are even cycle lanes on the carriageway in places, I think, or there certainly used to be). Occasionally, you see a cyclist attempting it, but it's rare and I would recommend strongly against. Tragically, a local guy I knew a little, who was a keen and experienced cyclist, was killed on that road.

    I'm not familiar with the area you describe (although I was cycling not a million miles away a week ago, on a 40 mile sponsored ride in the Cotwolds). Do you have an alternative, quieter, route you can cycle on, even if a bit longer? Narrow can be good, if it's narrow enough to encourage motor vehicles to take other routes, and to slow down any that do go that way. The most enjoyable part of my 40 miler was riding up out of a small village called Guiting Power on these roads about the width of a typical cycle track, and I didn't see any cars at all on that stretch.

    By the way, I completed the fitting of my new bike wheels onto my old bike. Required some judicious filing of the frame in places to get the required clearances, and a little brake and derailleur adjustment, but now have a 7 speed cassette with modern alloy 700c wheels spinning well, on a frame that was built for a freewheel and 27 x 1 1/4 inch wheels. The worst bit was actually fitting the new rear tyre, a Continental Grand Prix GT, which was incredibly tight. I had to resort to using tyre levers in the end, and I think I may have slow punctured the inner tube, but there's always something. I haven't cold set the frame yet either -- will save that for another day. I won't go into further details, but if anyone is thinking of doing something similar and needs to know more, please feel free to PM me.

    Kind regards

    - Garry
  16. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Guiting Powers!

    Do you know the Hollow Bottom pub in that village?

    When I worked for Bennetts Ice Cream I occasionally delivered to the Hollow Bottom pub, along roads where nobody drove more than 25 mph!

    If I adopt the lanes [my place is at the end of a gated lane that leads to endless country lanes in all directions] I have a thousand miles of single track to choose round here, but getting to Worcester goes from 14 to 19 miles in the process.

    We also have the dis-used Bromyard to Worcester railway bed, which is proposed as a cycle track of thirteen miles. I hope that happens. To Hereford is less grand and the lanes are now fast roads ...

    Best from George
  17. glancaster

    glancaster In the silicon vale

    Guiting Power I passed through at great speed, George :)

    Well, my family were waiting there to cheer me on, so I had to put on a burst so I looked less tired than I was. The only pub they saw there was when they were looking for somewhere to buy a drink, and was called The Farmer's Arms. (They rejected it due to a too-prominent offering of rabbit pie on the menu. Daughter's pet is, well, you can guess...)

    My Mum has a saying: 'Better to be late in this world than early in the next', and I tend to adopt that as my motto when cycling around and selecting routes. Five miles is some surcharge to pay, but if the quick route doesn't feel safe to you, I'd go with your gut feeling.

    Kind regards

    - Garry
    stevec67 likes this.
  18. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Dear Garry,

    The Hollow Bottom pub is about quarter of a mile up the hill at the top of the village from the Farmers Arms.

    I reckon you must be quite good on a bike to be tackling those hills!

    Best wishes from George

    PS: I did the lane route to Worcester on the Tuesday after the "Best from the East" eighteen months ago, as my car had a broken spring on the front as a result of the extreme cold and the terribly rough conditions and sliding about from not gripping to suddenly getting 100% grip, and a real thud. I rode through up to six inches of torrent on the low lying lanes and beside snow drifts through the hedges that were up to twelve feet high and the road covered in compacted snow and ice. The nineteen miles took an hour and fifty minutes, and I had to push up the steepest hills as the bike's rear wheel would slip on the steepest parts because of the Michelin Power racing tyres having no tread to help. The route varies between 150 and 600 feet above sea level. Hard enough to get a grip on foot in boots. I was nearly three hours late for work, but I got there in the end. ... Halcyon days! Poor Carlton! I gave the bike a real good cleaning at the following weekend. I have never seen a nice classic bike look such a mess!
    glancaster likes this.
  19. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    I keep reading the thread title and thinking it refers to a Vauxhall Carlton.........
  20. Cav

    Cav pfm Member

    The Lotus Carlton was some machine...
    gintonic likes this.

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