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Phillips Kingfisher rebuild

Kingfisher rejuvenated

This bike has a heartwarming history. Dating from the 1960s, it was bought new by a 12 year-old boy who’d worked his paper round and paid into a pot in the bike shop until the original £10 price was reached and he could ride it home. After a few decades of being used and cherished, it was looking rather the worse for wear, though still a lovely machine.

In the autumn 2018, I was asked by his daughter what we could do with it to bring it back from the edge. The paint was in poor condition, with some pitting to the frame but no serious corrosion. The wheels were knackered, the hubs worn out and the steel rims having lost quite alot of chrome. Further, the tyre size was completely obsolete and no replacements for the perished rubber could be found, being one of the rarer 26″ sizes.

If it was to be worth rebuilding the bike, it would need new paint, so it was stripped of all parts and sent to a professional painters for a first class finish.

Meanwhile, the spec was put together. The closest wheel size to original with a good selection of tyre sizes is the 584mm rim, better known as 26 x 1 1/2″ in this bike’s bay or 650B to us! The next question was gearing. The choice of hub gears and brakes was made on the basis that the costs were very similar to a derailleur system with rim brakes, the bike would look so much smoother with hub brakes and those giant silver hubs, the low maintenance requirements of this set up and the difficulty in finding 650B rims suitable for rim brakes.

Front HubSturmey Archer X-FD
Rear HubSturmey Archer X-RD5(w)
SpokesSapim Leader Stainless
Rims650B Black/Disc
TyresRivendell Nifty Swifty
HeadsetStronglight A9
HandlebarsNorthroad Alloy
ChainsetShimano 4-arm 44t
SaddleBrooks Champion