Hercules maintenance day today
I spent the afternoon working on both my Hercules trike and my Hercules bicycle. Both are essentially the same in most respects only my bicycle is English and entered this world 63 years ago and is in completely original condition with a respectable patina of age.
My trike is based on a 12 year old Indian made ladies Hercules bicycle which is still a current model being made by Tungsten Industries who are the (cough, cough) present owners of the Hercules trade mark.
It has taken some work to get the younger Hercules into reliable condition because the fasteners the Indian factory uses are complete rubbish and most of the fittings were stamped out of not especially good quality tinplate. As for the plating on the wheel rims, handlebars & etc, spit on them and you can watch the rust form before your startled gaze. Folk might slang off the Chinese and their bikes, but my heavyweight Wu Yang ladies bicycle is streets ahead of my Indian made Hercules in terms of quality.
However the use of proper British fasteners and fittings have brought the younger Hercules to heel and up until now it has been very reliable. Unfortunately it is now back in the dog house as I have discovered during the maintenance session today that a ball bearing or two in the bottom bracket have started to break up. I am not surprised given the poor state of Indian metallurgy
On the other hand all went very well with my English made Hercules. Oil cups make lubrication an easy task and all the ball bearing races are as smooth as silk. Something I've done over the years is scour second hand shops and junk shops for genuine old bicycle tools and I take great pleasure in using these tools to maintain my elderly bicycles.
I don't like modern bicycles with their grease packed bearings; - though as we all well know most new bicycles sold in these decadent times are sold completely innocent of any grease on their bearing surfaces at all. When I take apart the bottom bracket bearings on my younger Hercules I will be drilling the bottom bracket casting for an oil cup and hopefully this will forestall any more unruly behaviour in that department.
I am in the process of building a motorised attachment for my Hercules trike so I really do want to make sure that there will be no further problems with poor quality components as I have a good deal of work for my trike to do once it's new modifications are complete.