Hercules Trike rebuild

Discussion in 'Motorized Tandems, Trikes and Recumbent Bicycles' started by Intrepid Wheelwoman, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    With me having been unwell for most of our Winter my Hercules tricycle has just sat ignored gathering spider webs and praying mantis egg clusters. Originally a 1990s Indian made Hercules Ladies heavyweight bicycle, I purchased it from an Indian family who had brought it with them from India. I own a completely original condition 1950 English built Ladies Hercules as well and parked side by side it was plain that the two bicycles shared the same design and overall dimensions. The main difference between them, apart from the 1950 model's patina earned through a long and distinguished life well served, was that the quality of all the nuts bolts and general fittings on the Indian bicycle were of a much lower standard.

    Purchased with the intention of converting it to a tricycle the Indian Hercules was swiftly taken into the 'works' on its arrival and a tricycle axle intended for custom lowrider bicycles was fitted. A generic Chinese 24volt 250watt hub motor wheel was a major part of the conversion and the other wheel varied between a Sturmey Archer 3 speed coaster hub and a Sachs kickback two speed coaster hub, until I finally decided to go with the Sachs hub. With the addition of a pair of Raleigh mudguards painted green, a modified canework picnic basket, a totally out of date 1930s licence plate and the installation of an aged prewar Bosch bicycle headlamp my Hercules was good to go and quite looked the part.
    Unfortunately I didn't have a spare period tail lamp so I had to use a 'make do' lamp from the 1970s.

    Since it was put together over three years ago this tricycle has done some very real work and has aquired its own distinguished patina. I made a basic goods tray from a pile of old refrigerator racks and some heavy duty zip ties which I could swap over for the canework basket. In this form the Hercules hauled bags of coal and potting mix, lengths of timber, fencing materials and a good deal of old bicycle parts from the council tip.
    The Chinese hub motor has been totally reliable despite some very heavy loads and the two speed Sachs hub has also been a faultless performer; - not too bad for a hub that itself came from the council tip :)

    The one problem with the trike axle I used was that it's not particularly strong and tends to bend. In one of the photos you can see the additional braces I added to it before my Hercules entered service which have proved to be very effective. The other thing is that the drive is taken on a single rolled steel pin and these tend to deform and ultimately break. Checking this pin often is a must-do maintainence item if you don't want to be stranded far from home.

    First item on the agenda was replacing the worn out tyre on the motor wheel. The original tyre that came with the motor wheel has done stirling service, but now being bald it has to be retired. I rarely buy tyres, I'm amazed how often bicycles are dumped at the council tip with perfectly good tyres on them. The motorwheel now has a larger profile 'Velociraptor' tyre from a MTB which will work out fine on the varied road surfaces around here.

    The original rim fitted to the Sachs hub is an old Raleigh rim for 26 x 1 3/8 tyres which was never really suitable, only I never got around to changing the rim for something better. So if I'm having to strip down the wheel I might as well take the Sachs hub apart and service it too. I have never taken a Sachs hub apart before, - Sturmey Archer yes, - Sachs no, - so this should be interesting.

    I also want replace the wooden bracket for the canework basket with something better made from steel. and generally brighten my Hercules up with a new lick of green paint here and there. That awful tail lamp is going too now that I've got something better looking in the 'stores'.
     

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  2. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    The other elderly bicycles appearing around the edges of the photos are my English Hercules and a prewar Phillips Gentleman's roadster. The Phillips is lovely, but is actually wearing a set of Raleigh heavyweight mudguards until I can find something better. I found a brand new English 'Middlemore' seat for it (interesting fact, not all English bicycle seats were made by Brooks) and the carbide lamp is a 'Pearson'.
     

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  3. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    In her glory days........

    [​IMG]
     
  4. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Intrepid,
    Isn't it amazing what daily use over the period of years will do to a bike? The changes come slowly until they reach a point when you look with cleared vision and see just how bad some things have gotten. My American Flyer is like that, mostly the victim of road salt which when combined with moisture eats right in to steel, chrome, aluminum, whatever. Paint can become rust in one year, especially when it is your own paint job from spray cans instead of the more durable factory paint.

    That's just one reason builds are never really finished unless we park them as furniture to just look at. Besides, we find a neater light, horn, seat, get a better idea for storage. Your old friend who has served you well will appreciate the attention of a going over and will reward you with more good service yet. Good luck with that Sachs hub... carefully, carefully...
    SB
     
  5. caduceus

    caduceus New Member

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    Nice Looking Trike and love the carbide lamp! Here's hoping you're doing better.

    Woody
     
  6. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    Thanks caduceus :)

    SB, I got a real shock when I dug out that old photo of my Hercules. Looking at her now it's hard to believe that she was ever that clean and flawlessly shiny. Paint is a difficult one, because while the hardware store green enamel I used on the rear mudguards has faded badly, the original Indian factory dark green is still as good as ever it was and all it needs is a clean and a polish. The Indian chrome plating is terrible however and rusted pretty darn fast despite scrubbing it over with brass wire wool to take off the rust and using a silicon polish on it constantly in an effort to keep it preserved.
    On the other hand my English Hercules has nickle plating and once it was cleaned up it stayed clean and rust free. At 60 plus years of age its plating will be never shiny again, but at least it's still there!

    At the moment I'm waiting for parts so to avoid my trike having to be up on blocks I slipped a spare wheel I had into place so at least I could move it around my work area. The wheel has a six speed cluster and a China Girl sprocket fitted on it and was borrowed from a moribund project. Anyone looking at would think I was trying for something seriously clever in the way of motive power :D
     

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  7. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    In case anybody is wondering the added panel on the rear lefthand mudguard is a skirt guard. I wear long ankle length skirts and I found that while wheeling my tricycle around the tyre would catch the hem of my skirt and draw it up into the gap between the tyre and the mudguard. Not the cleanest place for a long skirt hem to be :(

    I was very pleased with my bit of tinsmithing in making this skirt guard. The material is galvanised steel and I must say proved to be a little difficult to work, but I got there in the end with all edges properly folded and the curved edge of the panel nicely matched to the curve of the rear mudguard.
    Since I'm going to repaint the mudguards I'll paint this panel as well and place a nice Hercules transfer/decal in the centre of the panel.

    A spot of luck, - I found a supplier who has NOS Hercules transfer/decal sets and I've ordered a set. lowriderl
     

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  8. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    I figured that is what you were up to as I have the original "skirt guards" on my 1934 Elgin. Back when some gentlemen preferred step through frames for the ease in mounting the bicycle, especially while wearing a long coat. For this reason the guards were sometimes referred to as "coat guards". Yours will look factory once they are painted the color of the frame and have spiffy Hercules decals.
    SB
     
  9. Ludwig II

    Ludwig II Active Member

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    This galvanised painting, I presume that you already know you require the correct primer for it?
     
  10. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    Your 1934 Elgin is a good looking bike SB :)

    Thanks for reminding me about the primer Ludwig. We have a really good old fashioned type hardware store in the township so I'll ask them about the correct primer paint for the job.
     
  11. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    The NOS Hercules transfers arrived today, I see they have Rudge ones as well so one of my other old bikes might get a birthday too in the near future :)

    On looking more closely at the transfers I saw that the long seat tube transfer has 'the wording, '50 years Hercules Guarantee' written inside the rosette the figure of Hercules is holding. With my own English Hercules approaching its 70th year I must say that I've got nothing to complain about, but how many modern manufacturers do you know that would dare make such a claim these days?

    The transfers are going to get shared between my Hercules trike and my English Hercules bicycle as some of my English bike's transfers have been rubbed off by the swish of ladies long skirts over the years. Obviously i cant put any transfer that says 'Hercules, Britannia Works, Birmingham' on my Indian Hercules and some of the transfers that are good for my Indian trike are too late period for my English bike, but by sharing the sheet out both Hercules machines will get a nice freshening up.
    I have no plans to do anything to my English Hercules's black stove enameling except to clean it. Repainting it would be a crime.
     

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  12. Ludwig II

    Ludwig II Active Member

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    And besides, the paint's not worn out yet.
     
  13. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    That's right, it's only just out of warranty :D
     
  14. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    So far it looks like most of my Hercules trike's paintwork is coming up nicely with a good clean and a polish. One of the rear mudguards needs some scrapes to its paintwork touching up, but I would say that nothing is needing a complete repaint.

    Tonight I stripped out a 26inch mountain bike wheel rim from a wheel with a damaged hub taking care to save all the spokes. Spokes are getting too expensive to simply cut out of a wheel so I always try to save as many as I can and put them away in the 'stores' .
    I really like the Sachs two speed kick back coaster hub I fitted to my Hercules trike, only the old 26 x 1 3/8 rim attached to it has to go so I can finally have tyres of the same size and profile on the back axle of my trike. I saved all the spokes from this wheel too, - all save one that was stuck and had to be cut.
    Before I lace the Sachs hub onto the new rim I'll take it apart and clean it and pack it with new grease. The hub works fine, but I think I'd be silly not to take the opportunity to service it.
     
  15. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Good to hear that the trike is coming along. Sachs is the one who invented the coaster brake hub the "torpedo" hub and they knew what they were doing. When I hear people bad talk coaster brakes I get irritated, as if all coaster brakes are cheap and no good, based on poor experiences with junk hubs coming out of China. Open up one those those junk hubs next to an old Sachs or Bendix and look at the difference in parts quality... number of bearings, etc.
    Having a Sachs 2 speed hub is just one more thing to set your Herculese "above and beyond".

    Have been laid up some with a flu bug/bronchitis for a couple of weeks and am still in the middle of it. No help is an early winter here with much snow and lows -25 to -30 F. Give that some wind and it is nasty. I have lots of bike things to do, but little energy to do them with, so projects wait. My project now is staying warm, feeding the wood stove, keeping paths clear. Times like this it is especially nice to see what everybody else is doing.
    SB
     
  16. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    I agree SB :) On days when I'm not so well it cheers me up a lot to log on to the forum so I can see what's doing.

    Before I tried the Sachs hub I was using a Sturmey Archer 3 speed coaster hub. The SA hub certainly worked well and I have no complaints about it, but once the Sachs hub went on my trike that was that, it was there to stay.

    Take good care of yourself now SB, stay warm and get well. I'll keep you in my prayers too.
     
  17. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    The weather here continues to be very warm humid and overcast with sudden heavy rain and thunderstorms. Anybody who took their annual holidays over the Christmas - New Year period would be feeling very disappointed right now.

    Because I don't do so well when the weather is like this I've been mostly working on my bikes at night when it's a lot cooler and sleeping during the day.
    Progress has been slow though, but that's fine by me as I enjoy the building and mechanical side of the hobby as much as I do being able to ride my bikes.

    After seeing a nice looking old fashioned style weathershield on Aliexpress I ordered one early in December and despite it being so close to Christmas it arrived inside of two weeks. The vendor's website showed the weathershield fitted to a plasticy looking scooter, - only it looked to me as if it would fit a traditional heavyweight bicycle frame very nicely indeed.
    It was great finding out that my hunch was right and I didn't have much trouble at all with fitting it to my Hercules tricycle.

    Last night I made a start with lacing the Sachs hub and the new 26inch alloy rim together. Fortunately I didn't get very far because when I had a look at it in the cold light of day I saw at once I'd made a mistake. Practice make perfect I suppose (sigh).

    A large family group of hedgehogs lives in my jungle like excuse for a garden and they've taken to having late night tea parties around the cat's bowl and water dish. I always put out plenty of water for visiting animals as it can get very dry and hot here sometimes during Summer, I don't mind the hedgehogs helping themselves to left over cat kibble and from the amount of time they spend drinking water I think they must be getting very thirsty with the weather being so warm.
    This Spring the family group was increased by two and i was delighted when I saw the two babies arriving with the adults. They're bigger now and are growing quite quickly, but I still have to watch where I'm stepping as they like to explore the carport and they aren't at all worried about me being around. The adults are more nervous and will scuttle off if I get too close, though I have noticed that they seem to be getting more used to me lately.

    The batteries were dying in my camera, so sorry about the lack of photos. When I came to crop the picture of my Hercules wearing its new weathershield I noticed that one of the baby hedgehogs was in shot so I've included that too :)
     

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    #17 Intrepid Wheelwoman, Jan 2, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  18. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    I'm missing my tricycle so badly and with wanting to get the Colombe cyclecar under way I really do need to have my old faithful tricycle truck back on the road again.
    The two speed Sachs hub is still awaiting overhaul and lacing into a new rim. I thought I had spokes which would suit, but I don't so a Sturmey Archer coaster hub wheel is being pressed into service for the meantime. It was very straight forward to give an SA hub a general clean out lube and adjust and it works very nicely but I really do miss the Sachs two speed.

    [​IMG]

    In the photo you can see I've stripped out all the electric control gear for the 250 watt hub motor wheel that was previously installed. The present plan is to fit up a 450watt electric motor to drive through a Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub equipped wheel on the side where the hub motor wheel used to be.
    The right hand side rear wheel in the photo is the one I will be using, - though I want to open up the hub and give it a service before I go too much further.

    My Hercules trike will be finally getting a proper cargo tray as part of the present rebuild which will be a good thing too. Previously it was fitted with a series of lash-up cargo carrying arrangements that weren't either as strong or secure as they should have been.
     

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  19. Theon

    Theon New Member

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    Good thing things like that are hard to find around here, I don't need anymore bikes/trikes at the moment, but I like that.
    Not that I'd leave it 'standard' and that's why it's probably better in someone elses hands.
     
  20. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    I'm very much a retro old fashioned girl Theon. I prefer bicycles from the 1950's or earlier and I love working with old bicycle parts. My Hercules trike is actually built around an Indian built 28inch wheeled bicycle from the 1990's (and yes you can still buy them new like that). I also own a 60+ year old English Hercules bicycle which gets ridden most days and the two bikes are a complete match for each other. The only difference being that the older bike has much better quality fittings and fasteners.
     

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