Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pioneer Run preps for the mighty Wall Autowheel

I've got my entry in for the Pioneer Run so it seemed like a good idea to check over the Autowheel and make sure all works as well as it should.

The first job was to fit a 'new' wheel with Sturmey Archer three speed that I found for the bike a while back. It may be a light machine but pushing a tall gear up a slight incline to start the contraption was leading to my knees feeling like they would pop from their sockets. Problem is, you need a reasonably tall gear to maintain momentum to attack the hills. With no advance and retard on the Wall, once you drop below a certain speed on a hill you are doomed to a long and arduous walk so keeping a minimum speed is imperative. Having high and low ratios should overcome both issues.

Sturmey three speed fitted to the Raleigh X Frame/
Wall Autowheel. You can just make out how the
Wall frame bolts in to the cycle drop outs in front
of the axle.

The new wheel was a very lucky match for the front both in rim profile and patina. Taking the old off however reminded me of one of the great frustrations of working on the Wall - its incredible unwieldiness. To remove the rear wheel you also have to remove the engine unit at the same time. One of the engine subframe mounts attaches to the rear wheel axle and thus requires a long axle. With a Sturmey Archer hub there's no playing around with axle length so it seemed like a good idea to see if I couldn't come up with a slightly better mounting solution.

With a lot of fiddling around and minor adjustments I've managed to fit the Autowheel separate from the wheel axle by moving it just in front. It doesn't leave a lot of adjustment on the bicycle chain but given that average annual mileage over the last decade has been about thirty miles per annum I don't think that a stretched chain running to the limit of adjustment will be a problem any time soon.

A quick check over and a couple of other improvements and all that remains now is for a test run. It was a pity I didn't get to ride the Pioneer last year on the Wall's hundredth birthday - work got in the way. I'm hoping nothing changes and my ride for 2016 remains open.

118cc of raw power!

Sturmey gear changer.

Found this veteran lever in my parts bin and it's a bit more
appropriate than the fifties choke lever that was fitted.
Originally the Autowheel had a dual cable lever that operated
both decompressor and throttle. This can be filed under unobtanium.

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