Elana Woldenberg and Mike Wise
As the Carburetor and Wheels Team, we worked predominantly with the wheel system (our carburetor was in pretty good shape from the outset); we dissembled the bike, took off the wheels, and then took them apart – noting the names, placement, and purpose of each individual piece. We learned about drum brakes, the sprocket (on the rear wheel), and the various ways of working through 50 years of rust. And we developed important, problem-solving strategies in the shop that can be applied to any system on the bike.
After analyzing the hubs of both wheels, our next job was to take off the inner tube (we used tire irons, and eventually a hack and band saw to cut the steel band safely without damaging the rim), so that we could better look at our rims. We then cleaned the dirt and rust off of the rims using steel brushes, before having a guest (Bill Becker) come in and teach us about the aspects of physics that apply to the wheel system and, specifically for our maintenance purposes, the art of “truing” the wheel – with this, we learned how to tighten and loosen the spokes to create less wobbling (and we discovered several deficiencies in both wheels).
These deficiencies necessitated the creation of two essential (and shop-created) tools – a spoke wrench and a smaller press shaped for the wheel’s rim (to get out dents that we wouldn’t be able to with the large hand press). With the spoke wrench, the press, and a pair of calipers, we were able to true the wheel to the best of our abilities, in both side-to-side and up-and-down directions. We were also given extra practice in truing the wheel when a new rim arrived in the shop (which is now part of the front wheel of our bike).
After reducing the effects of wobbling and dents on the rim, we had the opportunity to work more closely with the geometry of the spokes on the rim. We de-spoked the old rim (that was originally on our bike and was replaced) so that it could be sent to be chromed. Taking off the hub (and discovering how heavy it was) was an unexpected accomplishment for us – the spoking process is undoubtedly more elaborate on these bikes than the eye may suggest.
Soon enough, we were ready to finally ready to finish cleaning up the parts of the wheel and putting the wheels back on the bike. There were several challenges that arose with the new rim and the bearings and spindle that came with it, but with some coercion, some fire-power, and some help, the wheels – with tires, brakes, and some polish – came together (on the bike) well. Once the wheels were back on the bike, we cleaned up the parts and made a new gasket for our already-functional carburetor, before putting it onto the bike and taking it for a spin.
We have both really enjoyed doing the work with our hands and having a chance to work with this bike. We hope that the information and the experiences that we have compiled are helpful to anyone who has the same opportunity that we have had. The left-side tabs under 64CarbWheels give further information on our work with the Carburetor and the Wheels (and a more in-depth description of how they operate), as well as a Powerpoint presentation as an overview.
Tiger Cub 2015,
Mike and Elana