Raleigh Twenty: Proper photos!

I had nothing to do at lunchtime today, so I used my 30 minutes to take photos of my bike.  I didn’t pick a very good day for taking photos.. even at lunchtime, it was so dark that my camera wanted to use the flash!  It didn’t get it’s way – I’d rather take a blurred photo than a photo using a flash.  😛

All the photos are in a set on flickr, which is here.

So, here’s the bike in most of it’s glory.

Rear view

I’m probably keeping the paint the way it is, btw.  The blue’s grown on me, and who doesn’t love a bit of patina?  okay.. I don’t like patina much, normally.. but I’ll let it off just this once.  I’m just going to clean off the sticker residue, treat the rust, and leave it at that!

RH View

The crank’s staying too, but the 18T freewheel will probably swapped for a 16T.  I’m cycling a bit manically at the moment..


It doesn’t fold up particularly small, but it’s better than trying to fit a full MTB on a train!  The handlebar causes a bit of a width issue, which is more annoying than the general size.

Front view

The headset needs a spacer added, and the stem is still giving me issues.  It turns out it IS a 22.2mm clamp (so the shim I bought is way too big), but the clamp is deformed.  I think I need one with more forward reach anyway..

So, this project is nearly done!  Just lots of fine tuning to do.  🙂


Raleigh Twenty: First ride

So, yeah – the Raleigh Twenty (or Triumph Traffic Master, if you’re being pedantic) is now pretty much assembled, and had it’s first test run this morning! Naturally, things didn’t go quite to plan..

As the front brake isn’t set up (the brake blocks are too close to the rim, and rub like nobodies business), I was relying on the coaster brake working.. which it did! It’s actually quite a good brake, although it’s a weird experience not being able to align the pedals. If I align them for a dismount and coast, I can’t brake! If I brake, I lose alignment.. I’m sure there’s a knack to it, as fixed speed must be even more difficult to stop, and plenty of loonies ride fixed. I’m not sure that I’d like to lose the front brake entirely, though. That just seems like an accident waiting to happen.

The coaster brake can also be quite powerful, I found. Or at least, it felt like it was powerful as I braked and the handlebars swivelled forward! I knew they’d be the biggest potential issue, but I’d hoped I’d managed to tighten them enough. The stem I’d bought was supposedly for 22.2mm bars, but it didn’t seem to want to grip the bar properly. I tightened it up some more on the train, which resulted in the bolt snapping in half, so I think I can safely judge that it’s actually intended for 25.4mm bars. 😛 I’ve ordered a shim, but I’m not sure where I’m going to find a replacement bolt. I’m sure I must have something in all the spares that I’ve got at home.

Everything else worked alright, though! It’s a weird old thing to ride.. the crank is in front of the saddle, rather than underneath it, so my riding position is very laid back and relaxed. Getting up on the pedals makes it feel more BMX-like, with it’s short wheelbase and low center of gravity. I can’t work out if 18 teeth is right for me or not.. it’s alright for cruising, but pedalling is a bit frantic when I’m standing up. I reckon a 16 tooth cog might be better, but I’ll give it a while. It was hard to get a proper feel for the bike when the handlebars kept pitching forward. 😛

A really poor photo - sorry!

The current plan is now:

  • Fit shim to handlebar
  • Fit new bolt to stem
  • Fit a headset spacer (there’s a 2mm-ish gap between the clamp and the nut, so it’s not as tight as it can be)
  • Sort out the front brake (it doesn’t seem very adjustable. Tempting to swap it for a dual pivot or center pull)
  • Strip the paint
  • Paint?

I should proooobably have stripped the paint before I assembled it, but I’m not blessed with that kind of patience. Instead, I’ll probably end up stripping stuff I wanted to keep, and painting stuff I didn’t want painted. I still don’t know what colour to paint it!

Raleigh Twenty: Starting to wish I’d left it standard!

Another day, another issue!

I got the new fork over the weekend, so I started putting things back together.  I got the old lower headset race off, put on the new one, and then attempted to fit the new crown race to the new fork.

  • I tried hammering it using the old headset cup and a screwdriver.  It wouldn’t budge.
  • I tried hammering a piece of plastic pipe, to even out the force.  It wouldn’t budge.
  • I filed down the fork crown a bit, then tried hammering it via the pipe.  It wouldn’t budge.
  • I tried using a hammer again.  It budged!  Then it got stuck.
  • I hammered more and more and more…


So, it turns out that there are different measurements of fork crown.  Just because a fork is 1″ diameter, and you have a 1″ headset, it doesn’t mean they’ll fit together.  In my case, the fork had a JIS crown, which is 27mm in diameter, whereas the headset had an ISO crown, which is 26.4mm.  ISO has been the standard for years, with JIS only being adopted in any kind of number in Asian countries.

The fork I bought has a German-sounding brand name, so it surprised me to find that it had a non-standard crown. My theory is that it makes more sense to make the larger diameter, and let bike shops face it down to 26.4mm if needed.  That way it can fit anything! That’s probably why it also has such an enormous steerer – let someone else cut it, rather than limit the appeal.

Anyway, this lesson in crown diameters has now cost me a crown race, and judging by the stuff available on the interweb, and what I’ve got at home, I might have to buy another headset.  For £10.  I guess I should’ve taken this job to the bike shop.  😐

ooh, and while I’m here – I forgot that the locknuts from the old fork won’t work on the new fork, because the old fork has Raleigh threading.  It never bloomin ends!

Raleigh Twenty: Forking it up

I know, I know.. no-one likes a wall of text like the last update.  I’m the same – all we really want are nice pictures of bikes to marvel over!  I don’t have any new photos, though.  It’s not that I forgot to take any; it’s because I’m too embarrassed to take photos in front of the wife!  She thinks the bike obsession is weird enough, without me sitting there taking close-up photos of bolts and bushings.  😛

But that doesn’t stop me putting up photos of other people’s bikes, wot I have found on the interwebs!  Therefore, before further ado, here is the only photo I’ve ever found of a Raleigh Twenty sporting mag wheels:


It appears to be a near-stock bike, with just the wheels, tyres, and seat replaced.  It’s quite stylish!  I particularly like that shade of bronze paired with black wheels and tyres.

Anyway, why was I posting?  Oh yeah – my fork issues!  It turns out that I should’ve seen my problem coming.  Standard R20 forks only have a 90mm gap between the fork dropouts, which is quite narrow.  For a little while, I was tempted to replace the fork with a small BMX fork and a tube extender.  It would mean there’d be no thread, but I could use a couple of seatpost clamps to hold it in place.  However, in the end I decided on getting a fork that’s not actually much different from the stock fork, except that it can take normal wheels.  One of these:

It not only works out cheaper than the fork/extension plan, but it has a thread.  Quite a lot of thread – the steerer is 20mm longer than the stock fork!  It’s most probably a fork intended for use on recumbents, as they seem to be about the only type of bike that has a steerer that’s anything like a Raleigh Twenty.

of course, this will mean more hammering, as I’ll now need to replace the lower head race and attach a crown race.  Nearly there, though.. nearly there..

Raleigh Twenty: aaargh!

Time for a project update! It’s been a while since I last made an update, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that I’m practically finished. I’m not. In fact, I’ve barely progressed at all since the last update! Since my 3-year-old son dropped his naps, I no longer get the 80 minutes of nap time on Saturdays and Sundays that I used to use for doing bike stuff. I can do some stuff in the evenings, but if it requires hammering/sawing or using something messy and/or stinky, the project stops in it’s tracks.

Hence, my projects are at the current states:

  • Saracen Kili Racer: Stopped due to requirement of hammering and probably need for using acid to get rid of the seat post and BB.
  • Reflex ALX89: No longer riding due to cracked headset. Need to hammer it out, then hammer the new one in.
  • Saracen Tufftrax: Needs a dose of stinky linseed oil. Can only really do it outside, when it hasn’t rained for a couple of days. It hasn’t stopped bloomin raining! I’ve also got a new headset, but it’s not essential.
  • Raleigh Twenty: Need to file the fork dropouts to fit a 10mm axle, and hammer out the cotter pins. Need to saw off chain guard fitting.

Despite all that, I have managed to progress the Raleigh Twenty a little bit. I found out that the axle on the front wheel was removable, so I can avoid having to file the dropouts for a bit. Knowing that, I decided to fit the new headset…

The plan for getting the headset on was to use a threaded bar, some nuts, and some large diameter washers. The washers push against the races as the nuts are tightened, and should seat the headset race perfectly! If the race can be kept straight. Which was apparently impossible. 😐 I tried and tried and tried, using different washers, different ratchet spanner heads, and bottom bracket cups. It would all be aligned, I’d tighten the nuts a tiny bit, check, tighten, check, tighten, gah! Every time, the race would slip slightly to one side. It didn’t seem to matter how careful I was.. the washers just weren’t a precise enough fit, it seems.

The reason I tried to be clever, rather than just hammering it home, is because the top of the head tube has a notch taken out of it, which is used to seat the nylon bush. I was worried that hammering it in could result in accidentally splitting the head tube if done badly. After wasting several hours trying to get it in cleverly, I decided to just hammer it using a steel hammer and a piece of wood, which meant hammering it in while my son was about.

Recently, my son has not been very happy when he hears weird noises. He was getting upset whenever he heard something rattling, or the sound of an extractor fan. Even loud lorries were scaring him, which was bizarre – he’d always loved lorries, no matter how loud they were! Guy Fawkes night had gone alright, though. He wasn’t at all scared by the fireworks (even the crappy airbursts), so I hoped that meant he was over that weird phase.

I brought the bike in, and got the hammer and wood out. The sturdiest place to do the hammering was on the step between the kitchen and the lounge, so I put the bike in the kitchen, with the head tube resting on a bit of wood on the step, almost dead straight. Seeing the bike got my son’s curiosity, so he came to sit in the chair opposite and watch. I explained what I had to do.. “I need to get this silver bit into this blue bit, which means I need to bash it in with a hammer! Is that okay with you?” This was met with a “Yeaaaah!”, and much bouncing up and down in the chair. I put the other bit of wood into position, and lifted the hammer in the air.. “Are you ready?” “Yeaaah!” BAM! BAM! BAM! He still seemed okay.. he seemed happier, if anything! So I started hitting it properly, and watching the angle. It didn’t take many hits to get it into position, and it didn’t look as though I’d bent the head tube at all. I finally had a proper top race on my Raleigh Twenty! Huzzah! Also, my son didn’t dissolve into tears, so I can probably hammer my other bikes, too. Huzzah!

Anyway, last night, I set about trying to put it all together. The headset fitted together pretty well, and now it just needs about 10mm of spacers to go where the QR used to be. No biggie! With that (nearly) in place, I set about putting the other parts on, starting with the front wheel. I had to disassemble the hub to put it on, as with the axle removed, a pointless-looking metal bar falls away. I guess it’s there to stop the hub from being over-compressed. I put the axle through the RH fork dropout, through the hub, and.. I couldn’t get it to align with the other dropout? What was stopping it? The axle seems loose enough at one angle.. but when I.. oh.. oh nooooooo!

One of the good things about Acorn Freestyle mag wheels is the hubs. Unlike most other mag wheels, the hubs can be dismantled and serviced. The hubs are quite snazzy looking.. they’re kinda bulbous, with 5 bolts going through them – one for each spoke. What I hadn’t noticed is that the hub is also quite.. erm.. fat. They’re designed for BMX forks, where the dropouts are level with the inner of the fork arms/blades/whatever you call them. R20 forks have short dropouts that aren’t level with the inner of the fork arms, so the fork protrudes out to where the hub wants to be. I’m sure there’s probably a nice technical way of describing this, but I don’t know what it is, so I’ll just say that the Acorn hubs are too fat for a standard R20 fork. The only way it’d fit would be to cold set the fork, but it’d require expanding the width by about 10mm in total, I think. Maybe more.  I don’t really trust cold setting forks by that much distance.  I barely managed to align the rear stays when I did them on the Cobra, and from what I can remember, forks are more vague.

So, what now? Do I get different wheels, or a different fork? Maybe attempt cold setting the fork?  I wouldn’t mind a different fork, to be honest, but the ebay seller who had them (one of the bankrupt parts sellers) has been sold out for over a month, and I can’t find an alternative. Wheels are easier to come by, but I’d have to sell the Acorns at a loss, and I’d lose the coaster brake..

What a pain in the bum!

Going Retro

People who glance at my blog may have noticed that I’ve gone full on retro with my bikes. The oldest bike I own is from 2004, and that’s been dismantled for storage because I consider it too modern. 😛

To be honest, I’m a bit of a retro nut generally.. I’d much rather have a car from the 70s than my Honda Jazz (the wife’s not averse to this plan – we just can’t afford it). I have a small collection of VFD (vacuum fluorescent display) calculators from the late 70s/early 80s. I’ve still got an old Sinclair ZX Spectrum and a Commodore 64 in the loft. My main buying criteria for my phone was how well it’d adapt to playing emulated 80s computer games (slide out keyboard – pretty good!). My music taste is currently EBM, which is a genre that never really progressed since the 80s..

Other than just being old and funky, retro stuff also carries vague memories of the year of their construction. A 2010 bike is just a bike. A 1981 bike is a bike which carries 1981 with it!

So, today I’ve been looking up exactly what was going on in film and music when my bikes were constructed. I’m not going to list everything – I’m just going to list what’s interesting to me, because it’s my blog and I can do what I like! 🙂

1977 (Carlton Cobra)
I was 3 years old in 1977, so you might be able to forgive me for not remembering this year from my own memory. Presumably some of it must’ve filtered into my brain, affecting my tastes in later life.

Punk and disco were just starting to become popular in 77. I’ve never been a huge fan of punk, so I’ve chosen I Feel Love by Donna Summer, which was released that year. Bob Marley also released Exodus, and Kraftwerk released Trans-Europe Express.

1977 was the year of Star Wars, and I don’t think you can beat that. 🙂

1981 (Raleigh Twenty)
I was 7 in 1981. I had a vague taste in music, but not very well developed. My mum liked the new romantic stuff, however, and it definitely filtered in.  I think I was probably riding a Raleigh Striker at this point!

The New Romantic stuff was just starting to take off in 1981, with Vienna and Fade to Grey both being released that year. Depeche Mode released their first album, Speak & Spell (the only one with Vince Clarke), and Kraftwerk released one of the best albums of all time; Computer World! This was also the year that DAF released Der Musollini.

A really good year for films! Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman II, Escape from New York, Evil Dead, Mad Max 2..

1988 (Reflex ALX89)
I was 14 in 1988, and my musical taste was just starting to form properly, thanks to Cold Cut and Bomb the Bass. I remember one of my friends from school being heavily into hip hop, taking pride in owning lots of albums that were imported or having the ‘Parental Advisory’ stickers on them.

I wasn’t much into hip hop at this point, preferring the slightly more genteel sounds of Bomb the Bass, Stakker, and MARRS/Cold Cut. A super-special mention has to go to The Timelords (aka The KLF), who ripped off Cold Cut to make Doctorin’ The Tardis. This was also the year that the Pixies released Surfer Rosa, which is a phenomenal album.  Despite all that, I’m going to stick up a video of Eighty Eight by Public Relation, which was released that year, but has only recently come to my attention.  It is awesome.


1995 (Saracen Tufftrax)
Poor old Tufftrax.. it’s not been liking all the wet weather, and has been leaking orange water from the dropouts and headset. I really need to do something about that. Anyway, I was 21 in 1995, and I’d just started university. It was a year of heavy drinking and heavy partying, so I don’t really remember much about it. 😛 I do remember lots of nights of watching Chill Out Zone on MTV when I came home.

I was heavily into IDM at this point, and I was buying albums and singles by the shedload. Autechre, Aphex Twin, Seefeel, Black Dog, Spooky, Scanner, Panasonic.. the list goes on and on! I reckon the best album was Vakio by Panasonic.

Some good ones this year.. Twelve Monkeys, Strange Days, The City of Lost Children, and.. er.. Judge Dredd! If you try to blot out the main characters, and concentrate on the scenery, it’s a pretty good film!

Raleigh Twenty: Fork / Stem ponderances

So, my original plan has kind’ve failed.  The threadless headset I bought is just too tall, meaning one of the locknuts won’t fit.  Further investigation indicates that people usually saw off part of the head tube to make this kind of alteration work.  That’s not something I’m prepared to do!

I’m almost glad, however, as the alternative is to replace the entire fork and put on a new threaded headset and a proper quill stem. It’ll look way better than the original fork, and apparently it’ll improve handling a bit.  Also, I won’t have to file down the dropouts in order to get the front wheel to fit.  Unfortunately, the only source I’ve found for a replacement fork has currently sold out, so I’ve been investigating alternatives.  There’s lots, so why not share what I’ve found?

Option 1: Replace the headset only.
This was my original plan, as it’s cheap!  Merely buy a 1″ threadless headset that has the lowest profile top race that you can find.  The original nylon headset (if you can call it that) is only about 6mm tall, so I’m not sure if it’s actually possible to buy a headset that small.  If it’s much larger, then you might have to live without one of your locknuts, or you might have to shorten the head tube by cutting part of it off.

I had an extra thought about the dangers of removing a locknut..  are two locknuts really necessary on a Raleigh Twenty? The fork/headset configuration bears more resemblance to a threadless setup than a threaded setup, in that the QR adjuster clamps onto the fork in the same way as a threadless stem clamps onto a fork.  The difference is that there’s nowhere to put a star nut thingy on an R20, so there are locknuts instead.  Also, I found this on Sheldon Brown’s website, where he uses a seat clamp to hold a fork in place.  It’s probably not good enough for most bikes, but for a bike that’s only going to be used now and again, for short distances, going very slowly, and on fairly flat surfaces, then it seems like quite a viable solution!  I think I’d upgrade the R20 QR to a seat clamp, however.

edit: I suppose the QR could be omitted, rather than a locknut, which would mean buying a new stem.  You have to be careful using quill stems in the original fork, because if the stem wedge applies pressure to the slotted area, it can split the fork!

Pros: Cheap! Get to keep adjustability of handlebars.
Cons: Might need to shorten the head tube, otherwise locknut dubiousness. Have to use the original fork.

Option 2: Replace the fork, headset, and stem.
It is possible to buy forks that have steerer tubes that’re even longer than the original R20 fork, in rigid or suspension styles. Something to do with recumbents using them.  Unless it’s an actual R20 fork, the thread on the forks are standard, so any threaded 1″ headset will fit.  A new fork will mean that the stem will also need replacing, as the fork won’t have a slot cut out of it to allow the stem to be gripped by the quick release.  The steerer tube might need cutting if it’s too long (not as scary as cutting the frame itself).

Pros: New, better made fork, with modern dropout spacing. You might even find one with brazed-on brake fittings or suspension!
Cons: Potentially quite expensive (estimate for my plan is £40). Will probably need to cut the steerer. Un-adjustable stem height.

Option 3: Use a short fork with a steerer extender, new headset, and new stem.
As forks with long steerers are a bit pricey, you could use a normal fork with a steerer extender, if you can find one.  Most extenders that are on sale are threadless extenders, which makes things a little weird, but there are 1″ quill extenders, that basically bolt on a bit more tube on top of the steerer using a quill wedge.  The ones on ebay are called handlebar risers, and add 100mm, which is enough to make a standard BMX fork usable. They’re not threaded, though, so I’m not sure how useful they’ll actually be.

Pros: Can use any 20″ fork you want
Cons: Same as option 2, plus I’m not sure how useful a riser is.

After thinking about the locknuts, I think I’ll go back to the original plan.  I’m still really tempted to replace the fork completely (mainly because BMX forks are so much cooler!), but it’s £40 that I don’t really have at the moment..  £23 for the fork, at least £8 for the stem, £10-ish for a headset.  Compare that to the £4 I spent on the headset, and £10 tops for a BMX seat clamp.

ooh, and I really need to get around to measuring the head tube length and steerer length!  😛

UPDATE: Steerer and head tube measured!  235mm and 186mm, respectively. I couldn’t find my proper steel rule, so I had to use a giant wobbly one, so give or take a mm or two.   I’ll add them to the measurements on the previous post.

Raleigh Twenty: That headset

Have you ever pondered doing something, decided to look it up online, and found lots of semi-answers that don’t give you the full picture?  Yeah, me too!  Annoying, isn’t it?

Bicycle articles are particularly bad, because they almost always assume that you have the bike in front of you, and that you know what you’re doing.  I don’t!  I’m at work, and my bike knowledge may be above average, but I’m still pretty noobish.

So, when trying to find out how to upgrade the nylon headset of the Raleigh Twenty, I was getting annoyed by not knowing the full story.  After doing some measurements last night, and having a proper look at what everything does, maybe I can redress the balance myself!  🙂

Firstly, I’d better describe how it all works.  It’s not quite the same as a normal fork and stem, because it has a quick release for the stem.  The fork steerer has a long slot cut out of it, which allows it to be compressed by the QR, just like how a seat tube is compressed by a seat clamp.  The stem, which is just a basic tube, can therefore be gripped in the same way as a seat post.  The steerer is extra long, and the QR fits under the locknuts.  It’s quite a nice arrangement, really!

Here be the measurements, from top to bottom. Measuring tubes can be a bit tricky, so give or take a millimeter:

  • Handlebar OD (where it’s clamped) = 15/16″ / 23.8mm
  • Stem OD = 7/8″ / 22mm
  • Stem height = 9 7/8″ / 250mm (no minimum insert line, because it’s supposed to be tethered to the front brake with a rigid wire)
  • Upper locknut height = 3/8″ / 9.6mm
  • Lower locknut height = 3/32″ / 8mm
  • Stem QR height = 5/8″ / 16.1mm
  • Lamp clamp height = 1/16″ / 2mm
  • Nylon bush protective cap height = 1/32″ / 1mm
  • Nylon bush lip height = 3/32″ / 3mm
  • Nylon bush ID = 1″ / 25.4mm
  • Nylon bush OD = 1 1/8″ / 29.8mm
  • Fork steerer height (inc thread) = 9 3/16″ / 235mm
  • Fork thread height = 3/4″ / 19mm (Raleigh 26TPI thread)
  • Fork steerer OD = 1″ / 25.4mm
  • Fork steerer ID = 7/8″ / 22mm
  • Head tube ID = 1 1/8″ / 30mm
  • Head tube OD = 1 5/16″ / 33.1mm
  • Head tube height = 7 3/32″ / 186mm

I was only using a digital calliper, which wasn’t long enough to measure the head tube height, and I haven’t got any measurements regarding the lower race or crown race.  My measurements were coming out all over the place on those, so thought it best not to include them.  If I ever decide to replace the fork (quite likely!), I’ll get them measured.

My intention is to replace the nylon bushing with the top half of a 1″ threadless headset.  There’s no issues with diameters, but there is an issue with heights.  The bushing, including cap, is only 4mm tall, and you can also add the 2mm from the pointless lamp holder, but the exposed top of most threadless headsets is taller than that. For example; the threadless headset that I randomly bought is about 10mm tall, which would mean the upper locknut would be only half attached. :s

However, all is not lost!  It just so happens that BMX seat clamps have a diameter of 25.4mm – the same diameter as the steerer tube.  That means I could potentially ditch the tall original QR and replace it with a much shorter seat QR and possibly a couple of spacers. The only problem is knowing how tall the BMX clamps are, as that measurement is never mentioned, and they come in a range of heights.  I might have to brave the BMX section of Evans, and have a look for myself!  😮

UPDATE: Evans have a rubbish BMX section! Also, it turns out that only old 80s seat clamps are suitable for the job.  The old standard was 22.2mm seat tubes, whereas they’re now 25.4mm.  It makes searching for a clamp rather tricky.  The old clamps are all quite chunky, though, and most are actually taller than the existing QR.  gah!

I also measured the seat tube, but it rather illustrates how I can get things wrong with the callipers.  I measured 28mm ID and 32mm OD, but apparently all Raleigh Twenties have a 28.6mm seatpost.  Hmph!  The seat post is 315mm high (top to bottom) .

UPDATE 17/10/13: Added a few more measurements.

Raleigh Twenty update

Some parts have arrived for the Raleigh Twenty, and I thought I’d share what the bike might be turning into.  First off, here’s a pic of the frame and crankset, all by itself:

So far, so slightly rusty!  I’m not sure what’s going on with the crank arm alignment.  Hopefully it’s just a case of loose cotter pins, rather than badly aligned and impossible to remove cotter pins.  😛

The shopping list so far is:

  • 20″ Acorn mag wheels (cream), inc coaster brake and 18T freewheel.
  • Inner tubes
  • Primo V-Monster tyres
  • Tange threadless headset (hopefully using the top half to replace the nylon bushing)
  • Eastern Bikes clear black pedals

I’m still waiting for the pedals and tyres, but here’s what it sort-of looks like so far (ignore the mess!):

So, it’s kind’ve a foldable BMX!  🙂

This weekend, I’ll be trying to strip the paint, as there’s too much bubbling to leave it on.  I have no idea what colour to paint it with.. I was tempted to resurrect the rat look project (rust(s)hopper!), but rusty shopper bikes are hardly a rarity, and it’ll probably just look like I’ve really let it slip.  😦