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Posts: 5


Might to about to take the plunge! 

I've seen a Nova Shopper for sale locally. I was thinking of buying a "vintage" bicycle of some sort but I don't really know what to look out for.

I've just sold my E-bike as I didn't use it much, awkward to get up stairs and rather cumbersome to chain up! Lovely to ride but the faff of moving it wasn't worth it.

The Nova looks to be in reasonable condition(only seen photos so far) one spoke is broken on the rear wheel so will need repairing. A lot of people suggest replacing the wheels with modern aluminium ones but  can this be done whilst keeping the Sturmey Archer hub? 

It's going to need new brakes and tyres and saddle will be replaced by my old Brooks.

Also how heavy are this sort of bikes?

I only need a basic reponse to these question at the moment to see if it's a feasible project, my husband has lots of tools,from repiaring his Land Rover.



July 20, 2017 at 4:27 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 166

Yes, you will have to unlaced the spokes from the rear hub. Then buy a new rim and new spokes and spoke nipples. There ar bike specific tools you'll need like a spoke wrench.

I taught myself how to build wheels from the book, The Wheel, by Jobst Brandt. You can also have a bike shop build wheels.


July 20, 2017 at 9:44 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 21

Hi Lynn, 

Welcome to the forum, I have a couple of old twenties that I am refurbing but my daughter has one we currently share so I can give you a little feedback. First ours is in original condition and I love the ride, it is very comfortable. I find it is rather heavy but I am able to manage it up and down a flight of stairs. ( I am not a tiny lady though) . I find it easier to manage when not folded, the folding is nice to throw in the trunk or to lock it up but not for carrying. From what I have read there is significant weight saving to be made with some modification. I am sure others on the forum will give you more feedback on that. I will say from the one I have appart right now that those old rims are heavy. 

I must say it is fun owning a classic

have fun with it, post some pics if you can


July 20, 2017 at 9:58 AM Flag Quote & Reply

The Grumpy Old Squid
Posts: 980


Welcome to our community.  Wheel building is not overly complicated or difficult.  This Sheldon Brown webpage on wheel building gives you all the information, background, explanation, tools, and directions you'll need to build a wheel from scratch using the existing S-A hub.  It is a fun project that can be done by almost anyone and shouldn't take too long to do.  I did it for both wheels of my Twenty as the first step in refurbishment and upgrade and it took me less than 2 hours to do both wheels, other than truing which I had done by my LBS.


Craig S Werner

EMCS(SS), USN (Ret.) The "Grumpy Old Squid"

July 20, 2017 at 10:17 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 5

Thank you both. I haven't brought it yet!

Still deciding. I was curious about the weight as I've got arthritis in my lower back, I don't have to carry it up many stairs but it's a drag for me especially first thing in the mornings.

I want a bike that can stay outside(covered) that I'm not scared to leave outside work in the High Street, hence the idea of a slightly scruffy older bike rather than a shiny look at me one!

If I buy it I will be posting pictures galore & asking for advise. If I can figure out have to post pics!  


July 20, 2017 at 10:22 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 5

Thanks Craig. I might get brave enough!

I expect my husband will take over though!

July 20, 2017 at 10:23 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 21

If you dont' have stairs as an obstacle I would highly recommend, great little commuter bike. 


July 20, 2017 at 10:59 AM Flag Quote & Reply


Posts: 293

How much is it and what is your budget?

I think your "won't get knicked" philosophy is a good one. It's certainly my one. It's more a case of the young hoods not wanting to be seen riding around on a "ladies bike".

However, their value is going up what with the retro thing and with that nickability!

Yes, as the Vixen points out, you are talking about rims, not wheels. You won't be able to buy a alloy wheel to fit, you'll have to have one built.

That then a little bit of a problem because the size of rims are not cheap (451) and the spoke length not common (approx 208mm) and 99% of shops wont have them. In all reality, you'll probably be looking at £100+ or more to buy the parts and have the wheels built.

The key is the number of spoke, in this case 28 Holes (H) in each wheel. ALthough, for £10, you can always replace the Sturmey Archer for a 32H or 36H model. You may find more 36H rims.

How mechanical are you? I suspect if you mention arthritis you're not going to be weilding an angle grinder or cutting spokes by hand, so you'll have to take it to a shop.

Or perhaps someone here could build you a set to swop out. To save money, what I do is cut the old spokes, lace the new ones and then only take it to a shop for the final truing. That should cost about £10 as long as you don't live in hipster paradise, in which case it is £15.

Many people baulk at the point where a set of new rims might be 2, 3, 4 or 5 times what they paid for the entire bike ... but that's wrong thinking.

A bike's true value is not what it costs you but what it can give or save you, and replacing the chrome rims will make it a much better bike to ride. Certainly a much better bike that you could buy brand new for £150. Things like wheels, chains and brakes are actually consumables, like petrol, and part of the cost of ownership.

My tip would be buy one with an alloy rack on the back, stick a Tesco's shopping basket on the back, and use it for what it is meant for; local runs and shopping. I heard Tescos gives their baskets away for free to their loyal customers ;). Just replace than one spoke and use it to death untli you are absolutely sure that you want to invest £150 into making run better then new (e.g. new rims, new brakes, new chain).

If the chain is rusted to death, do spend a £5 putting a new one on, but also spend another £4 putting a new 20 or 21 tooth rear sprocket on. This much improves their ease of use, especially if you are "sporting".

You'll not regret it. A much better local ride than a big wheeled bike. Much better potential that a new POS small wheel bike out of a catalogue.

July 20, 2017 at 8:54 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 5

Thank you 2020 for you comprehensive answer.

The bike in question is on Ebay and is cheap(at the moment). 

I have a rudimentary knowledge of mechanics, having been press gang into helping fix my other halfs Land Rovers over the years, he seemed quite confident about giving the wheel building a go. I will probably go for getting that one spoke fixed for now.

It definatly needs new tyres I can see in the photo they are cracking. The chain doesn't look to bad I will have to see what it's like on reality.

It already has the rack on the back so I'm hoping my panniers will go on it they are quite short. I also have an old Carradice saddlebag that I had attched to my Bobbin bike on the handlebars as the rack wouldn't let it fit to the back! I also had an plastic veg strapped to that bike so might do that instead of panniers. I regreting selling that Bobbin.

I don't live in hipster paridise so hopefully if it goes to the bike shop it won't cost too much.

July 21, 2017 at 3:08 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 5

Hi everyone,

just to say I missed out on the bike in the Ebay auction.

I'll have to keep looking.


July 25, 2017 at 2:41 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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