Cycle wings

The cycle wings are tricky – simple in execution but difficult to do to my satisfaction. The combination of wiring through the wingstays, wanting to get the wings perfectly positioned so they look right, with it being something of a one-shot deal with the fixing method I chose, filled me with concern.

About those fixing methods; the wings can be fixed in a number of ways. The manual provides detailed instructions for bolting the wings onto the stays, and this requires a lot of measuring, accurate drilling of holes in tubes, but the end result looks really neat. It does mean bolt heads sticking through the wings though, and I don’t trust myself to get the drilling right. You will no doubt have been to other blogs and have seen that some builders go for Big Head fasteners which are cable-tied to the wingstay and then glued to the wing, but I’ve never trusted this approach. The cable-ties always seem like the weakest link to me in this arrangement, although people have driven thousands of miles with the wings attached like this.

After quite a lot of internal debate, I chose to bond the wings to the wingstays directly, using Teroson 9220 adhesive. This is how the factory-built cars have their wings attached, and the Teroson is applied like silicone sealant using a skeleton gun, and starts to set in about 15 minutes. Once fully set, the adhesive is similar to hard rubber, and so provides a flexible mount for the wings and the shaking about they get.

First though, working out how to wire in the repeater. The guide indicates the power from the loom arrives via a wire fed through the stay and along a wishbone. The earth is to be attached via a rivet inserted into a hole that needs to be drilled in the stay. Having read many a story of dodgy repeater earths causing problems, I elected to follow Jason from the CTG and run the earth into the chassis with the live. There is a tapped hole just inside the chassis where, on the opposite side of the engine bay, there is another earth and a T-piece joining brake pipes together. I presume this unused threaded hole is there for LHD cars.

RHS first, I cut the earth connector from the short earth lead and soldered on an extension . I then tried threading both through the stay, and struggled with getting the spade connector out through the hole in the wingstay. As I already had the soldering iron hot, I elected to cut live wire just before the spade so I could thread the wires more easily.

Getting both wires out through the hole also proved tricky, so a bend of a paperclip later gave me a tool to flick out the tip of the wires. I also bound the shorter live lead to the earth with a small piece of shrinkwrap.

I dug out a connector to crimp on, plus a bolt and washer from my spares that fitted the vacant hole and got the soldering iron out to re-attach the spade connector for the live, and cut the earth to the right length, before crimping on the connector, shrinkwrapping the wires and bolting the earth in place.

I did the same thing on the other side, then it was time to bond. I stripped the paint off the stay, marked up the cycle wing with some masking tape after positioning it relative to the tyre and car. I measured about 75mm from the front edge of the wing to the front edge of the front wingstay, and used the centreline of the tyre and wing to fine-tune the position. Note that this gives you the front edge of the wing ahead of the wheel forward edge, but not the tyre, as required by IVA.

Drama: the LHS wingstay was off. The outer edge was about 2mm higher than the inner at the front. I discovered this at the end of the day, so decided to break, email Derek and get his advice.  Big D says it’s not uncommon to need to bend them a bit, and they use a tube over the stays and a rubber mallet to coerce the tubing into position. I didn’t have a suitable length of tube and also did not fancy my chances of bending the tube in the right place. A vice and some more control felt a better idea.

At first I feared having to break the ball joint to get the wingstay off the car, but in reality (and thanks to some reassurance from Robin of the CTG), although I had to undo the nut securing the ball join I did not need to break it open. Into the vice, bend a fraction, back on the car, bolt it up, check. Repeat three times, and the LHS stay was finally sitting right.

Bonding next. A load of adhesive on the two stripped stays, and I carefully lowered the wing into alignment. I waited the requisite 15 minutes then started building up the adhesive  layer by layer; at first either side and then over the top of each stay.

Over the next couple of nights I continued to build up the layers until I’d surrounded the stay. My work looks horribly messy but in my defence, it’s not easy stuff to work with. The wings feel bonded tight – they withstand a strong tug – strong enough to distort the tubes of the stays. [UPDATE: Note I had a bit of trouble with my cycle wings on my first drive and changed my approach to fixing them a little.]

Then, finally, to complete the headlight wiring which I started so long ago, by filling in the last space in the Econoseal plug and, with some trepidation, trying the lights and indicators. And they worked. I’d love to say I cheered, but in reality I was just really relieved. Front and back lights are now all fully operational. It feels like a big step.

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