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Hercules 3 speed 195x

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Hercules 3 speed 195x

Old 03-26-13, 03:26 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by photogravity View Post
Howard, you are on the right track. There were two different series of the Hercules 3-speed hub: the A Type which was made between 1942 or 1943 until 1951 or 1952 and the B Type which was made from 1952 or 1953 until they ceased production. The newest Hercules hub I have spotted is a B Type 6 which would correspond to 1956. There is one exception to this in that when Sturmey-Archer introduced the SW hub, Hercules re-branded some of those and they are marked as Hercules SW. You are correct that SA shifters work without any problems with Hercules A and B Type hubs. I do not have experience with SA or Hercules SW hubs.

Your mention of the dropouts is correct regarding telling the difference between Birmingham and Nottingham built bicycles. There is also a difference between Hercules dropouts too. Through the early-1950's there was a "keyhole" on the dropout above the axle, but in the mid-1950's the design changed and they eliminated the "keyhole" from the dropout. If you reference the pictures below, you can see the difference between the dropouts which will assist in determining the age of Hercules bicycles.

Up to early 1950's dropout. This style dropout is what is on Hercules in my collection ranging from 1946-1952. As mentioned above, I do not have a 1953 or 1954 Hercules to reference.
...

Mid-1950's and later dropout which was used until Hercules production was merged with Raleigh. The first year I have seen this dropout is 1955, but it could have been a little earlier since, as mentioned above, I don't have a 1953 or 1954 Hercules....
A belated thank you for the information. Am learning a lot on this thread!
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Old 03-26-13, 03:56 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Howard View Post
A belated thank you for the information. Am learning a lot on this thread!
No problem Howard. I'm glad to help out... BTW, I'm pretty sure that the Hercules B Type was introduced in 1952 and for two reasons. My Hercules Lion has an A Type 1 hub (1951) but I have another bike with a B Type 2 hub. According to a friend they didn't introduce the B Type until 1953, but as I was perusing a delivery of CTC Gazettes that were dropped on my doorstep today, one of the early 1952 editions makes mention of the B Type hub, thereby indicating the existence of that hub prior to the 1953. It's information only a Hercules enthusiast would know and certainly not information most people would care about.
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Old 03-26-13, 04:36 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by photogravity View Post
No problem Howard. I'm glad to help out... BTW, I'm pretty sure that the Hercules B Type was introduced in 1952 and for two reasons. My Hercules Lion has an A Type 1 hub (1951) but I have another bike with a B Type 2 hub. According to a friend they didn't introduce the B Type until 1953, but as I was perusing a delivery of CTC Gazettes that were dropped on my doorstep today, one of the early 1952 editions makes mention of the B Type hub, thereby indicating the existence of that hub prior to the 1953. It's information only a Hercules enthusiast would know and certainly not information most people would care about.
At the risk of going slightly off topic ...
Do we know of Hercules that used SW hubs, or did they continue with the license built AW during 57-58?

Also, I'm a little curious about the evolution of the headbadge. I have a Nottingham Hercules (66 on the hub) with the slightly shield or wedge shaped head badge. I'd always presumed those were post-Raleigh badges, but I've seen some from the fifties that were that style instead of the superimposed H and C.
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Old 03-26-13, 05:41 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by LDB View Post
Here's a few more photos. The downtube is bad because my dad mounted a footrest there and a seat on the top tube for me when I was really small.
Since wahoonc does not have any pictures of the Hercules Skyliner that I found for him some 5-6 years ago here in my town "Stump Dump." I'll post a few helpful ones for comparison.

Here is the seat tube decal:



This is the best full side picture I have of it.


The chain guard and as you can see the chainring has "Hercules" spelled out. Not just the "H."


This is the best I can do for the head badge. This is the only rod brake bike I've ever had my hands on. The mechanics involved are impressive.



If anyone is curious, this is how I found it.


I think we can surmise the Skyliner is older than LDB's father's Hercules.
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Old 03-26-13, 07:12 PM
  #30  
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The only number I can find on the hub appears to be 60. Here's the two sides of the rear dropouts too.
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Old 03-26-13, 09:35 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Howard View Post
At the risk of going slightly off topic ...
Do we know of Hercules that used SW hubs, or did they continue with the license built AW during 57-58?

Also, I'm a little curious about the evolution of the headbadge. I have a Nottingham Hercules (66 on the hub) with the slightly shield or wedge shaped head badge. I'd always presumed those were post-Raleigh badges, but I've seen some from the fifties that were that style instead of the superimposed H and C.
Hercules did have one of their own branded SW hubs. A friend of mine in England has one. There was recently an auction on eBay for a leaflet/owners manual for a Hercules SW.

For the headbadge, they were all over the place with them, early ones having a round "sticker" or metal (brass, I think) badge on the headtube, then later the model name on the badge, and finally settled with the brand on the shield as you mentioned. I have a bike in my collection that has a Birmingham headbadge but with Raleigh style dropouts. It's a confusing machine for sure.

Last edited by photogravity; 03-27-13 at 04:54 AM.
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Old 03-26-13, 09:41 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by LDB View Post
The only number I can find on the hub appears to be 60. Here's the two sides of the rear dropouts too.
So LDB, it would appear your bicycle is a 1960 model or thereabouts. Towards the end of the 1950's Hercules was sourcing their hubs directly from Sturmey-Archer. It was also around the late 50's that Hercules abandoned the traditional style chainguard and started using the pointy one in its place. I had forgotten that from the earlier pictures, but it wasn't prominent because you only had a picture of the non-drive side.

It was around the late-50's or early-60's what Hercules ended up merging the same company as Raleigh, with TI as the parent.

As already mentioned, that is a very clean example of a Hercules and I am thankful that you were able to get more pictures of the hub and dropouts on the bicycle.

Last edited by photogravity; 03-26-13 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 03-27-13, 04:16 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
Since wahoonc does not have any pictures of the Hercules Skyliner that I found for him some 5-6 years ago here in my town "Stump Dump." I'll post a few helpful ones for comparison.


I think we can surmise the Skyliner is older than LDB's father's Hercules.
Here is a photo of the head badge from the Skyliner. I have had to re-host my photo collection and I don't have everything moved yet.

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Old 03-27-13, 04:59 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Here is a photo of the head badge from the Skyliner. I have had to re-host my photo collection and I don't have everything moved yet.

Aaron

I'm pretty sure this is from the 1940's, the more I think about it. Between the chainring with Hercules spelled out on it and the round headbadge, it looks like it's too early to be from the 1950's. It's a shame it doesn't have an IGH or we'd stand a better chance at figuring out the age on this.
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Old 03-27-13, 06:13 AM
  #35  
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It's been my experience that Hercules had reissues of both headbadges and cranksets from both Nottingham and Birmingham.

Here's an image search showing a whole array of versions for both crest and oval versions from both Birmingham and later Nottingham.

http://tinyurl.com/bu36ufo
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Old 03-27-13, 06:42 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
It's been my experience that Hercules had reissues of both headbadges and cranksets from both Nottingham and Birmingham.

Here's an image search showing a whole array of versions for both crest and oval versions from both Birmingham and later Nottingham.

http://tinyurl.com/bu36ufo
You may be right based on what I know about them. The one thing I can say about them is that they were consistently inconsistent over time. It is unfortunate that they are not as well-documented as their Raleigh counterparts as they are quite durable and nice machines.
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Old 03-28-13, 04:08 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by photogravity View Post
I'm pretty sure this is from the 1940's, the more I think about it. Between the chainring with Hercules spelled out on it and the round headbadge, it looks like it's too early to be from the 1950's. It's a shame it doesn't have an IGH or we'd stand a better chance at figuring out the age on this.
Single speed freewheel, need to check the hub...again. From what I recall no markings other than branding. It has the solid rear drop outs, similar to LDB's bike.

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Old 03-28-13, 04:33 AM
  #38  
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Aaron, great picture of the headbadge! It's as nice looking and as interesting as I remember.
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Old 03-28-13, 05:36 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Single speed freewheel, need to check the hub...again. From what I recall no markings other than branding. It has the solid rear drop outs, similar to LDB's bike.

Aaron
Since you say it has the later style drops, I'll change my mind and say mid- to late-1950's. Keeping in mind what clubman mentioned about Hercules re-issuing parts, that seems reasonable. Also, the brass headbadge and vertical Hercules lettering on the seattube would be indicative of a later production bicycle.
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Old 03-28-13, 06:36 AM
  #40  
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I would agree and say later production: mid-late 1950s. Clubman's comment about learning your own repairs is spot on. Mechanics who can really dig into these and do a proper job are the exception rather than the rule at local bike shops. Begin with Sheldon Brown's webpages as a starting point. The forum here is helpful as well, if you hit something not covered in the Sheldon Brown pages or similar sites. Everyone hits something weird or different from time to time, so even the veteran mechanics are still learning tricks to fix these bikes.
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Old 03-28-13, 06:12 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by photogravity View Post
Since you say it has the later style drops, I'll change my mind and say mid- to late-1950's. Keeping in mind what clubman mentioned about Hercules re-issuing parts, that seems reasonable. Also, the brass headbadge and vertical Hercules lettering on the seattube would be indicative of a later production bicycle.
My best guess has been 1954 +/- a couple. Still haven't managed to find it in any catalogs.

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Old 03-28-13, 06:34 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
My best guess has been 1954 +/- a couple. Still haven't managed to find it in any catalogs.

Aaron
That's an entirely reasonable estimate of the year. As I dig through the 16 years (1948 to 1963) of CTC Gazettes I recently received, I'll keep my eyes out for it or something like it. There are a goodly number of Hercules ads in them.
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Old 06-14-19, 12:37 AM
  #43  
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My 1953 Hercules Royal Prince

I found this bike on OfferUp. It was only 12 miles from my home. The seller thought the bike was worth its' weight in gold! He did nothing to the bike and it had a blown out front tire, two linkes in the chain that were seased, worn out front axel bearing races, faded paint, missing the complete front brake, missing a kick stand, missing the rear chainguard bracket, one pedal was missing its' dust cap, rusted out cables, scratches, chips and rusty rims. He was asking $200 for the bike as-is and when I told him that the bike was not worth $200 in its current condition, he lowered his price to $160 and I purchased it. I know that I over paid for the bike, considering all the work and parts that the bike needed. However, I had to have it! The photo below shows its' current condition. I spent 2 1/2 days doing all the repairs and a major tune up that the bike needed and replaced a lot of the parts with NOS parts that I already had.

I have put 10 miles on the bike since its' overhaul and it rides great! The bike is not finished, as I plan to add a few more accessories.



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Old 06-14-19, 04:26 AM
  #44  
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We 3 speeders tend to be a thrifty bunch, but I don't think you over paid. Personally, I place extra value on 1950s versions. Especially Birmingham made Hercs over the later Raleigh rebranded ones. Have you tried polishing compound on the paint? Sometimes polishing and wax will restore a surprising amount of luster to faded enamel.
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Old 06-16-19, 08:35 PM
  #45  
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I will take your advice and apply rubbing compound to the paint and see if the paint's lusture returns. I have ordered a reproduction Hercules Royal Prince sticker for the chainguard. It will be arriving soon from RedBubble.com and that will help the looks of the bike a lot. Additionally, I have ordered tan colored pannier bags and a matching tan triangle bag that goes within the bikes "V" portion of the frame from an e-bay seller in China. Since this bike is a keeper, I do not regret spending any additional money on my bike. I also want to add Schwalbe creme collored tires to the bike. Currently, the bike is 99% rust free and I am ridding this bike 3 times a week. Each time I ride, I add extra miles to my ride.

Thanks,

Arnie

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Old 06-17-19, 04:22 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by usarnie1 View Post
I will take your advice and apply rubbing compound to the paint and see if the paint's lusture returns. I have ordered a reproduction Hercules Royal Prince sticker for the chainguard. It will be arriving soon from RedBubble.com and that will help the looks of the bike a lot. Additionally, I have ordered tan colored pannier bags and a matching tan triangle bag that goes within the bikes "V" portion of the frame from an e-bay seller in China. Since this bike is a keeper, I do not regret spending any additional money on my bike. I also want to add Schwalbe creme collored tires to the bike. Currently, the bike is 99% rust free and I am ridding this bike 3 times a week. Each time I ride, I add extra miles to my ride.

Thanks,

Arnie
Post some pictures over at the For the love of English 3 speeds thread. That's where us old English bike fans hang out. In fact, if you have before and after pics, post them too. We love to see projects come along. Not long ago, a member posted a video on rebuilding these Hercules hubs. It's an older Sturmey Archer design so a bit different than the usual AW hub.
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