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-   -   For the love of English 3 speeds... (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=623699)

2cam16 12-05-16 03:09 PM

I'll play. :) Just got this today for $10 on CL. If anyone can help me figure out the year of this bike, I'd greatly appreciate it! Even if just a ballpark of year range.Thanks!
http://i65.tinypic.com/2dt2bv7.jpg
http://i67.tinypic.com/34dh5yf.jpg
http://i68.tinypic.com/4g6vck.jpg
http://i68.tinypic.com/hsq3iv.jpg
http://i63.tinypic.com/2llcc39.jpg

Salubrious 12-05-16 03:45 PM

As always, the date best used is stamped on the rear hub.

2cam16 12-05-16 04:16 PM

Wasn't aware of that,thanks. It says 62 then an 8 spaced separately.

JohnDThompson 12-05-16 04:29 PM


Originally Posted by 2cam16 (Post 19233673)
Wasn't aware of that,thanks. It says 62 then an 8 spaced separately.

That would indicate that the hub was made in August 1962. Assuming it's the original wheel, that puts a high-end on the age of the bike. Cosmetics are consistent with an early 60s bike, so likely a 1962 model.

2cam16 12-05-16 04:43 PM


Originally Posted by JohnDThompson (Post 19233705)
That would indicate that the hub was made in August 1962. Assuming it's the original wheel, that puts a high-end on the age of the bike. Cosmetics are consistent with an early 60s bike, so likely a 1962 model.

Awesome. Thanks John!

BigChief 12-05-16 08:39 PM


Originally Posted by SirMike1983 (Post 19232013)
Yeah, the earlier ones (before the 1960s) are very uncommon in that larger size (though the catalogs say they made them). I would certainly hold out for a 1964 or earlier bike (blade front fender models). I guess that's like Raleigh in some ways, but Schwinn degraded in a number of ways over the years, from high-quality 3-speeds meant for serious riders, to heavy campus/newspaper route type bikes that were durable, but really did not perform well.

Other brands had tall frames: Dayton, Colson, and Westfield/Columbia. As a matter of fact, someone very recently uncovered a WWII-era tall frame Dayton over at the CABE.


http://thecabe.com/forum/attachments..._n-jpg.389277/


These makers all seemed to model their "lightweights" (as opposed to balloon tire cruisers) off of English designs. In fact, the cottered Schwinn bottom bracket I re-built on that red bike had interchangeable parts with Birmingham Hercules stuff. The adjustable cup and lock ring on the bike are Hercules, and the spindle is from a Phillips.

That is the only Schwinn cottered crank I have ever seen! I'm convinced that production of American lightweight, diamond framed bikes was actually quite low even if they are featured in period catalogs. My hobby with this style bike started in the late 60s. I had a job at a Schwinn/Raleigh dealer during the summers of 69-70. Even when I started riding 10 speed road bikes, I kept my interest in the old 3 speeds. So this has been years and years of attending auctions, flea markets yard sales and junk day tours. I couldn't even guess how many old English bikes have passed through my hands over the years. And in all that time, the only American bike that has ever come home with me is that Westfield framed Elgin I showed you a while back. True, I am discounting the 60s and 70s Racers and such. I've only lately given in to later Raleighs. 1950s cantilever framed Schwinn bikes are still common, but the early lightweights like you have in your collection seem to be exceedingly rare.

wahoonc 12-06-16 05:35 AM


Originally Posted by thumpism (Post 19231630)
Here's something local but it may not be to your taste. Might not be 23" and it's not cheap. Let me know if you want me to keep looking.

Vintage Schwinn 3 speed bike

Vintage Schwinn 3 speed bike - $200

https://images.craigslist.org/00e0e_...pb_600x450.jpg

condition: good
make / manufacturer: Schwinn
model name / number: Suburban
size / dimensions: 3 speed


Vintage Schwinn Suburban 3 speed bike in good condition.

Based on the length of the head tube I would say that is a 21"...

Aaron:)

bazil4696 12-06-16 09:22 AM

[QUOTE=2cam16;19233526]I'll play. :) Just got this today for $10 on CL. If anyone can help me figure out the year of this bike, I'd greatly appreciate it! Even if just a ballpark of year range.Thanks!

All indicators look as though it was made by Raleigh for Huffy.
(fender shape, fender bolt location on rear dropouts, brake handles, crank, and the "Made in England" stickers are good clues for a sleuth like me!)

A good score for 10 bucks!

2cam16 12-06-16 11:09 AM

Thanks bazil!

clubman 12-06-16 12:00 PM

[QUOTE=bazil4696;19234874]

Originally Posted by 2cam16 (Post 19233526)
I'll play. :) Just got this today for $10 on CL. If anyone can help me figure out the year of this bike, I'd greatly appreciate it!

A good score for 10 bucks!

Can't see it?

adventurepdx 12-06-16 04:30 PM


Originally Posted by SirMike1983 (Post 19232013)
I guess that's like Raleigh in some ways, but Schwinn degraded in a number of ways over the years, from high-quality 3-speeds meant for serious riders, to heavy campus/newspaper route type bikes that were durable, but really did not perform well.

From my understanding, a lot of it had to do with Schwinn going the way of "lifetime warranty" on frames as a way to get a leg up over the Huffys and Roadmasters in the American market. And the way they did that was by developing the Electro-forging process of framebuilding to guarantee a frame that would most likely not break. The positive of that was these frames will probably outlive the apocalypse or whatever. The negative was they were heavy and "dead" feeling. So when lighter bikes really came on the scene in the 70's, Schwinn couldn't compete, especially since it would have been prohibitively expensive to retool the Chicago factory to make mass-scale lighter frames.

noglider 12-06-16 04:38 PM


Originally Posted by adventurepdx (Post 19236003)
So when lighter bikes really came on the scene in the 70's, Schwinn couldn't compete, especially since it would have been prohibitively expensive to retool the Chicago factory to make mass-scale lighter frames.

Would it really have been prohibitively expensive? Or did they just hope that their investment would keep paying off? A lot of people and companies fall for the fallacy of sunk cost.

adventurepdx 12-06-16 04:48 PM


Originally Posted by noglider (Post 19236027)
Would it really have been prohibitively expensive? Or did they just hope that their investment would keep paying off? A lot of people and companies fall for the fallacy of sunk cost.

I don't know. It's been awhile since I read a history of Schwinn book. And I am no Schwinn expert (if you are, feel free to chime in and correct me or somesuch.) But what I gathered was:
  • By the 70's, Schwinn's management was pretty conservative and no longer innovating. Not only did Schwinn fail to see trends like BMX and MTB emerging, (trends they inadvertently have a hand in creating), they were actively against them for a bit, seeing them as faddish and dangerous. They may have had the attitude of "let's wait for this lightweight bicycle nonsense to blow over."
  • The electro-forging equipment was indeed expensive and to replace it would have cost a lot of $$. And they probably would have tried to pass this along to the employees ("We'll have to cut benefits/pay to pay for this new equipment") who were pretty disgruntled and would eventually strike in the early 80's.

adventurepdx 12-06-16 05:00 PM


Originally Posted by thumpism (Post 19231630)
Here's something local but it may not be to your taste. Might not be 23" and it's not cheap. Let me know if you want me to keep looking.

Vintage Schwinn 3 speed bike

Vintage Schwinn 3 speed bike - $200

https://images.craigslist.org/00e0e_...pb_600x450.jpg

condition: good
make / manufacturer: Schwinn
model name / number: Suburban
size / dimensions: 3 speed


Vintage Schwinn Suburban 3 speed bike in good condition.

From scanning the catalogs, this looks like a 1970 or 71. Schwinn offered a three speed Suburban sporadically through the years: 70/71, a one off in 79 (which would have had different lettering) and then 91/92/93 when it was ONLY offered as a three speed. (I didn't know they did that!)

2cam16 12-06-16 06:12 PM

[QUOTE=clubman;19235274]

Originally Posted by bazil4696 (Post 19234874)

Can't see it?

Huh?

SirMike1983 12-06-16 09:54 PM

More than the guarantee, I think two facts killed the wider production of fillet brazed 3 speed Schwinns after WWII and by the early 1950s: lack of adult bike market and lower costs of electroforge welding.

I will probably put up a blog post about what to look for in a Schwinn 3 speed because I've had people email me and ask about it several times in the past year (maybe these bikes are catching on?). But it's afield from truly English bikes in the topic at that point, so maybe the blog is a better venue.

On a more English note, I have to rebuild this FG hub this winter

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mNsl-gKGg...002_145006.jpg

clubman 12-07-16 06:29 AM

[QUOTE=2cam16;19236247]

Originally Posted by clubman (Post 19235274)
Huh?

My bad...looking the wrong way. Cool Huffy. Great price

adventurepdx 12-07-16 01:09 PM


Originally Posted by SirMike1983 (Post 19236599)
More than the guarantee, I think two facts killed the wider production of fillet brazed 3 speed Schwinns after WWII and by the early 1950s: lack of adult bike market and lower costs of electroforge welding.

I will probably put up a blog post about what to look for in a Schwinn 3 speed because I've had people email me and ask about it several times in the past year (maybe these bikes are catching on?). But it's afield from truly English bikes in the topic at that point, so maybe the blog is a better venue.

I would DEFINITELY read a blog post about what to look for in a Schwinn 3 speed!

It's interesting that Schwinn never considered lugged frames for mass production. They only lugged the Paramounts, and those were pretty much hand made. What if they did go the lugged route rather than electroforging?

Though ironically enough, when Schwinn stopped most US production in the 80's, you COULD get a lugged three speed!* Besides that early 90's Suburban I mentioned, the 80's Collegiates were lugged (most likely made by Giant in Taiwan) and had a three speed hub (Shimano.) In fact, an 80's Collegiate was the first three speed I owned! I had one from 2002-4, though don't have any photos of it. Here's a catalog image from 1985:

http://bikecatalogs.org/SCHWINN/1985...1985Ltwt25.JPG

*I realize that some of the early Paramounts had a three speed option, so yeah, a three speed lugged Schwinn there.

BigChief 12-07-16 02:32 PM

It might not only be the welded construction of the later Schwinn bikes but also the steel they used that may contribute to the different feel of riding them. No science here, but the oldtimer I learned much from back in the day once told me that Schwinns used regular 1018 steel and the Raleigh 2030 steel was harder and springier.

desconhecido 12-07-16 02:57 PM


Originally Posted by adventurepdx (Post 19236053)
I don't know. It's been awhile since I read a history of Schwinn book. And I am no Schwinn expert (if you are, feel free to chime in and correct me or somesuch.) But what I gathered was:
  • By the 70's, Schwinn's management was pretty conservative and no longer innovating. Not only did Schwinn fail to see trends like BMX and MTB emerging, (trends they inadvertently have a hand in creating), they were actively against them for a bit, seeing them as faddish and dangerous. They may have had the attitude of "let's wait for this lightweight bicycle nonsense to blow over."
  • The electro-forging equipment was indeed expensive and to replace it would have cost a lot of $$. And they probably would have tried to pass this along to the employees ("We'll have to cut benefits/pay to pay for this new equipment") who were pretty disgruntled and would eventually strike in the early 80's.

Schwinn eventually failed not only because they didn't adapt to changes quickly. Management was guilty of a myriad of financial sins: extravagant management perks and compensation and "profit" payments to Schwinn family members that could not be justified, among them. Also, even though the Schwinn company had made boatloads of money over the years, they financed company operations through very expensive lines of credit. Someone said, "neither a borrower nor a lender be," but when the ship hits the sand, the borrower ends up with nothing and the lender gets the remainder.

A couple business journalists wrote a book about Schwinn: Crown, Judith, and Coleman, Glenn, No Hands: The Rise and Fall of the Schwinn Bicycle Company, An American Institution

It was available from our local library so I read it about 10 or 15 years ago. It's a very sad story.

thumpism 12-08-16 07:41 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I was on the way back from running the dog at a local park this evening when I spotted a familiar shape in front of a little antique shop so pulled a U-ie to go back and check. It was a Triumph, probably a 21" frame and fairly plain. I've never seen a hub shell with such light stamping; the only thing I could read was the "ENGLA" and saw some faint lines otherwise. Nothing exceptional but the $50 price tag and the...um, interesting...cable pulley arrangement on the seat post (not on the seat tube, on the seat post). Nice little bike for someone if it could be gotten for less.
Attachment 545377

Attachment 545378

desconhecido 12-08-16 07:53 PM


Originally Posted by thumpism (Post 19240385)
I was on the way back from running the dog at a local park this evening when I spotted a familiar shape in front of a little antique shop so pulled a U-ie to go back and check. It was a Triumph, probably a 21" frame and fairly plain. I've never seen a hub shell with such light stamping; the only thing I could read was the "ENGLA" and saw some faint lines otherwise. Nothing exceptional but the $50 price tag and the...um, interesting...cable pulley arrangement on the seat post (not on the seat tube, on the seat post). Nice little bike for someone if it could be gotten for less.

It's a nice looking bike. It's worth it just for that extra length stem. Perused the Sturmey Archer historical pages some time ago and they have catalog pages from long ago. Apparently, they did offer an extra long stem though the details escape me. Or, could be someone with a death wish.

If someone is looking for a Sports or closely related bike (like I assume this Triumph is), that bike for $50 isn't too bad, is it? All the sheet metal is there and doesn't look all torn up, doesn't look like a rust bucket.

Loose Chain 12-08-16 09:38 PM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 19237797)
It might not only be the welded construction of the later Schwinn bikes but also the steel they used that may contribute to the different feel of riding them. No science here, but the oldtimer I learned much from back in the day once told me that Schwinns used regular 1018 steel and the Raleigh 2030 steel was harder and springier.

The Schwinn I gave top the bike co-op shop, when I say it was a dull ride, that is what I mean, the Raleigh, by comparison, has more spring in it's step, a more lively feel. The Schwinn was just dead. I did not like the department store cranks either. I did pull the non OEM lights, rack from it for re(bi)cycling on a real E3S.

Salubrious 12-09-16 11:33 AM


Originally Posted by thumpism (Post 19240385)
I was on the way back from running the dog at a local park this evening when I spotted a familiar shape in front of a little antique shop so pulled a U-ie to go back and check. It was a Triumph, probably a 21" frame and fairly plain. I've never seen a hub shell with such light stamping; the only thing I could read was the "ENGLA" and saw some faint lines otherwise. Nothing exceptional but the $50 price tag and the...um, interesting...cable pulley arrangement on the seat post (not on the seat tube, on the seat post). Nice little bike for someone if it could be gotten for less.
Attachment 545377

Attachment 545378

You can see where the pulley used to reside on the seat tube. Probably someone didn't know about the fulcrum stop at the front of the top tube.

BigChief 12-10-16 05:03 AM

That looks like a good deal at $50. That may be a dangerously over extended 5 1/2" stem. Hard to say from the picture. I have never seen an extra length standard Raleigh steel stem. Would love to find one though. I always wondered if a long Raleigh 20 stem could be converted into a wedge bolt mount. Yup, the fulcrum clip is way too far back on the top tube. Who ever put the cable on didn't put much thought into the job.

thumpism 12-10-16 07:55 AM

Guys, I'm not interested in this Triumph for myself. In fact, I'm considering buying myself the previously mentioned Swiss Concord 3-speed as an early Christmas present and am already getting seriously crowded. I do intend to go back and check the stem length on the bike and will report back so one of you can decide to pursue it or not.

dweenk 12-10-16 02:16 PM


Originally Posted by thumpism (Post 19242833)
Guys, I'm not interested in this Triumph for myself. In fact, I'm considering buying myself the previously mentioned Swiss Concord 3-speed as an early Christmas present and am already getting seriously crowded. I do intend to go back and check the stem length on the bike and will report back so one of you can decide to pursue it or not.

Is there an "Old 3 Speeds Home' in Richmond? I've seen more of these on CL there than anywhere in the region, and I have bought two through a facilitator friend. Oh - decently priced as well.

thumpism 12-10-16 02:48 PM

4 Attachment(s)
It runs deeper than that and can probably best be explained by having you read the first few chapters of Tom Robbins's second novel "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues." Heroine Sissy Hankshaw hails from Richmond and her early life here is described, as well as some thoughts on the city itself. Robbins was on the newspaper here before his career as a novelist. Anyway, in addition to a very large and still growing university or two or three, there is a strong Anglophile character to the place going back to Colonial days but, as the author pointed out in the book, "...Richmond longs to wear England's pants, not get into them." Prime conditions for the existence and survival of old English bicycles and cars.

That said, I took my trusty Snap-On Whitworth wrenches and went back to inspect the Triumph further. Still could not spot a date code on the SA rear hub but yanked the stem and it appears to be a lowly, standard length item. As I mentioned before, unexceptional. It was being run way too high for safety so when I reinserted the stem I made sure it was at a safer height. It does still have the original Raleigh Record tires in display (if not in riding) condition. The rear rim is severely corroded while the front sparkles. The shop owner says she can't come down further on the price and that the bike's owner (consignment, evidently) is pissed that she already came down $25 from the original $75. Some more pix.
Attachment 545480

Attachment 545481

Attachment 545482

Attachment 545483

dweenk 12-10-16 03:56 PM

^^^ I have read that book and a few others of Robbin's as well. I am afraid to ask what a set of Whitworths from Snap-On cost. I bought mine from India. It took 2 months to get them through customs, but the quality is good.

thumpism 12-10-16 04:43 PM


Originally Posted by dweenk (Post 19243507)
^^^ I have read that book and a few others of Robbin's as well. I am afraid to ask what a set of Whitworths from Snap-On cost. I bought mine from India. It took 2 months to get them through customs, but the quality is good.

My two came from the shop I used to work in. When the place closed down in the early '00s it was the only thing I really wanted as a reminder of the place. I also could have grabbed the "oldest existing inventory," the white plastic Mafac guidonnet levers with alloy bodies but figured I might actually might have use for the wrenches. Don't recall what I paid but it was obviously not prohibitive.


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