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

arex 07-12-16 07:37 PM


Originally Posted by gster (Post 18908011)
I'd buy that right away if I lived close by.

I'd be all over it, if I didn't already have so much on my plate.

dweenk 07-13-16 11:22 AM

Two weeks ago I told my wife that I was not buying another bike until I got rid of 4 or 5. Today she called to say that she had bought 2 Peugeouts while on a jaunt with a friend. Go figure.

She called. The total was $26.

BigChief 07-14-16 07:35 PM

1 Attachment(s)
My DL-1 project is hung up on a faulty left rear stirrup guide. The stirrup holds the break pads and acts as a spring to return the linkage to off position. Somehow, they bent the guide fork a good 3/16" out from where it should be, so the brake pad gets located too far to the left. This brake could have never functioned properly. I suppose I could shim the pad out until it was in the correct position, but that seems too hambone for something as important as a brake. Next option would be to re-cold forge it. Might weaken the steel. Or...A guy in England sells parts from Eastman India that look like they would work. I can't imagine how this part could get produced this way. Fixtures don't make mistakes...well maybe in 1970s Nottingham they found a way :eek:

markk900 07-15-16 04:36 AM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 18913157)
My DL-1 project is hung up on a faulty left rear stirrup guide. The stirrup holds the break pads and acts as a spring to return the linkage to off position. Somehow, they bent the guide fork a good 3/16" out from where it should be, so the brake pad gets located too far to the left. This brake could have never functioned properly. I suppose I could shim the pad out until it was in the correct position, but that seems too hambone for something as important as a brake. Next option would be to re-cold forge it. Might weaken the steel. Or...A guy in England sells parts from Eastman India that look like they would work. I can't imagine how this part could get produced this way. Fixtures don't make mistakes...well maybe in 1970s Nottingham they found a way :eek:

FWIW: I wouldn't hesitate to bend that back that small amount and use it. If I understand it's function correctly, it's a guide and had little strain on it anyway. But i have not worked on rod brakes so I am only going by the picture. Still, it's steel, and should survive a small tweak back into position.

cycleheimer 07-15-16 04:46 AM

I have a 3-speed made by Raleigh in 1958. The original owner was probably middle-aged when they bought it new. It had a nice protective layer of dirt and grime on it when I got it. Cleaned up very, very nicely. The wheels spin true. Everything needed oiling, but worked. The thing that really amazed me was the tires. They appear to be the original Dunlop's, and they still look great. I don't know if the tubes are original, but they hold their air better than the ones on my other bikes. This bike sat for years! Probably hadn't seen real use since the Nixon years. It seems really well built. I am glad I was able to add it to my collection.

BigChief 07-15-16 07:13 AM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by markk900 (Post 18913623)
FWIW: I wouldn't hesitate to bend that back that small amount and use it. If I understand it's function correctly, it's a guide and had little strain on it anyway. But i have not worked on rod brakes so I am only going by the picture. Still, it's steel, and should survive a small tweak back into position.

Yeah, you were right. I needn't have worried. It's made of mild steel, very malleable, didn't even wreck the plating. I hammered it flat, chucked it in the bench vise and used a punch and hammer to reform it correctly. The stirrup is now much more centered in the frame and any adjustments I make with washers will be minor. These brakes are fussy. One part out of wack throws the whole system out of balance.

BigChief 07-15-16 09:21 AM


Originally Posted by cycleheimer (Post 18913633)
I have a 3-speed made by Raleigh in 1958. The original owner was probably middle-aged when they bought it new. It had a nice protective layer of dirt and grime on it when I got it. Cleaned up very, very nicely. The wheels spin true. Everything needed oiling, but worked. The thing that really amazed me was the tires. They appear to be the original Dunlop's, and they still look great. I don't know if the tubes are original, but they hold their air better than the ones on my other bikes. This bike sat for years! Probably hadn't seen real use since the Nixon years. It seems really well built. I am glad I was able to add it to my collection.

If I could only have one 3 speed, it would be a Raleigh product from the late 50s. I think it was a high point in the evolution of the design and quality of construction.

dweenk 07-15-16 01:42 PM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 18913806)
Yeah, you were right. I needn't have worried. It's made of mild steel, very malleable, didn't even wreck the plating. I hammered it flat, chucked it in the bench vise and used a punch and hammer to reform it correctly. The stirrup is now much more centered in the frame and any adjustments I make with washers will be minor. These brakes are fussy. One part out of wack throws the whole system out of balance.

There are a few parts available from this vendor http://flyingpigeonla.myshopify.com/ he sells Chinese Flying Pigeon bikes. His parts are affordable.

noglider 07-15-16 04:02 PM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 18914140)
If I could only have one 3 speed, it would be a Raleigh product from the late 50s. I think it was a high point in the evolution of the design and quality of construction.

I agree.

SirMike1983 07-15-16 10:31 PM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 18914140)
If I could only have one 3 speed, it would be a Raleigh product from the late 50s. I think it was a high point in the evolution of the design and quality of construction.

I do think that was their high point. I have several Raleighs: 1948, 1958, 1969, 1974, 1978. The 1958 is the highest quality. The 1948 is well-made, but certainly more primitive and less well designed in some small respects. The black out parts also seem more prone to rust than the 1950s-era plated ones. There were a number of small changes, many of them good. The only major flaw to those mid and late 1950s Raleighs were those SW hubs. Swap one to an AW or FW and you have a really well-made bicycle.

My view is that Schwinn made a higher quality 3 speed than Raleigh prior to the mid-1950s (going back to 1939). Raleigh quality climbed in the 1950s, whereas Schwinn's was more or less flat, then declined in the 1960s.

Most of the bikes that turn up are 1964 and later models. We do see some earlier ones, but the common stuff is mid-1960s and later. By then, Raleigh was the better 3 speed. People always picture the sort of clunky, uninspiring 1970s Schwinn 3 speeds without remembering that from the late 30s to mid 50s, Schwinn made some really killer 3 speeds.

If I could have ANY one three speed, it would be the 1940s Schwinn Superior or Continental tourist.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kLAoxZkuSR...E/s400/010.JPG

PalmettoUpstate 07-16-16 06:09 PM

2 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by SirMike1983 (Post 18915736)
I do think that was their high point. I have several Raleighs: 1948, 1958, 1969, 1974, 1978. The 1958 is the highest quality. The 1948 is well-made, but certainly more primitive and less well designed in some small respects. The black out parts also seem more prone to rust than the 1950s-era plated ones. There were a number of small changes, many of them good. The only major flaw to those mid and late 1950s Raleighs were those SW hubs. Swap one to an AW or FW and you have a really well-made bicycle.

My view is that Schwinn made a higher quality 3 speed than Raleigh prior to the mid-1950s (going back to 1939). Raleigh quality climbed in the 1950s, whereas Schwinn's was more or less flat, then declined in the 1960s.

Most of the bikes that turn up are 1964 and later models. We do see some earlier ones, but the common stuff is mid-1960s and later. By then, Raleigh was the better 3 speed. People always picture the sort of clunky, uninspiring 1970s Schwinn 3 speeds without remembering that from the late 30s to mid 50s, Schwinn made some really killer 3 speeds.

If I could have ANY one three speed, it would be the 1940s Schwinn Superior or Continental tourist.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kLAoxZkuSR...E/s400/010.JPG

Coincidentally I just brought this home from the farm today. I think it was given to me and I was simply going to pirate the oem and in good shape rear reflector but when I took a closer look I realized that there might be something pretty cool under the flaky green paint... Has a '66 SA AW hub...

gster 07-17-16 08:03 AM

1 Attachment(s)
She told me that she'd gotten the bike from a friend's grandmother and once I started to clean it up I believe her. One clue is the trigger in the flattened position as shipped from the factory. Also the cables and clips are all original and the paint is cleaning up nicely.



Picked this one up today for a reasonable $100.00 (CDN). The young lady I bought from was moving and wants to buy something more modern.





The tires were replaced last year and the mechanic had put the front wheel on backwards as the bearing adjuster had backed out quite a bit.

Not sure what I'm going to do with this but I'm sure it will find a good home.

bike show 2016.png

BigChief 07-17-16 08:06 AM


Originally Posted by SirMike1983 (Post 18915736)
I do think that was their high point. I have several Raleighs: 1948, 1958, 1969, 1974, 1978. The 1958 is the highest quality. The 1948 is well-made, but certainly more primitive and less well designed in some small respects. The black out parts also seem more prone to rust than the 1950s-era plated ones. There were a number of small changes, many of them good. The only major flaw to those mid and late 1950s Raleighs were those SW hubs. Swap one to an AW or FW and you have a really well-made bicycle.

My view is that Schwinn made a higher quality 3 speed than Raleigh prior to the mid-1950s (going back to 1939). Raleigh quality climbed in the 1950s, whereas Schwinn's was more or less flat, then declined in the 1960s.

Most of the bikes that turn up are 1964 and later models. We do see some earlier ones, but the common stuff is mid-1960s and later. By then, Raleigh was the better 3 speed. People always picture the sort of clunky, uninspiring 1970s Schwinn 3 speeds without remembering that from the late 30s to mid 50s, Schwinn made some really killer 3 speeds.

If I could have ANY one three speed, it would be the 1940s Schwinn Superior or Continental tourist.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kLAoxZkuSR...E/s400/010.JPG

QUOTE=SirMike1983;18915736]I do think that was their high point. I have several Raleighs: 1948, 1958, 1969, 1974, 1978. The 1958 is the highest quality. The 1948 is well-made, but certainly more primitive and less well designed in some small respects. The black out parts also seem more prone to rust than the 1950s-era plated ones. There were a number of small changes, many of them good. The only major flaw to those mid and late 1950s Raleighs were those SW hubs. Swap one to an AW or FW and you have a really well-made bicycle.

My view is that Schwinn made a higher quality 3 speed than Raleigh prior to the mid-1950s (going back to 1939). Raleigh quality climbed in the 1950s, whereas Schwinn's was more or less flat, then declined in the 1960s.

Most of the bikes that turn up are 1964 and later models. We do see some earlier ones, but the common stuff is mid-1960s and later. By then, Raleigh was the better 3 speed. People always picture the sort of clunky, uninspiring 1970s Schwinn 3 speeds without remembering that from the late 30s to mid 50s, Schwinn made some really killer 3 speeds.

If I could have ANY one three speed, it would be the 1940s Schwinn Superior or Continental tourist.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kLAoxZkuSR...E/s400/010.JPG[/QUOTE]

Schwinn did make some great bikes. Even those designed to be indestructible kids bikes were quality products. Unfortunately, the good lightweights are rare today because they never sold many of them. When I was a kid in the late 50s and early 60s, it was rare to see an adult riding a bike. Bicycles were for kids and motorcycles were for scruffy outlaws. It took motorcyclists years to shake that image. One oldtimer I spoke to told me that riding bicycles was associated with the depression years and people were anxious to put that behind them after the war.
Unlike England and Europe, bikes weren't necessary. Even when the English bikes were being imported, they were still bought mainly by younger people who ditched them as soon as they could afford a car. It wasn't until the late 60s that a market for adult bicycles started to take off in America. In all my years of bike hunting, I have found exactly one earlier American lightweight at a flee market in the 70s. That's this Elgin. I have asked about it, but can find no catalog reference to it anywhere. It sure wasn't a big seller. I'd love to find a 50s New World, but so far, I haven't. Rare as hen's teeth as they say.
http://i536.photobucket.com/albums/f...h/Elgin001.jpg

nlerner 07-17-16 11:15 AM

I made enough progress on my DL-1 project to at least take it for a test ride and some pics:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-q...0/IMG_0585.JPG

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-q...0/IMG_0586.JPG

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8...0/IMG_0587.JPG

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-N...0/IMG_0588.JPG

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/--...0/IMG_0590.JPG

And a before pic:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-z...0/IMG_0361.JPG

A few observations:
--Only one gear seems to work, so I'll need to sort that out.
--The pedals are mismatched, which you can see well in the last pic. Hah!
--That saddle is actually reasonably comfortable.
--I fabricated that upper seat tube band decal from a bunch of stuff I had around. Not an exact match to the original lower, but close. I also popped in a replacement rear reflector lens and super-glued the torn rubber to hold it.
--The rear brake works great, the front not so much. I've looked at a variety of pics online to see if the shoes are oriented toward the front (as I have mine) or closer to the crown. I've seen both and might try the crown orientation and get them a bit closer to the rim to see if that helps.
--The ride is really smooth based on a couple of times around the block. I wouldn't do a century on this bike, so for in-town riding, it feels good.
--The wooden grips were a recent gift from a friend. They're kind of cool.

w1gfh 07-17-16 11:31 AM


When I was a kid in the late 50s and early 60s, it was rare to see an adult riding a bike. Bicycles were for kids
Very true. Nobody really talked about (or thought about) why this was the rule. But as I recall, it was an unspoken understanding. When I was around 14, I just stopped riding my bike. Places I formerly rode my bike to, I now walked to, or (gasp!) hitchhiked. Same with my friends. It could be we were trying to emulate older teenagers, and they didn't ride bikes.

BigChief 07-17-16 01:04 PM

@nlerner, looking great! I pressed in salmon cool stop inserts in mine. I'll report back after a road test. Waiting for tires right now. I was surprised how well they work on my steel rimmed sprite. Every bit as good in the dry as Fibrax IMO. I'm rooting for your success with the S5. The right side medium ratios really make my Sprite a pleasant ride, I'd bet it would be an even bigger asset on a roadster. And, the left side granny is even lower than 1st on the AW. An added benefit on a bigger bike. Good job!

SirMike1983 07-17-16 01:50 PM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 18917703)
QUOTE=SirMike1983;18915736]I do think that was their high point. I have several Raleighs: 1948, 1958, 1969, 1974, 1978. The 1958 is the highest quality. The 1948 is well-made, but certainly more primitive and less well designed in some small respects. The black out parts also seem more prone to rust than the 1950s-era plated ones. There were a number of small changes, many of them good. The only major flaw to those mid and late 1950s Raleighs were those SW hubs. Swap one to an AW or FW and you have a really well-made bicycle.

My view is that Schwinn made a higher quality 3 speed than Raleigh prior to the mid-1950s (going back to 1939). Raleigh quality climbed in the 1950s, whereas Schwinn's was more or less flat, then declined in the 1960s.

Most of the bikes that turn up are 1964 and later models. We do see some earlier ones, but the common stuff is mid-1960s and later. By then, Raleigh was the better 3 speed. People always picture the sort of clunky, uninspiring 1970s Schwinn 3 speeds without remembering that from the late 30s to mid 50s, Schwinn made some really killer 3 speeds.

If I could have ANY one three speed, it would be the 1940s Schwinn Superior or Continental tourist.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_kLAoxZkuSR...E/s400/010.JPG

Schwinn did make some great bikes. Even those designed to be indestructible kids bikes were quality products. Unfortunately, the good lightweights are rare today because they never sold many of them. When I was a kid in the late 50s and early 60s, it was rare to see an adult riding a bike. Bicycles were for kids and motorcycles were for scruffy outlaws. It took motorcyclists years to shake that image. One oldtimer I spoke to told me that riding bicycles was associated with the depression years and people were anxious to put that behind them after the war.
Unlike England and Europe, bikes weren't necessary. Even when the English bikes were being imported, they were still bought mainly by younger people who ditched them as soon as they could afford a car. It wasn't until the late 60s that a market for adult bicycles started to take off in America. In all my years of bike hunting, I have found exactly one earlier American lightweight at a flee market in the 70s. That's this Elgin. I have asked about it, but can find no catalog reference to it anywhere. It sure wasn't a big seller. I'd love to find a 50s New World, but so far, I haven't. Rare as hen's teeth as they say.
http://i536.photobucket.com/albums/f...h/Elgin001.jpg[/QUOTE]

I believe that is a re-branded Westfield Sports Roadster bike made for Sears (Elgin). It's from the 1940s. It has a special, keyed-type bottom bracket set instead of a pin from the look of it. They're nice bikes. Yours might be a Victory model given the black out components and that paint scheme.

Here's a 1939-40 model with the Westfield badge:

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-72cp6zj8N...618_163122.jpg

Someone added a Philco add-on brake to the front of mine.

gster 07-17-16 01:52 PM


Originally Posted by nlerner (Post 18918058)
I made enough progress on my DL-1 project to at least take it for a test ride and some pics:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-q...0/IMG_0585.JPG

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-q...0/IMG_0586.JPG

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8...0/IMG_0587.JPG

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-N...0/IMG_0588.JPG

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/--...0/IMG_0590.JPG

And a before pic:

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-z...0/IMG_0361.JPG

A few observations:
--Only one gear seems to work, so I'll need to sort that out.
--The pedals are mismatched, which you can see well in the last pic. Hah!
--That saddle is actually reasonably comfortable.
--I fabricated that upper seat tube band decal from a bunch of stuff I had around. Not an exact match to the original lower, but close. I also popped in a replacement rear reflector lens and super-glued the torn rubber to hold it.
--The rear brake works great, the front not so much. I've looked at a variety of pics online to see if the shoes are oriented toward the front (as I have mine) or closer to the crown. I've seen both and might try the crown orientation and get them a bit closer to the rim to see if that helps.
--The ride is really smooth based on a couple of times around the block. I wouldn't do a century on this bike, so for in-town riding, it feels good.
--The wooden grips were a recent gift from a friend. They're kind of cool.

Very well done.

BigChief 07-17-16 06:39 PM

@ SirMike1983 Wow, I've been wondering about this bike for almost 40 years! No wonder I couldn't find any reference to an Elgin lightweight anywhere...it's a Westfield. This bike is closely related to yours. Mine has Elgin hubs, skip tooth sprockets and welded seat stays, but other than that, it appears to be a down level version of yours with black parts and painted rims. Thank you very much. I made an album of detail pics for you.
Westfield Elgin by Laura Llyons | Photobucket

Narsinha 07-18-16 05:29 AM

God i'd love to buy the "Townie" at the page's top, but i'm in Europe. Maybe find one nearer, in Holland or the UK..

BigChief 07-18-16 05:45 AM

There's plenty of great old 3 speeds in Germany. I'd like a Sachs Torpedo. Or maybe a Gazelle roadster

Stadjer 07-18-16 06:52 AM


Originally Posted by Narsinha (Post 18919653)
God i'd love to buy the "Townie" at the page's top, but i'm in Europe. Maybe find one nearer, in Holland or the UK..

It won't be hard to find a Dutch 3 speed from the 50's in the Netherlands. The main difference is the use of drum brakes (also rod operated) and the closed chain case, the 3-speed will be a Sturmey Archer. Sometimes the ride position is even more 'laid back'. Those from Gazelle and Simplex for example were extremely well made and often still in (ab)use as just another second hand bike.

They are not expensive, allthough the fully original ones in perfect condition with special fittings will sometimes do 400 euros at a bike shop, but ones that ride and just need a bit of attention can be found well under 200 euro's, even under 100 euro's if they require more attention. It's the pre war ones that are usually sold for classic prices and good or special ones can exceed 500 euro, but for some reason those will be easier to find in Germany.

SirMike1983 07-19-16 06:37 PM

It's a 3 speed, though not English: 1947 Schwinn.

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-4lxn6MYiY...716_162122.jpg


https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QGxbP4lpc...716_162115.jpghttps://1.bp.blogspot.com/-jQdBXZZnc...716_155336.jpg

PalmettoUpstate 07-19-16 11:05 PM


Originally Posted by Stadjer (Post 18919781)
It won't be hard to find a Dutch 3 speed from the 50's in the Netherlands. The main difference is the use of drum brakes (also rod operated) and the closed chain case, the 3-speed will be a Sturmey Archer. Sometimes the ride position is even more 'laid back'. Those from Gazelle and Simplex for example were extremely well made and often still in (ab)use as just another second hand bike.

They are not expensive, allthough the fully original ones in perfect condition with special fittings will sometimes do 400 euros at a bike shop, but ones that ride and just need a bit of attention can be found well under 200 euro's, even under 100 euro's if they require more attention. It's the pre war ones that are usually sold for classic prices and good or special ones can exceed 500 euro, but for some reason those will be easier to find in Germany.

Perfectly useful information for those who want to know. Thanks!

Stadjer 07-20-16 02:55 AM


Originally Posted by PalmettoUpstate (Post 18924807)
Perfectly useful information for those who want to know. Thanks!

I don't want to go off topic or push my own preference for drum brakes and the Dutch workmanship of that era, and you can find 50's Raleighs here, but they are more rare and you'll end up paying more for a bike in worse condition, with parts beeing harder to find. It's just more practical to get a local product of comparable charm.


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