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

BigChief 04-05-18 05:04 AM


Originally Posted by desconhecido (Post 20265082)
I've told the story about my $30 Raleigh Sports before, and many here share the general experience:

Bike cost $30 (1979 root beer brown) and had a trashy Brooks vinyl saddle. So, in addition to tires and tubes, a decent saddle was in order -- not going to ride a bike with a bad and pain inducing saddle and I wanted to ride this bike. Brooks B17 for about $100. Original rims were rusty and the spoke nipples were frozen and trying to true everything was a pain and then when you get finished with all that effort you've still got rusted steel rims and discolored galvanized spokes and who wants to spend all that time and effort knowing that the end result, although functionally adequate, will not be aesthetically pleasing? Add a couple CR18 rims and 72 spokes and there's about another $100. Add a couple Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires (can't put $10 Kenda tires on those beautiful rims, can I?) a couple 650B tubes and some Presta Savers (Save the Prestas!), a bunch of loose balls, a couple cotters, brake pads, and a bunch of other stuff and that $30 costs at least $300, and probably upwards of $350. Of course, I wanted to ride at night so I bought a Shimano Dyno-hub and a B&M headlight to go with it and built another wheel. That resulted in having a perfectly good 650A front wheel that wasn't being used so I had to track down another Raleigh to put that wheel on.

So, yes, these bikes are not money making propositions and it is akin to an addiction. But, it's cheaper than drugs and chances are I won't get arrested. Not for speeding, anyway.

That's true, it is a hobby and you're lucky to recover money spent, but I have found many ways to keep costs down. I might go overboard on personal riders, but for bikes I know I need to get rid of, I watch expenses. One of my best tricks is to buy wrecked bikes for dirt cheap and clean up the good parts, especially if the chromed bits are in decent shape. It is hard to find good rims and fenders. That's where unwanted $25 stepthroughs come in. I'm happy with black wall Kendas. There are some inexpensive modern seats that work well and look OK on these old bikes. Many times, after a couple weeks of occasionally spraying spokes with penetrating oil I can free them up and true the wheels. I just like the feeling of getting an old 3 speed that was useless back on the road. They're such good bikes. They deserve to be useful again.

paulb_in_bkln 04-05-18 05:50 AM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20265745)
I just like the feeling of getting an old 3 speed that was useless back on the road. They're such good bikes. They deserve to be useful again.

Preach. The irony is that the unwanted step-throughs are the ideal conformation for the way these bikes generally get used.

paulb_in_bkln 04-05-18 06:38 AM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20256247)
Here's my next project. A 1951 23" Rudge Sports. All there except the grips. Front fender has some serious issues. It will test my restoration skills.

Did the bikes from these years have forged dropouts front and rear? Or forged front, stamped rear? I'm unclear on this from something on one of Sheldon's pages.

BigChief 04-05-18 06:48 AM

It's been 7 or 8 years since I've sold a bike. I may be out of date here, but the general profile of people I've sold my project bikes to seem to be guys who are already cyclists, have modern road bikes and have use for a upright townie. They rightly figure that a vintage English 3 speed would be a classy alternative to the modern bikes at the stores today.

BigChief 04-05-18 06:54 AM


Originally Posted by paulb_in_bkln (Post 20265842)
Did the bikes from these years have forged dropouts front and rear? Or forged front, stamped rear? I'm unclear on this from something on one of Sheldon's pages.

Every Raleigh roadster I've ever owned had stamped, brazed in dropouts. Except for DL-1s which have flattened chainstays with straight back slots cut into them, but still stamped dropouts at the front fork.

browngw 04-05-18 08:55 AM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20265745)
Many times, after a couple weeks of occasionally spraying spokes with penetrating oil I can free them up and true the wheels. I just like the feeling of getting an old 3 speed that was useless back on the road. They're such good bikes. They deserve to be useful again.

"They deserve to be useful again", almost a motto for some of us in the three speed world!
A tip on lubricating spoke nipples, spray or pour your favorite oil/ penetrant into a small container, I like to use those little individual pudding cups and dab the front and back of each nipple with an artist brush. Saves waste and more importantly mess. Easy to do while in your wheel truing stand. I use Boeshield T9 or WD40 if its really crappy. I can't seem to find T9 in Ontario so I use it sparingly until my next US trip.

desconhecido 04-05-18 10:07 AM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20265745)
That's true, it is a hobby and you're lucky to recover money spent, but I have found many ways to keep costs down. I might go overboard on personal riders, but for bikes I know I need to get rid of, I watch expenses. One of my best tricks is to buy wrecked bikes for dirt cheap and clean up the good parts, especially if the chromed bits are in decent shape. It is hard to find good rims and fenders. That's where unwanted $25 stepthroughs come in. I'm happy with black wall Kendas. There are some inexpensive modern seats that work well and look OK on these old bikes. Many times, after a couple weeks of occasionally spraying spokes with penetrating oil I can free them up and true the wheels. I just like the feeling of getting an old 3 speed that was useless back on the road. They're such good bikes. They deserve to be useful again.

I understand and I agree with you completely. I didn't mean to disparage the inexpensive tires that are available for 650A rims. If the bike is destined to be moved along, it doesn't make sense to buy more expensive tires that the new owner might not like. Also, there are some reliable reports (inmo) from people in these forums that the Kenda 590 bsd tires are pretty good riding tires.

Chaser95 04-05-18 10:53 AM

3 Attachment(s)
I have the "new" green Sports on the stand awaiting a bit of care. It looks like the tires are original from '72 and from what I see in the catalog. It also has the S3C hub so that will be interesting. BB feels dry and there is not a drop of oil coming out of the hub. Cosmetically I am pleased although, the saddle is pretty dry.

desconhecido 04-05-18 11:15 AM


Originally Posted by Chaser95 (Post 20266442)
I have the "new" green Sports on the stand awaiting a bit of care. It looks like the tires are original from '72 and from what I see in the catalog. It also has the S3C hub so that will be interesting. BB feels dry and there is not a drop of oil coming out of the hub. Cosmetically I am pleased although, the saddle is pretty dry.

I've never had a Raleigh with the 3 speed coaster brake hub, but they are alleged to be unreliable brakers.

Bike looks real nice. Sheet metal and rims look great. Should end up being a really nice looking bike and a roller.

BigChief 04-05-18 12:14 PM


Originally Posted by Chaser95 (Post 20266442)
I have the "new" green Sports on the stand awaiting a bit of care. It looks like the tires are original from '72 and from what I see in the catalog. It also has the S3C hub so that will be interesting. BB feels dry and there is not a drop of oil coming out of the hub. Cosmetically I am pleased although, the saddle is pretty dry.

It's tough to find bikes this old in this condition. Really nice. I use Proofide Saddle dressing on my Brooks saddles.

paulb_in_bkln 04-05-18 12:39 PM


Originally Posted by Chaser95 (Post 20266442)
It also has the S3C hub so that will be interesting. BB feels dry and there is not a drop of oil coming out of the hub. Cosmetically I am pleased although, the saddle is pretty dry.

My first three speeds long ago were coaster brake models. I learned the hard way about the sometime slipping in 2nd gear. I also learned to adjust the cable correctly and never stood on the pedals in the middle gear. But 1st and 3rd gears were always solid. And if the braking wasn't quite as strong as with a rear caliper brake, I never noticed it.

paulb_in_bkln 04-05-18 12:42 PM


Originally Posted by Chaser95 (Post 20266442)
I have the "new" green Sports on the stand awaiting a bit of care.

That thing is going to clean up real nice.

Mooo 04-05-18 02:57 PM

I think the TCW is the one which gets the most grief. The S3C was, if I understand correctly, an improvement in that if you were stuck between gears or stripped the sun gear, you still had a brake. In either case, adding a rear hand brake for redundancy solves lots of problems.

Sturmey-archerheritage.com is your friend:http://www.sturmey-archerheritage.co.../pic-110.1.jpg

http://www.sturmey-archerheritage.co.../pic-110.1.jpg

paulb_in_bkln 04-05-18 03:08 PM


Originally Posted by Chaser95 (Post 20266442)
It also has the S3C hub so that will be interesting.

My coaster brake three speeds were from the mid to late 60s so would not have been that model. Just realized that.

arty dave 04-05-18 04:46 PM

I was recently given a Puch with a Sachs 3 speed coaster brake - apparently it's quirk is that the coaster brake works best in 1st gear and not as good in 2nd and 3rd gears. They fixed this with a redesign in latter models. I think this was also the problem with the TCW, that was fixed with the introduction of the S3C.
The Puch has 700c wheels so I'm going to put them on the Aussie/English Speedwell roadster just to get a feel for how it will ride. I'm still hunting for the proper parts for the Speedwell to get it rideable, but this will be a good interim solution. I guess I'll just downshift to 1st when I need more serious speed reduction :)
Actually I quite like coaster brakes but haven't had one since I was a kid. My wife has an Electra Mod 3i, and the coaster brake is really nice. Fun bike, with a quite sufficient & smooth rollerbrake up front.

Chaser95 04-05-18 05:53 PM

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So, I rebuilt the headset with new bearings and grease. Oiled a very dry and clicking hub. Pressured up the tires and oiled the shifter. The farther I rode the better everything functioned. Clicking hub is quiet....shifter working well. I think adding a rear brake is great advice. Mainly because I keep reaching for it and I want some consistency. All is good then snap and I am an inch or so shorter...........did I mention the saddle was dry?

arty dave 04-05-18 06:11 PM

...Ouch? Damn that sucks

I cut a piece of high density foam to sit between the leather and frame of one of my old brooks saddles...as insurance :) Glad to hear it rides well - it's always nice when everythings freshly rebuilt, lubed, and quiet

thumpism 04-05-18 06:14 PM

Those of us who have experienced the death of a Brooks know your pain.

johnnyspaghetti 04-05-18 06:17 PM

i'd say yes

BigChief 04-05-18 06:17 PM

That's too bad. This bike does deserve a leather saddle. A member here @rhm can replace the leather. Although a new B66 would be my choice because I prefer sprung saddles on roadsters.

Chaser95 04-05-18 09:34 PM

One thing I noticed about the S3C is that it seems to be geared higher than the AW hubs I have. Is this real or just my imagination? The BB still needs to be serviced but, there was a noticeable difference in pedal resistance compared to my other bikes.

BigChief 04-06-18 05:07 AM

Those dished, splined cogs come in sizes from 16T to 24T, so you have plenty of overall gearing options. It's hard to imagine the bottom bracket is worn on a bike this clean, but at some point in the 70s Raleigh started using a 7 bearing plastic cage instead of loose bearings. Perhaps that's broken. In any case, if the BB does have those plastic cages, I would toss them and go back to the 11 per side loose bearings when I serviced the BB. Grease will hold the bearings in place on the spindle as you thread the spindle through the fixed cup. I never remove the fixed cup for normal servicing.

desconhecido 04-06-18 05:45 AM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20267343)
That's too bad. This bike does deserve a leather saddle. A member here @rhm can replace the leather. Although a new B66 would be my choice because I prefer sprung saddles on roadsters.

The broken saddle is a B72 which does have springs but of different action. I have one from a 64 Sports but I'm afraid to test it for springiness lest it meet the same sad fate as the one on Beautiful Greenie. I may try to resurrect it, but it appears to have been dead for much longer than three days.

I really don't care for wider saddles and haven't ridden a sprung saddle since my last Schwinn back in 1969. May try a Flyer which, as I understand it, is a B17 with springs.

BigChief 04-06-18 06:37 AM


Originally Posted by desconhecido (Post 20267975)
The broken saddle is a B72 which does have springs but of different action. I have one from a 64 Sports but I'm afraid to test it for springiness lest it meet the same sad fate as the one on Beautiful Greenie. I may try to resurrect it, but it appears to have been dead for much longer than three days.

I really don't care for wider saddles and haven't ridden a sprung saddle since my last Schwinn back in 1969. May try a Flyer which, as I understand it, is a B17 with springs.

The B66 is the same shape as the B72, or darn close. The coil springs at the back do smooth out shock from bumps better for upright riding and I like the frame mounted tool bag loops. There's a whole batch of new Brooks designs, but when I spend that kind of money for a saddle, I tend to stick with the tried and true.

johnnyspaghetti 04-06-18 09:57 AM

I recently heard from a horse saddle restorer if you heat the seat mildly maybe 170F they said a hair drier the saddle soap or oil or whatever you may use will soak in and condition more completely. All my seats of questionable age and show it. I need to treat half a dozen seats.

Salubrious 04-06-18 10:00 AM


Originally Posted by Chaser95 (Post 20267295)
All is good then snap and I am an inch or so shorter...........did I mention the saddle was dry?

Its really not that hard to repair these so don't throw the frame and nose piece (cantile) out unless you really don't want to give it a try. The hard part is finding rivets that will do the job.

Drill out the old rivets and soak the leather bits till you can get them relatively flat. Place them on a bit of cardboard and draw the outline of the leather including where the holes are.

Its reasonable to assume the leather might be stretched, although your bike is original, so check the tension bolt of the nose hardware and see. If untightened, the leather is not stretched. If stretched, take that into account with your template, but try the template on the frame to make sure things will line up. Find a place that sells leather- you want something that its about the same thickness. My first attempt the leather was too thin and stretched too easily.

Use the template to cut out the leather. Bolt it to the frame (or build a form, but that takes a lot of time) after giving it a good soak. Use some cordage to wrap around the body to give it that Brooks shape. Let it dry. It will hold the shape. The nose is a bit of a trick. I soaked it in hot water till it was supple, and then used an iron to sculpt it to the nose cantile.

I then oiled it up and did further touch up with water and the iron. Both sides should be oiled.

After that I replaced the bolts with the rivets and then rode it. Since my leather was too soft, I had to really stretch it out, but it was quite comfortable.

Rudy (rhm) has done threads on saddle restoration. I've seen his work- its so good, makes the Brooks saddles seem a bit crude.

Velocivixen 04-06-18 10:18 AM

OK, here are some "before" photos of the Raleigh Twenty.
https://farm1.staticflickr.com/877/4...fbe3753e_c.jpg1970’s Raleigh Twenty “before” photos by velocivixen, on Flickrhttps://farm1.staticflickr.com/899/4...2debda77_c.jpg1970’s Raleigh Twenty “before” photos by velocivixen, on Flickrhttps://farm1.staticflickr.com/789/4...684fb654_c.jpg1970’s Raleigh Twenty “before” photos by velocivixen, on Flickr
https://farm1.staticflickr.com/890/4...762344e0_c.jpg1970’s Raleigh Twenty “before” photos by velocivixen, on Flickr
https://farm1.staticflickr.com/886/4...da1a256a_c.jpg1970’s Raleigh Twenty “before” photos by velocivixen, on Flickr
https://farm1.staticflickr.com/891/4...378fd7eb_c.jpg1970’s Raleigh Twenty “before” photos by velocivixen, on Flickr


So far removed brakes, front wheel & fender, fork. Headset was as dry as a bone! Cleaning parts with degreaser. Unlikely I'll do the ultrasonic cleaner treatment. Don't want to spend a bunch of time on it for now.

Velocivixen 04-06-18 10:20 AM

I know Sturmey Archer sells a friction shifter for it's 3 speed hubs. Has anyone used just a generic, like a SunTour friction shifter for a AW 3 speed? Does a generic shifter have enough throw to get all 3 gears? Is there enough friction to hold the shift in place?

Thoughts? Anyone ever use one?

Salubrious 04-06-18 10:26 AM


Originally Posted by Velocivixen (Post 20268506)
OK, here are some "before" photos of the Raleigh Twenty.

https://farm1.staticflickr.com/886/4...da1a256a_c.jpg1970’s Raleigh Twenty “before” photos by velocivixen, on Flickr



So far removed brakes, front wheel & fender, fork. Headset was as dry as a bone! Cleaning parts with degreaser. Unlikely I'll do the ultrasonic cleaner treatment. Don't want to spend a bunch of time on it for now.

Nice eyed Heron crank with rounded crank arms! Not something you usually see on a 70s machine! Did you get a date off the hub?

browngw 04-06-18 10:36 AM

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Generally I like fairly narrow saddles and did not really appreciate the sprung model until I bought a new B67 in Honey for my 1971 Robin Hood drop bar Sports. It is absurdly comfortable for the rides of 2-3 hour duration I normally do on this bike. I just purchased a new B67 in brown for my DL1 (S.W.A.T) to replace a bodged together BSA cover on a Brooks frame. It is also good right out the box.
My Salsa Vaya gravel bike has a B17 Champion Standard in apple green I purchased at discount and my 65 Dilecta Le Blanc road bike was just treated to a new brown B17N (narrow) which seems to fit this bike well.
Brooks saddles will last our lifetime if well cared for. Even if the bike gets sold the saddle often stays as it is difficult to recover the cost. For example the Robin Hood has $400CDN invested, take away the $175CDN for the Brooks and its $225CDN which puts this almost perfect, little used bike, at a more realistic selling price.


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