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

robertob 08-22-11 10:59 AM


Originally Posted by noglider (Post 13106540)
Sixty Fiver, thanks for pointing out what makes the Superbe worth so much more. Now they don't seem overpriced to me.

Auchencrow, what kind of hills do you have? I find the 22T barely adequate. It's a heavy bike, and I have steep hills, and I sometimes tow a lot of cargo in a trailer. Hmm, the bike wasn't really built for that purpose, so I guess I'm doing well.

I put a 21t on mine and it's pefect for towing the baby trailer around my (flat-ish) neighborhood, which is what I built it for.

robertob 08-22-11 11:00 AM


Originally Posted by David Newton (Post 13114963)
Anyone up for some up-to-the-minute resource report?
What 26 x 1-3/8" tires are available and who's got them?
Any reviews on the Panaracer ST?

I really like the cheapie Kenda K40s I have. I just noticed that Amazon has a 'high pressure' version of the K40 which I would like to try one of these days.


Schwalbe Delta Cruisers in cream look cool though...

robertob 08-22-11 11:06 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Here's my latest 3-speed, beautiful 1930s or 40s Humber Sports. I'm not sure what to do with it actually. my wife doesn't like drop bars and the brakes suck so it's not such a fun rider. Plus it's so perfect that I would hate to scratch any of the painthttp://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=215632

gna 08-22-11 02:37 PM


Originally Posted by Amesja (Post 13110934)
I think people just didn't care that much about "sizing" of bikes back then -at least the kinds of people who bought upright 3-speed type bikes. It isn't as necessary that it be sized at closely to your height and LBS's selling the 23" bikes probably had a hard time moving them so why bother stocking something that didn't move?

The same thing goes for the 19" step-throughs. The 21" were much more common while the 19"s just were not imported and sold as much.

Very odd. Nearly all of the step throughs I find are 19"; 21" seem to be much rarer. Of course, my wife's friends want 3-speeds now, and they're all 5'7", 5'8", so I'm having trouble finding them bikes.

gna 08-22-11 02:40 PM


Originally Posted by David Newton (Post 13114963)
Anyone up for some up-to-the-minute resource report?
What 26 x 1-3/8" tires are available and who's got them?
Any reviews on the Panaracer ST?

I've tried Kenda K40s; they're ok. I have a set of the high-pressure Kendas but haven't tried them yet.
Schwalbe Delta Cruisers on the 3-speeds now. Very nice tires.
I got a set of newer Cheng Shins off a junked huffy; nice brick pattern. I'm putting them on a bike for my brother.

Amesja 08-22-11 02:45 PM

21" Step-through Nottingham Sports are common as dirt here. Sure, a lot of them are deteriorated pretty far -but usually they are mostly-complete and in the off-season I can find them for well under $50.

19"-ers are much more sought after by shorter women who can't comfortably manage the 21" frames. They are harder to find and the people who WANT them enough to know what they want are willing to pay a premium to get one.

Amesja 08-22-11 02:48 PM


Originally Posted by gna (Post 13117163)
I've tried Kenda K40s; they're ok. I have a set of the high-pressure Kendas but haven't tried them yet.
Schwalbe Delta Cruisers on the 3-speeds now. Very nice tires.
I got a set of newer Cheng Shins off a junked huffy; nice brick pattern. I'm putting them on a bike for my brother.

I find the K40's to be just fine. 80psi is all you can safely put in any tire on an old-fashioned steel rim unless you are suicidal.

wahoonc 08-22-11 03:26 PM


Originally Posted by Amesja (Post 13117193)
21" Step-through Nottingham Sports are common as dirt here. Sure, a lot of them are deteriorated pretty far -but usually they are mostly-complete and in the off-season I can find them for well under $50.

19"-ers are much more sought after by shorter women who can't comfortably manage the 21" frames. They are harder to find and the people who WANT them enough to know what they want are willing to pay a premium to get one.


And I have been chasing Colts and Space Riders for all the short women in my life :D I needed a 21" a while back but was able to convert a Sprite to 3 speed for the one tall lady in the bunch. Left it on the 27" wheels but laced up an AW hub to the rear.

Aaron :)

Amesja 08-22-11 03:34 PM

I am pretty sure the virtual top-tube length difference is minimal if any at all between the two. Might as well just get a big stem and tall seatpost if you want taller. Steel ones are cheap and readily available.

P_M 08-23-11 10:42 AM

Just curious, my Sports came with a white cap over the right axle nut on the rear hub. I've seen very few older 3 speeds with it.

It seems to me the only real function would be just to protect the chain on the spindle during shipping. It is meant for anything else?

Sixty Fiver 08-23-11 11:03 AM

P_M - The cap protects the indicator spindle from getting damaged through daily adventures... like scrubbing it up against something or laying the bike down on the drive side.

P_M 08-23-11 11:13 AM

Sixty Fiver - thanks for the reply. I see more bike without them than with them, hence my curiousity.

rhm 08-23-11 11:16 AM


Originally Posted by robertob (Post 13116014)
Here's my latest 3-speed, beautiful 1930s or 40s Humber Sports. I'm not sure what to do with it actually. my wife doesn't like drop bars and the brakes suck so it's not such a fun rider. Plus it's so perfect that I would hate to scratch any of the painthttp://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=215632

Get Koolstop brake pads and the brakes will be much better.

Switch out the Lauterwasser bar for a Northroad bar. This will make your wife happy. Sell the Lauterwasser bar on ebay; it should bring a couple hundred bucks.

Amesja 08-23-11 11:16 AM

The cap was ugly and most people either took it off or it got busted off -being plastic. Many were taken off by the LBS I would guess. I almost never see them. I wonder when they started putting them on? Late 60's and 70's I would guess.

Mike Mills 08-23-11 12:08 PM


Originally Posted by rhm (Post 13121094)
Switch out the Lauterwasser bar for a Northroad bar. This will make your wife happy. Sell the Lauterwasser bar on ebay; it should bring a couple hundred bucks.


... or keep them even after switching to North Roads bars, or just flip them over, top-to-bottom, because if you sell them, they are probably irreplacable (very rare, hence, the high sale price).

Maddox 08-23-11 12:58 PM

The latest find and project: A 1969 Raleigh Superbe. $50 on Craigslist. A rare find for the young state of Arizona, and a restoration project for the girlfriend.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-K...0/IMG_9156.JPG

The bike is currently stripped except for cottered cranks/BB, and the fenders, front fork, and chainguard are all soaking in an OA solution. I'll be starting a thread to share progress and ask for a few opinions on how to tackle the badly oxidized frame and formerly rusty parts.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-v...0/IMG_9158.JPG

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-B...0/IMG_9157.JPG

rhm 08-23-11 01:16 PM


Originally Posted by Mike Mills (Post 13121324)
... or keep them even after switching to North Roads bars, or just flip them over, top-to-bottom, because if you sell them, they are probably irreplacable (very rare, hence, the high sale price).

Yeah, I would keep them, myself. There is a reason they went out of fashion, though: they're not very comfortable.

Mike Mills 08-23-11 01:33 PM

I put North Roads bars on my commuter. I like them more than the straight, flat mountain bike bars they replaces but they are not my favorite. They curve to the rear and you hands are almost parallel to the top tube and are very close to you (poor leverage when climbing). You have a very erect posture. I was thinking something a little more Albatross-ish would be better.

P_M 08-26-11 10:04 AM

Okay, I have one more issue. I've found a ladies Raleigh 3 speed (looks like an older Sports - certainly older than mine) that I'm going to look at tonight. But from the picture it appears to be missing at least one (can't see the other side) cap on the fork crown.

I don't know what the construction is so I'm going on wild speculation. Is it open at the top of the fork blade inside that crown tube? If so, any concerns about rust from the inside out? If not, does anyone know where I can order or otherwise pilfer some caps?

Maddox 08-26-11 02:52 PM


Originally Posted by P_M (Post 13136174)
Okay, I have one more issue. I've found a ladies Raleigh 3 speed (looks like an older Sports - certainly older than mine) that I'm going to look at tonight. But from the picture it appears to be missing at least one (can't see the other side) cap on the fork crown.

I don't know what the construction is so I'm going on wild speculation. Is it open at the top of the fork blade inside that crown tube? If so, any concerns about rust from the inside out? If not, does anyone know where I can order or otherwise pilfer some caps?

This should not be an issue...The fork crown on Sports is fully enclosed, not open, and capped of with a welded-on lugged crown that covers over the blades. There's nothing removable or "capped" about it. Either (a) you're wrong about the photo and are noticing a flaw that doesn't structurally exist, (b) the bike is seriously damaged and/or structurally flawed in some way, or (c) I'm completely misunderstanding your question.

Any photos? I've dealt with low-end gaspipe bikes and cruisers (such as 80's era Huffys and an old Centurion LeMans, not 3-speeds or Raleighs) that had a chrome aluminum sleeve-like ornamental "cap" or "cover" that slid over the steerer and sat atop the fork crown, but I've never seen a Sports with such a thing. Could that be what you think you're seeing on the bike? If so, I don't know what to tell you -- I've never seen a Raleigh Sports with one. Perhaps that could be what you're referring to?

P_M 08-26-11 03:05 PM

Sure, here is the ad:

http://edmonton.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-...AdIdZ308816461

The caps I'm referring to are the two (one on each side) at either end of the crown "tube", just below the lower headset race.

To be honest, Raleighs (although the fork on a Pashley seems similar) are the only bicycles I've seen with these details.

Amesja 08-26-11 03:10 PM

Someone on PayBay usually has some thimbles for sale. They are not unobtanium. I wouldn't worry too much about rust forming inside the forks. They are going to rust inside regardless of if there is a thimble installed or not. Condensation will pretty much gaurantee that there is some moisture in there at least some of the time. It's not going to be a big deal. If one is worried about it then squirt some 3 in 1 into the weep holes and let the bike sit upside down for a while. It's about the only thing that crap is good for anyhow as a poor-man's frame-saver.

P_M 08-26-11 03:13 PM

Thanks Amesja. Hopefully this works out. My girlfriend will be getting a new bike if it does.

Amesja 08-26-11 03:16 PM

Unless the frame is totally bent out of shape and destroyed just about any basket-case Raleigh Sports can be restored to its former glory for under $100 in parts. Maybe a bit more if you want to make it really "nice" and fresh looking. Or go all out and put alloy rims on it and new spokes for another $100 or so. The parts are pretty robust. Usually the only difficulty I've found is sourcing the upper headset nut/race since it is 26tpi. But if you want to spend $20 for a new fork and headset you can just dump them for new.

wahoonc 08-26-11 03:31 PM

Those "caps" are known as thimbles and they do go missing occasionally, Flea bay or someone's parts bin is the first place to look for replacements.

Aaron :)

P_M 08-26-11 04:02 PM

You know, I searched for every term I could think of and thimble was not one of them. Thanks for steering me in the right direction.

robertob 08-29-11 12:26 PM


Originally Posted by rhm (Post 13121094)
Get Koolstop brake pads and the brakes will be much better.

Switch out the Lauterwasser bar for a Northroad bar. This will make your wife happy. Sell the Lauterwasser bar on ebay; it should bring a couple hundred bucks.

Yeah I'm going to swap it out, but I might try it on my 30s Raleigh Sports just to see what it's like.

robertob 08-29-11 12:27 PM

Yeah the more I ride my sports the less I like North Roads, at least upright - there just aren't any comfy hand positions.



Originally Posted by Mike Mills (Post 13121801)
I put North Roads bars on my commuter. I like them more than the straight, flat mountain bike bars they replaces but they are not my favorite. They curve to the rear and you hands are almost parallel to the top tube and are very close to you (poor leverage when climbing). You have a very erect posture. I was thinking something a little more Albatross-ish would be better.


graywolf 08-31-11 02:26 PM


Originally Posted by auchencrow (Post 13110679)
:thumb: Someone will be very happy to snag those, ohjonnybegoode. The 23-inchers seem especially difficult to find. I don't know why, but they are far less common than the 21" models, in my experience.

Actually, it is because most were bought for kids. I do not think the 25 inch frames were ever imported into the USA. What you did not know they even made a 25 inch frame?

graywolf 09-01-11 08:41 PM


Originally Posted by wahoonc (Post 13111014)
I find plenty of 19" step through frames. Also FWIW the average height of men in the US in the 1970's was about 5'-9"...guess what sized Raleigh they would be riding? ;)

Aaron:)

(GRIN) A 23 inch frame if they were smart. Actually, most 3-speeds in the 1970's were probably bought by college students & retired folks. Kids all wanted "Tens", as they called them. Gainfully employed adults probably wanted 10-speeds too, but not the cheap ones. In actuallity, a properly sized 3-speed sport would be about 2 inches bigger than a properly sized dropped bar road bike when you take into consideration the slacker frame angles and the smaller diameter tires.

Prior to the 1970's no one even considered being able to straddle the top tube being important. Any boy who did not want to be called a sissy did a flying mount and dismount, and any adult bicyclist (not very common in the USA) learned to ride as a kid. Girls were delicate things and did not count, besides their bicycles did not have top bars anyway. The simple fact was that 99.9% of the "English Racers" (what any self-respecting kid called his 3-speed) were sold for kids, and that meant 19" girls, and 21" boys models. Mostly the larger bike were only sold in university towns for college students, who were not allowed to have cars on campus (especially freshmen), which is why most of those larger bikes are found in those areas today.

PS: My I got my first 3-speed in 53, I think, when I was 9 or 10.


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