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

Bicyclz 05-26-18 10:22 AM

The rack was a little 'speckly' but cleaned up nicely.
The AM hub is the medium ratio 3 speed (without the big jumps in the AW & is a very sweet hub. Uncommon but available.
Great if you know what you want.

I gear it so that top gear is my 'normal' single speed gear. Then I have 2 gears below & forego pedalling downhill: )
Works very well with 3 & 4 speed SA hubs for me in my locality.

I got choices with colours but I do like this particular combination.
It's all about choosing the right one before you refinish, innit??

markk900 05-26-18 10:33 AM

I have a Philco brake on my CCM (thanks to @clubman) and found Mafac pads worked perfectly with a minor tweak of the holders.

SirMike1983 05-26-18 07:19 PM

The older-type English grips come in a couple types - natural rubber and celluloid. The two materials produce very different grips. The celluloid is a "harder" grip while the rubber (when made) was softer. The two materials suffer from different issues. The natural rubber basically disintegrates and loses its structure over time. The celluloid shrinks over time (because the handle bars stay the same size but the celluloid shrinks, you end up with cracked or broken grips).

SirMike1983 05-26-18 07:21 PM

For those of you riding old Schwinn 3-speeds from the 1940s-60s, the MKS 3000S pedals are now seeing some availability online from sellers in Japan. The cost to ship them to the US is not cheap, though the pedals themselves are not terribly expensive ($40-45 per set with shipping included). The issue is that classic-type pedals in the 1/2 inch size are tough to find in new condition these days. I was happy to find MKS 3000s pedals fit Schwinn cranks.

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-keB82I_KH...526_131905.jpg

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-CQw9sbys2...526_130531.jpg

BigChief 05-26-18 07:54 PM


Originally Posted by SirMike1983 (Post 20361659)
For those of you riding old Schwinn 3-speeds from the 1940s-60s, the MKS 3000S pedals are now seeing some availability online from sellers in Japan. The cost to ship them to the US is not cheap, though the pedals themselves are not terribly expensive ($40-45 per set with shipping included). The issue is that classic-type pedals in the 1/2 inch size are tough to find in new condition these days. I was happy to find MKS 3000s pedals fit Schwinn cranks.

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-keB82I_KH...526_131905.jpg

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-CQw9sbys2...526_130531.jpg

Those look really nice.Considering how well made their touring pedals are, these seem to be an excellent choice for our English 3 speed roadsters as well.Too bad retailers in the US don't stock them. It's like the brown Kenda 590 tires that aren't available from US sellers. Too bad.

SirMike1983 05-26-18 08:05 PM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20361694)
Those look really nice.Considering how well made their touring pedals are, these seem to be an excellent choice for our English 3 speed roadsters as well.Too bad retailers in the US don't stock them. It's like the brown Kenda 590 tires that aren't available from US sellers. Too bad.

I love the quality of the MKS pedals for what you pay for them. I have the rat trap Sylvan pedals on my 10-speed Raleigh Grand Prix and they're great. The price is reasonable and what you get is pretty good. The 3000S is the same sort of good quality, though when you're paying more for shipping, the value isn't as great. I wish someone would stock these 3000S in both the 9/16 and 1/2 sizes (especially the 1/2) here in the US.

Mickey2 05-27-18 05:47 AM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20361015)
I think I may have stumbled across the reason so few early 50s handlebar grips survived over the years. I always assumed grips made before the age of vinyl polymers were natural rubber. Looks like I was wrong. Here's a pair of old German made grips from an eBay ad labeled "celluloid" Perhaps the use of celluloid grips was common on 3 speeds from this time. I don't know much about plastics, but I think it's safe to assume this early form of plastic broke down rather quickly and this is why we see so few bikes from this era with original grips today.

I don't know much about plastics, but I have picked up a bit of info over the years. Well into the 50s and even 60s natural rubber was still widely used, but gradually was replaced by synthetic immitations of it. Celluloid were a general term used for these early types of plastic and some of them were quite hard and durable, bexit, textolite, melamin, bakelite, were more specific brand names. Bakelite were taken in use very generally too. Some of these plastics were black or brown, some types like melamin came in white and could be dyed various colors. They had transparent versions of it, and it was used in jewlry and could be made to look like horn, tortoise shell and amber. I have a couple of folding knifes with Bexit handles, they have been in use for at least 70 years, and for years one of them was an every day tool for a boat mechanic. They are Well used and still in good condition. By 1950 the newer plastics had arrived and were quickly taken in use. Depending on storage and quality, this type of plastic can still be in good usable condition. Cellulose and formaldehyde resin derived plastics were in use well before 1900, but I guess you could find these type of bike handles from as early as 1910 at least not far from. I have seen various materials used for pre WWII bike handles, wood, cork, bexit, leather (used like handle bar tape).

Cute Boy Horse 05-27-18 06:02 AM


Originally Posted by thumpism (Post 20357301)
Here you go; no mere English 3-speed but one with a motor, numberplates and a dustbin fairing. Bet those rod brakes are a thrill on this one.

https://richmond.craigslist.org/mcy/...597120177.html
VINTAGE 1951 CYMOTA CYCLEMOTOR 45CC ON RALEIGH MEN'S BIKE - $675 (Williamsburg)

https://images.craigslist.org/00f0f_...I7_600x450.jpg
1951 CYMOTA
condition: fair
engine displacement (CC): 45
fuel: gas
transmission: other
CYMOTA CYCLEMOTER HISTORY: The Cymota was a copy of the VeloSolex 650 (45cc, 0.3 hp) and was made by Cymota Motor Components Ltd at Leamington Road, Erdington, Birmingham, UK, between 1950 and 1952. After WWII, money was scarce, fuel still in short supply and the UK was struggling to get back on its feet. People had to get to work and public transportation could not handle the load. Cars were not cheap but cyclemotors were. Attaching one to a bicycle gave the citizenry freedom of travel and a means to get to their jobs. Hence the surge of CYCLEMOTORS. Many brands and designs popped up throughout England and western Europe. CYMOTA was one. A clever design, the friction drive would power the front wheel up to 20mph and a tank of fuel would last "forever".

The engine was covered by a sheet-metal cowling and a 1.7 litre fuel tank is mounted above the two cycle engine. A Miller magneto ignition is fitted with an Amal 308/12 (12 mm) carburetor. (scroll down)

Blue Star Garages in England appeared as the sole concessionaires, selling it as a clip-on cycle motor, its manufacturer given as Cymo Ltd and it was advertised as "The sensation of the nation". Only about 200 Cymota units were sold. Although a scarce cyclemotor, parts sources are available in the UK. I know where they are......

Enough of this: I offer a 1951 CYMOTA mounted on a period RALEIGH men's 26 inch bike. It needs restoration. Manuals and parts are available in the UK and readily accessible. Cyclemotor clubs in the UK are always willing to offer advice on restorations. This CYMOTA appears to be intact. It even has the exhaust pipe (almost always missing). There is kinship with bicycles and motorcycles. It is a scarce example of motoring history.

The CYMOTA and RALEIGH bike reside in Williamsburg. The price is only $675.

Good god almighty, a cymota reached yankistan. I can only assume it wasn't ridden all the way there, not least because they were rubbish. Now a cyclemaster, on the other hand...

paulb_in_bkln 05-27-18 06:54 AM


Originally Posted by thumpism (Post 20357301)
Here you go; no mere English 3-speed but one with a motor, numberplates and a dustbin fairing. Bet those rod brakes are a thrill on this one.

After WWII, money was scarce, fuel still in short supply and the UK was struggling to get back on its feet. People had to get to work and public transportation could not handle the load. Cars were not cheap but cyclemotors were. Attaching one to a bicycle gave the citizenry freedom of travel and a means to get to their jobs. Hence the surge of CYCLEMOTORS. Many brands and designs popped up throughout England and western Europe. CYMOTA was one. A clever design, the friction drive would power the front wheel up to 20mph and a tank of fuel would last "forever".

The e-bikes of their time? And Churchill (or Atlee?) didn't confiscate them? Another way our mayor is not prime-ministerial. (Here in NYC, our mayor, a person named Bill de Blasio, initiated a campaign against e-bikes.)

paulb_in_bkln 05-27-18 06:59 AM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20361694)
Those look really nice.Considering how well made their touring pedals are, these seem to be an excellent choice for our English 3 speed roadsters as well.Too bad retailers in the US don't stock them. It's like the brown Kenda 590 tires that aren't available from US sellers. Too bad.

My recollection is the ones from Britain used to whirl around with a rattly sound, like they were adjusted on the loose side. I imagine the MKS versions don't rattle.

paulb_in_bkln 05-27-18 07:02 AM


Originally Posted by Bicyclz (Post 20361068)
I gear it so that top gear is my 'normal' single speed gear.

Not so easy on an AW where I'd need a big cog and small chainring or both together.

paulb_in_bkln 05-27-18 07:11 AM


Originally Posted by Bicyclz (Post 20361029)
So I experiment with rattle cans to see what transpires.

Do you have the Preval sprayers or something like them over there? I didn't even know about these until reading here a few weeks ago. I've never trusted much the quality of rattle can paint. (Much less you have to go with whatever colors they package in the can.)

BigChief 05-27-18 07:15 AM


Originally Posted by paulb_in_bkln (Post 20362149)
My recollection is the ones from Britain used to whirl around with a rattly sound, like they were adjusted on the loose side. I imagine the MKS versions don't rattle.

I use MKS Sylvan Touring pedals on any bike I put much mileage on. I think their quality is excellent, but I am used to riding more modest bicycles. Still, they get a 5 star rating from me.

paulb_in_bkln 05-27-18 07:32 AM

Question for anyone using the tall Sunlite stem, the steel one. It being steel, do you think it's possible to spread the clamp slightly to accept a handlebar with a 26 mm clamp area? (I believe this stem is made for the 25.4 mm clamp zone that's standard on the old Raleigh handlebars.)

paulb_in_bkln 05-27-18 07:38 AM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20362171)
I use MKS Sylvan Touring pedals on any bike I put much mileage on. I think their quality is excellent, but I am used to riding more modest bicycles. Still, they get a 5 star rating from me.

The regular or prime versions? I have one set of regular Sylvan touring pedals plus on a folding bike a set with the Ezy attachments and I can't figure I really need anything better.

BigChief 05-27-18 07:52 AM


Originally Posted by Mickey2 (Post 20362076)
I don't know much about plastics, but I have picked up a bit of info over the years. Well into the 50s and even 60s natural rubber was still widely used, but gradually was replaced by synthetic immitations of it. Celluloid were a general term used for these early types of plastic and some of them were quite hard and durable, bexit, textolite, melamin, bakelite, were more specific brand names. Bakelite were taken in use very generally too. Some of these plastics were black or brown, some types like melamin came in white and could be dyed various colors. They had transparent versions of it, and it was used in jewlry and could be made to look like horn, tortoise shell and amber. I have a couple of folding knifes with Bexit handles, they have been in use for at least 70 years, and for years one of them was an every day tool for a boat mechanic. They are Well used and still in good condition. By 1950 the newer plastics had arrived and were quickly taken in use. Depending on storage and quality, this type of plastic can still be in good usable condition. Cellulose and formaldehyde resin derived plastics were in use well before 1900, but I guess you could find these type of bike handles from as early as 1910 at least not far from. I have seen various materials used for pre WWII bike handles, wood, cork, bexit, leather (used like handle bar tape).

For some reason, they didn't last long. Today, almost every early 50s English roadster you find will have the originals replaced with either Hunt Wilde or Schwinn grips. On the other hand, 3 speeds from the 60s on typically have their original grips. A late 60s Sports could be beat into the ground but those Dare grips still look like new. I've been trying to research the originals for a project I'm working on and even finding a clear image of early grips is hard to find. I did come up with this one from an eBay ad.
https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...e2db6717ee.jpg

arty dave 05-27-18 08:06 AM

If anyone is after a Sturmey Archer 5 speed hub and fittings, there's a NOS 36 hole S5.2 advertised for $30 at the cabe https://thecabe.com/forum/threads/re...onents.130898/

gster 05-27-18 08:10 AM

MKS were (are) readily available here in Toronto @ $25.00 pair.
I have a boxed set in the garage and judging by these posts I'll probably buy another set today...
I've had a pair on my everyday Superbe for about 5 years now and they're great.
Both in looks and function.
https://cimg5.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...e5a7e3638f.jpg
The Robin Hood was out yesterday for a good trial and has returned with a good report.
Shifts well, handles well, looks good.
Problems include tightening of handle bars and
a vintage BELT (Japan) leather saddle that needs some breaking in.
Several applications of mink oil seem to be helping.
https://cimg5.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...b3ea4292e7.jpg

arty dave 05-27-18 08:11 AM


Originally Posted by Bicyclz (Post 20361029)
I got a French Diamant that had a strange 3 speed derailler, so I installed an SA AM hub in it.
Transformed!!
https://cimg2.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...7fb32a1fc9.jpg
This machine (especially if you like the curvy mixtes) has lots of lovely details & was overpainted when I got it.
So I experiment with rattle cans to see what transpires. I like the coffee & cream scheme. Needs the BB & seat-tube top lug picking out here to finish IMO.
The chain-guard might do with some details also?

That is a very nice looking bike, lovely curves, cool looking cranks and split block pedals, perfect fenders ....I vote no to decals...looks great as it is!

gster 05-27-18 08:48 AM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20362207)
For some reason, they didn't last long. Today, almost every early 50s English roadster you find will have the originals replaced with either Hunt Wilde or Schwinn grips. On the other hand, 3 speeds from the 60s on typically have their original grips. A late 60s Sports could be beat into the ground but those Dare grips still look like new. I've been trying to research the originals for a project I'm working on and even finding a clear image of early grips is hard to find. I did come up with this one from an eBay ad.
https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...e2db6717ee.jpg

You'r right about those 60's grips. They seem bullet-proof and hold their shape and elasticity.
A very stable compound.

gster 05-27-18 08:52 AM


Originally Posted by arty dave (Post 20362235)
That is a very nice looking bike, lovely curves, cool looking cranks and split block pedals, perfect fenders ....I vote no to decals...looks great as it is!

I agree, a fine looking machine.
The chain guard is similar to the one Raleigh put on it's Eatons Gliders for us Canadians.
https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...3bdbc3b0e3.jpg

Mickey2 05-27-18 09:00 AM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20362207)
For some reason, they didn't last long. Today, almost every early 50s English roadster you find will have the originals replaced with either Hunt Wilde or Schwinn grips. On the other hand, 3 speeds from the 60s on typically have their original grips. A late 60s Sports could be beat into the ground but those Dare grips still look like new. I've been trying to research the originals for a project I'm working on and even finding a clear image of early grips is hard to find. I did come up with this one from an eBay ad.

The harder polyester grips last a long time, much longer than the flexible rubbery grips. Rubber are are softer and gives very good grip, both can be good tough. I might still have a 1954 grip, black rubber, round, evenly and convexely curved towards the middle to fit the palm. On the end there were red reflex plastic. The handle bar is curved and the ends of the grips points backwards. The red reflex bit at the end is prone to take a hit and they are often cracked or missing all together.

The older hard plastic types like melamin, bexit and bakelite can be intact, they crack more easily, but they are hard and durable. Not all celluloid items were that successful or durable, but some times they worked very well. Bexit is very had and solid as an out lining, like a bike handle. It has the support of steel under and works well. I guess they were meant to be replaced like todays rubbery grip. Some of the new rubbery grips can turn sticky withing a couple of weeks in the worst of cases.

paulb_in_bkln 05-27-18 09:39 AM

Now I've rebuilt three AW hubs I finally understand the points in Jobst Brandt's old thread criticizing them. I never experienced a hub kicking out of third gear--first and second, yes. But I know I'm not and never was as strong as Brandt. It's not just SA, though: the Nexus 8 from Shimano also slips, which I think is because with the fine spacing between gears the cable adjustment has to be perfect. After riding in the rain, moisture getting into the shift cable housing can throw it off just a little. Shimano warns in the booklet that ships with the hub against standing on the pedals. It is very, very irritating when this occurs. Anyway if anyone hasn't seen this old discussion, it's still available here:

ryansu 05-27-18 12:27 PM

I was gifted a 1976 Raleigh LTD DL32 a few years back, it needed a new shift cable but it was my size and blue which you don't often see, green and black yes but not so much blue. Unfortunately in my area of Seattle its very hilly and a 3 speed, for me anyway, isn't very practical. So I fixed the shift cable and passed it on. Someday, in a flatter place, I hope to find another 3 speed and do a refurb...
https://farm1.staticflickr.com/886/2...1f41f6d6_h.jpg
76 Raliegh LTD 3 speed by Ryan Surface, on Flickr

arty dave 05-27-18 05:17 PM


Originally Posted by arty dave (Post 20362235)
That is a very nice looking bike, lovely curves, cool looking cranks and split block pedals, perfect fenders ....I vote no to decals...looks great as it is!

I was tired last night and read decals instead of details...yes I think a bit of coffee highlight of some kind on the guard could look quite good. What are the letters on the chainring?

arty dave 05-27-18 05:52 PM


Originally Posted by paulb_in_bkln (Post 20362369)
Now I've rebuilt three AW hubs I finally understand the points in Jobst Brandt's old thread criticizing them. I never experienced a hub kicking out of third gear--first and second, yes. But I know I'm not and never was as strong as Brandt. It's not just SA, though: the Nexus 8 from Shimano also slips, which I think is because with the fine spacing between gears the cable adjustment has to be perfect. After riding in the rain, moisture getting into the shift cable housing can throw it off just a little. Shimano warns in the booklet that ships with the hub against standing on the pedals. It is very, very irritating when this occurs. Anyway if anyone hasn't seen this old discussion, it's still available here:

That made me chuckle, thanks :) We are all going to die as these hubs have malicious intent for us dive over the handlebars. I myself have died several times riding with these hubs :) It sounds like he was mashing so hard that he was quite possibly overloading the hub. OK to be fair he is specifically talking about out of the saddle sprinting in 3rd gear...
Maybe I've been lucky with hubs as the ones I've rebuilt have had very little wear...apart from the AB hub that had some broken teeth on a planet pinion...not that the hub seemed to care. I think a lot of the hubs we come across were geared so high that most users wouldn't have shifted into 3rd very often, also reducing wear.

clubman 05-27-18 06:06 PM


Originally Posted by arty dave (Post 20363135)
That made me chuckle, thanks :) We are all going to die as these hubs have malicious intent for us dive over the handlebars.

Mr Brandt had a reputation for defending strong opinions. I've certainly never gone 'arse over teakettle'.

"What may not have happened yet, is that in top gear, even with a perfectly adjusted and serviced hub, the driver can pop out of gear, leaving you free wheeling forward. If you are standing when this occurs, it always causes a summersault. This is why these gears are not used in sports or hard touring."

SirMike1983 05-27-18 07:30 PM

Hot and humid this weekend - ride time with Raleigh and Schwinn 3-speeds: 1958 Raleigh Sports; 1947 Continental and 1941 New World.

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-UyskCmshx...524_190233.jpg

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-T2yvHu-p5...526_144331.jpg

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3vw-CXG9z...527_145749.jpg

paulb_in_bkln 05-27-18 09:39 PM


Originally Posted by arty dave (Post 20363135)
That made me chuckle, thanks :) We are all going to die as these hubs have malicious intent for us dive over the handlebars. I myself have died several times riding with these hubs :) It sounds like he was mashing so hard that he was quite possibly overloading the hub. OK to be fair he is specifically talking about out of the saddle sprinting in 3rd gear...
Maybe I've been lucky with hubs as the ones I've rebuilt have had very little wear...apart from the AB hub that had some broken teeth on a planet pinion...not that the hub seemed to care. I think a lot of the hubs we come across were geared so high that most users wouldn't have shifted into 3rd very often, also reducing wear.

As a kid I took a tumble when the coaster brake version of the AW (TCW? This was the mid 60s) slipped while in second. (I too might have DIED!--It did hurt, though) That's when I learned about shifter cable adjustment, but I never trusted it in second gear again. I think you're right about not spending much time in top gear. As they come from the factory, it's not very useful. As for the three hubs I've serviced, there were no obvious signs of wear at all. One is not in use yet but the other two are and function perfectly. I presume that before derailleurs took over everything SA did intend some of the hubs in its line to withstand very powerful riders.

paulb_in_bkln 05-27-18 09:42 PM


Originally Posted by SirMike1983 (Post 20363282)
Hot and humid this weekend - ride time with Raleigh and Schwinn 3-speeds: 1958 Raleigh Sports; 1947 Continental and 1941 New World.

Thursday was a warm, blue sky day here and I put about 20 miles on the old/new Rudge riding to the beach. Such a fun bike to ride. There's still some changing things up to come but it still works just great.


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