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

Sixty Fiver 02-10-16 04:07 PM


Originally Posted by 3speedslow (Post 18522782)
I just picked up an NOS Suntour 3 speed set up. Looks very much like SA made and the pulley wheel is even labeled SA.

One thing missing is the trigger shift. Crowd tells me a SA will shift it also. Would be nice to find one eventually to match the Suntour hub but I can make due for now.

The SA and Suntour are the same hub so you can use whatever trigger you want.

3speedslow 02-10-16 05:30 PM


Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver (Post 18526854)
The SA and Suntour are the same hub so you can use whatever trigger you want.

That I know. Thanks for the reconfirmation. Will hope for a Suntour one but run an SA if needed.

Velocivixen 02-10-16 07:03 PM

Awhile back I bought a '78 Raleigh Sport step through from the original owner. A 19" (my size), all original. I completely overhauled the bike, cleaned, new consumables, etc. I'm trying to figure out what I can do the make the ride feel a little more "sporty" or "spirited". It's a plush ride, bot doesn't inspire me.

Maybe I'm not a 3 speed gal? Maybe it would be zippier with aluminum rims? Maybe I should just accept it for what it is and leave it alone. The riding impression I get is that it's a slow, leisure cruiser - not "sporty" despite the name.

Were Raleigh "Sports"'really meant to be sporty, fast, spirited? Or more entry level "easy" bikes?

markk900 02-10-16 07:26 PM

My opinion only, but the Sports nomenclature has to be taken in context of the era. My "sports lightweight" Humber is only sporty and lightweight compared to its rod braked, full chaincased siblings. And certainly not as truly sporting as a RRA or Reg Harris Raleigh of the same era. But certainly at the time the sports versions were much more sporty than the tourists.

[Edit] Try a 3-speed with a nice lightweight frame and drop bars - I think you might change your mind about "zippiness"...and yes alloy rims can help....

dweenk 02-10-16 07:42 PM


Originally Posted by Velocivixen (Post 18527265)
Awhile back I bought a '78 Raleigh Sport step through from the original owner. A 19" (my size), all original. I completely overhauled the bike, cleaned, new consumables, etc. I'm trying to figure out what I can do the make the ride feel a little more "sporty" or "spirited". It's a plush ride, bot doesn't inspire me.

Maybe I'm not a 3 speed gal? Maybe it would be zippier with aluminum rims? Maybe I should just accept it for what it is and leave it alone. The riding impression I get is that it's a slow, leisure cruiser - not "sporty" despite the name.

Were Raleigh "Sports"'really meant to be sporty, fast, spirited? Or more entry level "easy" bikes?

I agree with Markk900. I use my 23" Sports for errands mostly, riding about 5 or 6 miles out and back. Some times I ride to the local university and park it while I drink a cup of coffee. I have gotten comments and sales leads from students seeing a nice old bike parked on campus.

gster 02-10-16 07:46 PM


Originally Posted by Velocivixen (Post 18527265)
Awhile back I bought a '78 Raleigh Sport step through from the original owner. A 19" (my size), all original. I completely overhauled the bike, cleaned, new consumables, etc. I'm trying to figure out what I can do the make the ride feel a little more "sporty" or "spirited". It's a plush ride, bot doesn't inspire me.

Maybe I'm not a 3 speed gal? Maybe it would be zippier with aluminum rims? Maybe I should just accept it for what it is and leave it alone. The riding impression I get is that it's a slow, leisure cruiser - not "sporty" despite the name.

Were Raleigh "Sports"'really meant to be sporty, fast, spirited? Or more entry level "easy" bikes?

A Raleigh Ladies bike, in particular would have a more relaxed riding position, sitting "on" the bike as opposed to "on top" of the bike. I think that they were meant for getting to work and doing errands. I tell my friend who owns a $10,000.00 carbon fibre bike (plus an expensive outfit), that it's the rider not the bike.....

markk900 02-10-16 07:56 PM


Originally Posted by dweenk (Post 18527344)
I use my 23" Sports for errands mostly, riding about 5 or 6 miles out and back. Some times I ride to the local university and park it while I drink a cup of coffee. I have gotten comments and sales leads from students seeing a nice old bike parked on campus.

I have the same experience with my older English bikes....lots of smiles as my wife and I ride by on our old bikes. Lots of local bike trails and rail trails. Typical 5-10 mile rides. However, I did do a charity event on my Trek converted to IGH and it was absolutely fine for longer rides, as well as easily keeping up with all manner of roadies (obviously not a race!). I later put on drop bars and moved the saddle to the Humber. My wife rode the Norco as she wanted more gears...

http://i197.photobucket.com/albums/a...psbaiyouic.jpg

Velocivixen 02-10-16 08:11 PM

Yeah, I realize speed is about the rider, but that's not what I'm talking about. I guess I can say that it's not fun to ride. It's very bland....like vanilla ice cream.

I guess it's the geometry and the heavy wheels. I think I'm coming to realizations about the kind of ride I enjoy best.

3speedslow 02-10-16 09:21 PM

They are bikes meant for transportation, plain and simple.

clubman 02-10-16 09:51 PM


Originally Posted by gster (Post 18527350)
A Raleigh Ladies bike, in particular would have a more relaxed riding position, sitting "on" the bike as opposed to "on top" of the bike. I think that they were meant for getting to work and doing errands. I tell my friend who owns a $10,000.00 carbon fibre bike (plus an expensive outfit), that it's the rider not the bike.....

I really have preferred a couple of women's Sports with their small cockpit and nimble turning. Even on a mans frame with NR bars, you're sitting up and "looking through the turns" and it's so easy to oversteer with the slack angles. I agree it's really only sporty when compared to roadsters. During the first several decades in the history of all bikes, the massive majority could only be described as too big and too heavy. Just look at the catalogs. I'll bet the first Sports bikes were a true lightweight revelation to the masses because bike prices were never cheap back in the day.


Originally Posted by Velocivixen (Post 18527265)
Awhile back I bought a '78 Raleigh Sport step through from the original owner. A 19" (my size), all original. I completely overhauled the bike, cleaned, new consumables, etc. I'm trying to figure out what I can do the make the ride feel a little more "sporty" or "spirited". It's a plush ride, bot doesn't inspire me.

Maybe I'm not a 3 speed gal? Maybe it would be zippier with aluminum rims? Maybe I should just accept it for what it is and leave it alone. The riding impression I get is that it's a slow, leisure cruiser - not "sporty" despite the name.

Were Raleigh "Sports"'really meant to be sporty, fast, spirited? Or more entry level "easy" bikes?

See above. I think it's also really important to imagine what the conditions of roads and paths were like in the 30's and 40's. Regardless what the latest evangelists of "wide tires are faster" espouse, the truth is Sports and Roadsters could ride both countryside and cobblestones with slow aplomb. Really, universal bikes for their time, not unlike mtn bikes of the late 80's. Road bikes have almost been in their own little niches, even in Britain where IGH's ruled Lands End rides long after continental riders were up to their shins in gearing, literally.

adventurepdx 02-10-16 10:52 PM

@Velocivixen, you present a tough question, whether you are a three speed gal or not. An old hi-ten British three speed with steel wheels isn't going to ride the same as a chromoly road bike, plain and simple. It's going to be heavier, it's going to feel slower. But that's not the end of the world, you can still have fun with it! You just can't think of it in the same way as a Raleigh International, for example.

As others have pointed out, the "Sports" moniker was compared to the more traditional roadster of the day. Even then, the truly sporty performance bikes with lighter tubing were the Lentons and the Record Aces and the Clubmans. Those compare more to the road bikes of the 70's and 80's than the Sports.

If anything, the Sports and the other "standard" three speeds of that era were the hybrids of the day. Yes, I said hybrid! They were meant as all around transportation, the in-between of the never-go-fast true roadster and the sporty-sporty Clubman style. They could be used for general transportation, for commuting, or more spirited rides if you couldn't afford the nicer, lighter machines. In short, the "do-all" bike of its era.

And after owning a '92 Bridgestone XO-3 for a bit, there's nothing wrong with a hybrid, at least not the steel ones from the early 90's. There is a lot that can be done with them. Like a Raleigh Sports, they are a versatile machine.

And I'm not into the idea that a three speed is simply a "neighborhood cruiser" that you'll never go more than three miles on. I've done longer rides, I've even done some loaded touring with them, with days of 50 miles and grades up to 8%. To relegate it to the bike you only use to go to the corner store just doesn't live up to the bike's heritage. More can be done with them. More should be done with them!

@Velocivixen, before you decide to move on and give up on three speeds, I urge you to at least come on one of my Three Speed Rides. You live in the Portland area, so it's not hard for you. There are plenty of folks who are members of Society of Three Speeds that wish they could come! The next one will be on Sunday March 20th. And hopefully you'll have a good time!

Velocivixen 02-11-16 12:11 AM

Thanks all for the perspective.

BigChief 02-11-16 05:48 AM

For me, it all depends on where I'm riding. Riding up long steep hills is a chore on any bike with upright bars and push pedals. In south Florida, there are no hills and as long as you have one gear low enough for stiff headwinds, an old 3 speed is more fun for me than a modern road bike. 10 pounds on a bike one way or the other doesn't amount to much in flat country and it's nice to look at the surrounding countryside instead of my front wheel. The overall design on the Sports is well suited to the combination of paved and unpaved roads here. I suppose you could call it a jack of all trades and master of none.

JohnDThompson 02-11-16 07:58 AM


Originally Posted by Velocivixen (Post 18527265)
Were Raleigh "Sports"'really meant to be sporty, fast, spirited? Or more entry level "easy" bikes?

More this kind of bike:

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/...3_2184271b.jpg

enossified 02-11-16 08:18 AM

My dad bought me a Humber in 1968 when I was 14. Brooks saddle, frame mounted pump, leather saddle bag, Sturmey-Archer shifter, green paint. I was in heaven. Rode it for a decade, gave it to my brother who still has it and still rides it.

DQRider 02-11-16 08:23 AM

This is why you need more than one bike. Right now, I have a cargo bike, a modern city/travel bike, a quick little path racer, and my favorite:

[IMG]http://i1073.photobucket.com/albums/...pstzvq4y6o.png[/IMG]

This old 3-speed is my favorite because I rescued it from rusty oblivion and put a lot of work into dressing it up and making it comfortable to ride, not because it is fast or handles well. It is a plush ride for enjoying the day from the saddle of a bicycle, while wearing comfortable everyday clothing. It is geared low to make hills less of a challenge, and the top gear is fast enough to get where you are going at a nice, stately pace. What's the hurry?

Hi-tech, lightweight roadbikes have their place, but that place to me is filled with tight, garish costumes and pain. How many of the photos you see of road bikers in action show a smiling face? Usually it is a grim countenance filled with fierce determination and "the will to win"! How is this fun?

Ah well, to each their own I guess.

choteau 02-11-16 09:02 AM

To me the ride on a 3 speed isn't "bland" but more of an "automatic-pilot", because when I ride mine, I enjoy the sights/sounds and not have to think about the bike. :D
As I ride 20-30 mile loops on my 3 speed at 10 mph, I see things change day by day, week by week etc.
By the way anybody have an extra 24 or 25 inch bland frame for sale? Tim

Velocivixen 02-11-16 10:55 AM

Ok, so I keep it, perhaps make some aluminum wheels or just ride when dry, and love it for what it is. :thumb:

Narhay 02-11-16 11:21 AM

I haven't ridden one with the original steel wheels as the four I received all had rotted rims. I replaced them all with aluminum rims. I have a PX-10 for the times I want to go faster but for stately cruises in everyday clothing with no rush I like my 1978 Raleigh Superbe.

JohnDThompson 02-11-16 11:31 AM


Originally Posted by Velocivixen (Post 18528517)
Ok, so I keep it, perhaps make some aluminum wheels or just ride when dry, and love it for what it is. :thumb:

Aluminum rims are a worthwhile improvement, IMO, especially in the PNW where you get plenty of rain. Sun CR-18 590mm rims are a drop-in replacement for the original rims and are available in 32, 36 and 40 hole drillings.

BigChief 02-11-16 11:48 AM


Originally Posted by DQRider (Post 18528124)
This is why you need more than one bike. Right now, I have a cargo bike, a modern city/travel bike, a quick little path racer, and my favorite:

[IMG]http://i1073.photobucket.com/albums/...pstzvq4y6o.png[/IMG]

This old 3-speed is my favorite because I rescued it from rusty oblivion and put a lot of work into dressing it up and making it comfortable to ride, not because it is fast or handles well. It is a plush ride for enjoying the day from the saddle of a bicycle, while wearing comfortable everyday clothing. It is geared low to make hills less of a challenge, and the top gear is fast enough to get where you are going at a nice, stately pace. What's the hurry?

Hi-tech, lightweight roadbikes have their place, but that place to me is filled with tight, garish costumes and pain. How many of the photos you see of road bikers in action show a smiling face? Usually it is a grim countenance filled with fierce determination and "the will to win"! How is this fun?

Ah well, to each their own I guess.

What a beautiful Roadster! In many ways DL-1 are my favorite bikes. Nothing else quite like them except maybe a Rolls Royce.

BigChief 02-11-16 11:54 AM


Originally Posted by Velocivixen (Post 18528517)
Ok, so I keep it, perhaps make some aluminum wheels or just ride when dry, and love it for what it is. :thumb:

I've been expecting you to add CR 18s and Tektro brakes to this bike. I'll add that I think you might find gearing down to a 22T cog in back would make for a nicer ride also. It does for me with AW hubs.

adventurepdx 02-11-16 11:55 AM


Originally Posted by Velocivixen (Post 18528517)
Ok, so I keep it, perhaps make some aluminum wheels or just ride when dry, and love it for what it is. :thumb:

I think if it makes the ride feel better and is worth it for you, go for it!

adventurepdx 02-11-16 12:02 PM


Originally Posted by DQRider (Post 18528124)
This is why you need more than one bike. Right now, I have a cargo bike, a modern city/travel bike, a quick little path racer, and my favorite:

That's a beautiful DL-1! Not that I need another bike, but wouldn't mind finding a DL-1. Just worry that it would be too big for me.

Velocivixen 02-11-16 12:33 PM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 18528677)
I've been expecting you to add CR 18s and Tektro brakes to this bike. I'll add that I think you might find gearing down to a 22T cog in back would make for a nicer ride also. It does for me with AW hubs.

@BigChief - have I become that:rolleyes: predictable?


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