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

jedge76 08-10-10 11:09 PM

This MAY be my next bike. I am wondering the kind of maintenance that goes into an older bike that will be ridden a lot. I want to use it as a commuter/cruiser. Is there much more effort in the general upkeep of a mid-1960's 3-sped versus a contemporary version? I sure hope not, I've been eyeing vintage Raleighs for some time and then this popped up:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...%3DI%26otn%3D2

mkeller234 08-10-10 11:30 PM

Hey jedge76, strange thing is I live in the same city as that ebay ad. Are you from Canton?

There are a few quirks to the old Raleigh 3 speeds. Normal maintenance would include regreasing the bearings in the front hub headset and bottom bracket. To get to the bottom bracket you have to remove the cranks which are held on by cotter pins. Cotter pins can be a mild pain if they have been in place for a really long time, they do sell cotter presses that make it much easier. Maintenance for the Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub is mostly adding a few drops of oil to the hub once in a while. The indicator chain, cable and trigger shifter should get a drop or two of lubricant once in a while too.

Those are the basics, they are pretty simple to look after actually. Raleigh used proprietary 26tpi headsets and bottom bracket cups so those can be hard to replace if you ever need to.

I have a feeling most modern bikes use replaceable cartridge bearings which can be nice and convenient. The braking power on a modern bike will be much better than a steel rimmed Raleigh, especially in the rain. A modern bike will either have indexed shifting or an internal hub that probably offers a better range of gears. You have to decide how important performance is, old Raleighs are very capable but there are some drawbacks in functionality.

Andrew F 08-11-10 08:05 AM

Rub it with a dead skunk? Actually something like Fabreeze and a good airing out will help a bit, the odor is more likely from mold than the saddle material.

David Newton 08-11-10 08:09 AM

Neat Phillips Lau. The chain ring is worth it's weight in chain rings.
You'll be wanting a blue & white seat anyway, but you could take the seat off and pour baking soda all under and around the mat of horsehair, and let it sit for a few days, let it dry out.

Andrew F 08-11-10 08:11 AM


This MAY be my next bike. I am wondering the kind of maintenance that goes into an older bike that will be ridden a lot. I want to use it as a commuter/cruiser. Is there much more effort in the general upkeep of a mid-1960's 3-sped versus a contemporary version? I sure hope not, I've been eyeing vintage Raleighs for some time and then this popped up:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...%3DI%26otn%3D2

Very nice at first glance. The Vintage 3spds are wonderful and bombproof, keep oil in the hub and air in the tires and ride, ride, ride. This one is a bit small, 21" frame, good if you less tha 5"8 or have short legs. The 23" frame will suite a rider from 5'8" to ove 6'.

noglider 08-11-10 09:48 AM


Originally Posted by Andrew F (Post 11270756)
Rub it with a dead skunk?

:lol:


Actually something like Fabreeze and a good airing out will help a bit, the odor is more likely from mold than the saddle material.
Hmm! Clever!

jedge76, that's an excellent, excellent specimen. I hope you get it.

I disagree somewhat with mkeller234. English 3-speeds need a lot less maintenance than just about anything. This is in my many years of experience. They are incredibly reliable and durable. The trouble with maintaining them, as mkeller234 points out, is on the rare occasions when you do have to take them apart. The cranks are a pain to remove and replace, but I very rarely need to.

If you're used to a modern bike's ride, you will find this bike very slow. You may want to replace the rear sprocket with something larger to drop all the gear ratios; they typically come too high. The handling is friendly and will put a smile on your face, because the steering is light. But it has a large turning radius and isn't nimble for quick turns and fast reflexes. It encourages you to slow down. And it's not a great hill climber.

But it will win your heart anyway.

Andrew F, for some reason, you can ride a smaller 3-speed than a road-racing style bike. I'm not sure why. I'm 5'9" and fit the 21" bikes well. The 23" bikes are much too big for me, yet I have a 23" road bike. Someone else might be able to explain that.

flammenwurfer 08-11-10 09:52 AM

That is strange. I have a 23" sports and a 23" Technium. Both fit me great and I'm 5'10". My technium is a 3 speed conversion, however, and has north road bars. Maybe it's the body position of upright versus drop bars that makes the difference?

kingfish254 08-11-10 11:32 AM


Originally Posted by msLau (Post 11270255)
If anyone has any suggestions for stopping the (original, looks like it's stuffed with horsehair) saddle smelling like a dead badger, that would be much appreciated. ;)

Sounds like the previous owner had a bad case of Swamp Ass (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=swampass).
Rubbing it with a dead skunk is actually the proper treatment for this ailment.

mkeller234 08-11-10 11:35 AM


Originally Posted by noglider (Post 11271338)
:lol:



Hmm! Clever!

jedge76, that's an excellent, excellent specimen. I hope you get it.

I disagree somewhat with mkeller234. English 3-speeds need a lot less maintenance than just about anything. This is in my many years of experience. They are incredibly reliable and durable. The trouble with maintaining them, as mkeller234 points out, is on the rare occasions when you do have to take them apart. The cranks are a pain to remove and replace, but I very rarely need to.

If you're used to a modern bike's ride, you will find this bike very slow. You may want to replace the rear sprocket with something larger to drop all the gear ratios; they typically come too high. The handling is friendly and will put a smile on your face, because the steering is light. But it has a large turning radius and isn't nimble for quick turns and fast reflexes. It encourages you to slow down. And it's not a great hill climber.

But it will win your heart anyway.

Andrew F, for some reason, you can ride a smaller 3-speed than a road-racing style bike. I'm not sure why. I'm 5'9" and fit the 21" bikes well. The 23" bikes are much too big for me, yet I have a 23" road bike. Someone else might be able to explain that.


Actually, I think we are closer to agreeing that it may sound. I do think English 3 speeds are pretty simple to maintain, I just wanted to show that there are some drawbacks compared with a quality modern bike. Things like quick release skewers, effective brakes, lots of gears and sealed bearings can be nice to have for a serious commuter but the 3 speed looks cooler. I'm not putting down the Raleigh, I really love them.

When it comes to fit I am 6 feet tall and like the large 3 speeds the best. I can never get the posts high enough to avoid knee pain with the small frames, and then they look goofy with the posts way up.

kingfish254 08-11-10 11:53 AM

What is wrong having the posts way up?

I washed my English 3 Speed the other day and it shrunk, so now I have to ride it with the seatpost way up.

http://i914.photobucket.com/albums/a...r%20Sale/1.jpg

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...0#post11268340

Andrew F 08-11-10 12:50 PM

Noglider, really a 21" I thought? I know I've got a few inches on you but a 23" still requires a rather extended seatpost to get a proper position. I'm a bit curious so I just took my 21" Herc. for a spin around the block, felt fine, seemed large enough, then I immediately hopped onto a 23 Raleigh, much better. Finally, I took my Sports with drop bars out, it felt tighter than the 21" frame! My conclusion:

English 3spd are so darn comfortable and rider freindly, a larger or smaller frame is very adaptable, due I assume, to as you said, the upright position, but still I think a nod has to be given to proper fit.

noglider 08-11-10 01:03 PM

Yes, but you are really quite a bit taller than I am, and I do have short legs for someone my height. I think a person 5'10" tall might be better suited to a 23" frame, but most people are shorter than 5'10". We don't know how tall jedge76 is. We haven't heard from him since his one and only post here. I just sent him a message, saying I hope he knows we're addressing him and trying to help.

BigPolishJimmy 08-11-10 01:50 PM

All this talk about 3-speeds lately, now I have to dig my Raleigh Sports out and have a little ride on it. I'm curious to see if I can adjust it up to fit my 6'4" size, I had just assumed it was too small, now I have to know for sure. I rode my Armstrong on campus for a summer, but that was about 20 years ago and it was easier to conform to the bike back then when I was a whole person thinner. I see that I'm going to be measuring and comparing 3-speed frame sizes tonight.

noglider 08-11-10 01:54 PM

I'm not sure I've ever seen an English 3-speed bigger than 23-1/2 inches.

Come to think of it, Andrew, aren't they really 21-1/2 and 23-1/2. No wonder the smaller one fits me and the bigger one doesn't.

jedge76 08-11-10 04:01 PM


Originally Posted by Andrew F (Post 11270780)
Very nice at first glance. The Vintage 3spds are wonderful and bombproof, keep oil in the hub and air in the tires and ride, ride, ride. This one is a bit small, 21" frame, good if you less tha 5"8 or have short legs. The 23" frame will suite a rider from 5'8" to ove 6'.

I was thinking the clearance might be alright, but I think your parameters are probably spot on. I am about 6', maybe a tad over and am now really afraid of the frame size. Seems like it'd be quite a bit too small. Thanks for the reply Andrew!


Originally Posted by mkeller234 (Post 11269798)
Hey jedge76, strange thing is I live in the same city as that ebay ad. Are you from Canton?

There are a few quirks to the old Raleigh 3 speeds. Normal maintenance would include regreasing the bearings in the front hub headset and bottom bracket. To get to the bottom bracket you have to remove the cranks which are held on by cotter pins. Cotter pins can be a mild pain if they have been in place for a really long time, they do sell cotter presses that make it much easier. Maintenance for the Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub is mostly adding a few drops of oil to the hub once in a while. The indicator chain, cable and trigger shifter should get a drop or two of lubricant once in a while too.

Those are the basics, they are pretty simple to look after actually. Raleigh used proprietary 26tpi headsets and bottom bracket cups so those can be hard to replace if you ever need to.

I have a feeling most modern bikes use replaceable cartridge bearings which can be nice and convenient. The braking power on a modern bike will be much better than a steel rimmed Raleigh, especially in the rain. A modern bike will either have indexed shifting or an internal hub that probably offers a better range of gears. You have to decide how important performance is, old Raleighs are very capable but there are some drawbacks in functionality.

Wow, thanks a lot for the really well-thought out, knowledgeable advice. I have read elsewhere (maybe Sheldon Brown's site) that the steel wheels are a lot more difficult to slow down. I heard someone say they replaced the wheels w/ something newer. That'd add to the investment, but definitely a possibility. Thanks again!


Originally Posted by noglider (Post 11272587)
Yes, but you are really quite a bit taller than I am, and I do have short legs for someone my height. I think a person 5'10" tall might be better suited to a 23" frame, but most people are shorter than 5'10". We don't know how tall jedge76 is. We haven't heard from him since his one and only post here. I just sent him a message, saying I hope he knows we're addressing him and trying to help.

Got your message Noglider...I wrote the original post late last night and just got home from work. Yea, I'm about 6' and am thinking that a 21" frame will not suffice. Thanks for all your advice so far...it is SO MUCh appreciated. BTW, I'm originally from Berlin, NJ. Anyhow, I guess I'll keep looking.

noglider 08-11-10 05:02 PM

jedge76, this just showed up on my local craigslist. Looks good. The chain looks rusty, but that's a small problem.

http://newjersey.craigslist.org/bik/1892537592.html

jedge76 08-11-10 05:20 PM


Originally Posted by noglider (Post 11273893)
jedge76, this just showed up on my local craigslist. Looks good. The chain looks rusty, but that's a small problem.

http://newjersey.craigslist.org/bik/1892537592.html

Wow! That is super clean. I doubt he would ship, though. Everyone here in CA has $3k oad bikes or cruisers. I rarely have ever seen much else.

noglider 08-11-10 05:22 PM

I could pick it up and ship it for you, if you like.

jedge76 08-11-10 06:57 PM


Originally Posted by noglider (Post 11274001)
I could pick it up and ship it for you, if you like.

That wouldn't be too much of a burden for you? Awful nice of you to offer. How much do you think shipping would cost? (my zip=93720).

I see it has the front head light bracket, I bet I could find a NOS pretty easily. And that price is right from what I've seen. Let me know the particulars, I'm interested. Just don't want to burden someone I've never met like this though!

ohjonnybegoode 08-11-10 08:27 PM


Originally Posted by jedge76 (Post 11274434)
That wouldn't be too much of a burden for you? Awful nice of you to offer. How much do you think shipping would cost? (my zip=93720).

I see it has the front head light bracket, I bet I could find a NOS pretty easily. And that price is right from what I've seen. Let me know the particulars, I'm interested. Just don't want to burden someone I've never met like this though!

I have that bike's sister...same year, same color, same size, with a bit more patina...:)

GREAT bike...a pleasure to ride around the neighborhood on...(and I'm 6'2 and the 23 inch frame works for me....)

jedge76 08-11-10 08:42 PM


Originally Posted by ohjonnybegoode (Post 11274877)
I have that bike's sister...same year, same color, same size, with a bit more patina...:)

GREAT bike...a pleasure to ride around the neighborhood on...(and I'm 6'2 and the 23 inch frame works for me....)

Nice! I like the "espresso" color. Sounds like a perfect fit. Funny thing is, I saw a '74 Raleigh Sports in so-so condition for $300 in my local craigslist here in California. Was thinking hard about that one, but couldn't see spending the $300. For some reason, everything's more expensive here on the left coast (see: gas prices!)

jedge76 08-11-10 08:46 PM

Just so everyone knows a little more about me...I was a Cyclocross/mountain bike guy till about a year ago. Hurt my back at work and haven't been riding since. I recently sold my 2008 Giant TCX 1 b/c of all that as I was looking for something more fitting my situation. I've been researching a lot and that's when I came across vintage Raleigh's. Just starting to learn about them.

Ohjohnnybegoode, have you posted any photos in this thread of that 1970 beauty? I've been perusing this thread steadily and don't remember seeing it.

msLau 08-12-10 03:09 AM

,e,sf

mkeller234 08-12-10 03:25 AM


Originally Posted by msLau (Post 11275965)
After reading that description, I will be burning the saddle sacrificially, and possibly any other second-hand saddle I ever obtain in the future.

Fortunately, I think it is more of a mouldy smell, so will try baking soda/Febreeze combo. Thanks Andrew and David!

I went out on it yesterday and discovered in the middle of a particularly vigorous road junction that I do, in fact, have some way to go regarding the adjustment of three speed gears. More tweaking needed!

The best thing about a three speed is that adjustments can be made on the fly. If you notice a problem you can stop, adjust the cable and try it out, no tools required.

Andrew F 08-12-10 11:43 AM

1 Attachment(s)
All cleaned up and delivered to my God daughter this morning for college.

'69 Dunelt off CL for $35
Pair of Creme Delta's $46
Toto basket $35
The smile on her face.......priceless!

http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=164395

rhm 08-12-10 12:00 PM

^That looks great!

gna 08-12-10 12:14 PM


Originally Posted by rhm (Post 11278228)
^That looks great!

+1000

She's a lucky girl.

I have those tires. They roll very well, and are puncture resistant.

cyclistbrian 08-12-10 12:16 PM

64 (I think) Phillips
 
3 Attachment(s)
Here is my Phillips (says 64 on Hub but maybe not origonal to bike..) . Kind of ratty and right now needs a headset overhaul. Surprisingly good to ride over distances as far as 20-30 miles and not so bad on hills either. I take her out a few times a year. I also have Rudge that's not road worthy but which will be brought back. No pics yet.

ohjonnybegoode 08-12-10 12:19 PM


Originally Posted by jedge76 (Post 11274980)
Just so everyone knows a little more about me...I was a Cyclocross/mountain bike guy till about a year ago. Hurt my back at work and haven't been riding since. I recently sold my 2008 Giant TCX 1 b/c of all that as I was looking for something more fitting my situation. I've been researching a lot and that's when I came across vintage Raleigh's. Just starting to learn about them.

Ohjohnnybegoode, have you posted any photos in this thread of that 1970 beauty? I've been perusing this thread steadily and don't remember seeing it.

I thought I did a few pages ago...here's a couple of snaps...(never miss an opportunity to post photos...:)

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4118/...aa4916a9_b.jpg
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4094/...71119524_b.jpg
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4135/...a960090d_b.jpg

flammenwurfer 08-12-10 12:31 PM

I was just sitting here admiring ohjonnybegoode's Sports and thinking that it reminds me a lot of my 1970 Raleigh Sports. Then, I realized that I haven't posted photos of mine in this thread yet! So here it is.

I'm in the process of making a number of upgrades to it and will be using it as my commuter when it's finished.

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_aQvE2vU5Quo/TA...0/IMAG0081.jpg


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