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

curbtender 06-24-10 05:17 AM

I've a friend who'd been bugging me to find him one. He was crying it's too big. The saddle almost looks too clean to be original, but no one's crying about that...

tinypurple 06-24-10 08:19 AM

7 Attachment(s)
I'm new to vintage bikes. Here is what I found down the street. I just thought they looked awesome. I now see there is much more to it LOL Attachment 156806 Attachment 156807 Attachment 156808 Attachment 156809 Attachment 156810 Attachment 156811 Attachment 156812

tinypurple 06-24-10 08:21 AM

7 Attachment(s)
Here's the other one. Attachment 156815 Attachment 156816 Attachment 156817 Attachment 156818 Attachment 156819 Attachment 156820 Attachment 156821

gbalke 06-24-10 09:11 AM


Originally Posted by tinypurple (Post 11011588)
I'm new to vintage bikes. Here is what I found down the street. I just thought they looked awesome. I now see there is much more to it LOL Attachment 156806 Attachment 156807 Attachment 156808 Attachment 156809 Attachment 156810 Attachment 156811 Attachment 156812

So, did you pull the trigger on either? Be careful, these can become on obsession!

tinypurple 06-24-10 09:35 AM

Yeah, I got them for $22 a piece. I didn't have any clue what I was buying, I just wanted a bike to ride and these were right down the street. I bought the woman's to begin with and left the mens but I went back and got the other because I just couldn't see splitting up the pair. Well, when I started looking around online and found out they were actually pretty cool bikes to have! I'm really interested in learning more about vintage bikes. Its been really neat to read all of the history and to see everyone's finds. My brother is a big biking guy and works for Trailnet in St. Louis. I'm going to have to get him up here to look at these for me and tell me what to do with them LOL

noglider 06-24-10 11:09 AM

tinypurple, you got two good bikes!

I don't know if you know, but in recent decades, most bikes with the Huffy name on them have been very, very bad, cheap, crappy bikes. They were sold only in department stores and toy stores. These, however, were marketed by Huffy and built by Raleigh in England. They're every bit as good as the bikes with English brand names on them. I see them sell for $150 to $300, if you're interested in flipping them. If you're interested in keeping them, you'll enjoy them a lot. By modern standards, they are heavy and slow. But they have a friendly quality to the ride and handling. They are durable and reliable, much more than most other bikes, both old and new. If you put on modern brake shoes, the braking can be good. Without them, they may or may not be acceptable in dry weather, and they'll be useless in wet weather.

rhm 06-24-10 11:24 AM


Originally Posted by noglider (Post 11012536)
By modern standards, they are heavy and slow.

I agree with Tom's whole post, but I highlight this one point because it's totally fixable. The sprocket on the back hub of these bikes probably has 18 teeth on it; if you change it to one with 22 teeth, which will cost you as little as $3 per bike, they will feel much faster and lighter. Not lighter for carrying them up stairs, but a lot lighter for pedaling around.

tinypurple 06-24-10 12:14 PM

If I make the changes you are talking about, like modern brake shoes and a different sprocket, does that diminish the value of the bike? I don't think I want to sell them, but I would like to do the right thing by them in the way of maintaining their vintage value. I guess I don't know what I can do to these bikes to improve them without diminishing the value.

tinypurple 06-24-10 12:19 PM

Also, my whole point in finding a bike was to pull one of those trailers for my son to ride in. Would that be stupid? Is that too much weight for one of these old bikes? I feel like maybe someone with more knowledge should have stumbled upon these since I have no clue. I mean, I'm trying to find out but now I'm feeling a little out of my league!

gbalke 06-24-10 12:26 PM


Originally Posted by tinypurple (Post 11012894)
If I make the changes you are talking about, like modern brake shoes and a different sprocket, does that diminish the value of the bike? I don't think I want to sell them, but I would like to do the right thing by them in the way of maintaining their vintage value. I guess I don't know what I can do to these bikes to improve them without diminishing the value.

Begin by visiting the Retro Raleigh web site. There's a ton of information on English 3 speeds and Sturmey Archer; history, technical, parts and much, much more:

http://sheldonbrown.com/english-3.html

You're in NE Mo, where abouts? I'm just west of STL.

noglider 06-24-10 12:27 PM

If someone wants to buy it to ride it, then improvements increase the value. If someone wants to buy it as a collector's item, then some changes could decrease the value, though I wonder.

Another thing you can do to make it ride lighter is to change the rims and tires. This is expensive. It will improve the bike a heck of a lot, but it still won't be as fast or light as a modern bike. One reason is the weight. Another is that the geometry leads to slow, casual riding. The head angle is slack, which makes steering slow but easy. The top tube is short, which puts the rider in an upright position. Another reason the bike is hard to pedal is that the cranks are a bit shorter than modern cranks.

I'd say if you really want to lighten up the ride, the best investment is tires, and after that, it's rims. The Panaracer Col De La Vie is highly regarded. I haven't tried it, but I happen to love Panaracer tires. They are $30 each. Installing tires is no big deal.

The Sun CR-18 rim will build right up with your existing spokes. But this is much more work. If you're interested in doing this but think that building wheels is too hard for you, we can walk you through it. You don't have to have a bike shop do it. We've walked many people through their first wheel builds, and it has always worked out with very satisfying results. It takes hours, though, and you learn a heck of a lot. A year ago, I put a pair of these rims on a 55-year-old three-speed, and the result was very good. I didn't put new tires on, so I didn't give it the best possible upgrade.

And of course, you could spend more money on upgrades than a replacement bike costs, and you might like a new bike better. There's no telling. Some people like to put money in old bikes because there is more thought and care in that, so you feel like you control the final product. It's a matter of taste. The way I resolve these conflicts with myself is by owning a great many bikes. You don't want to know how many bikes I have.

noglider 06-24-10 12:29 PM

What's your terrain like? If it's not too hilly, you can pull any amount of weight on any bike.

I pulled two daughters simultaneously in my trailer. I think my max cargo weight was 180 lbs. No big deal. I just went more slowly, using lower gears. Headwinds were a big challenge, though.

tinypurple 06-24-10 12:43 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm in Kahoka, MO which is really in the middle of nowhere. There are no bike shops within 30 miles and no bike paths. I guess my terrain would be pretty flat since I will just be riding around in town for now. A tire rebuild is a little bit intimidating, but if I decide to try it I will definitely need some help! West of St. Louis? My brother works for Trailnet in St. Louis. He's some kind of program coordinator and sets up a lot of rides down there. Its weird that I know so little about bikes really.

gna 06-24-10 12:52 PM


Originally Posted by tinypurple (Post 11012015)
Yeah, I got them for $22 a piece. I didn't have any clue what I was buying, I just wanted a bike to ride and these were right down the street. I bought the woman's to begin with and left the mens but I went back and got the other because I just couldn't see splitting up the pair. Well, when I started looking around online and found out they were actually pretty cool bikes to have! I'm really interested in learning more about vintage bikes. Its been really neat to read all of the history and to see everyone's finds. My brother is a big biking guy and works for Trailnet in St. Louis. I'm going to have to get him up here to look at these for me and tell me what to do with them LOL

Those are very nice bikes, tinypurple. Good score.


The brake shoes Tom mentions are Kool Stop Continentals, in Salmon color. (You'll probably spend as much on brake pads as you did on the bikes. But you got such a good deal, just about everything you need you will spend more for than you did on the bikes).

As rhm points out, they're easier to pedal if you put on a bigger cog. But they work just fine in relatively flat places, such as the Twin Cities.

My wife and I pull my 4-year-old daughter in a trailer all the time, so no worries. My issue was finding the right hitch to work with the bike.

noglider 06-24-10 12:59 PM

I pay about $8 per pair of Kool Stop salmon-colored brake shoes. They are worth every penny and more. There is nothing better.

gbalke 06-24-10 01:34 PM

I'm about 2-1/2 hrs south of you in O'Fallon. Since you seem to be rather remote, your best bet for replacement parts would be on-line. Harris Cyclery in West Newton, MA has many English 3 speed parts; http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/index.html.

I've used Niagara Cycle Works for tires, tubes and cables. You can find some smokin' deals there; http://www.niagaracycle.com/index.php.

tinypurple 06-24-10 01:54 PM

Thanks for the links :) I will check them out.

gna 06-24-10 02:16 PM


Originally Posted by noglider (Post 11013119)
I pay about $8 per pair of Kool Stop salmon-colored brake shoes. They are worth every penny and more. There is nothing better.

Where do you get them for $8?

noglider 06-24-10 02:17 PM


Originally Posted by gna (Post 11013608)
Where do you get them for $8?

My local bike shop (High Gear Cyclery in Millburn, NJ). I think you can get them for $7 a pair online.

lord_athlon 06-24-10 03:19 PM

I just got a womens 3 speed Robin Hood for free. Is it blasphemy if I take the hubs, lace them up with some new sun rims, and put them on my 69 SuperCourse frame?

warwick.hoy 06-24-10 07:46 PM

Tinypurple, That Huffy looks just like the Phillips I picked up. Also made by Raleigh and has the Sturmy Archer AW 3 Speed hub on it. I love my bike. (check sig)

gna 06-24-10 08:18 PM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by curbtender (Post 11010951)
I've a friend who'd been bugging me to find him one. He was crying it's too big. The saddle almost looks too clean to be original, but no one's crying about that...

I don't think it is...by the late '70s, the Sports had this monstrosity:

http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=156933

You're a nicer man than I am...had I found it, I probably would have kept the saddle and replaced it with something else before handing it over.

clubman 06-24-10 08:41 PM


Originally Posted by noglider (Post 11012973)
What's your terrain like? If it's not too hilly, you can pull any amount of weight on any bike.

I pulled two daughters simultaneously in my trailer. I think my max cargo weight was 180 lbs. No big deal. I just went more slowly, using lower gears. Headwinds were a big challenge, though.

We too...my wife and I used a Raleigh Superbe/trailer combo with Mathausser pads. With our kids of course...what else do you think we were doing in a bike trailer?

First gear was always a very popular choice.

noglider 06-25-10 06:37 AM


Originally Posted by lord_athlon (Post 11013958)
I just got a womens 3 speed Robin Hood for free. Is it blasphemy if I take the hubs, lace them up with some new sun rims, and put them on my 69 SuperCourse frame?

Not at all. nlerner builds up bikes like that with AW hubs. He makes a beautiful bikes that way.

tinypurple 06-25-10 07:55 AM

Nice bike Warwick! I took the bike out yesterday. Its a little short for me. I'm going to need to adjust the height but other than that it's a really nice ride.


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