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

JaccoW 01-10-18 08:10 AM

The local waste disposal site has a container with old beater bikes. I was thinking of going by on my day off to ask them if I could take one. Last time I checked they had a ladies model with one of those SA drum brake/derailleur cassette hubs. Not great for mountains but decent all-weather braking for city use.

BigChief 01-10-18 11:10 AM

Just a brief rant. The S5 hub wasn't successful and it should have been. In one of those "what were they thinking" moments, Sturmey Archer decided to only offer them with these finicky, poorly made, ridiculously located frame mounted shifters when they already had perfectly suitable handlebar mounted trigger shifters whose design had been perfected since 1948 available. It would have been far easier to make 2 position triggers for the left side than to tool up for this new, flawed design. These hubs could have been a viable option on light roadsters for years to come. Instead, they have become an expensive rarity.Too bad really.

Salubrious 01-10-18 11:12 AM

SA had patented 7 speed hubs as far back as the 1940s but Raleigh blocked their production. My suspicion is you can blame the shifter fiasco on Raleigh's bean counters as well.

treebound 01-10-18 11:15 AM

For those who have done the 700c conversion, did you swap a whole wheelset or did you lace 700c rims to your 3-speed hubs?

68sd 01-10-18 12:20 PM

1 Attachment(s)
finally able to upload a photo of my 1953 Eatons Commander

haha it worked

adventurepdx 01-10-18 01:16 PM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20101628)
Just a brief rant. The S5 hub wasn't successful and it should have been. In one of those "what were they thinking" moments, Sturmey Archer decided to only offer them with these finicky, poorly made, ridiculously located frame mounted shifters when they already had perfectly suitable handlebar mounted trigger shifters whose design had been perfected since 1948 available. It would have been far easier to make 2 position triggers for the left side than to tool up for this new, flawed design. These hubs could have been a viable option on light roadsters for years to come. Instead, they have become an expensive rarity.Too bad really.

I think it's not just the shifters, it was timing and lack of confidence on Raleigh/SA's part.

If they introduced the S5 hub in the beginning of the 60's vs at the end, it would have stood more of a chance. But by the end of the decade, the general public consensus was derailleurs were "better" than hub gears. Never mind that the range on the five speed hub would be pretty comparable to the ten speed derailleur setups of the time, but that was the perception.

And Raleigh didn't help by offering the hub and derailleur equipped Sprites side by side! Take a look at this 1969 catalog. If they didn't offer the derailleur as the option, people would have just bought the hub gear Sprite and Raleigh/SA would have to deal with the crappy shifter issue. (Though I have to admit, I am partial to that French-looking chainguard on the derailleur model.:love: )
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/retrora.../images/03.jpg

adventurepdx 01-10-18 01:17 PM


Originally Posted by 68sd (Post 20101782)
finally able to upload a photo of my 1953 Eatons Commander

Very nice! :love:

clubman 01-10-18 01:27 PM


Originally Posted by 68sd (Post 20101782)
finally able to upload a photo of my 1953 Eatons Commander

haha it worked

I'm so glad you bought that. Here's it's big wheeled cousin, slightly older I think. It's only a 2 speed.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/FT...w1362-h1022-no

For those fans of 'This Hour has 22 Minutes' here's Mark Critch using it in a skit a couple of years ago. Shaun Majumber rode it as well.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/3Z...w1362-h1022-no

68sd 01-10-18 01:32 PM

1 Attachment(s)
The Herc was disposed of in a dumpster by someone along with this 1951 Raleigh Sports, when i went to pick up the Commander i was offered the Sports as well from the gentleman who owned the dumpster. they both should clean up nicely.

nlerner 01-10-18 02:04 PM


Originally Posted by treebound (Post 20101644)
For those who have done the 700c conversion, did you swap a whole wheelset or did you lace 700c rims to your 3-speed hubs?

The main issue to resolve is that the most common vintage S-A hubs are 40-holes, and 40-hole 700c rims can be hard to find--not impossible as they were made for tandems. You can find 36-hole S-A hubs (even AW w/ alloy shell) as I believe they were stock on some Schwinn 3-speeds, but there far less plentiful than 40-hole.

clubman 01-10-18 02:11 PM


Originally Posted by 68sd (Post 20101967)
The Herc was disposed of in a dumpster by someone along with this 1951 Raleigh Sports, when i went to pick up the Commander i was offered the Sports as well from the gentleman who owned the dumpster. they both should clean up nicely.


Big frame 51 Sports? You had an awesome day of bin-diving! Love to see good pics of both bikes someday.

johnnyspaghetti 01-10-18 02:13 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I will pick up this 1961 finally at 7pm across town for $75

Attachment 595099

thumpism 01-10-18 02:15 PM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by treebound (Post 20101644)
For those who have done the 700c conversion, did you swap a whole wheelset or did you lace 700c rims to your 3-speed hubs?

Back in my shop days the lady boss wanted a guest bike built and wanted 700C wheels on it. I used Super Champ #58 rims (both 36H, as I recall) and they worked very well, fitting under the fenders very cleanly.

I recently found a Swiss-built Condor 3-speed at the local co-op and it has 700C Weinmann rims laced with DT spokes. Loved the bike but absolutely did not need it, so rationalized the modest purchase price by telling myself that the wheels would do nicely on my Raleigh Pro 3-speed project for a fraction of what it would have cost me to build the wheels from scratch. Since I'd never cannibalize the Condor for its wheels I'll be building wheels for the Pro anyway. See how neatly that worked out?

So, in answer to your question, yes.

Condor.
Attachment 595100

johnnyspaghetti 01-10-18 02:36 PM

This guy dropped down to $50

https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2&i...1&disp=safe&zw

thumpism 01-10-18 02:42 PM


Originally Posted by johnnyspaghetti (Post 20102128)

Don't buy it unless he lets you pay more!!!

johnnyspaghetti 01-10-18 03:35 PM


Originally Posted by thumpism (Post 20102147)
Don't buy it unless he lets you pay more!!!

I really didn't want it after he sent me pics and it wasn't an S5 hub. I didn't realize thay offered an open gear option. Very clean though.

BigChief 01-10-18 04:52 PM


Originally Posted by clubman (Post 20102061)
Big frame 51 Sports? You had an awesome day of bin-diving! Love to see good pics of both bikes someday.

+1 Excellent find. Just the kind of project bikes I love to find. Yes, please keep us posted.

johnnyspaghetti 01-10-18 06:17 PM


Originally Posted by JaccoW (Post 20101275)
The local waste disposal site has a container with old beater bikes. I was thinking of going by on my day off to ask them if I could take one. Last time I checked they had a ladies model with one of those SA drum brake/derailleur cassette hubs. Not great for mountains but decent all-weather braking for city use.

I retired from a City waste disposal system of 400,000 pop. Every one & there mother sister & brothers will bring there large item trash to there the relative that lives in the city because suburbs charge about $50 per item and the city just picks up & processes these items seemingly at no cost. 1st ring suburbs combined w/city have a population of 2.5 million. I daily shopped this junk as it came in that is very satisfying thing to do. Bicycles only need to have the tires cut off the rims. A full rolloff dumpster only holds maybe $1500 to $2000 in mixed metal weight. One bicycle isn't worth a penny. Its refrigerators, stove, washers, dryers, microwaves, storm door, any appliance, or steel/metallic refuse is picked up free but not really as it is worked in to the billing of all.

markk900 01-10-18 07:09 PM


Originally Posted by nlerner (Post 20102039)
The main issue to resolve is that the most common vintage S-A hubs are 40-holes, and 40-hole 700c rims can be hard to find--not impossible as they were made for tandems. You can find 36-hole S-A hubs (even AW w/ alloy shell) as I believe they were stock on some Schwinn 3-speeds, but there far less plentiful than 40-hole.

Around here the 36 hole is very common - the two 700C 3-speeds I have done I laced new rims to existing hubs. I think the common combo switched over from 32/40 to 36/36 in the late sixties/early seventies.

SirMike1983 01-10-18 08:33 PM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20101628)
Just a brief rant. The S5 hub wasn't successful and it should have been. In one of those "what were they thinking" moments, Sturmey Archer decided to only offer them with these finicky, poorly made, ridiculously located frame mounted shifters when they already had perfectly suitable handlebar mounted trigger shifters whose design had been perfected since 1948 available. It would have been far easier to make 2 position triggers for the left side than to tool up for this new, flawed design. These hubs could have been a viable option on light roadsters for years to come. Instead, they have become an expensive rarity.Too bad really.

The growth of the automobile in Britain and the dominance of the automobile in the United States also hurt severely. In the post-war years, Raleigh, like many British firms, were pushing exports. The U.S. had a large potential market, but almost entirely for children's bikes. Only a small portion of the bikes sold in the U.S. right after WWII and into the 1950s were for adults. If you wanted to sell in quantity, children in America were the best audience (Schwinn certainly recognized that as well).

So we have a hub with real potential (the FW, and derivative 5-speed that eventually becomes the S5), and Sturmey moves on to the TCW because Americans (especially the kids) loved coaster brakes. The hub had generally well-made parts, but the design was done on the cheap - graft an undersized coaster brake onto a modified AW.

Then instead of pursuing the FW/S5 or 7-speed path, Sturmey came out with the supposedly cost-save SW hub, which was another poorly conceived thing. As great as the 1950s were for Sturmey manufacturing quality, they were not very good from a hub design and development standpoint. We all covet pristine 1950s AWs, FWs, Dynohubs, drum hubs, and the like, but really those were earlier designs.

JohnDThompson 01-10-18 10:26 PM


Originally Posted by nlerner (Post 20102039)
The main issue to resolve is that the most common vintage S-A hubs are 40-holes, and 40-hole 700c rims can be hard to find--not impossible as they were made for tandems. You can find 36-hole S-A hubs (even AW w/ alloy shell) as I believe they were stock on some Schwinn 3-speeds, but there far less plentiful than 40-hole.

Tandems East lists several 700C 40 hole rims:

Tandems East Wheelsets, Rims and Hubs Rims

27inch 01-11-18 05:14 AM


Originally Posted by JaccoW (Post 20101275)
The local waste disposal site has a container with old beater bikes. I was thinking of going by on my day off to ask them if I could take one. Last time I checked they had a ladies model with one of those SA drum brake/derailleur cassette hubs. Not great for mountains but decent all-weather braking for city use.

Trash picking or dumpster diving in the town I live it in illegal, if they catch you they will fine you. However, if you pickup an item the night before or catch it while someone is carrying it out, there's not much they can do. You have to judge what and where you think you can get away with it. Bikes picked up by the trash truck weekly get tossed into the hopper and smashed like everything else, they sort it out later once its dumped I guess. I've watched them toss in furniture, bikes, mopeds, lawnmowers, you name it. If you get to know the guys collecting the trash, sometimes you can get them to save you good items, a six pack of beer from time to time will get you months of goodies. Then there's the scrap guys who prowl around every recycling day in the old beat up trucks, those guys seem to find the good stuff, but its hard to get one to not smash everything into a pile in their truck. I did trade a guy a bucket of empty aluminum cans for a half dozen nice garage shelves last month, and another guy brought me a garden tractor and two push mowers in exchange for some rusty iron I had outback. (He didn't have to strip tires off the iron or drain any oil to sell it). Both the tractor and mowers ran with a few minor repairs.

If I have scrap, I save it as trade bait. Its gotten me a few nice bikes over the years, including a Gitane Tour de France, a Motobecane Grand Jubile, and a few decent older three speeds. (They won't part with old Schwinns though for any amount for some reason).

27inch 01-11-18 05:26 AM


Originally Posted by adventurepdx (Post 20101928)
I think it's not just the shifters, it was timing and lack of confidence on Raleigh/SA's part.

If they introduced the S5 hub in the beginning of the 60's vs at the end, it would have stood more of a chance. But by the end of the decade, the general public consensus was derailleurs were "better" than hub gears. Never mind that the range on the five speed hub would be pretty comparable to the ten speed derailleur setups of the time, but that was the perception.

And Raleigh didn't help by offering the hub and derailleur equipped Sprites side by side! Take a look at this 1969 catalog. If they didn't offer the derailleur as the option, people would have just bought the hub gear Sprite and Raleigh/SA would have to deal with the crappy shifter issue. (Though I have to admit, I am partial to that French-looking chainguard on the derailleur model.:love: )

I didn't realize they built a derailleur shift bike in 26" either. I've had a few 27" 10 speed Sprites but they were newer. I don't think I've ever seen a 26" derailleur bike around here in person.

rustymetal 01-11-18 08:28 AM

Years ago I had a 5 speed Sprite with the original SA levers but they weren't on the top tube, they were mounted on the stem. The right lever had three distinct clicks, but it would stop in between gears if you weren't careful, so shifting wasn't like using a trigger where as you can't miss the gear. The left side was just a friction lever which would go hi to low, I seem to recall it too had a detent at either end of is travel too.

They didn't work well and I didn't keep the bike around for long. I did put a trigger on the drive side cable, and i used an old Simplex 5 speed friction lever for the left side, eventually moving that too up to the handle bars with a friction mtb thumb shifter. I got tired of guessing what gear the thing was in and sold or traded it for something else.

BigChief 01-11-18 10:06 AM


Originally Posted by rustymetal (Post 20103359)
Years ago I had a 5 speed Sprite with the original SA levers but they weren't on the top tube, they were mounted on the stem. The right lever had three distinct clicks, but it would stop in between gears if you weren't careful, so shifting wasn't like using a trigger where as you can't miss the gear. The left side was just a friction lever which would go hi to low, I seem to recall it too had a detent at either end of is travel too.

They didn't work well and I didn't keep the bike around for long. I did put a trigger on the drive side cable, and i used an old Simplex 5 speed friction lever for the left side, eventually moving that too up to the handle bars with a friction mtb thumb shifter. I got tired of guessing what gear the thing was in and sold or traded it for something else.

I think of the S5 as two 3 speed hubs in one. With the bell crank disengaged, it's a medium ratio spread. Engage the bell crank and you have a super wide ratio spread. I never use 3rd in wide mode, but the granny first is very useful for me. 99% of my riding is done with the medium mode. It's perfect for flat country upright riding.


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