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

Sedgemop 11-07-23 09:17 PM

Had a fair number of Raleigh 3 speeds over the years, but never a 5 speed Sprite. I've always liked the chainguard and am intrigued by (and a little skeptical of) Sheldon Brown's claim that the Sprite is a livelier alternative to the the Sports. Might like to try out this Sprite during the winter. Anyway, I'm curious if there's a consensus on the 5 speed drivetrain. Does it work well enough? Any chronic issues?

https://scontent-ord5-2.xx.fbcdn.net...AQ&oe=654EE91D
https://scontent-ord5-1.xx.fbcdn.net...-A&oe=65501E28

SirMike1983 11-07-23 09:48 PM

The original version of the S5 hub works fine. The problem points to watch are the original, plastic shifters and the original thin metal bell crank. If you get one with the improved bell crank and pushrod, that's a good start. An improved shifter set up would be a friction shifter non-drive and a 3-speed thumb shifter on the drive side. The original S5 is a little trickier to work on than the 3-speed AW, but it's not overly difficult either.

Just comparing the hubs alone, the S5 gives substantially more range than the AW does. But being coupled to a bike that is otherwise the same (apart from the hub, the Sprite is functionally the same as the Sports), that waters down your gains from the hub. The Sprite is a bit livelier, but you're not getting the most out of it on that bike.

Where an S5 would really come into its own would be on something like an old Lenton or Clubman. The lighter bike could really get going with the tall top gear, and could really bite into the hills with the low bottom gear.

They also can do well on a DL-1 where the extra range is appreciated on a heavy bike.

The S5 was a hub that came after its time. Sturmey Archer was faced with cost-cutting and failed projects like the SW and TCW that should have instead been spent bringing the S5 to market. The S5 should have come out right after the FW did, being derived from the FW. A 5-speed hub coming out in the 1940s or early 50s would have been a revelation to riders and a premium component at that time. But hindsight is 20/20.

nlerner 11-07-23 10:40 PM

I had one of those 5-speed derailleur equipped Sprites, and the shifting performance from that original Huret mech was consistently awful. It did allow me to recreate the 1970 Raleigh catalog photo shoot, however.

https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...8a48085c3.jpeg
https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...db5006b6f.jpeg

adventurepdx 11-08-23 01:12 AM


Originally Posted by nlerner (Post 23064983)
I had one of those 5-speed derailleur equipped Sprites, and the shifting performance from that original Huret mech was consistently awful.

I think that's what I had on a Schwinn Collegiate from the same era, and I agree on the awfulness. No matter how much it was adjusted, it never had more than four of the five possible gears, and frequently would only have the three middle gears. How could this derailleur could be considered an "improvement" over, or even a substitute for a Sturmey five speed hub (or even three)? They probably used them because people started thinking derailleurs were "better".

1989Pre 11-08-23 06:15 AM


Originally Posted by adventurepdx (Post 23065064)
I think that's what I had on a Schwinn Collegiate from the same era, and I agree on the awfulness. No matter how much it was adjusted, it never had more than four of the five possible gears, and frequently would only have the three middle gears. How could this derailleur could be considered an "improvement" over, or even a substitute for a Sturmey five speed hub (or even three)? They probably used them because people started thinking derailleurs were "better".

You can swap-out the Allvit for a Svelto, for trouble-free operation.

markk900 11-08-23 07:05 AM

A bit of a wander from 3-speeds, but I had both Svelto and Allvit equipped bikes at the same time and found the shifting of the Allvit to be surprisingly good: I had always eschewed the Allvit as being a low end derailleur. Svelto was also fine but not as good as even a delrin Simplex.

Sedgemop 11-08-23 08:25 AM

Thanks for all the responses, everybody. Thought there were some issues with the shifter and RD. Appreciate the suggestions too, Sir Mike. I think I'm gonna check out the bike and give the drive train a full inspection. If I can pick this one up for south of $100, might be fun to tinker with.

tcs 11-08-23 08:28 AM


Originally Posted by SirMike1983 (Post 23064949)
The S5 was a hub that came after its time. Sturmey Archer was faced with cost-cutting and failed projects like the SW and TCW that should have instead been spent bringing the S5 to market. The S5 should have come out right after the FW did, being derived from the FW. A 5-speed hub coming out in the 1940s or early 50s would have been a revelation to riders and a premium component at that time. But hindsight is 20/20.


Fun fact: Sturmey-Archer filed their first five-speed patent in 1922!

Sedgemop 11-08-23 08:30 AM


Originally Posted by nlerner (Post 23064983)
I had one of those 5-speed derailleur equipped Sprites, and the shifting performance from that original Huret mech was consistently awful. It did allow me to recreate the 1970 Raleigh catalog photo shoot, however.

https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...8a48085c3.jpeg
https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...db5006b6f.jpeg

I endorse this peak bike nerd activity. Nicely done.

tcs 11-08-23 08:40 AM


Originally Posted by markk900 (Post 23065142)
...found the shifting of the Allvit to be surprisingly good: I had always eschewed the Allvit as being a low-end derailleur.

In France, Singers and Herses were equipped with Allvits and it was considered to be quite a good piece of kit.

In America, Varsities came with Allvits, and the derailleur was considered a bottom feeder.

IMO the unique Allvit is really a cool rear derailer. It features:

1. A parallelogram action that moves down as it moves in. This allows the guide pulley to maintain an equal distance from each of the 14-28T cogs for accurate shifting.

2. A guide pulley that is mounted co-axially with the cage pivot. The guide pulley doesn't change its position relative to the freewheel cogs when the front derailleur is shifted. This allows consistent rear shifting even with large size differences in the front chainwheels.

3. A derailer body that forms a protective cover over the working parts.

4. A well-thought-out, highly producible design for manufacture - there is really only one part, the main control arm, that can't be made from sheet metal or on an automatic lathe.



"I was too hard on the Allvit." Frank Berto



The innovation continued with the 1958 Allvit, which was the first drop-out mounted derailleur that featured a constant chain gap – achieved by suspending the parallelogram from the bottom of a steel arm that mounted to the dropout. A few years later, the Allvit directly inspired SunTour’s slant parallelogram derailleurs.

“During this time, Huret’s derailleurs were considered the best-shifting and most durable derailleurs for the wide gear ranges. Both René Herse and Alex Singer equipped most of their bikes with the Allvit, Luxe and super light Jubilee derailleurs that remained in the program for 35 years.” - Jan Heine

SirMike1983 11-08-23 09:09 AM

I guess this is a 5-speed derailleur Sprite rather than the S5 Sprite. I'm not sure why the pictures of the bike won't show up on my computer, but my fault if I've got the wrong Sprite.

On the 5-speed hub, yes- they had a concept down early on. I first learned that when I got Tony Hadland's excellent Sturmey Archer book and read through it. I was surprised that they were so far advanced in those post-WW1 years. It would have been a huge leap forward in 1922. Even had the S5 come out 30 years later, in 1952, as a follow-on to the FW, that still would have been good progress. By bringing the S5 out so late (along with those fragile plastic shifters and the sheetmetal bell crank), it sort of became a footnote rather than a key piece of what Sturmey was offering and selling.

adventurepdx 11-08-23 11:53 AM


Originally Posted by 1989Pre (Post 23065122)
You can swap-out the Allvit for a Svelto, for trouble-free operation.

Good to know. But I had that Collegiate over 15 years ago, and doubt I'd seek another bike like that.

Sedgemop 11-08-23 12:10 PM


Originally Posted by SirMike1983 (Post 23065224)
I guess this is a 5-speed derailleur Sprite rather than the S5 Sprite. I'm not sure why the pictures of the bike won't show up on my computer, but my fault if I've got the wrong Sprite.

On the 5-speed hub, yes- they had a concept down early on. I first learned that when I got Tony Hadland's excellent Sturmey Archer book and read through it. I was surprised that they were so far advanced in those post-WW1 years. It would have been a huge leap forward in 1922. Even had the S5 come out 30 years later, in 1952, as a follow-on to the FW, that still would have been good progress. By bringing the S5 out so late (along with those fragile plastic shifters and the sheetmetal bell crank), it sort of became a footnote rather than a key piece of what Sturmey was offering and selling.

Thanks for the 5 speed hub info anyway, SirMike. It's valuable info. Anyway, back to the regularly scheduled 3 speed love.

thumpism 11-08-23 04:44 PM

Rode my Sports for the first time in months today. The Brooks B15 from an old project Raleigh Competition hurts my out-of-condition butt, the stem reach is too short, the grips bug my hands and when braking the rim irregularities bother me. I really should make the time to correct all these things and ride it more. It used to be my school commuter. I'm also going to ride the Marin dropbar conversion tomorrow. These two were the easiest to get to and all they needed was to be aired up. I'm also trying to declutter the garage.

https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...1285207db6.jpg

SkinGriz 11-08-23 09:26 PM


Originally Posted by Sedgemop (Post 23065422)
Thanks for the 5 speed hub info anyway, SirMike. It's valuable info. Anyway, back to the regularly scheduled 3 speed love.

BF needs at least one thread to stay on topic.

1989Pre 11-09-23 05:23 AM

My newest acquisition, a '65 Hercules, was abandoned. It needs a new rear tire and tube, and some tuning of the shifter/cable, but after that, it will be offered for sale as a pair with a ladies '55 Elswick. The bars are narrower (49cm) on the Hercules than they are on my Rudge Sports. Maybe the bike is a juvenile model.
https://cimg5.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...852ef2b66f.jpg
The fan is two years newer than the bike.

dedhed 11-09-23 06:43 AM


Originally Posted by SirMike1983 (Post 23064949)
The original version of the S5 hub works fine. The problem points to watch are the original, plastic shifters and the original thin metal bell crank. If you get one with the improved bell crank and pushrod, that's a good start. An improved shifter set up would be a friction shifter non-drive and a 3-speed thumb shifter on the drive side. The original S5 is a little trickier to work on than the 3-speed AW, but it's not overly difficult either..

I had some replacements 3D printed

https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...9f5cf18235.jpg

gna 11-09-23 12:16 PM


Originally Posted by adventurepdx (Post 23065403)
Good to know. But I had that Collegiate over 15 years ago, and doubt I'd seek another bike like that.

I had a 5 speed collegiate as a kid. Schwinn switched to Shimano in the mid '70s, so my bike had the GT120. Worked flawlessly.

tcs 11-09-23 01:23 PM

Clocking in at the Sturmey-Archer factory in 1980: 6-minute film.

https://www.macearchive.org/films/ra...3srenG6fT1UhdY

Cyclespanner 11-09-23 02:21 PM

Hi tcs.
Thanks for the link to the video.

It fairly highlights conditions in a typical component factory of the time.
Frustrated workers on piece work, trying their best operating antiquated and worn out machinery.
I'm amazed the management allowed the film company onto the shop floor.

It's much the same now at the Brooks saddle factory; an outfit sadly reduced in size, getting by with antediluvian equipment, trading as a premium equipment supplier, portraying their products being made by craftsmen and women, which tells the lie of under investment.
From what I can see, it won't be long before they go to the wall too.
Grab 'em while you can.

Just finished reading a fascinating book published in 1975, 'The Story of the Raleigh Cycle', by Gregory Houston Bowen.
As the title implies it gives a (rosy) commentary of the companies development up to their 'hay-day' of the mid 70's.

The last chapters cover the authors tour of 'a thriving' factory, describing manufacturing practices at that time.
An example is Raleigh's chroming methods, which was a 4 part process, which confirms why their brightwork stands the test of time. Also their paint processes, including the 'mystical' 'Bonderising' rust prevention undercoat.

Of paramount interest to you in Canada and USA is a thorough description of how Raleigh established themselves there; alluding to what was done where and when.
Also describes the reasons for selling the 'Shop' brands and marketing of the 'lesser' marques, such as Philips and Hercules etc.

This is as near as the horses mouth as you're likely to get and certainly clears up many of the myths prevalent on this excellent and enthusiastic forum.

As I mentioned, the book gives a very positive take on what was after all, the worlds largest cycle manufacturer, with 'a bright future ahead'.
In retrospect; true irony.

Well worth hunting down a copy..

SirMike1983 11-16-23 09:39 AM

Cleaned and refurbished this 1957 Schwinn Traveler 3 speed recently. It's a nice companion to the 1959 Traveler I rebuilt back in the summer. I might get a shakedown ride or two on it, but serious riding probably waits until next season.

https://blogger.googleusercontent.co...104_201956.jpg

https://blogger.googleusercontent.co...104_202027.jpg

https://blogger.googleusercontent.co...104_202038.jpg

thumpism 11-16-23 06:23 PM

Well, the hub is English. $30 DaHon in TN.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...97071844508104

https://scontent.fric1-1.fna.fbcdn.n...ZA&oe=655AECD5

oldbikeguy62 11-17-23 01:00 AM

I just bought one also. What are you going to do with it.

tcs 11-17-23 08:42 AM


Originally Posted by thumpism (Post 23074698)
$30 DaHon

The weight is unfortunate, but even after 40 years, the folded size is competitive. Alloy rims, upgraded pedals, brakes. Fresh lubrication in the AW. Here we are in Old Town Crumbnik, Lower Slobovia:

https://cimg2.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...c956c58a89.png

The desirable models are the ones with stainless steel frames. These SS ones even have some collector value.

thumpism 11-19-23 05:09 PM

$20 23" '72 in GA.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...60205213200432

https://scontent.fric1-1.fna.fbcdn.n...9g&oe=656011B2


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