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

SirMike1983 05-07-22 06:37 PM

Only one good day this past week (Thursday). It has been a cold, rainy spring here so far. I took advantage of the one nice day last week to ride this very nice 1964 Schwinn Traveler three speed.

https://blogger.googleusercontent.co...505_180054.jpg

rustymetal 05-08-22 03:11 PM


Originally Posted by gster (Post 22497295)
A couple of recent Kijiji listings here in Toronto
1966 J.C. Higgins 3 Speed
https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...245cf46589.jpg
Reasonably priced @ $240.00
.........................

That's an interesting frame on that JC Higgins, I don't think I've seen that one before.
Sort of a different take on a cantilever design.

The more I pay attention to the older American three speeds the more likely I am to own one.
I've always had Schwinn, Rollfast, Columbia, Robin Hood, and Raleigh, but not any of the lesser brands, which in many cases were built by one of the larger companies back then. As a kid, I probably put more miles on my Columbia Tourist three speed than any other bike I've ever owned. I rode it to school, to deliver newspapers, I rode it all through high school and for years after. Over the 12 or so years I had it it was my main transportation. Over that period I upgraded the rims, calipers and had to re-braze the rear dropouts and I fillet brazed the chainstays after one came loose. That work meant it went through the rest of its days with some mismatched touched paint here and there.

About 25 years ago I started buying, fixing up and reselling old bikes, mostly English models and a few Schwinn's here and there but lately the buyers seem to have gone away. The last few took years to sell for almost no profit. If I build something these days its for my own use.

I've been reading and watching here for years and it seems there's no shortage these days of clean old English bikes if your willing to drive a few miles from home. In my immediate area, they don't even respond even if you listed it for free. I've picked up over a dozen English three speeds over the past three years for free within 10 miles of here, many which sat listed for weeks with no takers. Some were good, some were just parts.
The best one so far was an English "Crown" men's model sold by Rollfast in the early 60's. Another was a 23" Robin Hood Sports, also a man's frame that was so perfect I had to make it a keeper. The rest were all Ladies Sports models and one his/hers pair of Sprites.

A number of years ago I had come across a minty clean his/her pair of 1971 Raleigh Sprites, a couple living next door were looking for a pair of bikes so I took the time to completely go through both bikes, new tires, complete clean and relube, new cables, etc. I gave them to the new neighbors early that spring. The first sign that I had wasted my time was when they rolled both bikes over to the garage and just leaned them against the wall outside. They sat there for three months, through a snowy March and rainy April and May that year. Finally one day they decided to ride them and they were a rusty mess. Two days later they were out on the trash pile. I grabbed both and brought the man's model back to life but the ladies model was used for parts. Over the next few years I got dozens of bikes off their trash pile. They'd go out and buy two new bikes, sometimes twice a year, and let them sit outside till they were rusted to the point the chains were froze up. I see the same thing all over CL here, loads of newer bikes that were abused or left outdoors for months or years that no one wants. Most are trying to get close to what they paid for them. The occasional three speed English bike doesn't even get noticed or flat out ignored among the pages and pages of junk for sale.
Something that I've realized over the years is that most who appreciate older English bikes are looking for cheap or free these days, all others just go buy a bike at Walmart.
I watched a friends listing on CL and on FB over last summer for a minty clean 21" Raleigh Sports his/hers pair that he wanted $120 for, they sat all summer with no takers. Both were bikes he had completely torn down and rebuilt, the paint was 99% perfect and both were late 60's models.
He finally took both down to a relatives place down south somewhere to be sold. They were gone in three days somewhere in VA.
In NJ, all he got was $10 offers and trade offers for kittens, scrap metal and used car parts.


.

1989Pre 05-09-22 07:36 AM


Originally Posted by gster (Post 22486225)
Would this be considered a Club Bike?

No. Not with kick-stand, sports saddle, chain guard and rubber pedals. Could it be made-into one? Yes.

SirMike1983 05-09-22 02:16 PM

The American-made 3 speeds are interesting. Durability and ease-of-production seem to have been the two primary driving values for the common (setting aside the higher end brazed stuff) ones: thick frame tube walls, weldable steel alloys, heavy steel rims (double walled in some cases, single in others), shared use of some parts used on middleweight and ballooner bikes, etc. Even a better but still relatively affordable bike like the 1964 Schwinn Traveler shown above uses the welded frame, steel "tubular Schwinn" rims, one-piece crank, ashtabula style fork, and vinyl saddle (I replaced with a Brook 66). Weight was apparently not a huge concern, and even if the frame was welded steel, it was still a "lightweight" compared to a ballooner or even a middleweight. They're heavy, solid, and pretty enjoyable to ride. Some of the two-stage colors from after WWII are really eye-catching. If you ride one of these bikes right after riding a post-war Raleigh Sports, you'll feel there's a difference. Some people prefer one and some prefer the other, but I like having at least one of each around.

clubman 05-09-22 03:26 PM


Originally Posted by gster (Post 22497295)
A couple of recent Kijiji listings here in Toronto
1966 J.C. Higgins 3 Speed
https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...245cf46589.jpg


This might be a CCM model rebranded. Very similar to the 1967 Centennial model.


https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...ae00df28a6.jpg

gster 05-09-22 04:15 PM


Originally Posted by clubman (Post 22500815)
This might be a CCM model rebranded. Very similar to the 1967 Centennial model.


https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...ae00df28a6.jpg

I don't know much about J.C. Higgins' bikes but I do know that the Torpedo Duomatic Kickback hub on the CCM is VERY cool...
I've got one installed on a Raleigh/Glider and I really like it.
https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...15bbbbdd5d.jpg
Virtually bulletproof.

gna 05-10-22 11:55 AM

Got lights installed. Updated with modern LEDs. I used Pilom #3.
https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...77478fe365.jpg
https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...2958aa1969.jpg
I also wired up a buck converter (cheaper here) to the circuit with a DPST switch on the bottom of the light, so lights/off/charger. My daughter should be able to charge her phone or power a USB device.

gster 05-11-22 07:04 PM


Originally Posted by gna (Post 22501797)
Got lights installed. Updated with modern LEDs. I used Pilom #3.
https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...77478fe365.jpg
https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...2958aa1969.jpg
I also wired up a buck converter (cheaper here) to the circuit with a DPST switch on the bottom of the light, so lights/off/charger. My daughter should be able to charge her phone or power a USB device.

So the Dynohub can power the USB port?
Very clever.

gna 05-11-22 07:47 PM


Originally Posted by gster (Post 22503322)
So the Dynohub can power the USB port?
Very clever.

Yes, as long as one is moving at a decent clip. We'll have to do some experiments to see how fast and how long to charge a device.

eatontkd 05-12-22 05:32 PM

https://cimg2.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...a191b0ac71.jpg
Bontrager T1, 26 X1 3/8, 590's
https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...f31381a635.jpg
I've been needing new tires for my '56 Hercules. Been all over the internet finding the standard issues from Panaracer, etc. Stopped by my LBS and, no kidding, they had tires that fit!! Bontrager makes a 590, 26" X 1 3/8" tire that fits!! (I suspect they're contracted from someone else of course) But what a nice surprise. And at $25.00 per tire, not too shabby either when you add the shipping these days.

Vintage Schwinn 05-13-22 02:57 AM

a very nice old ROSS Eurotour 3 speed stepthrough in a lovely blue color, one piece crank,
https://athensga.craigslist.org/bik/...471409194.html

gster 05-13-22 07:06 AM


Originally Posted by eatontkd (Post 22504475)
https://cimg2.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...a191b0ac71.jpg
Bontrager T1, 26 X1 3/8, 590's
https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...f31381a635.jpg
I've been needing new tires for my '56 Hercules. Been all over the internet finding the standard issues from Panaracer, etc. Stopped by my LBS and, no kidding, they had tires that fit!! Bontrager makes a 590, 26" X 1 3/8" tire that fits!! (I suspect they're contracted from someone else of course) But what a nice surprise. And at $25.00 per tire, not too shabby either when you add the shipping these days.

26 x 1 3/8 tires are getting hard to find at a reasonable price.

SirMike1983 05-13-22 11:58 AM

My experience has been that all tires for old three speeds got harder to find with the pandemic, then has gone through cycles of easier and harder to find as the various countries of origin lock down and start back up, and repeat. The more readily found ones are 26 x 1 3/8 (590mm), followed by the 28 x 1 1/2 roadster, and then the most challenging is the Schwinn (also called 26 x 1 1/4 also called EA1 and 597mm). All prices have gone up somewhat since 2019, but some more than others, and the prices cycle with the supply. Last I checked, a few weeks ago, you could get all of those sizes online, but nothing was truly "cheap".

Salubrious 05-13-22 12:30 PM

I recently bought a Panaracer Col de Vie. I should have tried to mount it right away- last night was the first time- the tire is deformed and useless. The pandemic has been hard on 650A tires and also on Brooks B66 and B72 saddles!

The Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour is tomorrow! Nice weather forecast too :)

https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...c16c99bca.jpeg

1989Pre 05-14-22 02:36 PM


Originally Posted by eatontkd (Post 22504475)
Bontrager T1, 26 X1 3/8, 590's

I've been needing new tires for my '56 Hercules. Been all over the internet finding the standard issues from Panaracer, etc. Stopped by my LBS and, no kidding, they had tires that fit!! Bontrager makes a 590, 26" X 1 3/8" tire that fits!! (I suspect they're contracted from someone else of course) But what a nice surprise. And at $25.00 per tire, not too shabby either when you add the shipping these days.

How do you like the T1's? I am considering them.

1989Pre 05-14-22 02:37 PM

This question has probably been answered before, but when did gumwall 26" tires first appear on 3-speeds?

gster 05-14-22 08:09 PM

I have, what I consider to be, a very original/stock 1972 Superbe in the garage with gumwalls.
I'll look tomorrow to see if they're Raleigh branded.
I use this bike as a template.
When cutting new cables I use this bike to size them and look at the
routing etc.
I haven't taken the BB apart as I want to keep the "R" cotter nuts intact....

clubman 05-14-22 08:45 PM


Originally Posted by 1989Pre (Post 22506569)
This question has probably been answered before, but when did gumwall 26" tires first appear on 3-speeds?

Dunlop stopped making bike tires in the late 60's which opened the markets to Pacific rim tires with gumwalls. These weren't the first two-tones. Swallow made cream walls, Michelin had brown walls and others, I think maybe Barum too.

Even Dunlop made them but I don't know far back. On ebay https://www.ebay.com/itm/275304011954

1989Pre 05-15-22 06:38 AM


Originally Posted by clubman (Post 22506898)
Dunlop stopped making bike tires in the late 60's which opened the markets to Pacific rim tires with gumwalls. These weren't the first two-tones. Swallow made cream walls, Michelin had brown walls and others, I think maybe Barum too.

Even Dunlop made them but I don't know far back. On ebay https://www.ebay.com/itm/275304011954

That's what I was thinking: The gumwalls appearing around '67-'68. I bought the Rudge a couple years ago, and when I went to change the tube last week, the bead on the tire somewhat crumbled, and at that point, the inflated tire is bulging a bit upward "out-of-round". Not enough to make it unrideable, but it is probably "about that time" for a new pair. So, in '62, I guess it's safe-to-say that the only tires then were fully black. I have no problem fitting gumwalls, though. I like the Dunlops, so thanks for the link. I will write to the seller to make sure the rubber around the wire bead on the lesser tire is still intact.

198

swampyankee2 05-15-22 08:04 AM


Originally Posted by 1989Pre (Post 22507102)
That's what I was thinking: The gumwalls appearing around '67-'68. I bought the Rudge a couple years ago, and when I went to change the tube last week, the bead on the tire somewhat crumbled, and at that point, the inflated tire is bulging a bit upward "out-of-round". Not enough to make it unrideable, but it is probably "about that time" for a new pair. So, in '62, I guess it's safe-to-say that the only tires then were fully black. I have no problem fitting gumwalls, though. I like the Dunlops, so thanks for the link. I will write to the seller to make sure the rubber around the wire bead on the lesser tire is still intact.

198

my 72 Sports had double-white line tires which I'm sure were original. I replaced them with gumwalls, correct or not.
https://cimg8.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...0fc1229a35.jpg

clubman 05-15-22 08:11 AM

Those double pinstripes were also Dunlop Sprites and likely original to the early 70's, even late 60's.

gster 05-15-22 08:44 AM


Originally Posted by 1989Pre (Post 22507102)
That's what I was thinking: The gumwalls appearing around '67-'68. I bought the Rudge a couple years ago, and when I went to change the tube last week, the bead on the tire somewhat crumbled, and at that point, the inflated tire is bulging a bit upward "out-of-round". Not enough to make it unrideable, but it is probably "about that time" for a new pair. So, in '62, I guess it's safe-to-say that the only tires then were fully black. I have no problem fitting gumwalls, though. I like the Dunlops, so thanks for the link. I will write to the seller to make sure the rubber around the wire bead on the lesser tire is still intact.

198

The gum wall tires on my Superbe are Kendas, so not original to the bike.

cudak888 05-15-22 02:34 PM


Originally Posted by Salubrious (Post 22505353)
I recently bought a Panaracer Col de Vie. I should have tried to mount it right away- last night was the first time- the tire is deformed and useless.

Deformed, or was the bead not seating correctly? Just curious, seeing as the CdV is a fairly thin, high-thread-count tire. In some ways, it's not the best thing to combine with a straight-side steel rim, even though it's generally doable.

-Kurt

ThermionicScott 05-15-22 06:59 PM

My wife and I have been wanting to go to the Lake Pepin 3-speed tour for years, but it never works out. Please let us know how it went!

JohnDThompson 05-16-22 07:05 AM


Originally Posted by ThermionicScott (Post 22507826)
My wife and I have been wanting to go to the Lake Pepin 3-speed tour for years, but it never works out. Please let us know how it went!

I've done Lake Pepin several times; it's a good time. The last time I went was before COVID. I hope to get back there some day.


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