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

paulb_in_bkln 04-04-18 02:55 PM


Originally Posted by Velocivixen (Post 20264045)
Question: when you have a vintage 3 speed of no particular fame or value, how do you decide what to do with it?

I think like classic cars unless it's one-of-a-kind with historic significance then it's what's on your mind and what's in your wallet. The way I'm thinking about my would-like-it-to-happen-someday scorcher, anyway. But you figured that out, it looks like.

Velocivixen 04-04-18 03:29 PM

I think I’ll just start out as a normal overhaul. Not too much pressure.......

MY issue is that I’ve built wheels for many of my vintage bikes and there’s NO WAY I can recoup what I’ve put into it. So then I feel obliged to keep the bikes.....

I’ll take some photos and post as a starting point. I adore all the bikes and various projects posted in this thread! Thanks.

Chaser95 04-04-18 04:03 PM


Originally Posted by Mooo (Post 20262835)
I believe it's mid '72. I *think* I've seen a 73 model with the old style crank, but maybe not.

Just got home with the aforementioned green sports. I feel like the dumbest guy on the planet. I drove a sedan with plans of removing the front wheel and putting the bike behind the front seats. I realize I am not the smartest guy around but, I thought I knew how to remove the front wheel on a bike. I loosened the nuts, spread the brake and pulled. Nothing doing! Pulled again, nothing. Tapped with a hammer, nothing. So as I was standing in the parking lot of a convenience store in 15-20 mph COLD wind I decided to remove the fork. It needed headset bearings anyway! Can someone tell me what to do with this wheel to get it out of the fork? I have so much to learn!:foo:

Back to the date.......the hub looks like January 72. Mooo you are the MAN!

Mooo 04-04-18 04:50 PM


Originally Posted by Chaser95 (Post 20264856)
Just got home with the aforementioned green sports. I feel like the dumbest guy on the planet. I drove a sedan with plans of removing the front wheel and putting the bike behind the front seats. I realize I am not the smartest guy around but, I thought I knew how to remove the front wheel on a bike. I loosened the nuts, spread the brake and pulled. Nothing doing! Pulled again, nothing. Tapped with a hammer, nothing. So as I was standing in the parking lot of a convenience store in 15-20 mph COLD wind I decided to remove the fork. It needed headset bearings anyway! Can someone tell me what to do with this wheel to get it out of the fork? I have so much to learn!:foo:

Back to the date.......the hub looks like January 72. Mooo you are the MAN!

Awesome!

Hey, I'll take luck over skill any day.

For the hub, you need to (gently) spread the forks like 1/16 of an inch. The best explanation comes from Sheldon Brown, whose legacy lives on:
Servicing English Three Speeds

arty dave 04-04-18 05:12 PM

Chaser if you pull the fork blades away from each other the wheel should drop out. Hopefully someone else can explain why better than this - The axle lock nuts are retained in the shape of the dropouts, hope that makes sense.

Velocivixen I think that's when we admit we have an addiction :) - There are bikes I can't sell coz of how much I've spent on their resto/rusto/re-build. Fortunately I've only done that with the keepers, and I'll swap out some parts I want to keep from the ones I want to cull. It's hard to let go but I have a few now that don't get ridden coz they're too small, not as enjoyable etc. But I've kept so far because of their vintage, internal hub gears, pretty lugs, whatever. I'm hoping a serious cull will get a little cash together for another slack framed roadster, like maybe a 22" DL-1

BigChief 04-04-18 05:14 PM


Originally Posted by Chaser95 (Post 20264856)
Just got home with the aforementioned green sports. I feel like the dumbest guy on the planet. I drove a sedan with plans of removing the front wheel and putting the bike behind the front seats. I realize I am not the smartest guy around but, I thought I knew how to remove the front wheel on a bike. I loosened the nuts, spread the brake and pulled. Nothing doing! Pulled again, nothing. Tapped with a hammer, nothing. So as I was standing in the parking lot of a convenience store in 15-20 mph COLD wind I decided to remove the fork. It needed headset bearings anyway! Can someone tell me what to do with this wheel to get it out of the fork? I have so much to learn!:foo:

Back to the date.......the hub looks like January 72. Mooo you are the MAN!

Oh no, not dumb. You've run into a typical too tight of a fork fit. The spacing of the fork dropouts is so tight that it takes two people (or a fork spreader) to remove the front wheel. I've had to correct this on many of my project Raleighs. For now, you might need someone strong to spread the fork legs while you wiggle the axle out of the dropouts. The way I deal with this is to cold set the forks so just a light spreading of the fork will release the wheel. I use a scissor jack to carefully spread the fork (little bits at a time) until the dropouts just barely press against the cones. I don't want to have to spread them more than, say, 1/32" until they clear the cones.
Important note...These front wheels don't have lock nuts over the cones. So you must always mount the wheel with the adjustable cone on the left side of the bike.

desconhecido 04-04-18 05:55 PM

I've told the story about my $30 Raleigh Sports before, and many here share the general experience:

Bike cost $30 (1979 root beer brown) and had a trashy Brooks vinyl saddle. So, in addition to tires and tubes, a decent saddle was in order -- not going to ride a bike with a bad and pain inducing saddle and I wanted to ride this bike. Brooks B17 for about $100. Original rims were rusty and the spoke nipples were frozen and trying to true everything was a pain and then when you get finished with all that effort you've still got rusted steel rims and discolored galvanized spokes and who wants to spend all that time and effort knowing that the end result, although functionally adequate, will not be aesthetically pleasing? Add a couple CR18 rims and 72 spokes and there's about another $100. Add a couple Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires (can't put $10 Kenda tires on those beautiful rims, can I?) a couple 650B tubes and some Presta Savers (Save the Prestas!), a bunch of loose balls, a couple cotters, brake pads, and a bunch of other stuff and that $30 costs at least $300, and probably upwards of $350. Of course, I wanted to ride at night so I bought a Shimano Dyno-hub and a B&M headlight to go with it and built another wheel. That resulted in having a perfectly good 650A front wheel that wasn't being used so I had to track down another Raleigh to put that wheel on.

So, yes, these bikes are not money making propositions and it is akin to an addiction. But, it's cheaper than drugs and chances are I won't get arrested. Not for speeding, anyway.

desconhecido 04-04-18 06:02 PM

The Raleigh Sports bikes had an early type of wheel retention (at least the ones I've owned). The axles are 5/16" (about 8mm) and the slot at the bottom is large enough to pass the axle, but the round part of the front dropouts is a bit larger in diameter and there is a shouldered washer at each end of the axle which increases the effective diameter of the axle slightly. The shoulder of the washer fits nicely into the round part of the dropout, but is too large to pass through the bottom slot and thus release the wheel. In order to remove the front wheel, loosen the axle nuts quite a bit and then pull out on the forks so that the shoulders clear the inside of the dropout on each side. Wheel falls out.

I've never seen a bike other than a Sports (or related, such as the Superbe) with this sort of arrangement. Like many, many things, once you know the secret, it's easy and obvious. Until then, not so much.

paulb_in_bkln 04-04-18 08:07 PM


Originally Posted by desconhecido (Post 20265082)
So, yes, these bikes are not money making propositions and it is akin to an addiction. But, it's cheaper than drugs and chances are I won't get arrested. Not for speeding, anyway.

Hobbies are not for income, although sometimes that occurs. "Detectorists" on Netflix. Cannot recommend that highly enough.

Chaser95 04-04-18 10:08 PM

Thanks guys for the lesson in forks! Now that you have mentioned it I think I read that somewhere before and it did not stay with me. However, today it became a practical lesson and I shan't forget again! I will commandeer the bearings I had for the Western Flyer and try to get this ready for a test ride tomorrow. There is no way I could do this without the support I receive on this thread. You guys are the greatest!

BigChief 04-05-18 05:04 AM


Originally Posted by desconhecido (Post 20265082)
I've told the story about my $30 Raleigh Sports before, and many here share the general experience:

Bike cost $30 (1979 root beer brown) and had a trashy Brooks vinyl saddle. So, in addition to tires and tubes, a decent saddle was in order -- not going to ride a bike with a bad and pain inducing saddle and I wanted to ride this bike. Brooks B17 for about $100. Original rims were rusty and the spoke nipples were frozen and trying to true everything was a pain and then when you get finished with all that effort you've still got rusted steel rims and discolored galvanized spokes and who wants to spend all that time and effort knowing that the end result, although functionally adequate, will not be aesthetically pleasing? Add a couple CR18 rims and 72 spokes and there's about another $100. Add a couple Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires (can't put $10 Kenda tires on those beautiful rims, can I?) a couple 650B tubes and some Presta Savers (Save the Prestas!), a bunch of loose balls, a couple cotters, brake pads, and a bunch of other stuff and that $30 costs at least $300, and probably upwards of $350. Of course, I wanted to ride at night so I bought a Shimano Dyno-hub and a B&M headlight to go with it and built another wheel. That resulted in having a perfectly good 650A front wheel that wasn't being used so I had to track down another Raleigh to put that wheel on.

So, yes, these bikes are not money making propositions and it is akin to an addiction. But, it's cheaper than drugs and chances are I won't get arrested. Not for speeding, anyway.

That's true, it is a hobby and you're lucky to recover money spent, but I have found many ways to keep costs down. I might go overboard on personal riders, but for bikes I know I need to get rid of, I watch expenses. One of my best tricks is to buy wrecked bikes for dirt cheap and clean up the good parts, especially if the chromed bits are in decent shape. It is hard to find good rims and fenders. That's where unwanted $25 stepthroughs come in. I'm happy with black wall Kendas. There are some inexpensive modern seats that work well and look OK on these old bikes. Many times, after a couple weeks of occasionally spraying spokes with penetrating oil I can free them up and true the wheels. I just like the feeling of getting an old 3 speed that was useless back on the road. They're such good bikes. They deserve to be useful again.

paulb_in_bkln 04-05-18 05:50 AM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20265745)
I just like the feeling of getting an old 3 speed that was useless back on the road. They're such good bikes. They deserve to be useful again.

Preach. The irony is that the unwanted step-throughs are the ideal conformation for the way these bikes generally get used.

paulb_in_bkln 04-05-18 06:38 AM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20256247)
Here's my next project. A 1951 23" Rudge Sports. All there except the grips. Front fender has some serious issues. It will test my restoration skills.

Did the bikes from these years have forged dropouts front and rear? Or forged front, stamped rear? I'm unclear on this from something on one of Sheldon's pages.

BigChief 04-05-18 06:48 AM

It's been 7 or 8 years since I've sold a bike. I may be out of date here, but the general profile of people I've sold my project bikes to seem to be guys who are already cyclists, have modern road bikes and have use for a upright townie. They rightly figure that a vintage English 3 speed would be a classy alternative to the modern bikes at the stores today.

BigChief 04-05-18 06:54 AM


Originally Posted by paulb_in_bkln (Post 20265842)
Did the bikes from these years have forged dropouts front and rear? Or forged front, stamped rear? I'm unclear on this from something on one of Sheldon's pages.

Every Raleigh roadster I've ever owned had stamped, brazed in dropouts. Except for DL-1s which have flattened chainstays with straight back slots cut into them, but still stamped dropouts at the front fork.

browngw 04-05-18 08:55 AM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20265745)
Many times, after a couple weeks of occasionally spraying spokes with penetrating oil I can free them up and true the wheels. I just like the feeling of getting an old 3 speed that was useless back on the road. They're such good bikes. They deserve to be useful again.

"They deserve to be useful again", almost a motto for some of us in the three speed world!
A tip on lubricating spoke nipples, spray or pour your favorite oil/ penetrant into a small container, I like to use those little individual pudding cups and dab the front and back of each nipple with an artist brush. Saves waste and more importantly mess. Easy to do while in your wheel truing stand. I use Boeshield T9 or WD40 if its really crappy. I can't seem to find T9 in Ontario so I use it sparingly until my next US trip.

desconhecido 04-05-18 10:07 AM


Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20265745)
That's true, it is a hobby and you're lucky to recover money spent, but I have found many ways to keep costs down. I might go overboard on personal riders, but for bikes I know I need to get rid of, I watch expenses. One of my best tricks is to buy wrecked bikes for dirt cheap and clean up the good parts, especially if the chromed bits are in decent shape. It is hard to find good rims and fenders. That's where unwanted $25 stepthroughs come in. I'm happy with black wall Kendas. There are some inexpensive modern seats that work well and look OK on these old bikes. Many times, after a couple weeks of occasionally spraying spokes with penetrating oil I can free them up and true the wheels. I just like the feeling of getting an old 3 speed that was useless back on the road. They're such good bikes. They deserve to be useful again.

I understand and I agree with you completely. I didn't mean to disparage the inexpensive tires that are available for 650A rims. If the bike is destined to be moved along, it doesn't make sense to buy more expensive tires that the new owner might not like. Also, there are some reliable reports (inmo) from people in these forums that the Kenda 590 bsd tires are pretty good riding tires.

Chaser95 04-05-18 10:53 AM

3 Attachment(s)
I have the "new" green Sports on the stand awaiting a bit of care. It looks like the tires are original from '72 and from what I see in the catalog. It also has the S3C hub so that will be interesting. BB feels dry and there is not a drop of oil coming out of the hub. Cosmetically I am pleased although, the saddle is pretty dry.

desconhecido 04-05-18 11:15 AM


Originally Posted by Chaser95 (Post 20266442)
I have the "new" green Sports on the stand awaiting a bit of care. It looks like the tires are original from '72 and from what I see in the catalog. It also has the S3C hub so that will be interesting. BB feels dry and there is not a drop of oil coming out of the hub. Cosmetically I am pleased although, the saddle is pretty dry.

I've never had a Raleigh with the 3 speed coaster brake hub, but they are alleged to be unreliable brakers.

Bike looks real nice. Sheet metal and rims look great. Should end up being a really nice looking bike and a roller.

BigChief 04-05-18 12:14 PM


Originally Posted by Chaser95 (Post 20266442)
I have the "new" green Sports on the stand awaiting a bit of care. It looks like the tires are original from '72 and from what I see in the catalog. It also has the S3C hub so that will be interesting. BB feels dry and there is not a drop of oil coming out of the hub. Cosmetically I am pleased although, the saddle is pretty dry.

It's tough to find bikes this old in this condition. Really nice. I use Proofide Saddle dressing on my Brooks saddles.

paulb_in_bkln 04-05-18 12:39 PM


Originally Posted by Chaser95 (Post 20266442)
It also has the S3C hub so that will be interesting. BB feels dry and there is not a drop of oil coming out of the hub. Cosmetically I am pleased although, the saddle is pretty dry.

My first three speeds long ago were coaster brake models. I learned the hard way about the sometime slipping in 2nd gear. I also learned to adjust the cable correctly and never stood on the pedals in the middle gear. But 1st and 3rd gears were always solid. And if the braking wasn't quite as strong as with a rear caliper brake, I never noticed it.

paulb_in_bkln 04-05-18 12:42 PM


Originally Posted by Chaser95 (Post 20266442)
I have the "new" green Sports on the stand awaiting a bit of care.

That thing is going to clean up real nice.

Mooo 04-05-18 02:57 PM

I think the TCW is the one which gets the most grief. The S3C was, if I understand correctly, an improvement in that if you were stuck between gears or stripped the sun gear, you still had a brake. In either case, adding a rear hand brake for redundancy solves lots of problems.

Sturmey-archerheritage.com is your friend:http://www.sturmey-archerheritage.co.../pic-110.1.jpg

http://www.sturmey-archerheritage.co.../pic-110.1.jpg

paulb_in_bkln 04-05-18 03:08 PM


Originally Posted by Chaser95 (Post 20266442)
It also has the S3C hub so that will be interesting.

My coaster brake three speeds were from the mid to late 60s so would not have been that model. Just realized that.

arty dave 04-05-18 04:46 PM

I was recently given a Puch with a Sachs 3 speed coaster brake - apparently it's quirk is that the coaster brake works best in 1st gear and not as good in 2nd and 3rd gears. They fixed this with a redesign in latter models. I think this was also the problem with the TCW, that was fixed with the introduction of the S3C.
The Puch has 700c wheels so I'm going to put them on the Aussie/English Speedwell roadster just to get a feel for how it will ride. I'm still hunting for the proper parts for the Speedwell to get it rideable, but this will be a good interim solution. I guess I'll just downshift to 1st when I need more serious speed reduction :)
Actually I quite like coaster brakes but haven't had one since I was a kid. My wife has an Electra Mod 3i, and the coaster brake is really nice. Fun bike, with a quite sufficient & smooth rollerbrake up front.


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