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

Salubrious 01-11-18 10:55 AM


Originally Posted by markk900 (Post 20102645)
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.

It would be later than the early 70s. I've worked on many 60s and 70s 3 speeds and have yet to see a 36-hole hub on a British machine. Schwinn used 36 hole hubs.

Some cutoff date info: 1972 seems to the year that the transition from smooth hubs to lined hubs occurred. Its also the year they went to the 6-point cranks and changed up the Raleigh logo and graphics on teh seat tube; its also the year that the dreaded automatic adjusting brake levers were introduced.

BigChief 01-11-18 11:59 AM

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I think Raleigh did switch to front and rear 36 hole wheels at some point. Last summer I bought a tall framed Sports from a guy that tried to fix it up. No date stamp on the ribbed hub. He laced up a CR-18 wheel on the 36h AW hub. Can't say if both wheels are original to the bike, but the front wheel is a Raleigh hub, Raleigh Westrick rim and laced with the usual Raleigh 3x over, over over pattern. Here it is the day I bought it. This bike had a world of problems. No wonder he was so happy to see it go. It's all sorted now and a decent ride.

Attachment 595228

clubman 01-11-18 01:05 PM

'73 is generally regarded as the transition year to 36/36.

68sd 01-11-18 01:45 PM

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my 1951 Raleigh
that was in my neighbors shed for 40 years .

johnnyspaghetti 01-11-18 01:58 PM

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I own it now. It needs some help but all is there except for the headlight mount on the headset. All else but the pump seems to be original & correct. They guy bought it in 1967 used.

Attachment 595246

dweenk 01-11-18 02:24 PM

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Originally Posted by 68sd (Post 20104063)
my 1951 Raleigh
that was in my neighbors shed for 40 years .

Very nice camel back. Here is mine that i am building up as a scorcher. This is an earlier photo, all I need now is the chain.

Dsprok 01-11-18 04:07 PM


Originally Posted by 68sd (Post 20104063)
my 1951 Raleigh
that was in my neighbors shed for 40 years .

The fork rake looks huge.

BigChief 01-11-18 04:20 PM


Originally Posted by dweenk (Post 20104137)
Very nice camel back. Here is mine that i am building up as a scorcher. This is an earlier photo, all I need now is the chain.

Dang...that is cool. Isn't this model called the Canadian ?

clubman 01-11-18 06:39 PM

There was a similar Canadian with a camel back but that rake may precede the ones I've seen. Here's a circa 63 Raleigh Supercycle rebrand with a different fork.

Here's the Canadian with a decent amount of rake but the Op-'s?

gster 01-11-18 08:57 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.

I'm glad that someone who appreciates this bike got it.

ddeand 01-12-18 12:07 AM

I’ve done a bit of searching in this thread, and I’ve read quite a few pages. But I don’t have the attention span to read all 607 pages - at least not right now. I have acouple basic questions regarding British-based 3-speeds: first, what might be some of the lighter weight 3-speed bikes out there; and at 6’ tall with a 32.5” inseam, roughly what size frame should I be looking for?
I’d aporeciate any help! Thanks!

rustymetal 01-12-18 02:39 AM

What was the thinking with the camel back design? Was it just a way to lower the seat post?

BigChief 01-12-18 03:58 AM


Originally Posted by ddeand (Post 20105227)
I’ve done a bit of searching in this thread, and I’ve read quite a few pages. But I don’t have the attention span to read all 607 pages - at least not right now. I have acouple basic questions regarding British-based 3-speeds: first, what might be some of the lighter weight 3-speed bikes out there; and at 6’ tall with a 32.5” inseam, roughly what size frame should I be looking for?
I’d aporeciate any help! Thanks!

You're exactly the same size as me. So I can speak with confidence and say you need a 23" frame. There's a few categories and a bunch of variations of English 3 speeds, but the one most associated with the term is the Light Roadster. An example would be the Raleigh Sports. A somewhat misleading name because this class of bike was not designed for sports. They were practical, get you around town upright riding bikes with things like fenders, dyno lighting systems, kickstands and rear carriers. I love riding these bikes, even full dress versions. But if you want lighter, more sporty versions you need to move up to the "club bike" range. Raleigh Clubman, Rudge Pathfinder ect.
edit: or...you could strip down a light roadster, flip the bars around and make a scorcher like @dweenk is doing a few posts up.

gster 01-12-18 04:48 AM


Originally Posted by ddeand (Post 20105227)
Iíve done a bit of searching in this thread, and Iíve read quite a few pages. But I donít have the attention span to read all 607 pages - at least not right now. I have acouple basic questions regarding British-based 3-speeds: first, what might be some of the lighter weight 3-speed bikes out there; and at 6í tall with a 32.5Ē inseam, roughly what size frame should I be looking for?
Iíd aporeciate any help! Thanks!

23" frame would be best but a smaller frame with an extended seat post and handle bars can be fun as well.
You'll find a 23" bike somewhat "rarer" than others.

thumpism 01-12-18 05:34 AM


Originally Posted by ddeand (Post 20105227)
Iíve done a bit of searching in this thread, and Iíve read quite a few pages. But I donít have the attention span to read all 607 pages - at least not right now. I have acouple basic questions regarding British-based 3-speeds: first, what might be some of the lighter weight 3-speed bikes out there; and at 6í tall with a 32.5Ē inseam, roughly what size frame should I be looking for?
Iíd aporeciate any help! Thanks!

I went searching on your local for a suitable machine in 23" but found this instead. Somebody might be interested in what sounds from the description like a faux-authentic machine. If authentic it is a real find, but that is not clear.

https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/w...451587606.html

The Royal Mail British 3spd bicycle Dunelt 1960's - $150 (Mahtomedi)

https://images.craigslist.org/01212_...Bg_600x450.jpg

make / manufacturer: Raleigh
model name / number: Dunelt

Here is a lovely bicycle to hang in your Brewery Tap Room or Brew Pub... or ride on the 3 Speed Tour around Lake Pepin! It is a 1960's Dunelt with a full chain case. It has an Unicanider Italian saddle, John Bull brake pads, New MKS 3000R pedals, New chain, Louis Works handlebar grips, metal cable pulley, 1950's Sturmey Archer shifter with High, Normal and Low settings (HNL). 1962 SA hub. Custom made Royal Mail frame sign, decals, and aged paint scheme. $150 or best offer. Thanks!

thumpism 01-12-18 05:40 AM


Originally Posted by ddeand (Post 20105227)
I’ve done a bit of searching in this thread, and I’ve read quite a few pages. But I don’t have the attention span to read all 607 pages - at least not right now. I have acouple basic questions regarding British-based 3-speeds: first, what might be some of the lighter weight 3-speed bikes out there; and at 6’ tall with a 32.5” inseam, roughly what size frame should I be looking for?
I’d aporeciate any help! Thanks!

Then there's this that is being discussed in another thread. People are criticizing the price of the bike, but others rightly point out that the machine is somewhat rare and in very nice condition. If you bought a beater and fixed it up you'd have that much into it.

https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/h...453053992.html

1962 Raliegh Sports 23" original "ALL STEEL BIKE" - $175 (so mpls)

https://images.craigslist.org/01313_...2p_600x450.jpg

make / manufacturer: Raleigh
model name / number: Sports DL22
size / dimensions: 23"

Rides perfect, tires are new, fresh tune all else original parts in very good working condition for a bike that is over 56 years present. Original paint & decals are pretty good, normal age & wear looking VG. The 23" frame fits 5'10"to 6'3" foot person very well, comfortably. I enjoy riding this one very much but have too many bikes. Fresh completely disassembled professionally inspected, cleaned & lubed correctly both front hub & AW Sturmey Archer 3-speed rear hub & BB & pedals, brake cables & shift hardware, all in fine working order. These Raleigh bikes are built to last 100 years. This one has been used lightly with most of its years to go. The ugly beat up back rack bag is not included.There is a seat post mounted back rack although not vintage. The dog is not limping.

thumpism 01-12-18 05:50 AM


Originally Posted by ddeand (Post 20105227)
I’ve done a bit of searching in this thread, and I’ve read quite a few pages. But I don’t have the attention span to read all 607 pages - at least not right now. I have acouple basic questions regarding British-based 3-speeds: first, what might be some of the lighter weight 3-speed bikes out there; and at 6’ tall with a 32.5” inseam, roughly what size frame should I be looking for?
I’d aporeciate any help! Thanks!

These bikes are not "light" by nature but as mentioned elsewhere you can strip one down to make a scorcher or you can pursue Colin Chapman's (Lotus cars) dictum to "add lightness" by substituting alloy parts for steel ones; an alloy seatpost to replace the steel pin and clamp, alloy rims to improve braking as well as reduce weight, alloy stem and bars to tweak the fit as well as reduce weight, alloy brake levers and calipers, etc. Of course, that runs into expense and effort, so you might just want to ride the thing. I've gathered most of the alloy parts to do this to my own Sports but have not bothered yet.

Also in regard to frame size, don't be afraid to ride a 23" ladies' frame if that's all you can find. I have one of those in addition to my men's 23" for the time when I can't so easily swing a leg over.

BigChief 01-12-18 05:51 AM


Originally Posted by thumpism (Post 20105379)
I went searching on your local for a suitable machine in 23" but found this instead. Somebody might be interested in what sounds from the description like a faux-authentic machine. If authentic it is a real find, but that is not clear.

https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/w...451587606.html

The Royal Mail British 3spd bicycle Dunelt 1960's - $150 (Mahtomedi)

https://images.craigslist.org/01212_...Bg_600x450.jpg

make / manufacturer: Raleigh
model name / number: Dunelt

Here is a lovely bicycle to hang in your Brewery Tap Room or Brew Pub... or ride on the 3 Speed Tour around Lake Pepin! It is a 1960's Dunelt with a full chain case. It has an Unicanider Italian saddle, John Bull brake pads, New MKS 3000R pedals, New chain, Louis Works handlebar grips, metal cable pulley, 1950's Sturmey Archer shifter with High, Normal and Low settings (HNL). 1962 SA hub. Custom made Royal Mail frame sign, decals, and aged paint scheme. $150 or best offer. Thanks!

The actual Mail bikes I've seen were all 28" wheeled heavy roadster types with a round lug brazed at the front of the top tube to support a large front carrier.

clubman 01-12-18 08:32 AM


Originally Posted by ddeand (Post 20105227)
... first, what might be some of the lighter weight 3-speed bikes out there; and at 6í tall with a 32.5Ē inseam, roughly what size frame should I be looking for?
Iíd aporeciate any help! Thanks!

The problem is that most tall people with long legs will find the large wheeled roadsters a better fit. None of these bikes are light and many of them suffer from poor brakes but they are a great ride.
As suggested, the best compromise (imo) is a 23" Sports. It still won't be very light but you'll have a better choice of wheels, tyres and brakes.

dweenk 01-12-18 10:26 AM

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Originally Posted by BigChief (Post 20104386)
Dang...that is cool. Isn't this model called the Canadian ?

The chain guard was decaled Raleigh Sports. It now resides on my 23" Raleigh Sports beater (photo before I put the chain guard on it).

Salubrious 01-12-18 11:35 AM


Originally Posted by ddeand (Post 20105227)
Iíve done a bit of searching in this thread, and Iíve read quite a few pages. But I donít have the attention span to read all 607 pages - at least not right now. I have acouple basic questions regarding British-based 3-speeds: first, what might be some of the lighter weight 3-speed bikes out there; and at 6í tall with a 32.5Ē inseam, roughly what size frame should I be looking for?
Iíd aporeciate any help! Thanks!

You might want to read the Sheldon Brown pages on British 3-speeds. Servicing English Three Speeds

A tip: if scouring Craigslist, hold out for the older bikes- 1950s is the best IMO. These bikes tend to have better bearing surfaces in the hubs than later decades and oil ports are included on the bottom bracket. I regard 1972 as the latest year to get in a non-rod-brake model; even then you might be doing some swapping (I'm getting rid of the automatic adjusting brake levers on a friend's bike- they don't work, and are harder to operate).

Most of the British 3-speeds are entirely utilitarian unless you get a club machine but in that regard they really are great at their job: reliable, handy and ride well. If kept up properly they will go 100 years. I know of one Superbe that is about that age right now. Although I have some pretty pricey bikes, my Superbe is the one I usually ride since if going to work or running errands. The fork lock is stupid handy!

ddeand 01-12-18 11:51 AM

Thank you, everyone, for the comments and suggestion for my first 3-speed. I appreciate you taking the time to check my local listings for suggestions. The 3-speed I end up with will be used only for shorter rides with my wife (6-10 miles) and the occassional group rides that we have in the Twin Cities. The bulk of my riding will still be done on my Gazelle and my gravel bike. I have found some tantalizing Raleigh Sports - one needs some work and the other is in good original condition but is a bit small. Combining the two might give me a nice ride. I have a bike mechanic friend who is encouraging/enabling me on this venture, so I’m not going into this totally blind.

Now, what do you think about colors? Some of the Sports I’ve seen are not the traditional black or green. Any thoughts there? Thanks again for the help!

johnnyspaghetti 01-12-18 11:52 AM


Originally Posted by thumpism (Post 20105379)
I went searching on your local for a suitable machine in 23" but found this instead. Somebody might be interested in what sounds from the description like a faux-authentic machine. If authentic it is a real find, but that is not clear.

My thoughts exactly as I studied it on CL as well. I kinda shrugged it off as more of a lawn planter. But wondered what is authentic & what is not.

johnnyspaghetti 01-12-18 12:17 PM


Originally Posted by thumpism (Post 20105385)
Then there's this that is being discussed in another thread. People are criticizing the price of the bike, but others rightly point out that the machine is somewhat rare and in very nice condition. If you bought a beater and fixed it up you'd have that much into it.

https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/h...453053992.html

1962 Raliegh Sports 23" original "ALL STEEL BIKE" - $175 (so mpls)

https://images.craigslist.org/01313_...2p_600x450.jpg

make / manufacturer: Raleigh
model name / number: Sports DL22
size / dimensions: 23"

Rides perfect, tires are new, fresh tune all else original parts in very good working condition for a bike that is over 56 years present. Original paint & decals are pretty good, normal age & wear looking VG. The 23" frame fits 5'10"to 6'3" foot person very well, comfortably. I enjoy riding this one very much but have too many bikes. Fresh completely disassembled professionally inspected, cleaned & lubed correctly both front hub & AW Sturmey Archer 3-speed rear hub & BB & pedals, brake cables & shift hardware, all in fine working order. These Raleigh bikes are built to last 100 years. This one has been used lightly with most of its years to go. The ugly beat up back rack bag is not included.There is a seat post mounted back rack although not vintage. The dog is not limping.

To clean every spec of old hardened grease out all axles-spindles= rebuild the Rebuilt rear hub spotless true wheels every spoke gets cleaned & massage the original paint without destroying decals.

This is my best bike and rides perfect & straight My time has to be worth something with 40Yrs experience as a heavy equipment mech/fabricator/Hydraulic-specialist/digital tech.4years in a machine shop adds certain skills for sure. I know better than to over tighten fasteners.
I ask less $100 more than I have in to it is not too outlandish. On the other hand Maybe I don't want to really sell this one. I rode it most the summer.

BigChief 01-12-18 12:50 PM


Originally Posted by johnnyspaghetti (Post 20106113)
To clean every spec of old hardened grease out all axles-spindles= rebuild the Rebuilt rear hub spotless true wheels every spoke gets cleaned & massage the original paint without destroying decals.

This is my best bike and rides perfect & straight My time has to be worth something with 40Yrs experience as a heavy equipment mech/fabricator/Hydraulic-specialist/digital tech.4years in a machine shop adds certain skills for sure. I know better than to over tighten fasteners.
I ask less $100 more than I have in to it is not too outlandish. On the other hand Maybe I don't want to really sell this one. I rode it most the summer.

This is a nice bike. I'd hate to part with it. Pre 65, tall frame great condition, Brooks saddle, got a lot going for it. I wouldn't let it go for under 300. Just my opinion.


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