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  1. #1
    Senior Member GordoTrek's Avatar
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    chain broke on my 75 raleigh sports

    Are they standard? Or not?

  2. #2
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    Yes, but not quite. All derailleur chains are 1/2x3/32", so that part is easy, and at the time your bike was made there was only one type.

    But since then they've added gears and narrowed chains so you'd ask for a 9 speed, or 7 speed chain. Note that if your bike is a 10 speed (2x5) don't ask for a 10 speed chain. We've lapped the field and 10 speed refers to a bike with 10 gears in back, what would have been called a 20 speed in the old lingo.

    Given the age of your bike I suspect that you need a 5 or 6 speed chain (the same chain). If you can't find one of those a 7s or 8s (same) will work fine though it's a bit narrower.
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  3. #3
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    Odds are very high you will need a freewheel as well. If so you would need a chain tool, freewheel tool, strong, solidly mounted vise or 15" crescent wrench, and the knowledge to properly size the chain and adjust the rear derailleur. Or you coul djust take to to a shop....

  4. #4
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    The Raleigh Sports is a 3 speed and uses a 1/2 by 1/8 chain... multi speed / derailleur chain will not work on the wider chain wheel teeth and cog.

  5. #5
    Half way there gmt13's Avatar
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    I've been using KMC Z410 chains on my 3 speeds. They are inexpensive and hold up well. As SixtyFiver said, you will need the 1/2 x 1/8 size.

  6. #6
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmt13 View Post
    I've been using KMC Z410 chains on my 3 speeds. They are inexpensive and hold up well. As SixtyFiver said, you will need the 1/2 x 1/8 size.
    Also a fan of the KMC... prefer the 710 and because I buy it at cost it is less than the retail on lesser chains.

    With that being said... the KMC is bombproof and mileage you will get on a three speed that is kept clean will be nothing short of amazing.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    The Raleigh Sports is a 3 speed and uses a 1/2 by 1/8 chain... multi speed / derailleur chain will not work on the wider chain wheel teeth and cog.
    Good catch, we both missed that. The cog will probably be fine, though after 37 years maybe not! Still best to use a chain tool to cut off the excess, but one can use a pin punch if necessary, and the master link of course requires no tools. Just need to be careful to leave two inside links and the right amount of chain. Matching number of links (not length) with the original chain should work without a hitch.

  8. #8
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
    Good catch, we both missed that. The cog will probably be fine, though after 37 years maybe not! Still best to use a chain tool to cut off the excess, but one can use a strong round punch if necessary, and the master link of course requires no tools. Just need to be careful to leave two inside links and the right amount of chain. Matching number of links (not length) with the original chain should work without a hitch.
    They don't call me the "old three speed guy" for nothing although I am unsure if they are referring me, the bikes, or both.



    It is hard to tell how many miles the bike may have on it... I have a 1975 that has virtually no mileage and it takes a lifetime of riding to wear out a Raleigh chain wheel and those stock SA cogs seem to be impervious to wear.

    There is some references to when the first SA equipped bicycle rolled past 30,000 miles and in this time had required nothing more than routine service... the service interval on the SA hub can be measured in decades and with regular oiling and use will run at least 30,000 miles before it needs overhauling.

    Non use is probably the worst thing for an SA hub as the oil drains out and leaves the transmission high and dry.

    In servicing countless 3 speed equipped bikes find that those that look well used tend to run the best while the garage queens that have been sitting for decades tend to require a great deal more work.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    They don't call me the "old three speed guy" for nothing although I am unsure if they are referring me, the bikes, or both.



    It is hard to tell how many miles the bike may have on it... I have a 1975 that has virtually no mileage and it takes a lifetime of riding to wear out a Raleigh chain wheel and those stock SA cogs seem to be impervious to wear.

    There is some references to when the first SA equipped bicycle rolled past 30,000 miles and in this time had required nothing more than routine service... the service interval on the SA hub can be measured in decades and with regular oiling and use will run at least 30,000 miles before it needs overhauling.

    Non use is probably the worst thing for an SA hub as the oil drains out and leaves the transmission high and dry.

    In servicing countless 3 speed equipped bikes find that those that look well used tend to run the best while the garage queens that have been sitting for decades tend to require a great deal more work.
    I agree, I worked on many, many 3 speeds when I was mechanic and service manager in a bicycle co-op, as it was the 70's to 80's and Lansing, MI was fairly flat, so there were still lots of the English 3 speeds availailable and useable for that area. We reconditioned them and then sold or rented them, and of course had very few problems. A 3 speed hub overhaul is straightforward, always works, and is seldom needed, and adjustment requires 30 seconds and no tools. A far cry from externally geared bikes. It's too bad that it is not possible to get a reasonably priced, lightweight 3 speed any more.

  10. #10
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
    I agree, I worked on many, many 3 speeds when I was mechanic and service manager in a bicycle co-op, as it was the 70's to 80's and Lansing, MI was fairly flat, so there were still lots of the English 3 speeds availailable and useable for that area. We reconditioned them and then sold or rented them, and of course had very few problems. A 3 speed hub overhaul is straightforward, always works, and is seldom needed, and adjustment requires 30 seconds and no tools. A far cry from externally geared bikes. It's too bad that it is not possible to get a reasonably priced, lightweight 3 speed any more.
    I have a recipe for that...

    Find a vintage road frame... something from Raleigh's upper end is always nice and refit it with a 3 speed hub to make a retro club bike.

    My 1954 Raleigh Sports comes in at 28 pounds after I replaced most of the old steel bits and old steel wheels and a better bike would already have most of those lighter parts and come in a few pounds lighter.


  11. #11
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    Looks great! Yes, it's not difficult to do, but not everyone can do it themselves or have access to a shop that can do the work economically. Many people did not know that even with steel wheels, fenders, and cranks, as well as the hub the classic English 3 speeds came in at the lower 30lb range. I built one with the original frame and a rare alloy hub shell, alloy wheels, handlebars and crankset that came in under 30 lbs. Great trouble free commuter.

  12. #12
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    Back in the late sixties, when I was still in retail, we wanted to find something between the comfortable/reliable/but heavy Raleigh 3-speeds, and the light/sporty/but finicky 10-speeds of the era. There was no middle ground product available from any source, except some 5s upright derailleur bikes out of Italy, which didn't quite fill the bill.

    We went to the Carlton factory and spec'd a 3-tube Reynolds frame, AW hub, QR front hub, 27" Super Champion rims (700c was still oddball back then) Weinmann C-pull brakes, plastic fenders, B-72 saddle and alloy all rounder bars, and came up with a 24# sporty, fun to ride city bike. It was a tough sell at first because customers either wanted basic (cheap) upright bikes, or were wannabe racers buying 10s bikes (half would back later to change bars and seat to upright).

    Eventually the niche found it's audience, and these started to move. Owners were very happy with them and we'd get referral business from as far as a 100 miles away which is the other end of the world in NYC.

    After that experiment, what later became the hybrid category disappeared, and even today, well conceived city/sport bikes are an ill served niche, though there's some nice product there looking for it's audience.
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  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Raleigh made a lot of different bikes even in 1975,
    too bad gordo trek has not offered the relivent info..

    good luck .. go to a bike shop they can see what you did not show, or say.

  14. #14
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Raleigh made a lot of different bikes even in 1975,
    too bad gordo trek has not offered the relivent info..

    good luck .. go to a bike shop they can see what you did not show, or say.
    If it is a Raleigh Sports that has not been altered it is a 3 speed... non three speed models were available but came under other names even if they used the same Sports frame and fork with what was usually a 5 speed drive.

    The late 70's/ early 80's Raleigh Lenton is a 5 speed Sports and the Sprite was a 5 speed Sports... the latter day Lenton was a really gorgeous bike with an unusually nice two tone finish and all the nice features of the 3 speed Sports save for the chain case which would not work on a derailleur equipped 5 speed.

  15. #15
    Senior Member GordoTrek's Avatar
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    well, i ended up replacing the broken link with a master link from 1/2 x 1/8 chain... cheaper solution plus its mostly original

  16. #16
    Senior Member GordoTrek's Avatar
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    sorry for the lack of input, its a 75 raleigh sports 3pd, all original... i had a pain of time replacing the cotter pins, so i wanted to make sure i wasn't in for the same problem with the chain, all better now... thanks for the help guys!!

  17. #17
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Congrats on your ingenuity, but a new chain isn't that expensive...
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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