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  1. #1
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    In 1965, I was in 3rd grade, and one of my fondest memories is my older brother (my father had passed away) buying me my first "real" bike- a Sears 3speed "English Racer". While I've heard it's improper to refer to these bikes as such, that's what they were called back then and that's what we called 'em. That bike saw me through my paper route career (I maxed out at around 120 deliveries of three different newspapers) and commuting to school. Back then, if you lived within a certain radius of the school, like around a mile or so, then you were referred to as a "walker" and either walked or rode a bike to school. Around 1970, the bike was retired and replaced with a cooler "stingray" type bicycle. The stingray didn't survive, but the "english racer" has. In looking at the bike today, I'm surprised it's in such good shape. The 26 x 1 3/8 rims haven't rusted ( I think they are alloy), it has weinmann hand brakes, a brooks saddle, union pedals, and a union generator light with a headlight and tail light. The headbadge says "Sears" and in smaller print, "made in Austria". The bike is black; there are gold pin stripes on the fenders and chain guard. The frame has some decals- silver stripes and a triangular shaped patch with a curving black strip and green "pine trees" on the top tube, and a serrated white decal, trimmed in red with a "Sears" logo on the down tube. The rear fender is tipped in white paint and has a white plastic cased reflector that says "made in England". THe paint is somewhat oxidized, but other than that it's cosmetically sound with no major rust anywhere. I recently put the bike back on the road . I replaced the cables, brake shoes, tubes/tires, and repacked the bearings in the headset, bottom bracket, and wheels. The chain was cleaned, lubed and adjusted. The rear 3 speed hub has a metal flip-up cap and I put a few drops of oil in it. What a pleasure it has been to take the bike on the local rails-to-trail path. Everything works; it shifts and rides fine, it's comfortable, even the lights work! And it cost me around 70 bucks to get it road worthy again.
    I recall that this was a very popular bike back then (my neighbor had a red one), but I haven't seen any around, and ebay searches have not yet turned up anything. Can anyone give me more info. on this bike? Who made it? What years? Is the hub a Sturmey-Archer clone? Does anyone else own a similar bike?

    thks in advance. resurrecting old bikes, especially one that you rode as a kid, rocks!
    Last edited by bjc97; 09-05-05 at 05:22 PM.

  2. #2
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    I am pretty sure that the Austrian bike company Austro-Daimler-Puch manufactured this bike. Sears bikes sold during this time frame were made by them or Murray Ohio of the USA. I think that you have a Sturmey-Archer hub, because way back in the early 1960's they had a metal oil cap, which eventually changed to a plactic one. That is all the info that I can give you. Have fun with it !

  3. #3
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    Thank you very much for the input. In doing further research, I found that SA licensed Puch to manufacture the 3 speed hub. Outwardly, the hub appears different than the SA in that it's "ribbed", ie. ridgeds running along the circumference of the hub, and there are no SA markings on the hub, just a Sears logo.The internals are supposedly, identical.
    Thanx Again!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. #4
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    That's a great story, bjc97. I remember "English Racers" from that era, and that's what we called'em, too......By the way, can you imagine Sears selling ANYTHING that's made in Austria these days?

  5. #5
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    What a great story. You are very lucky to still have the bicycle. Does it still fit you so that you can ride it comfortably today?

    The Austrian 3-speeds have been mentioned several times on these forums. I have worked on several of them and found them to be of excellent quality. They are clearly under-valued by today's collectors.

    "English Racer" is understood by most collectors. It didn't matter where they were made. The style is unmistakeable. The English racer was a nearly perfect design for functional bicycle riding. They were comfortable, practical, and they were indeed fast. The 26" diameter wheels were intelligent for the stop-go torque needs of city riding and the 1 3/8" wide tires made for a comfortable yet energy conservative ride.

    I commuted on an English Racer 3-speed for several years and usually cruised along at between 16 to 18 miles per hour - sitting upright on a spring saddle!

    Yes, a very nice machine.

    Thank you for sharing the story.
    Mike

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacksbike
    I am pretty sure that the Austrian bike company Austro-Daimler-Puch manufactured this bike. Sears bikes sold during this time frame were made by them or Murray Ohio of the USA. I think that you have a Sturmey-Archer hub, because way back in the early 1960's they had a metal oil cap, which eventually changed to a plactic one. That is all the info that I can give you. Have fun with it !
    I've seen some of their three speeds...nice bikes, with good workmanship and paint. I kinda wish someone would sell 2006 "re-issues" of the classic three speed bikes, but with alloy rims, light weight slick tires, and alloy bars and stems. That would bring their weight down to around 30 pounds, a good weight for a "commute to work" or "off to Krogers" around the neighborhood bike.

  7. #7
    Senior Member meatwad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjc97
    Thank you very much for the input. In doing further research, I found that SA licensed Puch to manufacture the 3 speed hub. Outwardly, the hub appears different than the SA in that it's "ribbed", ie. ridgeds running along the circumference of the hub, and there are no SA markings on the hub, just a Sears logo.The internals are supposedly, identical.
    Thanx Again!!!!!!!!!!!
    I had one of those (hubs) and i believe it was made by sachs. Odd kind of alloy body. Had the same problem of going off gear like SA did.

  8. #8
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    hey, thanks all to your contribs to this thread.
    Mike, the bike fits me very well and is very comfortable to ride. Now, back in gradeschool, the bike was way way too big for me, and with the seat post down, i barely reached the pedals. but hey-it was my first "real bike", and safety didn't matter much back then, lol.

    I had some spectacular crashes. one of the best ones was when i was in I think 7th grade. I was trying to impress a girl, Diane McCH...who rode on bus #2. (Odd how I can still remember this). Anyway, I was riding parallel to her bus, hoping I suppose that she would notice me on my flashy "english racer". We were going downhill from the school, and, at the bottom of the hill was a bunch of gravel. I was riding one-handed (bookbag in the other hand) hit the gravel and went down. Bummer, right in front of that entire busload of kids.

    Buncha roadrash, an extremely bruised ego, a laughing Diane McCh...(wonder what ever happened to her), but the bike was, and still is, o.k.!

  9. #9
    Glutton for Punishment
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
    I kinda wish someone would sell 2006 "re-issues" of the classic three speed bikes, but with alloy rims, light weight slick tires, and alloy bars and stems. That would bring their weight down to around 30 pounds, a good weight for a "commute to work" or "off to Krogers" around the neighborhood bike.
    Now there's the idea of the week. They could even be refurbished oldsters with new components. You could sell the beejeezus out of them in any college town in America.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjc97
    hey, thanks all to your contribs to this thread.
    Mike, the bike fits me very well and is very comfortable to ride. Now, back in gradeschool, the bike was way way too big for me, and with the seat post down, i barely reached the pedals. but hey-it was my first "real bike", and safety didn't matter much back then, lol.

    I had some spectacular crashes. one of the best ones was when i was in I think 7th grade. I was trying to impress a girl, Diane McCH...who rode on bus #2. (Odd how I can still remember this). Anyway, I was riding parallel to her bus, hoping I suppose that she would notice me on my flashy "english racer". We were going downhill from the school, and, at the bottom of the hill was a bunch of gravel. I was riding one-handed (bookbag in the other hand) hit the gravel and went down. Bummer, right in front of that entire busload of kids.

    Buncha roadrash, an extremely bruised ego, a laughing Diane McCh...(wonder what ever happened to her), but the bike was, and still is, o.k.!
    Fab story, bjc97! Do you still have gravel under your skin from the crash? My bet is that Diane McCh is still beautiful and thinks of you often...
    Mike

  11. #11
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    I have a c. 1965 Sears 3 speed as well. It has SA hub. Unfortunately, I repainted it in the early 90's so i'm not sure how to tell where it was manufactured. The brakes are rather cheap in manufacture, so I'm not sure it's a Puch. It looks like a knock off of a raleigh in proportions fork length etc., just cheaper in manufacture.

  12. #12
    Senior Member bidaci's Avatar
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    I just pick one of these up over the winter to redo for a gift for my Father-In-Law. I think I have the original parts list for the bike. If I can find i I could fax or send a copy to anyone interested. I don't have a scanner to email or post it.
    Bill

    - Serotta Columbus III - Aegis Trident SS TT - Trek 8000zx -

  13. #13
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    hahaha mike; NO I don't have any gravel remaining under me skin from that crash--- and yes, I agree, the lovely Diane McCh probably still thinks of me at *least* on a weekly basis, if not daily...LOLOLOL

  14. #14
    Passionate or O-C? desmobob's Avatar
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    Photos! Photos!

    Good riding,
    desmobob

  15. #15
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjc97
    hahaha mike; NO I don't have any gravel remaining under me skin from that crash--- and yes, I agree, the lovely Diane McCh probably still thinks of me at *least* on a weekly basis, if not daily...LOLOLOL
    Yes, and lovely Diane McCh has taken very good care of herself all her life. She looks extraordinary for her age - a true timeless beauty. She recently split with her abusive husband and spends a lot of time solo over coffee thinking about happy days. Her memories drift to bjc97 and she smiles...

    You should give he a call sometime.

    Of course, then we want to hear all about it!
    Mike

  16. #16
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    lolololololololol
    ...as the ever lovely Diane McCh daydreams, about bjc97...her thoughts drift to that flashy black Sears English Racer. Her breathing grows more rapid, and deeper, as she recalls that sleek black paint, contrasting with the white cable covers and the sunlight dancing across the shiney spokes and rims... She shifts in her chair, aware now of the tiny beads of perspiration forming at her temples, and of the overwhelming sense of desire that manifests itself almost like a living organism, slowly enveloping her body and soul, consuming her with a passion she has not felt in years. she moans, softly..."oh, bjc97....bj......ccccc....97............."

    *********guffaw**********

  17. #17
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    It was my 11th birthday present -- a 1965 bike like yours but red with saddle bag and battery operated headlight. No generator or tail light though. It was made by PUCH and when you got replacement parts from Sears the plastic bags they came in where covered with PUCH logos. Still have mine also, although not in as good of condition but operationally runs perfect. I used it for BMX type riding before there was such a thing and bent the fork and down tube racing a mini bike in the dirt. The down tube still has the wrinkle and the fork steerer tube is almost straight. There must be at least 6000 miles on

    It also taught me a lot about bike mechanics. At age 13, because it needed cleaning, I took it all apart (yes, re-laced the wheels and rebuilt the 3-speed hub and new cones and bearings for the front) and put it all back together.

    Compared to the bikes my friends were riding, I thought it was pretty special with a lugged frame and cottered steel cranks. For the time period they were pretty decent.

    As an adult, many years later, it became my means of transportation for a year and got me started to being a "real" roadie (or bike nut) and now Velodrome Rider.

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