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Old 03-31-07, 07:59 PM   #1
TheHercules
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New to Hercules, Need Advice

Hey everyone,

I just picked up a Hercules today for $50 which I am told was made in the 50s. I've been doing some research online and is the year on the rear hub a good indicator of the bike's actual age? Because it might be a '71 and not from the 50s.

Anyway, it's straight, nicely patina'd, but the tubes/tyres are shot, the chain's rusted solid, and the shift lever is missing (can I fabricate one? anyone have a spare?)...plus the shift cable is disconnected (it's all there, but just disconnected).

Okay, tyres/tubes...can I still get them? What should I look for and where's a good place to look for them?

Chain: it's just a chain, right? Pretty standard?

Shifter: Well, consider this a want-ad as well...it's tempting to fab up something a little funky, a little hot rod, but if someone has a spare...I'll totally go that route!

Seat: I'll be honest, I've a big butt and a bad tailbone...the seat on there now is very hard. I need something much wider and cushier...suggestions?

Here are some pix:






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Old 03-31-07, 08:05 PM   #2
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I would vote with the hub date for the time being. It looks about right, where are the rear fender mounts above or behind the drop outs? IIRC Hercules was taken over by the same conglomerate that owned Raleigh in 1954. The head badge may give some insight. I have a 19?? Hercules Skyliner, it has the older style round badge. The shifters are still fairly easy to get. I bought a couple off of ebay not to long back. You really need the stock shifter to make it shift properly. Many of the older cycle stores may still have a few instock, you are also going to need the fulcrum point, pulley and a new cable from the looks of it. Chain is a standard 1/8", saddle is going to be your choice my Raleighs all have Brooks B67's on them.

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Old 03-31-07, 08:10 PM   #3
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Here is mine, no idea of it's age, It's on the refurb list for later this spring.
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File Type: jpg Herc1.JPG (77.5 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg Herc3.JPG (86.0 KB, 34 views)
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Old 03-31-07, 08:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wahoonc
I would vote with the hub date for the time being. It looks about right, where are the rear fender mounts above or behind the drop outs? IIRC Hercules was taken over by the same conglomerate that owned Raleigh in 1954. The head badge may give some insight. I have a 19?? Hercules Skyliner, it has the older style round badge. The shifters are still fairly easy to get. I bought a couple off of ebay not to long back. You really need the stock shifter to make it shift properly. Many of the older cycle stores may still have a few instock, you are also going to need the fulcrum point, pulley and a new cable from the looks of it. Chain is a standard 1/8", saddle is going to be your choice my Raleighs all have Brooks B67's on them.

Aaron
Okay, bear with me a sec here...what are the drop outs? I know there's a mount just behind crank, another just below the rear brakes (you can see it in one of the pics), and the spokes that support the back of the rear fender attach just behind where the rear axle mounts.

And is it me or does it look like the badge doesn't quite fit there correctly?

Once I get the chain off I'll be in a better position to see what kind of shape the rest of the running gear is in.


Edit Ooooh, nice one, Wes! Your rear reflector looks very much like the one on mine.
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Old 03-31-07, 09:36 PM   #5
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Ooooh, I think I see what you mean now about the drop outs...compared them to wes's. Mine are definitely behind the drop outs, not above.
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Old 04-01-07, 10:49 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by TheHercules
Ooooh, I think I see what you mean now about the drop outs...compared them to wes's. Mine are definitely behind the drop outs, not above.
That makes it a Nottingham built Herc by Raleigh.

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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 04-01-07, 04:38 PM   #7
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Oh, BTW, Mine says Birmingham on the headbadge, Some I guess are Notingham, don't know any more than that. Mine does have a really Raleigh looking Thimble fork on it.
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Old 04-01-07, 05:11 PM   #8
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Okay, so if I read what you're saying right...mine was built in Nottingham, England by Raliegh but it's still badged a Hercules?

I've got a good bike shop locally (which sadly is closed Mondays) who carry the oddball English tires, so I should be able to get this rolling in short order.

My dad was actually messing with the chain and after a healthy dose of WD-40 and motor oil, he claims he's gotten the rusted chain moving again!

Oh, and what are the chances the rear hub was swapped out at one time with a '71 model? Just curious.
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Old 04-01-07, 06:21 PM   #9
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TII bought out Hercules in 1954, TII owned Raleigh. Prior to 1954 Hercules was a stand alone brand and was built in Birmingham England.(which was why I asked about the drop outs) Once they started producing them at the Nottingham plant they were basically nothing more than a re-badged Raleigh Sports. They were also producing Triumph, Dunelt, Robin Hood and several other brands from the Nottingham works. I am not sure why redneckwes's has the thimble fork, I don't believe that to be a Hercules feature and suspect it may have been swapped out. I think the '71 hub is right for the age of your bike. There is very little information on the specific Hercules models. I have a Hercules Skyliner that I got from PastorBob and it is a very unusual bike in that it is a single speed freewheel and rod brakes, with 26x1-3/8" wheels. All we know for sure about the bike is that it was built prior to 1954 and based on the round headbadge it could go all the way back to the late 30's early 40's. BTW it is a drop frame too.

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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 04-01-07, 06:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redneckwes
Oh, BTW, Mine says Birmingham on the headbadge, Some I guess are Notingham, don't know any more than that. Mine does have a really Raleigh looking Thimble fork on it.
Aaron,
What model is yours? Is it a Tourist? I have a couple of pictures somewhere of another one that looks very similar to yours and it is a 1951.IIRC

Aaron
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"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 04-01-07, 07:29 PM   #11
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Aaron,
I believe it is a tourist, I'll go downstairs and double check, If There is enough of the chainguard decal left to make a positive ID. If It helps any, mine has the Hercules marked hub, not the S.A. marked hub.
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Old 04-01-07, 07:34 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by redneckwes
Aaron,
I believe it is a tourist, I'll go downstairs and double check, If There is enough of the chainguard decal left to make a positive ID. If It helps any, mine has the Hercules marked hub, not the S.A. marked hub.
Aaron
That means it is a Birmingham built Herc for sure. It also means parts can be hard to find IIRC the Herc uses a threaded sprocket...where the S-A has the splined one.

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"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 04-01-07, 07:39 PM   #13
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Here is a picture of the one I was talking about


It is a real beauty!

Aaron
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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 04-01-07, 08:23 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
That means it is a Birmingham built Herc for sure. It also means parts can be hard to find IIRC the Herc uses a threaded sprocket...where the S-A has the splined one. Aaron
Hercules parts should interchange with the SA AW. It appears that some were AW copies and others were built by SA and badged as Hercules. Threaded or splined drivers had more to do with the date of manufacture than the name on the hub. I have a Herculese threaded driver which is subtely different from the SA one but they are interchangable. The only difference is that it has just slightly more thread.
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Old 04-01-07, 09:26 PM   #15
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"TheHercules" Thanks for starting a really interesting thread!


A few bigger pics of my Herc, (It is a Tourist)

Headtube
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c2...g?t=1175484743

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c2...g?t=1175484810

http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c2...g?t=1175484848

Aaron,
Mine seems to have a whole lot in common with the one in the pics you posted!
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Old 04-01-07, 11:29 PM   #16
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Boy, no kidding, I really got folks talkin'! Glad I could help...and that you all could help, too! I totally appreciate it and will snap more pictures as I work on it tomorrow!
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Old 04-02-07, 03:47 AM   #17
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Quote:
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Boy, no kidding, I really got folks talkin'! Glad I could help...and that you all could help, too! I totally appreciate it and will snap more pictures as I work on it tomorrow!
I am a huge fan of the British Steel. My current collection is fairly small by most standards, but is growing slowly; one Hercules Skyliner (year unknown), a 1975 Dawes Galaxy frameset (going to get built up similar to Sammyboy's) 197? Sports Standard (no hub date, and over 30k miles on it), 1974 Sports Ladies, 1971 Raleigh Colt Ladies (17" frame, fits the wife perfectly ) a 1968 Raleigh Compact RSW folder and a 1972 Superbe which is my favorite rider. I have other bikes but these are my favorites. All are 3 speeds except the Herc and the Dawes, which is going to get built up using an FG hub (4speed, generator)

MnHPVA Guy, thanks for the clarification. The only other Herc I have ever had was the threaded driver and I could never find parts for it. But that was years ago in the pits of the vintage cycling world.

Aaron
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Old 04-02-07, 12:29 PM   #18
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Okay folks...big update...loads of pix!

First off, a Cycle Miller british taillight that I bought years ago at a car show and planned on using as a third brake light on a VW roofrack...should this have a battery? A dynamo?






Badge is a bit more beat than I thought...can't even read Nottingham (which I assume is says next to "England")...


Is there something that's supposed to attach to the front fender here?


Is this a Raliegh stamping on the handlebar?


OG "Made in England" grips!
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Old 04-02-07, 12:57 PM   #19
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Okay Hercman

Tailight is designed for use with a generator, typically a Dyno-hub.
There was a small chrome crest on the fender.
Yes that is the Raleigh Heron stamp on the Stem.

Aaron
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"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 04-02-07, 01:20 PM   #20
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Cool...any idea what the front fender crest looked like? Suppose I ought to hunt up some images...see if Wes's bike has one.
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Old 04-02-07, 01:53 PM   #21
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Cool...any idea what the front fender crest looked like? Suppose I ought to hunt up some images...see if Wes's bike has one.
Look for a Raleigh Sports, it is just a little chrome piece. If you haven't found a picture by the time I get home I will take one for you. I doubt Wes's has one, he has the full chrome fenders.

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RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 04-02-07, 02:24 PM   #22
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Yeah, I notice Wes doesn't have one. I'll crank out a google image search and see what comes up. Post yours anyway...I'm always curious to get as much info as possible!
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Old 04-02-07, 05:16 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by TheHercules
Yeah, I notice Wes doesn't have one. I'll crank out a google image search and see what comes up. Post yours anyway...I'm always curious to get as much info as possible!
Here are your crest pictures, this particular fender is off of a 1974 Sports, however the crest is the same on both my 7? Sports and my bride's 1971 Colt.
BTW here is a link to part of my collection

Aaron
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File Type: jpg CIMG0045.JPG (38.4 KB, 8 views)
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ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
_Nicodemus

"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 04-03-07, 12:26 PM   #24
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Neat! I bet that's got to be hard to find!

Well, I've got the bike down at Hyland Cycles in San Jose getting new tires and tubes installed...should be able to pick it up tomorrow after work. Got a new seatguy.com super cushy butt seat arriving in the mail Thursday. I'll be rolling by the weekend! Just gotta wait for that shifter to arrive.
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Old 04-04-07, 09:04 PM   #25
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Another day, another update! Got the bike back from Hyland cycles and $64 later I have two lovely new tyres, HD tubes, and the brakes adjusted! Simultaneously, my dad calls to let me know the NOS SA shifter had already arrived from NY!

So I drove by, picked up the shifter (will install it later), and took the bike on its maiden voyage. Well, little trip up and down the block on the hard plastic seat that'll also be replaced in the next couple days!
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