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  1. #1
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    Raleigh DL1 Hub Conversion

    Has anyone done a hub conversion on a DL1?

    I have 2 and was thinking/daydreaming about doing a hub conversion on one...maybe even daring something like a modern Shimano Inter-8 internal 8 speed hub. Logisics got me thinking about possible doing a Sturmey swap to a 4, 5 or more speed. I'll own both bikes forever but want to make one more user friendly (I'm towing my kids with it) and thought it might be a fun project. I don't need original, I need icing on the cake...

    Any suggestions?

    I've sent Sheldon Brown an email...he said "possible, not easy." There's frame bending and I need to find a 36 spoke wheel just to start. I found a wheel in England for about $20 new...unless someone can beat that here state-side.

    Random side-note, does anyone know anything about Three Spires (forgive the spelling if I have it wrong, I haven't seen it in a few years...it's on loan to a friend who lives across the country) bikes. I have a 1952 version that has Raleigh of Nottingham markings on it, specifically the front chain ring.

    Niels
    '81 & '76 DL1, '52 Three Spires, '54 Robin Hood, '77 Raliegh Sports

  2. #2
    Senior Member fender1's Avatar
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    I did a conversion on an older road frame (126mm) to a Nexus 8 (132mm) and the cold setting of the rear was not difficult. I took my time and slowly spread the rear forks using a piece of threaded rod, washers & nuts. I slowly turned them, measuring frequently with a metric tape measure until the desired spacing was achieved.

    I do not know the spacing of the Raleigh DL1 but Shimano makes a 7 speed hub (126mm) and a 4 speed not in production anymore that is 120mm. I think Sturmey Archer makes a new 8 speed hub that can be as narrow as 117(?) depending on the spacer configuration. I would check the Harris Cylery website as they list the spacing for all of the internal hubs they sell. Good Luck!

  3. #3
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    Just talking from looking at the specs here.

    I think you can fit and SA 8-speed hub. 700x41-42 are actually 28 diameter, or at least the ones I have on my commuter are, so that would be a possible rim replacement. You would lose the rod brakes however. Coaster on the rear, and drum on the front like Dutch Bikes might work.
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  4. #4
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by graywolf View Post
    Just talking from looking at the specs here.

    I think you can fit and SA 8-speed hub. 700x41-42 are actually 28 diameter, or at least the ones I have on my commuter are, so that would be a possible rim replacement. You would lose the rod brakes however. Coaster on the rear, and drum on the front like Dutch Bikes might work.
    ... or simply relace the original rims onto a new 8-speed hub.

    Since I was never happy with the big ratiometric gaps on a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed AW hub, I applaud any replacement with 7 or more speeds.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
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  5. #5
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    If you ever decide to sell one, drop me a line. PG.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E View Post
    ... or simply relace the original rims onto a new 8-speed hub.
    If he can find a new 8-speed with 40 holes that would work. Lots O' Luck on that.
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    Ya, luck is not onmy side regarding a 40 spoke hub. However; I think I have found a source for a 36 soke wheel. That opens things up which is why I'm wondering Sturmey or Shimano. I need to write down the dimensions I'm finding so I can narrow my search to hubs that won't force me to bend the frame too much. I'll keep everyone posted.

    And obviously, if anyone has 2 cents to throw in I'm all ears.

  8. #8
    I am the Eggman Mooo's Avatar
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    It's a DL1 and you're asking whether you should slip is a Sturmey hub (which, even if Taiwan made, at least looks proper) or bend it into a pretzel to accommodate Shimano?

    Hmmm....
    biketoolsetc has drum & coaster brake 3 spd hubs, drum brake 5 speeds and drum brake 8 speeds.

    I think a SA 5 spd drum laced to a 27" rim wouldn't look too out of place, and wouldn't require anything unreversibly heinous be done to the frame. Put a matching drum on the front (xfdd?) and replace the bars and Bobsyouruncle.

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    Why not just add a second rear cog to the hub you now have and install a derailer.This will give 6 speeds---change out the front chainring to a cottered double from a 70s raleigh 10 speed and get even more gears.

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    I am the Eggman Mooo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frameteam2003 View Post
    Why not just add a second rear cog to the hub you now have and install a derailer.This will give 6 speeds---change out the front chainring to a cottered double from a 70s raleigh 10 speed and get even more gears.
    I think the DL1 has fork ends instead of dropouts. That is, they open to the rear. Also, I understand the rear triangle is bolted together. This might make a good derailleur installation a little tricky.

    I don't own a DL1, and could have this all sorted out wrong.

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    I did a pair of regular Sports for my wife and I. Nexus 8. A little bending, NOS aluminum rims. Works great. 23T or 24T in back, you can make it up the steepest hills. Lightened the bike, too.

    I junked mine - removed the 8 spped and bent it back to a 3 speed with two cogs and a RD. As much as I liked the Nexus, it wasn't the same. I can almost make it up the steepest hills with the two cogs in back. Good enough. Walking is good for you.

    The SA 8 speed has a crappy gear changer, but the hub itself shifts nicer. It's geared way too high for hills though. Waaaaaaaaayyyyy too high.

    WHatever you do, make sure you use the special locking nuts or the wheels twist off the first hill you hit.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mooo View Post
    I think the DL1 has fork ends instead of dropouts. That is, they open to the rear. Also, I understand the rear triangle is bolted together. This might make a good derailleur installation a little tricky.

    I don't own a DL1, and could have this all sorted out wrong.
    Right on both points. For the OP, I'd be more inclined to just put a larger cog on the tow machine- that way you'd have both a regular and a low-speed/high torque DL1.

    $20 for a 36 hole Westwood rim sounds pretty good to me...

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    The idea isn't to perminantly alter the whole bike...changing to the 27 inch wheels and going with drum brakes all round cancels out what I love about the DL1. I liken it dropping a crate motor into a classic car (not chopping bodywork or doing anything that can't be undone) to make it keep up with traffic.

    Sciencemonster, could you elaborate on what you didn't like about the Nexus 8. And the SA 8....was the gearing something that could be altered/improved with a different cog in the back or is that a function of the drive ratios (where 1st/easiest gear is a direct gear vs. direct (1:1) being 4th gear or something etc).

    I've ordered a 23T cog as I know that will be an immediate improvement. I'll do a quick rebuild of the hub when I install the new cog and perhaps continue with this project later this winter...in the meantime keeping my eyes and ears open about 4+ speed hubs floating around for a decent price.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NielsDL1 View Post
    ...in the meantime keeping my eyes and ears open about 4+ speed hubs floating around for a decent price.
    If all you need is a lower gear rather than more intermediate gears, a 4 speed Sturmey-Archer FW or FG would be a very correct replacement and would lace right into your existing hub. An aside, as a kid my 3-4 speed trigger shifter was marked H-N-L-BL, I always told other kids the BL was for Bulldog-Low.

    You question about the gearing of the SA-8 hub is on track, you would need to change to a smaller chainwheel with it because 1st is 1:1 so you have to get your lowest gear by selecting a proper combination of chainwheel and cog. For example, a 38/28 combination would give you a 38 inch wheel in first. I think the thing was really designed for use on folding bike with their small wheels, so that a ridiculous combination like 63/11 would not be necessary.
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    it can be done

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by NielsDL1 View Post

    Sciencemonster, could you elaborate on what you didn't like about the Nexus 8. And the SA 8....was the gearing something that could be altered/improved with a different cog in the back or is that a function of the drive ratios (where 1st/easiest gear is a direct gear vs. direct (1:1) being 4th gear or something etc).
    The Nexus never seemed to like 5th gear, but other than that, I liked it a lot. I put a big giant cog (24T) in back so 8th gear was the same as 3rd on a typical Raleigh setup, and so all the extra gears I gained help me up steep climbs. And it would make all but the very steepest. I had to walk it up Old La Honda, but I could bike up the approaches to the GG Bridge. The shifter was nice and felt good, but the hub itself was a little tiny bit wonky in shifting. The SA 8 speed, on the other hand, shifted beautifully, as does an AW, but the shifter was some cheap hard plastic POS. I bought the SA when it first came out, so the cog selection was pretty limited. Since 1st gear is direct drive, it can only go faster. Sucks for hills. I used it on a Twenty, so it made some sense for me. I think they have come out with bigger cogs since then.

    All in all, I would recommend the Nexus over the SA. But you have to ask yourself - why am I riding this classic, utilitarian, bicycle of technological beauty, yet I am despoiling it with some new-fangled gadget? Who am I to re-engineer such a timeless classic? Do my petty wants and needs need to be an affront to the thousands of years of mechanical evolution that went into this bike? Couldn't I just go around the hill?
    Last edited by sciencemonster; 02-05-08 at 10:03 AM.

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    My suggestion is to get an old two cable Sturmey 5 speed and stick the guts in your shell. Then you can put a big cog on the back and still have a reasonably high gear. Very low cost solution.

    FWs are finicky to get into low gear. (I'd love to have someone suggest a cure.)

  18. #18
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    All in all, I would recommend the Nexus over the SA. But you have to ask yourself - why am I riding this classic, utilitarian, bicycle of technological beauty, yet I am despoiling it with some new-fangled gadget? Who am I to re-engineer such a timeless classic? Do my petty wants and needs need to be an affront to the thousands of years of mechanical evolution that went into this bike? Couldn't I just go around the hill?[/QUOTE]

    Sciencemonster,
    I love it! Indeed I have asked myself why I would besmudge this technological beauty with new-fangled gadgetry. I'll tell you why...I can bike around the hill, but not through the headwind.

    I have a tall frame DL1 that I love, but not as much as the small frame one I got from my brother 15 years ago. That one just rides better. It's been torn down and put back together twice since he gave it to me (I learned to rebuild SA 3-speeds from him on this bike). I rode it through college and took it with me when I moved cross-country. These bikes and hubs get better by the mile and the tall frame (which fits me better since i'm 6'-2") is newer with less miles on it and just isn't doing it. Mind you, I added a lot of extra weight with a luggage rack with full wheel stand from my dad in Holland and coat guards on the rear fenders. It's an enormous machine, a horse really. So long and short of it is this tall frame is just not as pleasant to ride/drive. I should just ride the short bike...but that is just not the solution. Besides, I need that as my sport bike. The small frame is a '76, the tall frame is an '81. Maybe they did something to the bike by '81 to give it less soul. Granted, I may erase the last bits of soul with a Nexus, but I thought maybe I should try to save this thing. I'll start with a fresh rebuild of the original hub when I put on the 23T cog and see what that does for me/the bike. If that doesn't do it I'll continue thinking about doing a conversion.

    BTW, I rode a new bike, something fancy, with a Nexus hub and all I could think of was my tall DL1 and how cool it would be if it were warmer than 15 degrees outside and how nice 8 nicely spaced gears would be.

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