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Old 05-10-11, 03:01 PM   #1
alwayssummer
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New ride for the gf: Skyway

Yes, I am aware it's not an awesome bike and that it probably sold in a department store, but she likes it. Also, it's not terribly heavy and has a sort of smooth ride quality. I'm here to ask a few questions about how to get tuned up. I would like it to ride and look as nice as possible within a budget of about $60. I know how to turn a wrench at a basic level and even built a wheel once (which worked). But I'm not sure what should be replaced. It seems like everything actually works at this point.

The 3-speed hub hits all of its gears, but can be difficult to shift unless the bike is coasting. Do those things need an inspection or some sort of maintenance?

The shifting is via a grip shift on the right handlebar. I'm wondering if that makes it very difficult to replace the bars/handles.

The brakes work adequately.

It's in the looks area that this one fails the most. There are many little dings and chips and rust spots. I would prefer to keep the original pinstripes and decals, but the paint is pretty ugly. Does it tend to buff nicely? Also, what is the best method for cleaning rust off the rims?

OK, many thanks. I hope we can make her bike pretty.

EDIT: Images!





Some rust and scratches.


Fender bullet!


Nice badge.





The saddle is covered in some sort of plastic.








The little white wheel routes the bare cable back toward the 3-spd hub. Also, the chainguard is a little bent up.


Are we stuck with that grip?

Last edited by alwayssummer; 05-10-11 at 08:30 PM. Reason: Pics!
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Old 05-10-11, 03:50 PM   #2
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You have to provide photos.. it's a rule... well, not really.. but we like photos.
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Old 05-10-11, 07:49 PM   #3
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Rule of thumb for 3 speeds, can be shifted when you are stoped, but do not shift when you are pedaling like other geared bikes. This might help smooth out the shift glitch... or it needs oiling.

3SS
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Old 05-10-11, 08:32 PM   #4
alwayssummer
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You have to provide photos.. it's a rule... well, not really.. but we like photos.
My bad! I added pics to the OP!

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Rule of thumb for 3 speeds, can be shifted when you are stoped, but do not shift when you are pedaling like other geared bikes. This might help smooth out the shift glitch... or it needs oiling.

3SS
Thanks 3SS. Will the attempts she already made to shift it cause any damage?
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Old 05-12-11, 06:25 PM   #5
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Is it that bad?
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Old 05-12-11, 06:28 PM   #6
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I picked up one just like that but it was like a baby blue color. I can't decide what to do with it.
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Old 05-12-11, 09:08 PM   #7
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I saw a minty one on CL for $100 a year ago, and have wished I bought it ever since. I hear the bike is aluminum with steel lugs, which may explain the lightness. They are said to have a nice ride quality. I think yours look amazingly cool.

Wipe it down with a sponge, soap and water. Try Windex wipes if it's very greasy. That will do wonders.

Others here will tell you more about how to get it polished and waxed and lookin' hot. If you replace the saddle, a Brooks B67, while a bit pricey, is a great investment if she likes the bike. Then put some creamy tires on it to match the grips (which look fun to me), get her a little saddle bag for her stuff, and let her ride. She'll LOVE it.

Check out Veloria's site, and go visit her old Raleigh 3-Speeds, Lucy and... something... the DL-1, to see how these improvements look. Here's my vintage 3-speed, and yours could look equally lovely.



Edit: I should push my own blog here, too, as I have more photos of the gorgeous Raleigh Sports: http://rideblog.wordpress.com/
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Old 05-12-11, 09:49 PM   #8
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Some good upgrades to do would be:
+ put some oil in the hub (I got a small syringe from the drugstore, and some 20W oil)
+ replace the chain. I just did this on my Raleigh Ladies Sports, and it now rides like butter. This could also be attributed to:
+ replacing the rear cog for a 22-t. Don't know what the tooth count is on this bike, but mine was a 18-t, and replacing it has definitely helped with the hills
+ replacing the brake cables & pads (I got Salmon Kool-Stops -- they're great).
+ for any new old bike you're going to want to replace the tubes & tires. I second the white tires. Schwalbe Delta Cruisers if they're 26"
+ Also second the new saddle. A Brooks or VO saddle will do her well.

I think the tires & saddle would be the most expensive purchases, but if you do the work yourself you can save plenty of money. If you do this and re-grease in the appropriate places, you should be good to go. Also a nice basket wouldn't hurt.
Veloria's blog (lovelybicycle.blogspot.com) is a good resource. It's where I learned about the beautiful 3-speed and was inspired to purchase one off of Ebay. Now I get so much joy out of getting all the adjustments and parts just right, and spending my free time surfing bike blogs and bikeforums -- much to my boyfriend's amusement.
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Old 05-12-11, 10:11 PM   #9
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Veloria's blog (lovelybicycle.blogspot.com) is a good resource. It's where I learned about the beautiful 3-speed and was inspired to purchase one off of Ebay. Now I get so much joy out of getting all the adjustments and parts just right, and spending my free time surfing bike blogs and bikeforums -- much to my boyfriend's amusement.
This could be ME! I did the SAME THING. Veloria is building a secret army of 3-speed riding women. We will soon take over the world...
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Old 05-13-11, 08:12 AM   #10
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Rule of thumb for 3 speeds, can be shifted when you are stoped, but do not shift when you are pedaling like other geared bikes. This might help smooth out the shift glitch... or it needs oiling.

3SS
I agree, shifting is easier if you shift while coasting on my old three speed
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Old 05-13-11, 08:13 AM   #11
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This could be ME! I did the SAME THING. Veloria is building a secret army of 3-speed riding women. We will soon take over the world...
Shhhh! Don't tell them that..... yet
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Old 05-15-11, 01:19 PM   #12
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Maybe we should make a club of Veloria-inspired 3-speed ladies.
None of the men in my life seem to understand my love of these bikes, as they are old & heavy. But I don't see how anyone could deny their beauty. Sure, you're not going to win any races, but they impeccably combine the abilities to be both pretty AND durable/functional. It's enough to make me want to fill a garage with vintage/classic bikes.
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