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Old 01-24-12, 08:32 PM   #1
jeffpepperdine
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81 Carlton Corsair "Superbe" 3 Speed Project

A little while back my father dragged this bike home from the local bike store. Someone had wanted to trade it in on a new bike, but store didn't want it. They owner asked the clerk if they would pass it on to someone who would ride it. In walked pops.



He thought he was going to ride it, but decided he wasn't a big fan of the drop bars & down tube shifters.

When I was back visiting I thought the bike would make a good lightweight cruiser. I headed back to the same store and came home with a free set of north road bars, stem, levers and a suntour stem mount shifter.

I built the bike up and was surprised at how fun the ride was.





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Old 01-24-12, 08:46 PM   #2
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About the same time I stumbled upon Sheldon's Competition Superbe. I decided I'd build myself a budget version of it.

Fast forward a few months. I stripped everything off the frame, and had a new Sturmey Archer SRF3 (that I conveniently got from the misses for christmas) laced to the existing rim.

The old decals were flaking badly. I did my best to reproduce them, although I opted for the Carlton script instead of the 'bubble letters'. I have a vinyl printer / cutter at work, so we printed out the decals. This was the first time I've done this and would do it again in a heartbeat.

I built it up over the weekend. Unfortunately its been pooring since, so my longest ride has been around the block.

The frame is a 1981 Nottingham built from raleigh 20-30 tubing. It's not the 531 tubing that apparently existed on some corsairs...





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Old 01-24-12, 09:15 PM   #3
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Very nice work! I hope it's as much fun to ride as my '59 Carlton with an SRF3. A 3 speed and a lightweight frame is a great combination.

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Old 01-25-12, 01:17 PM   #4
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Very nice work! I hope it's as much fun to ride as my '59 Carlton with an SRF3. A 3 speed and a lightweight frame is a great combination.
Thx Grand Bios. I actually did come across your Carlton in one of my lightweight 3 speed searches. Beautiful bike. The chrome headlugs are great. I'm sure you frame is much nicer than mine, being that your is a true Carlton. Mine was built with the rest of the production raleighs, and the worksmanship certainly isn't anything special. Non the less, I'm really looking forward to cruising around town on it.

On another note, I pickup up an old 3 speed shifter that is all steel, probably from the 50's / 60's. It may have never been used in the past. It's really sticky right now and doesn't shift all that well. Should I be lubing it? or do you think it will break in with use?

Thx,
- J
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Old 01-25-12, 01:35 PM   #5
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My frame 531 might be a bit lighter, but yours still much lighter than most of the ones that originally came with 3 speeds.

I bought a NOS '70s shifter that would hang up between 2nd and third. No amount of lubrication or working it would help. I finally gave up and replaced it.
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Old 01-25-12, 01:54 PM   #6
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Really nice work, Jeff! Definitely inspiration for those of us considering such a conversion/build.
Thanks for sharing!
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Old 01-25-12, 02:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffpepperdine View Post
About the same time I stumbled upon Sheldon's Competition Superbe. I decided I'd build myself a budget version of it.

Fast forward a few months. I stripped everything off the frame, and had a new Sturmey Archer SRF3 (that I conveniently got from the misses for christmas) laced to the existing rim.

The old decals were flaking badly. I did my best to reproduce them, although I opted for the Carlton script instead of the 'bubble letters'. I have a vinyl printer / cutter at work, so we printed out the decals. This was the first time I've done this and would do it again in a heartbeat.

I built it up over the weekend. Unfortunately its been pooring since, so my longest ride has been around the block.

The frame is a 1981 Nottingham built from raleigh 20-30 tubing. It's not the 531 tubing that apparently existed on some corsairs...
I like the end result. The one thing that I would not have changed about the bicycle would have been that I'd have kept the mudguards in place. Currently I have a similar project happening where I'll be converting my 1967 Carlton Super Race to a SRAM i-Motion 9 hub in the near future.
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Old 01-25-12, 03:06 PM   #8
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I bought a NOS '70s shifter that would hang up between 2nd and third. No amount of lubrication or working it would help. I finally gave up and replaced it.
Arg, slightly discouraging. I know you can buy the 80's plastic style new for $15, but I like the look of the solid steel so much more. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for another one.

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I like the end result. The one thing that I would not have changed about the bicycle would have been that I'd have kept the mudguards in place. Currently I have a similar project happening where I'll be converting my 1967 Carlton Super Race to a SRAM i-Motion 9 hub in the near future.
The fenders will mostly return to the bike, eventually. They are currently installed on the girlfriend's Peugot Mixte that she is using as a communter / cruiser. She's the one who's biking home at lunch to let the puppy out, so she gets priority. Haha.
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