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Old 08-19-12, 04:00 PM   #1
antiqueguy
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Birmingham Small Arms Company bicycle . Need info please.

I recently bought an antique Birmingham Small Arms Company bicycle from a local bike store. I would like to figure out what year it is from, and what parts are missing. This bike rides great but it would be cool to get it back to original. The number stamped on the frame close to the rear wheel is E32170 . It is an old 3 speed. The trigger is really cool. If I had to guess I would say the bike comes from 1930-1950. Is there any place that sells vintage replacement parts? And info or help would be great. Here is a photo link. http://hullofsorrow.deviantart.com/#/d5bt7t8

Thanks,

-Tom
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Old 08-19-12, 04:12 PM   #2
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Pic assist.

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Old 08-19-12, 04:27 PM   #3
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Tom,

More photos, and close ups would be very helpful. Obviously some parts have been changed over the years- that sadle certainly isn't correct, but on first glance ( I have not searched the frame number yet ) it would appear to be late 30's, to very early 40's. The shifter is a pretty good clue on that. Have you cleaned the rear hub? Any numbers visible ?

Joe
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Old 08-19-12, 04:37 PM   #4
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That style of handlebar --it is upside down on yours-- is called a Lauterwasser bar; or is something similar to a Lauterwasser; and as Joe says it's characteristic of the 30's. The shifter mounted to the top tube is called a quadrant shifter and is also characteristic of the 30's (though they were put on new bikes until supplies ran out sometime in the 40's). It really looks pretty good to me; overhaul it, put a decent narrow leather saddle on it and maybe some white plastic fenders, and you should have a real classic.

There should be some interesting markings on the rear hub; Sturmey Archer, AW-8 or something like that... go easy on it! I'm looking forward to more photos.
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Old 08-19-12, 04:40 PM   #5
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It looks like the handle bars are upside down and backwards. Those look like some form of Lauterwaser bars, should have the grips down like a drop bar.

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Old 08-19-12, 06:25 PM   #6
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Pic assist.

Thanks for the assist.
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Old 08-19-12, 06:30 PM   #7
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The number E32170 is stamped on the frame near the rear hub. The hub itself only says "BSA Three Speed" The grips on the bars say Schwinn so I am wondering if the bars are original or just the grips have been changed.
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Old 08-19-12, 06:32 PM   #8
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That style of handlebar --it is upside down on yours-- is called a Lauterwasser bar; or is something similar to a Lauterwasser; and as Joe says it's characteristic of the 30's. The shifter mounted to the top tube is called a quadrant shifter and is also characteristic of the 30's (though they were put on new bikes until supplies ran out sometime in the 40's). It really looks pretty good to me; overhaul it, put a decent narrow leather saddle on it and maybe some white plastic fenders, and you should have a real classic.

There should be some interesting markings on the rear hub; Sturmey Archer, AW-8 or something like that... go easy on it! I'm looking forward to more photos.
Do you know were I could buy some of that stuff? What oil does this hub take. This setup functions more like a car with a clutch then a bike.
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Old 08-19-12, 07:11 PM   #9
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White plastic fenders, sadly, are really hard to find. Ideally you want Bluemels (that's the brand) featherweights (they're a yellowed celluloid, and period correct) or Club Specials (white plastic, a bit later, but pretty close) or Lightweights (similar but wider); and, sadly, just about the only place to find them is on Ebay, where they won't be cheap. They haven't been made in years; and they're fragile when it's cold.

I don't know how to put a date on a BSA hub but no worries. It's almost certainly from the 30's and the hub is in all likelihood a pretty close copy of whatever Sturmey Archer was producing at the time. Give us some more photos, especially of the shifter and the chain where the cable attaches to the hub. My guess is that your hub is a copy of the AW model hub, introduced in 1936, but an earlier model K is possible. I'm guessing without any data to support my guesses.

The stem on your bike actually does look like a Schwinn stem, but the handlebar is probably not. Schwinn grips just mean it's a 7/8" diameter bar, which is what I'd expect anyway. Whatever it is, that handlebar is about as cool as they come, and is probably worth whatever you paid for the bike. Are they really Schwinn grips, not Schwinn Approved? If so, then they, too, are worth something. Handle with care!

For oil and other three speed tips, I suggest you put some pictures of your bike and all your questions in the thread called "for the love of the English 3-speed." Everyone who follows that thread will drool over that bike and will offer opinions about what's the best oil; basically any light machine oil will do, but avoid a shellac-based oil like 3-in-1. Some member swear by ATF... but I don't think it matters. Give your hub some oil, worry about the details later. In fact, you should rub oil all over that bike, as a first step.
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Old 08-19-12, 07:36 PM   #10
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Welcome to the forum! Are you planning on selling the bike and keeping it? Here's a source for pictures of simular vintage British steel you might find interesting

http://www.flickriver.com/groups/138...l/interesting/

Enjoy!
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Old 08-19-12, 07:37 PM   #11
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Welcome to the forum! Here's a source for pictures of simular vintage British steel you might find interesting

http://www.flickriver.com/groups/138...l/interesting/

Enjoy!
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Old 08-25-12, 11:07 AM   #12
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Welcome to the forum! Are you planning on selling the bike and keeping it? Here's a source for pictures of simular vintage British steel you might find interesting

http://www.flickriver.com/groups/138...l/interesting/

Enjoy!
Thanks much for the photo resource. I used it this morning while fixing the handle bars. More detailed pics coming soon. I plan to keep the bike unless I get an offer I can't refuse.
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