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  1. #1
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    Fixing up a 1954 Raleigh Lenton Sports (lady's frame) for every day use

    This bike belongs to my mother. She bought it when she was 13 years old, in 1957, and used it until around 1995 when she bought a mountain bike. The Lenton then just deteriorated in the attic, until I asked my mum if i could fix it up for my wife to use. My wife hates her crappy, soul-less aluminium hybrid.

    The original wheels were 597 mm and the steel rims were rusted beyond repair. So I replaced the wheels with some low cost alloy 590 rims from here:

    http://www.laufrad.net/products/Lauf...ad-silber.html

    The rear wheel has a Velosteel coaster brake, like this:
    http://lovelybike.blogspot.de/2012/0...brake-hub.html

    I saved the original hubs, just in case I decide to true restoration is in order one day.

    The original Brookes saddle had disintegrated so, I borrowed a B66s from my Brompton.

    This is what it looked like at this stage in the refurb.:

    IMGP4717.jpgIMGP4710.jpg

  2. #2
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    Next...

    My wife decided she didn't like the drops, so I added a cheap Humpert chrome one-piece Dutch style handlebar/stem combo. I had to cut the stem down to get it low enough to be comfortable, but it's still not quite right, so the bars will be changed again soon. I wrapped the bars in plain white cotton tape, and twined it. but again, this method, whilst super cheap and nice looking, doesn't meet the spousal comfort requirements so she'll be getting Brooke narrow leather grips.

    The bike got a Tektro super long reach front brake, and an old aluminium mountain bike brake lever that I wire brushed the black finish from. The mudguards are original, with some replacement stays. The rear rack is quite a nice quality item that I took from the hybrid, the basket is a plain old black Basil one. Maybe a wicker basket would be better here? Or a front basket instead?

    Oh, and a new chain and pedals.

    here's how it looks now:

    IMG_5091.jpgIMG_5088.jpg

  3. #3
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    The bike rides beautifully. I love how stable and smooth it is, but it's also light and springy. It's a wonderful machine.
    What do you think? Any suggestions? I wanted to get it going for as little expense as possible to see if my wife liked it. She does, so now I'm happy to spend a bit more. Perhaps replace the rear hub with a new Sturmey archer 3 speed. It'll need a stand, and some suitable lights. Now I regret not getting a front hub-dynamo.

    I've got some new handlebars and stem coming, and also a beautiful Brooks B18 Lady saddle, which will be a 3rd (leather) wedding anniversary present.
    Duncan

  4. #4
    rhm
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    Looks great! Dynamo hubs and LED lights are excellent, I highly recommend them. And a good kickstand is always nice (though actually none of my bikes have them!).

    Really the only thing I can suggest is you send me the original handlebar....

  5. #5
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    Did you file the dropouts in order to fit the Velosteel hub?

    The saddle seems a bit tilted forward. Why a new Sturmey Archer hub? The originals spring back to life with a little bit of oil and some riding. Parts wise, AW hubs are easier to find parts for.

  6. #6
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    No, I didn't file the dropouts, I actually filed the threads on the Velosteel axle. Just enough to slide it in.

    I've no experience of servicing hub gears, but perhaps I'll try cleaning it up and lubing it and see if it works. I have built wheels before, but it's been a long time. Being lazier and richer now, my inclination is just to buy a new built-up wheel on a new hub, and know that I won't be wasting my time. But that does seem to be rather indulgent. Is there a guide somewhere online about how to service AW hubs? It's a 4 speed.

    Duncan

  7. #7
    rhm
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    Oh, the 4-speeds are excellent hubs. In the mid 60's they were replaced by a 5-speed which is basically the same hub (the four speed version uses one shifter; the five speed uses two). You can convert the 4-sp to a 5-sp.

    Standard 3 speed overhaul instructions here:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/sturmey-archer_3-spd.html

    Look around there for links that take you further into the process and less common models, such as what you have.

  8. #8
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Very nice! Welcome to BF.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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  9. #9
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    I could be wrong, but I don't believe there were too many of the ladies Lenton Sports made. This is the first time I have seen one here on the forums but, admittedly, I have not done an exhaustive search for them either. With that said, that is a very nice and unique bike. It's a highly desirable machine from my perspective.

    I would consider cleaning the old hub with some kerosene, putting it in through the oil port and then draining it out and then add oil once you've flushed the hub. I have a Sturmey FW 4-speed hub on my 1950 Norman Rapide and really like the hub a lot.

    BTW, don't pay rhm any mind: if you want to get rid of parts, don't send them to him. Send them to me, please!
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    Ridding the world of derailleurs, one bicycle at a time.

    46 Hercules Roadster, 49 Hercules Kestrel, 50 Norman Rapide, 51 Hercules Lion, 52 Hercules Windsor, 56 Hercules Royal Prince, 61 Fiorelli Tandem, 67 Carlton Super Race (IGH), 70 Schwinn Collegiate (IGH), 71 Hercules, 71 STF Hercules, 72 Peugeot PX-8 (IGH), 76 Raleigh Sports, 77 STF Raleigh Sports, 77 Jack Taylor Tandem, Early-80's Mike Appel SC, 84 Davidson Tandem, Late-80's Alpine, 10 Bilenky "BQ" Signature Tandem

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duncanreally View Post
    No, I didn't file the dropouts, I actually filed the threads on the Velosteel axle. Just enough to slide it in.

    I've no experience of servicing hub gears, but perhaps I'll try cleaning it up and lubing it and see if it works. I have built wheels before, but it's been a long time. Being lazier and richer now, my inclination is just to buy a new built-up wheel on a new hub, and know that I won't be wasting my time. But that does seem to be rather indulgent. Is there a guide somewhere online about how to service AW hubs? It's a 4 speed.

    Duncan
    A four speed hub? Look carefully at the hub shell to see if it's an FM or FW. In any case, is the indicator chain and rod intact, those are the bits hard to find, four speed shifters are easier to find. An FW can be converted to five speeds with the addition of certain obtainable parts.

    As far as servicing four speed hubs, the usual advice is to add a thin lubricant like ATF to flush out old gunked up oil and then replenish with something thicker, like SAE 30W oil. The hubs usually respond to this well, and apart from adjustment to the indicator chain, there really isn't much more that needs to be done.

    In any case Sheldon Brown has four speed overhaul instructions:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/sturmey-archer/fw.html

    http://sheldonbrown.com/sturmey-archer/fc.html

  11. #11
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    It's definitely 4-speed. I remember that it didn't work very well (I used to borrow the bike when I was a kid), but I don't think any attempt was made to maintain or adjust it. All the parts are there, including the shifter. I'll try de-greasing it and re-lubing it as suggested, and I'll report back on whether it's an FM or FW. The 5 speed conversion sounds interesting, but I don't think my wife would like having two shifters.
    Thanks for the useful links and the encouragement!

    One other issue is that the headset isn't very smooth. Can I replace it with a "normal" 1" headset?

    Duncan

  12. #12
    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duncanreally View Post
    One other issue is that the headset isn't very smooth. Can I replace it with a "normal" 1" headset?
    The threads are different (Raleigh used 26 tpi, "normal" is 24 tpi), so the threaded parts have to be replaced with a Raleigh headset. The races pressed into the frame and fork can be replaced with something else, but mixing new and old headset parts can be problematic to say the least. Overhauling the old one, and replacing the balls, may be all that's needed.

  13. #13
    old and fixed... clubman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duncanreally View Post

    This is what it looked like at this stage in the refurb.:

    IMGP4717.jpgIMGP4710.jpg
    You know, those may be the original bars after all. Here's the '51 catalogue. It also came with a 4 speed FM hub.
    Make sure you keep all the parts!


  14. #14
    Get off my lawn! Velognome's Avatar
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    I love it, the story and the bike!

    This is how guys think



    and how women think



    Either way, the bike is a beauty with a wonderful family history, and your mum......retires the Lenton at 51 and buys a mountian bike.....pretty hip mum ya got there! Hey, maybe it runs in the family and one of your children will someday be asking about putting Grandmum's Lenton on the road again! Great job and many Happy miles!

  15. #15
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    Yes, the hub is an FM model, year stamped '53. The frame number is 565903T, which I make 1954. My mum remembers getting the bike when she was 13.

    IMG_5099.jpg

    I'm sure that the alloy handlebars are original. They are an unusual shape, by modern standards, and the tube is too narrow to clamp into a modern stem. I'm afraid I'm hanging on to them, but thanks for the offers to give them a home!

    I love the picture from the 1951 catalogue. I'll send it to my mum, I think she'll enjoy it too.

    thank you for the advice about the headset. I'm glad I didn't just go tearing into it. I think it has this "indexed steering" described by Sheldon:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/headsets.html

    Perhaps this contributes to the remarkably stable feel when riding. I might try to get some grease in it, but I don't think I'll remove the races because putting them back will mess up the alignment of the "indexing" and might make it harder to ride. I'll see if I can find a Raleigh-compatible headset. are they available new?

    cheers
    Duncan

  16. #16
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    By the way, you might be wondering why I didn't go for 700c wheels. They would fit, even with the original mudguards (fenders). If you look at the saddle height, you can probably see why: the bike is only just low enough for my wife, and I didn't want to raise it all.
    D

  17. #17
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    On headsets: The only Raleigh-specific parts of the headset are the threaded bits, the pressed in parts, the cups and lower race are ISO dimensioned.

    As far as fit goes, one way of fitting involves placing the armpit on the saddle, and extending the seatpost until the tips of the fingers are touching the bottom bracket spindle. The fit between the saddle and the stem is roughly placed by placing the elbow on the nose of the saddle, and reaching the handlebar with the fingertips.

  18. #18
    Senior Member cbresciani's Avatar
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    That's really a nice looking bike, I'm sure your wife will enjoy it. plus it has some history with the family which makes it even better.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrecoi View Post
    As far as fit goes, one way of fitting involves placing the armpit on the saddle, and extending the seatpost until the tips of the fingers are touching the bottom bracket spindle. The fit between the saddle and the stem is roughly placed by placing the elbow on the nose of the saddle, and reaching the handlebar with the fingertips.
    That's a useful rule of thumb - is that for women specifically (women usually have longer legs and shorter arms)? Obviously the wheel size makes no difference to those measurements, but the height off the ground is nevertheless important, especially for less confident riders who want to be able to put a foot down easily.

    D
    Last edited by Duncanreally; 08-31-12 at 01:49 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duncanreally View Post
    That's a useful rule of thumb - is that for women specifically (women usually have longer legs and shorter arms)? Obviously the wheel size makes no difference to those measurements, but the height off the ground is nevertheless important, especially for less confident riders who want to be able to put a foot down easily.

    D
    We're talking step through frames here, a lot easier to straddle .


    The sizing rule of thumb, as rumor has it, it originated from the Italians, who needed a quick and dirty fitting of the spare bike when their main bike crashed during a race:

    http://clevercycles.com/blog/2006/07...sionumerology/

    The stem length comes from Dave Moulton:

    http://davesbikeblog.squarespace.com...of-fish-h.html

  21. #21
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    I soaked the hub in some premixed 2-stroke gasoline that I didn't need. Surprisingly little gunk came out, but it did a nice job of cleaning up the outside. After a bit of agitation in the gas, I could get it to free-wheel (it was locked up before). I drained it and flushed it a few times, then I set it up on the bench with the shifter. I added 10W-30 motor oil until it seeped out of the bearing cones, then I tried getting the gears by turning the sprocket by hand and noting how far the hub went for a full revolution of the sprocket. There are a few false neutrals, but all the gears work, and with the oil in it feels smooth. It's difficult to get the cable tension right on the bench, it will probably work better on the bike. So I think there is some hope for this hub.

    Now I need to find a 40 hole rim of a suitable size (probably 590mm). And a new sprocket. The original is 15T which seems really tall (the chainwheel is 46). My wife is currently running 19T as a single speed.

    Duncan

    IMG_5102.jpg

  22. #22
    rhm
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    Yes, since Sun CR18 rims in the 590 size are available in both 32h and 40h, they are your best option. But bear in mind that it is pretty easy to lace a 32h rim to a 40h hub. You need two different spoke sizes, but it's not complicated.

    And you're absolutely right about the 15t sprocket. Something like 20t would be much better.

    Incidentally, if you're not afraid of incongruous heretical modern equipment, it may be possible to use the bearings from a headset made for threadless forks. You'll keep your Raleigh top nut and, ideally, you'd want a locknut of some kind (this may be a challenge).

  23. #23
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    Two excellent ideas, thank you very much. Of course, if I miss out four holes on each side of the hub, then it's a 32 hole hub, albeit with irregular hole spacing. I haven't been able to get the Sun CR18 in 590 with 40 holes in Europe. This guy will ship to the EU, but there are always customs complications.

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Sun-CR-18-...ht_2140wt_1062

    but if I can use a 32h rim, which are much more common, that solves everything. I was feeling a bit despondent and thinking about just getting a built up 3 speed here:
    http://www.freemanscycles.co.uk/bicy...ear-wheel.html

    But now I'll look for a suitable 32 hole rim instead. So what is the optimum size? Perhaps 650B (584 mm iso) is a better choice than 590mm?

    cheers
    Duncan

  24. #24
    rhm
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    Optimal wheel size is mostly a matter of optimal tire availability. I hear there is an excellent selection of 590 tires in Japan, but here in the US there are fewer (and poorer) choices. Since you're in Germany, I have no idea what you can get there. So I'd suggest you go out and see what you can get, and go for the rim size for which the tire selection is better. If you go for 684, also check whether you can make the brakes reach the rim; or if you can get brakes that will.

    To figure out the spoke lengths, calculate the correct length for 32 spokes (call this X), then make a drawing of a hub flange with correct dimensions; draw in where the spoke heads would be with 40 spokes and where they would be with 32 spokes, then measure the difference. It will work out that 20 of them have to be about 2 mm shorter than X and the other 20 have to be about 4 mm longer than X. There will be a subtle difference between the right side and the left side, but not big enough to enter it into your calculations.

  25. #25
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    I haven't made much progress on the gears or the headset, but the bikes works OK as is, so its not urgent. I did however fit the new saddle and grips. In a quest to find the perfect riding position for my wife, I fitted an adjustable stem. I don't like how it looks but I can always replace it with fixed stem once I've got everything just how she likes. I do however LOVE how the upside down North Road bars look. They are Humpert Stuttgarter, if anyone's interested.
    Pictures here:

    http://flic.kr/p/d8AsFC

    click on the 1954 Lenton Sport set to see them all.

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