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  1. #1
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    Converting an old Phillips 3-speed - suggestions?

    Hi, folks.
    I'm enjoying my Raleigh One-Way very much, and I have several old 3-speeds from my time in grad school in Massachusetts (my favorites are a 1937 Phillips City Model & two 1965 Raleigh Sports). One was my daily commuter in MA, a black 1973 Phillips, which suffered damage (bent crank) in a run-in with a car here in San Diego who turned left illegally.

    Anyway, the Phillips is a beautiful frame - steel, lugged, nice paint. I wanted to convert it to a singlespeed/fixed with modern wheels, new Brooks saddle, front brake caliper (remove the rear), new stem & handlebars (Soma sparrow?)and maybe a flip-flop hub in the rear. I'd remove the fenders and chain guard and achieve a nice clean look. This would be my first conversion.

    I was also thinking of buying an new old stock Sturmey Archer hub from Harris Cyclery and having them build a wheel around it to keep with its 3-speed British heritage. I want to have fast, light wheels - like on my Raleigh One-Way road bike. Can I use 700c wheels? Any opinions or things I should consider?

  2. #2
    如果你能讀了這個你講中文 genericbikedude's Avatar
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    You'll throw the geo off with 700C wheels, and have trouble getting brakes to work. Those bikes are heavy as sin, but my be a bit better with modern aluminum rims. Those frames are perfect for three-speed hubs, but probably not worth the cost of the new wheels. You need/want gears with a bike that heavy, and heavy fixed bikes make very little sense to me.

    If you really like it and want to ride it a lot, lace new rims to a OLDER shimano 3-speed hub (better than sturmey, sorry to say). For the front, use a modern hub. Swap out the seatpost and bars with lighter materials, and swap out the cottered cranks and BB to a more modern version. This is more money and trouble than it is worth, but if you really like the frame, and want it to be nice-riding, this is what I'd do.

  3. #3
    spinspinspinspin fatbat's Avatar
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    700c wheels work fine with the geo of these bikes. The front fork may not easily take a modern hub- some of the older ones were built for a smaller width hubs with a narrower diameter axle- try putting some random road or mtb wheel in the front to see if they fit. You can try bending out the fork blades + grinding away the drop outs, or put a new front fork and headset on there. If you can fit the wheel in, then either a normal road caliper or a long-reach road caliper should work & give you much better braking than the old setup.

    Sheldon has a whole page on converting/working on these bikes- might want to check if he has any insight regarding your particular bike.
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  4. #4
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genericbikedude
    You'll throw the geo off with 700C wheels, and have trouble getting brakes to work. Those bikes are heavy as sin, but my be a bit better with modern aluminum rims. Those frames are perfect for three-speed hubs, but probably not worth the cost of the new wheels. You need/want gears with a bike that heavy, and heavy fixed bikes make very little sense to me.

    If you really like it and want to ride it a lot, lace new rims to a OLDER shimano 3-speed hub (better than sturmey, sorry to say). For the front, use a modern hub. Swap out the seatpost and bars with lighter materials, and swap out the cottered cranks and BB to a more modern version. This is more money and trouble than it is worth, but if you really like the frame, and want it to be nice-riding, this is what I'd do.
    I'm afraid I must disagree with most of the above.

    622 mm (700c) wheels work fine in these frames, though you'll need shorter-reach brake calipers.

    They're a LOT better with aluminum, sorry, aluminiumiminum rims.

    Older Shimano 3-speeds are notoriously fragile and unreliable, though they are nice enough when they work. See: http://sheldonbrown.com/333

    This frame was actually made by Raleigh, to Raleigh standards, so there are a number of interchangeability issues. I discuss these in detail at: http://sheldonbrown.com/raleigh26

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  5. #5
    NJS my life! roughrider504's Avatar
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    Three speed frames work good as conversions. They were built to be reliable with their three speed hubs, and with fixed gear they are even more reliable. I'd say keep the fenders though.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the ideas

    You all have given great advice - special thanks to Sheldon, whose site I've visited regularly for about 10 years!

    I think I'll call up Harris Cyclery and have a wheel built around a NOS Sturmey Archer hub. The fact that these hubs still work great on my current fleet of 3speeds (ranging in age from 40-70 years old) gives me some faith. I already have the singlespeed/fixie with the new One-Way, but I can rebuild the phillips in the style of a fixie - light, spare - but with the three-speed hub (which keeps the chainline straight).

    What do you folks think about this - the black phillips with a black Brooks saddle with new silver components. Fenders off for later - new brake, Soma sparrow bars, new crank & chainwheel, fenders and chainguard off but kept safe for a rainy day. I'll call Harris later this week and make an order!

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