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  1. #1
    Junior Member colorful's Avatar
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    Raleigh conversion. Is it possible?

    My friend has abandoned his Raleigh cruiser at my house and I want to convert it into a single speed. I am not sure what model it is, but I can describe the bike. It is forest green, has cruiser handle bars, internal 3 speed hub, splash guards and no water bottle cage mount. The frame is road bike, and not that funny cruiser shape.

    I am in the process of stripping off all the components right now because he did a horrible job of spray painting it before it was abandoned and will hit it with some paint remover later today. I plan on replacing the tires, bracket, and seat.

    My question is, if this is worth the trouble for the single speed that will result?

  2. #2
    A guy who rides bikes Aaron_F's Avatar
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    If you enjoy working on bikes and doing projects, it's definitely worth the trouble. What else are you going to do all winter?

  3. #3
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    Removing the shifter will leave you with a ss bike, but why not keep the 3-speed hub?
    Quote Originally Posted by Santaria View Post
    because physics has more street cred than tarckstars.

  4. #4
    Senior Member not_jason's Avatar
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    From your description, this sounds like a typical old 3 speed. Like ianjk said, disconnecting the shifter will leave you with a single-speed, but that's less than ideal. Here's why: If you disconnect the shifter, the hub will default to 3rd gear. For me, at least, 3rd gear is a bit too stiff for general all-purpose riding. If you found a way to rig it for 2nd gear, you'd have a direct gear that would probably work well, but given the difficulty of that, I'd just say to leave the shifter hooked up. Old 3-speeds are cool, in my opinion.

    If you did convert it to a single-speed, the method I'd suggest is to leave the 3-speed hub intact and instead replace the back wheel entirely. If you got a wheel from an old 10 speed, you could put on a single-speed freewheel, respace the axle, and get it redished. The only difficulty with that is that since this is a 3-speed, it probably uses 26 3/8" tires, which aren't the standard for 10-speeds. However, there were a LOT of cheap department store 10 speeds made in the 80s with 26 3/8" wheels, so if you keep your eye out, you could probably snag one.

  5. #5
    Junior Member colorful's Avatar
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    My intentions are to replace the wheel set with a flip flop hub and turn this into a commuter (beater) bike. I was planning on buying a Kilo TT for this but converting the bike provides me with more satisfaction.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Chicagoan's Avatar
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    DOes it have those wierd 70's road bike 26's or does it have 27's?
    Franklin

  7. #7
    Junior Member colorful's Avatar
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    Not sure, but I think they are 27". I have a 70's Schwinn Super Sport with 26" rims and these looks bigger, and fatter.

  8. #8
    Junior Member colorful's Avatar
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    I lied, its a Raleigh Superbe so it comes with 26".

  9. #9
    Senior Member not_jason's Avatar
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    I knew it. I'm not sure that I've ever personally seen a 3 speed with 27" wheels. I've tried putting 27" wheels on a 3 speed before, and it did not work. And even though 700 is smaller than 27", it isn't by very much. Even if it fit, you'd still have a whole lot of issues making the brakes work. Instead, I suggested what I suggested to begin with:

    1. keep your eyes open for crappy department store 10-speeds from the 70s or 80s
    2. find one that uses 26" wheels. the first time I encountered a 10 speed with 26" wheels, I was shocked, but since then, I've owned maybe like 6 of them. They are plentiful.
    3. take the back wheel off the ten speed.
    4. since 26" ten speed road bikes were the lowest quality road bikes ever made, just strip the frame for anything useful and throw it away.
    5. redish and respace that wheel, throw on a bmx freewheel, and you're good.

  10. #10
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorful View Post
    My friend has abandoned his Raleigh cruiser at my house and I want to convert it into a single speed. I am not sure what model it is, but I can describe the bike. It is forest green, has cruiser handle bars, internal 3 speed hub, splash guards and no water bottle cage mount. The frame is road bike, and not that funny cruiser shape.

    I am in the process of stripping off all the components right now because he did a horrible job of spray painting it before it was abandoned and will hit it with some paint remover later today. I plan on replacing the tires, bracket, and seat.

    My question is, if this is worth the trouble for the single speed that will result?

    It's probably a Ltd-3 or Sports. Wheels are probably steel.

    You might want to strip it down to bare metal and repaint it. You could replace the wheels with a singlespeed, maybe with a coaster brake and ditch the brakes. The wheels are most likely steel and as such will be heavy. If you do replace the wheels, you can find Weinmann or Sun rims in the same size(650A).

    Go over to the Classic and Vintage forum. There are a lot of threads on English 3-speeds.

    I had a Raleigh Ltd-3 and stripped and repainted the bike, bought new alloy wheels and had it running as well as it ever did. But since I had a garage full of bikes (still do) I sold it to a coworker. The wider tires made it perfect for cruising around town and bouncing off curbs but the bike was no speed demon.

    I don't recommend putting a lot of money into it, though. I sold the bike at a loss.

  11. #11
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorful View Post
    I lied, its a Raleigh Superbe so it comes with 26".
    The Superbe was Raleigh's top of the line 3-speed back in the day. It came with matching fenders and rack, lights, sprung Brooks B66 saddle, and a front Dynohub generator.

    If it's in good condition it's too nice a bike to convert, especially considering all the Raleigh idiosyncrasies you'd have to work around: weird 26tpi BB and steer tube threading, 26" wheel clearances, cottered cranks, Whitworth fasteners, etc.

    You could probably sell it for enough to fund a decent real SS/FG bike. A Superbe in mint condition went for over $450 on eBay a little while ago. People pay big bucks for the fasteners with the red "R" logo on them.

  12. #12
    Junior Member colorful's Avatar
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    Maybe it is not a Suberbe, how can I tell?

    I was able to date the bike with the gear hub to 1966 and it was made by AW.

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