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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 02-01-08, 09:41 PM   #451
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The really cheap department store bikes, or the Raleigh and the Schwinn?
Both...Schwinn is a name only with the name being held by Pacific Cycles. They have bikes made at plants in China (as does Raleigh). Problem is that they sell Schwinns at Target and WalMart but they are not the same Schwinns that are found on the current Schwinn website. And from what hands on experience I have had with them they are built using lower grade equipment and shoddy workmanship. BTW Pacific Cycles is actually a holding company, they manufacture nothing. They have it manufactured at whatever factory that is going to give them the best profit margin.

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Old 02-11-08, 06:16 PM   #452
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I got a chance to look at some department store cruisers over the weekend. With my weight on them, they look as though they'd fold when I hit the first bump. :-|
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Old 02-27-08, 01:42 AM   #453
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English 3 speed inspired .....ok its a Japanese 8 speed

I submit this is a worthy option. 8 sp, simple friction shifter so not a lot more maintainence than an internal hup (my opinion)

This can be done pretty easily, get a 70/80 road bike, put on a taller stem, different bar, simple mountain style brake levers, fenders, drop the front derailler (simplfy the lines)

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Old 02-27-08, 05:12 PM   #454
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Actually it was a neutral position so you could switch to the other cluster in the 4 and 5 speed hubs. With things properly adjusted it did not cause problems. With things not properly adjusted....

The consumer safety types most likely have made them not make newer hubs that way.
It was only the 5 speed hubs that had the other cluster, and this "feature" was there before those were introduced. I believe, actually, that all internal gear hubs will slip if maladjusted, but adjustment has been made more idiot-proof. I had eternal trouble adjusting my AW's til I read Sheldon's explanation "If it slips in 1st, you need to slacken off the tension, if it slips in second, you need to tighten it". It made perfect sense, and now I can dial in an AW hub in 30 seconds.
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Old 03-04-08, 05:06 PM   #455
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I have a Nishki 3 speed "American" shimano internal. A Raleigh Superbe, 3 speed along with my regular vintage Schwinn Paramount and a mountain bike. I have found they all have a use depending on where I'm riding. Bought all my 3 speeds at yard sales. Didn't pay more than $30 bucks. Well worth the price.
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Old 05-18-08, 04:25 AM   #456
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When your speed drops to 3-4 mph it is just as quick and takes a lot less energy to get off and push.

As I mentioned in another thread, the bikes were not used by athletes but by everyday Joes, and Jills, for transportation. The object was not to get there as quickly as possible or to get a lot of exercise, but to get there with as little exertion as possible and preferably without getting all sweaty in the process. Typically the bikes were designed and geared to be pedaled in the 30-60 rpm range, not the 100-200 range that modern sport riders expect, or even the 60-120 range I preferred as a commuter.

As a kid in Detroit I had my bike geared 44/16 (correction 46/16) (the LBS did not have a 14 tooth cog) and locked into high; the only place I had to get off and push were the expressway overpasses. I could not do that today (actually 15 years ago before disability), but then I weigh a bit more than I did back then too hauling an extra 100 lbs or so seems to make quite a difference.

I remember my bible back then was a book published in England for enthusiasts about 1950. It had a lot of interesting stuff in it. For instance it recommended using an odd and and even numbered sprocket claiming that they chain would last longer. Another recommendation was using paraffin wax melted on the stove with the chain immersed in it as a chain lubricant and swapping two chains freshly cleaned and lubed weekly. How many of us think twice about having to buy a new chain? I wish I could remember the name of that book I would try to find a copy.


I think I had a book in that same series, a later edition perhaps. When I got into bikes and bike racing shortly after 1960 there was no good serious bike material available in the USA, so i imported some books from England. I also subscribed to the English magazine called "Cycling and Mopeds". they advertised and maybe published the little books - booklets actually - that i bought.
Up until a few years ago I still had one of them, the bike repair booklet - and yes, parafin baths were what they said to do with chains.
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Old 05-18-08, 04:34 AM   #457
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English 3 speed inspired .....ok its a Japanese 8 speed

I submit this is a worthy option. 8 sp, simple friction shifter so not a lot more maintainence than an internal hup (my opinion)

This can be done pretty easily, get a 70/80 road bike, put on a taller stem, different bar, simple mountain style brake levers, fenders, drop the front derailler (simplfy the lines)



Rear derailleur only is my favorite design. I still think that the shift lever should be on the downtube where it belongs, though.
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Old 05-18-08, 07:47 AM   #458
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I think I had a book in that same series, a later edition perhaps. When I got into bikes and bike racing shortly after 1960 there was no good serious bike material available in the USA, so i imported some books from England. I also subscribed to the English magazine called "Cycling and Mopeds". they advertised and maybe published the little books - booklets actually - that i bought.
Up until a few years ago I still had one of them, the bike repair booklet - and yes, parafin baths were what they said to do with chains.
I used that method on my training bikes in the mid 70's. Don't recall when I stopped doing it, probably when I quit racing around 1980 or so. Still a great low tech/cost method.

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Old 05-18-08, 08:13 AM   #459
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My problem, though, was that I could never figure out what they were talking about when they said paraffin in those old English books. I interpreted it to mean melted wax, so that's what I did, removed the chain and swished it around in melted wax. It worked well enough and road gunk did not tend to accumulate on the chain, but it was much too labor intensive, and not so good for the chain either, I think, unbolting and rebolting it like that, and then there seems to be the awkward fact that paraffin means kerosene in the primitive patois of the British cannibal islands, so who knows what the poor blighters were actually trying to say. I think it might mean mineral oil, too. At any rate, I long since switched to schpritzing the chain with something or other and then wiping it off with a rag.

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Old 05-18-08, 12:18 PM   #460
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English 3 speed inspired .....ok its a Japanese 8 speed

I submit this is a worthy option. 8 sp, simple friction shifter so not a lot more maintainence than an internal hup (my opinion)

This can be done pretty easily, get a 70/80 road bike, put on a taller stem, different bar, simple mountain style brake levers, fenders, drop the front derailler (simplfy the lines)

Actually, you need to vette you frame candidates carefully and look for an '80s touring bike. Most road frames in the '80s lacked rack and fender eylets, but touring bikes had them.
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Old 05-20-08, 07:25 PM   #461
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My problem, though, was that I could never figure out what they were talking about when they said paraffin in those old English books. I interpreted it to mean melted wax, so that's what I did, removed the chain and swished it around in melted wax. It worked well enough and road gunk did not tend to accumulate on the chain, but it was much too labor intensive, and not so good for the chain either, I think, unbolting and rebolting it like that, and then there seems to be the awkward fact that paraffin means kerosene in the primitive patois of the British cannibal islands, so who knows what the poor blighters were actually trying to say. I think it might mean mineral oil, too. At any rate, I long since switched to schpritzing the chain with something or other and then wiping it off with a rag.
I do believe paraffin is the wax, I think paraphine is what they call kerosene over there. Also since the book I was talking about mentioned melting it in a can on the stove, I think we can dispense with with the idea they were talking about kerosene.

I also recall that the book had a lot about the old British style touring in it. Of course I was all of ten back then and may be misremembering.

Did I mention that I LOVE old three speed bikes?
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Old 05-21-08, 08:18 PM   #462
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So what would make a good donor frame for a modern 3-speed?

After tonight's experience with my Blackburn light, I am liking the utility aspect of a good, old school 3 speed with a front dynamo hub and generator light.

Currently have my Bianchi Advantage that I had thought of making a modern 3-speed, but it lacks a lot of the easy attachment points for fenders and things.

Maybe a touring frame?

(I know, I know-I should just find an old school 3 speed and use that. I already have the hub to use for the Bianchi, but if a better frame could be found, great. )
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Old 05-21-08, 09:49 PM   #463
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While not utterly necessary, horizontal dropouts make it easier.
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Old 05-21-08, 09:50 PM   #464
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So what would make a good donor frame for a modern 3-speed?

After tonight's experience with my Blackburn light, I am liking the utility aspect of a good, old school 3 speed with a front dynamo hub and generator light.

Currently have my Bianchi Advantage that I had thought of making a modern 3-speed, but it lacks a lot of the easy attachment points for fenders and things.

Maybe a touring frame?

(I know, I know-I should just find an old school 3 speed and use that. I already have the hub to use for the Bianchi, but if a better frame could be found, great. )
Why not just look for an old school 3 speed? They not expensive at all.

Check out these E-bay auctions:

170220298107

200225134253

300226584349

Heck, scrounge around you local thrift stores, craiglist, "thrifty-nickel"/Greensheet newspaper and you might even cop a free or nearly free one!
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Old 05-22-08, 03:39 AM   #465
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So what would make a good donor frame for a modern 3-speed?

After tonight's experience with my Blackburn light, I am liking the utility aspect of a good, old school 3 speed with a front dynamo hub and generator light.

Currently have my Bianchi Advantage that I had thought of making a modern 3-speed, but it lacks a lot of the easy attachment points for fenders and things.

Maybe a touring frame?

(I know, I know-I should just find an old school 3 speed and use that. I already have the hub to use for the Bianchi, but if a better frame could be found, great. )
Any of the older steel "touring" geometry frames from the 70's. I have a mid 70's Dawes Galaxy that is about perfect. I have a mid 70's Motobecane Nomade (near the bottom of the line) that the geometry isn't quite as good as the Dawe's but will still make a decent conversion. BUT be forewarned; that particular era of French bike has strange threading and many parts ARE NOT common anymore. YMMV. Also any of the early MTB's with horizontal rear drop outs are candidates.

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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 05-22-08, 11:22 AM   #466
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So why horizontal dropouts for a 3-speed project? I checked out Peter White Cycles for more info on the generator lights and like the fork mounted lighting options.

I would love to get a true 3 speed, but I already have a hub sitting here to be used (Thanks, Aaron). If I do decide to go the 2nd bike option, that leaves my Bianchi as a utility bike. Would love the redundancy of having two bikes that can swap tubes and tires if I get a worthy 700c candidate.
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Old 05-22-08, 12:13 PM   #467
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So why horizontal dropouts for a 3-speed project? I checked out Peter White Cycles for more info on the generator lights and like the fork mounted lighting options.

I would love to get a true 3 speed, but I already have a hub sitting here to be used (Thanks, Aaron). If I do decide to go the 2nd bike option, that leaves my Bianchi as a utility bike. Would love the redundancy of having two bikes that can swap tubes and tires if I get a worthy 700c candidate.
If you are using a single cog rear wheel, you need to be able to move the wheel rearwards to tension the drive chain. Or you need to use a separate chain tensioner, on a multi speed rear free wheel bike the dérailleur acts as the tensioner.

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ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
_Nicodemus

"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
_krazygluon
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Old 05-22-08, 12:23 PM   #468
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Thanks, I am learning.

I'm debating letting the mechanic just work the magic with my current bike or spend the summer learning and slowly building one up myself.
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Old 05-22-08, 03:43 PM   #469
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Thanks, I am learning.

I'm debating letting the mechanic just work the magic with my current bike or spend the summer learning and slowly building one up myself.
No problem...we all had to learn at some point

Maybe see if they will let you "help"? At the very least you would pick up some of the basic skills.

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"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 05-22-08, 07:13 PM   #470
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Well we have a great co-op here that has helped me in the past. I had brake issues from installing my rack and took it to them. They did the main part, which was readjusting and tightening the cable but had me do the pad adjustments. Came in handy when I lost a shoe about 3-4 days latter.

Since my severance check in June will be a bonus check instead, I had planned on using some of that for the work on the bike. I may just catch a Nashbar sale for a decent tool set and volunteer with the co-op to learn the skills and have a nice summer project.
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Old 05-24-08, 05:50 PM   #471
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I really should stop reading through Bike Forums. I have some really screwed up ideas on a pseudo-english 3 speed city bike project that might just work.
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Old 05-24-08, 08:50 PM   #472
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I really should stop reading through Bike Forums. I have some really screwed up ideas on a pseudo-english 3 speed city bike project that might just work.
Care to share
We can help you spend your hard earned money

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ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 05-24-08, 09:40 PM   #473
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Well I love the idea of of an old school (or close to it) 3-speed/IGH bicycle for the practicality and utility. I also love a lot of the ideas on bikes from Europe in general since so much of the market there is geared towards a bike as viable transit. So with that in mind, the screwed up little project in my head would be something like:

Using a Mixte frame (kind of an old school throw back to the new step-through bikes that are coming stateside), converting it to a 650b wheel set (not hard considering the French mixtes out there) and an IGH (either 3-speed or something more modern like a 5 or 7). Now to be really adventurous, see about using an IGH set up for disc brakes to avoid some issues with 650b and make a more reliable bike. Throw in a front dynohub and 1-2 (modern) generator lights, Wald front basket and a really awesome rack produced here locally.

What can I say, I want a unique ride. I know I could probably just buy something pretty darn close. I would just love to see the looks to be honest. For me it would be the challenge of designing the thing, scrounging the parts and getting it together.
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Old 05-24-08, 09:46 PM   #474
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I was working on my '48 Rudge at the shop today... I needed to adjust the rod v brakes and install a new filler cap in the hub and once that was done let some friends take it out for rides.



A few people now "need" a bike like this for their very own.
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Old 05-24-08, 11:20 PM   #475
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I was working on my '48 Rudge at the shop today... I needed to adjust the rod v brakes and install a new filler cap in the hub and once that was done let some friends take it out for rides.



A few people now "need" a bike like this for their very own.
Strange how they have that effect isn't it

Reminds me, - my own Rudge needs a service
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