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  1. #76
    The Other White Meat BroMax's Avatar
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    http://www.broadwaybicycleschool.com/broadwaybike1.html

    This is the link I said I couldn't find earlier. This is a small shop that rebuilds 3-speeds using the old frame, so they're compatible with modern components. They also make their own new steel English-style bike.
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  2. #77
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Nice bike. The Master model is really nice.

    I wonder how many bike shops are out there making their own bikes? I run into them every now and then.

  3. #78
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    great-- I've seen that site before-- wish they shipped.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  4. #79
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    [QUOTE=Phantoj]I would like to disagree with everyone who has posted so far in this thread.


    1. There is no reason to revive the old 3-speed. If someone wants one, they can still be found, and a huge amount of effort/money is not required to obtain one.
    1. They are classic utility/touring bicycles, appropriate for average riders. Trek, Breezer and Jamis are rediscovering the timeless appeal of the old 3 speed, with modern materials and comfortable geometry. This also makes them ideal commuters.


    2. These bikes are not all that great. Here is a list of objections I have... mostly this is based on my experiences with an old Columbia that my mom has, perhaps the Raleigh is better:
    2. The Raleigh Superbe/Sports was built with steel. But they are not in the same class as mass department store bikes. As Sheldon Brown of Harris Cyclery wrote of them, "they were the finest utility bicycles money could buy." They are well built and can last a century or more with due care.

    A. They are heavy.
    The frame is heavy but the bike can be lightened by swapping the stock steel wheels for modern aluminum ones. That considerably improves the ride of an old 3 speed and the ultimate upgrade is to switch to either 700C or 559 MTB wheels for improved tire and tube selection.

    B. The internal hub is not as bombproof or maintenance-free as is commonly suggested.
    You do need to oil an old 3 speed hub from time to time. Modern Shimano Nexus and Sturmey Archer hubs offer greater speed selection and require no rider maintenance.

    C. The frame geometry is weird: short cockpit and short crank arms.
    This isn't a road biycle. The geometry is designed for an upright seating position that allows long commuting rides without tiring out the rider. Granted, it will never go as fast as a road bike but its not built for speed: a utility bike is meant to get a rider and whatever loads he is carrying from point A to point B reliably and safely.

    D. A lot of the components are real junk - brakes especially.
    Again, modern roller and drum brakes are now available that offer weather sealed reliable braking power and work much better than the old rim brakes did.


    Also, I strongly disagree with the notion that the reason more people aren't biking is because acceptable bikes for normal people are hard to find. Sensible bikes for normal folk ARE quite available; they just don't look exactly like English 3-speeds. And the primary reason more people don't ride bikes is because they are afraid of traffic.
    Today, new commuter bicycles exist that are inspired by the classic 3 speeds without their drawbacks. They offer the kind of transportation people who don't want to race or go off-road a lot want. So the utility bicycle is making a comeback and in much of the world, for people its the only form of transportation in daily life.

    I would much rather use a classic rigid MTB for a commuter than an English 3-speed. I'd also prefer a modern rigid MTB (Trek SU300) or a modern "commuter" bike over the classic Raleigh. Who wants to ride a 40-lb relic?
    My upgraded Raleigh Superbe is comfortable and fun to ride. It has a timelessness to it that makes one appreciate every day cycling. I ride a classic because I think well-made things from our past still deserve a place in our modern world.

  5. #80
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    [QUOTE=BroMax]http://www.broadwaybicycleschool.com/broadwaybike1.html

    This is the link I said I couldn't find earlier. This is a small shop that rebuilds 3-speeds using the old frame, so they're compatible with modern components. They also make their own new steel English-style bike.

    Sheldon Brown of Harris Cyclery rebuilt my 1968 Raleigh Superbe I picked up a couple of years ago on eBay with modern components, most notably 700C wheels with Mavic rims, a Sturmey Archer front drum brake and in the rear wheelset, a Shimano Nexus 7 speed hub mated with a Shimano Nexus rear drum brake. The bike also sports a hybrid rear rack. It also has a dyno commuter lighting system. The bike is both retro and modern at the same time.

  6. #81
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    Hi Mike-

    Quote Originally Posted by mike
    "...I still marvel at the efficiency of those old steel machines. It was not uncommon to average 19 to 22 mph on longer trips and even around 16 to 18 mph in the city when commuting. That is not much less than the averages I get on my modern road bike. All the while, your body is in a comfortable cruising position..."
    They're cool for commuting and running to the deli for a dozen bagels and coffee. I'm having a hard time comprehending the notion of a 35-pound bike with upright bars that could produce average speeds of 22 m.p.h. on longer trips.

    ~ Blue Jays ~

  7. #82
    DNPAIMFB pinkrobe's Avatar
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    All this talk of convenience and utility, and barely a mention of singlespeeds. I was also surprised to hear about average speeds of ~18 mph on 40# bikes with bolt-upright riding positions. No hills or wind on those rides, I presume.

    While I appreciate the nostalgia for older bikes, I have to agree with the few dissenting posters in this thread. If I want an efficient, bulletproof bike that requires little or no maintenance, I'll throw a leg over a Surly Steamroller or IRO Rob Roy with 36H wheels and 28C tires. I've had the misfortune to work on the old Sturmey-Archer hubs, and I'd much rather field-strip a Shimano freehub body any day. Durability doesn't have to require weight, and comfort doesn't require an upright position...
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  8. #83
    Senior Member thdave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkrobe
    All this talk of convenience and utility, and barely a mention of singlespeeds. I was also surprised to hear about average speeds of ~18 mph on 40# bikes with bolt-upright riding positions. No hills or wind on those rides, I presume.

    While I appreciate the nostalgia for older bikes, I have to agree with the few dissenting posters in this thread. If I want an efficient, bulletproof bike that requires little or no maintenance, I'll throw a leg over a Surly Steamroller or IRO Rob Roy with 36H wheels and 28C tires. I've had the misfortune to work on the old Sturmey-Archer hubs, and I'd much rather field-strip a Shimano freehub body any day. Durability doesn't have to require weight, and comfort doesn't require an upright position...
    I don't think the nostalgia is all about the bulletproof nature of these bikes, although it is part of it. The bigger deal, in my opinion, is that the bikes had utilitarian features that made it handy as a piece of transportation. People used it in place of a car and they still managed. I suspect in many households, they didn't have a car (or perhaps they had one) and they used a bike to do what they had to do. I remember my youth days (1970's) and that's what I did--I rode my bike everywhere. That was pretty darn cool. Yet a few years ago I was getting overweight and yet driving my car through a nice park area to get to work. Now I commute via bike and I'm much happier doing so. I love it that I can use my bike for shopping and errands, too. As such, I can't help but wish that this caught on, and I'm sure it would be helped by the promotion and sale of transportation/utility bikes--like the old style English 3-speeds.

    fyi-I'm having a hard time maiantaining 18 or 19 (I can keep 17 going pretty good) on flat, windless, straight sections with my commuter bike, but there are some beasts out there that can really push it.
    Cleveland, OH
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  9. #84
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkrobe
    I've had the misfortune to work on the old Sturmey-Archer hubs, and I'd much rather field-strip a Shimano freehub body any day.
    What credible problem caused you field strip a S-A hub other than curiosity or an obsessive compulsion to tinker and "dial-in" something that is already working? Most all will run without a drop of oil or any adjustment for decades, and another drop of oil should extend the life for a few more decades.

  10. #85
    Senior Member thdave's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=NormanF]
    Quote Originally Posted by BroMax
    http://www.broadwaybicycleschool.com/broadwaybike1.html




    Sheldon Brown of Harris Cyclery rebuilt my 1968 Raleigh Superbe I picked up a couple of years ago on eBay with modern components, most notably 700C wheels with Mavic rims, a Sturmey Archer front drum brake and in the rear wheelset, a Shimano Nexus 7 speed hub mated with a Shimano Nexus rear drum brake. The bike also sports a hybrid rear rack. It also has a dyno commuter lighting system. The bike is both retro and modern at the same time.
    That sounds like quite a bike!
    Cleveland, OH
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  11. #86
    CVB
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    What credible problem caused you field strip a S-A hub other than curiosity or an obsessive compulsion to tinker and "dial-in" something that is already working? Most all will run without a drop of oil or any adjustment for decades, and another drop of oil should extend the life for a few more decades.
    Amen. When I was more naive than I am now, I cracked open a 15-yr old S-A hum on the grounds that it was "old and dirty" and I thought it could benefit from a little cleaning and such, only to find that inside was beautifully clean, not worn, corroded, degraded, etc, at all. Thank heavens I was able to get it all back together right so it still worked.

    On later 3 speeds acquisitions that were 40+ years old, I knew better and simply dribbled in some really thin oil initially in case there was any gummed up old oil, then replaced it (after a few short rides) with 10W-40.

  12. #87
    Stooge thebankman's Avatar
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    Having test rode an Electra Amsterdam (great looking in blue), an Electra aluminum cruiser with balloon tires, and a Specialized Crossroads with my mom last weekend to get her back into cycling, she chose the Crossroads. She is of the ilk that remembers single speed coaster brake cruiser bikes, and was afraid of using the hand brakes. We tried the two cruisers and she thought the Amsterdam was more efficient and easier to pedal uphill (that was a good start, even for a newbie like her). But she was practically having a wreck each time she came to a full stop, as the coaster brakes left her in an awkward position while dismounting. She nearly immediately took to the Crossroads, a standard bike with normal gears and decent brakes, and after less than an hour of trial, she could use hand brakes for the first time with ease. However she couldn't use the gears very well, so I set it on the middle chainring and told her to switch between gears 3 and 6 on the rear. Basically the same as the 3-speed Nexus/Sturmey Archer hubs on the other two bikes....and when she gets a little better, I'll show her how to shift to the other gears

    The Amsterdam is a perfect bike for flat ground commuting.

  13. #88
    Elitest Murray Owner Mos6502's Avatar
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    I've used my 3 speeds more than any other bikes for general short trip, "utility" purposes. The trip from my house to the Denver library is about 15 miles, and I have indeed averaged speeds in the 20mph range over the trip there (which is mostly flat except for a couple of obnoxiously large hills just about two miles from my house). However, a strong headwind can easily knock your speed in half with that upright seating position, my worst time I think came out to only about 8mph... this included residual snow and a headwind that just wouldn't let up. (If I could have beaten the crap out of the wind that day, I would have.)

    Also Columbia geometry is weird. The bottom bracket is much higher than it is on most bikes, noticeably so, the really old ones also have unusually long cranks, so they just feel weird riding them.

    And honestly, I see nothing wrong with a 5 or 10 speed derailleur bike, although my preference goes to the 3 and 5 speeds where you only need one lever to control all your gears.

  14. #89
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Sheldon Brown's excellent podcast on the history of the English 3-speed, available from his Web site here: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/podcasts/

  15. #90
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkrobe
    I've had the misfortune to work on the old Sturmey-Archer hubs, and I'd much rather field-strip a Shimano freehub body any day. Durability doesn't have to require weight, and comfort doesn't require an upright position...
    I have cracked open many an SA hub mainly for a quick cleaning and in one case to replace a broken pawl spring. I don't consider it a major job. As far as a dérailleur drive train, talk about a PITA to keep indexing adjusted, cleaned and having to replace large chunks of the drive train on a regular basis due to wear...I have a Raleigh Sports that dates from the early 70's with something over 30,000 miles on it that other than regular oil in the hub and the occasional chain replacement is still running strong. No cog replacements, no chainwheel replacement, no hub teardown required. I used to be able to maintain 18-20 mph on flat ground with no problems...20 years ago now it is more like 16mph or so I am more interested in getting there not how fast I do it.

    We also need to keep in mind that when the Raleigh 3 speeds were produced the car was a very expensive luxury and not considered the necessity it is today.

    Aaron
    Last edited by wahoonc; 03-22-07 at 03:38 AM.
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    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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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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  16. #91
    bicyclist LandLuger's Avatar
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    About two years ago I got one of these brought over for my mother. She rides it constantly and raves everytime I come over to visit.



    The bicycle is amazing light despite the radical frame geometry, and the Nexus 3spd is about all the shifting action she could handle anyway. Utterly practical.

  17. #92
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LandLuger
    About two years ago I got one of these brought over for my mother. She rides it constantly and raves everytime I come over to visit.


    The bicycle is amazing light despite the radical frame geometry, and the Nexus 3spd is about all the shifting action she could handle anyway. Utterly practical.
    +1
    We have a Bria dealer within a couple of hours of us. I agree it is very practical for the shorter haul around town trips. In fact it would be the perfect bike for the town I live in. We really only have one real hill and it is at one end of town.

    Also Bria is not the only one that makes that particular frame style, I have seen in on Staiger and at least 2 other brands.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    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

  18. #93
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    The discussions here have me interested in an internal gear bike for utility & commuting. I've been looking for a while and finally came across on on CL.

    http://atlanta.craigslist.org/bik/298202265.html

    Does anyone know anything about Columbia 3 speeds? Is this a good price? Or is it just an old piece of junk? Is this considered an English 3 speed? I can't decide if I like the "ladies" style frame or not. The Breezers are now calling that style "step through", and I could see it being better for utility. My main concern is, is this a decent bike, and is it a good price?

  19. #94
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bemoore
    The discussions here have me interested in an internal gear bike for utility & commuting. I've been looking for a while and finally came across on on CL.

    http://atlanta.craigslist.org/bik/298202265.html

    Does anyone know anything about Columbia 3 speeds? Is this a good price? Or is it just an old piece of junk? Is this considered an English 3 speed? I can't decide if I like the "ladies" style frame or not. The Breezers are now calling that style "step through", and I could see it being better for utility. My main concern is, is this a decent bike, and is it a good price?
    Fair to decent price; personally I would not pay more than about $40 for that particular bike, but I am not in the market for it either. From the shifter that one has the Shimano 3speed hub. They are a bit hard to find parts for and if it is the CCC hub you may have terminal problems with it. The slightly older Columbia quite often came with the S-A hub.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    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

  20. #95
    Elitest Murray Owner Mos6502's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bemoore
    The discussions here have me interested in an internal gear bike for utility & commuting. I've been looking for a while and finally came across on on CL.

    http://atlanta.craigslist.org/bik/298202265.html

    Does anyone know anything about Columbia 3 speeds? Is this a good price? Or is it just an old piece of junk? Is this considered an English 3 speed? I can't decide if I like the "ladies" style frame or not. The Breezers are now calling that style "step through", and I could see it being better for utility. My main concern is, is this a decent bike, and is it a good price?

    Talk them down. That is a later model columbia, and it looks like it has got a Shimano hub (nothing wrong with shimano, they're quieter than the SA hubs - they're just not worth as much). I bought a similiar Columbia for $12 - (it had of course been left in the back yard and had a fair share of pitting on the chrome).
    The best Columbias were made prior to about 1975, after that their quality began to drop off, although they still remained a notch above Huffy. Make sure to check for "notchiness" in the steering bearings!

  21. #96
    DNPAIMFB pinkrobe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc
    I have cracked open many an SA hub mainly for a quick cleaning and in one case to replace a broken pawl spring. I don't consider it a major job. As far as a dérailleur drive train, talk about a PITA to keep indexing adjusted, cleaned and having to replace large chunks of the drive train on a regular basis due to wear...I have a Raleigh Sports that dates from the early 70's with something over 30,000 miles on it that other than regular oil in the hub and the occasional chain replacement is still running strong. No cog replacements, no chainwheel replacement, no hub teardown required. I used to be able to maintain 18-20 mph on flat ground with no problems...20 years ago now it is more like 16mph or so I am more interested in getting there not how fast I do it.

    We also need to keep in mind that when the Raleigh 3 speeds were produced the car was a very expensive luxury and not considered the necessity it is today.

    Aaron
    I guess I should have thrown in a "YMMV". Regardless, the S-A's that I worked on were rusty, nasty pieces o' crap. I'm just happy I don't work in a shop anymore...
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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    I do not miss the old 3 speed hubs at all, my 3 speed was breaking a link on the center pull chain about once a year, and it always flush with the hub or deep inside it, necessitating a hub tear down. I like the derailleur system for easier cable maintenance and added gear selection, even though the derailleurs are exposed to the elements and require more cleaning.

  23. #98
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn
    I do not miss the old 3 speed hubs at all, my 3 speed was breaking a link on the center pull chain about once a year, and it always flush with the hub or deep inside it, necessitating a hub tear down.
    Would it be safe to say that that bike was being dropped on its right side at least once a year? The fix should have been made by unscrewing the broken indicator chain with needle nose pliers and installing a 50 cent piece of plastic that any bicycle shop should have on hand designed to protect the indicator chain from drop damage.

    Pictured below is one on a Sachs Torpedo 3 speed of mine, it used to be on a Raleigh Sports with S-A 3 speed.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  24. #99
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    I found a Huffy 3-speed Shimano internal hub at a yard sale last year for $3, and gave my LBS $30 to tune it up. My thought was the easier maintenance for use in bad weather, and I just don't feel quite ready for fixed gear yet. No major problems so far, but I still enjoy my other bike better. I don't care for the swept bars and totally upright position, and I have to admit I prefer having a few more gears for the hills and headwinds. And yes, you do have to remember to start braking early in the rain. So an overhaul may be in its future. But, it's doing its job. The only maintenance I've had to do so far (after the LBS tuneup) is adjust the cable, which I was pleasantly surprised to discover I could do myself. But then, I only ride it only when bad weather dictates, which is somewhat < 50% of the time. (But on the third hand, it's almost always crappy weather when I do! )
    Quote Originally Posted by MadfiNch on Commuting forum
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!
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  25. #100
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkrobe
    I guess I should have thrown in a "YMMV". Regardless, the S-A's that I worked on were rusty, nasty pieces o' crap. I'm just happy I don't work in a shop anymore...
    Well that helps clarify that! All of my hubs are nice and shiny....under the coat of oil and gunk Helps keep them that way. I did have one SA that I thru in the trash whole, it had been on a bike that had laid on its side in the yard for what I would guess was several years, the hub was frozen solid and was a mass of rust. Not worth the effort on an AW, considering I have probably 1/2 dozen or so NOS.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    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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