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WHAT YEAR IS MY HERCULES TOURIST w/HERCUMATIC SHIFTER & HERCULES HUB?

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WHAT YEAR IS MY HERCULES TOURIST w/HERCUMATIC SHIFTER & HERCULES HUB?

Old 11-04-14, 09:01 PM
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miamibeachcg
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WHAT YEAR IS MY HERCULES TOURIST w/HERCUMATIC SHIFTER & HERCULES HUB?

Can anyone tell me the age of a Hercules Tourist I picked up last week? I read that the date should be on the hub, but the only number on mine is a 5.
On the hub is stamped:

B Type 5
MANUFACTURED BY
HERCULES CYCLE & MOTORCAR
BIRMINGHAM
ENGLAND


Another unusual thing is the Hercumatic shifter - it has a High, Low & a Neutral! What is a neutral for on a bicycle?
I read something about pre Raleigh - is this one of those?
Any information on this bike - especially it's age - would be greatly appreciated.









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Old 11-04-14, 09:36 PM
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I think n is normal ie no gearing effect on the internal hub, just a straight through.
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Old 11-04-14, 11:21 PM
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For what purpose; coasting downhill?
Any idea on my bike's age?
Thanks!
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Old 11-05-14, 05:19 AM
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You probably won't find a date code on the hub and Type 5 is a model designation, I believe.

Your shifter is a normal three speed - low, normal and high gears.



I also made the mistake of thinking that the N stood for neutral. Nope, just normal pedaling ease, if there is such a thing.

Other than that, can't offer too much more help. The bike is nice and it will be fun to ride. Though I prefer vintage racing bicycles, I do wish that I had not sold this old Step Through. What a great city bike - unless ridden in the rain. Lots of go, but not much slow, in the wet...

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Old 11-05-14, 08:19 PM
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When I put it in 'N' the pedals turn freely - it is not in a gear! Is mine in need of repair before selling?
Does anyone have a guesstimate of when Hercules made their nikes with both the Hercumatic shifter & the Hercules hub, so I can list the age when I sell it?
Thanks
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Old 11-05-14, 10:36 PM
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Probably just needs adjustment
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Old 11-07-14, 07:51 AM
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Thank you! Can anyone give me an idea what year this bicycle is? 1950's?
I appreciate any help - I can't find the age searching myself.
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Old 11-07-14, 11:46 AM
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Probably 1950's, but I'm far from being an expert. If you haven't already done so, try posting it at oldroads.com. People there will help you.
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Old 11-11-14, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by miamibeachcg View Post
Can anyone tell me the age of a Hercules Tourist I picked up last week? I read that the date should be on the hub, but the only number on mine is a 5.
On the hub is stamped:

B Type 5
...
@photogravity should confirm or reject this, but I believe B is the decade, 5 is the year. So this is a 1955 hub.
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Old 11-11-14, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Originally Posted by miamibeachcg View Post
Can anyone tell me the age of a Hercules Tourist I picked up last week? I read that the date should be on the hub, but the only number on mine is a 5.
On the hub is stamped:

B Type 5
...
@photogravity should confirm or reject this, but I believe B is the decade, 5 is the year. So this is a 1955 hub.
Yep, B type 5 would be 1955. The internals are pretty much identical to a SA hub, though the clutch is a bit beefier than the SA hubs.
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Old 11-11-14, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by miamibeachcg View Post
I read something about pre Raleigh - is this one of those?
Any information on this bike - especially it's age - would be greatly appreciated.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether or not a Hercules is pre-Raleigh is to look at the dropouts. If it is pre-Raleigh, as in the first picture below, the fender stay attaches above the axle. If, however, it is Raleigh production the fender stay attaches behind the axle as in the second picture below.

The Hercules Tourist was a very common model and very similar to a Raleigh Sports. They aren't particularly rare or special, but were a decent alternative to Raleigh.


Hercules Lion Dropout and Right Side Nut - 2 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr


1968 Raleigh Sports dropout by ateichman, on Flickr
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Old 11-13-14, 02:12 AM
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Thank you! - It is definitely pre Raleigh.
Is this bike rare at all? I tried to find another with a Herc hub & shifter but couldn't - maybe it's just not something that someone would notice/mention?
Thanks again for a great tip!



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Old 11-13-14, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by miamibeachcg View Post
Thank you! - It is definitely pre Raleigh.
Is this bike rare at all? I tried to find another with a Herc hub & shifter but couldn't - maybe it's just not something that someone would notice/mention?
Thanks again for a great tip!
For rarity, it's on par with the rarity of a Raleigh Sports. They aren't quite as common as a Raleigh, but there were tons of them built. For some reason, Hercules liked to give what was essentially the same bicycle different names: Tourist, Royal Prince, Lion, Windsor, to name just a handful. They would usually have different headbadges, graphics and paint, but the frames and running gear were pretty much all identical. The Tourist was the basis for many of the different "models" that Hercules made in that time period.

Originally I thought Hercules produced hubs during the war, but that seems doubtful since most of the factories had converted to war-time production and it seems an odd time for Hercules to introduce their own line of hubs. I now believe that it was shortly after the war that Hercules started producing the A Type and, later, B Type hubs. The earliest example I have is an A Type 6 (1946) and it was fitted with a Hercules branded quadrant shifter. Hercules had at least four different three-speed shifters: Hercules branded quadrant, Hercules Synchro-Switch and then early and late versions of the Her-Cu-Matic. I was unable to find a picture of the late Hercules shifter, but it is much like the SA 3-speed shifter but without the window as in the picture below.

Towards the late 1950's Hercules started to use more SA hubs on their bicycles (that is about the time or then Tube Investments/British Cycle Corporation merger) and it seems entirely possible that when they couldn't keep up with production of their own hubs, they would use SA hubs instead. Hercules catalogues indicate they offered SA Dynohub on their bicycles, though I have not personally seen any equipped that way.

The "rare" Hercules would be various Kestrel, Lapwing, Maestro and the Eileen Sheridan models.


Hercules Quadrant Shifter by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr


Hercules Synchro Switch - 2 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr




shifter1 by andymangold, on Flickr
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Old 12-10-16, 03:05 PM
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Hercules Tourist

Dear Miamibeachcg:

Just saw your post; thought I'd respond even though it's 3 years ago.
Believe it or not I still have a Hercules Tourist that I purchase from Sears Roebuck & Co. in 1955.
I still have the original maintenance manual, 3-speed hub instruction book, and the full parts list.
I'm trying to locate a replacement Lubricator (Part # MG64) which screws into the oil hole on the 3-speed hub.

The manuals I have are dated April 1954 and October 1954.

Rick
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Old 04-25-17, 09:10 PM
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I have what I believe to be a 1959/60 Hercules Tourist (serial #74033CA) transitionary frame. It has the later fender stay holes below the drop outs and it has the earlier brazed on bosses for both the 3 speed cable pulley and front mount for a fully enclosed chain guard. It also has a Tourist shield water slide decal on the head tube, instead of the brass Hercules Tourist shield. Additionally, it has the early metal flip top bottom bracket oil cover, next to the RI stamped front sprocket. The bike came with what I believe be replacement wheels for both the front and back, as the rear hub is an AW Sturmey Archer dated 1952. I replaced the Sturmey Archer shifter with an early Her-Cu-Matic shifter to give the bike more authenticity. Since the bike did not come with a chain guard, I purchased a 1950's NOS chain guard off of e-bay. I had the Hercules Tourist chain guard sticker made at redbubble.com, it is slightly smaller than the original. However, I think it looks great!

The accessories I added to this bike are: 22 Tooth rear cog, Lucas Cyclometer, rear view mirror, McKeelite headlight with a Miller generator and tail light, Midland Sports carrying rack with a Wicker basket attached, Raleigh hand grips, 3" Bell and Westrick rims, Schwalbe Marathon Tires, Brooks B190 leather saddle and Brooks leather tool pouch (not shown in photo). Note: fenders were added from a later model Raleigh LTD-3 donner Bicycle.

If anyone can identify the date of the frame, I would appreciate it.
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