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Show me your English "Club" bikes

Old 05-04-15, 09:14 AM
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Show me your English "Club" bikes

This forgotten genre of road bike has long fascinated me -- road bikes for the serious amateur and occasional racer, the original weekend warrior of pre- and post-war England. The quirkiness of the drivetrains is particularly interesting, where else might you find a three speed fixed gear hub?

Show me what you've got.
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Old 05-04-15, 09:26 AM
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'49 Raleigh Clubman:

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Old 05-04-15, 09:30 AM
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^^ Neat. Single speed or fixed?
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Old 05-04-15, 09:31 AM
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4-speed with Sturmey Archer FW hub (in an alloy AW shell). You can kind of see the gear trigger under the drive-side brake lever.
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Old 05-04-15, 09:40 AM
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My Lambert qualifies.



Sturmey Archer S3X (three speed fixed gear) hub. But frankly, I'm getting tired of that hub. I thought it would have the best features of both a three speed hub and a fixed gear, but as it turns out it seems to combine the worst features instead. I'm not sure what I'm going to do; either switch back to an AW or make it a one speed fixie.
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Old 05-04-15, 09:46 AM
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What do you dislike about it, @rhm? I was thinking of trying it myself.
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Old 05-04-15, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by icepick_trotsky View Post
What do you dislike about it, @rhm? I was thinking of trying it myself.
Oh, by all means, try it! This is one of those things where you really should not take someone else's word for anything.

But to answer your question, I don't really dislike anything about it. It's just that...

On one side of the equation, the thing I like about the true fixie is that it forces you to learn to pedal at every conceivable cadence. For example, on Saturday I rode my fixie 110 miles, 7100 feet of climbing, maximum speed 37.4 mph according to my gps program. I don't think I'll do that again! On some of the descents I had to pedal at a 175 rpm or so, which is getting pretty close to scary! To maintain control, you want to be putting power into the pedals at all times; so even when you're screaming down a hill and you can't imagine your legs going any faster than they already are, you try to ride the bike, not let the bike ride you. And I was struggling up hills at a walking pace, a cadence maybe 30rpm, which is almost painful. Now, I don't enjoy those extremes; so to get up the hills I attack them as fast as I can, getting up the hills with the highest cadence possible. The end result is that on a short to medium fixie ride (up to 60 miles or so) my average speed is a couple mph faster than on a geared bike. It's hard work, but it's a blast. Somehow the S3X doesn't give me that.

Neither the S3X nor the AW is quite as much crazy fun as a true fixie; but they come equally close.

On the other side of the equation, the fun of a geared bike, and this includes a regular old three speed, is that you can chose a cadence that works for the terrain. On a three speed you have fewer choices, but you still downshift for the climbs, upshift for the descents, and when gravity really takes over you just coast. It's a blast. But somehow the S3X doesn't give me that.

So it's not that there's anything bad about the S3X, but that it misses out on the best parts of fixed gear and misses out on the best parts of variable gears.

I should point out that @JohnDThompson has a Viscount set up almost exactly the same as my Lambert. It might be fun to hear his thoughts on it as well.
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Old 05-04-15, 10:25 AM
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This has been posted numerous times, but what the heck.
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Old 05-04-15, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Oh, by all means, try it! This is one of those things where you really should not take someone else's word for anything.

But to answer your question, I don't really dislike anything about it. It's just that...

On one side of the equation, the thing I like about the true fixie is that it forces you to learn to pedal at every conceivable cadence. For example, on Saturday I rode my fixie 110 miles, 7100 feet of climbing, maximum speed 37.4 mph according to my gps program. I don't think I'll do that again! On some of the descents I had to pedal at a 175 rpm or so, which is getting pretty close to scary! To maintain control, you want to be putting power into the pedals at all times; so even when you're screaming down a hill and you can't imagine your legs going any faster than they already are, you try to ride the bike, not let the bike ride you. And I was struggling up hills at a walking pace, a cadence maybe 30rpm, which is almost painful. Now, I don't enjoy those extremes; so to get up the hills I attack them as fast as I can, getting up the hills with the highest cadence possible. The end result is that on a short to medium fixie ride (up to 60 miles or so) my average speed is a couple mph faster than on a geared bike. It's hard work, but it's a blast. Somehow the S3X doesn't give me that.

Neither the S3X nor the AW is quite as much crazy fun as a true fixie; but they come equally close.

On the other side of the equation, the fun of a geared bike, and this includes a regular old three speed, is that you can chose a cadence that works for the terrain. On a three speed you have fewer choices, but you still downshift for the climbs, upshift for the descents, and when gravity really takes over you just coast. It's a blast. But somehow the S3X doesn't give me that.

So it's not that there's anything bad about the S3X, but that it misses out on the best parts of fixed gear and misses out on the best parts of variable gears.

I should point out that @JohnDThompson has a Viscount set up almost exactly the same as my Lambert. It might be fun to hear his thoughts on it as well.
Makes sense. I'm a pretty frequent fixed gear rider, so I understand the cadence/control appeal, especially on my weekly club rides with geared bike riders.

I'd still like to give it go. Count me as interested if you ever decide to part with the s3x.
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Old 05-04-15, 10:40 AM
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In service for 41 years, lately w/ AW/Cyclo 3 cog drivetrain & town kit.

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Old 05-04-15, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
I should point out that @JohnDThompson has a Viscount set up almost exactly the same as my Lambert. It might be fun to hear his thoughts on it as well.
Yes, I do:



I use it as my bad-weather bike, and rode a century in the rain on it a couple years ago. In general, I'm satisfied with the hub. My biggest complaint is the gear ratios are odd: 0.625/0.75/1.0 -- I'd prefer those of the old ASC hub: 0.75/0.90/1.0, which would give me a couple closely spaced gears for most of my riding, and a bail-out gear for climbing. With the S3X, I set it up so the 0.75 middle gear gets most of my riding, the 0.625 gives a little help on hills, and the 1.0 is seldom used except with tailwinds and downhills.
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Old 05-04-15, 11:26 AM
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This would probably be one of the loveliest clubmans you will likely ever encounter. It is my (first) 1950 Norman Rapide which I obtained from @rhm. It's a great riding machine besides.


Dawg Daze of Summer Ride - 4 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr
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Old 05-04-15, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
'49 Raleigh Clubman:

Every time I think I've seen all of @nlerner 's bikes that I covet, there's another. Beautiful bike, patina, and photo.

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Old 05-04-15, 11:56 AM
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A couple of more from my fleet:

This one's a Club-bike conversion: a 1969 Raleigh SuperCourse with Sturmey-Archer AM hub and top-tube shifter:




1952 Raleigh Lenton Sports with Sturmey-Archer AW hub modified as a 5-speed:
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Old 05-04-15, 12:01 PM
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Here's another one of mine. J. Fothergill frame from just before, during, or just after WW2. Hybrid gearing, AW hub with two cogs shifted by a Trivelox Model B derailleur:

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Old 05-04-15, 12:28 PM
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1925 Granby

Sorry about the unbelievably and embarrassingly bad photo. It's a Granby 3-speed, allegedly a 1925, but has a K4 (1934) hub. It's now in pieces and waiting for me to return my attention to it, right after I finish rebuilding the patio. And that's not a giant headlight; it's a Weber grill of only slightly more recent vintage. The Weber-grill-like object above the handlebars is in fact a bell.

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Old 05-04-15, 01:34 PM
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Please excuse my ignorance but, what is an English "club" bike?
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Old 05-04-15, 01:42 PM
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@thylton48, here's the explanation, per Sheldon's website:

One of the great traditions of British cycling was "club riding": small, local groups of cyclists organized into clubs for regular sporting or recreational rides. These could comprise long or short tours, day trips, time trials or roadracing. The emphasis in many clubs was more camaraderie than competitive but it was not always a pub crawl. Many group rides were multi-day affairs and as varied as the British countryside.The sheer variety of club rides and riders demanded a versatile and popularly priced mount, one that was lightweight, but with more relaxed frame angles than a pure racing type, as well as mudguards and lighting equipment for all-year, all-weather use. By the 1930s, most cycle manufacturers offered a specific range of "club" cycles ranging from simple derivations of the steel-framed, cable-braked "sports light roadsters" to the most sophisticated machines of their day with light steel tubing, celluloid mudguards, Sturmey Archer hub gears, alloy fitments and 26" x 1 1/4" (597 mm) lightweight steel wheels, quick release wing nut hubs and high pressure (70 psi) tires.Club models figured prominently in the post-war revival of the British cycle industry, both for the home market and, more importantly, the export trade, specifically to the United States. "Export or Die" was the credo of British industry at the time and manufacturers were compelled to export a certain proportion of their yearly production whilst high domestic purchase taxes (as high as 33 per cent) discouraged domestic consumption and ensured British cycles a newfound place in the American market then just discovering adult sport cycling. Although the "sports" roadsters dominated, the club models found an enthusiastic reception as nothing like them had ever been offered before in the United States.
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Old 05-04-15, 02:22 PM
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I'm soooo close to joining this "Club"... still need to do the cabling, sort out the chain, re-paint the pinstripes, wrap the bars & a couple other things.





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Old 05-04-15, 03:08 PM
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My Clubman, a 1950 Claud Butler with alloy FW hub:




GB Coureur brakes, 1939 Phillips pedals, Chater lea crank, Bayliss Wiley BB and front hub, Reynolds hiduminium pre-war stem, GB handlebars.
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Old 05-04-15, 03:17 PM
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1954 Raleigh Sports 3 speed.



1955 Raleigh Lenton "Reg Harris Road Model", original fixed gear.

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Old 05-04-15, 03:56 PM
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Hmm, maybe this fits. This 1975 Viscount was formerly a ten-speed. Here it is with a 3-speed fixed gear hub.



I decided I didn't like that hub, so here it is as a 1-speed fixie:

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Old 05-04-15, 04:01 PM
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Here's my Raleigh Royale as found. I am beginning the restoration (actually more of a clean-up, tune-up, & ride).

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Old 05-04-15, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Hmm, maybe this fits. This 1975 Viscount was formerly a ten-speed. Here it is with a 3-speed fixed gear hub.



I decided I didn't like that hub, so here it is as a 1-speed fixie:

Requisite hipster card in spokes! Nice touch, Tom...

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Old 05-04-15, 06:31 PM
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Would a early 1960's Carlton Catalina qualify?
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