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What Tools to Work on 3-Speeds?

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What Tools to Work on 3-Speeds?

Old 07-11-18, 10:05 AM
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What Tools to Work on 3-Speeds?

I've recently acquired a number of older Raleigh three-speed bikes that I want to work on.

From the thread "For the love of English 3 speeds":

Originally Posted by Salubrious
There seem to be a bunch of newer converts on this thread! Here are some tips that will help the ridability of any British 3-speed.

The rear hub should be ever so slightly loose on its cones. If tightened so there is no slop, it will bind and eventually be damaged. The hub in the wheel should spin as well as a vintage Campagnolo hub in good form.

To set the proper shift cable tension, simply put the shifter in low and set the toggle chain so its pulled all the way out of the hub. It should not be under heavy tension. In this way the neutral between 2nd and 3rd will be between 2nd and 3rd and not either gear.

Tire pressure is important! In most cases this will not be the rated pressure, but some fraction thereof. The heavier the rider, the closer to the rated maximum on the tire. Smoother roads also allow for more pressure. As a general rule of thumb if the ride is very bumpy, if you feel every imperfection in the pavement, the tires are overinflated. The correct pressure will be both smoother and faster. The front tire should be about 70-80% of the pressure of the rear since it carries less weight. This really brings out the ride quality of the machine!

The brakes can squeal with good new brake pads. To prevent squeal, the brake arms have to be bent slightly so that the part of the brake pad that is closest to the front of the bike engages before the rear. Kool Stop Salmon pads are the best, especially with steel rims and rain.

Alloy rims are a good idea- the bike will be faster and stop better as well. Sun CR18s were the goto for a long time; they had a 32 hole for the front and 40 hole for the rear. If you can find them they are a nice touch. It is not worth it to polish and chrome the original rims if they are really shot, but it is worth it to see if the original chrome is OK- the Brits had pretty good chrome!

The crank should be set up with precision. I recommend the Bikesmith Designs cotter press. With this tool removal of the crank arms and re-installation is pretty easy and no need to replace cotter pins. No need to remove the drive side cup, but it should be cleaned and new grease added. If the bearings are in good shape re-use them, if not, get the hardest grade you can find. It takes a bit of finesse to properly adjust the non-drive side bearing cup. When you tighten the locking ring you may find that the bearing cup is tighter too. Park Tools makes a cone wrench that fits the bearing cup; I recommend it for the tool box.

Otherwise, its helpful to understand that most of the nuts and bolts are Whitworth rather then English or metric.

To free pesky nuts, seatposts and stems, Kroil (kanolabs.com) is the secret weapon of many professional mechanics.

The leather saddle should be slightly nose up in the front front. Slightly. Also pay attention to the tension adjustment of the saddle- this is the nut under the nose cantile. The nose can only be raised or lowered in notches, and the so the leather tension is the other part of the equation for getting the right fit. Usually the seatpost is aft of the saddle mount, no set back is used due to the slack frame geometries. A slight tilt down on the handlebars is helpful for a more comfortable ride.
What other tools are good to have to work on (mostly) Raleigh three-speed bikes? I have the Bikesmith Designs cotter press and fixed cup tool. Should I get a set of Whitworth wrenches? Are there specific cone wrenches for Raleigh hubs? How about a wrench rather than a punch to disassemble a Sturmey-Archer hub?

Basically, what tools do I need to work on older Raleighs that aren't in my "normal" bike toolbox?

Thanks!
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Old 07-11-18, 10:52 AM
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You definitely want the Sturmey Archer cone wrench. Whitworth wrenches are expensive and not easy to justify, but if you get them, you'll like them. I use an adjustable wrench on Raleighs. I don't remember which size metric cone wrench works on the front hub; it's probably 14 or 15mm.

A punch is fine for removing the gear ring on the rear hub. I've never seen anyone use a wrench.
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Old 07-11-18, 10:52 AM
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One of these is really useful:


$(KGrHqF,!h8E-t(eddmdBPtP4w,5Dw~~60_57.JPG
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Old 07-11-18, 10:58 AM
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In general British three speeds don't need a lot of special tools.

Park Tool cone wrenches work on the British hubs. But some Whitworth tools are handy, for things like the axle nuts on the front and rear hubs, the seat post bolt and so on. You can find a small cone wrench for the AW hub on ebay; its handy as you can use it on the hub without removing the rear wheel from the bike.

Two tools that might be useful are the wrench for removing the fixed bearing cup on the drive side of the bottom bracket (available through Bikesmithdesigns.com), and the tool for taking the AW hub apart:

The Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour click 'parts' in the left column.

The Dynohub magnetic keeper is useful also, but in practice I have never needed either of these latter tools, perhaps good luck but every SA AW hub I've encountered has not been so frozen that it didn't come right around once I cleaned it up, and I can usually clean the fixed cup while in place . I usually spray a good deal of Kroil into the oil port of the SA first thing and work it around a bit. The Kroil starts coming out every egress on the hub! Then I drain that out and use automatic transmission fluid in the hub and go for a short ride.
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Old 07-11-18, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
You definitely want the Sturmey Archer cone wrench.
A 16mm cone wrench works fine with Sturmey-Archer cones:

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Old 07-11-18, 01:13 PM
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@JohnDThompson, you didn't have to file out the opening? A 16mm didn't work for me, but maybe I didn't try hard enough. It was long ago.
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Old 07-11-18, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
A 16mm cone wrench works fine with Sturmey-Archer cones:

The trick is with the SA cone wrench that you can adjust the cone with the wheel on the bike. Plus the cone wrench is a lot smaller, easy to carry in a tool bag on the bike. If you have to take the wheel off due to a flat, you can be certain that the cones are right when the wheel is reinstalled. Plus they are not expensive!
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Old 07-11-18, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict
My AWC has this wierd nut on for the brake arm. I cannot find a wrench for it.

I don't have an AWC currently to check, but IIRC, a hook spanner will work on that:


https://www.grainger.com/category/sp...N-167tZ1yzi911
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Old 07-11-18, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
@JohnDThompson, you didn't have to file out the opening? A 16mm didn't work for me, but maybe I didn't try hard enough. It was long ago.
No, no filing needed.
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Old 07-11-18, 03:13 PM
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I like doing the final wheel bearing adjustment with the wheel mounted on the bike. For the rear wheel, you need 2 cone spanners. One to hold the cone in adjustment, the other to tighten the locknut. Those little SA spanners are perfect for the job.
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Old 07-11-18, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
One of these is really useful:


$(KGrHqF,!h8E-t(eddmdBPtP4w,5Dw~~60_57.JPG
Dang it, I was going to post that.
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Old 07-11-18, 03:45 PM
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There are a couple nuts on old Raleigh bikes that no SAE or metric wrench that I have will work. Adjustable wrenches are fine, but the nut on the seat post clamp is in such a space that an adjustable just doesn't work well for me. I took a cheap 1/2" open end that I acquired somewhere and filed it till it fit the nuts. Then painted the end red for easy identification. My recollection is that it fits the seat post nut, the axle nuts, and the handle bar clamp nut. It might be just the right size for the clamp nut on the old Gary Burgess stems, but I don't recall for sure.

I find that 9mm wrenches and nut drivers work on some fittings -- must be a close match to some Whitworth size as I doubt that anybody in Nottingham knew what 9mm was.
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Old 07-12-18, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
One of these is really useful:


$(KGrHqF,!h8E-t(eddmdBPtP4w,5Dw~~60_57.JPG
Thanks!
Now, how do I find one of these and what do I call it when I do find it?
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Old 07-12-18, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Nokton
Thanks!
Now, how do I find one of these and what do I call it when I do find it?
Usually listed on eBay as a "Raleigh spanner" or "Raleigh wrench":

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/VINTAGE-B...0AAOSwDZ1bJYPM
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/VINTAGE-B...cAAOSwWKdbHtJH

And a Sturmey Archer cone wrench:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/NOS-Sturmey...cAAOSwoRBaUPee
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Old 07-12-18, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
Thanks very much. Now I know what to look for and they seem to be pretty inexpensive, too.
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Old 07-12-18, 08:48 AM
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I've managed to pick up a couple of those stamped Raleigh wrenches at used tool shops, usually for real small money as few know what they actually are. If you have a junk shop in your area, it might be worth a look.
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Old 07-12-18, 10:05 AM
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I lifted this list of acceptable whitworth equivalents from a land rover site. Some of them are identical to .001"
Whitworth = SAE or Metric
1/8 = 11/32
3/16 = 7/16
1/4 = 17/32
5/16 = 19/32
3/8 = 18mm
7/16 = 21mm
1/2 = None
9/16 = 1"
5/8 = None

I think headsets are 1" Whitworth and I haven't found an exact equivalent.

Last edited by pfaustus; 07-12-18 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 07-12-18, 10:19 AM
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I bought a set of Whitworth wrenches from the auction site a few years ago. As I remember they came from Big Red Toolbox in the UK, but they were made in India. It took forever to get them (apparently held up in US Customs for about 8 weeks. I was impressed with the quality of the set. I think I spent about $20 - $25.
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Old 07-12-18, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by pfaustus
I lifted this list of acceptable whitworth equivalents from a land rover site. Some of them are identical to .001"
Whitworth = SAE or Metric
1/8 = 11/32
3/16 = 7/16
1/4 = 17/32
5/16 = 19/32
3/8 = 18mm
7/16 = 21mm
1/2 = None
9/16 = 1"
5/8 = None

I think headsets are 1" Whitworth and I haven't found an exact equivalent.
I bought a cheap socket set at a yard sale that has a lot of those in between sizes. Hopefully I remember this if I ever get an old Raleigh.
Does a pre-Raliegh Hercules have the same sizes? My dad has one that will need an overhaul some day soon.
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Old 07-12-18, 11:39 AM
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"Does a pre-Raliegh Hercules have the same sizes? My dad has one that will need an overhaul some day soon."

I think so. British Standard Cycle and Whitworth pre-dated SAE or metric standards. But, go back far enough and lots of companies had their own standards, which they didn't necessarily give up when the standards were created. Two of the unique non-standards I've run into are Raleigh bicycle and Stanley tools. Extra confusion grows from the fact that the standards deal with multiple issues such as threads per inch, thread angle, bolt thickness and bolt head size. So you can get a bolt that requires a whitworth standard wrench, but uses Raleigh's non-standard threads. But, since BSC is said to have been developed by Raleigh's competitors, I would expect whitworth wrenches to fit.

If anyone wants to send me a pre-WW2 Armstrong or Hercules to experiment on, I promise to measure carefully and report back the results.
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Old 07-12-18, 03:54 PM
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To be honest, while I had a few whitworth wrenches left from my British motorcycle days they are more a convenience than a necessity (except I agree on the seatpost bolt point above); most things can easily be done with adjustable. Modern cone wrenches are also fine and I use them all the time. I would say the one tool that I wish I had was the SA wrench that fits the ball ring on SA hubs - I get by with a punch but the right tool would be great. Everything else though does not need special tools (of course, the cotter press you already have was a wise purchase).
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