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When 3 speeds aren't enough

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When 3 speeds aren't enough

Old 07-09-09, 11:39 AM
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nlerner
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When 3 speeds aren't enough

Back in 1967 Raleigh decided the venerable 3-speed Sports needed an odd cousin, so it slapped a Sturmey Archer S5 hub on a Sports body and called it a Sprite 5-speed. I bought this bike on CL back in the fall, but the dual top-tube shift levers were broken off, the saddle and pedals were trashed, the chainguard and grips were missing, and overall it needed some love. Thanks to some local bike friends, I tracked down a proper chainguard, NOS dual downtube shift levers, Raleigh pedals, Dare grips, and a Brooks B72 (well, that one came from my wife's old Sports). The chrome cleaned up very well, and some new tires are on the way. It's quite a heavy beast and the five gears aren't particularly well spaced, but it is a unique piece of Raleigh history.

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Old 07-09-09, 11:56 AM
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I had not realised that this was the only difference between the Sport and the Sprite. Nice photos!

Good to see that the B72 is holding up; all too often the ones from that period are cracked. Of course one nice thing about being in the Boston area, is the comparative abundance of vintage Raleighs and their parts.
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Old 07-09-09, 12:01 PM
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ohhh beautiful bike.

you know for being a young guy at 28 i love old 3 speeds over the fast rides. there is just something so beautiful about those old bikes. i see all these other people my age going fixed which i dont mind but there is something about a 3 speed that just makes my heart jump.
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Old 07-09-09, 12:17 PM
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You sure find a lot of cool old stuff there. Hard to find much interesting here, what with being just down the road and around the corner from bum **** egypt. I just have to keep changing around what I have. Love those downtube shift levers!
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Old 07-09-09, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Veloria View Post
I had not realised that this was the only difference between the Sport and the Sprite.
Only for that model year and maybe the next one. By the early 70s, the Sprite was a derailleur-equipped bike with 27" wheels.

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Old 07-09-09, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Only for that model year and maybe the next one. By the early 70s, the Sprite was a derailleur-equipped bike with 27" wheels.
Aaah. That explains why it was never clear to me whether the Sprite was a road bike or a roadster-style bike.
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Old 07-09-09, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Veloria View Post
Of course one nice thing about being in the Boston area, is the comparative abundance of vintage Raleighs and their parts.
From Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, on Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"John Greenleaf Whittier once asked Emerson what he prayed for. 'When I first open my eyes upon the morning meadows and look out upon the beautiful world,' replied Emerson, 'I thank God I am alive and that I live so near Boston.'"

I think he didn't specifically mention Raleighs because he didn't want Whittier to competing with him at yard sales.
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Old 07-09-09, 01:28 PM
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So why does it need dual shift levers?
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Old 07-09-09, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by CravenMoarhead View Post
So why does it need dual shift levers?
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/sturmey-archer/s52.html

How the S5 works

The S5s are basically a 3-speed hub with two ranges.

* The right lever or trigger selects underdrive, direct drive or overdrive, just as with the AW and other 3-speed models.

* The left lever selects between narrow range 3-speed and wide range 3-speed. When the cable is loose, it's narrow range; when the left cable is tight, it's wide range.

Here's the shifting sequence:

1. Left: Tight; Right: Tight (1). This is the lowest gear, underdrive on the wide range setting.

2. Left: Loose; Right: Tight (1). This is the second lowest gear, underdrive on the narrow range setting.

3. Left: doesn't matter; Right: middle position (2). This is direct drive, so it doesn't matter whether wide or narrow range is selected with the left lever.

4. Left: Loose; Right: Loose (3). This is the second highest gear, overdrive on the narrow range setting.

5. Left: Tight; Right: Loose (3). This is the highest gear, overdrive on the wide range setting.

Shifting the right lever/trigger is the same as a 3-speed, can be done while pedaling, coasting or even pedaling backward.

Shifting the left lever works most smoothly if you keep pedalaing forward (gently) while shifting.
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Old 07-09-09, 02:06 PM
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Anybody have a set of stem shifters for an S5 that they'd be willing to sell me? I have a set, but they're broken. Sheldon Brown had a low opinion of S5 shifters and I can understand why. I'm tempted to go the trigger shifter plus friction shifter route that he recommended.
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Old 07-09-09, 02:07 PM
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Ah, thanks for that shifting sequence, RMC. I was trying to figure it out from feel and wasn't doing very well. Here's a pic of the bell-crank on the left-hand side:



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Old 07-09-09, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post
Anybody have a set of stem shifters for an S5 that they'd be willing to sell me? I have a set, but they're broken. Sheldon Brown had a low opinion of S5 shifters and I can understand why. I'm tempted to go the trigger shifter plus friction shifter route that he recommended.
I have a set of broken top-tube shifters! Before I got the ones now on the bike (from a recent eBay auction in which a local buddy and I were the only bidders--he was trying to buy them for me and ended up outbidding me by $5), I had a 3-speed trigger on each side with the left side theoretically functioning in third and second gear. However, I found that it pulled a bit too much cable. I actually tried a friction thumb shifter before that but didn't have any success.

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Old 07-09-09, 02:11 PM
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Nice piece of cycling (and Raleigh) history! That's a keeper.
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Old 07-09-09, 02:12 PM
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wicked cool. I have had a couple of sprite 5 speeds, but they were the other kind..the 5 speed with half its gears missing.

this one is adorable!
thanks for sharing!!
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Old 07-09-09, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara View Post
From Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, on Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"John Greenleaf Whittier once asked Emerson what he prayed for. 'When I first open my eyes upon the morning meadows and look out upon the beautiful world,' replied Emerson, 'I thank God I am alive and that I live so near Boston.'"

I think he didn't specifically mention Raleighs because he didn't want Whittier to competing with him at yard sales.
Good one, Jon. It's also very good to have local friends with whom you can trade interesting bits and go on long rambling rides. I'm a lucky man!

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Old 07-09-09, 02:18 PM
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Thanks for sharing. Yours is even the correct color, green!
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Old 07-09-09, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
Nice piece of cycling (and Raleigh) history! That's a keeper.
I think so, but then again a similar Sprite sold for something like $455 on eBay awhile back!

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Old 07-09-09, 02:42 PM
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Hey Neal, those down tubes shifter DO look kind of cool, and the bikes a beauty. I'm running a S5 with the friction on the left side. Basically I run the right three most of the time, and the low low as needed on steep hills and the high high down hill or with a tailwind. Tim
ps I also run an inline overload spring on the left side.

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Old 07-09-09, 02:44 PM
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Neal, excuse the off-topic, but is that '38 Lady's Tourist in your website yours?.. That is my absolutest-most-covetest vintage bicycle.
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Old 07-09-09, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Veloria View Post
Neal, excuse the off-topic, but is that '38 Lady's Tourist in your website yours?.. That is my absolutest-most-covetest vintage bicycle.
Yup, if it's on the website, it's mine! I have to do some updating with new acquisitions and builds, but what's shown is in the stable. That '38 Tourist is needing a rehab and a few missing pieces for the chaincase, but is quite well preserved. At some early point, the whole thing was painted black, so no decals or pinstriping present.

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Old 07-09-09, 03:55 PM
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Mmm lucky you! Enjoy the restoration; what a beautiful bike this can be. I don't think it will be too hard to find an intact chaincase for it. But too bad about the paint. The rear fender does not look like it has holes in it for the skirtguard, but if it were mine I would go all the way and do that. If you ever get sick of her, do get in touch! Okay, end of off-topic admiration.
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Old 07-09-09, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Veloria View Post
The rear fender does not look like it has holes in it for the skirtguard, but if it were mine I would go all the way and do that.
The fender actually is drilled for a skirtguard. You still can't quite see it in this pic, but fwiw.

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Old 07-09-09, 04:27 PM
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is there a name for that style fork, with the round socket? I have the same on my Sprite 27 and people always comment on it
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Old 07-09-09, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by JJPistols View Post
is there a name for that style fork, with the round socket? I have the same on my Sprite 27 and people always comment on it
I've always known it as the Raleigh "thimble" fork crown.

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Old 07-09-09, 04:49 PM
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I keep wanting to glue marbles in mine - guess I'll never grow up
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