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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 02-12-22, 08:27 AM
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@markk900, Last night as I was lacing a wheel up, I was wondering if a spoke nipple would also work as a cable end for these old Raleigh brakes. Looks like you've answered my question.
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Old 02-12-22, 11:37 AM
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I’ve done the trick with spoke nipples, but those throttle nipples are a better shape to work with and fit in the brake arm just right.
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Old 02-12-22, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
I can tell you what I did using the parts shown above in post 25708 and following @cudak888s advice:

You just need to create a soldered end on the caliper side of the cable, so I clipped off the barrel I didnt need from that Clarks cable and sized it with the old cable (which isnt as easy as it sounds; I made it too long my first try).
I put the cable stop in my vise and used a small binder clip to hold the cable in place while I soldered.
I lightly sanded the cable end, cleaned it off with an alcohol pad, slipped on a motorcycle throttle cable nipple ( https://www.ebay.com/itm/MOTORCYCLE-...-/132337628007) with the wide end just about flush with the cable end, and then fluxed the heck out of the cable and nipple.
I heated the whole thing up with my soldering iron until the flux was smoking and sizzling and than applied a small amount of solder to the cable just above the nipple and then a bit more at the wide side of the nipple to form a dome. I practiced this technique first on some scrap cable to get a feel for how much solder was needed (you dont need much).
I cleaned up the new barrel end with a few strokes of a file to make it uniform.

Ill recreate with some pics over the weekend.
Its a good idea to clean the cable and treat it with flux as well. This should be done after the bit on the end has been fished onto the cable.

After the cable is prepped, its helpful to bend the individual strands over so they will not easily pull through the cable end. This way when you solder it up, it will be able to withstand greater tension.
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Old 02-13-22, 11:24 AM
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I hate to double post but I didn't realize a dedicated thread existed so I thought I'd repost it in the appropriate place:
When we were cleaning out our new-to-us house I dragged an old Raleigh Sports out of the cellar. Its's a '72 by the hub date. I could've chucked in the bin with the rest of the junk but I thought it hasn't seen the light of day for probably 40 years, it needs a new life. The plan would be to get a rack for it and use it as a country tourer. The youtuber Velocipedia is my inspiration.

The chrome is pretty rusted, the double whitewall tires are shot, and it'll need some cables. The paint has some rust freckles, but with an oily rag polish it will look ok going down the road. The best part is, it has a nice Brooks leather saddle that cleaned up well.
Perusing the local ads, I found a womans' Robin Hood 3 speed for $25. The chrome looks good on it so I'm hoping it'll make a good donor bike.
I'll still need to source some cables, and I'd really like some nice gumwall tires. Where's a good online source for new parts and tires for these bikes.
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Old 02-14-22, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by markk900
nlerner 's instructions are bang on.....a couple of other hacks that I tried (successfully) were: I used a cut down brass spoke nipple for the end (it fit in the brake arm perfectly and I have plenty of them lying around), and after inserting the cable but before soldering I "peened" over the cable end (more like spread it a bit) to form a slightly larger diameter that then took on solder. This is also an old motorcycle trick to help ensure a strong connection for brakes. I have no idea if true but I like to think the threads inside the nipple took on a bit more solder and created an even stronger wedge.
The factory ends on most cables don't seem to be lead, maybe zinc or some other alloy?
While I've made or repaired a few motorcycle throttle cables I've not tried it for brake cables.
My thought is that there's far less force on a cable end that's only lifting a throttle vs one that's applying brakes by way of increased leverage,
I think I'd prefer a solder over a crimp type of end.
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Old 02-14-22, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by bluesteak
Is there a tutorial somewhere how to make a cable with two soldered ends for these old English bikes.
Lots of them out there for motorcycle cables.
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Old 02-14-22, 06:54 AM
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I bought a hand full of double end cables for $1 ea when Ben's was having a warehouse sale.
They had various sizes for ladies/gents/F/R, not a lot of choice for housing color as far as OEM vintage though.

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Old 02-14-22, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by swampyankee2
I hate to double post but I didn't realize a dedicated thread existed so I thought I'd repost it in the appropriate place:
When we were cleaning out our new-to-us house I dragged an old Raleigh Sports out of the cellar. Its's a '72 by the hub date. I could've chucked in the bin with the rest of the junk but I thought it hasn't seen the light of day for probably 40 years, it needs a new life. The plan would be to get a rack for it and use it as a country tourer. The youtuber Velocipedia is my inspiration.

The chrome is pretty rusted, the double whitewall tires are shot, and it'll need some cables. The paint has some rust freckles, but with an oily rag polish it will look ok going down the road. The best part is, it has a nice Brooks leather saddle that cleaned up well.
Perusing the local ads, I found a womans' Robin Hood 3 speed for $25. The chrome looks good on it so I'm hoping it'll make a good donor bike.
I'll still need to source some cables, and I'd really like some nice gumwall tires. Where's a good online source for new parts and tires for these bikes.
The Robin Hood will be a fine parts bikes. The tires? You'll have to search for those by yourself because of supply issues especially gumwalls. Try Harris Cyclery maybe? I've never ordered wire bead tires online because of shipping costs in Canada. Never really had to either. Cables are standard fare but keep all the original ferrules, housings from both bikes as well as clamps, cable stops etc. Keep the bottom bracket too...they are proprietary to Raleighs.
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Old 02-14-22, 11:24 AM
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1950 Dawes

1950 Dawes 23" Reynolds 531 Tubing, Dunlop EA1 40 spoke rim laced to SA AW dated 50. Unfortunately front wheel is 70s EA3 replacement. 7985 miles on the odo. The brake levers indicate it would have originally had drop bars. No model name.


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Old 02-15-22, 07:23 PM
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So I brought home a $25 Robin Hood donor bike and started stripping parts and comparing with my Sports. The RH is a 69 by the hub, my Sports is a 72. I'm mostly swapping chrome bits, which are pretty rusted on the Sports. In comparing the brake levers, i see a big plastic hood over the fulcrum end of the lever of the Sports. In dismantling it, I discovered the hood conceals a self-adjuster mechanism. I was going to opt for the simpler, solid steel levers of the RH but I may have to retain the self-adjusters. Do they actually work? Worth keeping as an example of Raleighs advanced technology?
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Old 02-15-22, 08:53 PM
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Those "self-adjusting" brake levers are a good example of Raleigh's failed technological innovations--they were terrible! Of course, if they're currently working, keep 'em until they fail, but with any repeated use, they will likely fail.
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Old 02-16-22, 02:05 AM
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How much time to most here put into a bike their fixing up, either to keep or just to flip?

Last summer I picked up a pair of 1969 Raleigh Sports bikes, the his version was rough, but the ladies version was pretty clean. Both had likely sat for at least 40 years unused in someone's garage.
The chrome overall was fair, but both rear wheels had a bad hop to them and both AW hubs had pretty much dried up and locked up from oil turned to paste.
The tires were flat but pumped up, complete with the custom cracks showing their age.
The original intent was to redo the 'too small for me' 21" men's model to flip, and to part out the ladies model to make the other one a better bike.
That went out the window when someone talked me into selling the men's model 'as-is'.
A lady friend said she liked the look of the second bike so I started going over it a few weeks ago.
I first worked on the rear wheel, I got the flatted spot straightened out, then found that most of the spokes were frozen and couldn't be adjusted. Spoke nipples were snapping off one after the other. I dug through my pile of spare parts and came up with a good set of spokes and relaced the rear wheel.
The cables were functional, so I cleaned them up and carefully lubed each one.
I had a good set of used Kenda tires, so they went on too.
The BB was as dry as the rear hub, but luckily all it needed was some cleaning and new grease. The bars, levers, and stem were decent but I took all of it apart for a good polishing job, I also stripped down and relubed the headset. I then cleaned and polished the whole frame, cleaned and lubed the OEM kickstand, cleaned and tapped out all and any dings in the fenders, and polished those as well. Last night I started to clean up the calipers, that's when I realized how much time I have in this thing. I spent three hours just taking apart both calipers, cleaning and polishing the chrome, and putting them back together. The paint is decent, (it looks good from 10 ft away, but has its issues, but its not bad for being 53 years The original pedals were junk, one was missing a bushing so i dug around in my parts boxes and found a nice pair of ball bearing Raleigh scripted block pedals from the early 70's, I then tore them apart and cleaned and relubed the bearings and adjusted each one just right. after scrubbing and polishing all four rubber blocks and polishing the chrome bits.
I'm still not done, and likely won't be for a while yet. The saddle was a padded vinyl Brooks that had long since given up and split in two places, so I dug around and found a pretty decent Wright saddle in the spare parts bin.
I notice two things about this bike, first off there's no shifter cable pulley wheel, just a solid cable housing from the shifter to the chainstay stop.
Second, the chainguard has an odd red SKF Ball bearing decal just after the Raleigh script that I've not seen before?

By the time I'm done with this, it will be 100% mechanically, but I'll end up with far more time in it than the thing will ever be worth. (Especially when I see these only selling for $50-$100 on CL these days.
Worse yet, I get told today that she no longer wants a bike like this, she wants a ten speed. She has her eyes on a minty clean Peugeot Mixte I just picked up now. (I can't wait to tell her that my plan is to make that a three speed as well).

With a 50 something rider in mind, I switched the 17t rear sprocket for a 20t, anyone know off hand how many links I need to add to the chain? Its looking like I need quite a few. .
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Old 02-16-22, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
Those "self-adjusting" brake levers are a good example of Raleigh's failed technological innovations--they were terrible! Of course, if they're currently working, keep 'em until they fail, but with any repeated use, they will likely fail.
I'm guessing this bike spent far more time entombed in the cellar than it ever did being used. The one self-adjuster I dismantled looked virtually new inside, aside from the rust and grime. I'll just clean them up and use them. It's a period-appropriate piece for the age of the bike.
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Old 02-16-22, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by swampyankee2
I'm guessing this bike spent far more time entombed in the cellar than it ever did being used. The one self-adjuster I dismantled looked virtually new inside, aside from the rust and grime. I'll just clean them up and use them. It's a period-appropriate piece for the age of the bike.
For what it's worth, if you don't like the way those brake levers work, you can just take out the little spring inside there to disconnect the self adjusting mechanism.
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Old 02-16-22, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by oldspokes
How much time to most here put into a bike their fixing up, either to keep or just to flip?
By the time I'm done with this, it will be 100% mechanically, but I'll end up with far more time in it than the thing will ever be worth. (Especially when I see these only selling for $50-$100 on CL these days.
Although I just paid $25 for a step-thru frame Robin Hood that needs work (got it for parts). Most all the ads for 3 speeds for sale here in New England are asking $150-300 (depending on how much of the bike was dipped in gold I guess). What they actually sell for is another story.

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Old 02-16-22, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by swampyankee2
Although I just paid $25 for a set-thru frame Robin Hood that needs work (got it for parts). Most all the ads for 3 speeds for sale here in New England are asking $150-300 (depending on how much of the bike was dipped in gold I guess). What they actually sell for is another story.
I guess I'm lucky as I've had good luck with finding old 3-speeds in the Boston area for a lot less than that. Back in December, I picked up a fairly pristine (other than the original tires, which need to be replaced) 1970 Raleigh Sports, 23" men's frame for $60 (that was the asking price, which I gladly paid). I'll likely be one of those CL sellers trying to get $150 for it come spring!
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Old 02-16-22, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
I guess I'm lucky as I've had good luck with finding old 3-speeds in the Boston area for a lot less than that. Back in December, I picked up a fairly pristine (other than the original tires, which need to be replaced) 1970 Raleigh Sports, 23" men's frame for $60 (that was the asking price, which I gladly paid). I'll likely be one of those CL sellers trying to get $150 for it come spring!
Combination of a university town and the old headquarters of Raleigh USA on Boylston Street. I'd wager the northeast, and particularly the corridor starting at NYC and up through the Boston area is the best hunting ground mile-for-mile for old Raleigh three speeds in the US.
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Old 02-16-22, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by swampyankee2
So I brought home a $25 Robin Hood donor bike and started stripping parts and comparing with my Sports. The RH is a 69 by the hub, my Sports is a 72. I'm mostly swapping chrome bits, which are pretty rusted on the Sports. In comparing the brake levers, i see a big plastic hood over the fulcrum end of the lever of the Sports. In dismantling it, I discovered the hood conceals a self-adjuster mechanism. I was going to opt for the simpler, solid steel levers of the RH but I may have to retain the self-adjusters. Do they actually work? Worth keeping as an example of Raleighs advanced technology?
I get rid of those brake levers whenever I can.

That requires a bit of fiddling, since the cable and thus the fittings on the brakes are a bit different. But in the end it proves worthwhile- the 'feel' of operating the brakes is so much better! BTW you can get Fibrax replacement pads that fit the brake pad holders of the Raleigh brakes. Sometimes you have to do a bit of bending of the holders to convince the new pads to stay put. But they have otherwise the same shape as the John Bill pads and so look the part. You can find them on ebay. I recommend taking the brake cables apart if you can so as to clean rust off the cable and out of the sleeve. Then a bit of spray lithium grease thru the sleeve really doe the trick for getting that 'feel'. When you get it right is a pleasure to operate the brake.

BTW also grease the round cable end in the brake lever- if not greased it can break off of the cable which is quite disconcerting!

The little screw that holds the lever into the brake lever bracket on the handlebar should also get some attention. Grease it so the lever moves freely and then adjust it so it does not allow wiggle of the lever but doesn't restrict it either.
The brakes themselves can use a bit of grease on the main screw that holds the caliper pieces together- and on the bushing for the front half. You'll find that the brakes are very easy to set up. You're better off having them well away from the rim when at rest; this will allow you to really be able to squeeze the lever properly when braking. This has to be adjusted to the rider as everyone has different size hands.
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Old 02-16-22, 12:58 PM
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Great advice, thanx!

Last time I fiddled with English 3 speeds was when I was a kid, and back then brakes were optional.

BTW, is there any good sources of 3 speed parts? I will probably need a cable (caught my thumb on a rusty meat hook), and grips, etc.
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Old 02-16-22, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by swampyankee2
BTW, is there any good sources of 3 speed parts? I will probably need a cable (caught my thumb on a rusty meat hook), and grips, etc.
Usually another 3-speed; also if you have any co-op style bike shops with used parts in the area I've found them to be a source. Ebay can be a source too, and when it comes to cables I've often made them up myself depending on the cable.
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Old 02-17-22, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by oldspokes
How much time to most here put into a bike their fixing up, either to keep or just to flip?
....................... ............................. .................................
With a 50 something rider in mind, I switched the 17t rear sprocket for a 20t, anyone know off hand how many links I need to add to the chain? Its looking like I need quite a few. .
Time wise its hard to say, I started this one back in Nov. But I've been bouncing between projects at the same time. (Last post was #25385 pm 11/13/21)

For this one I also replaced there rear hub, it came to me with an S5 but someone offered me far more than the whole bike was worth for the hub some time before so the hub was gone. I laced in a minty clean, fresh gone through same date code AW in its place. At the same time I increased the sprocket size to make up for the S5's lower first gear. I was expecting to need to add a few links but somehow the same chain worked just fine. I think the chain was likely too long before, and I fixed that by going to a 20t rear sprocket. The change also centered the wheel better in the fender.
I didn't originally intend to put this back together, I had earmarked the rims for a men's Sports I have hanging on the wall, but I had been using this bike for a while to run around the neighborhood and for some reason, even though its only a 21" frame, it fits me well, even though I'm 6ft 3in tall. It sits taller than my 23" frame 1978 Sports, and the riding position is better for easy dismount.
I also had someone who kept bugging me to keep a loaner ride in the fleet that she could fit on, so it may end up filling that spot too.
I may toss a set of rear saddle baskets on it instead of the original Prestube rack.

The bike was far worse off than I thought it was before tearing it apart.
Time wise, its hard to say, but its hard to figure time spent polishing chrome, cleaning and polishing spokes, soaking and repacking all the bearings, and straightening fenders and forks and spending time making sure the frame is 100% as well. The result is a really nice old bike but there's no way anyone would ever pay for the amount of work it took. Most average folks don't want to pay even to fix what's broken let alone pay for what it takes to erase some of the years on it.
If I had replaced the tires and cables the cost would be even higher. Since it was for me, I wasn't worrying about the few nicks in the cable housing and just put some heat shrink over it. I reused the tires figuring that even though they have some cracks starting, they'll likely be fine for a long time to come. Since it never goes far buying an expensive set of tires wasn't necessary. I put the better tire in the rear. I also lost the dry rotted cruiser saddle and old Schwinn grips. The saddle was comfortable but it was raining powdered foam padding all over the place. It's destined to be repaired and put back on a 50's balloon tire bike where it belongs.

It really cleaned up nice, with excellent chrome and decent paint. The fenders have some paint issues and the fork needed to be straightened but it turned out pretty nice.
Its nothing special but it shows what just a little cleaning, polishing, and regreasing can do for a crusty old bike.
The pedals, saddle, grips, and rear hub were changed, all else was reused.
Here's a few before and after pics.





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Old 02-17-22, 06:39 AM
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dirtman That turned out great! I am surprised you didn't keep those iconic green grips though

As to the question about time spent: all of the bikes I work on I do so for the enjoyment, so I don't keep track of hours. Since I don't sell them anyway (I either give them away to people who need them or keep them for myself), the "labour rate" is irrelevant. I see it more as a zen activity that allows me to pass time doing something productive and meditative....except when the OCD kicks in and then its a different story!
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Old 02-17-22, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by markk900
As to the question about time spent: all of the bikes I work on I do so for the enjoyment, so I don't keep track of hours. Since I don't sell them anyway (I either give them away to people who need them or keep them for myself), the "labour rate" is irrelevant. I see it more as a zen activity that allows me to pass time doing something productive and meditative....except when the OCD kicks in and then its a different story!
I feel the same. Whether it's cars or houses, I don't keep track of the time for the most part. If I did, I would probably hire someone to get it done faster, but I know I wouldn't be happy with their work. Plus, as you say, there's something zen about just fiddling with things. And of course, there's always the OCD!
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Old 02-17-22, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by markk900
dirtman That turned out great! I am surprised you didn't keep those iconic green grips though

As to the question about time spent: all of the bikes I work on I do so for the enjoyment, so I don't keep track of hours. Since I don't sell them anyway (I either give them away to people who need them or keep them for myself), the "labour rate" is irrelevant. I see it more as a zen activity that allows me to pass time doing something productive and meditative....except when the OCD kicks in and then its a different story!
The Schwinn grips belong on a Schwinn, which I had that needed them. The rear rack will likely end up on my '65 Robin Hood, and I converted the headlamp from two D batteries and a flashlight bulb to two four Li-Ion 18500 cells to power a single LED bulb at a nominal 7.4v. It will stay lit at just about full brightness for well over 24 hours.
The best part is that the battery style light can be taken from bike to bike and it doesn't require the drag of a generator or a Dynohub.
If i decide I don't like the bike anymore, I'd likely take the wheels and use them on a men's frame, I've got far more frames than I have Raleigh pattern wheels.

Pretty much at this point I've only got time invested in this bike. I sold the S5 hub for fare more than I had in this thing in time and I really don't think I'll miss it. I only really used the lowest gear and second gear around here. If I need to go fast, I'll hop on something with a motor.
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Old 02-18-22, 01:00 AM
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on FB....
Both are a bit rough though

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