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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 09-07-23, 08:28 PM
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A SA hub requires a teaspoon of any motor oil once a year. Too much will soon spill out and cover everything in crud.
From Sturmey-Archer's 1945 FW pamphlet:

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Old 09-07-23, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by PhilFo
A bit of an update about my Rudge Aero Clubman. Someone in the past installed what looks like a Wald cruiser riser type bar, into that beautiful chromed flat-top stem. They wrenched down on it quite a bit but also DRILLED A HOLE right in the top and stuck a small sheet metal screw through the top of the handlebar clamp and into the bar itself to prevent it from moving. This is disappointing and as a result I ordered a Titan stem to keep the build somewhat period correct.
This bike seems to be a mish-mash of sorts.
There's a bunch of contradictions: Cable pulley was on a clamp, even though this frame has the brazed-on pulley boss.
At one point someone was using center-pull calipers, as evidenced by the seatpost bolt cable stop seen on much later TI bikes. That said, the rear brake is a steel caliper from a Sports, no front brake.
Other things I've noticed are that the wheels don't match; the rear is a much later production Rigida 27x1-1/4 laced to a steel 1951 AW hub. The front wheel is a Normandy high-flange with wingnuts laced to a Rigida Chrolux.
Who made the cranks? Raleigh? They have a stamped N inside an oval depression on the inside of the crank arms. The arms are fluted and look nice, but the drive side pedal threads look to be nearly stripped. The really surprising thing is the hollow bottom bracket spindle. Both of the cups look nice and the spindle doesn't look worn. I think I'm going to replace the crank with a Williams B100 unit I have.
I'm going to set aside the wheels that the bike came with and build a set of 700c wheels around a pair of Normandy track hubs I'm wanting to put into service.
This isn't going to be a restoration at all. I'm going to get the frame as clean as I can and brighten up the chrome and paint a bit (not the Rudge transfers) with some Flitz, then build it up as a nice-weather bike. I want to keep the correct mounting for a set of mudguards, so while I like Velo Orange units, I may have to go with SKS "Bluemels" with the correct stays. As far as I can tell, I can't figure out a way to get VO mudguards on while keeping the proper mounting using a V-shaped stay for the rear.
Control of the bike will be with a GB Maes bar and a pair of GB Super Hood levers. I strayed with the age by a decade, but stuck to British made.
It may be heresy but I already have a 1" seatpost which is an American Classic, so that's what is going to hold up a B17 saddle.
Photos will be posted after I find my card reader so I can transfer the images of the bike as I received it last night.
The braze-on pulley mount uses a couple of parts that are more difficult to find than a common clamp-on pulley, so you'll often see the clamp-on pulley when the original parts are lost. You can probably source a proper replacement from eBay if you keep an eye out on both the UK and US sites. They do come up on occasion, just not as often as a clamp-on pulley.

The fender braces are a peculiar type that mount to braze-on bosses. A square-headed screw mounts on the inside of the boss, with a wing nut on the outside holding down the stay loops. At the fender, the stay is a plain rod that goes through a eyelet on the fender mounting wings. You may have more luck using an old school set of Bluemels type fenders.

Go very easy on the paint - early 1950s era Raleigh bright paints, especially the two-stage ones with the aluminum base coats, are very fragile. This was true of the club line up bikes and the Lentons from that period. I would start with some plain, soapy water wash-up in an inconspicuous place and see if you end up with color on the rag. If wash-up water is removing paint, you don't want to go near any kind of polish.
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Old 09-08-23, 08:29 AM
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Thanks for the advice regarding the paint. I was just using water with dish soap and a soft toothbrush last night. It looks like someone ran over some asphalt because there is hardened tar on the chainstays up by the bottom bracket. I’ll be gentle with those areas but will need to get a little more aggressive to remove it.
I found a small dent (not crease) about the size of a nickel, in the non-drive side chainstay which I may try to tap out gently.
The chrome cleaned up so well with just a few swipes of a soft bronze brush.
bottom bracket and headset parts are soaking. I’ll be replacing the balls. One issue is that the lower headset cup was slightly loose, so I’m going to need to figure out a good way to keep it from vibrating loose.
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Old 09-08-23, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by PhilFo
Thanks for the advice regarding the paint. I was just using water with dish soap and a soft toothbrush last night. It looks like someone ran over some asphalt because there is hardened tar on the chainstays up by the bottom bracket. I’ll be gentle with those areas but will need to get a little more aggressive to remove it.
I found a small dent (not crease) about the size of a nickel, in the non-drive side chainstay which I may try to tap out gently.
The chrome cleaned up so well with just a few swipes of a soft bronze brush.
bottom bracket and headset parts are soaking. I’ll be replacing the balls. One issue is that the lower headset cup was slightly loose, so I’m going to need to figure out a good way to keep it from vibrating loose.
A shim made from very thin metal sheet may tighten up the headset cup. I use very thin brass sheet to shim headset cups and crown races. I suppose a little ring of soda or beer can aluminum might work in a pinch as well. I find the brass is more uniform and easier to fit than soda can material.
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Old 09-08-23, 09:02 AM
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1959 Schwinn Traveler three speed ride from a couple nights ago:



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Old 09-08-23, 09:23 AM
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Old 09-08-23, 12:38 PM
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Old 09-08-23, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by SirMike1983
I suppose a little ring of soda or beer can aluminum might work in a pinch as well. I find the brass is more uniform and easier to fit than soda can material.
Ahem. This is known as Bavarian Shim Stock and we will be very please if you thus obtain of the correct term.
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Old 09-08-23, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Salubrious
Ahem. This is known as Bavarian Shim Stock and we will be very please if you thus obtain of the correct term.
A can with German precision engineering.
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Old 09-08-23, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by PhilFo
Last night I just took ownership of a ~1951 Rudge Aero Clubman. I can't wait to get this up and running. Come to think of it, would it fit into the English 3 speed thread? Many were delivered with 4-speed hubs, some with 3-speed, and many with single-speed flip flop hubs. Anyway, it's a lovely old thing which I'll get to scrubbing with a toothbrush and some mild detergent tonight after work, then more this coming weekend. I'll follow up with photos ASAP.
I eagerly await seeing it! From 1950:
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Old 09-08-23, 04:42 PM
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Wow! Purchase tax was almost 25%!
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Old 09-08-23, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by markk900
Wow! Purchase tax was almost 25%!
It makes sense. In 1950, I would say they still had some re-building to do.
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Old 09-08-23, 05:38 PM
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To help pay war debts back. Taxes were high and "export or perish" was the principle. The loans and lend-lease debts were substantial, particularly owed back to the USA. The final payment back to the US was made in December 2006, 61+ years after the war ended.
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Old 09-08-23, 07:04 PM
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Cleaning of the Rudge is done. I did some light scrubbing with a toothbrush and soapy water over the paint, and used a bronze brush as well as a 2000 grit wet sanding sponge on the chrome. I used a little wooden cabinet chip to gently remove the surface crud of asphalt and found clean new orange paint under it in spots, so perhaps that happened long ago.
The crown race and lower headset cup are indexed so they need replacement. I don’t know if it would be effective, but I have some 400 grit and 3000 grit lapping compounds which I thought I may be able to use to resurrect the cup. Crown race is done though.
The bottom bracket is dirty but beautiful. I’m very impressed by the polished hollow spindle with only a solitary “S” stamp. No one has hacked at either of the bottom bracket cups or lockring with a hammer and punch, so they are in great condition.
I haven’t gotten to the crankset yet but another cursory glance at the pedal threads makes me think I may be able to use it, though I’ll need to find a chainring with fewer teeth.
As I was doing my scrubbing tonight I was continually impressed by this old frame which will turn out to be one of the nicer bikes I’ll own.
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Old 09-09-23, 06:49 AM
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Old 09-09-23, 07:53 AM
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American import version of a last hurrah Hercules. I guess they were trying to appeal to the American sensibility of style that Schwinn and Murray were producing. These were Department store bikes and this one was sold by Montgomery Wards. The Original headbadge read Hawthorn, sold by Montgomery Wards, made by Hercules BIRMINGHAM. I purchased it for $15 at a garage sale because the twin bar frame struck me. The bottom bracket, and front hub was destroyed, the 1962 dated Sturmey rear hub was stuck in 3rd and after inspection, it found the skip also.
First pic is of the only other one Ive seen complete, it was for sale on eBay.
Second pic is of how it was when I bought it.
Third pic is of how it was when I sold it to a friend last month.
I rode it on the 80 mile Lake Pepin 3spd tour last May and it performed flawlessly.
Has anyone seen any of these originals out in the wild?






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Old 09-09-23, 01:38 PM
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Nice work! Can't say we saw many of these north of the 49th but I wouldn't mind one. I like Birmingham bikes.
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Old 09-09-23, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by macstuff



Wow, hard to believe it's the same bike! Nice work! Where did the lovely swoopy chainguard come from? And the forks with the fancy chromed crown?

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Old 09-09-23, 07:11 PM
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A question about kickstands and avoiding the crushing of chainstays: Has anyone used the F8 Pletscher kickstand fittings kit? I can see how it protects the tops of the chainstays, but doesn't that leave the underneath still vulnerable to crushing? I can't really find a good overall image of the installation



OR has anyone made there own anti-crush fittings for kickstands?
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Old 09-09-23, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by macstuff
American import version of a last hurrah Hercules. I guess they were trying to appeal to the American sensibility of style that Schwinn and Murray were producing. These were Department store bikes and this one was sold by Montgomery Wards. The Original headbadge read Hawthorn, sold by Montgomery Wards, made by Hercules BIRMINGHAM. I purchased it for $15 at a garage sale because the twin bar frame struck me. The bottom bracket, and front hub was destroyed, the 1962 dated Sturmey rear hub was stuck in 3rd and after inspection, it found the skip also.
First pic is of the only other one Ive seen complete, it was for sale on eBay.
Second pic is of how it was when I bought it.
Third pic is of how it was when I sold it to a friend last month.
I rode it on the 80 mile Lake Pepin 3spd tour last May and it performed flawlessly.
Has anyone seen any of these originals out in the wild?







As prepped for sale, September 2022

I had one that was just a little small for me. It was a barn find someone listed for $25 and I couldn't resist. The chrome on the original wheelset had long ago decided to part ways with the steel, so it was rebuilt with Raleigh wheels from 1974.

The original hub was dated 1960. My bike was a 'thrift' model with a single top tube. The oxidized enamel paint lifted off with a clay bar and polished nicely with rubbing compound. The paint was gone on the drive side seat stay though. Looking for Phillips rubber block pedals at the co-op I spied a burgundy Hawthorne, along with a Robin Hood in the bike queue.
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Old 09-09-23, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Unca_Sam

As prepped for sale, September 2022

I had one that was just a little small for me. It was a barn find someone listed for $25 and I couldn't resist. The chrome on the original wheelset had long ago decided to part ways with the steel, so it was rebuilt with Raleigh wheels from 1974.

The original hub was dated 1960. My bike was a 'thrift' model with a single top tube. The oxidized enamel paint lifted off with a clay bar and polished nicely with rubbing compound. The paint was gone on the drive side seat stay though. Looking for Phillips rubber block pedals at the co-op I spied a burgundy Hawthorne, along with a Robin Hood in the bike queue.
I see yours is the single top bar version.
I've also seen a single top bar with cantilever version.
Very nice !

Last edited by macstuff; 09-09-23 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 09-09-23, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by arty dave
Wow, hard to believe it's the same bike! Nice work! Where did the lovely swoopy chainguard come from? And the forks with the fancy chromed crown?
Thanks, truly, the only original parts are now the frame and crank/ chain wheel. All else are parts from my sheds and the local co-op, and of course a few new.
The fork came off a 60' Schwinn Continental and is French made. The Chainguard is a 1930s McCauley Wing.
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Old 09-09-23, 09:00 PM
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I mixed up a tub of oxalic acid and I have a pile of Sturmey Archer rear wheels from the co-op, sitting on the patio waiting for a quick dip to see if it improves the chrome rims (the hubs will not be dipped).

Somehow I was not able to work up the enthusiasm to complete this task tonight, so wish me luck tomorrow. I covered up the oxalic acid so birds and critters wouldn't get into it.
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Old 09-10-23, 10:55 AM
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What is the opinion regarding the stock Nicklin crankset from the Rudge Aero Clubman vs. a brighter Williams B100?
The Nicklin is fluted, 116bcd and possibly original to the bike, while the Williams is in much better condition.
The real issue I have with the Nicklin is that it has a 48 tooth ring and I really want to ride something smaller like a 44 tooth.
I’ve found limited information on the Nicklin cranks, though it would be nice to keep this on the Clubman as-original. I just can’t seem to find a proper 44 tooth ring which doesn’t cost more than the bike itself (granted, the bike was quite low priced.)
Anyway, opinions out there from those more in-the-know?
Thanks all!
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Old 09-10-23, 11:45 AM
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I rescued a 1965 Hercules from the front of the local supermarket, where it had been abandoned. It needs a new rear tire and tube, but outside of that, it seems ready to go. It may be a juvenile size, because the bars are narrow and I noticed that the seatpost is short. The seat-tube is 20 1/2" c-t. I should be able to ride it, but will probably sell it. I re-packed the headset and front hub. I'll get around to the pedals and rear hub. If I keep it, it'll make a nice spare.


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