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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 03-20-24, 06:43 AM
  #27901  
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That kind of find is worth building a whole bike around….😎


Oh BTW: the 49 AW on my Humber was also missing the oiler cap: I had understood the filler to be screwed in but mine was somehow peened in place. So I had to improvise and used a tiny rubber stopper for a cap. Took a few tries to get the length right but that stopper has stayed in place for years.

Last edited by markk900; 03-20-24 at 06:46 AM.
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Old 03-20-24, 07:31 AM
  #27902  
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There was a period in the late 1940s and perhaps into the very start of the 1950s where Sturmey used a press-in oiler. These were a capless oiler that relied on a pliable lining that would flex to allow the oil bottle nozzle in, and then return to a closed position when the nozzle was removed. These oilers are made of brass and pressed into place. The hole in the hub shell is not threaded. Inside the hub, the oiler has a swaged lip that pinches it in place so that it doesn't fall back out while the wheel is turning or upside down.

The problem is these oilers don't work very well. The lining becomes petrified and shrinks over time. Because the hole is not threaded, you are unable to simply replace it with a normal, threaded oiler cap. Options are to leave it alone and convert the hub entirely to thin grease, leave it alone and make sure you always park with the oiler at 12 o'clock on the wheel (it will still leak a little while riding), or replace/add a rubber stopper. If you have the tools and knowledge, you could also drill and tap the hole to accept a modern oiler or threaded plug.

Sturmey only used these oilers for a few years, and apparently not on all of the hubs. Some hubs still had thread-in conventional metal oil caps. Other oilers were used around this period, including one with a ball bearing and spring that looks a lot like a zerk grease nipple (at least those sealed and were threaded-in).
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Old 03-20-24, 08:00 AM
  #27903  
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The lubricator that came in my "Patented" AW was the little brass one with the (no longer) pliable lip seal for the tip of the oil can - but mine was threaded in. I replaced it with an S545.

Because it was threaded in, I've wondered if it was aftermarket, but I haven't found any evidence that these were available separately. I've also wondered if I could pull it apart without destroying it and replace the seal with modern material.

Last edited by tcs; 03-20-24 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 03-21-24, 03:41 PM
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I found both of these, a '55 ladies Elswick and a '65 mens Hercules. I gave them what they needed. The Hercules only needed new tubes,tires and a saddle. The saddle that was on it had no springs, just metal plate underneath. I gave both bikes Serfas gel saddles. The Ladies bike needed a little bit more; tubes, tires, saddle, new brake pads, front bulb and new hand grips. I gave it a bell, as well. Everything regreased with new bearings. After I make some gear and brake adjustments, I'll get them posted on Craigslist. These will be fun riders at the beach.




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Old 03-24-24, 07:08 AM
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I learned long ago that you can put oil in where the indicator chain goes in. Is this not true?
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Old 03-24-24, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I learned long ago that you can put oil in where the indicator chain goes in. Is this not true?
No...or yes. Uh, right, anyway, you can put oil in the hollow axle.
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Old 03-24-24, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I learned long ago that you can put oil in where the indicator chain goes in. Is this not true?
I do that often because the later plastic oil fillers often break when you open them. The hub takes so little oil that it's easy to put a teaspoon in the axle end.
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Old 03-24-24, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I learned long ago that you can put oil in where the indicator chain goes in. Is this not true?
In that case, on my hub the 'open' brass oil port can be threaded and a BA screw and fibre washer fitted.
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Old 03-26-24, 04:02 PM
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I’m on a train about a half hour from picking up my new Sports 3. Ta-Dah! (1971, 23”)
I had an old rusty one for years as my daily rider, but one fork blade finally dropped right out of the crown during a tire change. It died an honest death after a lifetime of hard work.
I then rode a 3-speed Miyata Commuter, which is a pretty rare bird and a high quality bike. That one also died eventually. The city took its toll on it.
I’m happy to be getting back onto a Raleigh Sports.
And this one has a 23” frame, which is my size.
My last Sports was too small for me, but still great while it lasted.
Wish me luck!
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Old 03-26-24, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
I found both of these, a '55 ladies Elswick and a '65 mens Hercules.
Beautiful!

Have you considered a 24 tooth rear cog to lower the whole gear range? I do understand trying to minimize input of parts/money though when the intent is to sell.
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Old 03-26-24, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by woodrupjoe
I then rode a 3-speed Miyata Commuter,
Wow! I assume that had a shimano 3 speed in the back? Have any pics handy?

My current daily driver is a Miyata with a Sturmey 5 speed in the back (1969 S-5), but I've also run it with a Sturmey S3C coaster brake 3 speed, but my legs aren't capable of the benevolence required for all the teeth to stay on the sun gear in those hubs, it seems that the heat treating process wasn't up to snuff on that sun gear as it is part of the axle, not pinned to the axle like an AW. I do go out on hard fast rides on this Miyata, I've wrecked three S3C's and I've now given up on them, the S5 has better internals and hasn't been an issue so far.

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Old 03-26-24, 05:10 PM
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“Wow! I assume that had a shimano 3 speed in the back? Have any pics handy?”

I think it was a Shimano 3-speed hub.
I’ll find a picture.
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Old 03-26-24, 05:16 PM
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Mine was missing only the headlight/generator and the rear rack when I got it, and with a slightly different seat. But it was in great shape.
They weren’t cheap when new in the 80s. They went for the same price as some of the nicer bikes in their lineup.

edit: The handlebars were beautiful!
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Old 03-26-24, 05:26 PM
  #27914  
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Originally Posted by woodrupjoe
Beautiful! That is a Shimano 3 speed.

Here is a better pic of my restomod Miyata, when it was still coaster brake 3 speed, and I made the fender gap more uniform since then. It has a full chromoly frame, hi-ten fork, Mavic open pro rims, campy cranks, I have bikes that are a lot faster than this one, but I absolutely love this bike to pieces!


Last edited by jackbombay; 03-26-24 at 05:27 PM. Reason: details
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Old 03-27-24, 01:33 PM
  #27915  
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1973/74 Ladies' Superbe
This one came back to me last week. The owner never rode it and it's been gathering dust
in a garage for the past 10 years or so.

Its seriously one of the most original bikes I've had.


The original "R" nuts are all intact.

Original cables all intact.

It does have the much maligned self adjusting brakes.
When it went out the last time I installed new tubes/tires/brakes and a new chain.
I've poured some heavy oil down the seat tube as I don't want to attempt to
get those cotter pins out and take the chance, of ruining the nuts....
There's a young woman down the street who's been asking me about a bike, so I'll
let her have a look. I'm worried that it will be too heavy for her.
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Old 03-27-24, 06:26 PM
  #27916  
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Originally Posted by jackbombay
...my legs aren't capable of the benevolence required for all the teeth to stay on the sun gear in those hubs, it seems that the heat treating process wasn't up to snuff on that sun gear as it is part of the axle, not pinned to the axle like an AW.
Fun fact: Since 2001, Sturmey has fitted the AW-NIG/SRF3 with the HSA440/HSA621 one-piece forged axle with integral sun gear (axle interchangeable with the AW). This is the part you get if you source a spare for repair. The Sturmey Intelegencia considers this to be an upgrade as it is more durable.
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Old 03-27-24, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
Fun fact: Since 2001, Sturmey has fitted the AW-NIG/SRF3 with the HSA440/HSA621 one-piece forged axle with integral sun gear (axle interchangeable with the AW). This is the part you get if you source a spare for repair. The Sturmey Intelegencia considers this to be an upgrade as it is more durable.
The Axle for the s3c is different than the AW to be able to fit the coaster brake in the hub. All the gears are narrower which makes it easier to strip teeth off the sun gear. I've hammered on some AW hubs and never had issue with them, but I am also not a big guy, 160 -165 pounds typically.
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Old 03-28-24, 04:44 AM
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Ladies' Superbe
This one came back to me last week. The owner never rode it and it's been gathering dust..

It does have the much maligned self adjusting brakes.
(edit: the above is a quote. I don’t know why the quote balloon didn’t work.)


I had my new Sports partially disassembled last night, repacking the gummed up headset. (Other bearings seem really smooth)
I noticed how wonky those brakes are, mine has the same. New to me.

That’s a beautiful Superbe!

Last edited by woodrupjoe; 03-28-24 at 05:17 AM.
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Old 03-28-24, 05:25 AM
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Regarding those “self correcting” brakes:
Is the black plastic housing on the front of the brake handle something that’s been added to the standard (prior model) brake handle? Or was the entire brake handle redesigned?
Can the plastic portion simply be removed?

I haven’t messed around with the brakes at all yet, but I’m not crazy about how much the plastic portion moves around while braking, and the weird “clicking” sensation at the same time.
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Old 03-28-24, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by jackbombay
Beautiful!

Have you considered a 24 tooth rear cog to lower the whole gear range? I do understand trying to minimize input of parts/money though when the intent is to sell.
That is a fair suggestion. I'll remember to mention that option to whomever buys one (or two). Not many around here (that I know of) are familiar with working on these S/A hubs, so I would most-likely be the one doing the work for them. Fortunately or un-fortunately, when I bought my Rudge about 5 years ago, the sprocket had some how managed to work its way off the hub, so I have a bit of experience with the gear.
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Old 03-28-24, 06:06 AM
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Those self adjusting plastic bits can be removed from the lever, as there is a simple U shaped wire which holds them on. The wire is popped to the side, offending plastic part removed, wire unhooked from the lever body, then a standard stepped ferrule is put on the body to hold the cable housing. It was standard procedure to intentionally remove those plastic pieces at my last shop because they crack and simply don't work well 50 years later.
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Old 03-28-24, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by gster
1973/74 Ladies' Superbe
This one came back to me last week. The owner never rode it and it's been gathering dust
in a garage for the past 10 years or so.

Its seriously one of the most original bikes I've had.


The original "R" nuts are all intact.

Original cables all intact.

It does have the much maligned self adjusting brakes.
When it went out the last time I installed new tubes/tires/brakes and a new chain.
I've poured some heavy oil down the seat tube as I don't want to attempt to
get those cotter pins out and take the chance, of ruining the nuts....
There's a young woman down the street who's been asking me about a bike, so I'll
let her have a look. I'm worried that it will be too heavy for her.
She really likes the bike so I'm going to do a little bit of work on it and
hand it off early next week.
She has a Raleigh Folder currently and will probably leave that with me.
Glad to see it going to a good home
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Old 03-28-24, 08:35 AM
  #27923  
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Common 1970s era Raleigh 3 speeds are still a good value bike.

With the self-adjusters, if they don't work right, pull them. If they're working, you can leave them. Many people find they aren't working and remove them. The set on my 1974 Sports has worked fine in the 21 years I've had the 50-year-old bike. Sometimes you luck out and have a working set.
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Old 03-28-24, 01:44 PM
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Thanks for the info about those brakes.
When I change the brake cables I’ll have a look at those levers and see if I can make them work properly. They seem to have a lot of movement while braking, but otherwise work ok.
They look clean and undamaged, so maybe it’s an adjustment issue.
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Old 03-28-24, 05:36 PM
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I've always wanted an Elswick ever since I discovered how useful and addictive the internet could be via Sheldon Brown's website. His first 'real' bike was an Elswick Hopper iirc.

Originally Posted by 1989Pre
I found both of these, a '55 ladies Elswick and a '65 mens Hercules.

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