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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 07-26-14, 09:03 AM
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Thanks, NormanF. Where I live (ride), a 3-speed is more than adequate and I love these old AW hubs. Have quite a few now.

I always like non-rim brakes. Took a trip to China this year and they have many bike share programs. These bikes have rear drum brakes. I should have bought some hubs there but I did not.

What is a good front drum brake hub for these English 3-speed bikes with narrow front spacing? Most of the new ones are spaced at 100 mm and there might be a way to narrow then by remove spacers but I have not seen one.

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Old 07-26-14, 09:19 AM
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Harris Cyclery should have front and rear drum brakes. The only drawback is they add a modest amount of weight to the bike but they have two advantages - they get around the issue of brake reach and they give the bike a cleaner look.

The AW hub is serviceable and you can get a new cable for the shifter but for me personally, the new generation of IGHs offers more range and the hub is lighter and stronger than those that came with the original 3 speed bikes. Your Hercules can run on 700 C, but be aware than the largest tires than can be mounted under fenders are 32 C. There is a greater tire choice available in a 700 C wheel set than in the 27".
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Old 07-26-14, 12:16 PM
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Just added this one to the collection...

1950/51 Shelby Traveler by Hercules, pretty much all there and in decent condition considering it has been sitting in an garage in the Deep South for the past 50 years.

Aaron

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Old 07-26-14, 09:10 PM
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These old AW hubs are amazing. The one on the 1963 Hercules was frozen. After some WD40 on the ball ring, I took the whole assembly out of the hub shell and soak it in mineral spirits. Fifteen minutes later, everything was moving and I can see globs of old grease loosening up. Other than a small fumble with one of the paw springs (had to use a magnet to detect that light land mine), this old AW is back to running condition. I saw Niagra restocked the 40 hole SUN CR18 rims so I have one coming to lace this one up.
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Old 07-26-14, 09:28 PM
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Drum brakes are also the most reliable. They go more miles between services than any other type.

And yeah, the AW is amazing. I still love working on them except for finagling the pawl springs in. As you experienced, bringing them back to life is a very rewarding experience.
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Old 07-27-14, 09:39 AM
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I remember wrapping monofilament fishing line around the pawls on the end and then sliding the internal assy. almost all the way in the pulling the string out. tom
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Old 07-27-14, 10:49 AM
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I was given a AW hub from some Schwinn bike. This one only has a two digit date code, along the width of the hub, and widely spaced. They look like a 6 and 9.

Anyway, I think I found a way to avoid the paw spring escape problem, after a long time fishing for the lost one in a different hub last night.

When I took out the assembly from the hub shell, I held the hub shell horizontal so the paw pins cannot fall out. Many instructions and videos say lift out the assemble straight up. That was when I lost one spring last night because the paw pin slid down.

Once the assembly is out and still in the horizontal position, I slide on a piece of cardboard with a center hole. Once the cardboard is on, hold it and then put the assembly in the vertical position and onto the vise. This could be a large fender washer or a small pice of thin wood with a hole drilled.

When insert the assembly into the hub shell, again, hold them horizontal.
Overhauling this one today was incident free.
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Old 07-27-14, 07:57 PM
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1937 Raleigh Sports Tourist

A Craigslist ad from July of 2014.

[h=2]1937 Men's Raleigh Sports 3-speed 23" frame - $150 (Brookline)[/h]For sale is a classic English-made men's Raleigh Sports Tourist from 1937. Size is the hard-to-find 23", which should fit folks from 5'9" to 6'2". Mostly original, including full chain case and stainless steel spokes, 26 x 1 3/8" wheels, caliper brakes, Terry saddle, rear Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub (marked AW-7), quadrant shifter, Raleigh rubber-block pedals, and rear spring-loaded rack. I've replaced the tires and tubes, and I don't think the grips are original, but otherwise it's the way it would have rolled out of the Nottingham factory over 75 years ago! The frame finish has plenty of scratches and scrapes, but the chromed parts will clean up well with some elbow grease. Mechanically this bike has been completely overhauled, rear hub works great, and it is ready for riding.
Firm price is $150 cash only, located in Brookline/Coolidge Corner.

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Old 07-27-14, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
the AW is amazing. I still love working on them except for finagling the pawl springs in.
Probably the only place where the SW hub is superior to the AW. SW hubs are incredibly easy to service, but they still suffer all the limitations of any SW hub.
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Old 07-27-14, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by PalmettoUpstate
1937 Raleigh Sports Tourist

A Craigslist ad from July of 2014.

[h=2]1937 Men's Raleigh Sports 3-speed 23" frame - $150 (Brookline)[/h]For sale is a classic English-made men's Raleigh Sports Tourist from 1937. Size is the hard-to-find 23", which should fit folks from 5'9" to 6'2". Mostly original, including full chain case and stainless steel spokes, 26 x 1 3/8" wheels, caliper brakes, Terry saddle, rear Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub (marked AW-7), quadrant shifter, Raleigh rubber-block pedals, and rear spring-loaded rack. I've replaced the tires and tubes, and I don't think the grips are original, but otherwise it's the way it would have rolled out of the Nottingham factory over 75 years ago! The frame finish has plenty of scratches and scrapes, but the chromed parts will clean up well with some elbow grease. Mechanically this bike has been completely overhauled, rear hub works great, and it is ready for riding.
Firm price is $150 cash only, located in Brookline/Coolidge Corner.

I am waiting until Monday before I call someone to go get that for me...

Aaron
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Old 07-28-14, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
Probably the only place where the SW hub is superior to the AW. SW hubs are incredibly easy to service, but they still suffer all the limitations of any SW hub.
Heh. In other words, deal with it. The pawl springs are hard to put in, but you only have to do it once every 40 years. In contrast with the SW, which, if I understand right, addressed this problem by having moon-shaped pawls that have no springs. I suppose the intention was that the pawls would swing back and forth from momentum, but that can only work if you can control the viscosity of the oil perfectly, which is, in retrospect, a preposterous hope.
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Old 07-28-14, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
Heh. In other words, deal with it. The pawl springs are hard to put in, but you only have to do it once every 40 years. In contrast with the SW, which, if I understand right, addressed this problem by having moon-shaped pawls that have no springs. I suppose the intention was that the pawls would swing back and forth from momentum, but that can only work if you can control the viscosity of the oil perfectly, which is, in retrospect, a preposterous hope.
If the SW had been designed with pawl springs it would have overcome many of the deficiencies in the hub... the design was sound and predates the AW but the execution was poor as it required much more exact tolerances and a higher level of machining quality which was not possible.

I have a few SW hubs that I have been meaning to rebuild or combine into one but they have languished in my shop for years...
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Old 07-28-14, 02:17 PM
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Though not really a great fan of three speed roadsters, I could not resist this lovely old and little used Raleigh Superbe...



Cosmetically, nice with some storage scratches and mechanically, almost unrideable due to one tiny broken plastic piece...



The light works great, powered by the SA dyno hub and, believe it or not, this old roadster actually came with the original key for the Raleigh fork lock...

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Old 07-28-14, 02:44 PM
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^^ I've said this before and it bears repeating: Don't leave the key in the fork- keep it on your key fob. If you leave it in the fork Bad Things Happen- the key in the lock frees the lock to move, which can allow the fork lock to engage the steering tube. If that happens while you are riding, you fall down instantly and without warning.
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Old 07-28-14, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by PalmettoUpstate
1937 Raleigh Sports Tourist

A Craigslist ad from July of 2014.

[h=2]1937 Men's Raleigh Sports 3-speed 23" frame - $150 (Brookline)[/h]For sale is a classic English-made men's Raleigh Sports Tourist from 1937. Size is the hard-to-find 23", which should fit folks from 5'9" to 6'2". Mostly original, including full chain case and stainless steel spokes, 26 x 1 3/8" wheels, caliper brakes, Terry saddle, rear Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub (marked AW-7), quadrant shifter, Raleigh rubber-block pedals, and rear spring-loaded rack. I've replaced the tires and tubes, and I don't think the grips are original, but otherwise it's the way it would have rolled out of the Nottingham factory over 75 years ago! The frame finish has plenty of scratches and scrapes, but the chromed parts will clean up well with some elbow grease. Mechanically this bike has been completely overhauled, rear hub works great, and it is ready for riding.
Firm price is $150 cash only, located in Brookline/Coolidge Corner.
If I lived closer it would be gone already...
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Old 07-28-14, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by NormanF
A new hub - 5 speed Sturmey Archer or 7 speed Shimano Nexus would give you a wider range gearing than the old 3 speed hub. Drum brakes would provide reliable all weather stopping power. And some pretty Honjo hammered fenders would really bring your Hercules back to life.
I really like the 7 speed Nexus on my Moulton as it has such even gear steps and the expanded gear range is also nice for a bicycle that sees a lot more varied terrain but my 3 speed Raleigh Sports (the bike that kicked off this thread) is also pretty wonderful and the simplicity of the AW cannot be overlooked.

That Raleigh also goes places... this was taken almost a year ago when I was on my way to the Heritage Festival and took the back way.

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Old 07-28-14, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
I am waiting until Monday before I call someone to go get that for me...

Aaron
Looks like a good one and what a nice addition to any collection. Good luck!
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Old 07-28-14, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver
If I lived closer it would be gone already...
Verily.

[drool]

Same here.
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Old 07-28-14, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
the SW, which, if I understand right, addressed this problem by having moon-shaped pawls that have no springs. I suppose the intention was that the pawls would swing back and forth from momentum, but that can only work if you can control the viscosity of the oil perfectly, which is, in retrospect, a preposterous hope.
Actually, ramps in the pawl ring cause the pawl to rock back and forth in a manner that engages the pawl ring with pedal pressure but over-rides the pawls when freewheeling. The biggest problem I encountered is that it can take a while for the pawls to engage, particularly in cold weather when several complete rotations of the crank may occur before they engage!

Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver
If the SW had been designed with pawl springs it would have overcome many of the deficiencies in the hub... the design was sound and predates the AW but the execution was poor as it required much more exact tolerances and a higher level of machining quality which was not possible.
Sheldon Brown's SW page describes a modification to the SW pawl ring to give it sprung pawls:



I have an SW with this modification and it does work -- for a while. The problem is that the pawl rocks back and forth on the flat spring and eventually wears through it, requiring replacement of the spring.

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Old 07-29-14, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
Actually, ramps in the pawl ring cause the pawl to rock back and forth in a manner that engages the pawl ring with pedal pressure but over-rides the pawls when freewheeling. The biggest problem I encountered is that it can take a while for the pawls to engage, particularly in cold weather when several complete rotations of the crank may occur before they engage!



Sheldon Brown's SW page describes a modification to the SW pawl ring to give it sprung pawls:



I have an SW with this modification and it does work -- for a while. The problem is that the pawl rocks back and forth on the flat spring and eventually wears through it, requiring replacement of the spring.
Sheldon and I talked about the SW... I liked his comment that SW stood for "seldom works" and the amount of extra work it takes to make them functional really isn't worth it when you can run an AW which stands for "always works".

Even latter day AW hubs of British origin, with their less than great workmanship, still provide great service although they are nothing like AW hubs from the 40's and late 50's which are noticeably smoother and when you open them up you can see how much nicer the machining was when the tooling was fresh.
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Old 07-29-14, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver
nothing like AW hubs from the 40's and late 50's which are noticeably smoother and when you open them up you can see how much nicer the machining was when the tooling was fresh.
Aha, that explains a lot. Also, I spoke with John S Allen about S-A hubs, back in 1981. Allen was one of Sheldon's friends. He said up until a certain year, they used "cyanide hardening" which I presume is a process for hardening steel using cyanide. Government regulation made that unavailable, perhaps for good reason, but hard steel is and was a good thing.
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Old 07-29-14, 08:42 AM
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This was posted a while ago on this thread and I wonder if anyone has experience with it.

Old English Style Men's model Roadster
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Old 07-29-14, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
Aha, that explains a lot. Also, I spoke with John S Allen about S-A hubs, back in 1981. Allen was one of Sheldon's friends. He said up until a certain year, they used "cyanide hardening" which I presume is a process for hardening steel using cyanide. Government regulation made that unavailable, perhaps for good reason, but hard steel is and was a good thing.
When Sunrace bought Sturmey Archer they thought they could use the tooling to build hubs... it was in such bad repair that they had to completely re-tool and with a little re-design the new AW has shown itself to be a very well made and reliable hub.

The 8 speed appears to be a little more finicky but then, you are dealing with a more complex hub while the 5 speed has been another success in that the design has been well proven over decades and is also simpler.
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Old 07-29-14, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver
When Sunrace bought Sturmey Archer they thought they could use the tooling to build hubs... it was in such bad repair that they had to completely re-tool and with a little re-design the new AW has shown itself to be a very well made and reliable hub.

The 8 speed appears to be a little more finicky but then, you are dealing with a more complex hub while the 5 speed has been another success in that the design has been well proven over decades and is also simpler.
This is good...I don't feel so bad about using a new hub now.
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Old 07-29-14, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by arex
This is good...I don't feel so bad about using a new hub now.
Not at all! The new Sturmey Archer makes products that are arguably better than the old company. The product diversity is huge. This is clearly a company of bike geeks. Take a look at the web site. Great stuff.

I have a new SA drum brake front hub. It's gorgeous, and it works well, too.
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Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
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