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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 12-25-14, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by adventurepdx
Velocivixen, here's a good one that's on Portland CL right now:
Classic Raleigh Sports Step-Through English Commuter Bike SHOP TUNED
I would take the Hercules over that one. It only has a coaster brake and no hand brakes. I would be interested to see which rear hub it has, if it is a TCW, I would replace ASAP or at least add hand brakes. Overall the Hercules is the better deal IMHO.

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Old 12-25-14, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Salubrious
Not a hijack- its spot on! You can often get the cone wrench on ebay. Its just a little thing.
Yup:

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Old 12-25-14, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
I would take the Hercules over that one. It only has a coaster brake and no hand brakes.
Good eye. I didn't pick that up initially. I need to stop searching Craigslist so late at night!
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Old 12-25-14, 02:43 PM
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So I've got an appointment to see the two Raleigh Sprites, essentially because they're not too far away. Friday morning. The Hercules owner said Fri. or Sat. morning, but I don't have phone or address - yet.

Im still, honestly, trying to figure out what type of bike I like best to ride.
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Old 12-25-14, 04:03 PM
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Even though those Sprites are not IGH, at least one of them could be - and if you don't want both of them, one sale could help pay for a rear wheel IGH rebuild. The Hercules is sweet though. Nothing wrong with N+3?
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Old 12-25-14, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
Im still, honestly, trying to figure out what type of bike I like best to ride.
That's why you have to collect them all!
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Old 12-26-14, 04:51 AM
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Can someone tell me the year of this Raleigh women's bike and a value….I am thinking about buying it for my girlfriend. Seller wants 100 for it.
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Old 12-26-14, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by DirtyD
Can someone tell me the year of this Raleigh women's bike and a value….I am thinking about buying it for my girlfriend. Seller wants 100 for it.
1973 or 1974

Worth whatever you are willing to pay for it. Though $100 doesn't seem unreasonable depending on condition and your location.

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Last edited by wahoonc; 12-26-14 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 12-26-14, 04:40 PM
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So...just for kicks I went to see the two 1973 Raleigh Sprites for sale since they were in my city. OMG. Whoever brazed/welded the lugs to the tubes was careless and/or Raleigh quality control at the time was horrible. On the step through the top tube to seat tube lug looked like I could get a fingernail between it. Both the head tube lugs were sloppy with lots of left over flux/solder or whatever you call it was squished up then painted over. Really, really bad. Please tell me that Raleigh had better quality control than that. Were these bikes that low on the lineup as to warrant such disregard for craftsmanship??? I had no intention of buying unless they were outstanding....and they weren't.

Will go see the Hercules this weekend. Seller keeps jacking the price up/down though. What's up with that!?
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Old 12-26-14, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
Whoever brazed/welded the lugs to the tubes was careless and/or Raleigh quality control at the time was horrible. Please tell me that Raleigh had better quality control than that.
Having been responsible for all assembly at one of the nation's oldest and largest bike shops during the "bike boom" years Quality on many now venerable marques was truly hit and miss if not downright awful. Labor unrest, the push for maximum production to meet demand, old production processes and indifferent management were all to blame for some truly miserable product getting to our door from most British and European brands. Some was good, some not.

Sprites were a particular misery get into saleable condition, while Sports generally were not. It was as if Record frames that failed QC were assigned to Sprite-hood. My advice to customers: Buy a Schwinn Suburban. Schwinn quality from Chicago was very good, although the product was in short supply.

My mechanics would mysteriously disappear when a truck pulled up with Peugeots in battered crumbling packing cartons that would not survive a trip across town let alone an Atlantic crossing and the tender mercies of Teamster transport. Missing parts boxes, taco'd wheels and battered paintjobs were the norm. Motobecane was a step up in all respects from other Euro brands, except availability.

When the Japanese mfgs. entered the market with great design, exceptional quality control, excellent components, lovely paint and packaged to arrive in pristine condition we simply gave up on the moderate price point Euro bikes and never looked back.

Beware Rose Tinted glasses in acquiring C&V machines, pay close attention as you have and be prepared to politely walk away......

-Bandera
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Old 12-26-14, 06:52 PM
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@Bandera- th is for sharing your insights & experience. It makes sense now. I was just surprised. The seller did have the bike serviced 90 days ago, but couldn't tell me of the bb had been done. Cables & housings were new. Those Sprites had every nut & tiny part branded with the Raleigh stylized "R". Overkill for my tastes. The Huret Allivit rear derailleurs were something to behold - like 6" long!
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Old 12-26-14, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
@Bandera- th is for sharing your insights & experience. It makes sense now. I was just surprised. The seller did have the bike serviced 90 days ago, but couldn't tell me of the bb had been done. Cables & housings were new. Those Sprites had every nut & tiny part branded with the Raleigh stylized "R". Overkill for my tastes. The Huret Allivit rear derailleurs were something to behold - like 6" long!
If they were assembled by a good shop they were perfectly serviceable, although rough in aesthetics "back when", we made them work warts and all.
Sprites were humble derailleur fare for an American commuter market that really didn't exist "back when" and a bit of a puzzle for Nottingham and the US bike shops. If totally overhauled they would be very basic transportation and of no real interest to mechanics/riders of my generation: Think Rambler Ambassador.

Sports were dependable, if somewhat pedestrian and ill-suited to much American terrain, but they were good solid machines and have a peculiar charm of their own. Think Rural Pastor en route to Miss Marple's for tea. Of course the Pastor would have to walk up my hills in his sensible brogues.......Take careful look at that AW equipped Hercules, it might be Miss Marples' personal machine,,,,,,,,,

-Bandera

Last edited by Bandera; 12-26-14 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 12-26-14, 09:06 PM
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Bandera is right. Quality control was not good. Raleigh and Peugeot were particularly bad, and with the brazing, Raleigh was the worst.
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Old 12-26-14, 09:24 PM
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Ah, ok. So what 3 speeds might be a nicer step up from say, Miss Marple's machine or such? I see some Austrian made for Sears, etc. but I have no clue who made those. I just searched "3 speed" on CL. I don't want a racing bike, but I also don't want something so bucolic. I'm physically fit and like something that's zippy & responsive, yet stable and comfortable.
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Old 12-26-14, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by adventurepdx
Since we got Canada on the phone...I'm heading up to Vancouver BC for three days around the new year (Tues-Wed-Thurs). And I'll be bringing my three speed. Any Vancouver area three speeders interested in a ride? Maybe 'round the Seawall or something along those lines? Please let me know!
Rats, I'll be away those days. But that sounds like a good idea.
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Old 12-27-14, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
Ah, ok. So what 3 speeds might be a nicer step up from say, Miss Marple's machine or such? I see some Austrian made for Sears, etc. but I have no clue who made those. I just searched "3 speed" on CL. I don't want a racing bike, but I also don't want something so bucolic. I'm physically fit and like something that's zippy & responsive, yet stable and comfortable.
I think you will find the Hercules to be of a bit better build quality. The thing about the Raleighs is no matter how ugly the frame detail, they are durable. If you want a light weight zippy three speed you will probably have to build it yourself. I find my 1972 Superbe to be a very comfortable and enjoyable ride, however it IS NOT particularly light weight, zippy? but it is stable and to me extremely comfortable. For a Cadillac ride I have my DL-1 rod braked Tourist, slow to accelerate and slow to stop, but once up to speed it rolls right along.

Aaron
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Old 12-27-14, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
I don't want a racing bike, but I also don't want something so bucolic. I'm physically fit and like something that's zippy & responsive, yet stable and comfortable.
As noted in a current thread on "Modernizing" a Raleigh Sports for lighter weight/performance in my opinion it's a waste of time/effort/$ since the Sports frame is a plootering about design. Think Rambler Ambassador: heavy solid and very slow no matter what one does to it.

The virtues of a SA IGH can be easily incorporated into a light lively frameset with character, charm and reasonable performance.
The British did it with the Classic Clubman bikes where 531 frames, light wheels and clearance for mudguards were mated to SA IGH hubs to produce a machine that meets your requirements. 65'er has pics in this sub-forum of his lovely OEM clubman.



Since this design is "obsolete" and finding a good one on this side of the Atlantic is a thin hope the resourceful C&V enthusiast simply "rolls their own".
Here's mine:



The recipe: Find a classic British 531 bike that fits, Raleigh Super Course, Gran(d) Sport, Competition and such.
Remove the derailleur bits & bobs and the outer chainring.
Install the IGH laced to an alloy rim of your choice and have at it.
Town bars, mudguards, a bell and tweed cap optional.

-Bandera
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Last edited by Bandera; 12-27-14 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 12-27-14, 08:53 AM
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I took a 1975 Viscount and put a 3-speed fixed gear hub on it. Total weight was about 23 pounds. I decided I didn't need 3 speeds for that type of rising, so I sold the hub and made the bike a one-speed fixed gear.

Raleigh bought most other English bike companies in 1960, and thereafter, they made sure that the finest model had the name Raleigh on it. As @wahoonc says, some brands may have been nicer, such as Hercules or Philips, but that was before 1960. My favorite is the Rudge.

If you want something lighter or spritelier, you need to build it. Be careful, though, because you pretty much have it already in your Motobécane, except it has derailleurs. You could try building a 3-speed wheel for it. But for spritely riding, I prefer derailleurs. Big gaps between gears call for slower riding. And of course, IGHs are heavy.

If you want to build a new bike with a 3-speed, look for a Raleigh International frame or something similar. It has a so-called sport-touring geometry, which is the kind you can ride all day slow or fast. It's a great platform for all kinds of builds. But no one made a sub-30 pound 3-speed, as far as I know.
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Old 12-27-14, 08:56 AM
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Great post, @Bandera. I wrote mine before seeing yours.

Originally Posted by Bandera
Town bars, mudguards, a bell and tweed cap optional.

-Bandera
I disagree. All of these are mandatory.
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Old 12-27-14, 10:23 AM
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In the "build yer own" posse, I have a Dawes Galaxy from around 1977 that is going to be my "Clubman". I ride tall frames 62cm-65cm road frames, XL in modern frames. A 23" Raleigh is okay so a 25.5" Dawes has to be better. There are a lot of frames from the 60's and 70's that would make ideal 3 speed conversions. FWIW my Clubman is actually going to be a 4 speed or 5 speed depending on which hub I decide to lace up.

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Old 12-27-14, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
no one made a sub-30 pound 3-speed, as far as I know.
So, I guess I did ok getting my Nishiki 3 speed conversion down to 28 LB?
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Old 12-27-14, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Bandera
As noted in a current thread on "Modernizing" a Raleigh Sports for lighter weight/performance in my opinion it's a waste of time/effort/$ since the Sports frame is a plootering about design. Think Rambler Ambassador: heavy solid and very slow no matter what one does to it.
I agree that if you want to make a "zippy" three speed, the best way is to take a a 70s/80s road frame with cro-moly tubing and make it a three speed. But call me crazy: I never felt like my three speed Raleigh was particularly slow and "plootering". No, it isn't a fast bike, but I never feel like I'm riding a dog. And yes, Portland has some hills. Maybe because I'm not a lightweight bike kinda guy? Maybe because I'm not lightweight?

And while modernizing a Sports bike might be a "waste of time" from a reducing weight standpoint, I do believe there are performance benefits to some bits of modernization. Alloy rims definitely stop better in the rain (which happens in Portland!) Getting a bigger rear cog helps with the hills.
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Old 12-27-14, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
But no one made a sub-30 pound 3-speed, as far as I know.
Oh, except for the Raleigh Clubman, 50s Lenton Sports, and just about every other English-made club bike before and after WWII.
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Old 12-27-14, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
Oh, except for the Raleigh Clubman, 50s Lenton Sports, and just about every other English-made club bike before and after WWII.
Big oops! I know much too little about pre-1960 bikes, so I forget entirely the little I do know.

There wasn't a sub-30-pound 3-speed made after 1960, was there?

I saw @photogravity's Norman here on BF and wasn't impressed, but then I had the privilege of seeing it in the flesh, or rather, in the iron, I guess. It is a fine bicycle, and pictures didn't do it justice.
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Old 12-27-14, 12:34 PM
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Excellent information all - thank you! At this point, then I will look and test ride. Hard to describe "zippy", but I will know if it feels good when I ride it.

The he person selling the Hercules seems to be very ......not sure what to call it. They email and give possible days/timelines as to when I can see, but when I ask for specific location they hedge around. I'm not desperate....just want something to do.
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