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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 02-11-16, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
Ok, so I keep it, perhaps make some aluminum wheels or just ride when dry, and love it for what it is.
There you go! Definitely build up the aluminum wheels. I've done that mod to my teenage daughter's 1963 Dunelt and, along with a comfy modern saddle, Portuguese cork grips, and Kool Stop salmon brake pads, transformed what she described as a "rickety old bike" into something she wants to ride and is proud to be seen on.

I may be opening myself up for ridicule here, but have you read the blog Lovely Bicycle? Lovely Bicycle!

Besides being a brilliant photographer, this lady writes a compelling case for the qualities of cycling that don't revolve around the newer! lighter! faster! more! marketing mantra. She writes about things that last, things made by hand, things that are beautiful because they are useful and well-engineered. In short, she writes about Quality.

I have incorporated a lot of her ideas into the bikes that I build now, and I've been very happy with the results. So yeah, broaden your horizons on ye olde English 3-speed. With the proper mods to improve ride quality, and proper setup of shifting and brakes, you may be surprised at how much much fun they are.
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Old 02-11-16, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by adventurepdx
That's a beautiful DL-1! Not that I need another bike, but wouldn't mind finding a DL-1. Just worry that it would be too big for me.
Thanks for the compliment. I am rather proud of how it turned out. They did make different size frames for these - I've heard of a 22-inch, for sure. The limiting feature to how small they can go are those enormous wheels. FWIW, I cannot touch the ground with both feet when I straddle the top tube. To start off, I step down on the left pedal and swing my right leg over the saddle, just like I did with big bikes when I was a kid. Once I am in the saddle, the fit is just fine.

P.S.
(Oh, and I really like your blog too.)

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Old 02-11-16, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by DQRider
P.S. (Oh, and I really like your blog too.)
Well, thanks!

And since I see that you are from Minnesota, are you heading to Lake Pepin this May?
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Old 02-11-16, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by adventurepdx
Well, thanks!

And since I see that you are from Minnesota, are you heading to Lake Pepin this May?
Indeed I am. I seem to have fallen in with a bunch of "Nutters" here, besotted with the mystique of Sturmey Archer. Fellows with titles like "Shirt Tail Organizer" and "The Blind Lord of Kent" are guiding me down the path of internal gear righteousness.

Actually, now you mention it, I need a room-mate at the Big River Lodge. $40 gets you half a room with your own twin bed, if you're interested. - Sorry, we seem to have wandered away from the thread here.
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Old 02-11-16, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DQRider
Actually, now you mention it, I need a room-mate at the Big River Lodge. $40 gets you half a room with your own twin bed, if you're interested. - Sorry, we seem to have wandered away from the thread here.
No worries! Yep, I did see that room offer on the GC list, but thanks for reminding me. I think I'm going to camp in Wabasha this year, as I've stayed indoors the last two years and would like to see what the camping is like. Plus, it's free. And I'm pondering riding down from Minneapolis and camping on the way there. But I'm still thinking about everything, and will keep your offer in mind if you haven't found someone else yet.

Now back to talking about new alloy wheels for @Velocivixen's Sports...
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Old 02-11-16, 06:31 PM
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I'm building new aluminum wheels (with stainless spokes) for a Raleigh Sports I paid 25$ for... the previous owner must have been a gorilla 'cos the chainstays were squished with a kickstand. I've upgraded it to a Pletscher two-leg model. It's a nice score though, it has a dynohub and the lights as well as the original rack on it. I am not sure what size it is but I find it a bit on the big side so I am not sure if I will keep it or not. Many of the three speeds I see in my area have seriously rusted rims. I might also upgrade the brakes and levers since they aren't really that great.
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Old 02-12-16, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by clasher
I'm building new aluminum wheels (with stainless spokes) for a Raleigh Sports I paid 25$ for... the previous owner must have been a gorilla 'cos the chainstays were squished with a kickstand. I've upgraded it to a Pletscher two-leg model. It's a nice score though, it has a dynohub and the lights as well as the original rack on it. I am not sure what size it is but I find it a bit on the big side so I am not sure if I will keep it or not. Many of the three speeds I see in my area have seriously rusted rims. I might also upgrade the brakes and levers since they aren't really that great.
Alloy rims and modern brakes will make a noticeable improvement. I like Tektro 800A brakes. They fit perfectly and give you a bit more mechanical advantage than the originals.
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Old 02-12-16, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by I may be opening myself up for ridicule here, but have you read the blog Lovely Bicycle? [URL="https://lovelybike.blogspot.com/"
Lovely Bicycle![/URL]

Besides being a brilliant photographer, this lady writes a compelling case for the qualities of cycling that don't revolve around the newer! lighter! faster! more! marketing mantra. She writes about things that last, things made by hand, things that are beautiful because they are useful and well-engineered. In short, she writes about Quality.

I have incorporated a lot of her ideas into the bikes that I build now, and I've been very happy with the results. So yeah, broaden your horizons on ye olde English 3-speed. With the proper mods to improve ride quality, and proper setup of shifting and brakes, you may be surprised at how much much fun they are.
I also check out the Lovely Bicycle blog from time-to-time. I agree with you.
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Old 02-12-16, 07:45 AM
  #9534  
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Originally Posted by BigChief
Alloy rims and modern brakes will make a noticeable improvement. I like Tektro 800A brakes. They fit perfectly and give you a bit more mechanical advantage than the originals.
Yeah, I've done a couple of conversions and it made for a nice bike. I usually convert the derailleur geared 27" Raleighs into 700c 3 speeds. The tektro brakes are nice for step-through frames because the cable stop can be swapped to the bottom arm easier than most brakes.
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Old 02-12-16, 07:55 AM
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Here's a reasonably original '69 23" Superbe for sale at a decent price in Boston:

L@@K! 1969 Men's Raleigh Supurbe
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Old 02-12-16, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
Alloy rims and modern brakes will make a noticeable improvement. I like Tektro 800A brakes. They fit perfectly and give you a bit more mechanical advantage than the originals.
Funny you should mention the Tektro 800A brakes now - I've just ordered a set of R559s with similar reach dimensions. Converting an old Gitane 27-inch to 700c, I find the reach I need is 65mm rear and 67mm front, so either would work. I couldn't find 800A at Harris, or Amazon, or any of my usual sources; but I did just find them at "modernbike.com" for $22. It looks like the only differences are R559s reach 53-73mm and the 800As reach 61-78mm, and the R559s also have a quick-release feature, which makes flat-fixing or changing tires easier. However, I paid $61 for a set, so they are a bit more expensive.

So yeah, better brakes and lighter wheels definitely improve these old bikes - just make sure you keep the originals for if/when you decide to sell. Some people are kind of persnickety about that.

edit - Oh, I just realized that the $22 was for a PAIR of the 800As, so the R559s are almost 3x as much. Wow.

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Old 02-12-16, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by DQRider
Funny you should mention the Tektro 800A brakes now - I've just ordered a set of R559s with similar reach dimensions. Converting an old Gitane 27-inch to 700c, I find the reach I need is 65mm rear and 67mm front, so either would work. I couldn't find 800A at Harris, or Amazon, or any of my usual sources; but I did just find them at "modernbike.com" for $22. It looks like the only differences are R559s reach 53-73mm and the 800As reach 61-78mm, and the R559s also have a quick-release feature, which makes flat-fixing or changing tires easier. However, I paid $61 for a set, so they are a bit more expensive.

So yeah, better brakes and lighter wheels definitely improve these old bikes - just make sure you keep the originals for if/when you decide to sell. Some people are kind of persnickety about that.

edit - Oh, I just realized that the $22 was for a PAIR of the 800As, so the R559s are almost 3x as much. Wow.
Also, the 800As have left side cable attachment like the originals and come in silver so they don't spoil the vintage look.
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Old 02-12-16, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
Here's a reasonably original '69 23" Superbe for sale at a decent price in Boston:

L@@K! 1969 Men's Raleigh Supurbe
That is possibly one of the best three speed deals I've seen on a big city CL!
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Old 02-12-16, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
Here's a reasonably original '69 23" Superbe for sale at a decent price in Boston:

L@@K! 1969 Men's Raleigh Supurbe
And for others to easily see, it's a 1969 Superbe with dynohub and cracked Brooks B72 for just $150.
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Old 02-12-16, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by adventurepdx
And for others to easily see, it's a 1969 Superbe with dynohub and cracked Brooks B72 for just $150.
Large frame + 2
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Old 02-12-16, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by clasher
I'm building new aluminum wheels (with stainless spokes) for a Raleigh Sports I paid 25$ for... the previous owner must have been a gorilla 'cos the chainstays were squished with a kickstand. I've upgraded it to a Pletscher two-leg model. It's a nice score though, it has a dynohub and the lights as well as the original rack on it. I am not sure what size it is but I find it a bit on the big side so I am not sure if I will keep it or not. Many of the three speeds I see in my area have seriously rusted rims. I might also upgrade the brakes and levers since they aren't really that great.
Are you using washers with the new spokes to take up the extra length at the head?
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Old 02-12-16, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
Also, the 800As have left side cable attachment like the originals and come in silver so they don't spoil the vintage look.
Like these?



That's the R559, similar to what you are describing. I think the price difference comes down to finish quality and QR functionality. But to be honest, I didn't even know about the 800A until I read your post. The extra forty bucks may have come in handy...
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Old 02-12-16, 12:02 PM
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@BigChief - I bought the 800a brakes for my Raleigh Twenty to use as a rear brake. My issue is that the cable routing on a step through bike has the cable entering from the bottom of the caliper going up vs top down. The 800's can be slightly modified so the barrel stop (Not sure this is the actual name of this part) area & cable pinch bolt can be reversed to allow a bottoms up routing. There are problems though. There's a piece of metal, in this configuration, that is in the way, so, if you had a QR, or if you undo the cable won't open all the way. This means you have to deflate the tire in order to remove it.

The other big issue is the cable routing angle between the barrel stop & pinch bolt is very steep.


I love the Tektro 559 brakes. Yes, they spoil the vintage look to the bike, but one of the Mai things I don't like about riding vintage three speeds is poor braking and fear of the dreaded shift cable maladjustment where you get between 2nd & 3rd and you're just spinning. It's happened to me despite knowing how to adjust, etc. and it's quite alarming.

If I decide to build new wheels I may get a new SA 3-speed hub so not have to worry about it.

Edit: I don't recommend the Tektro 800 brakes. They look cheesy and the long arms are very flexy. I thought they would provide at least a little better braking than the originals and they don't.
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Old 02-12-16, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
@BigChief - I bought the 800a brakes for my Raleigh Twenty to use as a rear brake. My issue is that the cable routing on a step through bike has the cable entering from the bottom of the caliper going up vs top down. The 800's can be slightly modified so the barrel stop (Not sure this is the actual name of this part) area & cable pinch bolt can be reversed to allow a bottoms up routing. There are problems though. There's a piece of metal, in this configuration, that is in the way, so, if you had a QR, or if you undo the cable won't open all the way. This means you have to deflate the tire in order to remove it.

The other big issue is the cable routing angle between the barrel stop & pinch bolt is very steep.


I love the Tektro 559 brakes. Yes, they spoil the vintage look to the bike, but one of the Mai things I don't like about riding vintage three speeds is poor braking and fear of the dreaded shift cable maladjustment where you get between 2nd & 3rd and you're just spinning. It's happened to me despite knowing how to adjust, etc. and it's quite alarming.

If I decide to build new wheels I may get a new SA 3-speed hub so not have to worry about it.

Edit: I don't recommend the Tektro 800 brakes. They look cheesy and the long arms are very flexy. I thought they would provide at least a little better braking than the originals and they don't.
I'm going to disagree with you on this one...I think...I can't say if they stop the bike any faster than the originals, if that's what you mean. I only notice that they don't require as much hand pressure on the levers than the originals.
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Old 02-12-16, 04:43 PM
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@BigChief - you are actually correct. I was being too "all or none" in my thinking. The 800's were a bit better, with less lever squeeze required. I guess I'd hoped they would be super fabulous at stopping me and they weren't.
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Old 02-12-16, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow
Are you using washers with the new spokes to take up the extra length at the head?
I had to use 2 washers per spoke. BTW did you receive my envelope?
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Old 02-12-16, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
@BigChief - you are actually correct. I was being too "all or none" in my thinking. The 800's were a bit better, with less lever squeeze required. I guess I'd hoped they would be super fabulous at stopping me and they weren't.
What is interesting to me is that you have tried both and have a strong preference for the R559. I see now that you can get these in silver and they are nice looking. Personally, I wouldn't mind right side cable mounts. I would route the cables English style (right hand front) so I wouldn't have to cross the frame and it would look neater. The rod brakes on my DL-1 are that way and I'm quite used to it. I think I'll give the 559s a try on my Rudge.
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Old 02-12-16, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Narhay
I had to use 2 washers per spoke. BTW did you receive my envelope?
As you ask, I am opening the mail. Had it with me for some days.

Thought I had to go to the bank... Appreciated !

PM to you.
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Old 02-12-16, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow
Are you using washers with the new spokes to take up the extra length at the head?
Ya I buy m2 stainless washers at my local fastener store for a few bucks for a 1000 pack. They work wonderful and hard to notice.
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Old 02-13-16, 08:36 AM
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I assume this is a somewhat rare BSA folding bike.
Toronto Kijiji @ $150.
BSA FOLDING BIKE | other | City of Toronto | Kijiji
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