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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 02-13-16, 09:00 AM
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Old 02-13-16, 10:45 AM
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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?
Almost missed this one, with all that talk about brakes. Now, I've read about this somewhere; probably something by the late, lamented Sheldon Brown. Do the washers really make that much of a difference? I've built 3 wheels now for these old English 3-speeds, and haven't used washers in any of them. Of course, I haven't really ridden any of them since I finished the wheels, either. Winter intervened.

So can I expect wheels that constantly go out-of-round due to loosened spokes now? See, the thing is, I have never seen washers on spokes that come with bikes from the factory. Can someone please explain that to me?
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Old 02-13-16, 10:51 AM
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Modern spokes are designed to go through aluminum flanges. So the hook area is longer on a spoke. The steel flange that is on a SA hub is skinny so that leaves extra space left on the spoke bend unsupported. Suppose to increase stress on the spoke.
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Old 02-13-16, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow
Modern spokes are designed to go through aluminum flanges. So the hook area is longer on a spoke. The steel flange that is on a SA hub is skinny so that leaves extra space left on the spoke bend unsupported. Suppose to increase stress on the spoke.
Ahhhh... yes, that makes sense. Well, I will probably run out of project$ before we run out of winter - so I guess I can pull those wheels and washer them up. The spokes did seem a bit long on that `63 Dunelt. I recall I had to grind some of them down to the nipple tops so they wouldn't protrude from the double-wall rim. I will probably have to rebuild that one with new spokes, now that I've buggered up the threads.

Well, thanks. I know it's the right thing to do. It's just kind of a faff, as they say in old Blighty.
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Old 02-13-16, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by gster
1905 BSA Firefighter Bicycle
that is really cool and I suspect rare!
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Old 02-13-16, 11:44 AM
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There is some debate as to the need. I have not yet used washers, without consequence. Rather tha. Tear the wheel apart just to put the washers on, see how it goes. If you have trouble then pull the wheel apart.
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Old 02-13-16, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
@BigChief -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.
The mailman just dropped off a package:

[IMG][/IMG]

When my wife caught me taking this photo, she called me a geek. Then I said, "But look how shiny they are!"

So she peered into the box, and said, "Oh yes! YES!!! I think I've just had an Eyegasm." - Rolled her eyes and walked out of the room shaking her head.

Now c'mon, folks... are we really that pathetic?
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Old 02-13-16, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by markk900
There is some debate as to the need. I have not yet used washers, without consequence. Rather tha. Tear the wheel apart just to put the washers on, see how it goes. If you have trouble then pull the wheel apart.
Okay, that makes good sense, too.

But the Dunelt is my teenage daughter's first vintage bicycle, so I may just err on the side of safety. As I said, I've got lots of time before Spring.
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Old 02-13-16, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by markk900
There is some debate as to the need. I have not yet used washers, without consequence. Rather tha. Tear the wheel apart just to put the washers on, see how it goes. If you have trouble then pull the wheel apart.
As in all things there is room for debate, that's fine. Funny thing, problems seem to happen while out on the road.

My choice will be to use the washers when I switch out rims with aluminum and use new spokes. Big problem is.. Darn wheels on this 73 is looking so brand new !
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Old 02-13-16, 12:30 PM
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@DQRider - yes, it's official, you're a bike geek. Sounds like the time I was deep into a Sturmey Archer AW3 overhaul and I was explaining the three sub assemblies to Mr. VV with such excitement in my manner. He smiled and as he walked away, said "You're such an engineer". Took it as a compliment.

What bike are those going on? Sorry if I missed it.

Also I don't use spoke washers. My wheel builder where I buy my supplies said I don't need them, even though I attempted to convince her otherwise. Anyway I don't want a big debate. That's just how I do it.
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Old 02-13-16, 01:38 PM
  #9561  
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
@DQRider - yes, it's official, you're a bike geek. Sounds like the time I was deep into a Sturmey Archer AW3 overhaul and I was explaining the three sub assemblies to Mr. VV with such excitement in my manner. He smiled and as he walked away, said "You're such an engineer". Took it as a compliment.

What bike are those going on? Sorry if I missed it.
Glad you asked

Because this is an English 3-speed thread, I didn't think my Nexus-equipped, French path racer would qualify, but here it is anyway:



My last box-o-parts just cleared customs in Chicago, and is headed this way. I might even have it by Monday night. Then I get to figure out how it all fits together.

Welcome to Project Gypsy Bleu.
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Old 02-13-16, 01:42 PM
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I have been working on a very rough Raleigh Sports that I found a couple of months ago. I stripped it and hung it in the 2nd floor joists of the garage for a while.


Then it began to get cold, so I moved it and most of its components to the basement. I began the oxalic acid and Evaporust treatments to the shiny parts, and tried to ameliorate the crud on the rest of the frame. This bike will never be pretty, but it will be a good rider. The headset, bottom bracket, and wheel bearings have been done. The rust frozen shifter parts have been freed and the brakes should be working as badly as they did back in the day.

The original saddle (Brooks leather B??) is not rideable and may be a wall hanger.


I found a vinyl Brooks saddle that is period correct, so that is on the bike now. The handle bars are quite rusty, so I may need to find replacements. It has no fenders or chain guard, so I am thinking of a poor mans path racer theme. I am open to suggestions though.

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Old 02-13-16, 01:57 PM
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That's a tough one, dweenk. I understand the desire to keep it original and preserve the patina, I was faced with the same dilemma on my DL-1. But I decided to keep the parts that still looked presentable (patina from wear and use, not neglect), and replace the parts that were just rust-ugly. I've kept all the originals against the day I might sell it on, but if I'm going to ride it, I want it to ride well and look good.

It's not like these are particularly rare bicycles, and I am no curator (I am a newly-dubbed bike geek!), so I don't feel I should have to treat any of my bikes as museum exhibits. If I have a bike that I don't want to ride, it will get sold. Limited storage space can be a blessing...
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Old 02-13-16, 02:43 PM
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I've fitted Sports frames with 700c wheels and short reach brakes for a single speed conversion.
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Old 02-13-16, 09:27 PM
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I cannot claim to be one of the 3 speed lovers but I've now put a toe in your pond. I have a strange Raleigh Sports that belongs to a friend. I'm doing some overhaul work on it during this wicked cold and, today, completed my first 3 speed IGH overhaul. I'm pretty impressed with you folks who really know these Rube-Goldbergs. I confess I still don't really know how it works but it came all apart and back together and works fine. I've learned a lot.

When I got it, the indicator spindle was broken off down in the axle - only two links of chain were attached and nothing was left outside, nothing to get a grip on. So I had to disassemble the whole shebang so I could slide the rod up, get a hold on the end and unscrew it from that pin that goes thru the axle. Of course, I then had to clean and repack all the bearings and clean and oil the rest. I got it all back together yesterday and it did not work - the cog would not turn the wheel. I took it all apart again today (while tending the wood stove) and studied the insides. I cannot describe what I found as I don't know all the part names but I found two reasons why it may have been binding and resolved them. Back together and it all works fine now. I'll visit a friend later this week who probably has a new indicator spindle. Otherwise I'll order on line. Its been fun and a real learning experience.

No photos but you all know what a 1973 SA SC3 looks like, probably have the guts memorized. I'm just a IGH noob here.

BTW: strange Raleigh Sports as it's a pretty small frame, 26 inch tires, coaster brake and no hand brakes, 1971 frame and 1973 rear hub. It looks just like a Canadian Gents Model 99 from 1954 - curved top tube and all but the S/N matches The Head Badge's 1971 pattern. I assume it was a European model brought over some time since '71. Nice bike but too small for me.
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Old 02-13-16, 09:33 PM
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Today I felt the love. My wife and I are staying with her mother in Florida, where I keep my Rudge, and I got to ride it today.
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Old 02-13-16, 11:16 PM
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I really miss my 3 speed. I want to get started working on the sprite i have but the cotters look like this.

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Old 02-13-16, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesj
I really miss my 3 speed. I want to get started working on the sprite i have but the cotters look like this.
You have my utmost sympathy. I've had the same thing happen, but only to one of them - I learned my lesson with the first one. Time to drill them out, it's the only way, once they get that messed up. Install the next one with a cotter press. If you are going to work on your own English 3-speeds, you pretty much have to get one. Best place I've found is here: New Crank Cotter Press

Good luck, and good night.
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Old 02-14-16, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by DQRider
You have my utmost sympathy. I've had the same thing happen, but only to one of them - I learned my lesson with the first one. Time to drill them out, it's the only way, once they get that messed up. Install the next one with a cotter press. If you are going to work on your own English 3-speeds, you pretty much have to get one. Best place I've found is here: New Crank Cotter Press

Good luck, and good night.
If you do end up buying a cotter press from Bike smith, I recommend spending the extra 20 bucks for his fixed cup tool while you're at it.
I used it on my Rudge project and it works great. Sometimes it's nice to have the bottom bracket completely apart. I did a total strip down and repaint of the frame and with this tool, it wasn't a big hassle to get the fixed cup off.
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Old 02-14-16, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
If you do end up buying a cotter press from Bike smith, I recommend spending the extra 20 bucks for his fixed cup tool while you're at it.
I used it on my Rudge project and it works great. Sometimes it's nice to have the bottom bracket completely apart. I did a total strip down and repaint of the frame and with this tool, it wasn't a big hassle to get the fixed cup off.
I wish I had one when I had my frame powdercoated...wound up just masking off the fixed cup and powdercoating over it, which still bugs me even though the PCer did an awesome job of masking.
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Old 02-14-16, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
Today I felt the love. My wife and I are staying with her mother in Florida, where I keep my Rudge, and I got to ride it today.
Good for you !
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Old 02-14-16, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by jamesj
I really miss my 3 speed. I want to get started working on the sprite i have but the cotters look like this.

UGGH! I hope the ball bearings in there are okay. Hate to see what you are going through with this.
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Old 02-14-16, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by jamesj
I really miss my 3 speed. I want to get started working on the sprite i have but the cotters look like this.


To get that crank off just find short bolt that is just a bit thinner than the cotter pin. Then place a socket over one end of the cotter pin, and place the bolt onto the broken end, then fix it all into a vice. Make sure it is all parallel and as straight as possible then tighten the vice. The bolt should start to push the pin out and then the crank should come off. I have had this problem about 5 times and this method worked ever time. Good luck!
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Old 02-14-16, 09:39 AM
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Stuck cotters are such a shame. It needn't happen. 3 minutes with a file and a bench vice is all that's needed to properly fit a cotter pin. From the looks of this, how uneven the surface of the pin is, you'll never be able to drill a straight hole through it and the crank and shaft might be ruined. Might be worth cutting off a bit of a bolt and try pressing it through. Or you could clean up the surface with a round dremel grinder and center punching a clean center for drilling.
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Old 02-14-16, 11:03 AM
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Show pics!
Originally Posted by noglider
Today I felt the love. My wife and I are staying with her mother in Florida, where I keep my Rudge, and I got to ride it today.
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