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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 03-29-16, 09:43 AM
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^^ Its useful to know some of the history of the British 3-speed; in a nutshell the original 3-speed hub was marketed about 1903 with it pretty close to the AW by 1921 or so. If you wanted reliable wide range gears, essentially the Sturmey Archer was the only game in town for about 50 years (there were dérailleurs prior to WW2 but they did not have the wide range of the SA hubs nor did they shift as quickly and they had the same number of gears). Prior to the lighter alloys the high tensile steel was the only game as well. Most of the British 3-speeds are based on designs going back to the 1930s or earlier. They were intended as cheap but reliable transportation (as opposed to motorbikes or cars), and really were the first bikes to bring touring to the masses. They spawned an era of British club riding. For those that wanted more get up and go, 'clubman' bikes were offered with lighter components and frames.


Originally Posted by Velocivixen
@Salubrious - great looking bike there. I'm not familiar with that fork. Any online info on it? Do you have any close up photos of it online somewhere? I'd like to take a closer look.
You might want to take a look at the crank too- its an alloy cottered crank, sold by Hetchins. The bike weighs about 22 pounds. The hub is alloy as well (SA made them for club racing).

The Diadrant fork was invented by Bates, as well as the concept of the Cantiflex tubing, which was made by Reynolds solely for Bates. Seems to me both are still available through Ron Cooper. Diadrant fork: Bates Cycles 3
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Old 03-29-16, 09:48 AM
  #9927  
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Originally Posted by tmac100
This website does not seem to be working - for me. I just got a bunch of text statements...

Anyone know if it is still in service?
Try this one...a plethora of catalog gold

bulgier.net - /pics/bike/catalogs/
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Old 03-30-16, 05:42 AM
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I'm sure some people here have laced some aluminum rims to their old SA hubs. I want to lace some Sun CR 18s, for those who have done it, will the old spokes work?
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Old 03-30-16, 06:55 AM
  #9929  
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Originally Posted by bmthom.gis
I'm sure some people here have laced some aluminum rims to their old SA hubs. I want to lace some Sun CR 18s, for those who have done it, will the old spokes work?
Yes, the CR-18 650A (590mm ERD) rim is a drop-in replacement for the OEM rim. If your old spokes are still usable, it will work just fine.
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Old 03-30-16, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Salubrious
But Kelly had no such constraint; "I'll see you at the top", gone. I ride with her a lot and it really does not matter what bike I'm on, she's a challenge for me to keep up. On that account I think she dropped them pretty fast. I'm sure they were amused- the Lake Pepin ride has about 130 riders, and we had just left the ice cream shop in Bay City, so there were a lot of us going up that hill (2 1/2 miles, it gets your attention, although FWIW its really the only serious hill if you stay on the roads looping the lake).
The last time I rode the Lake Pepin ride, I passed a bunch of carbon-fiber riders going up the Bay City hill on my 40# Superbe.
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Old 03-30-16, 07:46 AM
  #9931  
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
Yes, the CR-18 650A (590mm ERD) rim is a drop-in replacement for the OEM rim. If your old spokes are still usable, it will work just fine.
How do you tell if the old spokes are still usable? Everyone I've talked to tells me I should use new spokes any time I change a rim or build a wheel. Other than the obvious corrosion issue, there's the amount of stretch to consider. The spokes that are suitable for 3-speed duty are generally pretty inexpensive. Better safe than sorry?
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Old 03-30-16, 07:52 AM
  #9932  
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Originally Posted by DQRider
How do you tell if the old spokes are still usable? Everyone I've talked to tells me I should use new spokes any time I change a rim or build a wheel. Other than the obvious corrosion issue, there's the amount of stretch to consider. The spokes that are suitable for 3-speed duty are generally pretty inexpensive. Better safe than sorry?
Even good spokes don't cost that much.
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Old 03-30-16, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
Yes, the CR-18 650A (590mm ERD) rim is a drop-in replacement for the OEM rim. If your old spokes are still usable, it will work just fine.
Thanks. That's what I suspected.

Originally Posted by DQRider
How do you tell if the old spokes are still usable? Everyone I've talked to tells me I should use new spokes any time I change a rim or build a wheel. Other than the obvious corrosion issue, there's the amount of stretch to consider. The spokes that are suitable for 3-speed duty are generally pretty inexpensive. Better safe than sorry?
Old spokes are still going strong. Also, they are currently the correct length. Also, it's the difference in cost for paying for 2 rims costing around $50, and adding on another $50+ for 72 or 76 spokes (I gotta count the rear), nipples, and spoke washers.
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Old 03-30-16, 04:47 PM
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I reuse spokes even in situations where people tell us not to, such as when changing hubs. Maybe I'm pushing my luck, but so far, so good.

If I remember correctly, I needed to file down the spokes a bit after putting CR18's on 3-speed wheels. Has anyone else needed to do this?

When replacing the rim, take the opportunity to interlace the spokes. Raleigh laced the spokes over-over-over, and you should do it over-over-under.
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Old 03-30-16, 04:55 PM
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Here's a random question: What Raleigh Twenty bikes or Stowaways/Shoppers came with G6 Dynohubs in the front? I see these dynohubs on the front of Twentys sometimes & wonder if they were manufactured that way or if the owner had the wheels made? Apparently that tiny wheel spinning around like crazy doesn't harm the light that it's illuminating? Would it hurt a modern light?
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Old 03-30-16, 06:53 PM
  #9936  
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
Here's a random question: What Raleigh Twenty bikes or Stowaways/Shoppers came with G6 Dynohubs in the front? I see these dynohubs on the front of Twentys sometimes & wonder if they were manufactured that way or if the owner had the wheels made? Apparently that tiny wheel spinning around like crazy doesn't harm the light that it's illuminating? Would it hurt a modern light?
Can't really answer your questions, but I think @rhm might have one. I may have him confused with someone else, though. If not, he would know.

I've seen a few Twenties with GH6s; they all seem to be the 28 spoke models. Every now and then I see 28 spoke GH6s on eBay, usually in the UK.
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Old 03-30-16, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
Would it hurt a modern light?
If you mean an LED, no.
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Old 03-30-16, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by gna
Can't really answer your questions, but I think @rhm might have one. I may have him confused with someone else, though. If not, he would know.

I've seen a few Twenties with GH6s; they all seem to be the 28 spoke models. Every now and then I see 28 spoke GH6s on eBay, usually in the UK.
I don't know about Twenties, but your memory is not completely wrong. My wife (thanks to me, duh) has a Raleigh RSW 16 Deluxe from 1965. It's a strange looking little beast, looks like a folding bike but doesn't fold; rear rack with tartan shopping bag built in (neato qr), headlight and tail light built into the fenders, and a 28h dynohub. This was, at the time, Raleigh's second most expensive model (after the Superbe). 16" wheels. This one appears to be stock:


There was also a folding model. Ringo had one.
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Old 03-30-16, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I reuse spokes even in situations where people tell us not to, such as when changing hubs. Maybe I'm pushing my luck, but so far, so good.

If I remember correctly, I needed to file down the spokes a bit after putting CR18's on 3-speed wheels. Has anyone else needed to do this?

When replacing the rim, take the opportunity to interlace the spokes. Raleigh laced the spokes over-over-over, and you should do it over-over-under.
That's interesting... I thought I had bought spokes a size too large when I put the CR-18s on my daughter's Dunelt - but the shop (Yellow Jersey) I bought them from assured me they were the right length for English 3-speeds. I laced them up according to Sheldon Brown's 3-cross method, but I still ended up grinding them down flush with a Dremel and using double rim strips just in case. Dads and their daughters; you know...

Here's that bike:

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Old 03-30-16, 08:08 PM
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An observation but in my looking around, I see about a 6:1 ratio step through to diamond frames on Sports. Why is that?

Another question, I bought a step through Dunalt some years back which I am working on, another project, to give to my still too young niece. I am afraid of the frame. Those double down tube bikes look scary to me as if at any moment they might fold up? How strong are these (girl) bikes?
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Old 03-30-16, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DQRider
How do you tell if the old spokes are still usable? Everyone I've talked to tells me I should use new spokes any time I change a rim or build a wheel. Other than the obvious corrosion issue, there's the amount of stretch to consider. The spokes that are suitable for 3-speed duty are generally pretty inexpensive. Better safe than sorry?
These are not high tension racing wheels. The rims are steel and take most of the punishment. Low end galvanized and chromed spokes lasted for decades on these bikes.

I never worry about it and spokes always let you know whats going on before catastrophic failure. I 'ping' I rarely even stop. 2 'twangs' I may have to tweak the wheel to stop brake rub. 3 'prangs', OK maybe it's time. I never rebuild these wheels with butted stainless because of the cost and because I have a stash of right-sized straight 15 gauge chromed steel spokes for the 70's. Good for 50 more years.
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Old 03-30-16, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain
An observation but in my looking around, I see about a 6:1 ratio step through to diamond frames on Sports. Why is that?

Another question, I bought a step through Dunalt some years back which I am working on, another project, to give to my still too young niece. I am afraid of the frame. Those double down tube bikes look scary to me as if at any moment they might fold up? How strong are these (girl) bikes?
A Dunelt/Raleigh/Hercules is strong as an ox. I've always ridden women's english frames, I'm over 200 lbs and I ride them like I stole them. They really don't even flex much.
I've ridden each of these frames for lots of kms this past year. 1st one is Columbus tubed Gardin lightweight. Most flexy, most comfy, most quick.


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Old 03-31-16, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
... Apparently that tiny wheel spinning around like crazy doesn't harm the light that it's illuminating? Would it hurt a modern light?
As you surmise.... Though they are rated 6v, the actual voltage depends on the wheels speed of rotation. So at any given speed, the smaller wheel is rotating faster and therefore putting out a higher voltage.

Whether that damages the light, that depends on the light. Incandescent bulbs, especially halogen bulbs, are pretty sensitive, which is why Schmidt makes a special hub for smaller wheels (the SON 20).

Ten years ago I built a 16" wheel with a standard dynamo hub for my folding bike. I don't remember what headlight I used, but the voltage literally melted the LED tail light. After one mile of riding, the emitter was rattling around inside the housing, its wires melted away. After that I started putting together my own LED lights, very primitive electronics, but robust.

Modern LED headlights with more sophisticated electronics, overvoltage protection etc, can probably handle it, but it's a potentially expensive experiment, at least if you go too fast.
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Old 03-31-16, 07:13 AM
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Has Anyone Used Modern S-A 3-speed Hubs?

Even though Spring has just arrived, I'm already looking forward to my next winter project. I want to build a lightweight English frame into a modern-ish 3-speed roadster. I am finding the vintage S-A hubs hard to come by, ideally I would like to build up a 700c alloy rim with an FW hub, but I will use an AW if I can find one with an alloy shell in good condition.

However, I was wondering whether anyone here has used the modern S-A 3-speed hubs. Also, I know there are a couple of versions, does anyone know which is best? Or are they all just junk now?

Thanks,
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Old 03-31-16, 07:50 AM
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I prefer the old steel shell AW over the old alloy shell ones. The old alloy ones are lighter but have a tendency to crack at the flange radiating from the spoke holes. This is from a combination of factors. I have not had the cracking issue on the new alloy hubs, though have worked with fewer of the new ones.
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Old 03-31-16, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by SirMike1983
I prefer the old steel shell AW over the old alloy shell ones. The old alloy ones are lighter but have a tendency to crack at the flange radiating from the spoke holes. This is from a combination of factors. I have not had the cracking issue on the new alloy hubs, though have worked with fewer of the new ones.
That's good information. I'll keep it in mind - I'm sure the steel AW's are easier to find. Thanks!

(edit) HOWEVER: The question still stands - Has anyone here had any experience with the modern Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hubs? I'm talking about the "S30", for instance. Has anyone here used one for any length of time, and what are your impressions? How do they compare with the old AW?

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Old 03-31-16, 10:49 AM
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@rhm - Thanks. No, I'm not willing to burn out a light just to find out. It's not a big deal. I have two G6 hubs that I've overhauled which are 32 hole. Seems like the smaller wheels used 28h.
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Old 03-31-16, 03:39 PM
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I have not used the new ones, so cannot comment directly. But locally I know of places with bins of the old hubs. If you want a new one, I saw the wheels @Dan Burkhart made up with the S3X hubs and they looked great, and I'd expect if he uses them they are pretty nice. I used a steel AW in my 700C build. Unless you want a new one though, I would expect a little more digging will turn up an older one pretty quickly.
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Old 03-31-16, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by DQRider
That's good information. I'll keep it in mind - I'm sure the steel AW's are easier to find. Thanks!

(edit) HOWEVER: The question still stands - Has anyone here had any experience with the modern Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hubs? I'm talking about the "S30", for instance. Has anyone here used one for any length of time, and what are your impressions? How do they compare with the old AW?
I have built several wheels with SRF3 hubs, and use one in one of my own bikes. They are a quality hub, and the design changes have eliminated the false neutral of the older design. The SRF3 has the same internals as the AW, the difference is the alloy shell.
The steel shel AW is still produced if you prefer to go that way.
I see some vendors calling it an S-30, but that nomenclature is not found on Sturmey Archer's site, nor on the listings of the distributors I buy from.
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Old 03-31-16, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by markk900
I have not used the new ones, so cannot comment directly. But locally I know of places with bins of the old hubs. If you want a new one, I saw the wheels @Dan Burkhart made up with the S3X hubs and they looked great, and I'd expect if he uses them they are pretty nice. I used a steel AW in my 700C build. Unless you want a new one though, I would expect a little more digging will turn up an older one pretty quickly.
I like my S3X a lot. Too bad they wouldn't offer the other models in anodized colors.
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