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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 08-13-16, 04:43 AM
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Ahh, there's some classy rides. Did your Sports come with the B66? I've always preferred them to the stock B17s for upright riding.
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Old 08-13-16, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Yo Jimbo
Got it ready to ride, found an original saddlebag and headlight mount, retro style headlight and rear rack (will do till I find find period pieces). Took it for a ride last evening and I could not stop smiling. It,s a 1967 model, built the year I got married and was waiting for me all this time.
Excellent work!
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Old 08-13-16, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
Ahh, there's some classy rides. Did your Sports come with the B66? I've always preferred them to the stock B17s for upright riding.
Thanks Chief, it was on it when I bought it and looks to be of that time period, someone must have swaped it for the B-72 at some point.
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Old 08-13-16, 01:08 PM
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Raleigh stamped steel wrench

I am looking for a Raleigh stamped steel multi-wrench that was part of the kit for all Raleigh 3 speed bikes back in the day. I have had my wrench since the middle 1970's, and it is becoming more and more imprecise.
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Old 08-14-16, 10:08 AM
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As the loved 3-speed itself is English, I think this is the most appropriate topic.


I bought this one friday, it's the seller's picture. It's a 40+ year old Gazelle, it's the top of the line model what was rather stupidly called the Impala. As you see it's in a typical 70's colour, and this is also the decade that under the influence of road bikes, Gazelle went light weight. It's a 28", framesize 65 cm, and including all that's on it, it weighs only 22.5 kilos. That must be at least 3 kilo's lighter than it's predecessor. It's all original, including the pump and the luggage straps, except for the led lights on batteries, which I think is a genuine improvement in practicality, and the rear tyre does look more eighties than early seventies.

As it's not even halfway it's lifespan, it lacks the nostalgic charm of it's predecessors and the seller had to clear out his garage before he even got to work on it, he didn't even clean it. I got it for 100 euro's, my maximum for a daily bike as I don't want to worry too much about it getting stolen. But I did put that money where my mouth is. I've often had a big mouth about pre 80's Gazelle's beeing extremely well build, and hardly needing any maintenance. So I decided to take the bus to the neighbouring province where the seller lives, buy the bike and ride it 30 km's back home. Without a plan B, just brought with me a bag with a tyre patch set, a bottle of water, a jacket, an umbrella and a banana.

First I got lost for half an hour in a few of the so called cauliflower and spaghetti neighbourhoods of this sleepy town called Assen, which are famous for making people loose any sense of direction, and it was too cloudy to use the sun for orientation. But once the friendly locals got me on the main road to the City I live in and after making sure I was taking it in the right direction, and with only 28 km to go, it's where I really started to appreciate the bike. A flat and straight cycle lane, cars to the left, behind an endless row of trees, the smell of manure to the right, some pretty villages in between, 4-5 Beaufort head on, that's it's natural habitat.

I'm probably a couple of years older than the bike, through injury I haven't done any sports for 5 months, it must have been a decade since I biked more than 5 km and I really wanted to average 20 km/h to get home in time, but I worked up more of a sweat with a brisk walk to the bus I was almost too late for than on this bike. Of course they are not for racing speeds and the ride position isn't very aerodynamic, but up to 25 km/h, or 20 km/h with this strong head wind, it doesn't get much more efficient. The bike is as straight as a ruler, and with it's head tube angle it goes in straight line by itself (no trouble peeling the banana with two hands), which helps of course, but the upright position makes sure it's only the biggest, strongest and most torquey muscles working, the thighs and the buttocks, hardly exercising them at the low revs of 3rd gear.

That's were the English 3-speed comes in, I don't know if Sturmey Archer made them with different ratio's, or that it felt like that because this 65 cm frame fits me much better than smaller ones, but 1st and 2nd seemed really close and just to get the bike going after a stop, to get into 3rd after about 30 meters. The 'metres of development' of this 3rd gear is just a brilliant fit. Also it's simply a low resistance mechanism if adjusted correctly, mine is probably never re-adjusted since leaving the factory and the freewheel clicking sounded great.

Needless to say that me and the bike made it back home. Even the rubber luggage straps held my bag tight on the rear carrier, the bike didn't produce any sound a new one shouldn't make, about half way I felt i minute vibration through my left big toe, it went away after a few revolutions, so I gues one of the balls in the left ball bearing of the cranck is a bit dirty or not perfectly round anymore, so that ball bearing will have to be replaced in the next ten years. The nut on the kickstand needs to be tightened, the cable housing between the lever and the frame is damaged and needs to be replaced. I'm going to raise the handlebars to their max and maybe put the saddle back a bit, replace the lock with a newer one that combines with a chain lock, and if the anticorrosive oil has done it's job on the button that keeps the chaincase closed, I might even take a peek at the condition of the drive chain. But it felt all right and I'm quite sure it doesn't need replacing, and these chaincases are better left closed unless it's really necessary, so that's about it for the work I'm going to do on it. It's a triumph of durability, and I'm very happy with it.
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Old 08-14-16, 11:40 AM
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That's a beautiful bike.
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Old 08-15-16, 12:37 PM
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Wow! That's a great looking bike Stadjer, and a great story too.
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Old 08-16-16, 02:57 AM
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Thanks. Seller also had a predecessor from the 60's, full black with black coat guards and stainless steel rims he had already worked on and put in pefect condition and I was tempted because it's much more the model I always coveted. Consideribly heavier and slightly more rigid, I would always choose rigidity over weight. But it was 200 euro's, and too much of a collector's item not to be stolen if left outside regularly, and I'm not going to worry about that because it's takes the main point out of biking, which is the freedom to move. Maybe if it was even older, with black muffled rims and even more of an angle on the head tube I hadn't been able to control myself, but this time I made the sensible decision and grew to love the bike in the 1.5 hour back home.

I even start to appreciate it's seventies colour. Maybe there's some oldtimer event here in the region soon were everybody shows up with their 20's or 50's bike and appropriate clothing. With every body dressed in 20's tweeds or 50's suits I'm going to show up in my turquoise bell bottoms, Florsheim beatle boots and brown leather jacket and go for a funky ride with some flappers on their elegant 20's oma's.
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Old 08-16-16, 11:23 PM
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Old 08-21-16, 05:08 PM
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Hello all,
I posted this in a separate thread, and someone suggested I ask here. I have no experience with three speeds and would appreciate any suggestions.
My dad just picked up this 1967 Hercules for my mom. I am not home and will try to remotely help him tune it up. Aside from fixing the brake cable and cleaning it, he says that the rear wheel does not spin freely. I'm thinking that either means the bearings need to be adjusted or there's gunked up old oil in there (3-in-1?). He has some Harbor Freight compressor oil, which might be 30w (he's not sure), and he has Marvel Mystery Oil, which I've heard is the recommended 20w and can be used.
Should I tell him to fill it with Marvel Mystery Oil? If it is gunked up that might help right?
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Old 08-21-16, 07:14 PM
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The experts will correct me if necessary, but the AW hub isn't picky about which oil you use. Some 3-in-1 is vegetable based and is therefore one of the few bad choices. In theory, you should use an oil without detergent, which means you shouldn't use car motor oil, but in practice, I doubt it makes much difference. I've even used ATF which is a pretty decent general purpose bike lubricant.
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Old 08-22-16, 08:18 AM
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Non detergent oil was always recommended for small engines that didn't have oil filters. The reasoning being that the non detergent oil wouldn't disturb the gunk built up in the crankcase and end up being suspended in the oil. Since this doesn't apply to a relatively clean unit like an AW hub, I don't see any reason not to use regular motor oil.
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Old 08-22-16, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
Non detergent oil was always recommended for small engines that didn't have oil filters. The reasoning being that the non detergent oil wouldn't disturb the gunk built up in the crankcase and end up being suspended in the oil. Since this doesn't apply to a relatively clean unit like an AW hub, I don't see any reason not to use regular motor oil.
Ah, thanks. I would have continued to use motor oil, but now I feel more at ease about it. It seems fine for the whole bike wherever it needs oil.
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Old 08-25-16, 06:16 AM
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Raleigh roadsters from the early to mid 1930s had decals rather than metal badges, so yours might be from that era with the decal worn off. Definitely a Raleigh fork crown. I don't think that front brake is pre-WW2, however. Mysterious!
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Old 08-25-16, 07:01 AM
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The forks, crankset, fenders, position of the serial number and the rear fender stay mounts are all Raleigh. I'm not familiar with the steering tube lug shape though. I've only had post war Raleighs. Maybe that lug shape is an earlier one.
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Old 08-25-16, 08:52 AM
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Wow...these are all some really nifty roadsters. They really seem to be coming out of the woodwork lately.
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Old 08-25-16, 09:13 AM
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1954 (?) Raleigh Sports. Saddle pictured here finally gave out, but found a decent used B72 nearby that is working great. Considering getting a light for the dynohub at some point, but for now it's just a super fun ride.


Nice New Hampshire registration sticker from 1956 on the rear fender as well.

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Old 08-26-16, 02:49 PM
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[MENTION=287329]sirpecangum[/MENTION] What size tires/rims are does it have?
Those are tourist bars, popular in the 50's.
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Old 08-27-16, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
The forks, crankset, fenders, position of the serial number and the rear fender stay mounts are all Raleigh. I'm not familiar with the steering tube lug shape though. I've only had post war Raleighs. Maybe that lug shape is an earlier one.
All these years and I'm still learning things. Yup, it is an earlier lug shape. Apparently, there are 3 different shapes for the sports models. Details and pics can be seen here. 'The Headbadge': Raleigh Sports Component Evolution Chart
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Old 08-27-16, 03:49 PM
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Whatever the story behind this bike is, an early frame like that in 23" is a super find. According to the timeline at the headbadge site, the brazed on cable pulley mount started in 1949. If that's correct, it would place this frame some time before then.
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Old 08-27-16, 04:20 PM
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I remember the old 3 speed Raleigh well.
I put a lot of miles on one of those bikes back in the 60's
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Old 08-27-16, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by sirpecangum
[MENTION=185977]clubman[/MENTION]

Thanks for the information about the handlebars and what an excellent question about the rim and tyre size. I assumed 590 (26 x 1⅜) but in fact they are 597 (26 x 1¼). Both are Dunlop steel rims. The original front wheel had a hub fastened with wing nuts, unfortunately the front rim rusted almost completely through where it had been in contact with the ground. The AM hub wasn't too pretty inside either.
Interesting, racy wheels, AM hub, Williams 3 pin crankset, wingnuts and short bars. Definitely a club-style build. The crank will have a date-code FWIW. Rims can be found, tyres less so.
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Old 08-27-16, 06:10 PM
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I didn't notice the crankset. I thought I was seeing a standard Raleigh spoked chainwheel. Now, the story is starting to emerge. This is an interesting bike. I hope you post pictures as you go. Fun looking project.
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Old 08-27-16, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jmohme
I remember the old 3 speed Raleigh well.
I put a lot of miles on one of those bikes back in the 60's
Time to get another! It's a fun hobby.
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Old 08-27-16, 09:00 PM
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Here is the Raleigh 3-Speed I rescued from the metal recycling pile today. It will be used by my kid for college. I am sure it would have cleaned up nicely, but I don't want it to attract thieves.

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