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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 12-06-16, 09:54 PM
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More than the guarantee, I think two facts killed the wider production of fillet brazed 3 speed Schwinns after WWII and by the early 1950s: lack of adult bike market and lower costs of electroforge welding.

I will probably put up a blog post about what to look for in a Schwinn 3 speed because I've had people email me and ask about it several times in the past year (maybe these bikes are catching on?). But it's afield from truly English bikes in the topic at that point, so maybe the blog is a better venue.

On a more English note, I have to rebuild this FG hub this winter

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Old 12-07-16, 06:29 AM
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[QUOTE=2cam16;19236247]
Originally Posted by clubman
Huh?
My bad...looking the wrong way. Cool Huffy. Great price
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Old 12-07-16, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by SirMike1983
More than the guarantee, I think two facts killed the wider production of fillet brazed 3 speed Schwinns after WWII and by the early 1950s: lack of adult bike market and lower costs of electroforge welding.

I will probably put up a blog post about what to look for in a Schwinn 3 speed because I've had people email me and ask about it several times in the past year (maybe these bikes are catching on?). But it's afield from truly English bikes in the topic at that point, so maybe the blog is a better venue.
I would DEFINITELY read a blog post about what to look for in a Schwinn 3 speed!

It's interesting that Schwinn never considered lugged frames for mass production. They only lugged the Paramounts, and those were pretty much hand made. What if they did go the lugged route rather than electroforging?

Though ironically enough, when Schwinn stopped most US production in the 80's, you COULD get a lugged three speed!* Besides that early 90's Suburban I mentioned, the 80's Collegiates were lugged (most likely made by Giant in Taiwan) and had a three speed hub (Shimano.) In fact, an 80's Collegiate was the first three speed I owned! I had one from 2002-4, though don't have any photos of it. Here's a catalog image from 1985:



*I realize that some of the early Paramounts had a three speed option, so yeah, a three speed lugged Schwinn there.
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Old 12-07-16, 02:32 PM
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It might not only be the welded construction of the later Schwinn bikes but also the steel they used that may contribute to the different feel of riding them. No science here, but the oldtimer I learned much from back in the day once told me that Schwinns used regular 1018 steel and the Raleigh 2030 steel was harder and springier.
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Old 12-07-16, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by adventurepdx
I don't know. It's been awhile since I read a history of Schwinn book. And I am no Schwinn expert (if you are, feel free to chime in and correct me or somesuch.) But what I gathered was:
  • By the 70's, Schwinn's management was pretty conservative and no longer innovating. Not only did Schwinn fail to see trends like BMX and MTB emerging, (trends they inadvertently have a hand in creating), they were actively against them for a bit, seeing them as faddish and dangerous. They may have had the attitude of "let's wait for this lightweight bicycle nonsense to blow over."
  • The electro-forging equipment was indeed expensive and to replace it would have cost a lot of $$. And they probably would have tried to pass this along to the employees ("We'll have to cut benefits/pay to pay for this new equipment") who were pretty disgruntled and would eventually strike in the early 80's.
Schwinn eventually failed not only because they didn't adapt to changes quickly. Management was guilty of a myriad of financial sins: extravagant management perks and compensation and "profit" payments to Schwinn family members that could not be justified, among them. Also, even though the Schwinn company had made boatloads of money over the years, they financed company operations through very expensive lines of credit. Someone said, "neither a borrower nor a lender be," but when the ship hits the sand, the borrower ends up with nothing and the lender gets the remainder.

A couple business journalists wrote a book about Schwinn: Crown, Judith, and Coleman, Glenn, No Hands: The Rise and Fall of the Schwinn Bicycle Company, An American Institution

It was available from our local library so I read it about 10 or 15 years ago. It's a very sad story.
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Old 12-08-16, 07:41 PM
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I was on the way back from running the dog at a local park this evening when I spotted a familiar shape in front of a little antique shop so pulled a U-ie to go back and check. It was a Triumph, probably a 21" frame and fairly plain. I've never seen a hub shell with such light stamping; the only thing I could read was the "ENGLA" and saw some faint lines otherwise. Nothing exceptional but the $50 price tag and the...um, interesting...cable pulley arrangement on the seat post (not on the seat tube, on the seat post). Nice little bike for someone if it could be gotten for less.
Triumph1.jpg

Triumph2.JPG
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Old 12-08-16, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by thumpism
I was on the way back from running the dog at a local park this evening when I spotted a familiar shape in front of a little antique shop so pulled a U-ie to go back and check. It was a Triumph, probably a 21" frame and fairly plain. I've never seen a hub shell with such light stamping; the only thing I could read was the "ENGLA" and saw some faint lines otherwise. Nothing exceptional but the $50 price tag and the...um, interesting...cable pulley arrangement on the seat post (not on the seat tube, on the seat post). Nice little bike for someone if it could be gotten for less.
It's a nice looking bike. It's worth it just for that extra length stem. Perused the Sturmey Archer historical pages some time ago and they have catalog pages from long ago. Apparently, they did offer an extra long stem though the details escape me. Or, could be someone with a death wish.

If someone is looking for a Sports or closely related bike (like I assume this Triumph is), that bike for $50 isn't too bad, is it? All the sheet metal is there and doesn't look all torn up, doesn't look like a rust bucket.
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Old 12-08-16, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
It might not only be the welded construction of the later Schwinn bikes but also the steel they used that may contribute to the different feel of riding them. No science here, but the oldtimer I learned much from back in the day once told me that Schwinns used regular 1018 steel and the Raleigh 2030 steel was harder and springier.
The Schwinn I gave top the bike co-op shop, when I say it was a dull ride, that is what I mean, the Raleigh, by comparison, has more spring in it's step, a more lively feel. The Schwinn was just dead. I did not like the department store cranks either. I did pull the non OEM lights, rack from it for re(bi)cycling on a real E3S.
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Old 12-09-16, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by thumpism
I was on the way back from running the dog at a local park this evening when I spotted a familiar shape in front of a little antique shop so pulled a U-ie to go back and check. It was a Triumph, probably a 21" frame and fairly plain. I've never seen a hub shell with such light stamping; the only thing I could read was the "ENGLA" and saw some faint lines otherwise. Nothing exceptional but the $50 price tag and the...um, interesting...cable pulley arrangement on the seat post (not on the seat tube, on the seat post). Nice little bike for someone if it could be gotten for less.
Attachment 545377

Attachment 545378
You can see where the pulley used to reside on the seat tube. Probably someone didn't know about the fulcrum stop at the front of the top tube.
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Old 12-10-16, 05:03 AM
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That looks like a good deal at $50. That may be a dangerously over extended 5 1/2" stem. Hard to say from the picture. I have never seen an extra length standard Raleigh steel stem. Would love to find one though. I always wondered if a long Raleigh 20 stem could be converted into a wedge bolt mount. Yup, the fulcrum clip is way too far back on the top tube. Who ever put the cable on didn't put much thought into the job.
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Old 12-10-16, 07:55 AM
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Guys, I'm not interested in this Triumph for myself. In fact, I'm considering buying myself the previously mentioned Swiss Concord 3-speed as an early Christmas present and am already getting seriously crowded. I do intend to go back and check the stem length on the bike and will report back so one of you can decide to pursue it or not.
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Old 12-10-16, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by thumpism
Guys, I'm not interested in this Triumph for myself. In fact, I'm considering buying myself the previously mentioned Swiss Concord 3-speed as an early Christmas present and am already getting seriously crowded. I do intend to go back and check the stem length on the bike and will report back so one of you can decide to pursue it or not.
Is there an "Old 3 Speeds Home' in Richmond? I've seen more of these on CL there than anywhere in the region, and I have bought two through a facilitator friend. Oh - decently priced as well.
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Old 12-10-16, 02:48 PM
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It runs deeper than that and can probably best be explained by having you read the first few chapters of Tom Robbins's second novel "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues." Heroine Sissy Hankshaw hails from Richmond and her early life here is described, as well as some thoughts on the city itself. Robbins was on the newspaper here before his career as a novelist. Anyway, in addition to a very large and still growing university or two or three, there is a strong Anglophile character to the place going back to Colonial days but, as the author pointed out in the book, "...Richmond longs to wear England's pants, not get into them." Prime conditions for the existence and survival of old English bicycles and cars.

That said, I took my trusty Snap-On Whitworth wrenches and went back to inspect the Triumph further. Still could not spot a date code on the SA rear hub but yanked the stem and it appears to be a lowly, standard length item. As I mentioned before, unexceptional. It was being run way too high for safety so when I reinserted the stem I made sure it was at a safer height. It does still have the original Raleigh Record tires in display (if not in riding) condition. The rear rim is severely corroded while the front sparkles. The shop owner says she can't come down further on the price and that the bike's owner (consignment, evidently) is pissed that she already came down $25 from the original $75. Some more pix.
Tristem1.JPG

Tristem2.JPG

Tristem3.JPG

Tristem4.jpg

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Old 12-10-16, 03:56 PM
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^^^ I have read that book and a few others of Robbin's as well. I am afraid to ask what a set of Whitworths from Snap-On cost. I bought mine from India. It took 2 months to get them through customs, but the quality is good.
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Old 12-10-16, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by dweenk
^^^ I have read that book and a few others of Robbin's as well. I am afraid to ask what a set of Whitworths from Snap-On cost. I bought mine from India. It took 2 months to get them through customs, but the quality is good.
My two came from the shop I used to work in. When the place closed down in the early '00s it was the only thing I really wanted as a reminder of the place. I also could have grabbed the "oldest existing inventory," the white plastic Mafac guidonnet levers with alloy bodies but figured I might actually might have use for the wrenches. Don't recall what I paid but it was obviously not prohibitive.
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Old 12-10-16, 04:52 PM
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Okay, so I went Googling images of Triumph bicycle stems and came up with this. The company obviously marketed decades ahead of its time. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
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Old 12-10-16, 05:34 PM
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OK, I went and found the SA catalog that shows the different stem lengths:
Sturmey-Archer Heritage :: History

on page 45 it shows the different steel stems. The style that appears on most Sports bikes is style 276 which came in 6 1/2", 7", and 9". Every one I've ever seen was short -- 6 1/2", I guess.

Also of interest for fans of old Raleighs is the headset page(38) which shows the 26 tpi headset and two varieties of 24 tpi. The top nut on the 26 tpi is pretty distinctive and matches what I've seen on Sports bikes and also on the (allegedly) Carlton made Super Course MKII (we have three) and Grand Prix. Never seen a Raleigh with that style top nut that when examined didn't have 26 tpi cut on the steerer.

Page 36 shows cottered crank bottom bracket cups in both 24 and 26 tpi. The 26tpi is what we've seen all the way from a 51 model to a 79 model. Just the other day, I serviced a BB on a 72 Grand Prix that was 24 tpi and was a visual dead ringer for the 24 tpi set on the SA catalog page. Point is, you can't guarantee the tpi just by noticing whether it's cottered or not. There are some Ralieghs out there with 24 tpi cups and cottered cranks.
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Old 12-10-16, 08:40 PM
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Could have posted this in C&V's "... are you looking for one of these?" but the interest there doesn't seem to run to 3-speeds that much. Vintage MEN'S ENGLISH RALEIGH 3-SPEED BICYCLE - $50 (Easthampton, MA)
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Old 12-10-16, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by hilltowner
Could have posted this in C&V's "... are you looking for one of these?" but the interest there doesn't seem to run to 3-speeds that much. Vintage MEN'S ENGLISH RALEIGH 3-SPEED BICYCLE - $50 (Easthampton, MA)
More like a 70's model left out in the weather too much. Too much work but a good cheap starter bike for a novice enthusiast with time on their hands.
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Old 12-10-16, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by thumpism
I was on the way back from running the dog at a local park this evening when I spotted a familiar shape in front of a little antique shop so pulled a U-ie to go back and check. It was a Triumph, probably a 21" frame and fairly plain. I've never seen a hub shell with such light stamping; the only thing I could read was the "ENGLA" and saw some faint lines otherwise. Nothing exceptional but the $50 price tag and the...um, interesting...cable pulley arrangement on the seat post (not on the seat tube, on the seat post). Nice little bike for someone if it could be gotten for less.
Attachment 545378
Maybe the gear cable was replaced with a longer unit so the pulley wheel was McGyvored into position to take up slack. Moving the fulcrum clip to the front of TT may have done the job.
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Old 12-10-16, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman
Maybe the gear cable was replaced with a longer unit so the pulley wheel was McGyvored into position to take up slack. Moving the fulcrum clip to the front of TT may have done the job.
Well, whoever springs for the bike will get to fix that.
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Old 12-10-16, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman
More like a 70's model left out in the weather too much. Too much work but a good cheap starter bike for a novice enthusiast with time on their hands.
I don't believe the advertisement that the saddle is the original. Every original Brooks saddle on a Sports that I have seen has had springs and the pictured one does not. Looks like a B17. If I were to have a tatoo on my butt it would be "B17," so you know I'm not disparaging the saddle, but it doesn't appear to be original to me.

Also, the rear fender has two stays and I don't believe that Raleigh went to two stays on the rear fender as early as 58. But, that's conjecture.

It very well may be before 1970, though, as it still has the white tail and small round reflector.
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Old 12-10-16, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman
More like a 70's model left out in the weather too much. Too much work but a good cheap starter bike for a novice enthusiast with time on their hands.
Oh, does it look like a 23" to you?

I bought a 1979 23" in better condition the other day for $20.
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Old 12-10-16, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by hilltowner
Could have posted this in C&V's "... are you looking for one of these?" but the interest there doesn't seem to run to 3-speeds that much. Vintage MEN'S ENGLISH RALEIGH 3-SPEED BICYCLE - $50 (Easthampton, MA)
The 3-speeds I find get posted here since the interest is concentrated. Pretty quick feedback, too.

That one looks like the mid-'70s 23" that I have.
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Old 12-10-16, 11:34 PM
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Definitely 70s. Those awful self-adjusting brake levers were only on 74-75 Sports, iirc.
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