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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 05-30-18, 06:59 AM
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A sometimes-harsh article about Sturmey-Archer from a few years ago, combining technical and management history. I've wondered about Frank Bowden, since he was so idealistic about the bicycle but it seems like Raleigh under his management was a monopolistic beast, absorbing or erasing any sizable competition. Which continued when TI took over. Anyway here's the article.

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Old 05-30-18, 08:37 AM
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@BigChief, where does one get Action Magic?
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Old 05-30-18, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by paulb_in_bkln
I've wondered about Frank Bowden, since he was so idealistic about the bicycle but it seems like Raleigh under his management was a monopolistic beast, absorbing or erasing any sizable competition. Which continued when TI took over.
Well of course they were, that's the nature of industrial capitalism. You either aim to become a monopoly or are crushed by others that do. The funny part is that such monopolies always become conceited and unable to react properly to changes in the things that their success relies on. Which is why Raleigh is a brand owned by a dutch marketer of imported Chinese bikes to discount shops instead of a major car manufacturer the size of GM.

Everyone dies in the end.
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Old 05-30-18, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by paulb_in_bkln
A sometimes-harsh article about Sturmey-Archer from a few years ago, combining technical and management history. I've wondered about Frank Bowden, since he was so idealistic about the bicycle but it seems like Raleigh under his management was a monopolistic beast, absorbing or erasing any sizable competition. Which continued when TI took over. Anyway here's the article.
Great article, good find. It explains a lot.
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Old 05-30-18, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
@BigChief, where does one get Action Magic?
Hope you don't mind my answering in BC's stead. https://www.brownells.com/search/inde...agic&ksubmit=y
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Old 05-30-18, 11:02 AM
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As it goes for me in my rural location, 5 hours on the road and a new 3 speed. Silver Raleigh Sports with 23" frame. The size sealed the deal. AW hub with 5-77 date. I was thinking of what I had learned in just a few months on this thread. I remember being concerned about adjusting the shift on my first Raleigh earlier this year. When I saw this one
was not going into Low I grabbed the WD40 and sprayed......spun the adjuster and in less than a minute I had all three gears. Now to find a chain guard!
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Old 05-30-18, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Chaser95
As it goes for me in my rural location, 5 hours on the road and a new 3 speed. Silver Raleigh Sports with 23" frame. The size sealed the deal. AW hub with 5-77 date. I was thinking of what I had learned in just a few months on this thread. I remember being concerned about adjusting the shift on my first Raleigh earlier this year. When I saw this one
was not going into Low I grabbed the WD40 and sprayed......spun the adjuster and in less than a minute I had all three gears. Now to find a chain guard!
I would say that hits my photo zone square in the center; old barn and old bicycle. Thanks!
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Old 05-30-18, 04:39 PM
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IMG20180530170221 by arty dave armour, on Flickr

Found this at the local recycling centre, got excited, got home and realised the clamp is 23.8mm not the 25.4 all my spare handlebars are
This is a size used (of course) by Raleigh and also other older british bikes. Not sure what to do, it's a nice stem. Guess it might just be a waiting game for the right size handlebars...I'm still looking for a rear 'quarter door' for the DL-1 chaincase but I'm starting to think it's just not going to happen...
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Old 05-30-18, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by paulb_in_bkln
Pretty cool tip. Old axle nuts too, I bet.
I don't think BC appreciates being called "Old Axle Nuts".
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Old 05-30-18, 05:43 PM
  #16860  
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Originally Posted by gster
I don't think BC appreciates being called "Old Axle Nuts".
Actually, it does kinda fit me.
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Old 05-30-18, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by gster
I don't think BC appreciates being called "Old Axle Nuts".
ROFL. Sincerely!
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Old 05-30-18, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Chaser95
As it goes for me in my rural location, 5 hours on the road and a new 3 speed. Silver Raleigh Sports with 23" frame. The size sealed the deal. AW hub with 5-77 date. I was thinking of what I had learned in just a few months on this thread. I remember being concerned about adjusting the shift on my first Raleigh earlier this year. When I saw this one
was not going into Low I grabbed the WD40 and sprayed......spun the adjuster and in less than a minute I had all three gears. Now to find a chain guard!
I just bought one of these last weekend at a garage sale for $20 although its a 21"and it has the thumb wheel brake lever adjusters and is a 1974 SA hub. Did they discontinue the thumb wheel levers and put Weinmann brakes on that one?
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Old 05-30-18, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by arty dave

IMG20180530170221 by arty dave armour, on Flickr

Found this at the local recycling centre, got excited, got home and realised the clamp is 23.8mm not the 25.4 all my spare handlebars are
This is a size used (of course) by Raleigh and also other older british bikes. Not sure what to do, it's a nice stem. Guess it might just be a waiting game for the right size handlebars...I'm still looking for a rear 'quarter door' for the DL-1 chaincase but I'm starting to think it's just not going to happen...
Don't tell anyone I said this but just hammer the handlebars in there. The stem with stretch out.

Only works one way though.
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Old 05-30-18, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by johnnyspaghetti
I just bought one of these last weekend at a garage sale for $20 although its a 21"and it has the thumb wheel brake lever adjusters and is a 1974 SA hub. Did they discontinue the thumb wheel levers and put Weinmann brakes on that one?
The self-adjusting brakes only existed for a couple years, 74 was one of them. We have a 74 Sprite with them. Then they shifted to the alloy Weinmanns with the levers seen on the silver bike. It's an amazing claim, I admit, but the Weinmann brakes were an improvement.
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Old 05-30-18, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by johnnyspaghetti
I just bought one of these last weekend at a garage sale for $20 although its a 21"and it has the thumb wheel brake lever adjusters and is a 1974 SA hub. Did they discontinue the thumb wheel levers and put Weinmann brakes on that one?
Honestly I have not looked at the brakes yet. Maybe someone will know.

The story on the bike was that it had been brought from Europe by someone who was in the military. I do not know if it was bought there or, if it went there and back. I do know the brakes work quite well! The shift cable appears to be stretching. I have adjusted it three times today and it works as it should and then gets loose and slips in second gear. I tighten it up and all is well then it slips again and the cable is slack. I am just about out of adjustment threads.

I have a lead on another Ladies Sport that I will check out tomorrow.
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Old 05-30-18, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Chaser95
Honestly I have not looked at the brakes yet. Maybe someone will know.

The story on the bike was that it had been brought from Europe by someone who was in the military. I do not know if it was bought there or, if it went there and back. I do know the brakes work quite well! The shift cable appears to be stretching. I have adjusted it three times today and it works as it should and then gets loose and slips in second gear. I tighten it up and all is well then it slips again and the cable is slack. I am just about out of adjustment threads.

I have a lead on another Ladies Sport that I will check out tomorrow.
It looks like a late 70s Sports made for the American market. The coffin shaped rear reflector, the wheel reflectors, etc, pretty much match the CPS stuff that was enforced back then. The graphics on the bicycle also look like typical American market Raleigh. So, it may have been purchased in Europe through the PX or it may have been shipped there and back, but it sure looks like an American market Sports.

The hub indicates that the bike is probably a 77 or 78 model. The mid to late 70s sports bikes seem to be pretty consistent with serial number system and you should be able to match your serial number to the system as described on Kurt Kaminer's Headbadge site.

About the brakes -- through most of the product life, the Sports bicycles had steel Raleigh brakes with steel Sturmey Archer levers. About 73 or so, and for just a couple years, Raleigh used a really terribly designed self adjusting brake lever coupled with a version of the steel brake calipers. The adjusters may have worked well initially, I don't know, but the design was not robust and every one of them I've seen did not work properly. About 75 or so, Raleigh started using Weinmann alloy side pull calipers with Weinmann alloy levers. That is what you have on your bike. In general, these Weinmann brakes don't get a lot of respect. But, compared to the SA/Raleigh brakes and levers they replaced, they were a significant improvement, in my opinion.

I probably shouldn't be so hard on the Raleigh steel brakes -- they probably worked about as well as could be expected with the steel rims.

About your shift cable -- it is not probable that the cable is actually stretching. There are two fittings on the frame that may be implicated. One is called the fulcrum stop, I think, and it is where the outer cable terminates in a clamped device with a slotted plastic barrel insert. If the clamp is slipping, or if the white plastic slotted barrel insert is damaged and can slide, the effective cable length can change and give the illusion of cable stretch. The other is the little guide wheel that is clamped at the bottom of the seat tube. If your cable jumps (well, they dont actually jump, I suppose) off the wheel or the clamp that holds the wheel can move or if the wheel is broken and no longer round, well, any of these problems can cause the affect you are observing. So, follow the cable from the shifter to the indicator chain and make sure that everything along the path is positioned correctly and is secure and you will probably solve the apparent cable stretch problem. Oh, one more thing about the cable path. Replacement shift cables sometimes have a little cable clamp to terminate the cable at the barrel aduster. These cable clamps can slip and the little bent steel rod that holds the cable clamp to the barrel adjuster can get bent out of shape. That can screw up your shifting also. I had problems like that with one of my bicycles as I kept snagging the cable that runs along the chain stay with my heel. As it was a diamond and not a step through, I repositioned the cable run along the top tube and seat stay, rather than down tube and chain stay. With the step through, you don't have that option -- be careful about snagging the cable.
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Old 05-31-18, 04:43 AM
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About the shifter cable adjustment. The barrel nut at the indicator chain is only the fine adjustment. The coarse adjustment is made by moving cable stop (fulcrum clip) on the frame tube. So if you run out of threads at the barrel nut, adjust it back to the middle and take up the slack by moving the cable stop. I have my suspicion about the adjustment slipping. Sometime in the 70s, someone in Sturmey Archers bad idea department decided to eliminate the nut that holds tension on the cable guide wheel band. They made an extra fold in the soft steel band and drilled and tapped threads into it. These strip very easily. It's possible that the guide wheel is slipping on the frame making cable adjustment impossible.
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Old 05-31-18, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Chaser95
Honestly I have not looked at the brakes yet. Maybe someone will know.

The story on the bike was that it had been brought from Europe by someone who was in the military. I do not know if it was bought there or, if it went there and back. I do know the brakes work quite well! The shift cable appears to be stretching. I have adjusted it three times today and it works as it should and then gets loose and slips in second gear. I tighten it up and all is well then it slips again and the cable is slack. I am just about out of adjustment threads.

I have a lead on another Ladies Sport that I will check out tomorrow.
My shift cable adjusting experience suggests slack for 3rd gear but the least amount. Variations in the straightness of the cable will effect 2nd gear engagement.. Every time you click to a lower gear it stretches the minor kinks & bends out and a mal-adjustment occurs.

Last edited by johnnyspaghetti; 05-31-18 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 05-31-18, 06:42 AM
  #16869  
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I have one of the few working sets of self- adjusting brakes on my 1974 Sports. They're nice when they work. They do not increase braking power; rather thet tend to set the cable tension in case you have too loose a brake cable. They are unnecessary if you know how to set up and maintain brakes/cables.
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Old 05-31-18, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by SirMike1983
I have one of the few working sets of self- adjusting brakes on my 1974 Sports. They're nice when they work. They do not increase braking power; rather thet tend to set the cable tension in case you have too loose a brake cable. They are unnecessary if you know how to set up and maintain brakes/cables.
My complaint about them is I like to set full brake a little bit past half of the lever travel. When these reset, full brake is too far forward for me. I like a bit of travel before the pads contact the rims. It's simple enough to remove the little pawl spring if you prefer normal operation though.
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Old 05-31-18, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Chaser95
Honestly I have not looked at the brakes yet. Maybe someone will know.

The story on the bike was that it had been brought from Europe by someone who was in the military. I do not know if it was bought there or, if it went there and back. I do know the brakes work quite well! The shift cable appears to be stretching. I have adjusted it three times today and it works as it should and then gets loose and slips in second gear. I tighten it up and all is well then it slips again and the cable is slack. I am just about out of adjustment threads.

I have a lead on another Ladies Sport that I will check out tomorrow.
My shift cable adjusting experience suggests slack for 3rd gear but the least amount. Variations in the straightness of the cable will effect 2nd gear engagement.. Every time you click to a lower gear it stretches the minor kinks & bends out and a mal-adjustment occurs.
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Old 05-31-18, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by johnnyspaghetti
My shift cable adjusting experience suggests slack for 3rd gear but the least amount. Variations in the straightness of the cable will effect 2nd gear engagement.. Every time you click to a lower gear it stretches the minor kinks & bends out and a mal-adjustment occurs.
One of our Gentlemen Cyclists on the Lake Pepin 3-speed Tour converted his Super Course Mk.II over to an AW hub. He uses the friction shift lever on his downtube to shift the AW hub, and it seems to work very well. Adjusting the tension in High gear for a tiny bit of slack, he can put the lever somewhere in the middle for Normal, and all the way back for Low. This also allows him to adjust Normal (2nd) gear on-the-fly. A simple but brilliant solution, don't you think?

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Old 05-31-18, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by arty dave

IMG20180530170221 by arty dave armour, on Flickr

Found this at the local recycling centre, got excited, got home and realised the clamp is 23.8mm not the 25.4 all my spare handlebars are
This is a size used (of course) by Raleigh and also other older british bikes. Not sure what to do, it's a nice stem. Guess it might just be a waiting game for the right size handlebars...I'm still looking for a rear 'quarter door' for the DL-1 chaincase but I'm starting to think it's just not going to happen...
These stems were used for three types of upright bars on the Raleigh Sprite 27s (and probably the Record, too). I definitely would not hammer a Sports handlebar in there!
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Old 05-31-18, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
Sometime in the 70s, someone in Sturmey Archers bad idea department decided to eliminate the nut that holds tension on the cable guide wheel band. They made an extra fold in the soft steel band and drilled and tapped threads into it. These strip very easily. It's possible that the guide wheel is slipping on the frame making cable adjustment impossible.
On a philosophical note, it is very sad to live through and even view in retrospect this sort of pennypinching de-engineering.
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Old 05-31-18, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by PatrickZ
These stems were used for three types of upright bars on the Raleigh Sprite 27s (and probably the Record, too). I definitely would not hammer a Sports handlebar in there!
It being steel could you safely spread the clamp? Or maybe not.
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