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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 10-10-18, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by PeterLYoung
I found this 1936 BSA Roadster at an auction, It has BSA Three Speed plus Hub Brakes Front & Rear. It is Model 602DX Serial Number WD29996 and cost £6-12/6d when new. I have not found another when searching on-line so far. I also cannot find a spare 3Speed BSA Rear Hub with combined Hub Brake for spares though at present all works OK. I have now stripped it all completely and am rebuilding it after repainting as paintwork was very poor as it had been badly hand painted by a previous owner. Mechanically it was in good shape and all components just needed cleaning, de rusting and repainting. Frame is being powder coated and I have new transfers.
Hope to have it all finished and back on the road for next summer.






I believe they are Sturmey Archer KB and LB hubs. Either made under license or simply stamped with the BSA logo. Here's a 1934 SA catalog page. Spares for these are a machine shop proposition unless you're exceptionally lucky. Great bike!!!

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Old 10-10-18, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by groth
I've finished the resurrection (at least for now) and as promised here are some photos and the story of the bike.

Actually, I made a web page with photos and the history:

Resurrecting an English Racer, Fall, 2018

Here is the main text from the web page:

Yes, I know itís not a racer! But I had a bike like this when I was a kid. It followed a single speed coaster brake bike. Compared to that bike it was an English Racer, which is what all the kids in the neighborhood called it in the early and mid 1950s!

Jane surprised me with a new bike. My memory is that it was a Christmas present in 1972 or 1973. Iím pretty sure it had to be then because I associate the bike with where we were living at the time: Magie apartments - junior faculty housing at Princeton University. We lived there from summer, 1971 to summer, 1974. and Iím sure it wasnít the first Christmas we were there. As part of resurrecting the bike, I found the date code on the hub. Itís January, 1972. So, itís Christmas, 1972. Itís conceivable that it was for my birthday in May, but Iím going to stick with Christmas!

Over the years I got it out for various things. I remember taking it to Woods Hole for a conference in the early 1980s, and taking it on the ferry to Marthaís Vineyard, where a group of us rode to a beach house for a party.

Around 1996 I started cycling seriously and used this bike. The first picture below shows the bike as it was in 1997. Itís pretty much as it came from the bike shop at that point. I no longer have the original seat bag. I still have the baskets although Iíve removed them. Canít believe i rode it with the seat so low!

I believe I added a cyclometer and possibly a mirror. I also probably had to add a new indicator chain, and a new cotter (I found a mangled one in a parts box in the basement).

I had thought to ride it in the 1998 RAGBRAI, but finally decided it didnít have wide enough gearing and bought a Bianchi Volpe. This pretty much consigned the bike to storage until I decided in late summer, 2018 to resurrect the bike for the more upright riding position to help with wrist pain, at least for relatively short, flat rides.

By the time I started taking photos of the process, I had already replaced the rims and brake pads, done a good cleaning, and got plenty of oil in the front and rear hubs.

I may still need to service the rear hub. Weíll see.

So far as I know, the bike is original except for: rims, pedals, brake blocks, indicator chain, cotters, seat bag, tubes and tires. I also added a mirror.

The bike is the 21 inch size. The chain ring has 46 teeth and the rear sprocket has 17 (apparently an unusual number!). So the gearing is 53, 70, and 94 gear inches. My Trek has a gear range of 16 to 107 gear inches (quite a bit lower than the stock gearing). The Sports weighs about 36 lbs.


Here are a couple of photos:



My son with his Schwinn 10-speed on the right and my Sports on the left. We were getting ready to ride the MHCC half century on September 9, 1997.




The Sports as it looked on October 11, 2018.

More photos on the web page cited above.

- Ed
Great story. Really nice to see such a fine old roadster back in use. One thing...that's a 23" frame. Beautiful bike. A classic in bronze green.
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Old 10-10-18, 05:33 PM
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Hi Big Chief: Thanks your reply, I thought BSA designed their own, I found a Sturmey Archer Front Hub Brake at an Autojumble but found it to be totally different to the BSA front hub, I was hoping brake parts were interchangeable but they are not also the action to change gear is the reverse of Sturmey Archer 3 Speed hubs. I am not saying you are incorrect, you may well be correct but I cannot find anything to confirm. I have looked at manuals for both BSA & Sturmey Archer and there are differences but I accept this does not mean BSA were not making under License. Another question is whether the 3 Speed construction has to be compressed to allow space for the Brake Hub making it even more rare, I still need to determine this. I want to dismantle the 3 Speed to clean and check it but I am wary of doing this in case something goes wrong and without spare parts I cannot fix it. It is working perfectly but I am one of those people who feel a compulsion (mental illness) to strip, clean, reassemble and lubricate so I know all is OK. I will have to rebuild the bike with the hub untouched until I find another hub (but I have the feeling it is a rare thing because it made the bike a lot more expensive when new).
Best regards
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Old 10-10-18, 06:24 PM
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I have no experience with pre-war bikes. It looks like a very similar design. Still, even if parts were interchangeable with SA it wouldn't be of much help. Couldn't tell you where to find a K hub. Especially a KB. It's a good bet some parts are more compressed in this drum brake version because many part numbers are different for later SA hubs with and without Dyno sections. I'd love to see pictures of these hubs apart if you have a chance.
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Old 10-10-18, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
Great story. Really nice to see such a fine old roadster back in use. One thing...that's a 23" frame. Beautiful bike. A classic in bronze green.
Big Chief -

What do you measure to figure out the frame size?

Thanks,
Ed
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Old 10-10-18, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by groth
Big Chief -

What do you measure to figure out the frame size?

Thanks,
Ed
I can tell from looking at the length of head tube in the photo. It's easy to tell a 21" from a 23" by the distance between the top tube and down tube at the head tube lug.
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Old 10-10-18, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
I have no experience with pre-war bikes. It looks like a very similar design. Still, even if parts were interchangeable with SA it wouldn't be of much help. Couldn't tell you where to find a K hub. Especially a KB. It's a good bet some parts are more compressed in this drum brake version because many part numbers are different for later SA hubs with and without Dyno sections. I'd love to see pictures of these hubs apart if you have a chance.
If it's a BSA-branded hub, it's more likely a licensed version of the S-A X-type hub, a model from 1905. I've been wanting to get my hands on a BSA 3-speed hub! I have a K on my 1937 Raleigh Tourist (see the picture of the headlight further up the page), but I'm pretty sure it's a different hub from anything saying BSA on it.
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Old 10-10-18, 09:21 PM
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From 1954, but a totally different hub from the SA , Hercules and Brampton versions I'm familiar with. Always something new to learn.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/sturmey-archer/bsahub.html
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Old 10-11-18, 01:51 AM
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1936 BSA Roadster, 3Speed (BSA) + Hub Brakes

BigChief: Yes I have this BSA Data Sheet from Sheldon Brown and I will use this to dismantle mine when I get up enough courage to do it. I attach part of the BSA 1939 Catalogue showing Hub Options, There is a BSA 3Speed Hub on ebay but the owner is asking £265 which is an awfully high amount, but it does have with it the gear changer to go on the top tube ( I have a NOS one of these complete with cable but they are as rare as Hens Teeth).
I have just found on ebay a BSA 3Speed normal hub 40 spoke holes for £45 which I have bought and will dismantle as a practice piece before stripping mine. It may well have many compatible components which I can use for spares.






Last edited by PeterLYoung; 10-11-18 at 02:00 AM. Reason: Adding more information
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Old 10-11-18, 02:15 AM
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Originally Posted by groth
Big Chief -

What do you measure to figure out the frame size?

Thanks,
Ed
BigChief is correct that with experience you can tell on traditional frames the size in the way he says.
If you measure from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube it should measure 23"
Regards
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Old 10-11-18, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW
Received a set of Sturmey Archer cable pulleys today.

They have some... patina but roll well. Going to give them a good clean and polish and probably sell the leftovers on eBay again.


Does anyone know if these can be disassembled safely?
Soak them in Gasoline or WD40 for a few days (or longer) then clamp the frame clamp ring in a vice and use a 'very good fit' screwdriver you should be able to remove the screws. I have just done this on a pulley from a 1936 BSA Roadster with success.
Good Luck.
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Old 10-11-18, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by groth
I've finished the resurrection (at least for now) and as promised here are some photos and the story of the bike.

Actually, I made a web page with photos and the history:

Resurrecting an English Racer, Fall, 2018

Here is the main text from the web page:

Yes, I know itís not a racer! But I had a bike like this when I was a kid. It followed a single speed coaster brake bike. Compared to that bike it was an English Racer, which is what all the kids in the neighborhood called it in the early and mid 1950s!

Jane surprised me with a new bike. My memory is that it was a Christmas present in 1972 or 1973. Iím pretty sure it had to be then because I associate the bike with where we were living at the time: Magie apartments - junior faculty housing at Princeton University. We lived there from summer, 1971 to summer, 1974. and Iím sure it wasnít the first Christmas we were there. As part of resurrecting the bike, I found the date code on the hub. Itís January, 1972. So, itís Christmas, 1972. Itís conceivable that it was for my birthday in May, but Iím going to stick with Christmas!

Over the years I got it out for various things. I remember taking it to Woods Hole for a conference in the early 1980s, and taking it on the ferry to Marthaís Vineyard, where a group of us rode to a beach house for a party.

Around 1996 I started cycling seriously and used this bike. The first picture below shows the bike as it was in 1997. Itís pretty much as it came from the bike shop at that point. I no longer have the original seat bag. I still have the baskets although Iíve removed them. Canít believe i rode it with the seat so low!

I believe I added a cyclometer and possibly a mirror. I also probably had to add a new indicator chain, and a new cotter (I found a mangled one in a parts box in the basement).

I had thought to ride it in the 1998 RAGBRAI, but finally decided it didnít have wide enough gearing and bought a Bianchi Volpe. This pretty much consigned the bike to storage until I decided in late summer, 2018 to resurrect the bike for the more upright riding position to help with wrist pain, at least for relatively short, flat rides.

By the time I started taking photos of the process, I had already replaced the rims and brake pads, done a good cleaning, and got plenty of oil in the front and rear hubs.

I may still need to service the rear hub. Weíll see.

So far as I know, the bike is original except for: rims, pedals, brake blocks, indicator chain, cotters, seat bag, tubes and tires. I also added a mirror.

The bike is the 21 inch size. The chain ring has 46 teeth and the rear sprocket has 17 (apparently an unusual number!). So the gearing is 53, 70, and 94 gear inches. My Trek has a gear range of 16 to 107 gear inches (quite a bit lower than the stock gearing). The Sports weighs about 36 lbs.


Here are a couple of photos:



My son with his Schwinn 10-speed on the right and my Sports on the left. We were getting ready to ride the MHCC half century on September 9, 1997.




The Sports as it looked on October 11, 2018.

More photos on the web page cited above.

- Ed
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Old 10-11-18, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by PeterLYoung
Soak them in Gasoline or WD40 for a few days (or longer) then clamp the frame clamp ring in a vice and use a 'very good fit' screwdriver you should be able to remove the screws. I have just done this on a pulley from a 1936 BSA Roadster with success.
Good Luck.
Good tip, thanks!
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Old 10-11-18, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by PeterLYoung
BigChief is correct that with experience you can tell on traditional frames the size in the way he says.
If you measure from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube it should measure 23"
Regards
Thanks. I did and measured 23 inches. Previously I had made some measurements (not between the correct points) and got numbers that were closer to 21 than 23 inches. Web page corrected.

Also discovered some photos I took way back on April 24, when I started this project. Had forgotten about them. They show lots of rust.


Sports as it looked on April 24, 2018. Rideable, but just barely.


Not to mention rusty!

- Ed
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Old 10-11-18, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by groth
Thanks. I did and measured 23 inches. Previously I had made some measurements (not between the correct points) and got numbers that were closer to 21 than 23 inches. Web page corrected.

Also discovered some photos I took way back on April 24, when I started this project. Had forgotten about them. They show lots of rust.


Sports as it looked on April 24, 2018. Rideable, but just barely.


Not to mention rusty!

- Ed
Nice job! If you have any other pictures of the project as it was coming along, post em here. We enjoy the nuts and bolts side of project bikes too.
Pictures can be deceiving, but the rims don't look too bad to me. 40h/32h Raleigh dual purpose rims are hard to find. They don't have to be perfect to be desirable. For 26" wheel roadsters with rod brakes, they're essential.
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Old 10-11-18, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by groth
I've finished the resurrection (at least for now) and as promised here are some photos and the story of the bike.

Actually, I made a web page with photos and the history:

Resurrecting an English Racer, Fall, 2018

Here is the main text from the web page:

Yes, I know itís not a racer! But I had a bike like this when I was a kid. It followed a single speed coaster brake bike. Compared to that bike it was an English Racer, which is what all the kids in the neighborhood called it in the early and mid 1950s!

Jane surprised me with a new bike. My memory is that it was a Christmas present in 1972 or 1973. Iím pretty sure it had to be then because I associate the bike with where we were living at the time: Magie apartments - junior faculty housing at Princeton University. We lived there from summer, 1971 to summer, 1974. and Iím sure it wasnít the first Christmas we were there. As part of resurrecting the bike, I found the date code on the hub. Itís January, 1972. So, itís Christmas, 1972. Itís conceivable that it was for my birthday in May, but Iím going to stick with Christmas!

Over the years I got it out for various things. I remember taking it to Woods Hole for a conference in the early 1980s, and taking it on the ferry to Marthaís Vineyard, where a group of us rode to a beach house for a party.

Around 1996 I started cycling seriously and used this bike. The first picture below shows the bike as it was in 1997. Itís pretty much as it came from the bike shop at that point. I no longer have the original seat bag. I still have the baskets although Iíve removed them. Canít believe i rode it with the seat so low!

I believe I added a cyclometer and possibly a mirror. I also probably had to add a new indicator chain, and a new cotter (I found a mangled one in a parts box in the basement).

I had thought to ride it in the 1998 RAGBRAI, but finally decided it didnít have wide enough gearing and bought a Bianchi Volpe. This pretty much consigned the bike to storage until I decided in late summer, 2018 to resurrect the bike for the more upright riding position to help with wrist pain, at least for relatively short, flat rides.

By the time I started taking photos of the process, I had already replaced the rims and brake pads, done a good cleaning, and got plenty of oil in the front and rear hubs.

I may still need to service the rear hub. Weíll see.

So far as I know, the bike is original except for: rims, pedals, brake blocks, indicator chain, cotters, seat bag, tubes and tires. I also added a mirror.

The bike is the 21 inch size. The chain ring has 46 teeth and the rear sprocket has 17 (apparently an unusual number!). So the gearing is 53, 70, and 94 gear inches. My Trek has a gear range of 16 to 107 gear inches (quite a bit lower than the stock gearing). The Sports weighs about 36 lbs.


Here are a couple of photos:



My son with his Schwinn 10-speed on the right and my Sports on the left. We were getting ready to ride the MHCC half century on September 9, 1997.




The Sports as it looked on October 11, 2018.

More photos on the web page cited above.

- Ed
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Old 10-12-18, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by PeterLYoung
I found this 1936 BSA Roadster at an auction, It has BSA Three Speed plus Hub Brakes Front & Rear. It is Model 602DX Serial Number WD29996 and cost £6-12/6d when new. I have not found another when searching on-line so far. I also cannot find a spare 3Speed BSA Rear Hub with combined Hub Brake for spares though at present all works OK. I have now stripped it all completely and am rebuilding it after repainting as paintwork was very poor as it had been badly hand painted by a previous owner. Mechanically it was in good shape and all components just needed cleaning, de rusting and repainting. Frame is being powder coated and I have new transfers.
Hope to have it all finished and back on the road for next summer.






I thought I'd pass this along. That fellow in Greece is selling those short stubby pre war handlebar grips that came on this type rod brake roadster NOS. I wonder where he finds stuff like this. German, but they look very similar to the English grips in the catalog scans.
rod brake grips
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Old 10-12-18, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
I thought I'd pass this along. That fellow in Greece is selling those short stubby pre war handlebar grips that came on this type rod brake roadster NOS. I wonder where he finds stuff like this. German, but they look very similar to the English grips in the catalog scans.
rod brake grips
i bought the Handlebar Grips from my local Bike Shop, I was amazed they had them in stock. The bike had grips made from Radiator type hose when I bought it, they were horrible.
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Old 10-12-18, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by PeterLYoung
i bought the Handlebar Grips from my local Bike Shop, I was amazed they had them in stock. The bike had grips made from Radiator type hose when I bought it, they were horrible.
Those are fine. They are the DARE style grips Raleigh used from the late 60s on. Back in the 30s and 40s, I noticed from a few examples and catalog scans that the rod braked roadsters like yours seemed to always have these short grips. From the old scan you posted, looks like the BSA's had them also. I was shopping for old style grips for my 51 Rudge when I found those on eBay, but I was searching for the longer fat type.
Ah...I knew I saved a picture.

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Old 10-12-18, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
Nice job! If you have any other pictures of the project as it was coming along, post em here. We enjoy the nuts and bolts side of project bikes too.
Pictures can be deceiving, but the rims don't look too bad to me. 40h/32h Raleigh dual purpose rims are hard to find. They don't have to be perfect to be desirable. For 26" wheel roadsters with rod brakes, they're essential.
Well, I still have the rims.

Trying to make the bike rideable, including in wet conditions, I replaced the brake pads with salmon pads. But the braking was still awful, mainly because the rims had substantial dents in the braking surface. So I decided to replace the rims. The first step was to take the front wheel off and make sure I could turn all the nipples. Penetrating oil! Once I was sure I could do that, I ordered a sun cr18 26 x 1-3/8 32 hole rim. I placed the wheel on top of the new rim (lining up the valve holes) and moved the bottom layer of spokes one at a time to the new rim, then the top layer of spokes. This way I didn't actually have to take the spokes out of the hub and relace them. Thought this was clever, and I'm sure other people have also used this technique. I was well along in this process when I noticed the left side spokes were attached to the rim in the right side holes and vice versa. Turns out the sun rims have the opposite parity of the originals. I suppose if I were a purist, I would have relaced everything. Instead, I undid the attachment to the rim and rotated the rims relative to each other by one spoke spaceing and started over. If you look closely at the photos in this thread, you'll notice the valve stems are one spoke spacing from where they should be. At this point I made sure I could turn all the nipples in the rear wheel, and once I could do that, I ordered a 40h rim, a tensiometer, nicer spoke wrenches, and rim tape. I already had a truing stand and a dish gauge. Turns out the tensiometer was only slightly useful in tensioning and truing the wheels.

As mentioned, I still have the rims:

Rear on the left, front on the right.


Bad dent in the rear rim.


Same rear rim dent from the other side.


Bad dent in the front rim.


Same front rim dent from the other side.

I could not think of any sure way to make a smooth braking surface where the dents are, and that's why I replaced the rims.

I think these rims would be dangerous to ride. But if someone wants them, I'm happy to give them away.

If you're not too far from Pennington, NJ, you could drop by and pick them up. Otherwise, pay the cost of shipping.

- Ed
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Old 10-12-18, 04:48 PM
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I see, Yeah, the dents are pretty bad. Looks unusable to me too. We are very fortunate that CR-18s are available in 32/40h. These and the salmon Kool Stops were an excellent choice IMO.
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Old 10-13-18, 10:17 AM
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I bought a set of CR18's to replace the similar rims on the 49 humber (rims are in decent shape except a very poor/chrome pitted braking surface)....I didn't do it yet because I found the CR18s were significantly narrower. Have you found that to make a difference on yours?
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Old 10-13-18, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
Those are fine. They are the DARE style grips Raleigh used from the late 60s on. Back in the 30s and 40s, I noticed from a few examples and catalog scans that the rod braked roadsters like yours seemed to always have these short grips. From the old scan you posted, looks like the BSA's had them also. I was shopping for old style grips for my 51 Rudge when I found those on eBay, but I was searching for the longer fat type.
Ah...I knew I saved a picture.

Thats a really nice bike, I see you have hub brakes (Raleigh patten?). Chrome looks in V good condition, did you have to re-chrome the brightwork? I face this dilemma as I don't want to over restore but items like rims/spokes are pretty rusted on my BSA and once you go beyond a certain point the impetus changes to go the whole hog and you end up with a brand new vintage bike!!!
Incidentally a great way of de-rusting bike components which I have used a lot is soak all the parts in White Vinegar for 3/4 days. When you take them out a light brushing with a copper/brass wire brush brings them up like new. It works well with pitted chrome too without damaging the chrome. For larger parts I purchase multiple gallon containers of vinegar and put say 4 gallons in a plastic storagecrate and whole handlebar assemblies can be dropped in, works a treat and no elbow grease required!!!

Last edited by PeterLYoung; 10-13-18 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 10-13-18, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
Those are fine. They are the DARE style grips Raleigh used from the late 60s on. Back in the 30s and 40s, I noticed from a few examples and catalog scans that the rod braked roadsters like yours seemed to always have these short grips. From the old scan you posted, looks like the BSA's had them also. I was shopping for old style grips for my 51 Rudge when I found those on eBay, but I was searching for the longer fat type.
Ah...I knew I saved a picture.

This isn't the one that was on Boston CL recently-ish, is it?
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Old 10-13-18, 03:34 PM
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Yes. Not mine. I keep a collection of pictures for reference. I posted it now because it has it's original short grips. I was hunting vintage grips for my Rudge project and saw that fellow in Greece had some German NOS short grips that look very similar to the very few survivors I see in pictures and the grainy catalog scans of rod braked roadsters from the 30s and 40s. I was shopping for a 51 Rudge Sports, so they weren't what I was looking for. I just figured Peter might be interested since he has a suitable bike.
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