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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 05-14-19, 08:47 AM
  #20401  
carfreefamily
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Daily Commuter or Occasionally Ridden Collectible?


Since I finished assembling my '52 Raleigh, I have ridden it almost every day. It's a fantastic bike for commuting, and it's a fantastic bike for riding on the weekend. I've been putting between 60 and 130 miles a week on it.

I bought it because I converted a single speed of mine, (built out of a '78 Schwinn Super Le Tour), to a three speed and then started reading about how the older SA hubs were built to last "indefinitely." And I see, further back in the recent posts, that Raleigh bicycles came with a forever guarantee.

But I keep wondering if I should take a little more care. I've been riding it in the rain, for instance, and the full chain case seems great for that and is one of the reasons I wanted a bike with a full chain case, but I start wondering if water is going to get in somewhere, or if the steel fenders might start to rust on some old spot I missed. But then I read about how some of these bikes sat out for years in the British rain and are still fine. (And I catch myself thinking things like, "I'll just buy some aluminum fenders for daily use," and then the original fenders will, what?, sit in my jam-packed closet with the camping gear and bike parts? I'm a sucker for durable goods, well designed, that are user maintainable - a real rarity in these days. But I also have a pattern of buying other durable things to replace my durable things, so I don't wear the first item out. That's how I've ended up with so many bikes.

Should the Raleigh continue to last indefinitely, in spite of the fact it's already lasted 67 years? I'm about to turn 53 next Tuesday. Let's say I'm halfway through my life. Let's say I ride it about 4500 miles a year. In that scenario, I'm hoping for another 238,500 miles, though perhaps I'll start slowing down in my nineties, and arguably, I might be able to withstand the temptation to ride it when it's icy out, and the roads have been salted and cindered, (though I do ride steel bikes in those conditions).

How many of you ride your English 3 speed day in, day out, year after year, and how many just use them occasionally? Has anyone out there actually worn out their bicycle through use? Do those hubs ever wear out if you keep them oiled?

I know the answer is "ride the bike if you want to ride the bike," but I do get to wondering if there is anything legitimate I should be concerned about in using an old English 3 speed daily in all weather.



In the middle of a 65 mile ride after a 7 mile descent on a dirt road.

Last edited by carfreefamily; 05-14-19 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 05-14-19, 10:37 AM
  #20402  
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Originally Posted by carfreefamily View Post
Daily Commuter or Occasionally Ridden Collectible?

Should the Raleigh continue to last indefinitely, in spite of the fact it's already lasted 67 years? I'm about to turn 53 next Tuesday. Let's say I'm halfway through my life. Let's say I ride it about 4500 miles a year. In that scenario, I'm hoping for another 238,500 miles, though perhaps I'll start slowing down in my nineties, and arguably, I might be able to withstand the temptation to ride it when it's icy out, and the roads have been salted and cindered, (though I do ride steel bikes in those conditions).

How many of you ride your English 3 speed day in, day out, year after year, and how many just use them occasionally? Has anyone out there actually worn out their bicycle through use? Do those hubs ever wear out if you keep them oiled?


I bought my Superbe so as to have a bike for the Lake Pepin 3-speed tour. That was some years back- in the meantime, despite having a custom built frame for my road bike, the Superbe has become my main ride- I use it for commuting and errands as often as I can. This isn't anything more than the bike is extremely well suited for this sort of thing- its comfortable, has lighting, a rack, isn't really a theft target and has a fork lock, and if I need to, I can put some longer miles on it no worries. I'd love to find a 1950s version of it, but 1972 will have to do. I'm 63 now and already worn the first hub out, despite keeping it lubricated- I've put a lot of miles on this thing. Admittedly the hub had lots of miles when I first got it. I've now got a '61 hub installed. I don't ride it where there is ice and salt- I like it a bit too much for that.

Since it lacks oil ports except for the hub, next year I'll be pulling the bottom bracket apart to grease it again, as well as the front hub.

Given the age of your machine, I'd keep it away from the salt but otherwise I would ride the hell out of it
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Old 05-14-19, 12:11 PM
  #20403  
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Keep the maintenance up and ride it as much as you want. Nothing’s worse then a great bike which doesn’t get the road time it deserves.
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Old 05-14-19, 02:01 PM
  #20404  
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
Keep the maintenance up and ride it as much as you want. Nothing’s worse then a great bike which doesn’t get the road time it deserves.
I concur.
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Old 05-14-19, 03:20 PM
  #20405  
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I just dropped in on this thread but have to agree heartily with the last few statements. A few years back I bought and restored a 1969 Raleigh Sports, and it's mainly been sitting idle in my mom's basement. Took it out for a spin today in the decidedly English weather we've been having around here lately - cool, damp, cloudy - and had an absolute blast. There's something about the old 3 speed that invites you to take your time, cruise around, enjoy the simple pleasure of riding around on a bicycle.
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Old 05-14-19, 04:25 PM
  #20406  
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I think "indefinitely" is the right word. Barring an accident. Neglect can ruin them--I see abandoned Raleighs here all the time where the frame, fenders, rims, and BB are beyond recovery--but with maintenance the bike, not counting chain, cables, brake pads, etc., will go forever.
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Old 05-14-19, 04:41 PM
  #20407  
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If you're worried about wear, get another one and take turns riding them. There's probably others that would agree - if you have the room it's nice to have at least a few bikes in your stable just for variety, and they usually feel individual enough that they can all be a pleasure to ride in slightly different ways. I now have 4 vintage bikes, only 2 of them are riders and the other 2 slow builds. It's nice to have something to tinker on, and imagine the reduced wear by the time I have all 4 roadworthy! 3 of these will have SA hubs.
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Old 05-14-19, 05:33 PM
  #20408  
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Does anyone know where I can get my hands on some small parts for a Sturmey-Archer K hub? Specifically, part numbers N6, N7 ,and N8?



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Old 05-14-19, 07:17 PM
  #20409  
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My mostly stock '66 Sports gets about 700 miles per year commuting and erranding in and around Manhattan. I don't ride much in rain, but it happens. It's eminently practical and holds up quite well with normal maintenance, doesn't need to be coddled. Clearly has another 50 years in it.
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Old 05-14-19, 08:43 PM
  #20410  
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Originally Posted by carfreefamily View Post
Daily Commuter or Occasionally Ridden Collectible?


Since I finished assembling my '52 Raleigh, I have ridden it almost every day. It's a fantastic bike for commuting, and it's a fantastic bike for riding on the weekend. I've been putting between 60 and 130 miles a week on it.

I bought it because I converted a single speed of mine, (built out of a '78 Schwinn Super Le Tour), to a three speed and then started reading about how the older SA hubs were built to last "indefinitely." And I see, further back in the recent posts, that Raleigh bicycles came with a forever guarantee.

But I keep wondering if I should take a little more care. I've been riding it in the rain, for instance, and the full chain case seems great for that and is one of the reasons I wanted a bike with a full chain case, but I start wondering if water is going to get in somewhere, or if the steel fenders might start to rust on some old spot I missed. But then I read about how some of these bikes sat out for years in the British rain and are still fine. (And I catch myself thinking things like, "I'll just buy some aluminum fenders for daily use," and then the original fenders will, what?, sit in my jam-packed closet with the camping gear and bike parts? I'm a sucker for durable goods, well designed, that are user maintainable - a real rarity in these days. But I also have a pattern of buying other durable things to replace my durable things, so I don't wear the first item out. That's how I've ended up with so many bikes.

Should the Raleigh continue to last indefinitely, in spite of the fact it's already lasted 67 years? I'm about to turn 53 next Tuesday. Let's say I'm halfway through my life. Let's say I ride it about 4500 miles a year. In that scenario, I'm hoping for another 238,500 miles, though perhaps I'll start slowing down in my nineties, and arguably, I might be able to withstand the temptation to ride it when it's icy out, and the roads have been salted and cindered, (though I do ride steel bikes in those conditions).

How many of you ride your English 3 speed day in, day out, year after year, and how many just use them occasionally? Has anyone out there actually worn out their bicycle through use? Do those hubs ever wear out if you keep them oiled?

I know the answer is "ride the bike if you want to ride the bike," but I do get to wondering if there is anything legitimate I should be concerned about in using an old English 3 speed daily in all weather.



In the middle of a 65 mile ride after a 7 mile descent on a dirt road.
Liquid car wax does a great job protecting bikes from the weather. I'll sometimes paint the insides of the mudguards if I see rust starting. Same with the inside of the rims. When I change tires or fix flats, I'll always check for rust starting on the inside of the rims. Your AG hub is more rare. I've never shopped for one, but old Sturmey Archer hubs are plentiful on eBay. The rims would rust away, but the hubs were almost always still good, so people tended to save them. Wouldn't hurt to have a spare hub for parts if you find a good deal on one.
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Old 05-14-19, 10:42 PM
  #20411  
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Originally Posted by carfreefamily View Post
Daily Commuter or Occasionally Ridden Collectible?


Since I finished assembling my '52 Raleigh, I have ridden it almost every day. It's a fantastic bike for commuting, and it's a fantastic bike for riding on the weekend. I've been putting between 60 and 130 miles a week on it.

I bought it because I converted a single speed of mine, (built out of a '78 Schwinn Super Le Tour), to a three speed and then started reading about how the older SA hubs were built to last "indefinitely." And I see, further back in the recent posts, that Raleigh bicycles came with a forever guarantee.

But I keep wondering if I should take a little more care. I've been riding it in the rain, for instance, and the full chain case seems great for that and is one of the reasons I wanted a bike with a full chain case, but I start wondering if water is going to get in somewhere, or if the steel fenders might start to rust on some old spot I missed. But then I read about how some of these bikes sat out for years in the British rain and are still fine. (And I catch myself thinking things like, "I'll just buy some aluminum fenders for daily use," and then the original fenders will, what?, sit in my jam-packed closet with the camping gear and bike parts? I'm a sucker for durable goods, well designed, that are user maintainable - a real rarity in these days. But I also have a pattern of buying other durable things to replace my durable things, so I don't wear the first item out. That's how I've ended up with so many bikes.

Should the Raleigh continue to last indefinitely, in spite of the fact it's already lasted 67 years? I'm about to turn 53 next Tuesday. Let's say I'm halfway through my life. Let's say I ride it about 4500 miles a year. In that scenario, I'm hoping for another 238,500 miles, though perhaps I'll start slowing down in my nineties, and arguably, I might be able to withstand the temptation to ride it when it's icy out, and the roads have been salted and cindered, (though I do ride steel bikes in those conditions).

How many of you ride your English 3 speed day in, day out, year after year, and how many just use them occasionally? Has anyone out there actually worn out their bicycle through use? Do those hubs ever wear out if you keep them oiled?

I know the answer is "ride the bike if you want to ride the bike," but I do get to wondering if there is anything legitimate I should be concerned about in using an old English 3 speed daily in all weather.



In the middle of a 65 mile ride after a 7 mile descent on a dirt road.
I've posted pictures of both of them a few times before so I won't include them here, but I rode my 1937 Raleigh Tourist as a commuter fairly regularly for a while, as long as the weather was relatively dry. Steel rims and rod brakes, especially before putting Kool Stop salmon pads on it, definitely made for some scary moments in wet weather a few times. I think it's a great bike for around town, and faster than most people would expect, but it also comes with the brake issue I just mentioned, as well as a ton of proprietary parts that are hard to find replacements for. I still ride that bike when I have good opportunities to, but I ended up happening into a stupidly good deal on a locally-hand-built frame with relatively similar geometry, and built it up as what is essentially a more practical take on the Raleigh. It has drum brakes, so it can stop in all weather, modern LED generator lighting, front and rear racks, and mostly-standard parts...but it's set up with a very similar riding position, and I've gradually decreased as many of the noticeable differences in feel/handling as possible, and it makes for a great city bike.
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Old 05-15-19, 05:05 AM
  #20412  
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Originally Posted by carfreefamily View Post
Daily Commuter or Occasionally Ridden Collectible?


Since I finished assembling my '52 Raleigh, I have ridden it almost every day. It's a fantastic bike for commuting, and it's a fantastic bike for riding on the weekend. I've been putting between 60 and 130 miles a week on it.

I bought it because I converted a single speed of mine, (built out of a '78 Schwinn Super Le Tour), to a three speed and then started reading about how the older SA hubs were built to last "indefinitely." And I see, further back in the recent posts, that Raleigh bicycles came with a forever guarantee.

But I keep wondering if I should take a little more care. I've been riding it in the rain, for instance, and the full chain case seems great for that and is one of the reasons I wanted a bike with a full chain case, but I start wondering if water is going to get in somewhere, or if the steel fenders might start to rust on some old spot I missed. But then I read about how some of these bikes sat out for years in the British rain and are still fine. (And I catch myself thinking things like, "I'll just buy some aluminum fenders for daily use," and then the original fenders will, what?, sit in my jam-packed closet with the camping gear and bike parts? I'm a sucker for durable goods, well designed, that are user maintainable - a real rarity in these days. But I also have a pattern of buying other durable things to replace my durable things, so I don't wear the first item out. That's how I've ended up with so many bikes.

Should the Raleigh continue to last indefinitely, in spite of the fact it's already lasted 67 years? I'm about to turn 53 next Tuesday. Let's say I'm halfway through my life. Let's say I ride it about 4500 miles a year. In that scenario, I'm hoping for another 238,500 miles, though perhaps I'll start slowing down in my nineties, and arguably, I might be able to withstand the temptation to ride it when it's icy out, and the roads have been salted and cindered, (though I do ride steel bikes in those conditions).

How many of you ride your English 3 speed day in, day out, year after year, and how many just use them occasionally? Has anyone out there actually worn out their bicycle through use? Do those hubs ever wear out if you keep them oiled?

I know the answer is "ride the bike if you want to ride the bike," but I do get to wondering if there is anything legitimate I should be concerned about in using an old English 3 speed daily in all weather.



In the middle of a 65 mile ride after a 7 mile descent on a dirt road.
I have several 3 speeds in regular rotation.
Some see more use than others.
The trick with these is to try to keep them clean, oiled and most important,
stored inside when not in use.
In fact, not riding them can lead to problems with the hub.
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Old 05-15-19, 05:13 AM
  #20413  
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How to Write a Killer Kijiji Ad
As it Appears.

Old Vintage Cruisers
"Appear to pretty old crusiers, may need some work, dont have any pictures currently I believe one is blue and other is green Adult sized 75 a piece or 100 for pair"
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Old 05-15-19, 05:27 AM
  #20414  
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Originally Posted by paulb_in_bkln View Post
I think "indefinitely" is the right word. Barring an accident. Neglect can ruin them--I see abandoned Raleighs here all the time where the frame, fenders, rims, and BB are beyond recovery--but with maintenance the bike, not counting chain, cables, brake pads, etc., will go forever.
I agree, completely! The failure modes of steel parts (including tubing) are well-known, and steel parts don't just break if they haven't been under excessive (i.e. inelastic) stress.

Prevent corrosion, wear, and undue cold-setting, and there's really no reason the steel parts of a 3-speed should fail. Rubber parts are maintenance items - use them as long as you can, but just being in atmosphere they will degrade. I realize this can re-open an old argument about fatigue of steel, but, well, I'm not going to argue over long-established science. Use the Wiki.

I really don't have concerns about using 10 year old tires with no signs of decay, but ... not 30 years or more.
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Old 05-15-19, 10:10 AM
  #20415  
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Originally Posted by Salubrious View Post
I'm 63 now and already worn the first hub out, despite keeping it lubricated- I've put a lot of miles on this thing. Admittedly the hub had lots of miles when I first got it. I've now got a '61 hub installed. I don't ride it where there is ice and salt- I like it a bit too much for that.
I'm curious about what wore out on the hub. It looks like most things can be replaced, except maybe the teeth in the shell where the low gear pawls engage. (Are they called teeth?) Over years and years, do those wear down to the point the pawls won't engage?

Everything else seems replaceable, and parts seem to still be readily available.
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Old 05-15-19, 10:29 AM
  #20416  
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Hello all I have a 1969 3 speed Drake from India. I do believe it is actually a Raleigh that they outsourced. I just started cleaning it up and hope to just cruise around with it. All black except the tail portion of the rear fender.I cant post pictures because I am to new to the forum.
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Old 05-15-19, 01:37 PM
  #20417  
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Originally Posted by carfreefamily View Post
I'm curious about what wore out on the hub. It looks like most things can be replaced, except maybe the teeth in the shell where the low gear pawls engage. (Are they called teeth?) Over years and years, do those wear down to the point the pawls won't engage?

Everything else seems replaceable, and parts seem to still be readily available.
Who knows how many miles was on the bike before I aquired it, but I know that the guy I got it from was riding in snow and salt as the rims were shot (he provided a set of raw CR18s with the bike when I got it).

The planetary gears were pretty worn, the clutch was rounded, the sliding bit had a ridge on it that prevented it shifting easily from 3rd to 2nd, the bearings pitted. Its certainly rebuildable, but a lot cheaper to get a different hub since they are only $5.00 at my local LBS in the drawer marked '3-speed hubs', plus about an hour to take the wheel apart and rebuild it with the replacement.
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Old 05-15-19, 03:44 PM
  #20418  
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Can anyone tell me what is likely to be wrong with this handlebar stem?

Seller says it is loose and he gave up trying to restore the bike.

Asking price is very good, but the loose, crooked stem worries me that something is badly wrong with the head tube or fork.

It'll cost me a tank of gas, to the drive out there to check it out in person.


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Old 05-15-19, 04:05 PM
  #20419  
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Looks like its too far up. Lower it about 2 inches and it will probably be OK. Easy part to find BTW.
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Old 05-15-19, 07:03 PM
  #20420  
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Can anyone tell me what is likely to be wrong with this handlebar stem?

Seller says it is loose and he gave it trying to restore the bike.

Asking price is very good, but the loose, crooked stem worries me that something is badly wrong with the head tube or fork.

It'll cost me a tank of gas, to the drive out there to check it out in person.

Yeah, stems too high up.
Simple fix.
Forks look good.
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Old 05-15-19, 11:42 PM
  #20421  
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I just brought home a couple more british bikes from the Bike Exchange, another red Hercules and an olive green Raleigh Sprite 5 speed. Both bikes are in decent riding condition with good tires. The Hercules has had new aluminum rims laced on to the original 1962 hubs with heavy galvanized spokes. The Raleigh has the original steel wheels in good condition with little rust.





Can any one give me a little info on the Sprite. I have not seen any with the short chainguard. I measured the seat tube at 59 cm. center of crank to top of tube.





I am considering swapping the wheels from the Herc onto the Raleigh and turning it into a 3 speed. I think the paint will clean up very well and the aluminum wheels will look great.


The Hercules will get the front wheel from the raleigh and a rear wheel from the shop.





Alternatively I can leave everything as is and maybe put a new derailleur and freewheel on the Sprite .





What do you all think?






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Old 05-16-19, 05:51 AM
  #20422  
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Not germane to any subject of the moment, but I just looked at Brooks's website and couldn't find the B72 saddle. I guess they've eliminated it. Possibly it didn't sell as the B72 can't be mounted on a modern integrated seatpost. Shame. I not crazy about the B17 I bought recently. I have a B72 with a broken frame and it looks like I can buy a new frame. Going to take the saddle to a cobbler and ask if he can move the leather cover to a new frame.
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Old 05-16-19, 05:55 AM
  #20423  
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Originally Posted by capnjonny View Post
I just brought home a couple more british bikes from the Bike Exchange, another red Hercules and an olive green Raleigh Sprite 5 speed. Both bikes are in decent riding condition with good tires. The Hercules has had new aluminum rims laced on to the original 1962 hubs with heavy galvanized spokes. The Raleigh has the original steel wheels in good condition with little rust.





Can any one give me a little info on the Sprite. I have not seen any with the short chainguard. I measured the seat tube at 59 cm. center of crank to top of tube.





I am considering swapping the wheels from the Herc onto the Raleigh and turning it into a 3 speed. I think the paint will clean up very well and the aluminum wheels will look great.


The Hercules will get the front wheel from the raleigh and a rear wheel from the shop.





Alternatively I can leave everything as is and maybe put a new derailleur and freewheel on the Sprite .





What do you all think?






A good score.
The Sprite would make a nice Scorcher.
That chain guard was often used on the Raleigh
Gliders made for Eatons here in Canada.
The Huret derailleur is period correct but
somewhat average in performance.
You certainly have some options
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Old 05-16-19, 06:21 AM
  #20424  
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Originally Posted by capnjonny View Post

Can any one give me a little info on the Sprite. I have not seen any with the short chainguard. I measured the seat tube at 59 cm. center of crank to top of tube.

I am considering swapping the wheels from the Herc onto the Raleigh and turning it into a 3 speed.

What do you all think?
I had an Eatons version (@gster noted) of that Sprite in 1970. The Huret was correct although they later switched to Simplex so maybe your bike is an mishmash. It will take 27" wheels so swapping in a larger, alloy set is fine. The short chainguard is designed to prevent chain rub on a derailleur equipped bike. French bikes often sported these.

I'd ride the herc if it fit me. Alloy wheels are a big bonus.
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Old 05-17-19, 06:02 AM
  #20425  
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
I had an Eatons version (@gster noted) of that Sprite in 1970. The Huret was correct although they later switched to Simplex so maybe your bike is an mishmash. It will take 27" wheels so swapping in a larger, alloy set is fine. The short chainguard is designed to prevent chain rub on a derailleur equipped bike. French bikes often sported these.

I'd ride the herc if it fit me. Alloy wheels are a big bonus.
Riding through an alley here in Parkdale last night, I came across a Glider/Sprite that had been adandoned or put out for trash. I stopped for a look but the bike was severely damaged.
Either a very bad crash or more likely something heavy had fallen on it.
The bars were crushed and twisted and a major dent in the rear stays...
I left it alone.
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