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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 08-23-19, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
@groth, the NYC Century is a difficult century because there are so many stops for red lights and other kinds of traffic. There are plenty of hills. They're not amazingly challenging hills, but combined with the stop-and-go, you will find them to present a challenge. I'm not discouraging you from taking your 3-speed, but don't expect it to be an easy ride.

Maybe you'll see me there. I'm participating as a marshal.
I had not considered the stop and go aspect. That will make it more tiring.
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Old 08-24-19, 07:33 PM
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Thanks - i'll see how it goes.
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Old 08-24-19, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
I wonder why the seller claims it to be a 51 Clubman. Looks to be taller than a 22" frame, no guide wheel mount brazed to the top tube, no chrome socks, different mudguard stay mounts and appears to have 26" wheels. Can't see the crank or lug shapes. An earlier version or something like a Lenton perhaps?
I just weighed in on @Narhay’s valuation thread on this bike. There I guessed it was a ‘48 Lenton Clubman or a ‘49 Clubman. Those would have had EA1/597mm wheels. However, they also would have been 22” frames, and this one looks to be a 23”. I’m now guessing it’s a Lenton, and very well could be a ‘51 with the Simplex mech and 4-speed block.
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Old 08-25-19, 04:29 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
I just weighed in on @Narhay’s valuation thread on this bike. There I guessed it was a ‘48 Lenton Clubman or a ‘49 Clubman. Those would have had EA1/597mm wheels. However, they also would have been 22” frames, and this one looks to be a 23”. I’m now guessing it’s a Lenton, and very well could be a ‘51 with the Simplex mech and 4-speed block.
It is an interesting bike. I don't know early club bikes well enough to say what parts are original. Still, I'll guess pre 50s because of the lack of a brazed on guide wheel mount.
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Old 08-26-19, 04:39 AM
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Here are more photos of the 23" clubman.

https://imgur.com/gallery/F6rufFg
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Old 08-26-19, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Narhay
Here are more photos of the 23" clubman.

https://imgur.com/gallery/F6rufFg
Ah, thanks. All cleared up now. Wonderful bike. There is a brazed on lug for a shift cable guide wheel so the frame was intended for an IG hub. Do you suppose the 4 cog freewheel and derailleur are an early aftermarket mod or a factory option?
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Old 08-26-19, 06:31 AM
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Some beautiful examples on here!
Growing up in the 70s-80s I spent summers at my aunts place in New Mexico. They were out in the desert and nothing for a kid to do back then, so pulled her old Raleigh 3-speed bike down from the rafters and replaced the tires and cables from parts at a dusty little local bike shop and explored all over back roads and railroad bridges on that thing. It was bliss, just me, the sea foam green Raleigh and the vast desert sky.
To this day I still get misty-eyed seeing vintage 3-speed bikes.
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Old 08-26-19, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by BigChief
Ah, thanks. All cleared up now. Wonderful bike. There is a brazed on lug for a shift cable guide wheel so the frame was intended for an IG hub. Do you suppose the 4 cog freewheel and derailleur are an early aftermarket mod or a factory option?
I wouldnt know. The rust and chainrings are what is keeping me away. A lot of money in paint and replacement parts for a bike that is an inch too small. Otherwise it would be in my basement.
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Old 08-26-19, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Retroman69
Some beautiful examples on here!
Growing up in the 70s-80s I spent summers at my aunts place in New Mexico. They were out in the desert and nothing for a kid to do back then, so pulled her old Raleigh 3-speed bike down from the rafters and replaced the tires and cables from parts at a dusty little local bike shop and explored all over back roads and railroad bridges on that thing. It was bliss, just me, the sea foam green Raleigh and the vast desert sky.
To this day I still get misty-eyed seeing vintage 3-speed bikes.
That's a great recollection to share.
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Old 08-26-19, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Retroman69
Some beautiful examples on here!
Growing up in the 70s-80s I spent summers at my aunts place in New Mexico. They were out in the desert and nothing for a kid to do back then, so pulled her old Raleigh 3-speed bike down from the rafters and replaced the tires and cables from parts at a dusty little local bike shop and explored all over back roads and railroad bridges on that thing. It was bliss, just me, the sea foam green Raleigh and the vast desert sky.
To this day I still get misty-eyed seeing vintage 3-speed bikes.
Fun times! Welcome here.
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Old 08-26-19, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by paulb_in_bkln
This doesn't seem fair. Mike, the owner of my LBS, found, abandoned and unlocked, a 1953 Schwinn Superior SA three-speed with a generator rear hub. Fillet brazed, cottered crank, unbent and in excellent condition missing just the original saddle, one grip, a pedal, and the headlight lens. But otherwise the fenders, the chain cover, rims, all in good shape. I'm sure I've seen this chainring before. Could someone remind me about it?
The chainring has the 'AS&Co' letters- Arnold Schwinn and Company. I've got an old Contenental which I'm trying to sort out what I should do with it. Has the original seat. Looks electro-forged to me but has that same crank. Frame is bent and not sure how to go about straightening it.
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Old 08-26-19, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Ballenxj
Fun times! Welcome here.
Thank you very much!
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Old 08-28-19, 08:09 AM
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Raleigh Shopper

This one's for sale in Hamilton, Ontario for $300.00
which may seem high but it appears very original with all accessories present
as well as a Dyno Hub on the back.
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Old 08-29-19, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Salubrious
The chainring has the 'AS&Co' letters- Arnold Schwinn and Company. I've got an old Contenental which I'm trying to sort out what I should do with it. Has the original seat. Looks electro-forged to me but has that same crank. Frame is bent and not sure how to go about straightening it.
Thanks. The stem bolt (or handlebar binding bolt? I can't remember) is also stamped AS. I forgot that before it was just Schwinn it was Arnold, Schwinn & Co. Very envious of that bike. It has a hand brazed fork, too, not the solid flat blade fork of the regular line Schwinns. I don't think Mike wants to put a lot of work into it. He'll try to flip it for something reasonable.
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Old 08-29-19, 08:44 PM
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Perhaps a silly question, but I wonder how many people actually ride their 3 speeds? Though I own about 10 bikes, I don’t consider myself a collector and I ride all of my bikes. Just got this 1974 Superbe 4 months ago and split my daily rides between this and a 1985 Trek 170. I ride alone so pace is of no concern. The simplicity of only 3 gears a springer saddle and dyno light that produces similar illumination to a 1967 RayoVac flashlight—I find it charming.
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Old 08-29-19, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by dimini
Perhaps a silly question, but I wonder how many people actually ride their 3 speeds?
I put around 800-1000 miles a year on my 1963 resto mod Hercules :-)
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Old 08-30-19, 05:53 AM
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For the past few years it'm my touring bike that doesn't get much mileage. Pretty much all my riding is on comfy, upright 3 speed roadsters. My back and wrists aren't as happy riding drop bars as they used to be. It's thanks to my old 3 speeds that I'm still cycling.
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Old 08-30-19, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by dimini
Perhaps a silly question, but I wonder how many people actually ride their 3 speeds?
My '72 Superbe (with Brooks B-72) is my commuter. As a result it gets more miles than all of my other bikes. It also cost considerably less by an order of magnitude. The locking fork allows me to simply park the bike on the sidewalk near where I'm going (bank, groceries, restaurant, etc.) - no need to carry a chain. It did get messed with in front of a bike shop, where the intended thief was being chased by police and was looking for a getaway. Thwarted by the fork lock, he was caught in front of the store.
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Old 08-30-19, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Salubrious
My '72 Superbe (with Brooks B-72) is my commuter. As a result it gets more miles than all of my other bikes. It also cost considerably less by an order of magnitude. The locking fork allows me to simply park the bike on the sidewalk near where I'm going (bank, groceries, restaurant, etc.) - no need to carry a chain. It did get messed with in front of a bike shop, where the intended thief was being chased by police and was looking for a getaway. Thwarted by the fork lock, he was caught in front of the store.
This is awesome! I'd love to have seen the would-be thief fall on his face as he tried to ride your locked bike. So glad to see folks using these vintage bikes.

My Superbe was missing the key and thanks to the kindness of a fellow 3 speed enthusiast on this site, he directed me to eBay where I was able to buy a key from an Australian locksmith who has the codes handy. At first, it sounds crazy to buy a key off eBay, shipped from down under when I could have gone to my local lock smith. However, on a practical note, this was much easier than getting my bike out to the locksmith miles away. For me cycling is for fitness and fun. I need a car for work so commuting on bike is not a practical option.
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Old 08-30-19, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dimini
For me cycling is for fitness and fun. I need a car for work so commuting on bike is not a practical option.
You never know what is possible until you try. I bought my Superbe years ago so I could participate in the Lake Pepin 3-speed Tour. That was the most fun I had on a bike and really showed me that even goofing off you can cover ground, even on a 3-speed. But I didn't get what the Tour was all about (take it easy, take back roads, see the land, hang out and have fun), and by noon on Sunday I was already driving home...

That experience and a link on the 3-speed Tour site led me to a movie called Ride the Divide. From that I became convinced I had to try that too. The Tour Divide is spectacular and I recommend it to anyone that can ride a bike. I've been riding on it since 2016 (BTW the route goes from Banff, Alberta to the Mexican boarder...) and I've lately been contemplating building a vintage 3-speed (with 650b wheels) to ride the Divide... I blame 3 speeds
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Old 08-30-19, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Salubrious
I've lately been contemplating building a vintage 3-speed (with 650b wheels) to ride the Divide... I blame 3 speeds
Do you have rims picked out? I'll be building up a 650b wheelset for an old raleigh in the next few months, I've found some rim brake 650 rims, but they are pretty spendy and either fairly narrow or way wide.
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Old 08-30-19, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by dimini

Perhaps a silly question, but I wonder how many people actually ride their 3 speeds? Though I own about 10 bikes, I don’t consider myself a collector and I ride all of my bikes. Just got this 1974 Superbe 4 months ago and split my daily rides between this and a 1985 Trek 170. I ride alone so pace is of no concern. The simplicity of only 3 gears a springer saddle and dyno light that produces similar illumination to a 1967 RayoVac flashlight—I find it charming.
I don't think the question is silly but if you were thinking they're a hobbyist thing that's certainly not the case here in NYC. See many being ridden every day. I don't know my total mileage but mine are in regular use commuting, errands, local transportation, 26-mile round trip to beach...
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Old 08-30-19, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dimini

Perhaps a silly question, but I wonder how many people actually ride their 3 speeds? Though I own about 10 bikes, I don’t consider myself a collector and I ride all of my bikes. Just got this 1974 Superbe 4 months ago and split my daily rides between this and a 1985 Trek 170. I ride alone so pace is of no concern. The simplicity of only 3 gears a springer saddle and dyno light that produces similar illumination to a 1967 RayoVac flashlight—I find it charming.
My Sports is my main commuter. I don't keep track of mileage, but I'd guess over 1500 miles a year.
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Old 08-31-19, 06:29 AM
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I hadn’t really thought of my lifetime passion for bicycles as a hobby, but I suppose it is with a mix of road racing and mountain bike racing mixed in during various decades. My interest in Raleigh 3-speeds is nostalgic and reminds me of summer 1976 when as a 16yr old, I maintained a rental fleet of 40-50 Raleigh Sports at Black Butte Ranch resort in Central Oregon. About half the time I commuted from hometown Bend, about 27 miles each way, but that was on a Holdsworth Pro road bike, wearing Detto Pietro shoes with nailed-on TA cleats, and no helmet. I grew up racing bikes. The bicycle concept was about going fast—hopefully fast enough to win. I still have a competitive drive, but age and knees have helped me slow down and appreciate scenery and other aspects of life can occur while sitting in the saddle. For me, the Raleigh Superbe greatly facilitates this calm mindset. I appreciate the responses and happy to see people still using these bikes for practical purposes, like commuting in NYC! Wow!
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Old 08-31-19, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by dimini
My interest in Raleigh 3-speeds is nostalgic and reminds me of summer 1976 when as a 16yr old, I maintained a rental fleet of 40-50 Raleigh Sports at Black Butte Ranch resort in Central Oregon.
As a child I worked in a shop that had a rental fleet of Raleighs and Hercules, 25 to 30 of them, they all had the fenders removed and had 27" wolber aluminum rims and specialized 27x1 1/4" tricross tires on them, many had bull moose mtb bars on them too. As a kid I liked them, but never really realized how cool and unique they were. When I left home for college my boss gave me one.

Originally Posted by dimini
I appreciate the responses and happy to see people still using these bikes for practical purposes, like commuting in NYC! Wow!
I was working in NYC a few summers ago, cars are useless there, I needed a bike, I didn't consider anything other than a 3 speed, I did end up with a shimano 3 speed, Free Spirit, but put about 1000 miles on it over 2 months, even rode a century on it, it weighed 38.5 pounds with the lock on it. Man that bike was slow, , I'd hammer away on the cranks and it just didn't go anywhere, where was all that energy going? Something had to be getting hot somewhere, right? I actually tuned it up and had it running as well as it was going to, but, it was just a slow heavy bike.
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