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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 11-01-20, 08:08 PM
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The final (to me, at least) fate of the Phillips Manhattan that I had:
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Old 11-02-20, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by RobHalligan
Really nice looking in person.
The wife would love to see a couple more pictures of that one. Any idea what year? Does it have the rubberoid Mesinger saddle like ours?
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Old 11-02-20, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by albrt
The wife would love to see a couple more pictures of that one. Any idea what year? Does it have the rubberoid Mesinger saddle like ours?
It didn't have the correct hub when I got it. The saddle was rock hard. I remember pegging it to about 1959 from some triangulation. There were a great variety of Manhattans that came up when googling. As weird as it is, those ladies bikes are a ton of fun to ride. Here's a OneDrive folder of the photos of her: Phillips Manhattan Ladies 1959 Great image and name combo. I imagine a small town girls just dreaming of Manhattan.

The rack visible in a photo is a Wald. I just cut out a couple of the center cross-members where the rack would have hit the fender, bent the bracket, and drilled out the holes that attach to the drop-out. Good, inexpensive solution.

Last edited by RobHalligan; 11-02-20 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 11-02-20, 11:17 AM
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I'm picking up a green one with full chaincase like the one that started this sub-thread in Boston this weekend. It's going to Cory Drake who seems to be starting a niche of decking-out ladies bikes.
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Old 11-02-20, 11:57 AM
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'82 Superbe headset

I recently acquired a dark green 3-speed '82 Superbe in lovely condition, with as-new Brooks saddle, working dynamo lights, excellent paint, chrome showing some marks but not bad and with no real discernible wear on anything. It even has a tartan carrier box for the rear rack. The previous owner who bought it new had left it unused in his garage under a sheet soon after he'd acquired it. I was told it had been fitted with a mileometer showing 44 miles which had recently been removed. (Will post pictures when I'm allowed).

I've no previous expertise with Sturmey-Archer bikes but I oiled the gears through the port on the rear hub, pumped up the tyres and rode off for town. The bike is very quiet, I must say. I was expecting the chain guard to rattle but it really doesn't. The main issue was the steering - very notchy and with a tendency to tighten up, apart from the rather relaxed rod brakes, of course. I decided when I got back home that before riding it again I would have to drop the forks and check the headset bearings, which I did (first timer!). Had to buy an impressively large adjustable wrench to fit the top nut but other than that it came apart well.

There was no sign of grease at all, just a dark smudge on the base of the bearing cups, and not much of that, so the steering foibles were explained. I wasn't sure how many ball bearings should have been fitted but it seemed to be 18 on the top and 20 on the bottom - is this unusual? I'd be surprised if it had ever been apart before. I came across Sheldon Brown who says 25 balls per race is ideal - so I bought new ball bearings from my local bike shop, stuck them into my pre-greased bearing cups and carefully slid the assembly back together trying not to lose any balls in the process. After a little trial and error on tightening the top nut, I took it on a second test ride where it cruised along sweetly and inspired me with more confidence, especially as I had adjusted the brakes to have much less travel and oiled all the pivots. I'm looking forward to more 'anti-competitive' bike rides in the near future.

Does anyone know "how low can you go" with the number of ball bearings before the headset protests and it really begins to be a problem?
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Old 11-02-20, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Monzeglio
Does anyone know "how low can you go" with the number of ball bearings before the headset protests and it really begins to be a problem?
Its a problem even if only one bearing is missing- the more you have missing the worse it gets. If they are the wrong size that causes problems too.

I would see to it that the bottom bracket gets regreased as well!
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Old 11-02-20, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Salubrious
Its a problem even if only one bearing is missing- the more you have missing the worse it gets. If they are the wrong size that causes problems too.
I would see to it that the bottom bracket gets re-greased as well!
Yes, good point, thank you. The bottom bracket is pretty silent as far as I can tell but based on the lack of grease in the headset it definitely deserves a check.

I'm glad I followed Sheldon's advice on headset bearing number!
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Old 11-02-20, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Monzeglio
The bottom bracket is pretty silent as far as I can tell but based on the lack of grease in the headset it definitely deserves a check.
To check the bottom bracket you'll need a cotter pin press to to remove the crank arms. Don't use a hammer!! The pins are re-usable, and if you have a cotter press You'll find the crank arms easier to remove and install (the nuts are only used to hold the pins in place) than alloy square taper cranks. This press works a treat:
New Crank Cotter Press
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Old 11-02-20, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Salubrious
To check the bottom bracket you'll need a cotter pin press to to remove the crank arms. Don't use a hammer!! The pins are re-usable, and if you have a cotter press You'll find the crank arms easier to remove and install (the nuts are only used to hold the pins in place) than alloy square taper cranks. This press works a treat:
New Crank Cotter Press
Excellent point, though for the UK I would suggest this eBay seller. However good the BikeSmithDesign cotter press might be. That's a $100+ tool by the time it arrives in the UK.
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Old 11-02-20, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Salubrious
To check the bottom bracket you'll need a cotter pin press to to remove the crank arms. Don't use a hammer!! The pins are re-usable, and if you have a cotter press You'll find the crank arms easier to remove and install (the nuts are only used to hold the pins in place) than alloy square taper cranks.
Another good tip, Salubrious, thank you. Looks like a pretty simple tool - similar to a small car ball-joint separator. I can imagine it saves a lot of trouble and potential hammer damage!
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Old 11-02-20, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW
Excellent point, though for the UK I would suggest this eBay seller. However good the BikeSmithDesign cotter press might be. That's a $100+ tool by the time it arrives in the UK.
Thanks for the tip - I'm sure it will be worth acquiring the right tool for the job.
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Old 11-02-20, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Monzeglio
Another good tip, Salubrious, thank you. Looks like a pretty simple tool - similar to a small car ball-joint separator. I can imagine it saves a lot of trouble and potential hammer damage!
Its unlikely that if you hit a cotter pin with a hammer that dmage won't be obvious! As with all tools you have to be careful with a press getting the pin out, but your chances of doing so without damage are much higher (and less chance of damaging bearings in the BB). A bit of Kroil on pesky rusted cranks usually does the trick with the press, along with careful application of torque.
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Old 11-02-20, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Salubrious
To check the bottom bracket you'll need a cotter pin press to to remove the crank arms. Don't use a hammer!! The pins are re-usable, and if you have a cotter press You'll find the crank arms easier to remove and install (the nuts are only used to hold the pins in place) than alloy square taper cranks. This press works a treat:
New Crank Cotter Press
I’m embarrassed to admit that I never know such a tool existed. Thank you for the heads-up. Of course, it is rather pricey. Is there an alternative to this that doesn’t involve beating the heck out of the cotter pin, deforming it in the process, then replacing it?
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Old 11-02-20, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Rherdegen
beating the heck out of the cotter pin, deforming it in the process, then replacing it
That is more or less the traditional method. Sheldon Brown describes an anvil made from a length of pipe, which is what I use on the relatively rare occasions when I need to remove crank cotter pins. The hammer works much better with an anvil under the crank, but you still destroy the pin sometimes. And sometimes the reason you are removing the pin is because it has become deformed creating a hitch in the crank. The pin is much more malleable than the other parts by design.
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Old 11-03-20, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Rherdegen
I’m embarrassed to admit that I never know such a tool existed. Thank you for the heads-up. Of course, it is rather pricey. Is there an alternative to this that doesn’t involve beating the heck out of the cotter pin, deforming it in the process, then replacing it?
Check my eBay link a little further up.

And like @albrt already said, a vice with a socket wrench underneath the head of the pin is the other method.
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Old 11-03-20, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Rherdegen
I’m embarrassed to admit that I never know such a tool existed. Thank you for the heads-up. Of course, it is rather pricey. Is there an alternative to this that doesn’t involve beating the heck out of the cotter pin, deforming it in the process, then replacing it?
Yes.

Unless you are comfortable finding a new cotter pin of the same shape, angle and hardness, DO NOT use a hammer no matter what. People on this thread have cobbled together a press using C-clamps and a bit of ingenuity to good effect- you'll have to search this thread. FWIW the only way the cotter pin ever gets deformed is because of improper removal. If deformed it would be very tricky to re-install!
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Old 11-03-20, 10:43 AM
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Excellent counsel, Salubrious!
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Old 11-03-20, 12:03 PM
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I've been offering up a G-clamp I have with a socket and I think I should be able to make a Heath Robinson attempt at pressing out the cotter pins on the Superbe's cranks. I'll let you know how I get on!
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Old 11-03-20, 12:11 PM
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I would add that if you remove the cotters with no damage, label them "R" and "L". It is one little bit of insurance that your crank arms 180 degrees opposed when reinstalled.
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Old 11-03-20, 01:11 PM
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How sensible! I’ll prepare my Sharpie.
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Old 11-04-20, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Salubrious
Unless you are comfortable finding a new cotter pin of the same shape, angle and hardness, DO NOT use a hammer no matter what. People on this thread have cobbled together a press using C-clamps and a bit of ingenuity to good effect- you'll have to search this thread. FWIW the only way the cotter pin ever gets deformed is because of improper removal. If deformed it would be very tricky to re-install!
Not to mention, modern cotters tend to be very poor quality compared to what used to be available. Rather than machined from rod stock, modern cotters are simply pressed into shape and tend to be undersized as a result. And the steel quality is much softer to accommodate the press operation.

https://bikesmithdesign.com/CotterPress/cotters.html
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Old 11-04-20, 10:44 AM
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I was on the Superbe today and the ride has definitely improved with the headset lubed and the saddle height raised a little. Swooping through a sequence of corners it held its line very nicely and it’s pulling up faster when I squeeze on the rod brakes. I can detect some modulation through the front brake though, which means the braking surface is probably ‘out of round’ over a small section - I can detect a very slight variation in the rim.
Is this common and does anyone have a suggestion of the best way to sort it out? I’m hoping it might be adjusted by a truing-type exercise.
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Old 11-04-20, 10:49 AM
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I can now post images, so here’s the bottom race of the ‘82 Raleigh Superbe’s headset with the full complement of 25 ball bearings, as recommended by Sheldon Brown. I used Park Tool grease which stuck the bearings in place nicely while I slid the fork back into the frame.
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Old 11-04-20, 10:55 AM
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Here’s the ‘82 Superbe before I cleaned it up. Very original, nothing has been replaced from new as far as I can tell, including the tyres. It even has the remnants of its ‘inspected’ paper sticker on the stem. I’m already quite fond of the tartan rear carrier...
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Old 11-04-20, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Monzeglio

Here’s the ‘82 Superbe before I cleaned it up. Very original, nothing has been replaced from new as far as I can tell, including the tyres. It even has the remnants of its ‘inspected’ paper sticker on the stem. I’m already quite fond of the tartan rear carrier...
WOW! This image looks like an advertisement from the 70's.... amazing condition, great find
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