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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 12-01-20, 11:52 PM
  #23451  
vintagebicycle
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I picked up a mid 60's Robin Hood in a 23" frame off a guy in south Jersey that had a Hercules probably every bit as clean as that one for $250, it was still listed the other day when I looked. It was dusty, but 100% all original down to the tires from what I could tell.

I had a 21" frame Raleigh Sports built in Taiwan, dated 1972, the chrome was shot but the bike could have been made serviceable if appearance wasn't a concern, I listed it for $75, and it sat for months without an email, I put the price up to $350, and a guy emailed me asking if I'd take $250. He showed up the next day and left with the bike. He was happy to get it. It needed tires, a chain, likely all its cables, and a full re-grease. He said he planned to strip it down and repaint it, and send all the chrome bits out for a re-chrome. He drove down from RI to get it.
Another thing to consider, just because someone is asking a particular price, it don't mean that's what they expect to get for it.
For me, if I don't get something off the price, I'll likely walk away. I don't care if its a $1000 item for $100, and I'm not likely the only one who thinks that way.
I went today with a buddy to look at a camper he wanted. The guy was asking about half of book value, and a fraction of what most were selling for just like it. I could tell the guy was looking to raise cash fast so I asked my buddy if he really wanted it, then I did the bargaining. He was ready to fork over $1200 cash. We left with it for $450 cash with title in hand. A week ago he was ready to buy an identical model for $4,800. The seller had inherited the thing, the neighbors there hated it and were complaining, his wife was on his case about getting it out of the driveway, and he didn't have a truck to move it with. I told him he's lucky he saw it before I did or it would be going in my yard not his.

About four years ago I bought a new in the box late 70's Raleigh Sprite his/hers pair of bikes at a local flea market for $40. The guy had them sitting under the table with no price. It was the end of the day and I noticed the boxes there. Thinking they were just boxes he was using to carry something in, I asked if he still had the bikes, that's when he told me they're both still new in the box. I asked how much he wanted for the pair and he barked out $500 cash. I looked closer at them, and realized they were both bright yellow and said I'd give him half of that if they were any other color. He told me its likely why they won't sell. I walked away and the guy said make an offer, he didn't want to load them up. I told him they'd have to be darn near free in that color. He didn't answer me. I started walking and he hollered out give me $100 for the pair. I just looked back and asked if that included him painting them something other than yellow?
He tells me, "Serious, make me an offer". I told him $20 for the pair figuring it would end the conversation, he said make it $20 each. I handed him a pair of $20 bills and came back with my truck for the bikes. I parted them out online bit by bit, everything sold but the ladies frame. I made money. He was asking $500 for two bikes, I paid $40. He had no clue what they were worth and likely didn't care.
In hindsight I probably should have just kept them whole and sold them but things were selling better on ebay back then in pieces and I was never a fan of the 27" Sprites, especially yellow ones. Now I've got two of them, a brown 1971, and a red 1974 but they were pieced together over the years, both built a 27" three speeds with AW hubs and wide tires on original chrome rims. They've become my travel bikes, and they travel in the back of the camper when I go on vacation. I had a third one, one that I had found as a bare frame and painted black with with earlier Sprite decals and an AW hub with Bluemel fenders but I ran into a guy in Naples, FL that made me an offer on it that I couldn't refuse and I let it go, that was about 15 years ago now. I gathered up the bits to build another but haven't ever gotten around to it.
My daily ride lately, for what little I get to ride this time of year though has been the Robin Hood I got off CL two weeks ago, the thing is in excellent shape but with little gloss left to the paint, and lots of missing decals. They seem to be falling off like dust. The wheels are mint, the chrome is all perfect but the paint needs to be buffed back up and some new decals applied. I have both a new old stock set and a newer self stick type set but can't decide whether or not I want to use the NOS set or just use the easy decals and keep riding it. The tires still say Dunlop on them "Made in England". I bought a pair of those black Michelin World Tour tires off CL and may put them on it and save the original tires. If we get a sunny day. maybe I'll snap a few pics but its been raining off an on for a week now.
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Old 12-02-20, 01:27 AM
  #23452  
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While the particular Hercules above may be a bit overpriced, I also don't think there's anything bad going with 70's Raleigh bikes. Yes, yes, yes, the 50's ones are "better", but they are also not as easy to find. And like cudak888/Kurt states, there are fewer psychological hurdles in doing stuff to a 70's bike. With the 50's bike, there's the dichotomy of either not touching anything and keeping as much "patina" as possible, or doing the complete exquisite resto. You don't have those neuroses with a 1972 Raleigh Sports.

And while many folks on this thread have no problems finding good older bikes (esp. if you are known as a "bike person" so people bring bikes to you) or live in areas where vintage British three speeds are plentiful, there are many who don't. So paying $300 for a one in decent shape, even if it's not from the desired era, isn't always a bad thing.

My Raleigh Superbe is from 1968. It was in decent shape when I got it, but I modernized it a bit with alloy rims and modern brakes. It's my daily driver and I like it a lot. I owned a 1953 Rudge for a couple years. While it was a great bike, it was too small for me. I'd rather ride a less desirable bike that fits me better vs a more desirable bike that doesn't.

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Old 12-02-20, 02:50 AM
  #23453  
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The annoying thing about the TI bikes is they are essentially the same frame as BITD. Unfortunately the powers-to-be got cheap and started putting cheap little nasty aluminum/plastic fittings all over the damn bike that were originally brass/bronze/steel ie. cables, outers, adjusting barrels, clamps, GODAMMIT - SPOKES!, NIPPLES! ( sorry my pet hate), indicator chains, lights, drive chains, thumb-shifters , SADDLES!, (I see Brooks management is currently inflicted with a similar madness). As a kid this crap broke your heart as you struggled to keep it going on a frame that was essentially the same as your granddads bike. This short-sighted mindset eventually destroyed the British bike industry. An industry that spanned the globe based on good quality reliable service.
Obviously all of these things can be exchanged for much better new stuff that is cheap to buy or original stuff that is just lying around looking for a frame that is even cheaper!.
Not everyone can do that but if you do get one of these TI bikes and it's clean just make sure you store it out of the rain and regularly wash the winter salt off, keep it oiled and it will give decades of service.

Last edited by Johno59; 12-02-20 at 03:39 AM.
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Old 12-02-20, 03:13 AM
  #23454  
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Maroon Rudge

Originally Posted by Fusilier55
Thanks for that information, It certainly sounds like my bike, except for the Burgundy part. That being said some areas where the black is more worn do appear burgundy. I believe my bike was restored. I bought it from a very nice Pakistani man in Loudoun County Virginia, who explained that they are still regularly used in Pakistan. He had some other British three speeds mostly Raleighs in various states of completion.

Cheers,
The Rudge De-Lux models in the 1948-49 catalog were only in Burgundy/Maroon.

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Old 12-02-20, 06:58 AM
  #23455  
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Originally Posted by Johno59
The Rudge De-Lux models in the 1948-49 catalog were only in Burgundy/Maroon.

Yes, I have found the same. Either my bike was not deluxe or it has been repainted. Either of those situations make my decals even more suspect!

Cheers,
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Old 12-02-20, 11:02 AM
  #23456  
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Originally Posted by Johno59
The annoying thing about the TI bikes is they are essentially the same frame as BITD. Unfortunately the powers-to-be got cheap and started putting cheap little nasty aluminum/plastic fittings all over the damn bike that were originally brass/bronze/steel ie. cables, outers, adjusting barrels, clamps, GODAMMIT - SPOKES!, NIPPLES! ( sorry my pet hate), indicator chains, lights, drive chains, thumb-shifters , SADDLES!, (I see Brooks management is currently inflicted with a similar madness). As a kid this crap broke your heart as you struggled to keep it going on a frame that was essentially the same as your granddads bike. This short-sighted mindset eventually destroyed the British bike industry. An industry that spanned the globe based on good quality reliable service.
Obviously all of these things can be exchanged for much better new stuff that is cheap to buy or original stuff that is just lying around looking for a frame that is even cheaper!.
Not everyone can do that but if you do get one of these TI bikes and it's clean just make sure you store it out of the rain and regularly wash the winter salt off, keep it oiled and it will give decades of service.
I'd actually say the frames are quite different. Thinner tubing, different lugs, brazing isn't as good as the '50s model, no oiling port on the BB, no chaincase braze-on. By 1978, even the rear brake bridge became a stamped steel Pletscher part, and the pump pegs were deleted. But regardless of variant, they're almost identical in regards to what you can hang off of them (though the '78+ models finally increased the dropouts to 10mm).

The crankset, BB, headset, handlebar and handlebar stem, by comparison, are pretty similar. Same for the Westrick rims from the 1970's - they're impressively strong, galvanized spokes or otherwise. On the other hand, the Endricks from the late 1960's (Sports S22 and secondary brand bikes) are a perfect example of Raleigh cheapening out.

-Kurt
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Old 12-02-20, 08:50 PM
  #23457  
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Originally Posted by cudak888
What you say is true, but I wouldn't necessarily avoid all the '70s models. Yes, I've taken to dissing them myself, but only because I've been lucky enough to snag a pair of 1950's Sports. A 1970's model is not bad to start a newcomer on and much more accessible. The later ones also lend themselves to upgrading without the "should I / shouldn't I" dilemma one might have with a 1950's model.

But $300 - that's waaay out of line for a mid-1960's AMF Herc-badged Sports. It's out of line even for a bone-stock 1965 Sports. $150 in minty-minty-minty shape, but not a penny more.

-Kurt
As someone who sold them new back in the 70's, used an ivory Sports as his daily transportation around Erie, PA for a couple of years, I'll agree with Kurt: Don't diss the 70's Raleighs. Their biggest failing was being out of fashion. They didn't have derailleurs, 10-speeds, drop handlebars and narrow uncomfortable saddles. Which is what the market wanted. Besides, bicycles for adults in the US was a concept that didn't really exist until the early 1970's, so yeah, if you find anything 1969 or earlier, you treasure it.

The last AMF Hercules I bought (this was a good decade ago) was in about "8" condition if you consider that Philadelphia bike a "10". Price: $60.00.
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Old 12-03-20, 06:06 AM
  #23458  
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I own both a 1965 Robin Hood and 1971 Hercules (AMF), and a 1972 Raleigh LTD. The Robin Hood and Hercules are identical, I've had both bikes completely apart, they use the same parts with the exception of the decals and brand on the rims. The Robin Hood rims are marked 'Dunlop' and the Hercules rims are marked Sturmey Archer. The rims on the LTD say Rigida. I also seem to recall that the LTD isn't made in England, without going outside to check I seem to think that was made in Taiwan.

For what ever reason, the Hercules has stayed in nicer shape, the paint is better and the chrome never wore or rusted. The chrome on the Robin Hood isn't 'worn' but it doesn't polish up like the Hercules does. I've owned a few older models, early 50's bikes and the newer bikes are lighter and a bit more nimble feeling for some reason. I never really noticed anything being particularly poorly made on the newer models either. To the best of my knowledge, the hubs were the same from around 1962 or so and on, and the spokes are steel with brass nipples. On the LTD, the shift cable guide has a plastic wheel, but the its likely original, 48 years old or so.
The paint on the Hercules, from 1971, is a lot better than the LTD which is a year newer. So is the chrome, but like I said, I think that bike was made in Taiwan. I've had a few with the Rigida rims over the years, some are clearly stamped, others are barely noticeable. They are identical in every way to the Sturmey Archer branded rims but all had 36 spoke wheels vs the more common 32/40 spoke wheels.

Over the years I've owned Raleigh, Robin Hood, Dunelt, Sunbeam, BSA, Norman, Armstrong, and Phillips bikes, other than minor features here and there, the bikes are all pretty much the same. I prefer the older bikes and I prefer black paint. (I had a red Raleigh, a brown Raleigh, and two green Raleighs, both a red and a silver Robin Hood, a teal blue Phillips, a gold Sunbeam but all others were black. I must also say that the odd chain guards on some early Hercules models are a turn off but I've only had one with the big pointed chrome chainguard.

I had another Robin Hood until last May, I had just taken it out of storage and had it in the back of my truck when I stopped for gas. A guy approached me at the gas station with cash. After telling the guy it wasn't for sale, I gave in when he showed me $400. It wasn't in anywhere close to the condition that bike on Philly CL is in. I had bought that Robin Hood as a spare, it was in pretty nice shape but far from mint or perfect. The tires were too rotted to hold air, the one tube was hanging out of the side and the saddle was cracked in the middle. Unlike my other Robin Hood, that one was a coaster brake three speed model with a 5 - 70 date on the rear hub and the rims both had a good bit of brake wear leaving the rim sides looking rusty and blackened.
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Old 12-03-20, 06:48 AM
  #23459  
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Anyone interested in a 1976/1977 Gazelle Sport Speciaal ladies 3-speed?

The current owner has given it a complete overhaul and has lots of pictures.




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Old 12-03-20, 09:34 AM
  #23460  
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1948 Humber Beeston Clubman

Originally Posted by PeterLYoung
I have now completed the restoration of this 1948 Humber Beeston Clubman and below are the finished Photos.
I am pleased with how it has turned out and have just written to the original owner who purchased it new in 1948 offering to take to him so he can see how it turned out (I promised to do this when he gave it to me). Can't wait to see his face when he sees it.







UPDATE 3rd December 2020

I invited Frank to visit and see his bike now it was finished. He was over the moon to see it looking so good.
I am pleased to say we have become friends.


This is Frank with the restored bike he bought new in 1947 and handed it on to me as he had stopped riding.
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Old 12-03-20, 09:38 AM
  #23461  
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Beautiful bike, Peter!
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Old 12-03-20, 09:57 AM
  #23462  
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That is fantastic. Put a smile on my face for sure.
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Old 12-03-20, 01:55 PM
  #23463  
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Originally Posted by PeterLYoung
UPDATE 3rd December 2020

I invited Frank to visit and see his bike now it was finished. He was over the moon to see it looking so good.
I am pleased to say we have become friends.


This is Frank with the restored bike he bought new in 1947 and handed it on to me as he had stopped riding.
A very nice tribute.
I've got my eye on a similar bike down the street, original owner bought the bike in 1956 and
had a Cyclo derailleur fitted.
He's not quite ready to part with it yet....
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Old 12-03-20, 02:36 PM
  #23464  
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Originally Posted by gster
A very nice tribute.
I've got my eye on a similar bike down the street, original owner bought the bike in 1956 and
had a Cyclo derailleur fitted.
He's not quite ready to part with it yet....
Gster: Thanks your comment, I think it works for both parties when the time comes, I get a bike to restore/conserve and he gets to see his bike rejuvenated rather than being thrown in a skip. I would like to think my old bikes will find good homes when I shuffle off this Earth. Frank keeps digging around and giving me tit bits about his past adventures with the bike. I am producing a write up to go in the Veteran Cycle Club Magazine and Frank is checking it and verifying facts for me, I think he is loving it and we have become friends. He knows I won't be selling it for a quick profit as he knows I have spent more than it will ever be worth. Hope yours works out the same way!!!
Regards.
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Old 12-03-20, 02:54 PM
  #23465  
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Snap.crackle,pop.

Originally Posted by cudak888
I'd actually say the frames are quite different. Thinner tubing, different lugs, brazing isn't as good as the '50s model, no oiling port on the BB, no chaincase braze-on. By 1978, even the rear brake bridge became a stamped steel Pletscher part, and the pump pegs were deleted. But regardless of variant, they're almost identical in regards to what you can hang off of them (though the '78+ models finally increased the dropouts to 10mm).

The crankset, BB, headset, handlebar and handlebar stem, by comparison, are pretty similar. Same for the Westrick rims from the 1970's - they're impressively strong, galvanized spokes or otherwise. On the other hand, the Endricks from the late 1960's (Sports S22 and secondary brand bikes) are a perfect example of Raleigh cheapening out.

-Kurt
When I've stripped down every last bolt, nut, washer, bearing, cup, post spoke, nipple, cables,calipers etc from a 1930s, 40s, 50, 60ish bike you are left with say 150 different bits and 95% are reusable after you dremel wire brush them - with the possible exception of chrome plated rims and the leather furniture. When you do the same on a 70s, 80s bike that's been neglected I'd say half the bits are a write - off. Many bits snap off in the frame or need a blowtorch to remove and/or other time-consuming remedies. Perhaps folks back in the day regularly removed ever single component and regreased them and in the 1970s, 80s, 90s they didn't and hence the lop-sided destruction. But in my experience the difference it is as plain as night and day. Sure Al and steel are a stupid combination but they all still do it.
OTOH I've removed BBs that haven't been serviced for 70 years! On my 1903 Sunbeam the little fill up caps for all the headset bearings have a tiny 1/16th threaded bolt holding them in place, the epicyclic gears have 150 3/32 inch ball bearings in the BB. All came apart with no problems - even the seat-post, and all dutifully went back in.
On my modern bikes after a year I sweat on moving anything made of Al after just a year since the last service.
Folks may say you're supposed to throw things away after say five years and get a new one. Sure I understand that and built-in redundancy played a huge part in many industries across the West. For a time it created well-paid jobs for tens of millions of workers. And we all know how that ended up.
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Old 12-03-20, 03:03 PM
  #23466  
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Originally Posted by PeterLYoung
Gster: Thanks your comment, I think it works for both parties when the time comes, I get a bike to restore/conserve and he gets to see his bike rejuvenated rather than being thrown in a skip. I would like to think my old bikes will find good homes when I shuffle off this Earth. Frank keeps digging around and giving me tit bits about his past adventures with the bike. I am producing a write up to go in the Veteran Cycle Club Magazine and Frank is checking it and verifying facts for me, I think he is loving it and we have become friends. He knows I won't be selling it for a quick profit as he knows I have spent more than it will ever be worth. Hope yours works out the same way!!!
Regards.
It's always amazing to think that the things we create will, in most cases, outlast us.....
My wife's already planning a giant garage (boot) sale when I'm gone.
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Old 12-03-20, 03:23 PM
  #23467  
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@JaccoW, that Gazelle is gorgeous. The idea of rod-operated drum brakes is great if long term reliability is key and weight is not. We see very few setups like that here in the US.
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Old 12-03-20, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by gster
It's always amazing to think that the things we create will, in most cases, outlast us.....
My wife's already planning a giant garage (boot) sale when I'm gone.
Same here, but she has to outlive me first 😆
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Old 12-03-20, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Rherdegen
From what I’ve read and seen (and admittedly not a really comprehensive or authoritative knowledge base) the bullet or torpedo grips were from ‘60’s or ‘70’s. I’ve looked and looked, and can’t really find anything that matches the original grips from early ‘50’s Raleighs. For my circumstances, I’ll probably do the bullet grips for now (‘cause that’s what I have) and keep looking for something that comes closer to appearance of originals.
Something like this? It's probably worth it to keep an eye on this store. They get some really cool rare stuff in stock from time to time.
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Old 12-03-20, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Johno59
When I've stripped down every last bolt, nut, washer, bearing, cup, post spoke, nipple, cables,calipers etc from a 1930s, 40s, 50, 60ish bike you are left with say 150 different bits and 95% are reusable after you dremel wire brush them - with the possible exception of chrome plated rims and the leather furniture. When you do the same on a 70s, 80s bike that's been neglected I'd say half the bits are a write - off. Many bits snap off in the frame or need a blowtorch to remove and/or other time-consuming remedies.
The '70s Raleighs aren't too bad in that respect - unless they're really thrashed - but I agree that zinc plated parts were the beginning of the end. The parts on the 1950's bikes are almost all chromium plated - and if not thick chrome, a dull silvery finish that barely dulls (which I think is chrome as well).

That's one of the reasons I'm always impressed by bike share bikes. Stainless steel fittings throughout, exceptional - if heavy - components, and the same approach to quality as the pre-1960's machines.

-Kurt
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Old 12-03-20, 10:20 PM
  #23471  
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Originally Posted by PeterLYoung
Same here, but she has to outlive me first 😆
Yes.
I often find her hovering over my side of the bed with a pillow......
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Old 12-04-20, 08:17 AM
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Triumph!

Listed here in Toronto as a mid 50's Triumph.

Looks to be complete and in reasonable restorable shape.


The decals look good.
There's only one big problem..
Seller is asking $250.00
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Old 12-04-20, 08:44 AM
  #23473  
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I had a guy a couple of weeks ago bring me a pair of wheels off one of those AMF/Hercules bikes to get the rims swapped over. He found two brand new Sturmey Archer Endrick rims and had them shipped in. He was adamant about using only original spokes and components, he didn't want new spokes or new nipples but brought me a bucket of used nipples and spokes he salvaged out of other bikes. The hub, which I also went through was dated 10 - 72.
I saw no difference in the spokes or nipples from the earlier bikes, I've got several from the 50's up to the late 70's out in the trailer.
On the newer 'Sports' models, whether its a Raleigh, Hercules, or other English brand, there really isn't any aluminum bits to worry about other than maybe the occasional aluminum kickstand. They did switch to bright chrome somewhere around the mid to late 60's, there's a definite difference to the look of the bright work but from what I've seen, the older rims get bad brake wear, and the newer rims get rusty and pit easier.
Other than that I don't see many big changes in the newer bikes. My biggest complaint on most is that they had junk saddles, the vinyl or plastic Wright or Brooks saddles are always broken, the top cover cracked side to side right in the middle. In my 40 or so years working with old bikes I've only run across one or two with real leather saddles, and those were so badly neglected they were also trash.
The paint is about the same, I don't think Raleigh changed their paint process over the years, at least not on the Sports models.
I've also ran into a few Hercules bikes with pump pegs and cable braze ons. One of the AMF Hercules I've got out in the trailer has pump pegs under the top tube, which I found odd because it still uses clip on cable clamps and loose cables. I'm not sure of the year because it was missing its wheels when I found it but I'd guess it to be late 60's era or so.
I just sold both a later Raleigh LTD3 and a later Hercules like the one mentioned above, both frames were basically identical, the lugs looked the same, neither had pump pegs, and both had Endrick style rims. Sans the decals, fork crown (tubular on the Raleigh), front sprocket pattern (Heron on the LTD3 and star pattern on the Herc), and hand grips (Ribbed style on the LTD3 and plain white on the Herc). they were identical.
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Old 12-04-20, 09:27 AM
  #23474  
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Originally Posted by gster
The decals look good.
There's only one big problem..
Seller is asking $250.00
Which is an outrageous price given that the fork is bent and it has an obvious bend in the frame too from whatever front-ender it had.

Nevertheless, it is a very interesting example. From the light placement, I'd guess it's UK-market. Decals are nothing like the US Triumphs from the late 1960's, and it's a 23" frame. All very special details there that make it a lot more than the average second-tier Raleigh.

-Kurt
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Old 12-04-20, 09:45 AM
  #23475  
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Originally Posted by cudak888
Which is an outrageous price given that the fork is bent and it has an obvious bend in the frame too from whatever front-ender it had.

Nevertheless, it is a very interesting example. From the light placement, I'd guess it's UK-market. Decals are nothing like the US Triumphs from the late 1960's, and it's a 23" frame. All very special details there that make it a lot more than the average second-tier Raleigh.

-Kurt
Good eye.
I didn't see the fork was off.
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