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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 12-20-20, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by gster
Raleigh Sprite
Not a 5 speed but a nice bike and a good price @ $80.00 CDN here in Toronto

I had a pair of 75/76 10 speed Sprites for a while but eventually put them up for sale at the Canadian Vintage Bicycle Show where they sold as a pair. I seem to recall Clayton from Backpeddling may have purchased them. My wife had little interest in a vintage ride with friction shifters and preferred her modern Giant.


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Old 12-20-20, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by browngw
This was my first too! generally the "all steel" Raleighs can be persuaded someway. The fact that this was an alloy stem contributed to the frustration. Penetrating compounds and or heat usually convinces rusty steel to let loose. Does anyone know if the SR stem would have been original to a 1979 Made in Canada Sports? My biggest regret is I wanted to use that stem on a Rossi road bike project as it is "taller and shorter"!
Yes, the alloy SR stems and cranksets slowly made their way into the builds of Canadian Raleighs.
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Old 12-20-20, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by browngw
I had a pair of 75/76 10 speed Sprites for a while but eventually put them up for sale at the Canadian Vintage Bicycle Show where they sold as a pair. I seem to recall Clayton from Backpeddling may have purchased them. My wife had little interest in a vintage ride with friction shifters and preferred her modern Giant.


Same thing happened to me a few years back.
I'd bought my wife a very nice ladies Superbe and she rode it to the Toronto Vintage Bicycle Show
and promptly put a for sale sign on it.
Her plan back fired as I sold the bike to a very attractive, young, single woman who started coming over to the house
for little tune up issues.
How could I refuse to help?
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Old 12-20-20, 04:07 PM
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On the topic of vintage 3-speed inner tubes, I got around to pulling off the rotted tires and tubes from the two 1930s Sports I posted about some time back. While the tires were shot, the rims and spokes fairly rusted, and most other chrome parts pretty well trashed, the tubes seem to be holding air and in decent shape. Only one seems to still have a mfg’s mark:



Are they all original? I have no idea, but they all have threaded Schrader valve stems and fairly thick rubber. Only one has a patch.
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Old 12-21-20, 09:17 AM
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I just got offered an old Sprite, its brown, has 27" wheels, the rear hub is dated 10 71, it has a black heavily padded saddle, the rims say Dunlop, but are wider than most, the tires on it are unbranded but marked 27x1 3/8" - 37-630, its got an aluminum rear rack made by Pletscher, the fenders are like those on the green bikes above. The cranks look the same as a Sports model as does the chainguard.
Unlike the Sprite models above, this one has a tubular fork crown.
The problem is its got a dented lower tube, it looks like the caliper came around and dented the bottom of the down tube just below the edge of the lug. The dent is shallow and about half the size of a dime. The bike is complete, but needs a good going over, the fender brackets have a few bends, the chainguard rubs the right crank arm at times, the shifter works but has some jagged broken plastic bits on it, one grip is cracked and glued, and the rear wheel has a few missing and a few loose spokes. The paint is fair, with the fenders being the worst with some rust showing through the paint on top.
The seller is asking $150 but I think he may go less. The bike is rideable, I was able to ride it around in the parking lot at the fleamarket a bit, it shifts and mechanically seems sound other than the rear rim needing some spokes.
I almost bought it there but it was starting to rain and everyone was packing up in a hurry, and I was driving my car, the ride home would have meant driving home with the hatch open for an hour in the cold rain. He said he's going to be at another fleamarket next weekend.
He had a couple of other bikes but most were really rough or they had derailleurs not three speed hubs. There was a red ladies model with a rear derailleur with a broken rear hub in red, it was newer with self adjusting brake levers and flat fenders, a stamped fork crown, and no chainguard that he wanted $100 for as-is. It too had a ding in the frame in the same place. It was a lot cleaner condition wise but the rear hub flanges were loose on the hub center, the spokes had pulled the left flange inward toward the middle of the hub shell.
The rims on that bike were narrower, marked Sturmey Archer, and had good chrome but both had minor curb dents in them.
I didn't see it of any value as parts for the other Sprite other than maybe the saddle and handle bars but those are good on the man's model anyhow.
The tires on the ladies model were gumwall and rotted, all blisted up on the sides. The tires on the brown man's model were new looking and still had a red and blue stripe showing on the tread and all the little rubber flashing bits all over.

I wasn't looking for a repair project but I think the worst part about the brown bike is that it needs the rear wheel respoked. (I'd probably do both). The question is, where to buy spokes that won't cost me more than the bike is worth if I buy it?
A quick search, and call to a few bikes shops looks like spokes will be upwards of $100 each. One shop will custom cut/thread spokes for $2 each, another can order me a box of 'cheap' spokes for $35 per box of 75 but only if I pay up front. One shop wanted to charge me $82 for a set of spokes, plus shipping because they had to order them special. Not a one stocked spokes.
The last time I bought spokes I think I paid something like $10 for a full set back around 2001 or so.
If spokes are going to cost me a buck each, then that bike isn't much of a deal, its not worth $200, which is what I'll have in it by the time I re-lace the wheels and go through the rest of the bike. I'll have far more into it if I were to fix the paint to make it perfect, and at that point I'm not sure how close I could match the original brown paint.
I'm also not fond of the plain looking fenders on the Sprite models, they're missing the tell-tale peak on the front with the little chrome bullet and the tops of the fenders are just plain.
I also considered maybe getting the brown man's Sprite, and maybe just painting the fenders white or using a set of new chrome Wald fenders on it and ditching the rusty original fenders.

Any ideas on where to find cheap spokes? The one loose spoke I pulled out the rear wheel on the brown bike measured 11 9/16" long.
(I pulled it out because it was hanging out the side rubbing the frame). It wasn't broken, the spoke nipple was broke off flush with the end of the spoke, the other broken spoke had been taped to another spoke near where they cross over, two more were gone completely with just the nipples remaining. Surprisingly with four bad spokes, the rim still spun fairly true, just a bit wobbly under my weight, which makes me think the rim is likely okay.
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Old 12-21-20, 09:42 AM
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You know, the idea of a part or parts costing "more money than the bike is worth" doesn't really make that much sense if you like the bike and plan on riding it. You'll be getting your money's worth just by using the bike.

I bought a Centurion Ironman frameset on eBay for I think $90-$100 plus shipping. I then proceeded to build it with close to $1000 worth of parts. The bike isn't worth what I put into it if I tried to resell it, but in terms of my own use, I got a fantastic bike for a relative bargain.

I relaced the rear wheel of my Raleigh Super Course with a Sturmey Archer AW hub and brand new double butted stainless steel spokes. They weren't cheap, but they were totally worth it because I now have a bike I enjoy immensely and have no desire to recoup any money I put into it. It's mine.

Not that the Sprite is going to be your favorite bike or anything, but it helps to consider what your own satisfaction is worth.
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Old 12-21-20, 10:10 AM
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2fat2fly
There are threads in C&V that address your spoke issues here's one:
Spoke sourcesHere's another:
SpokesAnd another:
More spokes
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Old 12-21-20, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by 2fat2fly
The problem is its got a dented lower tube, it looks like the caliper came around and dented the bottom of the down tube just below the edge of the lug. The dent is shallow and about half the size of a dime. The bike is complete, but needs a good going over, the fender brackets have a few bends, the chainguard rubs the right crank arm at times, the shifter works but has some jagged broken plastic bits on it, one grip is cracked and glued, and the rear wheel has a few missing and a few loose spokes. The paint is fair, with the fenders being the worst with some rust showing through the paint on top.
The seller is asking $150 but I think he may go less.
It sounds like a fun project, but that's a $35 dollar Raleigh Sprite if I ever heard one.

I wouldn't go into it without a spare pair of aluminum rims either. Raleigh's stamped steel sidepulls are weak enough as they are without the stock steel rims. If it has self-adjusting levers, this means digging up earlier Raleigh adjusters to fit the calipers (even if you disable or remove the self-adjusting mech, the levers of this era aren't that good in the first place). The ATOM freewheels are prone to chain skating too, and whether or not you have to factor in the cost of a replacement derailer all depends on how much you like or dislike the Huret Allvit.

Personally, these issues make most Sprites exponentially more of a pain than a Sports of the same era, even though they have the advantage of fitting 27" or 700C wheels. Personally, I'd approach one only with the full awareness that I might wind up changing everything short of the frameset, stem, and handlebars.

-Kurt
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Old 12-21-20, 11:23 AM
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I think my next hunt will be based on finding a path racer like Pashley's Guv'nor. That shape of those type frames has always appealed to me and I think it would be a great cruise around bike with a simple 3 speed setup.

Heck, I might even try and pre-order a new Guv'nor....

I think it'd be the perfect buy for my usual Sunday cruise around the valley rides.
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Old 12-21-20, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888
It sounds like a fun project, but that's a $35 dollar Raleigh Sprite if I ever heard one.

I wouldn't go into it without a spare pair of aluminum rims either. Raleigh's stamped steel sidepulls are weak enough as they are without the stock steel rims. If it has self-adjusting levers, this means digging up earlier Raleigh adjusters to fit the calipers (even if you disable or remove the self-adjusting mech, the levers of this era aren't that good in the first place). The ATOM freewheels are prone to chain skating too, and whether or not you have to factor in the cost of a replacement derailer all depends on how much you like or dislike the Huret Allvit.

Personally, these issues make most Sprites exponentially more of a pain than a Sports of the same era, even though they have the advantage of fitting 27" or 700C wheels. Personally, I'd approach one only with the full awareness that I might wind up changing everything short of the frameset, stem, and handlebars.

-Kurt
I don't think $35 will get you a beat up Huffy in this area,

The way I read that post it sounds like the first Sprite is a three speed, (hub date code, broken plastic on shifter and chainguard). A stock Sprite with 27" wheels wouldn't have a chainguard or plastic on the shifters. Everyone I've seen had those tall Huret stem shift levers.
The brake situation is likely just a matter of swapping in a set of brakes off an older Sports model. If not I think there's a way to disable the auto adjust feature on those levers.
The dent in the frame would bother me more than all else, but that too may be fixable or just no big deal, depending how you feel about it. I've had some luck repairing dented tubes with hot glue and a dent puller on a few bikes, it depends on the size and type of dent.

If the bike already has a good set of tires and the biggest issues are the back wheel and some rust on the fenders, I'd likely just rebuild the back wheel and see how you like it. The fenders, even if rusty, sound functional, and if you like, sand and paint them any color you like, white would be a decent option. You may also be able to match up the paint, but the last I checked, custom mixed paint isn't cheap either. I paid $65 for a pint of red to match a motorcycle I was working on. Not to mention the cost of hardener, thinner, an other supplies. I'd likely just sand, prime, and give the fenders a rattle can paint job and call it good. There's not a ton of value in a later Sprite, even nice examples are only going for $150 tops, even around here.
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Old 12-21-20, 07:53 PM
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I've refurbished and found new homes for more English 3 speeds than I can remember. I've had a special love for them ever since I inherited my grandfather's Rudge in 1960. (at 12 years old)
At 6-3 even the bigger frames were always a problem. DL-1 Tourist being the exception, but they are so ponderous that I lost interest. More fun to look at than to ride.

Picked this oddball up a few weeks ago and it's almost done but likely finishing touches will be in the spring. Unusual 1977 Sprite 3 speed. (AW hub 76 12)
25" frame makes it for me if a touch short. Maybe this will stick around for a while!



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Old 12-21-20, 10:29 PM
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I've run across a few AW equipped Sprites over the years, all have been brown but most had tubular crown forks, one had tubular crown forks and pump pegs.
None of them had the black head tube panel and I believe all had round top fenders, not the later flat top version.
I always just figured they were 5 speeds that someone converted but there's been quite a few of them over the years.
With how few taller Sports models there seems to be, I would think an AW equipped Sprite would be an excellent alternative especially for taller riders
It also opens up a wider choice or rims if someone wanted to go aluminum. .
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Old 12-22-20, 07:05 AM
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I’ve showed this Sprite elsewhere on BF but not in this thread as it wasn’t a 3-speed. Still, in ‘69 and ‘70, Raleigh took a Sports frame and clamped on a Huret RD and shifter, scrounged up a rear EA3 wheel with 5-speed cluster and declared a new model:


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Old 12-22-20, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by oldspokes
I've run across a few AW equipped Sprites over the years, all have been brown but most had tubular crown forks, one had tubular crown forks and pump pegs.
None of them had the black head tube panel and I believe all had round top fenders, not the later flat top version.
I always just figured they were 5 speeds that someone converted but there's been quite a few of them over the years.
With how few taller Sports models there seems to be, I would think an AW equipped Sprite would be an excellent alternative especially for taller riders
It also opens up a wider choice or rims if someone wanted to go aluminum. .
The '77 Raleigh catalog indicates the 3 speed was available but no image is shown. The black head tube and this fork crown, are shown on the derailleur model.
This never had a fender reflector. Likely was attached to a Pletscher rack as this has the longer seat stay studs to accommodate the rack. (and evidence on the seat stays that it was there)

As found, it was missing the original front wheel (and had a hideous "comfort" saddle) but I was able to find an equal condition Sturmey Archer (hub & rim) wheel on eBay. The rear rim is a "Silverseal"
I agree that this version is a good candidate for a full aluminum upgrade but to me that means everything including the crankset. Due to the condition of this one I'll keep it as is. I've been threatening to build a 3 speed Super Course for years (see earlier posts) so that eventual project will be a "lightweight" version.

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Old 12-22-20, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak
I think my next hunt will be based on finding a path racer like Pashley's Guv'nor. That shape of those type frames has always appealed to me and I think it would be a great cruise around bike with a simple 3 speed setup.

Heck, I might even try and pre-order a new Guv'nor....

I think it'd be the perfect buy for my usual Sunday cruise around the valley rides.
When the Pashley first came out I really wanted one until I saw the price...
I did the same thing and built my own.
Mine was based on an Indian made bike
An Eastman Windsor

It's a single speed with rod brakes.
The truth is I don't really ride it much...

If I were to revisit this project, I would start with a Raleigh DL-1 frame and yes, make it a 3 speed.
Something like this

The geometry on the DL-1 is quite similar to the Pashley and probably wouldn't cost too much to complete.
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Old 12-22-20, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by FBOATSB
2fat2fly
There are threads in C&V that address your spoke issues here's one:
Spoke sourcesHere's another:
SpokesAnd another:
More spokes
Not much current info at any of those links, most of the links there are no longer viable. Dan's Comp no longer lists spokes, and colorado cyclist only shows fancy bladed spokes. Nearly every online source is around a buck a spoke. Even no name china spokes seem extremely overpriced these days.
I would want stock spokes, or straight 14ga stainless spokes. I would not want to change the look of the bike.
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Old 12-22-20, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by IsleRide
I've refurbished and found new homes for more English 3 speeds than I can remember. I've had a special love for them ever since I inherited my grandfather's Rudge in 1960. (at 12 years old)
At 6-3 even the bigger frames were always a problem. DL-1 Tourist being the exception, but they are so ponderous that I lost interest. More fun to look at than to ride.

Picked this oddball up a few weeks ago and it's almost done but likely finishing touches will be in the spring. Unusual 1977 Sprite 3 speed. (AW hub 76 12)
25" frame makes it for me if a touch short. Maybe this will stick around for a while!

This one looks very much like the one I looked at and might buy.
The one I looked at though had the plain 'hockey stick' chainguard, round top fenders, and a tubular crown fork as on the 26" models.
The color was a bit darker, but that's hard to tell looking at a picture on the screen compared to my memory four days ago.
The wheels were steel with no sign of any rust or wear, and I'm pretty sure they were stamped Sturmey Archer, but they looked wider than the standard Endrick rims. They were probably the width of a Westrick rim. The 27x1 3/8" tires filled the fenders well and it looked great. The dented tube and need for a set of spokes were the biggest concern, all else was just time and labor and maybe a little paint if I found the right decals cheap.
The one I looked at did not have the black panels, it was dark brown metallic with two gold bands on the seat post, 'Made in England' on the top tube, and Sprite 27 on the downtube. The chainguard only had a single Raleigh decal. The rear hub was an AW dated 10 71, so my guess would be it was likely sold as a 1972 model.
Things I noticed on it were that both the front and rear spokes were the same, both had short plated brass nipples, the spokes too appeared the same. The chain guard attached with clamps not braze on tabs, much like that of a Robin Hood or Hercules. (All the chain guards I've seen on Raleigh Sports models had brazed tabs on the chain guard and frame).
The stem, bars, brakes, crankset, and saddle were the same as a Sports model. The frame was 23 3/8" from the center of the crank axle to the top of the seat tube. The calipers didn't have cable adjusters but it looks like it would be simple to add a pair of adjusters where the cable casing stop is if I tossed the self adjusting levers.
If I can't find cheap spokes though, I'm better off leaving it where its at.
I sort of figured I can buy it for closer to $100, I seriously doubt he'll let it go any cheaper. He had a few bare Sports framesets at the flea market marked $150, and all were gone by the time I came back to his table, he was taking cash for one as I walked up to his table. It was nothing more than a frame and loose fork.
I did a search myself a little while ago and $35 doesn't buy much even on CL here. All I saw were tiny kids bikes and rusty department store bikes. Not much under $150 is ready to ride, not much under $100 is even able to be test ridden by the looks of them.
The local fleamarket is usually full of junk department store bikes, most are marked $50-$100, but lately most have been asking double those amounts and apparently getting it. I don't see many of those bikes being hauled away at the end of the day buy the sellers.
I'm sure every once in a while a deal can be caught but its a rare occurrence lately.

The one thing I like about the Sprite with 27" wheels is that it is a bit taller than the average Sports model and rims are easier to come by. Both rims on the one I looked at were 36 spoke/27".
I wouldn't likely ever go aluminum, it would ruin the look of the bike in my opinion. Part of the appeal of these is that they still look like classic English bicycles. To me, a classic English bike is All Steel. I'm not even sure if I'd replace the original 'John Bull' brake pads, regardless of their inability to stop. They stop well enough for me. I don't plan to be doing any high speed riding at my age. If I lived in a hilly area, I may think differently but the roads here are pretty flat.
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Old 12-22-20, 10:54 AM
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2fat2fly,

I wouldn't turn that bike down based on the availability of spokes. Look for the oldest running bike shop in your area and ask about vintage parts. Worst case is you buy a beat up donor wheel and raid it. I'm partial but I think a 3 speed 27" wheeled Raleigh is worth it.

There might have been a few different browns from Raleigh. I had a '70 Sports that was kind of a metallic Root Beer. The Super Course was available in "Coffee". This color was called "Flamboyant Coffee".
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Old 12-22-20, 02:53 PM
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I'm done enough with this '37 Raleigh Sports Tourist resto-mod to take it for a test ride and pose it for some pics:





[

[url=https://flic.kr/p/2kjswZk]











Original to the bike is the headset, seatpost, brake cable clips, gear cable pulley, and BB cups. Otherwise, I used various parts I had built up or acquired from various other projects: Sun CR-18 EA3 rims, alloy AW rear hub, front HF Normandy hub, Honjo 650B fenders rebadged with the Raleigh Heron and S-A copy rear reflector, Panaracer col-de-la-vie 650A tires, some kind of British alloy tourist bars and a steel stem with no name, Brittania grips, quadrant shifter in very good shape, crankset and BB spindle from a 60s Sports (original spindle was slightly too large in diameter to fit these cranks), steel Raleigh brake levers and brakes w/ double-ended cables I reclaimed from some 50s project at some point, @rhm recovered Brooks saddle, no-name vinyl seatbag, chrome chainguard that I think I bought from V-O many years ago, English-made kickstand. My test run felt pretty good except the left-side crank and pedal are out of sync, creating a wobble effect. I think I have a replacement arm in the bin. I also had to hack up the front fender to fit it under the fork crown (and it's still not wonderfully aligned), so it'll probably fail at some point. The right-side fork dropout was also missing its fender attachment, so I got creative with a reflector bracket (fits perfectly!). Total weight is about 28 lbs, so not bad for this old steed.
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Old 12-22-20, 03:05 PM
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^^That's fantastic. 28 pounds is impressive for a bike like that.
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Old 12-22-20, 03:20 PM
  #23596  
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Originally Posted by gster
When the Pashley first came out I really wanted one until I saw the price...

If I were to revisit this project, I would start with a Raleigh DL-1 frame and yes, make it a 3 speed.
Something like this

The geometry on the DL-1 is quite similar to the Pashley and probably wouldn't cost too much to complete.
Actually I was searching for DL-1's last night for the same reason. I may still swing a Guv'nor but building a DL-1 up would be a fun project too.
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Old 12-22-20, 06:10 PM
  #23597  
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This IGH 5-speed Sprite on Boston's CL looks pretty fresh:

https://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/bi...248259790.html
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Old 12-22-20, 06:16 PM
  #23598  
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Originally Posted by nlerner
This IGH 5-speed Sprite on Boston's CL looks pretty fresh:

https://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/bi...248259790.html
Very cool 60s 5-speed. Someone grab it.
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Old 12-22-20, 06:40 PM
  #23599  
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Nice looking Hercules here:
https://lancaster.craigslist.org/bik...236395798.html
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Old 12-22-20, 06:44 PM
  #23600  
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Originally Posted by BFisher
That's a good 'un. One of the few that are maybe worth a couple of hundred.
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