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For the love of English 3 speeds...

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For the love of English 3 speeds...

Old 02-05-21, 11:32 AM
  #23901  
gster
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Originally Posted by dirtman
The problem around here is that there were never many ladies bikes. It probably started out 50 to 1, men's to ladies models. Its just that the ladies models are the only one's that survived in decent shape.
I did stumble on a decent men's bike yesterday morning, but I had to take it apart to get it home in the company car.
Someone put a super clean Hercules in the trash, complete with a perfect set of Dunlop rims and a 10-59 AW rear hub.
It was on a main road, thousands of people had to have passed by it there all day. I saw it there at 7am but couldn't stop, it was still there at 11am when I came back that way. Laying on its side atop two trash cans on a major road leading to the bridge. I almost stopped in the morning but would have been late for a meeting, and two buddies that are retired whom I called couldn't get there.
Both rims are perfect, the tires are newer Cordovan brand from Pep Boys and there's no rust at all. The paint is 90% intact as well. The only downside is that its way too small for me. So it too is a donor for its wheels, saddle, and other chrome bits. Right next to the bike was a small aluminum Umco tackle box from the 50's, full of tools and a Dunlop branded frame pump all taken apart.
I'm going tomorrow to look at a 'DP Harris Royal made in England' from about the same period for $15 off a bulletin board at the supermarket.
Lucky...
It's been years since I found a free 3 speed.
Lot's of others but I usually ignore them unless it's something special.
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Old 02-05-21, 11:50 AM
  #23902  
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Originally Posted by dirtman
The problem around here is that there were never many ladies bikes. It probably started out 50 to 1, men's to ladies models. Its just that the ladies models are the only one's that survived in decent shape.
I did stumble on a decent men's bike yesterday morning, but I had to take it apart to get it home in the company car.
Someone put a super clean Hercules in the trash, complete with a perfect set of Dunlop rims and a 10-59 AW rear hub.
It was on a main road, thousands of people had to have passed by it there all day. I saw it there at 7am but couldn't stop, it was still there at 11am when I came back that way. Laying on its side atop two trash cans on a major road leading to the bridge. I almost stopped in the morning but would have been late for a meeting, and two buddies that are retired whom I called couldn't get there.
Both rims are perfect, the tires are newer Cordovan brand from Pep Boys and there's no rust at all. The paint is 90% intact as well. The only downside is that its way too small for me. So it too is a donor for its wheels, saddle, and other chrome bits. Right next to the bike was a small aluminum Umco tackle box from the 50's, full of tools and a Dunlop branded frame pump all taken apart.
I'm going tomorrow to look at a 'DP Harris Royal made in England' from about the same period for $15 off a bulletin board at the supermarket.

These were offered through Firestone Stores....
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Old 02-05-21, 11:56 AM
  #23903  
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You mean like this one? It doesn't say Crown but it do say Royal.

Originally Posted by gster

These were offered through Firestone Stores....

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Old 02-05-21, 02:20 PM
  #23904  
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That's very similar, same brand and decals, but different forks, chain guard, chainring, and bars.
This one has a cg and forks like the Royal Enfield above, Raleigh Sports style bars, and a snow flake pattern chain ring.
The saddle is a sprung, two tone vinyl model similar to the Wright saddles used on Robin Hood and Hercules bikes but this one appears to be a bit longer and lacks the Wright logo. Its a 21" frame, so its a bit small for me but still ridable. The tires on the bike aren't original but are old, they're branded Oxford Ltd, but marked made in Taiwan. They look like Dunlop copies. Surprisingly they look and feel ok, but the seller swore they're no newer than 1968. The bike has apparently hung in the garage there since that time.
All cables are original, the brakes show little to no wear on the original John Bull pads but the chain guard is pretty battered up and missing the all of its mounting hardware. The paint is 95% perfect, and all the chrome is super clean, the rims are mint, the rear hub is dated 62-12.
Since its all apart, I guess I'll start going through it bit by bit. There's a few dings in the fenders that I need to work out, I need to find CG hardware, and I'll polish up the chrome and re-tension the rims while their off. I'll also go through the rear hub while I'm at it.

I also noticed that the two brake levers are different, both are British, but one is three piece, the other a four piece, (with the toggle cable attachment).
What determined on these which chainguard, which forks, or which chainring they got? Or were they just a grab bag of parts?
The fenders use the Raleigh type solid braces, not wire braces like say a Robin Hood or Hercules. The rear fender has a Royal logo just above the white portion.
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Old 02-05-21, 03:40 PM
  #23905  
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Yes I have all those bits in my parts bin. Except that is the chain ring it came with. The aluminum stem, handlebar, seat post, seat and grips are my customization to make it look cool lighten the weight as well as ride nice. I like a wider handlebar than the original. Plus the original handlebars are very rusted.
I look forward to seeing your when you are done!
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Old 02-05-21, 06:41 PM
  #23906  
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Originally Posted by jamesj
Ummm what's google? I use ask.com
I've got the phone number for Google.
Just call them up.
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Old 02-06-21, 07:05 PM
  #23907  
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Originally Posted by jamesj
Does anyone know where to buy some Sun CR18 rims? The rims on my Superbe are pretty much shot.
Iíve had a 32h and a 40h on order from Nashbar since mid November. I looked today and the 32h is listed in my order as in stock but the 40h is still pending. Iím guessing they need to fill orders first before showing them in stock on the site. Might be available soon.
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Old 02-09-21, 04:08 AM
  #23908  
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I picked up a few sets of rims at a recent cleanout, since many have tires mounted on them I figured it may be a good chance to post a pic of them side by side for comparison.
The tallest here is a 40-622 /Cheng Shin tire combo on a 700C rim
(Oddly though the rim is marked 26x1.75, but its clearly a 700C)
The next is a 650B steel rim with a 26x1 1/2" tire
then a 26x1 3/8" Sturmey Archer rim with a Raleigh Record/Cheng Shin tire
and finally a modern MTB 26x1.95 Kenda tire on a 1.75" wide rim for comparison.

The two smaller sizes are almost identical in overall diameter, the pics show the difference between them in height.





650B Steel rims with 26x1 5/8" tires, (Rims are marked only 26x1 1//2" - Made in England), both are 36h. Rims are completely rounded,
no real flat area on the side for a caliper to grab, not sure what these were meant for but I found four of them, each with the same tire mounted to them. They would likely fit on a Sports type bike but the sides of the rim wouldn't really allow for a great caliper alignment and fender fitment would be tight. I like the look of these rims but I think they'd be best on a bike with a hub brake of some sort.
They are heavy duty looking rims that are also drilled for a heavier spoke gauge than the average rims. either 12 or 13 gauge.
The Sturmey Archer rims are all 36h.

I figured I'd post a few of these for those thinking about swapping tire sizes.
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Old 02-09-21, 11:40 AM
  #23909  
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Originally Posted by keithdavis2
I suspect that the bikes offered up as "Hardware Store" bikes were indeed sourced form the parts bin.
All quality components but perhaps a lack of consistency in style.
Two examples of the same bike could have different chainrings, brake levers etc.
I've often wondered what the minimum order would have been back then.
Here in Canada I've seen re-branded Raleighs as
Gliders (Eatons)
Supercycle (Canadian Tire)
Rodeo (Beaver Lumber
Canadiana (Unknown)
I'm sure there's a few more odd ball brands out there as well.
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Old 02-09-21, 12:49 PM
  #23910  
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Originally Posted by gster
I suspect that the bikes offered up as "Hardware Store" bikes were indeed sourced form the parts bin.
All quality components but perhaps a lack of consistency in style.
Two examples of the same bike could have different chainrings, brake levers etc.
I've often wondered what the minimum order would have been back then.
Here in Canada I've seen re-branded Raleighs as
Gliders (Eatons)
Supercycle (Canadian Tire)
Rodeo (Beaver Lumber
Canadiana (Unknown)
I'm sure there's a few more odd ball brands out there as well.
In the US there was Sears/JC Higgins (all Austrian as far as I know until Free Spirit which was a mix of British and Japanese), Montgomery Ward, Western Auto, JC Penney, and other regional department stores too numerous to mention.
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Old 02-09-21, 05:57 PM
  #23911  
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I suppose early on the English brands pretty much owned the market when it came to three speed bikes of this style.

When I was a kid, the local dealer sold Rollfast. My first three speed bike was a Rollfast with a Made in England logo that so many other English brands had. The rest of the bike was labeled as a Rollfast. It had an AW hub, Dunlop Endrick rims, a Crown front hub, a red and white saddle with a Crown logo on the back, but it was identical to the Wright saddle on most Robin Hood bikes. It had three piece cottered cranks and a snowflake chainring. The hub was dated something in 1962. The bars, stem, and chainguard were all the same as a second tier Raleigh brand bike. Other than the Made in England decal on the top tube, and the headbadge reading Rollfast and DP Harris, Birmingham, England, it was badged as a Rollfast, not Crown. (Crown was DP Harris/Rollfast's in house line of parts).
I found it odd that they built the bike with pretty much all English parts except for the front hub, which was a common galvanized, 36h Crown hub as found on nearly all Rollfast bikes. A few years later my younger brother got a brand new Rollfast Ultraflight, that bike was more of a mix bag of parts. That bike had the same Dunlop rims, an AW hub dated 67-2, the same Crown front hub, Raleigh pattern chrome fenders, a similar "Crown - Made in England" badged saddle in two tone, the same English bars and stem, but that's where the English part ended. The cranks were one piece, the chainring was common to most lightweight Rollfast bikes, the forks were also stacked plate style American forks, and it came with SA twist grip shifters. They had basically just taken a standard Rollfast lightweight and hung all English parts on it.
It was a lot lighter than mine, but not as smooth and not as durable.
Somewhere along the line I sold mine and bought a larger frame Philips that was very similar. My brother had his till a few years ago, he sold it when he moved last.
I frequently hung out at the local bike shop here back then, I remember all sorts of old Rollfast bikes but I don't remember seeing any badged Crown.
I'm thinking they may have been a brand they sold to non-Rollfast dealers. I did run into a guy one time with one, I do seem to remember him saying his dad bought it for him as a kid at a local feed store that sold bikes around Christmas time. From what I've seen, the Crown models had far better attention to detail than the other bikes.
Back in the day, Rollfast was a major player when it came to bikes, they were a dealer only brand back then with a serious parts department

I also remember seeing a few Schwinn bikes that were Made in England back then, my cousin had one he got used, it was a red English built three speed badged Schwinn Spitfire on the CG. The CG was the wide style, the headbadge had Schwinn spelled out on an angle across the badge. The frame and badge were both marked Made in England. For some reason I seem to remember it said Birmingham on it somewhere too, That bike was also red, sort of a dark solid color. The tires were wide whitewalls with the old Schwinn script on the sides but in standard EA3 size with Dunlop Endrick rims, an AW hub, and an English oil port type front hub.

Does anyone actually have a list of all the brands that were produced back then?

Brands that I've run across have been as follows:
Raleigh, Humber, Robin Hood, Gazelle, Dunelt, Philips, Sun, Sunbeam, Triumph, Derby, Hercules, Royal Scot, Royal, Royal Crown, Phillips, Rudge, Norman, BSA, Armstrong, Dawes, and Royce Union, (not all Royce Union bikes were cheap Japanese bikes, I've had three or four that were Made in England and pretty much identical to the same period Robin Hood).

They are getting scarce around here, but when an older English model pops up, its not usually cheap. In fact, lately it seems that the off brand models seem to bring more than Raleigh branded models.
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Old 02-09-21, 08:16 PM
  #23912  
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Mongrel lenton

I thought I would post a photo of the mongrel Lenton with her new wheels. I had 700c wheels built with sun cr18 rims, and the hubs I showed a few weeks ago. I like the result but I havenít been able too take it out since I am having some medical issues.

Hopefully the FM hub is sound. It seems fine, but I havenít tested it under load.
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Old 02-09-21, 08:19 PM
  #23913  
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Originally Posted by dweenk
In the US there was Sears/JC Higgins (all Austrian as far as I know until Free Spirit which was a mix of British and Japanese), Montgomery Ward, Western Auto, JC Penney, and other regional department stores too numerous to mention.
In the 50's. Hercules bikes were re branded as Indians as in Indian motor bikes.
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Old 02-09-21, 08:22 PM
  #23914  
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Originally Posted by bluesteak
I thought I would post a photo of the mongrel Lenton with her new wheels. I had 700c wheels built with sun cr18 rims, and the hubs I showed a few weeks ago. I like the result but I havenít been able too take it out since I am having some medical issues.

Hopefully the FM hub is sound. It seems fine, but I havenít tested it under load.
I always liked that colour.
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Old 02-10-21, 12:45 AM
  #23915  
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Originally Posted by gster
In the 50's. Hercules bikes were re branded as Indians as in Indian motor bikes.
I've had a few of those over the years, they were sold as Indian Scouts in the early 50's. I think they continued well into the 1960's too. The last one I had here was complete with a Dynohub, full sprung saddle, and a rear rack.
Most that I've found over the years were likely very early 50's models with a more relaxed geometry then the later models.
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Old 02-10-21, 07:50 AM
  #23916  
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Originally Posted by gster
Lucky...
It's been years since I found a free 3 speed.
Here you go, two cheapo 3-speeds in a dumpster. I was going around the block for a photo op yesterday and saw these in the alley. Both of them have Shimano hubs. The blue Murray looks American-made and the red Free Spirit looks Japanese. The red one has a Bike Machine 2-stroke gas engine driving the rear wheel. I used to have one in running condition.



Last edited by thumpism; 02-10-21 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 02-10-21, 09:22 AM
  #23917  
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The Little Things in Life
My Mexican bike which really is a piece of sh@t needed a new cotter pin.

Looking online/Amazon mexico it would have cost about $30-$40.00 to get one delivered.
I had to take the girls into Puerto Vallarta yesterday for the dentist and on the way saw a ramshackle bike shop.

I stopped in on the way back and got a couple of cotters for a grand total of 10 pesos (.50 cents)
we have to go back to the dentist next week and I'll see if they have any rod and lever brake pads.
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Old 02-10-21, 10:41 AM
  #23918  
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Originally Posted by gster
The Little Things in Life
My Mexican bike which really is a piece of sh@t needed a new cotter pin.

Looking online/Amazon mexico it would have cost about $30-$40.00 to get one delivered.
I had to take the girls into Puerto Vallarta yesterday for the dentist and on the way saw a ramshackle bike shop.

I stopped in on the way back and got a couple of cotters for a grand total of 10 pesos (.50 cents)
we have to go back to the dentist next week and I'll see if they have any rod and lever brake pads.
LBS with another save!
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Old 02-10-21, 11:43 AM
  #23919  
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Originally Posted by bluesteak
I thought I would post a photo of the mongrel Lenton with her new wheels. I had 700c wheels built with sun cr18 rims, and the hubs I showed a few weeks ago. I like the result but I haven’t been able too take it out since I am having some medical issues.

Hopefully the FM hub is sound. It seems fine, but I haven’t tested it under load.
That is looking great! And you were able to get the brake pads to line up! I may try 700C on my next English bike (I already have an AW laced to 700C plus a front QR wheel also laced to 700C for my Trek IGH conversation - never thought of putting them on an English bike).

Oh and BTW I believe you can peel off the CR18 stickers if you are so inclined - I use Alex DM18 rims for the most part (available and not too expensive around here) and I always take the Alex graphics off.

Hope your medical situation resolves positively and soon!
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Old 02-10-21, 12:16 PM
  #23920  
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Originally Posted by bluesteak
Hopefully the FM hub is sound. It seems fine, but I havenít tested it under load.
If you have an alloy hub body, they are known for failing. The FW does not seem to do this. The FW and AW have some parts in common but the FM is an entirely different design. I have one that broke its hub body and I have a replacement body. The mechanicals seem alright and the hub worked fine prior to failure (which happened while the bike was in storage; the spoke tension eventually caused a failure because the hub body developed a crack). A steel hub body is the solution, but I've never seen an FM with a steel hub.
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Old 02-10-21, 08:08 PM
  #23921  
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Originally Posted by markk900
That is looking great! And you were able to get the brake pads to line up! I may try 700C on my next English bike (I already have an AW laced to 700C plus a front QR wheel also laced to 700C for my Trek IGH conversation - never thought of putting them on an English bike).

Oh and BTW I believe you can peel off the CR18 stickers if you are so inclined - I use Alex DM18 rims for the most part (available and not too expensive around here) and I always take the Alex graphics off.

Hope your medical situation resolves positively and soon!
This frame was designed for 27x1 1/4 so there was ample room for 700c.
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Old 02-11-21, 03:04 AM
  #23922  
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Originally Posted by thumpism
Here you go, two cheapo 3-speeds in a dumpster. I was going around the block for a photo op yesterday and saw these in the alley. Both of them have Shimano hubs. The blue Murray looks American-made and the red Free Spirit looks Japanese. The red one has a Bike Machine 2-stroke gas engine driving the rear wheel. I used to have one in running condition.
Back in the 70's they sold a bolt on motor like that around here called a Bikebug, it used a Tanaka 2 stroke motor and a friction drive. Most got mounted on the front wheel but I saw them mounted in the rear as well. I had a Columbia 10 speed that I trash picked back in the day that had one on it, the engine ran fine but the thing didn't grip the rear tire very well. You had to all but sit on the motor to make it grip the tire well enough not to just grind off rubber. The funny thing is the thing had a ton of spring pressure down on the tire but the 2" or so diameter drive hub just didn't have enough contact surface. The surface of that hub was serrated like a file, the thing tore up tires something terrible and the heat from the motor would cook you in the summer time. Those who put it in the front got to enjoy the two stroke smoke and exhaust for the whole ride.
I also had an outboard by the same company, called an Aqua Bug, that was great, it never gave me a single problem in the 30 years I used it, its still around here somewhere still but I seem to remember that the plastic prop had turned to dust over one winter and basically crumbled.
I sold the bike motor to some kid back when I was in still in school. By that time I had rigged a counter weight with a big lever to press the thing down on the tire. I don't think they were made to move a 300lb man on a full size bike plus books and such.

A buddy of mine had another brand of bike motor on an old Sting Ray, that one was made in Italy, and it used a rubber driver hub, it worked far better than the Bikebug and needed very little pressure for it to pull the bike along. So much so that it was easy to get dragged through an intersection if you forgot to disengage the lever before trying to stop. (That one had a flip lever that reached up between the handle bars, pulling the handle downward locked the mechanism over center like closing a pair of vice grips).

There was also a bolt on motor sold that used a belt drive, you bolted a large pulley to the spokes on a wheel, then the motor sat on a rack above with a hand operated belt tensioner. Those actually worked well when put on a decent bike. It tore up wheels on cheaper bikes.
I've actually knocked around the idea of building a modern Whizzer of sorts, I picked up a half dozen Briggs Stratton 4 stroke weed wacker motors which appear to be what the Chinese copied to make their 4 stroke Whizzer kit with.

I was also thinking it would be great to have something like that but in electric these days, with Li-ion batteries getting more affordable, it wouldn't take much to power one that would run 20 or more miles on a charge or even further depending on rider weight and the terrain. I was never a fan of mixing two stroke fuel, or dealing with ethanol fuel and carburetors, and electric motors have far more torque than a wimpy little weed eater motor.
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Old 02-11-21, 07:39 AM
  #23923  
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Old 02-11-21, 04:23 PM
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All this motor talk reminds me of a bike I once saw that was owned by a rep who called on our shop. He'd taken a nice fendered American bike of the '60s and installed a motor above the front wheel, which had a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub laced in with its cog driven by the gear on the motor. So he had a gas-powered bike with a 3-speed trans. No telling the life expectancy of that hub but it must have been fun while it lasted.

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And how about a nice Italian version of the perennial Sturmey bike? Good price and beautiful condition.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...87711235085450

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Old 02-11-21, 06:58 PM
  #23925  
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Originally Posted by thumpism
All this motor talk reminds me of a bike I once saw that was owned by a rep who called on our shop. He'd taken a nice fendered American bike of the '60s and installed a motor above the front wheel, which had a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub laced in with its cog driven by the gear on the motor. So he had a gas-powered bike with a 3-speed trans. No telling the life expectancy of that hub but it must have been fun while it lasted.

-----------------------------------------

And how about a nice Italian version of the perennial Sturmey bike? Good price and beautiful condition.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...87711235085450

27" wheels? Aluminum rims?
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