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Pre-Raleigh Hercules - Craigslist FOTD?

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Pre-Raleigh Hercules - Craigslist FOTD?

Old 08-26-11, 10:41 PM
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Pre-Raleigh Hercules - Craigslist FOTD?

As I was surfing through CL yesterday, I came across a rather intriguing ad for a girls Schwinn bicycle that was being offered along with a Hercules bicycle. The ad read:
For Sale:
Older Schwinn bike,
In decent shape
Buy the Schwinn and get the Hercules bike for free Hercules is a 3 speed
Both bikes need a little TLC
Of course, I was primarily interested in the Hercules, but if the price of admission meant taking a bike I'd either flip or give away, so be it! The Herc was free after all! Message sent. Message received from seller this AM and I'm taking a drive to PA.

As it turns out the rear hub has been replaced with a Shimano 3-speed at some point in its life and appears to have lead a somewhat rough life since the fenders are a little bent and scratched up. Overall, though given the bicycle appears to be a Pre-Raleigh model, I suppose it's not in too bad of shape for a 50 year old bike.

Can someone confirm that this is a Pre-Raleigh bicycle? Also, how can I determine the age of this bike? Does anyone know of a serial registry for Hercules bikes?













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Old 08-27-11, 06:31 AM
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Definitely pre Raleigh. The rear fender stay mount holes are on top, not behind the axles like on the Raleigh pattern frames. Sweet find. It would almost be worth trying to source a correct year of hub, once that is determined. I would guess early 1950's but that is strictly a WAG.

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Old 08-27-11, 06:35 AM
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The fenders are pre Raleigh. The handlebars aren't post Raleigh, they're either pre or generic replacement. The chainguard is a generic replacement. Rear dropouts don't look Raleigh to me. Lugs with the holes in them I've seen on pre Raleigh bikes but Raleigh may have used them for a while, too.
Sweet bike. The Schwinn's cool, too.
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Old 08-27-11, 06:46 AM
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It would be nice to find the correct year of SA hub, but whether the year was correct or not, I'd immediately replace the Shimano hub with a decent SA 3-speed hub.
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Old 08-27-11, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Definitely pre Raleigh. The rear fender stay mount holes are on top, not behind the axles like on the Raleigh pattern frames. Sweet find. It would almost be worth trying to source a correct year of hub, once that is determined. I would guess early 1950's but that is strictly a WAG.

Aaron
My understanding of most English bikes as to whether they were Pre- or Post-Raleigh is to look at the stay mounts on the rear drops, which is why I posted that picture. What I'd really like to do is get my hands on a Hercules 3-speed hub, though I guess that would be pretty difficult on this side of the pond.
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Old 08-27-11, 07:40 AM
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I left a pre-raleigh Herc at the Brimfield antique show this year, It had a "Herc-u-matic" shifter with its SA hub. It had the same oval cutouts in the lugs. I ended up leaving it there because there was an enormous dent in the seat tube and i found a jaquar on the other side of the mart a little later, the last brimfield show of the year is comming up so if i see him again and he still has it, ill see if i can work the somewhat high price down a bit and then get in touch with you about some of the parts?
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Old 08-27-11, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin View Post
The fenders are pre Raleigh. The handlebars aren't post Raleigh, they're either pre or generic replacement. The chainguard is a generic replacement. Rear dropouts don't look Raleigh to me. Lugs with the holes in them I've seen on pre Raleigh bikes but Raleigh may have used them for a while, too.
Sweet bike. The Schwinn's cool, too.
I had noted the handlebar and wasn't sure what to think of it, though I was of the same mind as you that they aren't a Raleigh bar. The chainguard is slightly disturbing, but a little art deco flair isn't such a bad thing is it?

I took a few pics of the girls Schwinn and will post them in another thread. I think I'll eventually put that together for my niece to ride. It would be a little big for her now, but she's growing like a weed and it'll afford me an opportunity to put it in good form for her.
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Old 08-27-11, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
It would be nice to find the correct year of SA hub, but whether the year was correct or not, I'd immediately replace the Shimano hub with a decent SA 3-speed hub.
I was disappointed to see a Shimano hub on the bike. I'm thinking ferchris'sakes, what an abomination! I actually have an early 70's Raleigh Sturmey AW wheel that I could temporarily put on the bike until such time as I decide whether I want to try sourcing a genuine Hercules or just use a Sturmey hub.
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Old 08-27-11, 07:51 AM
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Hercules hubs appear on Ebay all the time. But note that the correct wheels on this bike are 32 spokes front, 40 rear. The rims should be Dunlop 26 x 1 3/8. I didn't bother to count the spokes in your photos, but I'm willing to bet your Shimano hub has 36 spokes so you will need to replace the whole rear wheel.

The correct wheel will turn up, in time; put out a search for it, but don't put whole lot of effort into finding it. That will only increase the price, if you know what I mean.

The correct chain guards appear on ebay as well.
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Old 08-27-11, 08:03 AM
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I picked up this Hercules.....1953 a few years ago. I rode into the city one day..rides okay for a classic bicycle...
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Old 08-27-11, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ericbaker View Post
I left a pre-raleigh Herc at the Brimfield antique show this year, It had a "Herc-u-matic" shifter with its SA hub. It had the same oval cutouts in the lugs. I ended up leaving it there because there was an enormous dent in the seat tube and i found a jaquar on the other side of the mart a little later, the last brimfield show of the year is comming up so if i see him again and he still has it, ill see if i can work the somewhat high price down a bit and then get in touch with you about some of the parts?
Eric, many thanks for the offer. That would be great! I'll PM you with some additional contact information.
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Old 08-27-11, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Hercules hubs appear on Ebay all the time. But note that the correct wheels on this bike are 32 spokes front, 40 rear. The rims should be Dunlop 26 x 1 3/8. I didn't bother to count the spokes in your photos, but I'm willing to bet your Shimano hub has 36 spokes so you will need to replace the whole rear wheel.

The correct wheel will turn up, in time; put out a search for it, but don't put whole lot of effort into finding it. That will only increase the price, if you know what I mean.

The correct chain guards appear on ebay as well.
I just made my way to the man cave and the front wheel is 36 spokes with a Wald hub and, as you posited, the rear wheel has 36 spokes. So it's a 36/36 instead of the 32/40 as it would properly be. I'd like to have this ready for the 3-speed tour in May next year, but it's not a biggie if it isn't since I already have my Raleigh.

For now at least, I'll likely just keep the front wheel and put the Sturmey 3-speed wheel on it as I disassemble and clean the bike up.
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Old 08-27-11, 09:04 AM
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Birmingham=pre Raleigh. Headbadge looks 50ish. Buy it, sell the Schwinn on eBay and use the cash to buy a correct hub for the Hercules.
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Old 08-27-11, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by julesray View Post
I picked up this Hercules.....1953 a few years ago. I rode into the city one day..rides okay for a classic bicycle...
Sweet machine! I *love* the chainrings that have the Hercules spelled out on them. They are so artfully done. Do you have it advertised on CL?

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Old 08-27-11, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Velognome View Post
Birmingham=pre Raleigh. Headbadge looks 50ish. Buy it, sell the Schwinn on eBay and use the cash to buy a correct hub for the Hercules.
Believe me, I already bought it! Not sure what to do with the Schwinn, but eBay is an option. Lots of options out there for putting these things back together with the internet. Stuff that would have taken months or years to locate can now be gotten in a matter of days. It sort of makes my head spin to think about it.
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Old 08-27-11, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by photogravity View Post
I just made my way to the man cave and the front wheel is 36 spokes with a Wald hub and, as you posited, the rear wheel has 36 spokes. So it's a 36/36 instead of the 32/40 as it would properly be. I'd like to have this ready for the 3-speed tour in May next year, but it's not a biggie if it isn't since I already have my Raleigh.

For now at least, I'll likely just keep the front wheel and put the Sturmey 3-speed wheel on it as I disassemble and clean the bike up.
Not ALL '50's 3 speeds were 32/40, but the bulk of them were. From the sounds of it the Herc has been "renovated" a few times. I am pretty sure those aren't the original handlebars, the chain guard is a crap shoot, I have seen chromed chain guards on bikes that you would have never thought they would be on and they were OEM. I would start perusing old Herc advertising and see what turns up.

I still have that 50's Skyliner that pastorbob rescued and we have yet to find it in a catalog.

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Old 08-27-11, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Not ALL '50's 3 speeds were 32/40, but the bulk of them were. From the sounds of it the Herc has been "renovated" a few times. I am pretty sure those aren't the original handlebars, the chain guard is a crap shoot, I have seen chromed chain guards on bikes that you would have never thought they would be on and they were OEM. I would start perusing old Herc advertising and see what turns up.

I still have that 50's Skyliner that pastorbob rescued and we have yet to find it in a catalog.

Aaron
Renovated is one way of putting it! I can say that because of the fact that it doesn't have the original wheels this bike was probably well ridden over the years, which is more important to me than it being original and correct. For what I paid, I am not complaining. I've been trying to find some old ads and whatnot to help pinpoint the machine and it's age, though the consensus so far is that it is a 50s model, which is great from my perspective. It is now the oldest bike in my collection, far eclipsing the age of my current favourite rider, a 1970 Schwinn Collegiate.
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Old 08-27-11, 10:37 AM
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You know, I saw an old english chainguard on ebay last week. I think it was a Phillips, though. Try watching the english ebay. It's full of interesting english bike parts.
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Old 08-27-11, 10:44 AM
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My dad had a Hercules, but not a Royal Prince. Is that a model name for a deluxe model? His has the original Hercules hub and and chainguard. It also looks like it was repainted with a brush. He bought it at a garage sale for a few bucks. I told him that it was pretty old and not a common bike so he knows not to give it away. He really likes it, so that probably won't happen.
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Old 08-27-11, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin View Post
You know, I saw an old english chainguard on ebay last week. I think it was a Phillips, though. Try watching the english ebay. It's full of interesting english bike parts.
I'm already on top of that one, believe me! I've been logging into the eBay for England, France and Germany on a pretty regular basis lately. Between my Sachs hub, my Peugeut bike and now my English 3-speeds, I'm finding that some stuff is just not easily accessible in the US.
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Old 08-27-11, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Pompiere View Post
My dad had a Hercules, but not a Royal Prince. Is that a model name for a deluxe model? His has the original Hercules hub and and chainguard. It also looks like it was repainted with a brush. He bought it at a garage sale for a few bucks. I told him that it was pretty old and not a common bike so he knows not to give it away. He really likes it, so that probably won't happen.
I'm not sure what the model is, but since Royal Prince is on the headbadge along with the Hercules name, it may well be the model. I am not familiar enough with Hercules bikes to say what the model is, though there are other references I've found on the web referencing a Hercules Royal Prince.

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Old 04-17-12, 09:13 PM
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Pre Raleigh Hercules

I think I just picked up the same bike - rescued it at the curb on trash pickup day. The one that I have appears to be all original so maybe these photos will help. Rear hub is a SA 3-speed dated Sept 1958. That's the only way that I have of assigning a year to the bike - couldn't find any serial numbers any where. 40-spoke rear wheel. Just started to clean it up. I'm also in PA if you want to come look at it.
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Old 04-17-12, 10:24 PM
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Sweet. '58 looks about right. Those fenders look different than what I'm used to seeing.
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Old 04-18-12, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jdave5917 View Post
I think I just picked up the same bike - rescued it at the curb on trash pickup day. The one that I have appears to be all original so maybe these photos will help. Rear hub is a SA 3-speed dated Sept 1958. That's the only way that I have of assigning a year to the bike - couldn't find any serial numbers any where. 40-spoke rear wheel. Just started to clean it up. I'm also in PA if you want to come look at it.
Hey jdave5917, welcome to the forums and I'm glad to see you were able to save one from the crusher! It goes appear to be around a 1958 based on what I know of Hercules since they had moved to the vertical lettering on the seattube in the mid-50's and then to the generic "shield" headbadge in the late 50's.

Where are you in PA? If you aren't too far off, I would be interested in seeing the bike.







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Old 04-18-12, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin View Post
Sweet. '58 looks about right. Those fenders look different than what I'm used to seeing.
While the mudguards seem a little off for some reason (it is the profile perhaps?), I think they are original to the bike because the boxlining seems to match up with the bike. Of course, we can't see much of the rear mudguard. What's more confusing to me is the chainguard, which seems too short for the bike, and the presence of a Raleigh style stem and Northroads handlebar. Admittedly, Hercules was moving more in a Raleigh-ish direction style-wise at that point, which may account for some of the strangeness.
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