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Yet Another Hercules Thread :)

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Yet Another Hercules Thread :)

Old 10-30-11, 06:52 PM
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Yet Another Hercules Thread :)

On Friday evening forum member ecnewell posted a link in the eBay/Craigslist thread about a Hercules in Philly that was up for sale. Upon seeing it and realizing that this was the week that both my wife and I get paid(!), I sent a message to the owner of the bike. Within about 15 minutes, he called me and the rest is history. Despite the inclement weather in the area, I made the trip without incident and am happy to have a new addition to the collection.

About the bike: This Hercules Lion is a Pre-Raleigh bike and appears to be entirely original with the exception of the the Shimano shifter and the inner tubes. The bike has Dunlop tires on it with virtually no wear or dry-rotting on them. The cables are those strange one-piece things that have the ends soldered on or whatever it was they did way back then to make them one piece. There is no rust to be found anywhere on the bike, not on the frame, nor the wheels, nor the handlebar or any other part of the bike. The only flaw that I can see is that the paint has some fading and is flaking on various parts of the bike. It seems to be worse on one side than the other, so I'm guessing it may have been sitting in a spot where it was exposed to the sun on one side. So without any further ado, I present to the C&V crowd my new Hercules Lion.

Drive side.

Hercules Lion - 2 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

Cream coloured panel on rear mudguard.

Hercules Lion - 4 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

Headbadge.

Hercules Lion - 5 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

Front mudguard tip. Notice the cream colour on the leading edge of the fender. I don't think that was a common practice on most English bikes, at least not that I'm aware of.

Hercules Lion - 6 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

Chainguard.

Hercules Lion - 9 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

Right side seat cluster. Note the peeling paint in places. The pinstriping is intact and nearly perfect on the entire bike.

Hercules Lion - 10 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

Right side headtube. The zip tie is a nice touch.

Hercules Lion - 11 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

Cockpit view. See how pretty the mudguard looks with the leading edge painted in the cream colour?

Hercules Lion - 18 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr

Yup, it still has a Hercules hub and it works perfectly. I did a ride of 3 or so miles today on it to confirm my suspicions.

Hercules Lion - 34 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr
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Old 10-30-11, 07:45 PM
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That is a very cool bike, but a bike that clean isn't normal. You don't happen to own a time machine?
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Old 10-30-11, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by David Newton
That is a very cool bike, but a bike that clean isn't normal. You don't happen to own a time machine?
+1
And I'll bet just a little Scratch-x would bring back the gloss like it was new!
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Old 10-30-11, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by David Newton
That is a very cool bike, but a bike that clean isn't normal. You don't happen to own a time machine?
Thanks David. I agree that it is unusual to find one this clean and I wish that I knew the history. If I had a time machine I can only imagine some of the bikes that'd be in my collection. I just knew that it differed considerably from most all of the other Hercules I'd seen. Of course, there are simply not that many around here these days, so I don't have a lot to compare it to. I wish there was more information about these so I could get a better fix on the age of the machine.
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Old 10-30-11, 08:09 PM
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Beautiful 3 speed, I'm looking for one as well. How does the 21" fits you ? I'm 6' tall with a 33" inseam, I'm considering a 21" since it's much harder to find a 23". Congrats!
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Old 10-30-11, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow
+1
And I'll bet just a little Scratch-x would bring back the gloss like it was new!
Thanks Auchen. I'm not familiar with Scratch-X but suggestions are welcome. When I started messing with a section where the paint was damaged, it barely took me touching it for more to flake off the bike. It seems to me that if it could be "scuffed" and a layer of clear placed over the original paint, it would probably be fine, but I'm sure that is costly and IANAP (I am not a painter) so my analysis is likely flawed.

In any case, the bike is super nice notwithstanding the paint issue. I'm trying to place the year, but am clueless with the exception of knowing it is a Birmingham bike and preceded the TI merger with Raleigh.
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Old 10-30-11, 08:50 PM
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I like the headbadge, the entire bike is very cool!

Scratchex maybe too strong for the finish on the Herc. My (in)experience has shown the red used on the Hercs. is VERY fragil and thin....be careful!

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Old 10-30-11, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by BRAZUCA
Beautiful 3 speed, I'm looking for one as well. How does the 21" fits you ? I'm 6' tall with a 33" inseam, I'm considering a 21" since it's much harder to find a 23". Congrats!
Hey BRAZUCA, thanks for the compliment on the bike. It is a real score, for sure. Anyway, the 21" fits me fine, though I don't mind a larger frame. I'm about 5'10" with a 30" inseam (pants inseam, that is). I have a Raleigh Sports with a 23" frame that I've ridden a fair bit and find to be very comfortable. So long as I can raise the seatpost and the handlebar to a comfortable level, I'm OK with a 21" frame.
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Old 10-30-11, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Velognome
I like the headbadge, the entire bike is very cool!

Scratchex maybe too strong for the finish on the Herc. My (in)experience has shown the red used on the Hercs. is VERY fragil and thin....be careful!
Thanks for the info Velognome. I'd hate to damage the finish any more than it already is, that is for sure. I'm probably going to leave the finish alone (at least for now) until I figure out what direction I want to take with the bike. The bike is in overall really great shape so it really isn't in need of a restoration, with exception of the paint, which really only needs to be repaired atmo. Oh, that and a shifter. I managed to score a Her-cu-matic shifter off eBay for a semi-reasonable price off eBay.uk earlier today.
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Old 10-31-11, 02:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Velognome
I like the headbadge, the entire bike is very cool!

Scratchex maybe too strong for the finish on the Herc. My (in)experience has shown the red used on the Hercs. is VERY fragil and thin....be careful!
He's right - Scratch-X is marvelous stuff but only for hard, well-adhered finishes. ( Best not to go there then. )

Congrats on scoring the Herc-u-matic shifter!
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Old 10-31-11, 06:25 AM
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I love old three-speeds, but when you said "Philadelphia" I did some mental math and thought something like 'what kind of a nut drives seven hours to pick up a Hercules?'

But then I looked at the pictures. Oh, I understand now. That's quite a find! Probably the nicest one I've seen. Fabulous color scheme. I'm not sure about repairing the paint, unless you can match it really well. Is it tough enough for wax?
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Old 10-31-11, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow
He's right - Scratch-X is marvelous stuff but only for hard, well-adhered finishes. ( Best not to go there then. )

Congrats on scoring the Herc-u-matic shifter!
Finding Her-cu-matic shifters is not an easy chore and since I have heard that SA shifters work with these, they'll do in a pinch. Given a choice between not riding the bike and putting a SA shifter, well you know the answer on that one. I was originally eying up the shifter for the Hercules Royal Prince that I snagged a couple months ago, but it's bound for this bike now.
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Old 10-31-11, 06:55 AM
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What type of oilers are on the hubs and BB?
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Old 10-31-11, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm
I love old three-speeds, but when you said "Philadelphia" I did some mental math and thought something like 'what kind of a nut drives seven hours to pick up a Hercules?'

But then I looked at the pictures. Oh, I understand now. That's quite a find! Probably the nicest one I've seen. Fabulous color scheme. I'm not sure about repairing the paint, unless you can match it really well. Is it tough enough for wax?
Yes it was a little bit further than I'd have liked, but my wife was going to visit her mother in Northern Harford County MD up on the PA state line, so I figured what the heck. It afforded opportunity to mostly duck being with my mother-in-law and to go the Philly Bike Expo.

As far as being a find: yep, that it is! The red and cream colour combination really makes this bike special, to say the least. Almost all the English bikes have the white painted section on the rear fenders, but I don't ever recall them being cream coloured and I don't recall seeing the leading edge of the tip painted like this either. Of course, that doesn't mean there aren't examples existing in the wild similar to this, just that I haven't seen them.

BTW, do you know where I can get some appropriate hand grips for this thing? They aren't white, but are a cream colour similar to the painted tips and the seat. As you can see in the picture below, the grips are pretty well shot.


Hercules Lion - 29 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr
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Old 10-31-11, 07:18 AM
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I would have picked it up for you!
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Old 10-31-11, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Velognome
What type of oilers are on the hubs and BB?
They appear to be brass with a teensy hinge on one side. Pics below...


Hercules A Type Oiler by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr


Front Hub Oiler by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr


BB Oiler by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr
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Old 10-31-11, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake
I would have picked it up for you!
Yes, I know and believe me, I now have your number in case I *really* need it. Besides, knowing how fond you are of old English 3-speeds, I was concerned you might want to keep it!

In reality though, since my wife wanted to go visit her mother and I didn't, this gave me a great excuse. Besides, the Philly Bike Expo was going on, so I stopped in there a couple hours since it was only a little over a mile away from where I retrieved the bike.
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Old 10-31-11, 08:40 AM
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Who is your little supervisor?
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Old 10-31-11, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow
Who is your little supervisor?
That is Widget, she's about 3 1/2 months old now. It appears she is going to be the shop cat, as our two other cats are little interested in following me down to the man-cave.
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Old 10-31-11, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by photogravity
Yes, I know and believe me, I now have your number in case I *really* need it. Besides, knowing how fond you are of old English 3-speeds, I was concerned you might want to keep it!

In reality though, since my wife wanted to go visit her mother and I didn't, this gave me a great excuse. Besides, the Philly Bike Expo was going on, so I stopped in there a couple hours since it was only a little over a mile away from where I retrieved the bike.
Ah, further detail adds clarity. How often does that happen!
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Old 10-31-11, 09:17 AM
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OP, again I'm glad you got it. I thought about grabbing it myself after some research showed it was surely worth the asking price, but I wouldn't have appreciated it nearly as much as you do.

Would leather grips be appropriate? I'm thinking the end grain leather on these Brooks honey grips might match the cream color closely enough so as not to be noticeable. These can be found at https://www.brooksengland.com/catalog...Leather+Grips/

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Old 10-31-11, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm
Ah, further detail adds clarity. How often does that happen!
What, the Philly Bike Expo or visiting my mother-in-law? The former is not often enough, but the latter is far too often!
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Old 10-31-11, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by ecnewell
OP, again I'm glad you got it. I thought about grabbing it myself after some research showed it was surely worth the asking price, but I wouldn't have appreciated it nearly as much as you do.

Would leather grips be appropriate? I'm thinking the end grain leather on these Brooks honey grips might match the cream color closely enough so as not to be noticeable. These can be found at https://www.brooksengland.com/catalog...Leather+Grips/
I think the Brooks grips would look great on the bike but man are they expensive! At this point, I'm looking for something a little more affordable. I did spot a set of tan Hunt-Wilde grips on ePay that might be appropriate, but would surely be cheap looking compared to the original style grips.
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Old 10-31-11, 10:11 AM
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I realize the grips are shot, but I don't think I'd change them. They will get worse, and then they'll get even worse, which is too bad; but nothing else will look as good. Until they finally disintegrate entirely, that is.
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Old 10-31-11, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm
I realize the grips are shot, but I don't think I'd change them. They will get worse, and then they'll get even worse, which is too bad; but nothing else will look as good. Until they finally disintegrate entirely, that is.
Maybe you're right... The only issue I have is that the left grip is quite uncomfortable since the end is missing. The metal against my hand is no fun even on a short ride (I didn't put on gloves for its first outing), so surely a longer ride will be worse yet. It's a tough call for me because I wanna ride it instead of looking at it. Maybe wearing gloves will be a partial solution.

EDIT: A gentleman on Flickr informed me that the hub on the bike is a 1951 (the 1 on the hub is indicative of the year), so I believe this bike is a 1951 assuming the hub and bike were made the same year. I think that she's in great shape for a 60-year-old lady.

Last edited by photogravity; 10-31-11 at 10:28 AM. Reason: age information
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