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Newbie with 1949 Raleigh Sports 3-speed

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Newbie with 1949 Raleigh Sports 3-speed

Old 04-20-12, 02:51 PM
  #1  
Nerdy Norm
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Newbie with 1949 Raleigh Sports 3-speed

I've been lurking for a while, reading up on vintage 3-speeds, and I've now taken the plunge and picked up a 1949 Raleigh Sports 3-speed. The serial number is 686189P, the AW rear hub is marked 49/6 and the front Dynohub is marked 49/3.



It's my first vintage bike, and I'd like to do a mild, sympathetic resto, keeping as much of the original bike as possible. It seems in pretty good shape, and as far as I can tell, all the parts are all original (wheels and pedals stamped Raleigh and so on). So far I've just given it an oily-rag wipedown, but I intend to have a more thorough go in a few days.

A couple of questions:

1. After reading about it on the forum, I'm leaning towards using an OA bath to clean up the light rust which is present on pretty much all the metal parts. However, I also read that metals other than steel (alloy for example) should not come into contact with the acid. So, on the "All Steel Bicycle", are there any metal parts I should not treat using OA?

2. Most of the painted surfaces have surface rust to a lesser or greater degree. The mudguards are worst, so I'll probably just go ahead and replace them with pattern items. The frame is much better, but there is still a fair amount of light rust. What's the preferred method of cleaning this up? I don't want to go the way of a respray, as I'd quite like to keep the decals and some of the patina, but just not quite that much!

3. Is this tail light original or period-correct? It's pretty feeble (although it does work, unlike the front light), so if it's a much later add-on, I won't feel bad about replacing it.


4. Is it possible to get a replacement key for the factory-fit front lock? I don't have the original.

In case anyone's interested, more pics are here:
https://plus.google.com/photos/10864...CKD-9az73tWaUA

Thanks in advance for any advice, and greetings from Belgium
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Old 04-20-12, 03:52 PM
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Beautiful Raleigh ! Looks like a Superbe that lost it's rear rack, given the dyno hub and locking fork.

OA will eat up any galvanized or zinc plating in a heartbeat. It can damage alloy as well. It is intended for painted or chromed steel parts.
You need to use a very dilute solution and wash with clear water afterward, followed by some oil or wax, or Boeshiled, it will rust again.

This link may be helpful regarding the replacement key.
https://oldroadsforums.com/index.php?topic=107.0



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Old 04-20-12, 05:05 PM
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A 1949 bike in this good of shape should be kept original as possible. Someone has kept it this long, you should too.
You will live to regret getting rid of anything that is original, especially the mudguards.
OA them and touch up the paint, you will thank me for telling you this.
You are allowed to replace grease & oil, cables if necessary, except the SA shifter cable, tires & tubes, and that's about all.
Really a great looking bike Norm, have fun with it.
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Old 04-20-12, 10:00 PM
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If the shifter cable or the brake cables work, don't replace them, even if they are frayed. You can't find cables as good as the originals.
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Old 04-20-12, 10:05 PM
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First off do not remove or replace anyhting as it is orig and BEAUTIFULL as-is! You'd be nothing but a great big fool if you do. Give the bike a complete cleaning with a mild soap, something like Dawn dish soap works fine, NO ABRASIVES!! Then remove the rusty chrome parts and soak them in white vinegar over night, this will remove the rust, you will be able to wipe the rust off with a cloth. ;0) The rust on the frame can be rubbed with 3 in 1 oil, and as long as you clean her up and dry her off after every ride you should be fine. (rust wise) You can use bronze wool dipped in white vinegar to remove the rust from the wheels and they will look new!
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Old 04-20-12, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
If the shifter cable or the brake cables work, don't replace them, even if they are frayed. You can't find cables as good as the originals.
and that! ^^^^ Oh, if I'm not mistaken you have a SA three or four speed hub, nice!
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Old 04-20-12, 11:25 PM
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I've used crumpled aluminium foil with a little bit of oil to clean rust off chromed steel rims, handlebars, and seatpost as well as spokes. It takes some elbow grease but it works fine, no real need to remove or replace anything. The oily wipe down will more than suffice to maintain the painted surfaces, the rust has probably been there for years and hasn't spread, so leave it alone.

There are lightbulbs available for the headlamp, and it will work as well as it originally did, not very well. There are a number of LED headlamps that work great with the dynohub; IMO I think the B&M Lyt looks like a decent replacement for the original Sturmey Archer unit.

There is also this guy who is figuring out how to retrofit LEDs to Sturmey Archer Headlamp housings: https://minisystem.blogspot.com/2012/...d-upgrade.html

The quality of the late 40s to early 60s bikes is phenomenal, these are pretty much in the category of 'leave it as original as possible'.

Last edited by jrecoi; 04-20-12 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 04-21-12, 06:58 AM
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Thanks for all the advice guys. You've convinced me to keep it all-original as much as possible. TBH, even if I do end up changing the mudguards for example, I'll hold on to the originals so I can always put the bike back to stock.

I'll go ahead and try OA and maybe vinegar on the rusted steel parts. Just to clarify, am I safe to use it all the metal parts of the bike, or are there any parts (brake calipers, levers...) which are not made of steel?

Would it also be OK to use OA on the painted frame surface rust?

I agree that it's strange that the original owner seems to have specified everything except the rack to make it a Superbe. Can't imagine it would've been cheaper that way, but I guess we'll never know...

The cables seem to be OK, but at least one of them is not original - the front brake cable has a nut-and-bolt clamping arrangement rather than the fixed end (what's that called?). They are also pretty much at the end of their adjustments, so are correct-spec replacements available, or is that the reason for the front brake make-do?

What's the deal with the "3 or 4 speed" trigger? I'm fairly certain that mine's a 3-speed, although that leads me on to the next question. In order to ship the bike to me, the guy I bought the bike from disconnected the cable by unscrewing it from the hub chain, although he's sure it was working fine. I've just about managed to reconnect it, but I can only get it a couple of turns onto the screw thread, and the trigger won't pull down out of the top position. The hub chain itself is fairly stiff and bent against the links. Is there something I'm missing there?

For the lighting, I'll try changing the front bulb. I don't intend riding at night, so I'm not too bothered about how effective the lighting is (which is just as well by the sound of it!). If the tail lamp is not OE or period-correct, I'd quite like to swap it. I'd have to move it to the other side anyway for riding on the right here (the bike came from the UK). Anyone know of a nice-looking tail lamp to fit the rear fork? All the ones I've seen seem to attach to the rear mudguard, which I guess wouldn't look right.

Sorry for all the questions, thanks again guys
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Old 04-21-12, 07:34 AM
  #9  
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The headlamp bulb is probably burnt out and easily replaced. The innards of lamps from that era were quite sturdy. If something else is broken/requires adjustment/brass contact requires cleaning, I have the same exact model and may be of assistance.

The tail lamp is original.
See my post here and look at the diagrams:
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post13983796

Also see Sheldon Brown's article for a catalog illustration of your rear lamp (scroll down about half way):
https://sheldonbrown.com/dynohubs.html


Replace the tail bulb with this one:
https://www.compasscycle.com/lighting_led_tail_bulb.html

Headlamp bulb with the one on this page:
https://www.home.earthlink.net/~steinborn/gentlemancyclistmerchandise.htm

Don't change anything else, except maybe KoolStop brake pad inserts.

Phil Wood Tenacious Oil is highly recommended for oiling the hub, pedal, & bottom bracket oil ports.

Last edited by Fenway; 04-21-12 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 04-21-12, 07:45 AM
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Perfect, thanks. The tail lamp stays then for sure!
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Old 04-21-12, 08:17 AM
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  • You can use OA on painted steel - just be advised that where rust has replaced paint the raw steel will be exposed and must be treated.
  • IIRC there aren't alloy parts in these old Sports, but there is some zinc plating. It is not to difficult to differentiate it from chrome though.
  • Typically these bikes used double ended brake cables. If your front caliper is using a clamp instead it's probably unoriginal.
  • I've not seen Raleigh double-ended brake cables for sale. If you have the proper swaging tool, you can make your own as illustrated below.
  • SA used the same trigger for 3-4 spd hubs back then.
  • I don't quite follow what's going on with your shift cable, but I would recommend you read Sheldon's page on proper SA cable installation
  • I can't say if your tail light is original but it looks pretty convincing. Some people here have replaced the innards on such lights with modern LEDs with great effect.

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Old 04-21-12, 08:23 AM
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Thanks again.

On second look, it's only the front brake cable that's at the end of its adjustment, and I can just loosen off the nut/bolt clamp and slide it further up for now.

I've fixed the problem with the gears not selecting, I'm not going to say what it was as it's too embarrassing. Suffice it to say that it was 10pm by the time I'd finished the initial unpacking, re-assembly, wipe-down and photos, and that beer was involved.

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Old 04-21-12, 09:43 AM
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Awe, come on, tell the whole story. I promise not to read it till late tonight when I'm having my beer.
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Old 04-21-12, 09:51 AM
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Oh alright then. In my haste to assemble the bike from the shipping carton, I somehow routed the shifter cable round the left side of the head, causing it to be kinked and too tight. Spotted it immediately when I checked this morning, routed it correctly and it now functions just as it did in 1949.

There, I feel better already
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Old 04-21-12, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Nerdy Norm View Post
I agree that it's strange that the original owner seems to have specified everything except the rack to make it a Superbe. Can't imagine it would've been cheaper that way, but I guess we'll never know...
It's most likely a Sports "C" Tourist ordered with a lighting kit.

During the early '50s, Superbes were exclusively dark green with stainless rims.

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Old 04-21-12, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Nerdy Norm View Post
.... beer was involved.
I think this accounts for half the C&V posts on any given Friday night!
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Old 04-21-12, 11:39 AM
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Gorgeous! And as everyone says, treat it with a light hand. Clean and grease all the bearings; a little bronze wool or a bronze-wire brush on the chromed surfaces; new brake pads; that's all. And then ride it a lot.
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Old 04-21-12, 12:28 PM
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OK, Koolstops, tyres and tubes ordered. I guess I should replace the rim tape whilst I'm at it. I can't seem to find any specifically for this wheel size. Can I use regular 26" tape, and if so, what width should I choose?
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Old 04-21-12, 01:42 PM
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If you have a motorcycle shop in town, you could have them redo the front cable and keep the original fittings. Apparently they're equipped to solder new cable ends.

The other solution is to use a normal inner brake cable and a combination of spoke nipple (matches the cable end profile more or less) and a cable knarp (I think a cantilever straddle hanger can work in a pinch) to secure the brake end of the cable.
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Old 04-21-12, 08:29 PM
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Rim strips (a.k.a. rim tape) are pretty forgiving; you can definitely use the "regular" 26" size (get the narrow ones (12-16mm) if you can, though it doesn't make a huge difference). But it shouldn't be too hard to find some in 26 x 1 3/8; here are some in the US; if you are indeed in Belgium, I'm sure you can find an EU source.
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Old 04-22-12, 04:01 AM
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Thanks again.

I've also got a really tatty 1946 Sports which I eventually plan to use the frame and create a "modern Sports" using new components. Of course, nothing will go to waste, and I've spotted that it still has the original cables, which appear to be in good condition, so I'll swap the front one over to the 1949 bike.

Weird about the 26 x 1 3/8 rim tapes/strips, I can't find them in any of the regular online places in the UK where I buy stuff. I'll go ahead and get narrow 26" tapes and make do.

I made a first attempt at rust removal using OA (1 tablespoon per gallon). I dipped a wheel section in the OA bath, leaving it at first for a couple of hours (which didn't appear to do anything), then eventually overnight. I then rinsed it thoroughly in a bicarb solution. It certainly looks a lot better now, as you can see in this pic, however the centre ridge of the rim (where the spokes go into) seems to have gone "milky" rather than shiny chrome. I've tried some metal polish on it, but no difference. Did I leave it too long? I also dipped one of the brake levers at the same time, and it came up really well.


I also gave the Brooks saddle a good overnight soaking in neatsfoot oil, which also has come out well.


I just went for a first ride on the bike, and there's a problem with the gears. First and second are both the same. I'm not sure which one is actually engaged as I've nothing to compare it against, but there seems to be a big jump to third, so maybe it's second which isn't working. Is there anything obvious I should try, or is it a hub-out job? I have zero experience with these hubs, so it'll be a job for the LBS.

Have a nice Sunday all
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Old 04-22-12, 05:17 AM
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Gorgeous bike. Exactly what I'm looking for in a vintage. Just a tip, if your seat is still hard or brittle at all, check out the product "Leatherique Rejuvenator." It's notorious in the car world for performing outright upholstery miracles. Good luck in your restoration.
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Old 04-22-12, 05:21 AM
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Thanks - in fact the saddle was pretty good in the first place, but an overnight soak in neatsfoot has softened it up some more.
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Old 04-22-12, 06:50 AM
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Norm, the rim centers are supposed to be dull chrome - same for my '51.

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Old 04-22-12, 07:08 AM
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On your shifting, make sure you've accurately set the indicator rod properly (flats just coming out of the axle in 2nd gear), before you worry about the internals. I've noticed the adjustment is very fine and just being 1/4 turn off can make shifting very difficult.

If it is shifting smoothly but you are only getting 2 gears it might be time to delve into the hub, which is a lot easier than it looks. When I was young I could never bring myself to trying to take it apart (it seemed to me to be as complex as a car's automatic transmission), but I finally gave it a try a few years back and they really are a pleasure to work on. Check out the numerous resources online before you start (especially youtube which has an excellent disassembly video).

Good Luck!
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