Wednesday, November 5, 2014

1958 Raleigh Sports restoration

Jay sent in his 1958 Raleigh Sports back in January.  It looks like he's been busy since then, as the attached update proves:

You probably remember that I've already made a submission to your old three speed gallery before and I've got updates.  It's up to you if you want to post about my bike again.  

So ever since the first post, my 1958 Raleigh Sports has undergone the following changes: 

- Kool Stop salmon brake pads shortly after the old post
- All three gear ratios started working shortly after 
- Steel Wald basket salvaged from a junk bike, secured to my rack with hose clamps
- LED dynohub bulb from Nicelite (Reflectalite) with voltage regulator since original incandescent bulb blew out from going too fast
- Complete cosmetic restoration in the summer.  

So, about the restoration, I first disassembled the bike as far as I could.  The pedals were rusted together and I didn't have the tools to do the hub and crank so those were left untouched.  I removed rust from chrome pieces with WD-40 and a penny, as well as vinegar-soaking for smaller parts.  All painted parts were stripped, primed, painted, and clear coated.  The fender ends were rusted thin and crunched up by the previous owner so I trimmed about 1 cm off each one.  I then drilled holes in to add small rubber flaps (which themselves had to be trimmed), more to protect the fender ends than to block mud.  The bike actually runs much better than it used to after just taking it apart and putting it back together.  Many parts are protected by WD-40 corrosion inhibitor spray.  I've already had my first accident on it since restoration but thankfully, nothing happened to the new paint job and needless to say, nothing actually happened to the bike.  I'll continue to ride this daily at school through sun, rain, and snow like it was made to do, which is why I took time to repaint the bike and protect the metal in the first place.  If I was going to baby it, I would have left it original.  

-There's a ton more info here on my blog if interested

Looking great, and it's good to hear that the bike is being actively ridden.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Some 3 speeds

Sean sent along several bikes from the fleet.

I have something ive never seen before  till I got this one. Ive never really seen a brown Raleigh superbe  from 70's always green. This one was in bad condition when I got it. missing many parts and lots of rust. It was listed as free to a good home where it would  be reborn. I missed it. person who got it was someone I knew lol so yeah I got it and after  alot of work. here it is. Sadly it has a green superbe rack. Im having a hard time finding brown.

This is another neat one I came across. Ive never actualy seen one in person. Ive seen more RSW then these. a none folding Raleigh twenty with dyno 3 speed and 20x1 3/8 wheels. also needed alot of work its  all cleaned and greased. just waiting on rear rim and deciding on headlamp and a piece of a rack.

This is  just a 1960's CCM I got its a lovely looking ride waiting for a new home, I liked the CCM Imperials.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

1969 Raleigh Sports

Jon submitted this way back.

Over dinner this last Holiday during a family visit in Palm Springs, my wife's brother asked me what I had been up to, hobby-wise. When I described my developing interest in old Brit 3-speeds, he mentioned that his 12-year-old son, Martin, had been given a 3-speed bike by an older neighbor who had had it since college, but that he couldn't ride it because the gears didn't work. Since we were visiting there the week between Christmas and New Year's, I suggested that they drop it by and I would have a look at it. The next morning the bike was parked out front, faded, dried out and indeed weathered from exposure to the California sun and heat. It was a 26" DL-22 Raleigh Gent's Sports; according to the Sturmey archer hub date, a 1969. It had a 1970 Berkley campus license plate. The shift cable was hanging loose, it had a huge, faded beach cruiser seat, dried out '90's-style ergonomic grips on 'townie' bars in a clamp-style BMX stem, and no fenders. The original Raleigh block-style pedals were completely "roached". So I disassembled it wheels-off, degreased everything, gave it a good wash, polished out the frame, fork and chrome as best as I could, and gave it a good lube. The local bike shop fabbed a new cable for the 3-speed. To get a more sporting attitude, I replaced the pedals with BMX-style pedals, added diamond-pattern rubber grips and replaced the old cruiser saddle with a diamond-tufted BMX saddle. Since the fenders were gone, I also removed the chain guard, again to get a little racier look. We saw their family again New Year's Eve and when I gave him his bike back, he was very pleased with the redo. When I got back home, I sent him a chrome frame pump to go on his braze-on pegs, and reminded him to save the chain guard and keep the Berkley plate on because they are original to the bike. So I spent a relaxing vacation bringing another Raleigh 3-speed back to life, and Martin now has a set of wheels to cruise with his pals, which he does regularly; I'm told that he is careful to store his bike inside when he's not on it, all of which I have found very gratifying.

Monday, January 20, 2014

1958 Raleigh Sports

Jay has a nice old bike with an interesting story to go with it.

I've got a bike you might consider putting on your blog.  
I'm relatively new to the world of bikes (I've been a hardcore car guy since age 4) and I have been doing research and stumbled into your old three-speed gallery.  Now, I've been biking as a method of transportation and recreation for as long as I have been into cars but it never developed into a true hobby until now.  Back at home in the Metro Detroit area, I ride an entry level Mongoose mountain bike that was pretty good to my standards, except for a not-quite-spot-on transmission and plastic ring parts that hold the brake springs that warranted constant adjustment and dis-assembly a couple years ago.  Those problems stopped occurring which probably means I did something right at one point, haha.  I was a total speed demon on this bike, hitting 30 mph many times and also having to replace the rear tire last year.  I just started my second semester of college at the University of Michigan and since I couldn't bring my car here, I found a need for some form of transportation besides the buses that did not rely on other peoples' schedules.  Enough about my background - onto my three-speed.  

In the summer of 2012, I was at summer camp and saw an abandoned old bike with a headlight on it caught my attention.  I thought it was really cool but never thought twice about it - that is, until this past semester in 2013.  I wanted a bike here but didn't want to bring and ruin my "nicer" mountain bike.  I also just needed something fun to work on because I left all my Hot wheels customization supplies at home.  There were two abandoned bikes at the architecture school building - a wide-wheeled cruiser and the skinny-wheeled cruiser I had seen the year before.  That was the extent of my knowledge back then.  I thought I could just throw some tires on an abandoned bike and just use it for school without caring much about it.  Long story short, I went with the skinny-wheeled bike and did a bunch research on it.  I found out it was a Raleigh Sports ladies' bike made in either '58 or '59.  Having always been obsessed with classic and vintage vehicles, I called my mom and said "please bring the angle grinder, I need this bike." This started a possible lifelong hobby and from then on, I knew this wouldn't be a "throw around" bike.  

I estimated I could probably get the bike roadworthy with my own from my experience working on the bike at home, which ended up being true.  The tires were stuck to the ground and the brake and gear cables were seized so I thought I'd have to replace them all.  It turned out that after I attacked the thing with WD40, everything freed up and all I had to do was to replace the tires.  The original Dynohub still worked, too! Well, I sorta lied.  The bike is actually stuck in 2nd gear which I'm still trying to find a way to fix but otherwise, it's a great bike. It's got a little bit of surface rust but is structurally very solid.  I threw on new tires, rim strips, and inner tubes and ride it almost daily with a can of WD-40 and a monkey wrench on me, even in this Michigan winter.  It rides super smooth.  I replaced the brake pads during winter break because the old ones gave almost no braking power.  I sent it to a bike shop up the street so the owner could drill two holes in the rear dropout and mount a rack.  I sure do turn heads around campus with the big, yellow, incandescent headlight.  Just today, I was socializing with the bike shop owner and he gave me a piece of steel wool so I could take the rust off my rear hub and read the date on it - lo and behold, it has 58 and possible 11 for November stamped on it! I also used the steel wool to polish up the handlebars, headlamp, neck tube, and brake levers which had a lot of surface rust and tarnish.  They're super shiny now.  This is a functional work in progress and I plan to do more restoration work during summer break.  I will still use it as a daily driver because I like the upright riding position there's something special about operating a vintage piece of machinery that has a thousand times more soul than something new.  And hey, if this bike lasted 55 years (and maybe 20 of them abandoned outside,) it'll outlast me under my care.  It's funny, my first classic vehicle/daily driver project is not a big, 'Merican '65 Ford F250 as I envisioned - it's a British bike.

Some pictures are attached and thanks for reading the long "long story short" story!  

Have a good day,


P.S. Do you know anywhere I could get reproduction decals for a '51-60 Raleigh Sports? I might have to give it a full new paint job after removing rust. 

Still locked up on the post, before my taking
 before tire change
 after tire change
 after new rack and cross-campus bike ride yesterday
 front brightwork after steel wool
 the rear hub after cleaning, couldn't get a good picture of the "58"
a before/after pic of the chrome

1974 Raleigh Sports

Krissy wrote months ago about her Raleigh Sports find.  Hopefully it will be worth the wait.

Love your blog, and I'm proud to say that after a year of trolling (jk!), I can finally add my own 1974 Raleigh Sports.

Vintage bicycles seem to be the new 'thing' in Southern California. They run for a couple hundred on Craigslist, ridable or not (Raleigh's and Schwinn's especially) and after seeing a few of these on the Pacific Coast Highway bike lanes, I knew I had to get my hands on one.

My search started on Craigslist with a guy who appeared to have found this poor little green Raleigh sitting in a storage locker for a few years. The tires had quite literally exploded (probably two decades prior, and no one bothered to change them out), the original grips were crumbling off, the original seat and pump were gone, and it was covered in layers and layers and layers of grime. These were only the things I was able to notice first-hand. So I talked the guy down to $100, he sprayed the frame down in WD-40 (GOOD LORD WHY!?!?!?) and I was on my merry way.

After taking it home and giving it a closer inspection, the bike was unsurprisingly an absolute mess. The seat post had rusted in, the head tube was grinding, the front hub was grinding (only to find out later that the bearings were simply, well, gone. WHERE DID THEY GO!?), the left pedal was bent (still is actually, it doesn't bother me too much) and that grime, THAT GRIME! No amount of elbow grease could get that stuff off. My main concern from the beginning was the Sturmey Archer hub, but luckily for me it was perfectly fine, if not a little temperamental.

So after a complete overhaul and parts replacement (the usual cables, tubes, break pads, etc), seat (lightly used Brooks B.68, a lucky find at my local Schwinn shop), gum wall tires, grips (made of wood by Vise, thought it was a cool look and matched the tires pretty well) and a bottle of Simple Green Motorsports (if only I knew about this stuff sooner, FREAKIN' MAGIC! Cleans EVERYTHING!) I had a new bike. I couldn't believe how rich that green was on my little Sports once it cleaned up, and because of this I have simply named her 'Green'.

You can view the set of original photos, along with Krissy's commentary, here.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Harmless Neighborhood Eccentric

I received a short message from Jonathan, with a link to his "rolling stock."  It is quite the impressive stable, and I will just provide a link to the aptly named Harmless Neighborhood Eccentric blog that they are stored at.

Joy, pure joy

You may have a problem, Jonathan, but it's not worth solving.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Black and Tan 3 Speeds

These bikes are the oddest couple posted on this blog in recent memory.  We've got a 1950's Humber that is done up in very traditional styling.  And then we have the '54 Armstrong.  Which will have the traditionalists preparing their all caps lock responses.  But it's an amazing bike.  Mat says:

Hey there.
I enjoy your blog very much, especially the very classic machines.
I've been working on these two bikes: a 1954 Armstrong and a Humber that I believe is from the 50's (it came without wheels). I use the brown bike for commuting most every day.
I've named the black one "Not as I do" as a play on the current state of Armstrong in bicycling.
I've always wanted to see what an English Racer looked like with Deep-V's. When I got my hands on a rear wheel with a modern Sturmey Archer SX-3 fixed gear hub I was on my way. I had a front wheel made to match (red hub, black wheel, looks very vintage Hot-Rod), added some sturdy tires and and 'just-right' sized basket. It's a great feeling bike that rolls much quicker than it did with 26x1 3/8" steel wheels. I threaded a BMX cassette on so I don't have to fixed-gear it.
The brown one is such a classy ride. It came as a non-rolling frame with brakes, drivetrain, bars, but no seat or wheels. I waited around for a wheelset to come my way, added a nice fat vintage (old) Brooks saddle and of course, white tires. It's got a huge basket, a little too big actually, because I tend to overload it. The bike turns heads everywhere.
A few photos are up on flickr in the 'bikes' set. I hope you'll consider adding the bikes to your blog, please let me know if you have any questions about the builds.

Great gosh almighty.

Old Raleigh

This bike is undated and not even a model is identified.  Nor is the name of the sender known, other than "Neighbor Dave".  But whoever it is, they have an amazing set of pictures at their Picasa site.  The description is as follows:

i just bumped into your blg and thought my bike might interest you.
i bought it about 1 year ago and have done a fair amount of research on it resulting in a determination that it's a circa 1920's with some other prewar parts on it.
 seems someone converted the brakes from rod to cable back in the 30's, along whith a wheel conversion from 28" to 26" singlespeed flip flop rear hub, the freewheel dats to 1924 if i've done the research properly.

With the number of photos available at Picasa I decided to just show two pictures here, a before and after.

1971 Raleigh Sports

Owen sent this bike months ago, and it's been lost in my inbox.  His description:

Here's my 1971 Raleigh Sports, though many of the parts are from a '64. I picked up both a '71 and the '64 off the side of the road, where they were sitting with a "free" sign. The '64 was in much better condition, but the headtube was ovalized, so I transferred most of the parts onto the '71. It's definitely more of a rider than some of the amazing restorations on the blog, but it still shines. Lots of fun to ride, too.
Just noticed the bars/seat height look a little weird in the pictures. It's comfortable, though!

Here's a link to the slideshow.  Sorry for the delay, Owen!

Monday, April 29, 2013

1971 Raleigh International

Mark sends in an unusual (to begin with) submission for the site.  He does a nice job of documenting the switch from external gears to internal, so I'll let him do the talking:

The bike is a 1971 Raleigh International - not something one would typically associate with an internally geared hub as it was second from the top of Raleigh's road bike lineup. The bike came to me built up in decidedly unoriginal fashion, with a wide range rear and a triple in front, among many other modifications to fit the frame out as a lightweight touring bike. At some point in its early life, the frame was repainted in burgundy, which I rather liked, and after digging into the restoration decided to stick with that hue.

Now, my original plan had been to keep the build as a light touring bike, but a number of factors led me down a different road. First off - and most importantly - I really don't like triples. After discovering that the wheels would need to be completely rebuilt, I thought about a 700c wheel set that I have hanging in the studio - CR-18 rims, with the rear built around a Sturmey-Archer SRF-3 hub. My thinking was that I'd temporarily build a club style three-speed until I got around to rebuilding the original wheels. This idea went by the wayside as soon as the "temporary" build was nearing completion. I fell immediately in love with the simplicity of the drive train and the clean, functional overall look.

Here is a photograph of the bike as it was when it first came to me. (After a bit of cleanup and detailing, and the addition of a vintage Carradice bag.)

What is not clearly apparent in the previous photograph is just how beat up the paint had become. With so much bare metal showing, things had progressed well beyond "patina" or beausage!

After stripping and repainting (by Groody Brothers), I initially built the bike up as shown here.  Aside from my distaste for the triple chainrings, I also realized that I had just built up a bike that was redundant - a duplication, in a sense, of another bike in my stable: a comfortable, long distance rider. Hmm, what to do, what to do?

This is how I decided to move forward. 

I prefer the riding position of drop bars, so I kept the rather lovely gold anodized Fiamme Milano bars and stem. The Mafac levers and center pull calipers function precisely and flawlessly, so they also remain. The saddle is a well broken in Brooks Pro, secured by a Campy seat pin. The original Campagnolo headset was rebuilt and re-installed. The front rack is a vintage Jim Blackburn and the rear Carradice is supported by a Bagman "knock off" that I fashioned myself. I added SKS Longboard fenders because I ride a lot, the roads aren't always dry, and bikes you intend to ride should be sensible. Fenders are sensible. The tires are not especially fast, but they are a comfy and bullet proof 700 x 38 size. And with a 42t chainring up front paired to the cog in back I wind up with nearly a perfect gear-inch match to the "normal" and low gears I use 95% of the time on my Boulder Brevet. Ultimately this has become a simpler and much more elegant rider configuration than what I started out to build - and I'm quite happy with the results.

If you're interested, here is a link to a more complete gallery of images, documenting the various components and stages of the build(s).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Evil Twin

Jon sends in some photos and description of a bike he refers to as The Evil Twin.

Late last summer, I moved to an area in South Carolina with an excellent 15-mile bike/jog path system known as the Swamp Rabbit; my big-framed Raleigh DL-1 was the perfect bike for this trail. In fact, I enjoy riding my Tourist on the Rabbit so much that I wondered what it would be like to experience it on a 'path racer' version of the DL-1. A little research revealed that early English path bikes shared much in common with Raleigh's 28" rod-brake roadsters: similar frame geometry, 28" wheel diameter, rear-facing dropouts, front rod brakes and internal-hub 3-speeds. So, as Autumn progressed, I began acquiring parts on eBay, by mail-order and from the local bike shops. By Christmas I had most of the required hardware in hand, much of it from the UK- a Williams 46-tooth chainwheel with cottered cranks, a Sturmey-Archer SC3 3-speed coaster-brake hub with a Sturmey top-bar-mounted lever shift, a set of DL-1 rims, a honey tan Brooks B-17 saddle, cork grips, French Lyotard alloy rat-trap pedals, and a vintage Raleigh stem with an add-on front rod-brake lever to mount on it. The inverted North Road-style handlebars came from a '60's-vintage 26" Raleigh, the tires are new Schwalbe Delta Cruisers and the three-note horn is a NOS Rampar accessory part. I found a decent Tourist frame from Sam Fitzsimmons in Baltimore- late '70's-era judging by the head bracket, which, instead of the "Heron" outline, had a simple hole for a DOT-mandated reflector. I wet-sanded the whole frame down, touched up the chips and scratches with black enamel, polished out the whole thing, and added a set of repro Raleigh Sport stickers to get that vintage vibe. Rims were stripped and powder-coated black. The ranger tan Acorn roll bag gives it a nice period attitude.I did the bolt-on stuff in my apartment, but Joe Badeime at The Great Escape, my LBS, rebuilt the hub, built the wheels and did the final build and adjustment. How's it ride? General handling is much like my big roadster; with a big turning radius and smooth ride, but the unsprung B-17 seat is a little stiffer. The larger crankset means I feel the hills a little more, but in third gear it has long legs. Now I have two DL-1s, Original and Extra Spicy. Because it's more comfortable, I will still ride my "stock" DL-1, but it's a kick to experience a late-1970's bike with path racer genes that go back 60 years earlier.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Adam from New Jersey sends in some mystery bikes:

Hello, my name is Adam and I am a huge fan of bikes! I'm 36, so my orginal passion was getting into 80's freestyle bikes that my friends and I all wanted as kids.  I build them for myself and I also build lowrider bikes that I usually sell.  Recently word has gotten out about my hobby now everyone and the mother is asking me questions and trying to sell me stuff!  I have recently gotten into some older 3 speeds.  The reason I am telling you all this is because I don't want you to think that I am contacting you just to ask, "yo how much is my bike worth?" I don't care about that.  I already bought them and think I got a pretty good deal.  Like I said, I don't really know anything about three-speeds though and I found the three speed gallery page while trying to do some research on these two bikes.
   A local scrapper knocked on my door asking, "I heard you buy bikes?" (my wonderful neighbor sent him my way!).  I said, "yeah, let me see what you got." He's an older guy and said the bikes belonged to his mom and dad.  They are matching blue his and her three speeds.  I was wondering if you could help me out with some history on them.  I've attached a few photos.  The woman's says "grantsport" and the man's says "Grants" on the headtubes.  My guess is that they were made for a department store? Like Free Spirit was sold for Sears.
   If anything I hope you enjoy the photos and I've found a new sight to enjoy!

The always fabulous has some basic info:

These were sold by W.T. Grant or Grant City stores. The chain went out of business in 1975. Grant's was sort of a cross between a 5 & 10 store and an early K-Mart. They disappeared about the time that K-Mart's started popping up. K-Mart had originated from Grant's main competitor Kresge, and probably was one of the main contributors to there demise.

If anybody else has additional info, add it in the comments.

Several old bikes

John is living the dream and working in a bike shop.  As such, he appears to be skimming the cream off the top:


I too work in a bike shop. This shop has been around since 1896 and we have a mythical "Back Room" where all kinds of bikes from the 1920's to present day can be found waiting better days. I have included 3 of the most notable "rescues" from our beloved room of doom. First is an 80's(?) vintage Bianchi 3 speed mixte. It is unique because of its. 700c wheels, but also because of the internal wiring for the generator lights as well as it's aluminum fenders. I ride this one most days.

The second on is a 1969 Hercules 3 speed. It was traded in (cause we are a used shop) and I rescued it before it could get buried in the back room. All stock except for the cable stops. Those ALWAYS seem to go missing. I plan on cleaning it up and posting some more pics when it is ready, as it sits it rides shifts and brakes beautifully!

The third on is also a 69, it is a Schwinn Speedster with a 2 speed Bendix Kick back hub. It also came in on a trade and I traded the owner a nicely restored 75 Raleigh Sports Ladies in Moss Green for it. Not a 3 speed but close enough. It is missing the fenders and the rear wheel has a bad hop in it but it is waiting better days.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

1971 Hercules

John in Texas sends along a nice 1971 Hercules.

Wanted to share with you my 1971 Hercules.  Got it off Craigslist from a student who was going overseas, and it was pretty much as basket case when I got it.  He was asking too much, and as I walked away, he said 20 dollars, so I took it.  Took some time contemplating what to do with this mess of a bike, and finally decided to fix it up.  First cleaned off the multiple layers of grime and then rebuilt the bottom bracket, new crank cotters, new tires, tubes, rim strips.  As I progressed along, I was getting pleased with the look.  The rear fender (mudguard for us purists) posed a challenge as it left a huge gap between the tire and fender.  Played around with the fender stays, but was convinced they were not original, so I ground them down and re-drilled the mounting holes.  Found a NOS box of rear fender clips on eBay, and this solved the problem.  Do not know why, but I flipped the North Road bars for a sleeker look and found some vintage looking grips.  Needed a new fulcrum and fulcrum clip to make it shift correctly.  All in all, spent too much, more than the thing is worth, but it was fun!!!

I only attached a couple of pictures of the finished product, but at John's flickr page there are multiple photos of the bike in it's original condition and through the tear-down and rebuild process.  Worth a trip over to see them all.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

1969 Robin Hood

From Vince:
Anyhow, these are photos of my 1969 Robin Hood bicycle that I recently purchased off Craigslist. The price wasn't exactly a bargain, especially for this part of the country. But when I saw the condition it was in, combined with the fact that it's a 23" frame, I decided it was worth it. I doubt that this bike was ridden much at all. It looks nearly new. The Sturmey-Archer hub dates the bike to 1969 and there's a 1970 bicycle license sticker on the frame. The decals and paint are pristine, except for a few minor scuffs here and there. The Brooks mattress saddle is in great shape. It even has the original Dunlop tires. There's also a sticker on the bike from the shop that originally sold it -- Hall Bicycle Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I searched on the name and amazingly, this store has been in business for over 100 years and is still open. The only problem is that this bike is so nice, I almost hate to ride it. I think it will be a fair-weather back-up bike to my Raleigh Sports. Vince
Here's a link to the photos:

1968 Sears

From Jeff:
While working in a customers garage I chanced to look up, and see a bicycle in the rafters. I asked if he rode the bike often to which he answered. Not in years. He asked me if I had any idea what it was, and when I answered that I thought it looked like a late 60's- early 70's sears, he said it's yours. I told him that I could not accept it for free so he asked me for twenty dollars. It is a 1968 Sears All Original, and complete except for the pump. With the bike I also received the original bill of sale, owners manual, and parts list for both bicycle, and hub. The man was thrilled the next day when I let him know that I rode it for two hours the night I brought it home. It is a smooth ride, and the bell works great!