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!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Undated Raleigh

Mark sends another bike, one that he found at an estate sale. I'm normally not a fan of brown bikes, but I like this one. It almost looks like root beer. From Mark:
Thought I would share another find - I picked this up for my sister to ride after her bike was stolen. It apparently came from an estate sale and was complete with original bag, some tools, a combo lock (that thankfully was open so I could figure out what the combination was), and an original mileage counter on the front wheel. The bike looked grimy and old when I got it but like all Raleighs responded extremely well to some elbow grease. Only expenditure was new tires and tubes......hope your followers like this one....

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Raleigh DL-22 for free

Some guys get all the luck, as Jon's story shows.
One recent evening on eBay, I spotted a men's Raleigh Sports that appeared to be complete: $25 opening bid, no takers, in suburban Chicago (about a four-hour drive away), six minutes to go. It appeared to be a mid-70's DL-22, but what drew my attention was that it had the original vinyl seat bag, the identical bag which my Tourist lacked. So a quick call to my pal Andrew, who is currently restoring a 1951 Raleigh Superbe; bid $25 on it- if you win it, the bag is worth that and I will pay you in total- I get the bag, you get the bike, and we do another road trip like the earlier one to Cleveland to pick up my DL-1. With literally seconds left, no one else bid, so Andrew was the winning bidder on a complete men's Raleigh DL-22 Sports, essentially for free (minus gas, a day spent driving, and an Italian lunch in Orland Park, Illinois). It had been listed through one of those eBay seller storefronts, and when the young lady retrieved it for us, it looked a little less than impressive; rust pits on the handlebars, a broken aluminum kickstand, gumwall tires that had begun to melt and a thick layer of dirt over the whole thing. But it was straight, complete, and the bag was intact with all the straps attached and unbroken; he commented that the fenders were better than the ones on his Superbe, and it appeared that they would fit. I could see some scepticism, but when we returned, I suggested he leave it with me for a couple of days to breathe on a bit. If nothing else, he could part it out- I had already paid him the bid price of the whole bike for the saddle alone; the Raleigh 'R'-logo nuts and the Brooks mattress saddle would be worth enough to pay for gas and lunch. A day or two of wrenching, washing and rubbing produced the machine shown here- gratifying what a little Scotchbrite, naval jelly and attention to detail can produce. The Bronze Green paint was in remarkably good condition (reminds me of a paler version of Aston Martin Racing Green from the late '50's) and it came right up with a good coat of carnuba wax. Tightened the front hub cone, patched the tubes, aired up the remounted tires and took it down the street for a test run; with a little silicone lubricant, the Sturmey Archer AW shifted like new. When I gave it back to him, he was really pleased; parting it out is no longer on the agenda, and with a new set of Kenda gumwalls, he will have a Raleigh Sports that rides like new. The bag? It went to a shoe and luggage repair shop for duplicate straps and will also look like new when complete. Not bad for $25 and a tank of gas. Even better for free.

1975 Huffy Sun Country pair

From John in Central Ohio:
Restoration work on Huffy Sun Country 3 speed bikes from 1975. The pair was surprisingly intact for 35-plus year old bikes. Rebuild was accomplished with all original parts save for tires, tubes, cable and pedals. These American-made bikes are every bit as much fun to restore & ride as their English counterparts *and* much more reasonably priced for American hobbyists (as in $15.00 each!).
John has a full set on flickr, should you wish to see more. The restoration was done very well, from what I can see.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

1955 Herald

From Raul:

Hello, I just bought a bike for my son that we had no info on. After close inspection we discovered is from 1955, made in Germany, seal says Herald Cycle. As far as we can tell everything but the white grips is original. The white grips say Sears. It is a real nice looking smooth riding bike and everything is in working order. I was wondering if you know anything about it and where I can get it appraised in case we have to insure it…

Monday, July 16, 2012

Restored Vintage Raleigh Cameo Loop Frame

Tim sends along pictures and a very detailed description of a beautifully restored Raleigh. This one is worth viewing in the highest resolution you can, they have done a lovely job.
Clementine- our vintage Raleigh Cameo We discovered Clementine on craigslist and couldn't resist the lovely lines of this bike. She's a Raleigh Cameo ladies loop frame from the 1980s. While quite unusual in the US, the Cameo was a popular ladies bike in England. The Cameo shares the same graceful styling of the vintage Raleigh DL-1 step-through frame but adds a few modern conveniences- more reliable caliper brakes for wet weather riding, a smaller and more responsive frame, and significantly less weight, making hills climbing in Colorado much easier. Unfortunately, by the time Raleigh was selling the Cameo the production quality had deteriorated. The paint finish was typically poor, the chromed wheels and other pieces were prone to cracking and chipping, and the components were inferior to the earlier Raleigh Superbe and Sports models. Clementine suffered from all these maladies. A good cleaning and polishing served to expose all her faults, but we were charmed by her possibilities. Chipped paint and flaking chrome couldn't disguise her elegant frame geometry. And the smaller 26" frame size was a better fit for my wife than her DL-1 Tourist loop frame bike. So the decision was made to help Clementine achieve her full potential. I'm not usually a fan of "upgrading" vintage bicycles but, in this case, there was little of value to preserve. We started by removing the Chinese-made components and accessories. The decals were mostly missing, so nothing to preserve there. We decided to have the frame stripped and powder-coated a deep glossy black as a nod to her DL-1 heritage. These bikes were most common in white or a sort of maroon/plum color, but I think the sculptural shape would look great in any color. The style is very similar to the Pashley Poppy with its round chain guard and step-through frame. While Clementine was at the paint shop, we began selecting vintage Raleigh components to replace the original low-end equipment. The goal was to create the bike we thought should have been built, similar to Walter, our '67 Raleigh Sports Deluxe (submitted in January, 2011). Almost all the parts are vintage Raleigh Superbe or Sports components ca. 1968- Raleigh brakes with vintage ribbed cables, correct vintage round rear reflector, a really lovely '68 SA hub with the metal hinged port lid, Raleigh Sports chromed wheels, vintage Raleigh handlebar and stem with light bracket, and a slightly later set of vintage Raleigh pedals in like-new condition. We also substituted a vintage Raleigh 46t crankset for the original 48t crankset and changed the sprocket from the original 18t to 24t, all to make it easier to ride in hilly terrain. We considered adding a dynohub and light set to complete the look but, in the interest of keeping the weight down, we installed a new retro-style light instead. The saddle is a vintage black Brooks B72 that would have been standard on a Rudge or Raleigh Sports model. New grips, reproduction frame pump, chrome bell and Pletscher-style rack completed the look. At the end of this process, we have a bike with all the charm and grace of the Raleigh Tourist loop frame style but is lighter, quicker, more reliable and a better fit for the rider. Although it's not a pure restoration, we think she looks just right!
More pictures of Clementine can be see at:

Monday, July 2, 2012

Raleigh DL-1 Tourist

When Jon sent his Schwinn Traveller, I said it was a great story. But you (and I) ain't seen nothin' yet, as Jon just sent in his actual ride and the story behind that.
Here's the second part of the story... my Raleigh Tourist DL-1. This came from an eBay seller in Shaker Heights (Cleveland); it had been GIVEN to him by someone in the area, next door to a job he was contracting six blocks away, in University Heights- actually it was on the curb with the garbage (along with a companion women's Raleigh) to be taken away. The only reason the seller didn't take the other one was that he didn't want to be greedy. The only thing he knew about its previous ownership was that it has been stored for 30 years. Based on the hub date and the details, it appears to be a 1974 Tourist. My pal Andrew, who grew up in Cleveland, drove me there to get it. As soon as I got it back, Patrick, the new owner of my Traveler, took it, removed the 'Rampar' lighting set (installation looked like someone was decorating a Christmas tree) adjusted the cones, lubed everything and pronounced it good. I brought it home and spent a day detailing it; tires are a little cracked but good (original Raleigh/ Dunlop 28" 'Roadsters'), it has a few minor chips and scratches and some minor pitting on the rims, but the decals, chrome, paint, pin stripes all are excellent, even the paint INSIDE the fenders is clean and shiny. A few applications of Proofide on the saddle and we were good to go. What you see is the result; size (and style)-wise, this fits me MUCH better than the Traveler did, and clearly this bicycle has not seen high mileage. Riding one of these is different than riding smaller-framed 26" 3-speeds; you learn quickly to appreciate (and respect) the dual concepts of momentum and inertia, given the bigger frame, longer wheelbase, large 28" wheels and rod brakes. Ride quality is markedly more comfortable. On smooth, level pavement, in third gear, this thing is a real locomotive (again, inertia)- slower off the line than the Traveler was, and slower to stop, but higher cruise speeds- once you're moving, you are hauling. Its mass and stability impart an on-road confidence that smaller bikes don't. Learning the brakes takes a little feel, but once you're acclimated to them, they are entirely servicable for routine riding; as Patrick Sullivan advised me, you must be smart about braking. But for me, it's all about the styling. The faster head and seat tube angle, the bigger wheels and frame and longer wheelbase, the North Road handlebar set, and the Brooks B72 saddle all combine to give this bike a visual statement that is at once rakish and classic. Due to careful, deliberate proportions and excruciatingly correct details, it has the same subtle impact and British propriety that makes 'T'-series MGs, Vincent Black Shadows, Dunhill lighters and 'J'-Class yachts so beautiful to look at (and experience). The brake linkage brings to mind the valve linkages on a silver-plated clarinet I once played in grade school, and the Brooks saddle, in its timeless execution, is a design icon by itself. My only aesthetic criticism of this machine would be Raleigh's choice of graphic design in the mid-'70's; sometimes Marketing is its own worst enemy. But the pinstripes are great, and given the originality, no gripes. This worked out well; my friend Patrick got the Schwinn Traveler he sought and this Raleigh DL-1 is a perfect fit for me.
I can't disagree with anything written above.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bauer, phillips, and Hamm/Wite

A short, confusing note from Charles. I'm not sure if these are his bikes or just photos he found. Anyway, he's looking for info. I have none.
I saw your site while searching for German built Hamm Wite Regatta 3 spd. Wanted to find out more about Bauer, phillips, and Hamm/Wite.

Schwinn Traveller

Jon sends another Schwinn, this one comes with a great story.
Attached are a couple of photos of my Schwinn Traveler (or 'mine' until a week ago). This showed up at a rummage sale at our church, along with a metallic green women's Traveler, same vintage, 1966- I should have snagged the women's too. 1966 marked the last year for the three-speed Traveler, virtually identical to the first ones right around 1951. It is in remarkably complete, clean, excellent condition, with original Wald rat-trap carrier, add-on basket, Miller lights and rear seat bag, which Travelers rarely ever still have; I added the "Schwinn" Stewart-Warner speedo. I loved riding it, but my inseam is about 34" (look at how high the seat is) and it always felt a bit small for me, so I just sold it to my mechanic, Mr. Sullivan, who has lusted for it since day one. I know it has gone to a good and worthy home, and that he will obsess over its care and condition just as much as I did.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

1972 Raleigh Sports

Terry sends along another Raleigh Sports. They're plentiful, but each one is like a snowflake. Slightly unique, and beautiful because of it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Huffy Baypointe

From John in central Ohio, a rare Huffy submission to the blog. But it's a 3-speed, so it's family. John provided some basic details of the rebuild process:
Huffy Baypointe (Bay Pointe) 3-speed. Shimano 3S hub. 100% original. Purchased from grandson of original owner. All the bike needed was a teardown, cleaning, lubrication, reassembly and polishing. Bike now has an updated XLC-brand comfort saddle (versus original Persons mattress saddle), Bell ergonomic grips and a Sunlite copy of Pletscher rear carrier rack.
He also provided photos of the fully disassembled bike, which may be a first.

1970 Raleigh DL-1 Tourist

Lee submits another beautiful bike. This one is a more familiar English export. Lee says: I purchased my 1970 Raleigh DL-1 Tourist with rod brakes back in May 2011. Being a 1970 model myself, I was naturally drawn to the 41 year old, British gal. I would love to know some more of her history, but what I do know is she was born in Nottingham, spent some early years in Lakeland, FL (according to a bike license attached to her rear mudguard), and then somehow ended up in Oxford, MS. A Craigslist ad intrigued me enough to drive a fair distance and purchase this beauty from a gentlemen who flat out said that it was simply too big to ride. I had read about the size of these old British steel transportation bicycles but was still in awe when I first laid hands on it. She is tall, long, and stout but she feels good once astride the saddle. I slowly took her apart and cleaned her up. She is still sporting the original Brooks saddle, but I added new, cork grips and of course, new tubes and tires, even though what looked to be the originals still held air. Because of some rust concerns I did end up sanding and spraying the mudguards which made me a bit sad to lose the original patina. I will be taking her to a local bike shop to get a tune up fairly shortly because even though I was able to successfully clean my Raleigh and reassemble, I am no bicycle mechanic. I would have had a hard time painting over those fenders as well, but the end result looks good. Attached are one before and after photo of the cleanup job Lee did. Many more available at flickr, with many closeups for you.

1978 Schwinn Breeze

Lee sends along two bikes. I'm posting the second first, for reasons that escape me. Lee says:
Then in the fall of 2011, I found this 1978 Schwinn Breeze with the same SA AW 3 speed rear hub as my Raleigh as I perused the Memphis Craigslist. Something about the gentle curve of the step-through frame in Schwinn's Flamboyant Red caught my eye. Wanting a bike for my wife, I went and looked at it and decided that I was up to the cleaning challenge once again. I knew the rust could be mostly removed from what I was sure would be some beautiful, chrome fenders. The wheels, however, would prove more challenging but I think she cleaned up very nicely for a girl in her mid-thirties. The only history I know about this bike is the original owner's son said it had been his mother's daily driver to her factory job for several years until the plant closed. At that point the Breeze was left dormant in the back corner of the carport/garage where the majority of the weathering was on the bottom of both wheels, one crank, and the kick stand. Maybe it is just me, but I think she is quite a looker and seems very petite when next to the DL-1.
Lee also includes a link to many more photos of this lovely bike.