Vintage 3 Speed English Bicycles



Robin Hood!

My friend Mark K. was over the other day and took the Robin Hood for a quick spin.

He pointed out that the left crank seemed off and on close inspection, it does seem to have a slight inward curve to it.

Time for the Johnson bar!


Here’s an earlier post on fixing a bent crank.


Toronto Vintage Bicycle Show

Sadly, for several reasons, the TVBS did not happen this year…

I hope to find a new partner and revive the show next summer.

As a consolation I had a small display on Saturday for a few friends that came over for a BBQ.




Saddle Refurbish

I decided that I no longer cared for some of the brown leather saddles I had on various bikes.


I bought some leather dye and thought I’d give it a go.

First up was on old French saddle as a test.


Up next, the honey Brooks.


After drying and buffing I applied a liberal amount of mink oil and buffed out again.


All in all, a nice satin finish.

Hopefully the dye will “fix” and won’t rub off on my pants….



Robin Hood

The Robin Hood is slowly growing on me.

I found a nice little saddle bag at the Dollarama.

Good for keys and a pack of smokes.


I also added a vintage “SOTAM” bell, it sounds like the ice cream man.



Getting Organazized!

Last week I bought an old tackle box to help organize my collection of small parts.


A Summers box made in Smith Falls.



1962 Raleigh Superbe

$_5nbb9.jpgCurrently listed on Kijiji, Toronto for $280.00

A complete, original bike w/ a working Dynohub and the elusive fork key.

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Take a Seat


A collection of saddles. Some are good, others not.


Two of a Kind



On the left, my current favourite, the Glider Bitsa Semi Scorcher. On the right, a 1969 Robin Hood Bitsa Semi Scorcher.
Although these bikes look virtually identical, they are completely different once you get on them.
The Robin Hood is shifting good but I still feel a small wander on the front end. I am warming up to it.
The only possible cause at this point is the tire…
We’ll see.
I’ll probably use it today for my downtown errands and report back.


The Robin Hood was out yesterday for a good trial and has returned with a good report.
Shifts well, handles well, looks good.
Problems include tightening of handle bars and
a vintage BELT (Japan) leather saddle that needs some breaking in.
Several applications of mink oil seem to be helping.



A New Trick. The String Test

String Test
Tried the ol’ string test on the Robin Hood and it passed…
I then loosened the front wheel bearing cone and it seems to have improved
but I’m not 100% on this one.
Took the hub apart and re assembled, still doesn’t shift properly.
I’ll try a different trigger today and see if that helps.


Here’ a quick tutorial on how to check your frame with a piece of string.



1969 Robin Hood Update

The Robin Hood has 2 issues to address.
1-the bike is not tracking well. The front end wanders. Not sure why, Everything is straight and appears true. It has a 26 x 1 1/4 rim up front.
2-it doesn’t want to engage in first gear. The hub (1965) appeared good but I didn’t take it apart.Cable is new and seems properly adjusted.
I’ll fiddle with it some more and if that fails, I’ll have a look inside.



The Bitsa Semi


I had this one out for a full day of city errands last week and other than getting caught in the rain, it was an absolute pleasure to ride.

Without the fenders and chain guard the bike is virtually silent, no rattles or squeaks.

At 50+ years the fenders and chain guards on these bikes are generally pretty rough and beat up. They’e stored in the garage for future projects.

I made it up to Yonge and Eglinton (Uphill all the way) and stayed on the pedals the entire way…no pushing.

One of the nicest hubs and shifters in the fleet and with a 19T cog on the back the gearing is just right.

According to George at Parts Unknown, the Raleigh built Glider frames have a different geometry than a true Raleigh.


Interesting 3 Speed

Another custom built Raleigh 3 Speed, year unknown, for sale on Kijiji, Toronto.

The owner has obviously spent considerable time and money on this one.


It has the somewhat rare and short-lived “throttle” shifter from circa 1967.



Eastman Path Racer Update

Awhile back I found a very nice Eastman leather saddle, the problem was finding a 3 rail saddle clamp…
Brooks has one at 19 pounds ($60.00 by the time it reached me) .
I managed to adapt a “flat” clamp that seems to work.


I just need to find some appropriate black grips and we’ll call this one finished.
It’s only been about 10 years…


I put this one together after seeing a Pashley Path Racer on display but couldn’t afford the price.
Also has the MKS 3000 pedals.



CCM Galaxie Speed For Sale

Posted on Kijiji, Toronto at a reasonable $95.00 OBO.

Could be a nice project for someone…

Looks to date from 1969 or so.



How About This?



Raleigh Built Eatons Glider 5 Speed

Posted on Kijiji Toronto at a reasonable $165.00.




1969 Robin Hood

Sorry I haven’t posted anything for awhile….

I picked up an abandoned project bike a couple of weeks ago. A 1969 tall Robin Hood frame and a box of assorted parts.


The young man that I bought the bike from was frustrated by the cotter pins and moved on to a 1962 Glider project which turned out quite nice (photos to come).

This was a quick turn around as the bike, although in pieces was mostly there.


I installed a ’65 hub and wheel on the back and a Canadian made rim up front.

Tires are new and all the bearings were re-packed.

The saddle is leather, made by Pure City and was reasonably priced at $70.00 from The Bike House in Kensington Market.

Calipers levers and new cables were all included in the purchase along with new bearings, brake pads and other assorted useable parts.



A very nice trigger was also in the box.




I’m running an 18T cog on the back which I’ll probably swap out for a 20 or 22.

The chain is used.

All in all a nice project at a reasonable price.


I took the bike out today for a short shakedown ride and have some notes:
All in all, quite sturdy and rideable.
-One cotter seems to be loose and needs seating.
-Will swap out rear cog with a 22T next weekend.
-A fresh chain would improve the appearance.



1954 Raleigh Canadian Catalogue









1954raleighcat_can_08_lg (1).jpg


1954raleighcat_can_10_lg (1).jpg








Indian Built Royal Cycle

Reader Steve P. has sent some photos of his project bike.

“Hi, Greg: I know the bicycle looks ragged out, and it should, considering that it has been out in the West Texas desert for who knows how long! I plan to keep the frame and fork as it is, and replace most of the parts. Including, possibly, the wheels. But, I want the handlebars to be the same style as they were-only fresher. Please post whichever photos you like. They have been reduced in file size for online publishing. And anyone who wants to help out would be greatly appreciated.”





Steve, looking at your photos I would be hesitant to spend a lot of money on a restoration. Replacement parts are available from Indian suppliers  but their quality can be dubious at best.


An aftermarket set for sale in Ireland for 38.00 pounds plus shipping.An aftermarket set for sale in England for 38.00 pounds plus shipping.

These bikes are still built in India, based on old British designs.

Here’s an Indian built BSA Roadster.


I would look around for a clean Raleigh Tourist and spend my time and resources on it instead. Just my opinion. Here’s a full restoration package offered by Highnelly for close to $1000.00


Keep us posted with any updates.




An Interesting Story

There’s a bike parked up the street from me that looked to be a Raleigh 10 speed but branded a “Centurian”.


A little research turned up an interesting story….

From Wikipedia:

“According to Frank J. Berto, Raleigh Industries of America had been looking at a Japanese source for their Grand Prix model. Raleigh America ordered 2,000 bicycles from Tano and Company of Osaka but their parent company in England, TI-Raleigh, disapproved — concerned that the Tano-built bikes were too well made and would have outsold their own British bikes.

Raleigh’s sales agent, Mitchell Weiner, who was reading The New Centurions at the time, took receipt of the bikes, placed Centurion decals on the bikes and marketed them successfully, subsequently forming Western State Imports after merging with Rick Wilson’s company, Wil-Go of Santa Clara, California. Because the bikes had all been intended as Raleigh Grand Prix models, as Centurions, they carried the colors of the Raleigh America Grand Prix model.”


The original Raleigh version.


Vintage 1961 Raleigh Superbe

Here’s another local (Toronto) Raleigh for sale.


The stamped eye on the heron indicates it was built prior to 1961.erfwfeWEF.jpg

Also, the proprietary calipers and cables.



Seller is asking $180.00.

A reader has identified it as a 1961 Superbe.


How a Bicycle is Made 1945


Raleigh Factory



Reader’s Bikes

Blog reader, Jarg De G. from Amsterdam writes:
“I have rescued these from various thriftstores in the neighbourhood of Amsterdam.

If I’m not mistaken we are talking Superbe, Dawn Tourist and a BSA Sprint.

The Dawn Tourist has the following code stamped close to the saddle hole: 9895 EF
The Superbe has no code but the Sturmey Archer hub says: AB and 4  3
I believe the BSA is from 1967 because I found a similar model on the web with 1967 in the description.

Nice detail, the letters B S A are also visible the sprocket (is that the right word?)

Thank you for your informative and entertaining blog. It has perpatuated my love for the English Three Speeds.”
BSA Record 1967.jpg
This BSA uses the same chain guard as seen on some raleigh built Gliders here in Canada.
Raleigh Dawn Tourist.jpg
Raleigh Superbe.jpg
A very handsome collection.

Super Superbe

Another Raleigh Superbe 3 speed for sale on Kijji, Toronto with a reasonable asking price of $180.00.

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Nothing to do with Bicycles


This is my Grandfather’s gas alarm rattle from World War 1. It’s over a hundred years old and still works today. Made of oak and steel, it’s spun like a New year’s rattle and makes a loud “rat-a-tat-tat” sound. I used it last night to scare the trick or treaters.

The point I’m trying to make is that this simple tool was built to last and has.

I’ve plowed through thousands of dollars in the last ten years on state of the art junk (computers/cell phones/DVD players/appliances etc.) that simply break or become obsolete in a very short time.

These rattles are somewhat rare as often the troops would use them as kindling to make a cup of tea.

137576.jpgVery similar to an earlier version which is a Victorian police rattle in use before they were issued whistles.


Sturmey Archer hubs have the same longevity.



Greek Raleigh Adverts

It would appear that the Raleigh dealers in Greece had a bit more freedom in their advertising standards than their British counterparts…..




1936 Raleigh Sports

A page from the catalogue.



What is a Scorcher?


From the Blog “From Wheels to Bikes”:

The question came up on another blog as to “what is a scorcher?” in reference to an 1896 pledge by a cyclist not to be one. A cyclist who was a scorcher was commonly understood to ride aggressively at high speeds outside of controlled races risking crashes with other riders, pedestrians, and others. The scorcher was also commonly criticized for his (or her) less than upright seat on the bicycle. (This posture, however, was perfectly OK during a race . . . ) Since the bicycles of the day either had no brakes at all or generally poor ones compared to what we are used to today, the potential for mayhem was that much greater.


<p><a href=”″>Bicycle Scorchers</a> from <a href=””>Jim Kellett</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

I am the scorcher!
Please observe
The curve
That appertains unto my spine!
With head ducked low
I go
O’er man and beast, and woe
Unto the thing
That fails to scamper when I ting-a-ling!
Let people jaw
And go to law
To try to check my gate.
If that’s their game!
I hate
To kill folks, but I’ll do it just the same,
I guess,
They clear the track for me;
Because, you see,
I am the scorcher, full of zeal,
And just the thing I look like on the wheel!