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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted on Kijiji, Toronto at a reasonable $95.00 OBO.
Could be a nice project for someone…
Looks to date from 1969 or so.
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.
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.
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.
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….
“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.
Here’s another local (Toronto) Raleigh for sale.
The stamped eye on the heron indicates it was built prior to 1961.
Also, the proprietary calipers and cables.
Seller is asking $180.00.
A reader has identified it as a 1961 Superbe.
If I’m not mistaken we are talking Superbe, Dawn Tourist and a BSA Sprint.
Nice detail, the letters B S A are also visible the sprocket (is that the right word?)
Another Raleigh Superbe 3 speed for sale on Kijji, Toronto with a reasonable asking price of $180.00.
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.
Very 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.
It would appear that the Raleigh dealers in Greece had a bit more freedom in their advertising standards than their British counterparts…..
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=”https://vimeo.com/8745588″>Bicycle Scorchers</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/kellett”>Jim Kellett</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
I am the scorcher!
That appertains unto my spine!
With head ducked low
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!
To kill folks, but I’ll do it just the same,
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!
Here’s a modified Raleigh 3 Speed that I consider the epitome of the Scorcher name.
Not my bike but I wish it was. The extended reach stem is perfect.
A very pleasant day here in Toronto and a perfect day for a fall ride.
This bike is a true Bitsa in every sense (Bits of this and bits of that).
It’s a Raleigh built Glider 5 speed frame with a ’71 3 speed hub. The hub internals are from a 1961.
The trigger is mid ’60’s and the rest of the parts… who knows.
I’m calling it a Semi Scorcher because the handle bars are in the upright position rather than being inverted.
Saddle is a used Brooks B66 and the pedals are a pair of brand new MKS 3000R (reflector) from Curbside Cycle.
The bike is a pleasure to ride and without any fenders or racks, rattle free as well as being somewhat lighter.
The only cosmetic issue to address are the mis-matched crank arms. The drive side is the rounded type while the other is squared. Something to do in the spring….
An interesting bike currently listed on Toronto Kijiji.
A 1953 Eatons Commander 3 speed. Built in England by Hercules it has a Herc-u-matic hub and shifter. 1953 was the coronation year of Queen Elizabeth and this was a special commemorative bicycle for the Canadian market.
Raleigh Tourist project for sale on Kijiji, Toronto. Seller is asking $350.00 and
offers to deliver.
I stopped in to see George today at Parts Unknown looking for an extended stem for the ’61 Superbe Scorcher.
It’s not exactly what I was looking for but will do for now as a place holder. I had to make a leather shim to tighten the bar clamp down.
Aesthetically, the bike looks better with the bars in a forward position. I actually prefer the bars in an upright position but can use the “Scorcher” for quick trips downtown.