Vintage 3 Speed English Bicycles

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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”.

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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.”

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The original Raleigh version.

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Vintage 1961 Raleigh Superbe

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

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

Also, the proprietary calipers and cables.

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Seller is asking $180.00.

A reader has identified it as a 1961 Superbe.


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How a Bicycle is Made 1945


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Raleigh Factory

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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.”
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This BSA uses the same chain guard as seen on some raleigh built Gliders here in Canada.
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A very handsome collection.

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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

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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.

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Sturmey Archer hubs have the same longevity.

 


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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…..

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1936 Raleigh Sports

A page from the catalogue.

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What is a Scorcher?

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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.

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<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&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,
Unless
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!


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A True Scorcher

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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.


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My Bitsa Semi Scorcher

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.

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I’m calling it a Semi Scorcher because the handle bars are in the upright position rather than being inverted.

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Saddle is a used Brooks B66 and the pedals are a pair of brand new MKS 3000R (reflector) from Curbside Cycle.P1190491.JPGP1190490.JPG

The bike is a pleasure to ride and without any fenders or racks, rattle free as well as being somewhat lighter.

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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….


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1953 Eatons Commander 3 Speed

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.

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Raleigh Tourist DL-1

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Raleigh Tourist project for sale on Kijiji, Toronto. Seller is asking $350.00 and

offers to deliver.


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1961 Superbe Update

I stopped in to see George today at Parts Unknown looking for an extended stem for the ’61 Superbe Scorcher.

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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.

 


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Dynohub Overhaul

An excellent tutorial from RJ The Bike Guy on Youtube.


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The $50.00 Superbe

Someone before me spent a little bit of money on this bike before I got it last weekend.
Not sure if they spent wisely….
I posted before that it appears someone tried to re-furbish the rear hub and had only succeeded in wrecking it.

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The sun gear was completely ground down…
And the hub was way too tight. The adjustable cone side had the locknut and washer reversed as well.

A healthy sun gear below.

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The headset has been replaced and the chain and cables are new.
It also has a suspension seat post. The Dynohub works.

In any case, it’s back on the road and I may take it to work for a while to get around on.

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Below, the gear cable repair when I got the bike.

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Robin Hood 3 Speed

Here’s a nice project for someone. A 1957 Robin Hood 3 speed.

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Currently listed on Kijiji, Toronto for a reasonable $159.00.

The leather saddle looks restorable as well.

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Complete with period cable braids!

Update!

The price on this one is dropping. Now listed at $139.00.

A closer look at the photos leads me to believe that the forks may be bent…


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22T Cog Review

I’ve been running a 22T rear cog on this bike for the past week or so and quite like the change in gearing. More time is spent in 3rd gear and 1st is only used for the last leg of a hill. I’ve put a 20T on a similar bike and will give that a road test as well.

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My only complaint/concern is the new cog and chain combo has pushed the rear wheel back a bit and there was some wheel/fender interference that needed to be addressed.

 


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Canadian Market Raleigh Laurentian

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Raleigh produced specific models for Canada. I believe the white paint on the steering tube is common to these models as well as the name and decals.

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Modified 1961 Superbe

 

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As I’m no longer 25 years old, I’ve been thinking about gearing on these old bikes.

Delivered from the factory, they commonly had a 46T or 48T chain ring mated to an 18T rear cog. The gearing tends to be “tall” with third gear only being usable on level ground or downhill.  Swapping out the rear cog is a simple chore. Cogs are available in 18T, 19T, 20T, 21T and 22T.

The only drawback is that a bigger cog on the back will mean a new chain as well.

The bike above now has a 20T cog and a new chain.

 

 


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The Bike that Started it All

This 1978 Canadian built Raleigh Superbe was the first 3 speed I bought and started my interest in these machines.
Purchased from a guy up the street seven years ago, this is my everyday work bike and gets the most use. It also gets the most attention. Last year all the bearings were re-packed and new cables installed in the original ribbed housings.

Tires and brakes are newish as well.

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Yesterday, I installed a 22T cog and a new chain. We’ll see that works out.

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In fact, after buying another English built Superbe in much better condition, I foolishly sold this one. Luckily the buyer had second thoughts (i.e. he didn’t have any money) and the bike came back to me.


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Department Store Raleighs

We know that Raleigh built bicycles for Eatons (Glider) and Canadian Tire (Supercycle).

Other re-branded bicycles continue to show up.

Here’s a British Supreme 3 speed.$_2gffgfgfgh7.jpg$_2gnfn7.jpg$_2fffgnf7.jpg$_2gfnzfn7.jpg

I would think this one was a 73/73 model.

I wonder how many bikes you would have to order to get your own brand?


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Armstrong 3 Speed

Blog reader, Richard, has sent a photo of his restored Armstrong 3 speed.

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He writes:

“In terms of the year my guess in the 60’s this is based off of bike forums research, I sold this 2 years ago before i was tracking serial numbers and before I knew what i know now 🙂 always check the SA hubs for the date to get a rough idea of the bikes age.”

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“Looking at my records the bike was an Armstrong “Ross” – look at the shifter and that rear rack… it worked extremely well and I remember it being Extremely light. I am accustomed to the raleigh, supercycle, ccm crusier bikes… this was a different beast.”


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CCM Galaxie 3 Speed

A clean and complete example currently offered on Kijiji, Toronto.

@ $180.00.

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Hubba Hubba

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This old CCM Galaxie 3 Speed came to me years ago. The rear wheel and hub looked good but never performed properly. The rear wheel was swapped out and the original went into the shed…

Fast forward 8 years and the same hub was installed on a current project.

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I’d clearly forgotten it’s troubled past…

No amount of tweaking or adjusting would make it work.

I decided to take the hub apart and find out what was wrong. There’s a very good tutorial on youtube:

 

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Once apart I found a seized pawl with a rusted/broken spring as well as a displaced pin holding the sun gear onto the axle.

All parts were cleaned, new springs purchased and the hub was re assembled…

It still didn’t work!

I took it apart again and had a closer look at the axle which appeared slightly warped.

I can only imagine that the loose pin had been like that for years and caused the problem.

In any case, I swapped the guts out of a ’61 hub into the shell and all is well…..

 


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Iverson and More Junk

The Iverson will be going to a new home today. I have a few more adjustments to make and it should be good to go. This is one of the nicest bikes that I’ve sent out of my shop.

Shifts very well and is virtually silent on the road (no squeaks or rattles).

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My shop is really my back yard…

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The 22T cog is quite pleasant.

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I took the old tires back to the seller and swapped them for a good mattress saddle and while there bought ANOTHER bike for $20.00….

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A Raleigh built Supercycle. It’s got some parts on it that I can use (metal trigger and the brake levers I like) and could be a future project. I think the rims are beyond saving.

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These are the levers I like to use.

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Strangely, I can’t find even a hint of a date stamp on the hub but I would guess it’s from 1972/73.


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Iverson 3 Speed Update

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This one’s coming together quite quickly. A day to strip it down, a day to repack all the bearings and today, a few hours to install a new chain and a brake cable.

Total costs to date:

Bike purchase @ $90.00 (A little pricey but it was just down the street.)

New tires @ 40.00

New chain @ $15.00

New Brake pads @ $16.00

New brake cable @ $3.00

Supplies and parts from stock @ $10.00

Total  @ $174.00

The guy I bought it from wants the old tires back and will refund $5.00…

The new owner has a $70.00 credit with me and will pay the balance off by future cat-sitting work.

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I’ve  swapped out the rear cog for a 22T version, so we’ll see how it works out on a shakedown ride. I also want to change the saddle for a sprung mattress one but don’t have a decent one in the garage.

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Despite the online criticism of the Iverson brand, I found this to very similar to my English bikes. The quality of the chrome plating is not as good…


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Raleigh Colour Chart

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Iverson 3 Speed

I picked this up a few days ago as a gift/payment for a young lady that looks after the pets when we’re away. I offered cash or a bike. She chose a bike.P1190189.JPG

This is a made in Japan Iverson 3 speed with a Sturmey Archer hub and shifter. Hub is dated 3/72. Research tells me that Iverson is not a well respected brand but I think those remarks refer to their 10 speeds. The paint and decals are in good shape. This one will get the usual rebuild with some new tires/pads and cables. I’m sure it will be a good commuter.

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Below are two more similar bikes on Kijiji Toronto. Both of these appear to have a Shimano 3 speed hub. I can assume that mine was retro fitted with the SA hub at some point over the last 45 years.

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