| Hi all,I need to pick your brains a bit and ask for your help in identifying my old (1934) Raleigh.I found it in a real sorry state and should have walked away from it but you know what it's like you just can't leave it there to rot away and be gone forever so I ended up buying it and restoring it.It's not quite finished yet with a few things yet to do and improve.One of the to do items is decals (this is where you chaps come in) I need you to identify the model so I can have the decals made.It has been suggested it is a special x ,But by pure coincidence my mate finally bought his wifes bike in to show me after many years of talking about it and the frame numbers are 210 apart so after 72 years the 2 bikes came back together.Now his wifes bike is marked as a popular and I have copied all the coachlines from hers to mine as mine were all gone.If someone out there in cyberland could offer advice and or opinion on what model my bike might be so I can confidentally order the correct decals I would be eternally greatful.To see the pics of the bike in question please go to www.ciderheadz1.f2s.com and www.ciderheadz1.f2s.com/before (the bike as found)|
Thanks all and happy pedalling, Pete.
| Pete, that's a very nice-looking bike. I have a repro 1936 Raleigh catalogue, and the model from that year that look the closest to what you have is the Tourist X, model 21x (w/ SA hub brakes).|
| Hi Pete,|
I'm not known for over enthusiastic praise but you can have all the praise I can muster. If you did those coach lines yourself by hand then give up your day job and go professional. I see you are in the UK, where (genreal not address) are you? Will you be showing or riding the Raliegh? I'd love to see it in the steel. You could call the bike Lazarus.
Matthew - suitably impressed
| Thanks for your help Neal and Matthew.Neal would there be any chance that you could send me an image from the brochure of the TuristX? so I could have a look for myself.|
Matthew the lines took 2 and a half days to complete and resulted in fuzzy vision for a while! And yes I will be riding the bike (I think they all ought to be ridden)Located in Somerset UK, and why call it Lazarus?
| Hi Pete,|
Lazarus - raised from the dead! Enjoy the Quantocks.
Matthew - its a Biblical thing.
| Pete, I'll scan that page later today, but in the meantime, take a look at the 1939 Raleigh catalog page for the Tourist on www.retroraleighs.com: http://www.retroraleighs.com/catalogs/1939/pages/23.htm|
That's pretty much what things look like in the 1936 catalog page, too.
| On June 16th this year, the start of the fishing season, i went on a 30 mile round trip on my old faithful Nottingham workhorse with rod and net strapped to the Pletscher backrack. I currently run two 1979 Raleigh Esquires 23" 3-speeds with AG Dynohubs and the revolutionary Schwalbe Marathon plus tyres, (which have been unpunctured for over a year). One mile into my return trip, i heard a ping and then a more throaty clunk from the front of the bike. I carry most tools with me, so i dismounted with guarded confidence that i might be looking at a slipped nut or somesuch. Sadly, as i discovered by the tight nuts, the front axle had departed this fair earth(snapped clean at the conestop), and left me to quick march the 9 miles back home. |
Ever since that day i've resolved to adopt a regime of 3-speed maintenance more suited to the essential demands of aviation. I've tried to prevent the long walk from happening again, by constantly monitoring part life in a "ride log" so as to keep all parts at the good end of their fatigue cycle, thus hopefully avoiding component failure. I know that the Nottingham Raleighs were probably only designed to notch up maybe 1000 miles a year and as others have said, long distance can be a good way of destructively testing these bikes. The Esquire that failed had been a policemans bike for ten years before i got it. Since then i figure i've done around 10k miles without much servicing, other than oil in the Sturmey and tightening loose nuts now and then. Pretty impressive for a bike which is almost universally discounted as a serious touring machine.
I've tried to replace everything. The key problems are getting and replacing the fixed BB cup, the condition of the fixed cup in the Sturmey hub and replacing cotters without trouble or damage to the crank. I was initially petrified of tackling the Sturmey hub, but after many hours spent on the various brilliant resources such as Sheldon's great hub pages, i've got my head around all the likely jobs and it's surprisingly easy to open a SA hub. That said, if your hub fixed cup is pitted, you're knackered, as they don't come out unless you've got some pretty serious equipment and a NOS replacement. The other option is buy a NOS hub shell either from Ebay or oldbiketrader and swap the internals. All the hub parts were aquired from oldbiketrader, Ebay and some new stainless 26 1 3/8 Vanschothorst westrick rims from Cycles Of Yesteryear. I had the wheels handbuilt by a pro builder with 13g 2.34mm Sapim heavy duty spokes with washers, which are unlikely to fail as did the original 2mm carbon parts. The wheels look beautiful and have remained totally true. Two of my local bikeshop refused to used anything other than normal 2mm spokes and mocked any suggestion that washers and thicker spoke heads were any help for reliability. Weight seemed to be all they were bothered about and they assumed without question that any modern alloy bike had to be superior to my old heap of junk. Well after persevering, i replaced all key parts including cones, bearing, axles, spokes, rims and stem handlebars. A cotter press from Mark Stonich for $50, completed the Raleigh roadster specific tools that make the job a heck of alot easier and cheaper. I think that i've now got a bike that could give any Thorn Raven or Cannondale a run for its money.
Many people know just how good and reliable the old workhorse Raleighs can be and i try to do 150 miles per week on mine just for the fun of it. After trying a modern 2006 Raleigh Chiltern, now made in Bangladesh, i am as confident as ever that the old bikes are amongst the best ever made. The modern Chiltern arrived with over 50 misdrilled holes on the inside of the pathetically flimsy rims. The so called steel frames are soft as butter and the tyre exploded upon inflation to 20psi. Back it went. All i can say is if Raleigh was run by the people on this and similar forums, the pride of Nottingham could be great once more. Hopefully they'll see the error of their ways.
I can't praise the Raleigh roadster enough, it's hard as nails and has been a faithful companion thoughout tens of thousands of miles which would see a modern Aluminium bike on the scrapheap within weeks. Stainless rims with heavy gauge spokes are a great way of making these bikes absolutely bullet proof and capable of major mileage.
My only remaining concern on the bikes future reliability is about the forks. I've read about the effects of metal fatique and been told by bike mechanics that they do occasionally see fork breakages, especially on the typical high mileage bikes. My question is, has anyone had experience of either frame or fork failure and is there an off the peg fork that would be a good replacement for the original 200mm 1" Raleighs? Also, what kind of mileage have other people had on their Raleighs and how often or over how many miles do you normally service your machines?
Sorry for the long rant, happy riding, cheers Nick. England.
| Hi Nick,|
My little badge engineered 20 (a 1975 Triumph Trafficmaster) did about 3000 a year with me for 5 years. it never failed, was as heavy as a Puch Maxi and suffered from a Miller 'bottle' dynamo for the first year or so. Tyres were replaced with Dunlop Grass track tyres which came on a tiny Hercules which the Triumph replaced. My Dad had a 1962 Triumph (£15 brand new)which lasted well into the 1980's having covered about 1000 a year and the rear rim was replaced in 1988 when the brake blocks wore through the braking surface! This bike enjoyed the luxury of two seats for about 6 years when Dad carried either my brother or me on occasions.
The British handbuilt 1984 Marlboro which replaced the Triumph (it was Dad's 'day off' bike) lasted until 1997 when I was riding home in the dark and the bottom bracket failed big time. the fixed cup snapped and went 'live' in the frame effectively writing the bike off.
My 1930s trade bike has probably done fewer miles than it would appear as i only cut the Dunlop war grade tyres off it this year. It has successfully done 300+ miles this year with no problems, since a gentle restore and repaint using all its original kit.
Matthew - ride on ride on in Norfolk.
| Cheers Matthew,|
Just wrote a long reply and forgot to write my name and it vanished, doh. cheers for the reply. Did the fixed cup actually break around its edge? The late Ken Kifer's brilliant bike touring site mentions the time he had 4 of the 5 tube break on his BB during a hill descent, exciting stuff.
Interesting that the rim wore through. Tell me they were alloy and not steel. I suppose even steel will eventually wear through. Now i'm worried, ha. Did you ever service the bearing and cones on the Trafficmaster? The Triumphs were a good old workhorse. I had a similar BSA at Univerity, but that got stolen even with its Kryptonite and additional padlock. Is the bike still going? Just out of interest have you had any problems with rust on the Raleigh type frames. A real weakspot seems to be when the bottom bracket shell paint chips and the edges start to go.
Yesterday i got a very dirty but unused 1984 raleigh superbe which i picked up on Ebay for £50. Spent 12 hours stripping the AG hub, fixing an earthing problem on the rear mudguard light and generally putting right 23 years of garage dwelling. I figure it started slipping it's gears soon after he bought it. The owner must of took off the back wheel and then left it in bits when he couldn't fix the problem, as the indicator wheel nut was missing and the chain was off within the full chaindguard. It's a funny one because it has the Pashley-esque coatguard on the rear wheel and a set of Weinmann alloy breaks. I'd love to find an old British catalogue and see what the spec was. It is British Racing Green and has the B66 saddle, front mudflap and lockable front forks which i thought a little odd for such a modern bike. If anyone out there can tell me, i found a black plastic plug on the underside of the bottom bracket which isn't removable, any ideas why it's there? One tip for the Raleigh three-speeds. A common problem that was evident on the Superbe, which is quite tricky if you don't know what you're looking for, is the gears slipping, even when the indicator chain is properly adjusted. I discovered this on my first Raleigh Esquire. The hub has a left hand lock-nut which, when allowed to loosen, permits the internal unit to become misaligned. Thus whatever you do to the cable, it's crunch, bang, wallop every time you try and peddle. If you tighten the locknut finger tight and then back it off one half turn, everything aligns as it should.
The trade bike sounds good and solid. Does it have the heavier spokes to cope with weighty shop orders? My father had a German Wehrmacht commando bike that had more steel than the Eiffel tower and probably weighed about the same, ha.
Right, better get back to cleaning the Superbe.
cheers for the reply, Nick.
| What year Was the AW hub introduced? I have a 52. Was this the first?|
| My cousin has one from the late 40s, and Sheldon Brown's site says that 1936 was the first year.|
| A 1952 AW is no collectors piece, being fairly common. However they are quite desirable as the internal bits up until about 1960 were extremely hard yet tough. After that they went to a less toxic, and less effective, method of hardening. I seem to remember something about cyanide, could that be right?|
Later parts are not machined, but molded under pressure with powder metallurgy. Still awfully long wearing though.
In the past year I've overhauled 3 high mileage hubs from the '50s and with the exception of one broken "R" spring all were perfect inside.
The AWs were supposedly produced from 1937 to 1954 and then again from 1958 to the present. However I don't know if production was totally shut down during the SW (Sometimes Works) years. Too clever by half, they really outsmarted themselves with the SW.
Speaking of older SA stuff, a friend just picked up a 1908 C Tricoaster on Ebay.
| Thank you for the feedback. I would say I have not seen an older AW hub. My guess is that 1952 may have been a year that import of this was at a high. Did anyone notice the early hubs had more bearings. Very smooth! Ed|
| The earliest A.W. hubs had a shell that said Sturmey- Archer Patent and no date stamp. They had flats on one end so you could unscrew the right hand ball cup in a vice. The ends were black and later silver colored. The earlier hubs had machined steel innard parts and after 1948 until 1954 in there they offered an alloy hub shell that was 1/3 the weight of the steel shell. The a.w. hub is their bread and butter hub so to speak. The most common and widely seen. It is world famous, and it's parts are interchangable with Brampton, Steyr, Hercules, J.C. Higgans, and Sears 3 speed hubs because inside it is the same old A.W.|
| For Sturmey Archer timelines, photos, and specs, check out the SA heritage site: http://www.sturmey-archerheritage.com/index.php|
| Had a great time this past Sunday when a group of bike nuts meet up in Austin to just talk bikes.|
Took the MacLean and Russ tandem to show.What was the most interesting to me a couple of English chaps stoped by---got to hear in English the right way to say Chater Lea.I wasn't even close in my native Texason.
No doubt you now know that it is Chay ter lee or maybe chay tuh lee.
Its rather strange for me to think of my speech as foreign but I think I can just about grasp the idea.
Matthew - off to have my tea (that's a mug of drink and my evening meal)
| I recieved a postscard in the mail it says: Thnaks for the reprint catalog very interesting! Looking at the brands shown, looks to be from the 1930's.|
One problem is that I sent the original, and not a re- print. It was the original booklet that I paid the book dealer for and it involved travel and expense, and the pain involved in getting my self into the book dealers good graces and getting this sort of thing out of the cabinet and actually getting it sold and sold to me. Never before seen one of these and that's why I sent it along to him. The rarity of it. I did not photocopy that, but in a state of utter madness I sent him the original and it has never been returned. He probably thought I gifted it to him!
And it has vanished back into the mist of time again. The whole reason why I got it was to get it out there again, under the eyes of collectors and fans of this stuff.
If it was not such an interesting piece he would not have written at all. After I bought it from the book dealer I sent the family in to order dinner and I was looking at it until the broasted chicken arrived and then I washed hands and was looking it over again.In order to not get grease on the vintage paper pages. When was the last time you got a piece of vintage bike literature in your hands that you did not want to put down? This one was chock full of photographs too.
When I enquire about this you all know that he'll not remember this or be able to find it and this fellow is so busy in general. Postcard does not have his address and I'll have to look it up and contact him and all that bother.
I'm sorry. You all would have loved to see this one too.
| I keep thinking of the movie: The Ninth Gate with Johnny Depp. Good thing it's just vintage French bicycle literature or else I'd be floating in the garden pond with all the Koi fish and my bottle of Scotch.|