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Archived: English Roadsters

ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Pashley bikes: are they any good? posted by: David Poston on 6/4/2002 at 7:54:13 PM
Are these any good?


   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Pashley bikes: are they any good? posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/4/2002 at 8:35:04 PM
The ones I've seen impress with their quality and of course "traditional" appearance. But at these prices £450 etc., why on earth buy one? You can get a gorgeous Raleigh or Rudge for a fraction of this and have something with a bit of "history" behind it. But I applaud Pasley for at least trying to keep the tradition alive.

P.C. Kohler

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Pashley bikes: are they any good? posted by David on 6/4/2002 at 8:45:48 PM
You see a lot of them in England; delivery and postal bikes are especially noticeable. They must be very solid. But, as noted above - not cheap!

AGE / VALUE:   Roadsters on film posted by: Chris on 6/4/2002 at 12:03:16 AM
Was there ever a movie version of the book Saturday evening, Sunday Morning with Albert Finney? I read on a Chopper site that there was and that it was filmed at Raleigh with Finney at the actual piece of tooling that the book author ran years earlier.

I have in one of my Cycling magazines a snapshot of painter Eva Fischer at the Raleigh Works and she is sitting in the wheel building department and her subject is building a wheel or I think it was assembly but it is clear that she wisely chose a good subject to post for a painting or sketch. ( here's where you guys will think I'm crazy, but)
The worker she chose to paint had the most kind, gentle, noble,probably humble too, wonderful countenece(face) I've ever seen. He's looking down at his work, she's sitting in a fur hat and fur coat. It's a very interesting picture.

   RE:AGE / VALUE: Roadsters on film posted by Sheldon Brown on 6/4/2002 at 5:33:39 AM
Yes, I recently rented the DVD from Netflix. You get to see Finney polshing the bearing surfaces of cottered bottom bracket spindles on a lathe. It's a grim and depressing film all in all, but worth a look if you're a fan of old British bikes.

FOR SALE:   Royal three-speed on eBay posted by: P.C. Kohler on 6/3/2002 at 1:09:45 AM
As if on cue for the Golden Jubilee of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, a Royal three-speed has come up on eBay:


This was made for Rollfast, I am not sure of which manufacturer in England actually made it. Looks a nice mid-range "English Racer". BUT what distinguishes her are quite the most splendid transfers and markings one could hope for! Some nice scans of these in the listings which I shall "borrow" and post in Roll Britannia.

Anyway, a perfect Jubilee Cycle!


P.C. Kohler

   RE:FOR SALE:   Royal three-speed on eBay posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/3/2002 at 1:19:31 AM
Of course it would help if I actually read one of the many splendid transfers.... one of which boldly states "Made by D.P. Harris & Sons" for Rollfast...

P.C. Kohler

   RE:FOR SALE:   Royal three-speed on eBay posted by Mark R. on 6/3/2002 at 7:11:01 PM
This looks almost exactly like my Robinhood Sports, or a Phillips.

   RE:FOR SALE:   Royal three-speed on eBay posted by Mark R. on 6/4/2002 at 12:47:45 AM
OK, now that I am home and had a chance to check: this bike is exactly like my Robinhood. Obviously it's a Raleigh with "Roual" markings.

   RE:FOR SALE:   Royal three-speed on eBay posted by Mark R. on 6/4/2002 at 12:48:06 AM
OK, now that I am home and had a chance to check: this bike is exactly like my Robinhood. Obviously it's a Raleigh with "Royal" markings.

AGE / VALUE:   check to see if things might interchange posted by: ChristopherRobin2@starmail.com on 6/2/2002 at 4:43:52 PM
I pulled off a Cyclo alloy shift leaver to replace a cable and I wanted to move it to another place on the bike frame. Thing was, all that bending and bending back of the metal trigger shifter clip metal fatigued it and it broke off. I stood there going "Aww! I broke it!" Then I thought as I looked at the broken piece. I then went in my box of Huret(French) shifters and it interchanges! I was able to put Huret and Cyclo partds together to salvage the alloy Cyclo shift leaver.

It is now on the handlebar stem, whereas Cyclo originally wanted it to go on the bicycle frame.
Huret is French and Cyclo was British and also French. I lucked out, but always look with an imaginative eye to get around a problem and see if it is interchangable. Don't just heave something out just because it is broken or missing a part. Remember there is more than one way to skin a cat. The Cyclo England leaver went with their derailer set but I like the Alvit derailer better, it is superior anyways but thee two work together and I like the long leaver. The bike came to me with friction tape wound around the frame tubing then the shift leaver was on that. Keeps down a rattle and works well but I don't care for it on the bike.

AGE / VALUE:   I need help with the year of manufacture. posted by: John Newell on 6/2/2002 at 3:34:49 PM
I have a "Made In England" 3 speed bike by AMF. On the chainguard
is the name Hercules. The Stermey Archer rear hub Model AW has
a single number 2 stamped on it.
Is this the number for the year of manufacture? 1952 or 1962?
I could see no other numbers on the hub.
The frame number located under the seat is # 2300657 (no letters).
The bike is in pretty good shape. Just a little rust that I am cleaning up.
Thanks for the help!

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   I need help with the year of manufacture. posted by Geoff Rogers on 6/3/2002 at 3:29:17 PM
It sounds as though Sturmey Archer got a little careless with the date stamp on your bike. I have seen a number of hubs like this, where the stamp was very faint or even nonexistent. All we can tell for sure is that the hub was built in February. Hercules serial numbers don't help, unfortunately; nobody has yet figured out what they mean.
Hercules bikes were made by Raleigh, a solid B-grade machine with a Herc badge. At some point, they were marketed by AMF, the bowling pin (and later Harley Davidson) people. Most I have seen were built in the 60's, although I do own a 1973 AMF Hercules that was built in Holland by the Raleigh Dutch subsidiary, Gazelle. It looks just like a Nottingham Raleigh froma distance.
one way to help date your bike: does it have an oil cup on the bottom bracket? If so, it was built before 1965. In that year, Raleigh-built machines lost their oil fittings and the chain and seat stays got thinner. Lighter, I suppose.
Anyhow, the bike was built to last about 100 years, so it should be good for a time yet. Enjoy it. It's probably not really valuable but ever so useful and will be around long after the majority of the fake mountain bikes sold today have gone for scrap.

ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   British Cycle Posters posted by: P.C. Kohler on 6/2/2002 at 2:42:47 AM
I have posted a selection of British cycle posters (mostly from the 1950s) in a new Yahoo Group on British Classic Bicycles. As we can't post pix readily on this site, this might be a good place to share photos etc.


P.C. Kohler

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   British Cycle Posters posted by Ed on 6/2/2002 at 1:32:43 PM
Thanks for the great pictures. I like your idea regarding sharing pictures on that sight. Could use a little more info on whats required to do this.
Regards, Ed.

   RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   British Cycle Posters posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/2/2002 at 1:51:02 PM
Sharing pix on a Yahoo group is easy. You first need to be a member of the group, then click on "Photos" and that takes you the photo section and specific albums (or start your own), then click add photos and follow the prompts. There is even a net download tool that allows you to download dozens of pix at a time.

By the way, this new group is not intended as a "rival" to this well established discussion site. If folks just want to use it to share photos, diagrams, catalogue scans etc., that's great too. I just find it frustrating to have to do "word pictures" of some interesting bicycle or arcane fitting and not be able to just attach a picture. So if you want to post a pix to the Yahoo group but chat about it here, that works too.

P.C. Kohler

   RE:RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   British Cycle Posters posted by Chris on 6/2/2002 at 4:55:03 PM
Off to a marvelous start, bravo!

   RE:RE:RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   British Cycle Posters posted by dafydd on 6/3/2002 at 3:23:51 PM
Thanks taking the initiatve! I've posted pics for two of my machines, hopefully I will get around to taking/posting more. A great way to get to know each other's bicycles better!

   RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   British Cycle Posters posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/3/2002 at 4:01:12 PM
Thanks for your contributions. I have started new albums with photos of some of the more interesting machines offered on eBay, Sturmey Archer hubs and fitments (also eBay scans) and lighting equipment. Some nice stuff to take a look at. By the way, I have set this Group up so ANYONE can look at the photo albums without being a member. But please do join!

P.C. Kohler

MISC:   SA internal 5 speed posted by: geo on 6/2/2002 at 1:55:59 AM
I've got a SA internal 5 speed. Any tips or hints on how to set these up. I occassionally seem to get a bit of gear hang up and free spinning. I've been told these can be fussy. Any help from the esteemed Old Roads crowd would be appreciated. Thanks

   RE:MISC:   SA internal 5 speed posted by Bill Putnam on 6/3/2002 at 8:40:32 PM
The old SA double cable 5 speeds are basically a three speed with a second planetary gear set to effect a wider or narrower ratio. Hence the right side of the 5 speed is the same basic design as an AW. I would suggest dissassembling and cleaning the hub carefully, then inspect the clutch and
planet cage surfaces that the clutch engages for wear. Often the clutches are worn and sometimes the planet cages as well. Common causes of forward freewheeling are a kinked gear cable, improper gear adjustment, or improper adjustment of the hub. Also, it is best to use two three speed triggers, one for each cable, rather than the shifters originally supplied with the 5 speed hubs.

Sheldon brown has a nice write up on the Sturmey hubs and useful links to manuals at http://www.sheldonbrown.com/sturmey-archer.html

Although there is one extra cable to adjust compared to the 3 speed hub, I have found my SA S5.2 hub to be very dependable with little fuss. Just keep it adjusted properly, oil little and often, and ease up when shifting from normal to high gear on the right lever.

Bill Putnam

   RE:MISC:   SA internal 5 speed posted by geo on 6/3/2002 at 10:50:37 PM
Thanks Bill, Most helpful. Geo

MISC:   Restoring Bicycles posted by: Pravin on 6/2/2002 at 1:03:23 AM
Hello all,

For those of you who are interested in restoring your bicycle(s), I stumbled upon a website where you purchase the appropriate labels/transfers for your bike:


   RE:MISC:   Restoring Bicycles posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/2/2002 at 1:54:25 PM
Thanks for the link, but when I contacted them about three weeks ago about Raleigh transfers, they just suggested I contact the well known:


Lloyds has transfers for all sorts of makes and marques. I recently got some for my Raleigh. They ain't cheap but they are lovely.

P.C. Kohler

AGE / VALUE:   My favorite outdoor sport! posted by: Chris on 6/1/2002 at 6:07:21 PM
I get out of the car and the old fellow says "It's mine and it's not for sale, I rode it here."
"No I'd never sell that bike!" How did I know? It was out front with all the other stuff. People ride bikes to these garage sales! AAARRRGGHHH!!!!!!!
literally ten seconds too late for the mint Schwinn runabout. It was a ten speed labeled runabout with 27 inch wheels. Beautiful, mint and $15.00 too. Other guy got it.

Picked up another Raleigh Sports complete for $15.00
Passed up on a Scwhin Corvette for $100.00
Bikes everywhere and 85% of it is junk. Huffy mountain bikes, kids bikes, nothing cool.
People ask "Are you into bikes?"
I get led in back, in the attic, basements, wherever to see more bikes.
I really love a good, large, sprawling neighborhood garage sale! Cold root beer, a nice nap, mowing lawn can wait till evening. I'm enjoying it evben more especially after nearly getting mashed by a bus downtown.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   My favorite outdoor sport! posted by chris on 6/1/2002 at 6:33:46 PM
Absolutely no: Choppers, Rays, Krates, No rod brake anything, I bought the Sports because you just don't see them offered anyplace.
Seeing the Corvette 3 speed was a treat.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   My favorite outdoor sport! posted by Oscar on 6/2/2002 at 8:11:35 PM
Nice work on the Sports. I would have passed on a $100 Corvette, too. No tears about the Runabout. I think they were electorforged bikes like Suburbans, but with cheaper components.

   :RE:AGE / VALUE: Scwhinn Suburbans posted by Warren on 6/2/2002 at 9:59:06 PM
I'm from the land of "ne'er a Schwinn"...they are as rare as a Toronto appearance in the Stanley cup. So I'm surprised to see a near mint Suburban 10 speed with drop bars in brown at the local garage sale. I was surprised at the quality finish of the frame of this "electroforged bike". Is this bike worth the $20 they were asking? The components were distant relatives of boat anchors so it was no lightweight. Does it have any merits?

   RE::RE:AGE / VALUE: Scwhinn Suburbans posted by Mark R. on 6/3/2002 at 7:17:16 PM
I had a Collegiate, which is something like a Suburban, only it has upright bars and such. I was surprized that for such a heavy bicycle how well it actually worked! I didn't really feel any great difference in riding ability compared to my Raleigh, however I would never trade a Raleigh for one.I sold it to a guy who can't drive because he lost his licence, and he has used it for years. I guess it all depends on need, and pragmatism.

   RE:RE::RE:AGE / VALUE: Scwhinn Suburbans posted by chris on 6/3/2002 at 8:11:54 PM
This was a ladies frame in Sunset Orange and the handlebars were what I wanted to pull off of it and put on another bike. They were almost straight across like a mountain bike. The bike was showroom mint shape with Schwinn triple plate gleaming chrome. It looked comfortable to ride too. Oh Well.

   RE:RE:RE::RE:AGE / VALUE: Scwhinn Corvette posted by chris on 6/3/2002 at 11:59:22 PM
I have a guy over in (whatever town ) and he said he thought it was worth 100.00 and that he'd give me 100.00 for it if I didn't sell it this weekend. (what the guy said when I offered 50.00)

Possibly true, but I told myself that peiople don't say this, that the potential buyer would just offer a low price and pick it up himself. And I guessed that the story was not to be believed.
The guy was holding out for more and that's fine, he gets to do that.
What would you say to him? What do you think when you hear this from somebody?

   RE:RE:RE:RE::RE:AGE / VALUE: Scwhinn Corvette posted by Mark R. on 6/4/2002 at 12:59:44 AM
I hear crap like that ALL the time, OY!
I had a guy, who works with my wife, ask her if I would be interested in an old Columbia his father in law has in the basement, for like $20 or $30. I say SURE! And make arraingements to go pick it up at his house on Saturday. So I go all the way over there and as he brings out the beautiful 1930's-early 1940's Westfield by Columbia news paper boys bike with tank, horn, skip tooth chain, and great old Pearsons saddle, etc...: "Oh, ah...I guess you didn't get my message, er, uh...my brother in law wants to see what it's worth before he sells it, so I'll have to call you after he gets back from, er uh...vacation. He'll be gone for three weeks, so I'll have to let you know then....
What is the likelyhood that I'll ever hear back from him?

AGE / VALUE:   Insta-bike? posted by: geo on 6/1/2002 at 5:29:54 PM
Has anyone ever heard of Insta-bike folding bicycles? I just picked up two of them at a church sale. They say they're made in Italy, 20' wheels, single speed caliper brakes, cottered cranks, enclosed chain case and quick release seat and bars. They look to be late 60's or early 70's. I really don't know much about folding bikes, any worth or value to these?

AGE / VALUE:   Re: Rudge Roadster Lite? posted by: Charles on 5/31/2002 at 9:42:41 PM
I'm a 54 year old NYC public school teacher who suffered a stroke in Sept. I've been cleared to cycle around a one mile that I must drive to. However, I find that the steering on my road bike is too quick for me and I prefer to pack the bike into my car trunk. My Miyata Park Avenue 3 speed is OK but an old Roadster with very stable handling should even be better.

Would you be able to make a lightweight Roadster, something similar to my old 1964 Rudge? It doesn't have to look exactly like a Rudge but should ride like one. Pashley UK produces such a machine but it's made of "gas pipe." I'm 5' 7" and weigh almost 200 lbs. My inseam is 28" and my shirt arm length is 34." I prefer to sit upright now.

I would also like SS couplers because in Brooklyn, NY it's better to keep a good machine "Outa' sight," especially when stopping off at a diner. I need serviceable components, nothing "sealed," nothing exotic; equipment that I can get repaired or replaced in any decent cycle shop. Gearing from 70-40, good brakes, alloy rims, Brooks spring seat, and upright bars. The durability of the finish is also important since the bike will be taken in and out of a trunk twice a day.


   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Re: Rudge Roadster Lite? posted by Warren on 6/1/2002 at 2:43:53 AM
Interesting challenge...I think there's only one way to get a true roadster geometry in a lightweight frame and components. Custom made. I've got a 1950's mens Dunelt that would give you the angles. Alloy rims are available from Harris Cyclery. Alloy everthing else. Keeping it light will be real hard with a SA or Shimano internal hub...you could go with one of those 5 speed SA hubs we were talking about from the Sprites. Deraillers are serviceable. A good black powdercoating will be quite durable.

I can't think of one true vintage lightweight roadster...maybe a Raleigh Clubman in 531 could be converted to a sit up position. There are some interesting modern aluminum roadsters in the shops these days but I don't think they have the geometry...I'm gonna look around.

One last idea...my Dunelt is fixed gear. It is real easy to ride with basic pedals...no falling over when you stop. Fixies are really efficient to ride and a low geared drivetrain might be just the ticket. Real light and almost zero maintenance once it's set-up. Two brakes and you're good to go...

ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Correction on the Flying Pigeon Bikes posted by: Robert on 5/31/2002 at 6:18:05 PM
A couple of days ago I posted that the Flying Pigeon bikes sold in Austin ,Texas may be very/completely disassembled. I called them today and found that assembly is more or less put on wheels, bars, rack, ect.... IN other words, put the major parts together. The only problem is they are now out of most and will not get more till "maybe September".

Just an FYI

ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   LOOK AT THE DONALD SUTHERLAND FILM posted by: Like Moviemaker on 5/31/2002 at 4:55:17 PM


   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   LOOK AT THE DONALD SUTHERLAND FILM posted by P.C. Kohler on 5/31/2002 at 5:15:19 PM
Why do I feel like I just read a ransom note?!

But yes, this is a great roadster scene: film is "Eye of the Needle" (1979?), Donald Sutherland on a beautiful roadster near the beginning of the movie.

P.C. Kohler

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   LOOK AT THE DONALD SUTHERLAND FILM posted by geo on 5/31/2002 at 9:26:00 PM
I think that's written in code. It says leave forty dollars in unmarked bills in a suitcase by the park bench or you'll never see your Raleigh Sports again.

ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   DOUBT posted by: mario romano on 5/31/2002 at 4:49:47 PM
Pals, the oiling hole on the Raleigh's sprocket tube are covered with what kind of thing? Thanx!

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   DOUBT posted by Catfood Rob on 6/1/2002 at 10:31:47 AM
Front wheel has a thin metal band that cklips around the hub and covers the oil hole. 3speed rears had a plastic nipple that stuck into the hole, it had a cap that opened to get the oil in. Both are, I think ,available from the n.o.s. department at this very website.

AGE / VALUE:   Roadsters on Film posted by: P.C. Kohler on 5/31/2002 at 3:45:35 AM
Anyone have their favourite roadster scene in a film? Mine is 'Twelve O'Clock High' (20th Century Fox, 1949) where the character, played by Dean Jagger, opens the film with a scene in which he cycles from the railway station in England to an abandoned U.S. Army Air Force airfield. He's astride the most pristine and gorgeous 1949 Raleigh DL-1 you can imagine. Carrier. Dynamo set lighting. Now, this was filmed in Florida not England and the other airfield scenes give this away with shots of American coaster bikes! Oh, don't forget the ending-- he remounts his roadster and cycles off...

'Memphis Belle' also has great British cycle shots, both the 1980s film and the original documentary.

Why? Well it seems that cycles were the main way to get about on the large airstrips. I have been to present day RAF aerodromes and guess what... plenty of ancient cycles whose origins are masked under countless coats of RAF blue.

One encounter I had in Washington on my DL-1 was stopping for a traffic light in front of a bus stop. An elderly black gentleman lit up when he saw my bike. He told me he was a USAF mechanic on B-17s during the war and they all rode roadsters like mine. He said he hadn't seen one since 1945! We chatted so long, he missed his bus! He knew all of the brands and remembers they had mostly BSAs. The locals all resented the Americans who, like everything else, grabbed the newest bicycles too!

So catch all those WW2 documentaries and you'll see loads of roadsters on film.... in between B-17s and B-24s!

P.C. Kohler