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Archived: English Roadsters

WANTED:   Raleigh Rod Bike... posted by: Fred A on 6/9/2002 at 2:32:06 AM
The things people toss curbside amazes me... but in this case I was glad. I picked up a 1971 (Sturmey Archer hub is dated 11 71) Raleigh rod brake bike, all original, right down to the added license plate attached to the rear fender from Nantucket Island, Mass. where the bike was originally purchased (as per dealer sticker). I live on Long Island in NY which makes it even funnier, but this is the first bike of its kind I have ever seen outside of photos. I collect road bikes & am now starting on balloon & middleweights, but this bike was to cool to pass up. Paint is weathered from the salt air, but the chrome (with the exception of the pitted rims) is cleaning up beautifully. Decals are so-so. Should I repaint or leave it alone? What do you English roadster folks think? Oh, I took it for a quick spin, and the original Brooks saddle is comfortable and the bike shifts fine! Man, what a nice riding bike!

Fred A

   RE:WANTED:   Raleigh Rod Bike... posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/9/2002 at 3:23:10 AM
Sounds a great find! I have a '71 ladies DL-1 and at first I thought: oh I'll have to rechome and repaint the whole thing. Well... a few years of steady polishing etc. and she looks great. Just enough "patina" to give her some distinction. Weall have our special techniques I guess to revive weathered paintwork. I have had good luck with fine rubbing compound, automobile wax and yes.... it does work and amazingly well... the cleaning solution offered on this very site! So maybe try a bit of elbow grease first. I will have to make the same effort and decision when my 1949 Rudge arrives... restore or repaint...

P.C. Kohler

   RE:RE:WANTED:   Raleigh Rod Bike... posted by Fred A on 6/9/2002 at 1:13:44 PM
Hi P.C.

Thanks for the fast reply.

Oh, by weathered paint I also meant "rusted". Yeah, auto supplies work great. If the paints really bad the steps I normally go through are 1. rubbing compound 2, polishing compound 3. polish 4. wax.
To bad the wheels are losing their chrome in areas. Maybe just leaving it and doing what I can with a Super detailing would be best. Something about the "patina" on an old English bike that I like, more so than other makes.
Good luck with the new toy when it arrives!

Fred A

   RE:WANTED:   Raleigh Rod Bike... posted by geo on 6/9/2002 at 2:12:52 PM
Man that's the find of the century. I bought a complete toilet dl-1 for $55 and I thought that was a deal. Personally I don't like repaints, they never quite look right and the bike seems to lack character afterwards. They look like they have a history with all the imperfections. However, I've had great luck with TurtleWax Color-Cure car wax. They are tinted waxes that come in all your basic colors and come with a chip stick to fill in chips and scratches. They really bring dull paint jobs back to life although it mat take a couple of applications. Good Luck, Awesome find.

   RE:RE:WANTED:   Raleigh Rod Bike... posted by Fred on 6/9/2002 at 4:11:02 PM
Hi Geo........

Hah hah! You gave me a good laugh with the "toilet" comment! Believe me, this bike will be months in the making. The salt air did a number on eating the paint away and rusting the fenders. The only dent damage is on the rear fender at the bottom and goes up about 4 inches. Looks like it was crushed & banged out at some point. The original tail light (reflector) is still there, though. I did manage to have the shifter cable snap on me yesterday from it being so rusted, so that will have to be replaced. Everything else on the bike I should be able to get away with keeping, rusty or not. It's all original.

If you know where I can get some info on this bike, please let me know. Its been a dead-end at the library & book stores..........


   RE:RE:RE:WANTED:   Raleigh Rod Bike... posted by geo on 6/9/2002 at 10:33:17 PM
hey Fred, If I had a nickel for everytime someone refered someone else to this next site I'd be a millionaire. The place to go to find out anything you want to know about anything regarding bikes is Sheldon Brown's site. These next two pages should help alot.


Good luck, and have fun rebuilding that bike. I just spent the better part of three months rebuilding a Raleigh Sprite with an internal 5-speed and had a blast. Geo

   RE:WANTED:   Raleigh Rod Bike... posted by Mike U on 6/10/2002 at 2:16:56 PM
It is amazing what people throw out. I found a Royal London in the Newton, MA dump. It is only missing the bars and stem, but has everything else. The Dunlop's even hold air still. It has a "53" S-A AW hub, minimal rust and a serial number XX645. It will make a great around town bike for us.

   RE:RE:WANTED:   Raleigh Rod Bike... posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/10/2002 at 3:40:37 PM
When I lived in Devon, England, about four years ago, I was AMAZED at the bicycles one could find at the local 'tip' (the local refuse dump/recycling centre). These could be had for £10 at the one near Exeter. Lots of amazingly old three-speeds, more Raleigh Twentys than one could count, some great vintage Brit children's cycles, and even the odd club machine or racing bike. I could have (and possibly should have) filled an entire shipping container with vintage bikes. I am convinced this is where a lot of the spares are obtained that appear on eBay for breathtaking prices. And I bet they drop off the stripped frame back at the same tip!

P.C. Kohler

   RE:RE:RE:WANTED:   Raleigh Rod Bike... posted by Fred on 6/10/2002 at 4:18:13 PM

Wow.......nice responses to my original query! Thanks everyone for all the help and sites to check out. I now truely feel that I have a diamond in the rough and can't wait to begin the rebuilding process.


AGE / VALUE:   reg harris club bike posted by: Andy on 6/8/2002 at 6:09:10 PM
I have a Reg Harris club bike, what is the year of the bike? the frame has a #5421 WH . Any idea what it's value is? thanks for the help chris

ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Lenton Grand Prix posted by: Andy Schechter on 6/8/2002 at 3:50:09 PM
I have a Lenton Grand prix road bike, and it is a Greg Harris model, the frame has a #54 21 WH, What year is this bike? what kind is it. I still ride it on the streets and it rides great. A little heavey compared to the titanium bikes of today, but it rides good.

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Lenton Grand Prix posted by Chris on 6/8/2002 at 4:30:18 PM
It's a Reg Harris and it's a Club bike and they are rather hard to find.

AGE / VALUE:   'Royal' bicycles posted by: Bob on 6/7/2002 at 8:13:24 PM
There is a nice looking English 3-speed being offered on eBay. It's badged as a "Royal" with an SA hub dated in the 60s (1964 I think) Anybody know anything about this brand? Who might have made it? Raleigh? Description says this type bike was made for Rollfast, which was an American company I think. Anyone have any info on a Royal's quality, etc.?

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   'Royal' bicycles posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/7/2002 at 9:29:48 PM
Scroll down a page or two and there's some discussion on this very machine.

P.C. Kohler

AGE / VALUE:   'Royal' bicycles posted by: Bob on 6/7/2002 at 8:13:24 PM
There is a nice looking English 3-speed being offered on eBay. It's badged as a "Royal" with an SA hub dated in the 60s (1964 I think) Anybody know anything about this brand? Who might have made it? Raleigh? Description says this type bike was made for Rollfast, which was an American company I think. Anyone have any info on a Royal's quality, etc.?

FOR SALE:   beat the heat posted by: rickey@knowlesbicycle334-756-7561 on 6/7/2002 at 5:44:23 PM
Have an edge on the heat get your stay cool from knowles bicycle shop in valley ala. this product realy works get yours today 12.95 shipped send money order payable to knowles bicycle shop 500 n. hwy 29 valley ala.36854 many colors & assorted patterns aval. same day shipping in us. call 334-756-7561 1 DOZ. $100.00 shipped save 55.40 just add water stay cool


ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   What is it? DL-1 posted by: Pat on 6/7/2002 at 4:42:31 AM
I see this little bike on ebay and don't know what it is. I am interested in it for my son. Would go great with my DL-1. Anyone know how old this could be or what it is.

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   What is it? DL-1 posted by Pat on 6/7/2002 at 5:21:24 AM
Sorry here is the item http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2110865537

AGE / VALUE:   S A Hub Dating, Raleigh posted by: Andy on 6/6/2002 at 5:03:46 PM
I'm familiar with the hub dating on Sturmey Archer hubs, month and year. Just came across one with 14 & 69, the bike (a DL-1) does appear to be a 1969 but what would the 14 indicate? It also has Raleigh solid block pedals with reflectors that don't look anything like the ones from the 70's. Also what can be derived as far as dating from the seat tube serial number?

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   S A Hub Dating, Raleigh posted by Warren on 6/8/2002 at 12:17:34 PM
These bad date codes show up every once in a while. My guess is human error. The dates are obviously added after the hubs are assembled...they are never in the same place twice.

The serial number may be tracked through the Retro Raleighs web site.

WANTED:   JA Gross Tandem posted by: Robert Bailey on 6/6/2002 at 4:44:14 PM
My father bought an English racing tandem in '63 when we were stationed in England with the Navy. It is a JA Gross tandem made in London during the 30s. The Louisiana weather has pretty much destroyed most of the gear on it. I am getting it back in condition to ride. I can't do a full scale restoration yet. Does anyone know a source for Brampton running gear? The part we really need is a Captain's saddle/Stoker handlebar stem. Has anyone ever heard of a JA Gross?

ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Raleigh Roadster with 26 in. wheels posted by: Robert Bailey on 6/6/2002 at 4:42:04 PM
Were any of the Raleigh Roadsters made with 26in. wheels?

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Raleigh Roadster with 26 in. wheels posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/6/2002 at 6:44:10 PM
I think I am correct that the traditional "roadster" is more defined by its frame geometry than wheel dia. or even rod brakes. For example, I have seen roadsters with rod brakes in South Africa but with 26" dia wheels which are rather wider than usual, almost American coaster bike wide, for use on rutty roads.

A lot of people see a British made cycle with rod brakes, enclosed gearcase and assume it's a "roadster" yet it has the "Sports" frame angles and 26" dia. Westrick rims. Lots of such machines were made. Indeed they are a lot more common in the UK than the 28" dia. "real" roadsters.

P.C. Kohler

   RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Raleigh Roadster with 26 in. wheels posted by Warren on 6/6/2002 at 11:06:27 PM
I think I agree with this statement...I have a 40's or 50's Hercules rod brake "roadster" with 26" wheels and it's quality of ride is much closer to it's larger DL-1 breathren than the smaller wheeled "Sports" models. Totally slack angles give you that sit up and relax ride Like you say, it's all in the geometry.

   RE:RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Raleigh Roadster with 26 in. wheels posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/7/2002 at 7:04:33 PM
An interesting advertisement explaining what makes a Roadster a Roadster:


P.C. Kohler

   Frame angles for "true roadster" posted by David Poston on 6/7/2002 at 10:58:15 PM
P.C. and others,

Is there a particular angle which qualifies a bike as a "true roadster." Looking again at the Rudge I just got on e-bay, it kind of seems to have the forward fork and backward lean like perhaps a DL-1. Any one want to comment?


   RE:Frame angles for posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/8/2002 at 1:16:07 AM
See Sheldon's Brown's wonderful site:


He defines a Roadster as having frame angles of 68 degs. or less while Sports type machines (like your Rudge) have frame angles of 72 deg. Doesn't sound like a big difference. But it is. In looks and especially in the ride and handling aspects. Kinda like comparing an Austin Princess with a Rover 2000.

David and I both bought Rudges last week. Mine is a 1949 26" dia. wheel machine with rod brakes and dynohub. She looks a bit rough but I can't wait for her to arrive and see what elbow grease will do. No enclosed gearcase on her; thank goodness as when you have an old Rudge you want to show off that distinctive "hand" crankset!

P.C. Kohler

MISC:   Vintage Bicycle Rally & Bloomsday doings in Brookside 6/15/2002 posted by: Calvert on 6/6/2002 at 5:29:51 AM
10 OCLOCK AM, Saturday the 15th of June

(also for English Roadsters)

will be held at 55th & Brookside Blvd
(Crestwood Shops)

Outside the Bloomsday Bookshop.

Bloomsday is a celebrated by Celtaphiles
and James Joyce fans around the world every year
on the weekend Closest to 6/16.

A good while back the Dubliners also began holding
a delivery bike rally every year as part of the celebration.
Imagine 150 cycletrucks rolling down the center of the road.
I must be something awesome.

Well, here in KC we stick to the trails
or at least the right side of the road
and invite all kinds of bikes to participate.
(even Krates)

BUT last year we did have 6 Schwinn Cycletrucks,
One '41 Roadmaster and one ' 38 Raleigh Butcher's bike.


We also had Highwheelers and classic lightweights
--A '72 Paramount & an ' 83 Holdsworth Elan.....

I maybe riding my lurid green Gitane Interclub....

we'll also have some tandems

and we're going for TEN Cycletrucks.

I hope our unicyclist friend can make it, too.

And of course we hope to have Larry and his recumbant.

Perhaps even Shelley's Spike Bike.
All models welcome.

The course is a very moderate 3 miles
on trails and Country Club neighborhood
side streets almost all flat.

Food and refreshments at ride's-end.

There's a keg of Boulevard stout or
french espressos at the bistro Axois.

Along with a marathon reading of Joyce's Ulysees.

Live traditional Celtic music & dancing.

And the best damn antiquarian bookshop in KC.

Anyone willing to work on July 28th's El Torreon swap meet
is welcome to also attend the meeting after the ride.

Email me for more information.
Calvert Guthrie
Kansas City

FOR SALE:   Swiss Army Roadsters posted by: Pravin on 6/5/2002 at 11:13:03 PM
Check out this bike on eBay:


I am just curious to hear any opinions about this bike... does any of the people in discussion group own/have ridden one of these?

I would assume they are pretty solid bikes... but the Buy it Now price seems ridiculous. Anyhow, check it out.


   RE:FOR SALE:   Swiss Army Roadsters posted by Edward inVancouver on 6/6/2002 at 1:43:14 AM
Yeah, I've ridden one of those before. Seems they haven't changed much from WW2 until the mid 80's when they were replaced with a lighter mountain bike. The one I rode daily from boot camp to the UnterOffiziers Essraum was heavy beast, single speed, coaster brake, with a rubber spoon brake on the front tire. The main reason they were so heavy was because of all of the various pouches on the frame. The bike also sported a welded "cradle" that would hold a "Sturmgewehr" a Swiss-made assault rifle. The frames of these lugged bikes are probably stronger than Schwinn frames, because I remember when a Pinzgauer-a 6 wheel utility vehicle- ran over a such a bike, and the frame was still true. The same bike, minus the gun cradle, and in bright yellow, was also issued to the PTT (Swiss post, telegraph & telephone) up until the early 80's as well. There are still alot of theses bikes around because they were issued to bicycle corps soldiers and officers, and become property of these people once their military service has ceased.

MISC:   DL-1 28" tires posted by: geo on 6/5/2002 at 2:34:19 PM
I recently purchased a beat up old DL-1. I will need to get new rubber. I was told that 700cm tires will fit. I don't think this is true but it sure would make life easier. Is there a source for 28" tires(I'm sure there is) and does anyone know a price range I should expect to pay. Thanks in advance, Geo

   RE:MISC:   DL-1 28 posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/5/2002 at 2:46:27 PM
No problems here; you can easily get proper 28" x 1 1/2" roadster tyres from:


P.C. Kohler

   RE:MISC:   DL-1 28 posted by Warren on 6/5/2002 at 6:57:05 PM
The reason you heard this is because there is another "Canadian" size 28" roadster wheel that does accomodate 700c tires. There were many bikes made by Raleigh sent to Canada with these wheels...the rims are even Dunlop Westwoods. They have 622mm beads...what you need for your DL-1 is a 635mm bead

AGE / VALUE:   Hercules again posted by: Mark Rehder on 6/5/2002 at 5:07:57 AM
Speaking of Hercules bikes (below), our local bike co-op just received one as a donation. It only has a coaster brake hub, and the full name is "Hercules Viscount" with "Made in England" on the badge. It does have the oil hole on the top left side of the bottom bracket, but the plug is missing. The interesting thing about this bike is the design - the top tube has a curve in it in front of the seat, and both the head and seat tube angles are quite laid back, more so than any other bike I've seen. Unfortunately, the frame is too small for me, or I'd take it in a second! Is it safe to say that there's no way to date this bike, beyond that it's pre-1965 due to the oil hole?

Thanks, Mark

AGE / VALUE:    posted by: Mark R. on 6/5/2002 at 12:18:13 AM
Saw this one on eBay, never saw this model before:http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2110112950

   RE:AGE / VALUE:    posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/5/2002 at 1:50:25 AM
This looks like one of the wonderful Raleighs one can (or could) buy in Denmark. Several visits to Copenhagen c. 1983-6 revealed a paradise for traditional Raleighs but with lighter weight cranksets, mudguards but full gearcases etc. And DL-1 frames on some machines too!

This is indeed how I got my present DL-1 frame when in 1983 I experienced something very unusual: a complete frame fracture on my 1978 DL-1. The bottom lug just separated. Raleigh were embarassed, immediately made good on the lifetime frame guarantee, air freighted a new frame (with the same decals as this one on eBay) and paid all the costs of rebuilding the machine. Thus, I must have been one of the last "new" DL-1 owners in North America!

Getting back to these Denmark machines; the frames and all enamel work came from Nottingham. Sturmey-Archer hubs. Everything else was fitted in Denmark by their agent (I forget the name) from a variety of sources. Hub brakes on everything (it rains a lot in Denmark!) I unfortunately lent my brochure to a cycle shop and never got it back; but c. 1986 they had four different traditional roadsters, beautiful machines. At least one with rod brakes. Black, maroon, British racing green as colour choices. Full lining. Handsome machines!

Anyone wanting gearcases etc.; get thee to Denmark. Oh... cycle shop staff speak not a word of English over there...not a one. So be prepared to do a lot of pointing!

P.C. Kohler

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:    posted by Jacob on 6/5/2002 at 3:21:28 PM
Hi mr. Kohler

Take a look at www.urania.dk (a large cycle shop in Copenhagen). As you can se, it is still possible to buy a traditional Raleigh roadster in Denmark, and they are as popular as ever.
However, since the mid-80's they have been equipped with german Sachs Torpedo 3- or 1-speed coasterbrake hubs, and about that time the last new rodbrake Raleigh was sold in Denmark.
The traditional Raleighs sold in Denmark are international machines: The frames are made in the far east, the rims are dutch, the bottom bracket is from Slovakia, the cotterless steelcranks are made by Stronglight in France, the pedals are german from Union, and the racket is Danish. The Brooks B66 is the only british item left.

Jacob from Denmark

   RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:    posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/5/2002 at 3:41:23 PM
Thanks Jacob for this update! Sounds like I visited Copenhagen during the last gasp of British-made cycles (well the frames) in Denmark. But at least Danes still appreciate the merits of traditional cycles. I was amazed at the number of wonderful bikes there, even more than Amsterdam. And great cycle shops filled with traditional accessories. Danish ladies cycles still have skirt guards on their rear mudguards!

Raleigh UK told me that Denmark was one of their last remaining export markets for frames made in Nottingham, including the DL-1 frameset. The last time I was able to get parts from Nottingham direct was in 1992.

Thanks again... great website. Regardless of their now typically international origins, these are splendid looking cycles. And a lot better quality than the Chinese or Indian knock-offs.

P.C. Kohler

   RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:    posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/5/2002 at 4:01:07 PM
Jacob.... a question for you...

Looking at the Urania website, it appears that the Tourist De Luxe/Classic has the traditional roadster frame geometry (certainly the same 22" and 24" sizes); does this also have the 28" dia wheels? Also the Club Classic seems to be the equal of the "Sports" with the 26" wheels. True?

If the answer to the above is yes.... then it appears that the enclosed gearcases which look identical to the ones on British made machines could be used as replacements. This might be a valuable source if this dealer does mail order for spares like this. Mudguards too.

If you have a contact at Urania, I'd sure appreciate it. Unless you want to get a new job supplying enclosed gearcases to all we British cycle fanatics worldwide!

P.C. Kohler

   RE:RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:    posted by Jacob on 6/6/2002 at 9:08:10 AM
You are right: 28" wheels on the Tourist, and 26" on the Club, which equal the Sports. And the chaincases could be used as replacements on British made Raleighs, I guess.
I don't know if any danish cycleshop take mail orders from North America (or anywhere else), but I can check it out. And I don't know if chaincases are sold as spareparts.


   RE:AGE / VALUE:    posted by Mark R. on 6/6/2002 at 1:00:21 PM
Many of the Danish, and Dutch chaincases are PLASTIC. Even on the Pashleys this is the case. I bought one on the internet once, and was somewhat disappointed that it was plastic, but maybe this wouldn't bother everyone.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:    posted by Jacob on 6/6/2002 at 2:12:33 PM
Mark, the chaincases on the danish Raleighs are made of steel, and they are almost similary to those originally made in Nottingham.

   RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:    posted by P.C. Kohler on 6/6/2002 at 2:37:21 PM
Not only steel but they are lined precisely like the Nottingham-made ones. I got two DL-1 gearcases out of Nottingham as spares as late as 1992 and they appear to be identical to those on these present day Danish machines.

So... here's hoping they can be obtained from this or another Danish source.

Thanks Jacob for your investigative efforts!

P.C. Kohler

   RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:    posted by Mark R. on 6/6/2002 at 6:59:41 PM
If this is the case, then they should be available as spares, no? Can someone call somebody and see if they can get them? Boy! I'd like to put one on my Tourist!