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Archived: English Roadsters

ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Need part for chaincase posted by: Brian Geoffrey on 8/20/2002 at 12:22:52 AM
Does anyone out there have that rear piece that attaches to the Raleigh chaincase?(or other rebranded Raleigh bike)-It fits the chaincase on a woman's 28" rod brake bike.
I'm also looking for that small piece of metal that attaches the chaincase to the stay with two bolts.

ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Phillips 1930???? posted by: Martin on 8/19/2002 at 11:52:34 PM
Hello everybody! I am from Argentina and i own a Phillips that i want to restore. I think it is from about 1930, the serial number is D119273. Where can i find some info about Phillips Bikes???? Thanks for all!!!

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   Phillips 1930???? posted by Mario Romano on 8/20/2002 at 4:51:34 PM
According to the letters and numbers of your Phillips bicycle serial number, I could is from 1927-1928 and not from 1930 as you said. I live in Brazil and I run a small collection of english roadsters and a small bussiness on vintage bicycles restoration, pay a visit to my homepage at:
Send me e-mails if you have any doubt on english roadsters and selling prices practiced here at Brazil.

ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   GIVE A LOOK AT MARCELO AFORNALI BICYCLES... posted by: Mario Romano on 8/19/2002 at 8:38:18 PM
Hi pals! Here in Brazil appeared a new bicycle collector called Marcelo Afornali. This guy haves real nice english/brazilian/swedish bicycles and a internet homepage full of pictures and parts for sale. Give a look at his homepage at WWW.BICICLETASANTIGAS.COM.BR or send an e-mail directly to M.Afornali at AFORNALI@BICICLETASANTIGAS.COM.BR.
I hope my contribution makes anybody happy! I still loving english roadsters...


   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   GIVE A LOOK AT MARCELO AFORNALI BICYCLES... posted by Mark R. on 8/20/2002 at 1:06:51 AM
Mario, estas bone vidi la biciklojn! Sed, mi kaj la aliaj homoj cxi tie ne povas legi la Portugalan lingvon. Nun mi scias kiu provis instigi vin acxeti sian biciklon( la Humber)!
Dankon pro la pagxo!

   RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   GIVE A LOOK AT MARCELO AFORNALI BICYCLES... posted by Mario Romano on 8/20/2002 at 4:34:26 PM
Pal, I don't understood nothing you said. Whatta heck language you writing?

   RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   GIVE A LOOK AT MARCELO AFORNALI BICYCLES... posted by Mario Romano on 8/20/2002 at 4:43:51 PM
Pal, I don't understood nothing you said. Whatta heck language you writing?

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   GIVE A LOOK AT MARCELO AFORNALI BICYCLES... posted by ChristopherRobin2@starmail.com on 8/20/2002 at 9:04:52 PM
Mario, Your contribution makes me very happy!

You add good things to this page here at Old Roads.com

   RE:RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   GIVE A LOOK AT MARCELO AFORNALI BICYCLES... posted by Mark R. on 8/21/2002 at 10:51:45 AM
It says that no one here understands Portugese. I wrote it in Esperanto as a joke, because I figured no one would understand that either. Fagetaboutit!

   RE:RE:RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   GIVE A LOOK AT MARCELO AFORNALI BICYCLES... posted by Mark R. on 8/21/2002 at 12:15:26 PM
It says:
Mario, it was good to see these bikes. But, no one here can read Portugese. Now I know who tryied to get you to buy the Humber! Thanks for the page!

WANTED:   Reverse brake levers posted by: Randy on 8/19/2002 at 7:41:15 PM
Does anyone have a line on a pair of reverse (bar-end) brake levers? Chris posted a while back about buying a bike with them (Chris, my post scrolled off but I'd love a digital photo or two of the levers when you have them apart!) For my Faux-Pedersen project I need a pair of reverse levers. I have a pair of the modern Dia-Compd 188 aluminum ones just in reserve, but really want a nice vintage steel pair (doesn't matter the brand). Thanks.

   RE:WANTED:   Reverse brake levers posted by ChristopherRobin2@starmail.com on 8/19/2002 at 7:51:48 PM
E- mail me a postal address. I'll have picks and drawings of these.

AGE / VALUE:   When you wake up, You will have an aversion to Scrap men! posted by: Chris on 8/19/2002 at 7:16:56 PM
He kept me from bring home everything, I had to wait to get the rest of it. I must have missed some things or he held back. Now I hear those awful two words again. He said it! I recoiled in horror and shivered at the thought of it.
He said: Scrap Man, Scrap, giving things to scrap. cleaning out old bikes, old balloon tire bikes gotta go. words like this. Bad, evil words he said to me today. I don't even want these but I'll HAVE to take them now. Or else the evil scrap man will return. What if he is a collector or picker? What if he knows people who are?
Not good!
I thought we had worked this all through! Now I have to take stronger measures. Perhaps hypnotisim.
I'll call him by name, say "Look at me!"
Make the scrap man go away and stay away! Time for another visit!

   RE:AGE / VALUE:He's crying: Scrap Man!   posted by Chris on 8/19/2002 at 7:50:38 PM
Don't say "Come out and visit with me". Say "Scrap man!"
Make me drop everything in a panic and fly out there immediatly.
This time I'm bringing home everything metal there is so there is no reason to call this guy ever again.
Another pal gave me a home address at last and finially I will see the home collection that is supposed to be better than the shop basement's. This is gonna be out of sight. I'll bring my ammonia packets of smelling salts in case the room spins..... again.

When I do see the large overloaded truck swaying to and fro and they have a bike in the mess -o stuff. They won't stop, are too tired to dig it out. They say Later. and later never comes. The card is no good the number is disconnected or they have an answering machine that is full or broken. Perhaps they don't speak English, Jabber at me while I say Oh Crap, You don't speak English! One guy said "Oh, Bikes! I have hundreds of bikes. Not interested in selling any of them."
How only one man can amass so much stuff in only 49 years is beyond me! Business must have been very, very good and he must have worked his tail off non-stop.
Wife and daughter will someday cry

Auction! That day will not be too far off, I'm afraid. The dudes up there. That's why I'll be seeing the best part of the stash. He wants me to see it. He likes watching me go into shock. Unable to speak, unable to form words while wanting to buy something I hold in my hand. He'll smile and take it from me and put it down and I'll never get to buy it.
I have to put up pictures one day on a site called Treasure troves of Americas best pack rat hoards.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   When you wake up, You will have an aversion to Scrap men! posted by Ray on 8/20/2002 at 1:43:41 PM
Get a grip ol man! Your ranting seems rather disjointed. There are millions of bikes out there that you cannot have either and millions more going to the scrap heap every day. Enjoy life and take it easy and the good stuff will come. If you run around like a dog in heat then everyone will play you. If you cannot stay cool when you come upon a good bike or a pile of them then they got you. When your collecting pallet matures you will find it better to buy less at a higher quality then buy a lot of mid range and mixed junk. Take if from someone who has been there. You cannot own everything and those who play you like this guy can be easily thwarted by just walking up and saying I already have most of this junk and walk away calmly. Remember he still has haul the stuff, probably pay the junkman and now feel like crap because you trashed him. Tell him if he sees anything interesting to give you a call and leave your number. If he never calls move on to your next challenge. You cannot possibly have the time to restore or repair them all so don't try. I would rather look for the one diamond for a year then have my pockets full of coal every day. Good luck.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   When you wake up, You will have an aversion to Scrap men! posted by Bill Smith on 8/24/2002 at 1:55:15 AM
It works a bit differently for me. When I'm driving my station wagon/estate car (I post these things bilingually), which of couurse makes bike pick-up and transport easy, I never see anything. When I'm driving my little Honda with no trunk/boot space, no rack nor sufficient internal space, I seem to pass house after house with desirable old bikes put our for the recycler/dustman. Yesterday offered a prime and frustrating reminder of this curious phenomenon.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   When you wake up, You will have an aversion to Scrap men! posted by Bill Smith on 8/24/2002 at 1:55:53 AM
It works a bit differently for me. When I'm driving my station wagon/estate car (I post these things bilingually), which of couurse makes bike pick-up and transport easy, I never see anything. When I'm driving my little Honda with no trunk/boot space, no rack nor sufficient internal space, I seem to pass house after house with desirable old bikes put out for the recycler/dustman. Yesterday offered a prime and frustrating reminder of this curious phenomenon.

FOR SALE:   Triumph posted by: Jim on 8/19/2002 at 6:28:30 PM
Men's Triumph, Tenerife model, 21" frame abreviated wing style chainguard, SA AW, dated '72, beautiful headbadge, very good transfers, Brooks mattress saddle, all original right down to the grips, very good condition. Recently dismantled, frame waxed, all bearings repacked w/ Pedro's synth grease, hub filled to spec w/ genuine SA oil. All new SA "corduroy" cable housing, NOS brake calipers with NOS John Bull brake blocks (I have another complete set of brakes if anyone is in need). Green with chrome mudguards. Slight fade on top tube, very minor pits on rims, only visible upon close inspection. Gets compliments at the local coffee shop on almost every visit. $85 + shipping, or trade for decent baby jogger (do you see the connection ?). Works out to about $1 an hour for time invested, and I won't post cost of parts because my wife might read this. Professional packing (included) which should bring return on labor down to about $.50 an hour, or can be picked up on E. 34th Street in NYC or Red Bank, NJ Please email for photos.

   SOLD !   Triumph posted by Jim on 8/22/2002 at 7:57:03 PM
Thanks for the interest. Proud owner of an Trek trailer / jogger. Jim

FOR SALE:   Dutch Roadster posted by: degallina on 8/19/2002 at 12:04:33 PM
Here is an old Dutch Simplex Roadster needs a little tlc, but still a nice 28" wheeled bike. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2130913715&rd=1

   RE:FOR SALE:   Dutch Roadster posted by Mark R. on 8/19/2002 at 4:02:27 PM
Hey! I loive near you, and want the bike! Can I see it in person???????

   RE:RE:FOR SALE:   Dutch Roadster posted by Mark R. on 8/19/2002 at 4:03:30 PM

   RE:RE:FOR SALE:   Dutch Roadster posted by degallina on 8/19/2002 at 4:35:15 PM
Sure! Check your email.

   RE:FOR SALE:   Dutch Roadster posted by Mark R. on 8/20/2002 at 3:15:31 PM
Ah, dammit, I didn't check the auction in time and missed it :-(
Maybe next time..... shoot!

AGE / VALUE:   Another vanishing mirage: Old Gent on a Phillip's posted by: ChristopherRobin2@starmail.com on 8/18/2002 at 8:17:05 PM
The old man on the classic bike vanished before my eyes! He turned around and gave me a quick look and I heard a snort and then he looked the other way. He flew up the really steep hill and was gone! Out of sight.
Oh, the bike! Before I can get them to stop for a second to chat many of them vanish on me.
If they do stop, they cannot believe that a young wet behind the ears whippersnapper has a bike like they do, yet alone replacement parts. I told one fellow that I had a bike like he did and he looked at me like I was lying. Then he exclaimed, "Hey, You do!"

I'm going to the dump today where I will be unhappy that my fellow bike collector pals will have already been there!
I know, my attitude is not right going in. I'll try to have some faith!

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Another vanishing mirage: Old Gent on a Phillip's posted by Drew on 8/19/2002 at 12:18:20 PM
It's nice to see older folks cycling by on a vintage Enlgish machine, espeacialy since most no nothing of the now costly world of old 3-speeds. Most days about 9:30 am, I notice a man in his mid 70's-long white hair, hiking boots, cruising down the state highway on his circa 1950s-60s 3 spd. Don't know the brand, but it has a Dynohub, rack. Some day I"ll have to flag him down to ask him about his bike!

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Another vanishing mirage: Old Gent on a Phillip's posted by David on 8/19/2002 at 5:53:48 PM
A lot of us don't have too long to wait until WE'RE that old guy on the bike!

ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   DL1 orig. prices posted by: Stan N. on 8/18/2002 at 7:19:23 PM
Who knows DL1 original prices through the years, compared to their other models. 1950s, 60s, 70s prices? And how many or them were sold each year in the U.S., 1,000 ? 5,000?

AGE / VALUE:   His & Hers 1950s English Hercules for Sale posted by: Kevin C. on 8/18/2002 at 6:54:03 PM
Matching, men's and women's 1950s Hercules 26 inch 3-speeds for sale. From early 1950s, fantastic condition, both black, all original, with NOS English Miller generator lights, original saddles and pedals, owner's manual dated 1954 and original cardboard illustrated display card. NONE BETTER!! $250. No shipping. Must pick up in Lafayette, Indiana--one hour from Indy, two from Chicago.

MISC:   Midnight Bike Ride posted by: David on 8/18/2002 at 3:21:04 PM
I went on the Boston midnight bike ride last night (tho I bailed out about 3:30 am and went home). About 200 riders showed up, including just two English 3-speeds, a rollerblader, and a scooter. There turned out to be a lot of waiting involved and off-the-cuff remarks by one of the leaders about the city history and architecture at our stops. (Memo for next year: prepare more than the bike!) The rides over and back through the Ted Williams tunnel made up for it, though. 31 mph on a Sports is exciting enough - imagine that speed on blades or a scooter!

AGE / VALUE:   '69 Drake three speed (again) posted by: Michelle on 8/18/2002 at 2:28:10 AM
Okay, sorry to bother you again, but I did a little research and found out that the brand Drake was used as an alternative brand in the 1960s by Raleigh. I am new to bike collecting, so I don't know very much; I just decided to start buying bikes at thrift stores and fix them up, then sell them or keep them depending on how much I like them and how much they're worth. I heard somewhere that red paint on old bikes makes them sell for more, is that true? Do you know of any price guides available for old bikes that might be helpful? Thanks again.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   '69 Drake three speed (again) posted by Warren on 8/18/2002 at 2:43:15 AM
Start out by reading Sheldon Browns pages at http://www.sheldonbrown.com/oldbikes/index.html

Read the archives here for supplementary questions.

The price of a bike is completely dependant on the market you live in...and that varies wildly across North America. There are very few english three-speeds that would get $75 where I live (Toronto). That would be a bargain in other places. I can't say about red...I've seen so few with the exception of my 58 Raleigh Canadian...red and white of course.

ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   SA circlip installation posted by: David on 8/17/2002 at 9:46:13 PM
Maybe everyone else knows an easy way to do this, but until today I always struggled to get the damn circlip back on over the sprocket on a SA hub. I found I could stretch the clip over a 1" 3/4 drive socket and it was just about right for getting it back on. I worked the clip onto the very edge of the socket. (It would be nice to have one without a chamfer!) Then I put the socket down on the driver as centered as I could get it and then pushed the clip off the socket onto the driver. Enough of it stuck in the groove that it was easy to finish it.

Was there a special SA tool for doing this? What do other people do?

   RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   SA circlip installation posted by David on 8/17/2002 at 10:18:12 PM
Oops. Half-inch drive, though it hardly matters.

   RE:RE:ENGLISH ROADSTERS:   SA circlip installation posted by Chris on 8/19/2002 at 6:59:19 PM
I'll say no to the special circlip but I would have to look again to be sure. They made a lot of neat, now difficult to find tools. One mechanic pal of mine used a conical type tool and it slid on so nicely.I never got a better look at that tool and he's gone now along with the shop. I have been putting it on by hand with a tiny screwdriver and now that you mention it, I'll go back to using a long drive socket.
The experienced and old school shop mechanics always have neat, cool little tricks like this up their sleeves. When you make a comment about something like this they just look at you with a twinkle in their eyes and keep on working without saying a word. Sheldon tells us how to deal with threaded drivers at his site. I have the actual S.A. tool that fits in the vice and the driver fits over that. I was looking at a quick release hub and commenting how I didn't want to use the quick release but that I liked the hub and wanted it in my bike.
He said "So, switch the axle and bearings!" and I did and it worked! You may not always be able to do this!

   Here's the trick posted by Dale on 8/21/2002 at 5:09:12 PM
Not hard, no special tools needed. 1) Lay the wheel down, then place the circlip on the top of the driver with the split at 7:00, 2) Press the circlip end that is to the left of the split down into the slot with your left thumb, 3) Hold a screwdriver across the top of the driver with the side of the blade against the circlip at 11:00, 4) Press down on the screwdriver and rotate it clockwise, using the axil as a pivot, until all of the clip is pressed into the slot.

It does take some practice and one of my fellow mechanics never did get the hang of it, but most people can manage it ok. Reverse hands and clock locations for left handed operation.

AGE / VALUE:   follow-up to Royce Union post posted by: andrew on 8/17/2002 at 1:21:53 AM
My Royce Union Pilot, described in the previous message, is in fair to good condition, but I am unable to ride it "no-hands" for even the shortest distance. Could this be caused by a bent fork, or is it likely due to a bent frame, or both?


   Steering and Handling Comments posted by Mark on 8/17/2002 at 5:41:30 AM
I've been thinking about this very issue of steering and handling, and was about to begin a discussion, and post some thoughts about it on this site. Since you brought it up first, I'll offer my thoughts as a response to your question.

I'm just finishing up the restoration of a 1953 ladies frame English three speed. I'm really pleased with the way it's come out; it's beautiful to look at. Yesterday was my first opportunity to ride it, since it was unrideable when I acquired it (from a trash heap!). Similar to your experience, I've also found that I can't ride it without holding onto the handlebars. There's nothing wrong with the frame alignment; I've carefully checked it. It behaves this way because of the frame geometry, and at the risk of being burned at the stake for heresy around here, I'm going to state flat out that in my opinion that frame geometry is poorly designed for the conditions that most modern riders have to deal with.

Bicycle steering is function of fork angle, fork offset (also known as fork rake), wheelbase, and a factor called "trail," which is affected by fork angle and offset, and additionally by wheel diameter. Bicycle designers work with these factors to create bikes that handle responsively and predictably, with the understanding that bicycles are designed for different purposes and need to have different handling characteristics to meet those requirements.

Forgive me for introducing a little physics theory here. Balancing on a bicycle depends on the principle Issac Newton explained with his first law of motion: i.e., "Every body continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a right line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it." We balance a bicycle by turning into the direction the bicycle is falling. This allows the forward momemtum to pull the bicycle and rider back to a balanced upright position. Of course, that's why we can't balance a bicycle that's stopped.

I primarily ride road racing bikes. A well designed road bike responds to leaning exactly as one would expect, so that Newton's first law of motion can be used by itself to control the bike, without the requirement of input on the handlebars. I can ride my road bike for miles on level, winding (and hopefully traffic free) roads without touching the bars. On the other hand, a loaded touring bike with road racing geometry would be too responsive, and therefore difficult to control. Touring bikes are engineered to be slightly less responsive, i.e., to "understeer" so the rider can control the load. But consequently they require more leverage at the bars to control than a classic racing bike. Tandems are at the extreme end of this continuum, because they are deliberately designed to significantly understeer. If they weren't, every weight shift by the stoker (the rider in back) would cause the steerer to lose control, or at least to be struggling to retain it. Tandems can't be ridden hands free. I personally have less experience with off road bicycles, but I would imagine that they might benefit from engineering that causes them to "oversteer," to have extremely quick handling so they can be directed around obstructions.

Which brings me back to my ladies frame English three speed. It has a classic "roadster" geometry, with a 67 degree fork angle, 2 1/4" of fork offset, and a 108cm wheelbase. For comparison, my road bike has a 73 degree fork angle, 1 3/4" of fork offset, and a 100cm wheelbase. The English three speed handles like a pig! It's a geometry that's unsuited for avoiding pothole, storm drain grates, and car doors flung open into your path, in other words typical riding conditions. I could imagine getting used to it, but steering will always be more labor intensive on a design like this. (While were on the subject of safety, the three speed brakes are not nearly as effective as modern brakes either.) These are not trivial issues. Because I very strongly believe that safety is a fundamental design criterion, I honestly believe that these old designs are best used for limited casual riding, and not for day-to-day transportation. If a friend asked me, "should I get an old English three speed?" I'd say only after you get a safe, modern bicycle for your primary use.

"Sports" model English three speeds have a more responsive steering geometry, and are probably fundamentally safer for most riding. But in lurking around this site for a few days, I've gotten the impression that the roadsters have the most "cachet," which just defies all logic. So there's my heretical opinion. Let the stake burning begin.


   RE:AGE / VALUE:   follow-up to Royce Union post posted by David on 8/17/2002 at 11:48:31 AM
I won't light the fire. I've got to agree that Roadsters are not good city bikes, for all the above reasons. Sports models, though, seem extremely good for riding in traffic, especially if you maintain the brakes. They have a good riding position, quick handling, fast shifting (and while stopped!) My commute involves about 5 miles daily on the bike path and I like to do it on my Roadster, with its comfortable ride, great visibility, and high gearing! But the main hazards there are people with dogs and kids with training wheels and you can usually spot them well in advance. No drains, car doors, pot holes, or garbage trucks giving you the "right hook."

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   follow-up to Royce Union post posted by Mike on 8/17/2002 at 1:46:45 PM
Check your headset first. Is it properly adjusted? Also, stability of these old bikes is improved if you replace the caged bearings with loose bearings.

   RE:Steering and Handling Comments posted by Warren on 8/17/2002 at 1:52:35 PM
I believe that roadsters and their inherent slack geometry have more need to properly aligned. They are less forgiving than the steeper angles of their Sport bike breathren. And Sport bikes are less forgiving than road bikes. This is not based on physics, just trial and error with dozens of different "restorations" of many different kinds of bikes.

I believe that the poor handling of the aforementioned bikes can be attributed to misaligned forks...evn if you eyeball the fork lines (with the fork off the bike) you can miss side to side errors. A good shop will put the fork in a jig and align it properly ...well worth the couple of sawbucks.

With regard to the safety issues of 3 speeds, I think it is too easy to generalize. I've got a 1959 womens Raleigh Sports model that is solid, straight and has magnificent stopping power, even with steel wheels. I did use Mathauser pads however. And yes it isn't as great in the rain. But it's still a damned sight safer than a lot of the garbage being sold in the department stores today.

I've had many examples of Sports models, usually Raleighs that have been well sorted out. I've also mentioned my early 50s womens Hercules before...roadster angles and road brakes that also runs staight and true. I'd be lying if I said it stopped well...it's for dry days only.

   RE:RE:Steering and Handling Comments posted by Warren on 8/17/2002 at 3:05:39 PM
I mean't rod brakes on the Hercules.

I also wanted to add that I'm not disputing the slack angles=poor handling argument. I think that poor handling is a subjective idea. Many people enjoy the "sit up and look around" feeling they get on a roadster. And that feeling comes from the geometry and lazy response you get from the steering.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   follow-up to Royce Union post posted by Ben on 8/17/2002 at 4:19:22 PM
Two things: first, it is not necessary or prrefereable to reset a fork while it is installed in the frame. Reputable framemakers have a jig for fork alignment that is used when the fork is uninstalled. Second, handling on any bike (if it is substantially different from what you're used to) is an acquired skill. If the roadster frame and fork are straight, it should be possible to ride it with no hands, albeit without the kind of secure feeling you get with the Sports or other similar geometry bike. Also, due to the huge wheelbase, you have to think just a little bit more about space when making a turn at speed.


   RE:Steering and Handling Comments posted by geo on 8/17/2002 at 4:45:40 PM
I agree that the handling sucks on roadsters. When I bought my DL-1 I was suprised at how bad it was and I was also suprised at the rake and geometry. Sports are better handling and I've got a road bike I ride to let off steam once in awhile and it's handling is far superior to the others. However, I would recommend an English 3 speed to anyone that showed an interest. These bikes are fine for light commuting and recreation. I hate to see the homogenization of our culture. Sometimes you just have to buy something that looks cool. People buy with thier hearts not thier heads. If we were going to buy practical all the time we'd all be riding some hybrid. I know more people that buy mountain bikes that have never seen a trail(that goes for SUV's too). I think there is a portion of the population that would buy a $75 3 speed ride around a little, get a little exercise and have a good time that might be disappointed with a $750 new "safe" bike that ends up sitting in the garage. We are already taking a risk by riding on 2 wheels. Best "safety advice" in my opinion is make sure your bike(whatever it is) is tuned up, pay attention out there, be seen and wear a helmet. Not lighting the fire just wondering if we've become a little soft.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   follow-up to Royce Union post posted by sam on 8/17/2002 at 11:22:56 PM
Free hand riding goes back to the first safty bicycles.It was used to advertize the 1887 Ivel(built by Dan Albone).As advertized one could ride for miles with out the use of hands they are so well built.(something you could not do on a hi-wheel)Our friend Ian send me a photo(and booklets which I need to return soon)of his Ivel.They are also decribed in "Bartleet's bicycle book"(1931)Seems it's a standard of quality if your bike can be ridden hands free.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   follow-up to Royce Union post posted by andrew on 8/18/2002 at 2:22:45 AM
Appreciate the informed responses regarding the slack geometries of roadsters. It is interesting, but I think that the problem I'm experiencing with my particular bicycle is due either to an improper headset adjustment or a bent fork. I would like to find out more about how to adjust the headset and other components that effect handling. Although the handling seems to be fairly responsive and rather good really while riding with my hands on the handlebars, it is impossible to ride it "no-hands". It imediatley veers sharply to the right. This pull to the right is impercetable with my hands on the bars.

Also, can anyone provide information about my Royce Union Pilot that I began to describe in my message yesterday. Any clues would be greatly appreciated.

some photos of the Royce Union and my wife's Raleigh LTD-3 are at:



   RE:RE:Steering and Handling Comments posted by P.C. Kohler on 8/18/2002 at 2:31:26 AM
I have ridden a DL-1 exclusively since 1978 until this past June when I suddenly found myself collecting veteran English cycles, all of which are variations on the so-called 'Sports'.

Of course, the DL-1 is more difficult to manoeuvre. It's also a lot smoother and still looks better! It's a bit apples and oranges, as I compared in a previous posting, like an Austin Princess to a Rover 2000. But I cannot accept the notion that the DL-1 somehow puts its tasteful owners at risk in city traffic. Indeed, one rides so tall on a DL-1, I dare say it's safer: you are more easily seen and can also see well above and beyond traffic. Nor do I accept the idea that rod brakes are in anyway inferior to cable ones. They work every bit as well, are easy to adjust and they look a lot better.

Classic English cycles are safer than anything out there. They are better built, well designed and excell in the essentials. And they are designed for SENSIBLE riding by SENSIBLE cyclists. And I have generally found that's a quality that ensures safety far more than some 'modern' safety gadget or whacko looking bright orange brake shoes. A lot of idiots out there ride these techno laden cycles like they are invincible. That's far more of a safety risk to rider and other users of the road than a stately and sedate and SAFE DL-1 and rider.

But would I rather ride my Rudge on a twisty, bendy cycle path like that to Mt. Vernon here in Washington than my DL-1? You bet. And look forward to again doing so tomorrow.

P.C. Kohler

   Follow-up to Royce Union post posted by Mark on 8/18/2002 at 7:34:12 AM

You can do a fairly reliable check of your frame alignment by stabilizing the front forks in a straight ahead position, and with the wheels off, run a taught string from the right rear dropout to the right front fork dropout, across the fork to the left front dropout, and then back to the left rear dropout. Then measure the distance from the left side string to the seat tube, and from the right side string to the seat tube. These measurements should be the same if your frame is properly aligned. If the forks are bent back, which happens when the bicycle gets in a head on collision, it will be obvious when you sight down along the frame head tube. The forks should come straight out along the axis of the head tube until they turn forward at the fork rake bend at the bottom of the fork blades.

Headset adjustment is pretty straight forward. Two simple tests will tell you if it's correct. First, can you turn the forks freely through their entire range of motion without feeling any roughness or drag? Second, apply the front brake firmly and rock the bike forward and back so that you're flexing the fork back and forth. If there's any slop in the headset adjustment, you'll both feel and hear it when you do this.

Another possible cause for bad handling is the possibility that the wheels are not dished properly, so that the rims are not centered over the locknuts on the hubs. To my knowledge, front wheels are always symmetrical. The rims are centered over the hub flanges, which are centered over the axle locknuts. Rear rims should also be centered over the locknuts, but not necessarily over the hub flanges. This asymmetry is pronounced in rear wheels for derailleur bicycles, but internal gear hubs also have a slight asymmetry. Wheel dish is easily and quickly measured with a dishing tool.

It's also possible to install the rear wheel so that it's slightly skewed in the frame. Check to see that the wheel is centered between the seat stays and chain stays.


   RE:AGE / VALUE:   follow-up to Royce Union post posted by Warren on 8/18/2002 at 1:18:04 PM
I don't think your bike is a rebranded Raleigh although the pics don't quite show enough detail. The fork looks correct. Have a look at the bottom bracket cups on both bikes. Raleigh cups always have a raised square section for removal. If it is a Raleigh and the fork is bent and beyond fixing, I have an extra fork you can have for shipping. It has the same angled crown with chrome plate but you would have to paint it black.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   follow-up to Royce Union post posted by Andrew on 8/20/2002 at 2:35:15 AM
Mark, thanks for the tips on checking alignment. Sounds like a great way to verify the bike's condition; when I get the time one weekend I'll give it a go. A visual check of the fork revealed nothing unusual or bent, but thanks anyway Warren for offering a spare. I added a few more detailed pictures of the bottom brackets of the Royce Union and the Raleigh LTD-3 for comparison to: http://www.printroom.com/ViewAlbum.asp?userid=glxwgn&album_id=92818
- but the Royce Union doesn't seem to share or copy any details found on the Raleigh. Either way, both bikes are great rides. My wife and I went on an beautiful 18 mile ride from lower Manhattan's financial district up the East River Park bikeway to Central Park on Sunday. My brand new Brooks B66 is already very comfortable (first ride with new saddle).

great website.

AGE / VALUE:   Royce Union 3 Speed posted by: Andrew on 8/17/2002 at 12:51:16 AM
Royce Union 3 speed & TCW hubposted by Sheldon Brown on 8/27/2001 at 4:30:04 PM
Royce Union was not a "maker of 3-speeds" or of anything else, as far as I know. Royce Union is an importing/trading company, not a manufacturer. Some "Royce Union" 3-speeds were Raleighs, others were not.

I hope Sheldon Brown can provide some insight: I've recently purchased a Royce Union Pilot 3 speed men's bicycle, Made in Holland, aka "Land of Bicycles" which, i'm happy to say has been, according to the decals, Precision Engineered and Safety Tested prior to my ownership. It is equipped with an extremely quiet Sturmey-Archer SW hub dated 59 1 (GB Patents 49248 Others Pending). It has Lepper rims Made in Holland, 36 spoke F&R and a front tire by Michelin, Made in England, rear tire by Michigan, Made in West Germany, both 26x 1 3/8. F&R Weinmann Junior caliper type brakes.

If this great-riding bicycle was not actually manufactured by Royce Union of Union Cycle Works, Holland, who made it?

Please see photos at:

Thank you for your comments,