Sportsters and Roadsters
Today Where bicycles similar to the classics
are new today
for Sportsters and Roadsters Today Where
parts for these classics, new and vintage, can be found
Bicycle Advocacy and Politics
Protect Bicycling Rights and Safety.
Parts List for an English 1960
Owner's Manual for an English
1960 Hercules Bicycle
Including Sturmey Archer AW Hub Parts Diagram.
of Roadsters and Sportsters to Other Bicycles
Getting an Old
Three Speed Bike
Ready to Ride
Not A Perfect Bicycle? No, I
didn't Say That
Safely - Be Prepared
How To Pack A Bicycle For
More About Biria Bicycles - A
new internal hub bicycle
US Citizens Be Responsible -
Find out what your government is doing and vote.
Bicycle Data and Info About New
site is about three speed bicycles first and foremost,
vintage bicycles from brands such as Hercules, Humber,
Robin Hood, Raleigh, Rudge, Triumph, and many others,
and secondly new brands such as Torker, Sun, and others.
website was moved from its original site, threespeedbicycles.angelcities.com,
to this site on November 24, 2011 due to the mysterious
disappearance of angelcities.com.
There will be some reference to other enclosed gear
system bicycles and related data, but that will be held
to a minimum. This website has existed
since 2003 but it needed to be moved. If I had done
nothing it might have remained unseen for an unknown
amount of additional time. It is now on a very
dependable and stable server and more improvements and
updates for this website are on the way.
(Updated January 2, 2012
240H x 296W
Once upon a time there were bicycles that
seemed to invite you to go for a ride. They had fenders to
keep themselves and their riders clean. They had a
chainguard to protect their rider's trouser cuff. They had a
saddle that, though not as comfortable as an easy chair, at
least didn't seem like it was on the attack. They had few
enough gears for the correct one to be easily chosen, (3, 4,
or 5), and yet there were enough to make the bicycle easy to
ride. They had tires that were just wide enough to go just
about anywhere except in the rough and mud. They had
handlebar grips that were padded well enough that gloves
were usually not needed by their rider. It was easy to hang
bags and baskets on them if your travel required that you
take luggage and such with you. Their parts, except for
cables and brake blocks, seemed to be almost permanent. Even
when they did need a repair that required a removal of a
part, which usually was only after months or years of use,
if even then, the design of these bicycles made the
operation easy. Many models even came with what we today
consider "extras", (fenders, chainguard, lights, luggage
rack, pump, bell, and kickstand), as standard
equipment. Want more details about how these bicycles were
easy to repair and adjust? Click here.
Hub: Sturmey Archer S5
1978 Sports 3 Speed
Hub: Sturmey Archer AW
Hercules Gent's 3 Speed
Hub: Sturmey Archer AW
Robin Hood Lady's 3 Speed
Hub: Sturmey Archer AW
No, it is not a tall tale. It really did
happen once upon a time. Even today not everyone's idea of
bicycle riding fits a mountain bike, road racing bike, or
even the ordinary comfort bike. The best news is that these
bicycles are not all gone. Many of the old ones survive and
new bikes that are similar are still being offered in the
present model year, 2004. The market of new bicycles is even
leaning, though only slightly as the year 2004 begins,
towards an increase in demand for bicycles that make the
rider feel comfortable. If you love these old three speed
bicycles for any or all of the following; quality,
dependability, dignified appearance, ease of repair,
comfort, adaptability, rideability, even nostalgia, you may
doubt that any bicycles can be made today that even come
close to the vintage bicycles that were made in England by
such names as Armstrong, BSA, Dunelt, Hercules, Humber,
Norman, Phillips, Robin Hood, Rudge, Raleigh, Sunbeam, and
others. (A more complete list appears a little further on.)
There have been numerous three speed bicycles made ever
since the three speed internal gear hub was invented in 1902
by Sturmey Archer. This site will be mostly about vintage
three speed bicycles. And since most of the three speed
bicycles were made in England as were the Sturmey Archer
three speed hubs, this site will mostly center on the three
speed bicycles that were made in England. These bicycles
were made to last. (Click here
to see places where I have been riding my almost 40 year old
It was approximately 41 years ago that I first saw what is
inside a three speed bicycle hub. Thanks to the diagram on
the parts list that came with my bicycle, made by the
Hercules Cycle & Motor Company of Birmingham
England, I was able to reassemble the hub successfully. Hey,
if a ten year old can reassemble a Sturmey Archer AW hub how
hard can it be? All you need is the tools, the time (with
experience less than 30 minutes), and the diagram of where
the parts go. For me that was on the Hercules bicycle parts
list. That Hercules bicycle parts list circa 1960 can
be seen here.
Three speed bicycles are still being made although not by
most of the original manufacturers. The Sturmey Archer three
speed hubs are also being made under the same brand name by
a different manufacturer (SunRace) in a different country.
This site will be mostly about the vintage three speed
bicycles but there will be some mention about other internal
gear bicycles including some new ones. But it will only be
about bicycles with enclosed hub gear systems. No bicycles
with exposed gear systems will be allowed on these pages.
Here's a form to submit bicycle information, questions
or comments to the author of this page.
On this page and others I tell you about some of the
bicycles that I own or have owned.
But this form is for you to tell me about your bicycles.
You may tell me, anonymously, what kind of bicycle(s) you
have, using the form below.
If listing more than one bicycle, you may use the
"Comments" part of the form.
Please include your email address in the "Comments " part
of the form if you want an
answer. Of course, then you will not be anonymous to me. I
will not divulge names or
email addresses that you send to me. These comments will
be put on another page on this
site but any names or personal information that you give
me will not be divulged.
If I compile a list of bicycles, models, and model years
for this website, that too will be anonymous. Thank you.
Or, you may e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The form above has generated a lot of response. I
have added a page so that you too can see the
responses that I have gotten. No identities will
be shown. No need to be worried, even if you
included your email address. It will not
be shown. All responses will only show brand of
bicycle, year of bicycle, model of bicycle, and
comments. If any reference to the responder's
identity was included it will not be
shown. I just want you to see how many vintage
three speed bicycles are out there as I have seen
from this form page. True this is not a scientific
survey. It is not at all guaranteed to be
accurate. But it is interesting.
To see some of the responses to the
questionnaire above click here.
More about this questionnaire.
Many of the responses to this questionnaire have
included questions about the value of the types of
bicycles that I have mentioned on these pages. I
can't do that. I don't know if anyone can. One
reason is that there are so many variables. I'll
list just a few.
One of the best ways to determine the value of a
bicycle is to see what similar bicycles have sold
for on Ebay. That, of course, will only tell you
what a bicycle would likely sell for on Ebay. If you
find the same bicycle in a bicycle store it will
probably sell for more because they will probably
check it over and make needed adjustments before
they sell it. Then there is the yard sale as well as
other places you may find where one of these
bicycles is being sold. And if you are real lucky,
you may even find one being thrown out and have the
honor of "rescuing" it.
- Year of manufacture (A brand and/or model
that one year was the "cream of the crop" was in
another year nowhere near that level. The design
of a certain brand and/or model sometimes would
be redirected toward a different group of buyers
based upon what the company thought would help
increase their profit.)
- Condition (The importance of this even varies
by age make and model.)
- Where the buyer lives (How much will the
- Where the seller lives (How much will the
- And possibly most important is that any price
is a figment of the imagination. When both the
buyer's and the seller's imagination agree, the
item gets sold. If their imaginations don't
agree, there is no sale .
Please forgive me if you asked for my estimate of
the value of a bicycle and I didn't answer. If your
question was for other advice I will try to answer
soon. If I fail to answer your question, and it
doesn't have to do with a price estimate, please
repeat your email.
views since Febuary 1,2003
My First Bicycle - A 1960 Hercules Hawthorne Three Speed
My first bicycle was a Hercules Hawthorne three speed
bicycle. (For more about Hercules Hawthornes sold by
Montgomery Wards click here.)
And since my parents gave the bike to me as a Christmas
present I didn't get to ride it right away, not until
spring. But I did get to work on it even before I rode it.
looking it over a few days after Christmas and noticed
that the hub bearing adjustments weren't quite perfect as
the owners manual said they should be. The owner's manual
told how to adjust the bearings and since only simple
tools were needed to adjust the hub bearings I made sure
the hub bearing adjustment was made as close to perfect as
possible. The bearings probably would have worn in in time
to be smoother without any further adjustment, but I had
months before I could ride the bike. And it is better to
have the adjustment exactly correct. Besides, I got to see
how many times I could get the wheels to turn after a
gentle spin of them with my hand.
At left is a picture of my first bicycle, a 1960 Hercules
Hawthorne with a Sturmey Archer model AW three speed hub.
This picture was probably taken in the fall of 1961.
There Have Been Many Brands Of Three Speed Bicycles Made
Three speed bicycles have been made by many companies
over the last century. Here's a partial list of just the
ones that at one time were made in or near England;
Armstrong, BSA, Carlton, Claud Butler, Dawes, The
Defiance, Dunelt, Dursley Pederson, Elswick, F. H. Grub,
Gazelle (the Dutch Raleigh), Gloria, Halford, Hateley's,
Hercules, Hetchins, Hobbs of Barbicon, Holdsworth, Humber,
Indian (by Phillips), Invicta, Keystone, The Londoner,
Mead, Norman, Phillips, Popular Special, Robin Hood, Royal
Enfield, Royal Londoner, Royal Scott, Royal York, Rudge,
Rudge-Witworth, Scout, Sunbeam, Sun Cycles, Triumph,
Vulcan, Wearwell, and Windsor. Raleigh bought out so many
of its competitors, mostly in the 1950's and 1960's, that,
at one time or another, Raleigh has made many of these
brand names even though many of those brands at other
times were made by other companies. Since Raleigh, at
times, would manufacture bikes under a custom brand name
of your choice for an order of only 100 bikes, some names
could have a production run of only 100 bikes. But don't
get excited about making a great profit finding one of
them. Often the only difference is the name on the decal
and name-plate that went on the bike. And as I said before
they last so well that it's likely that all 100 that were
manufactured under that name still exist with most of them
in operating condition or near operating condition. And
others of these brands enjoyed years of a model run, into
the millions of units produced, and a possibility of
millions still surviving. They are out there, some still
in daily transportation duties, others in attics, garages,
barns, and carriage houses awaiting re-discovery.
Other sites with more information about some of the bike
brands listed above will be listed on this page as found.
So far there are those listed below.
The Canberra Bicycle Museum pages
archived in the Pandora Archive by the National Library of
Australia and Partners. (This link had disappeared but can
still be seen at the Pandora Archive.) BSA, Dursley
Pedersen, Eagle, Raleigh, Sunbeam, Tri-ang bicycles, and
Humber page at the Wolverhampton Museum
Sunbeam page at the Wolverhampton Museum
Vulcan and Wearwell page at the
Wolverhampton Museum of Industry
Information can also be found at the Classic
Rendezvous website about many brands including those
My Second Bicycle - A Sears Three Speed Made In Austria
My second bicycle was a Sears three speed made in Austria by
Puch. The hub appears to be a Sturmey Archer model AW that
was licensed by Sturmey Archer to be made in Austria. It is
very similar internally but externally it looks quite
different. The hub has three parallel raised ribs running
around the hub. The axle nuts have no markings but are
chrome plated. The trigger lever attaches with its clamp on
its back instead of being clamped from its edge as the
Sturmey Archer trigger levers are attached to the handlebar.
But it sounds just like hubs that were made by Sturmey
Archer in England. I probably wouldn't have bought this bike
if it didn't sound just like a Sturmey Archer hub.
The Sound Of A Sturmey Archer Three Speed Hub
I got accustomed to the sound of a Sturmey Archer model
AW hub. They have a distinctive click in second and third
gear and when coasting. Any other three speed hub, such as
a Shimano hub, which also has a distinctive click, just
didn't interest me. You can probably tell the difference
too. If you can put a bike with a Sturmey Archer model AW
hub and a bike with a Shimano three speed hub near each
other and just lift the rear of the bike enough to spin
the rear wheel, first one then the other. There is a
difference in the sound. If you had a bike with a Shimano
hub when you were eight years old you might think that the
Sturmey Archer hub sounds strange. They both work equally
well, and they are both about the same to work on even
though they are designed with noticeable differences.
My Reasons For Writing These Pages
There are a few reasons why I have taken the time to
write these pages. The greatest incentive came when I
found that Raleigh was planning to start importing bikes
made elsewhere to sell after about 100 years of making
Raleigh bikes, and most of the components that go on them,
in their own factory that covered about 40 acres in
Nottingham England. The report was online here at Bicycle Retailer.
Another reason is that I still prefer to ride a three
speed (or as in this picture a five speed) Sturmey Archer
equiped English bicycle. The racing style with its
downturned handlebars, narrow saddle, and toe clips isn't
the right choice for riding in traffic on city streets any
more than a bulky mountain bike is. A bicycle with
internal hub enclosed gears is so trouble free and easy to
shift that it is still my first choice. The picture below
is me with one of my favorite bicycles, a Raleigh Sprite 5
speed on June 30, 2004.
Raleigh, as well as most other surviving manufacturers of
these three speed bikes, had already found the demand for
these bikes diminish and produced few, if any, in recent
years favoring mountain bikes and racing bikes which use
the more popular external derailleur gears. You can still
buy new, used, and re-manufactured three speed bikes.
Today you can purchase Gazelle three speed, (or 7 speed),
bicycles made by Gazelle in Holland. Or you can
purchase Gazelle three speed, (or 7 speed), bicycles made in
Holland through Cycle Heaven in York, England (they
call them Dutch bikes). Or you can purchase three speed ,
(or 7 speed), bicycles made by Pashley of
England (they call them Pashley Classics). Or you can
purchase three speed bicycles re-manufactured by Cycles
of Yesteryear using three speed bicycles from the
1950's. Two more brands of three speed bicycles have been
brought to my attention not long ago. They don't appear to
be marketed in the U. S. A. at this time. But they are being
sold in England. They appear to be quite plain and basic but
also quite low in price. They are the models Le Mans and La
Riviera by Universal Cycles (using Sram hubs),
and the models Classic men's and Classic lady's by Hawk
Cycles. In the U. S. A. you can purchase three speed
bicycles, (or 7 speed), made in Germany by Biria (more
Biria bicycles), three speed bicycles, (or 7 speed),
and three speed bicycles, by Sun
Bicycles. There are other bicycles being made today
that use internal hub gears. So many in fact that instead of
adding the list to this page I have created a new page,Roadsters_and
These new bicycles are not just copies of the old standards.
New designs are incorporated into many of them. Probably the
most like the originals are the ones made by Pashley.
I thought I would have no interest in any three speed
bicycles that are not true to the classic designs. After
all, I have only owned the originals, the ones that were
made thirty years or more ago. How could today's
manufacturing do better than the originals?
I have had to rethink my resistance to change after seeing
one brand of bicycle that has a heritage in the past but
whose bicycles are definitely made for today and tomorrow. I
find it comforting that bicycles with the old standards of
quality, durability, and performance are being made today in
a way that should ensure not only many years of use to those
who purchase these bicycles but also that the bicycle type
that has an internal hub gear system, fenders, chainguard,
comfortable saddle, etc., will continue to be offered as a
current model for years to come.
That brand is Biria. The quality is excellent. Only
a handful of bicycle brands that I know of are designed in a
way that doesn't sacrifice quality for price. Now that I
know of Biria
they are included in that short list. But to impress me
enough for me to accept that anyone has the right to
redesign three speed internal gear bicycles the changes have
to offer something significant and not just be change for
the sake of change. And, they are reasonably priced. For
more about Biria bicycles click here.
Reasonably priced, highest quality bicycles, with
significant design improvements *
aren't as common as they once were. In
40 years a whole new generation might be wishing that they
bought these Biria bicycles, just as I wish I had been able
to buy a new Sunbeam bicycle.
You can also track down used three speed bicycles quite
easily since so many of them have been made and they are
so durable that there are still many of them around. They
can often be put back into service with just a little
reconditioning, even if they have been out of service for
years. If you have some mechanical ability, you may be
able to do the work yourself. For me they seem like one of
the simplest machines to work on, but that could be
because I have been working on them for about forty-two
years, ever since I was about eight years old. Some of the
best sources are, alphabetically; Cyclerecycler,
Three Speed News
A bicycle shop in Madison Wisconsin, U. S. A.
sells new 3 speed Classic Roadsters manufactured
in India, (single speed, 3 speed, or 7 speed.). -
The BBC has a tour of the Raleigh Factory online,
beginning in the reception area of the factory, as well
as other Raleigh related info - Click here.
A Century of Bicycle Production Ends Thursday November
28, 2002 - The BBC report on The Raleigh factory at
Nottingham England - Click here.
The Long Road From England to Taiwan for Sturmey
Archer - Click here.
Bicycle Advocacy and Politics - Click here.
about this comparison and others click here.
Can a bicycle get better as it ages?
gets better with age. Usually it just wears out. But
there are exceptions. I'm convinced that some of
those exceptions are part of many bicycles that were
made in England or Austria. This
characteristic may apply to bicycles made in other
countries but I only have first hand knowledge of
bicycles made in Austria and England. The bicycle in
the picture below is one of those bicycles that has
improved with age. The picture was taken in December
2002. The subject, a Sears JC Higgins Austrian built
three speed, was manufactured during 1966. That
makes it at least 36 years old. It was the economy
model listed in the 1966 Sears catalog and
originally sold for $39.95.
What gets better?
If you compare the December 2002 picture to the one
further above that was taken in 1967, you can see that
some parts have been replaced. For some of them you may
have to look very closely, others are obvious. The parts
that have been replaced are; fenders, rear reflector,
chainwheel side crank, pedals, tires, shift cable,
kickstand, brake cables, and rims. Tubes, though not
obvious, I'm sure have been replaced a number of times.
The saddle bag has been added and the pump is not
mounted on the frame although a replacement has been on
the pump mounts as needed for long rides.
So what gets better? The most notable is the rear
hub. Although parts of it do eventually wear out, on
the way there the operation of the hub actually gets
smoother. And then when the wear degrades operation, a
simple opening, a replacing of the parts that need to
be, and a relube put it back at least as good as new.
Improvements? Just as I prefer vintage Hercules, Raleigh,
Armstrong, Phillips, and all others of their type for what
they are, much of the general public resists them for what
they are. To them they appear to not give as much of what
they want. To me I see today's bicycles not giving as much
of what I want. I will choose a bicycle that has a little
surface rust and needs a little attention over a new one
if it means having a bicycle like the one I had when I was
10 years old. I will choose a bicycle that has a gear hub
that has a neutral area between 2nd and 3rd and
requires me to remember to give it a few drops of oil once
in a while if I can have the piece of mind that I am
riding a bicycle that has a hub design that has already
taken me thousands of miles without trouble. And what
price the vintage bluish chrome or the 40 spoke rear and
32 spoke front wheels, just as it is supposed to be.
But the majority of bicyclists probably aren't too sure
that those sentiments are rational. I realize that. So for
them the improvements of these new bicycles are very
real and very significant. I have ridden a brand new Biria
. It rides as good as the best English roadster that I
have ridden. It is even more tame and rideable for a
novice than the English roadster. It has riding
characteristics that you won't get tired of regardless how
much you have ridden. But it is not a Hercules, or
Raleigh, etc., and it doesn't try to be. Its aim is to be
lighter, easier to ride, safer, with more, better
integrated features, and it succeeds.
|Some of the better examples of currently manufactured
bicycles that are equiped with enclosed-hub, multi-speed
gears will be highlighted in this side-column.
Torker is offering a 2 speed bicycle in its 2012 lineup that
uses the Surmey Archer KB2 Automatic Kick-Back-Shifter hub.
While this is not a 3 speed but worthy of notice due to the
ability to shift without any cables.
Sun Bicycles is offering a 3 speed bicycle with a low
step-over that they call the Streamway 3.
The reason I mention these here is that the store, Bob
Lounsbury Sporting Goods, where I have worked for
approximately the last 30 years can order these models
from these various manufactureres. If you live in the area
of Middletown, NY or are planning to be near enough to stop
by you can order these and other models from us as long as
you can stop by to pick the bicycle up, or have someone pick
up the bicycle for you at 104 North St., Middletown, N.Y.
10940, phone 845-343-1808. We only sell bicycles in a fully
assembled, fully adjusted, ready to ride condition. We
accept all credit cards except American Express.
Well there, now I have gotten around to use this
website to offer to sell something. Now this website is much
less rare; having done so might even increase the number of
visitors to this website. Now back to some of the other
models I have found being offed by companies that we
Torker has what might be the closest to what the
English 3 speeds might have been today if they had continued
a gradual evolution from 1960 forward. It is the Torker