May 23, 2010

Raleigh Three Speed

Mark at HCHQ once told me that after the apocalypse, the only thing that will be left will be cockroaches riding Raleigh Three-Speeds. These old bikes are in every town in the country, and despite years of neglect almost all of them can be brought back to life with a little 30 weight oil, it seems.

Back in April, I lucked into a very reasonably priced Raleigh three-speed. The bike was in the garage of a friend's neighbor for years and was being thrown out. "That's too nice to just throw out" thought my friend, so he grabbed it. It then sat in his garage for a few more years.

He finally posted it for sale on MBL and I scored this thing. I am sure the tires were original; they were rotted and mummified and nasty. There was no grease to speak anywhere in the bike and the hub was dry, dry, dry.
After some new tires, some work on the saddle, a good lubing, a little TLC with the spoke wrench to true the wheels, and some steel wool to get the little rust spots off, it was ready to ride.

The ride is very upright but the frame is surprisingly stiff and fairly lively in the front end. It swoops around corners, though; I think it must have a fairly long wheelbase. The gearing is... ambitious. I swapped the stock cog for a 22 toothed replacement which makes it a little lower geared than it's cousins, but I still doubt I'll use "3" much.

This is a "goin' slow" bike. Part of the reason I wanted to add this to the stable was because I've never had a three-speed, so the hub interests me. But more to the point, I was in the market for a bike to toodle around on with Molly to go get ice cream, ride around the lake, etc. This fits that bill nicely.

I would be curious to see how much better it rides with alloy rims, but that's more money than I want to put into this thing right now. For now, I am enjoying this mostly-stock relic.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like it's ready for the 2011 3 Speed Tour!