Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fall is Here, but Summer is Holding On

We had a classic, August-type day here today: well into the 80s and quite sunny. It was not quite as humid as August, but it certainly was more like summer than fall. That's fine by me - I got to take out my 1958 Raleigh Sports.

The last time I rode, I got a piece of glass in my tire and needed to repair the flat. I ended up using a traditional, glue-on patch. This is becoming less and less common, I find. People are resorting to just replacing the tube (they're usually not much money), or using a sticker-patch. I still glue when I patch - the old way works just fine. I will say that I pitch the tube if it is of the very cheap type (Duro or similar). Better tubes, like Forte, Kenda, or the heavy duty tubes, I patch.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fall Arrives - Raleigh Content

Fall is here; it is hard to believe it. I have been riding my 1974 Raleigh Sports and 1972 Raleigh Twenty for a few days now, and both are great bikes.

Portable LED lights are helpful to both - the Twenty relies entirely on LED lights, and the Sports uses the LED to augment its Dynohub rig.

 The bikes are slightly different shades of Bronze Green. Raleigh seems to have had some variation in this color over the course of the 1960s and 70s. Some bikes are more of a metallic, true "bronze" tone, while others are more of a medium "green". The variation makes each bike interesting.

I was especially pleased that the Ascher tail light straps right onto a Pletscher rear rack - no modifications needed to anything. It stays on and looks nice on the Raleigh Twenty.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ending the Weekend - 1974 Raleigh Sports

A couple shots from the last roundup for this weekend - 1974 Raleigh Sports 3-speed on the road. It's a humid, but reasonably nice evening.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Schwinn Continental 3 Speed

A few shots of this 1947 Schwinn Continental on the road this afternoon. We're in a spell of summer-like weather, with relatively high humidity and temperatures in the mid-80s every day.

I won't complain - it has stayed dry enough to ride. The Schwinn Continental represented a relatively luxurious light roadster from Schwinn. The frame is Cro-Mo and hand fillet brazed together. It has forged dropouts front and rear brazed into the frame. It was a step below the Paramount and a step above the New World.

There is also a rather liberal use of aluminum parts on this bike for that period - aluminum front hub, aluminum stem neck, double-butted spokes, and stainless steel rims.

Despite the luxurious touches for an American-made bike of the time, Schwinn continued to use the old-style quadrant shifter from Sturmey Archer until 1948. In 1948, Schwinn swapped to a the "silver face" trigger shifter.

The Schwinn roadsters often got their own, adult-oriented badges instead of the more ornate badges aimed at kids on the balloon tire bikes. These plain but elegant badges were on the Continental.

Do Sturmey Archer AW Parts All Interchange?

One question that comes up fairly often is:

"I have a problem with my Made in England Sturmey Archer AW and need a replacement part. Do all AW parts from 1936 through the early 1980s interchange?"

The answer often given online is "yes", but the truth is a little more complicated. The basic rule is this: most Sturmey Archer Made in England AW parts will interchange. However, the farther apart the years of your hub and the replacement part, the more likely you are to run into problems.

Let's start by removing "copies" - versions of the AW made in other countries or by other companies. These will be the subject of later writings. We'll focus solely on Sturmey Archer-made AWs from the main factory (see footnote on license-built or copy hubs).

Let's also remove the recent "no in-between gear" and Taiwan-made Sturmeys. Again, focusing only on main factory AWs.

 Here is a picture illustrating our rule - it shows an evolution of Sturmey Archer drivers, from left to right, taken from various AW hubs over the years.

The oldest is a threaded driver with simple, tapered tines. It dates to the late 1940s - early 1950s. It's relatively well-finished and is well-hardened. It takes a standard track cog or even can house a small freewheel for hybrid gearing (a derailleur with the AW in combination).

Next is a 1950s-60s era driver. This has plain, tapered tines but takes a three-spline cog and spacers. The thickness of the tines is actually slightly different than the earlier driver, but not by much. The second picture shows the tines are a little beefier than the threaded driver. They should interchange OK, but the shifting might not be quite as smooth.

Next is a 1960s era driver. At some point in the 1960s (I think), the factory began to re-profile the drivers, at least some of them. This driver has a very slight "hourglass" shape and some radiusing of the tines. The tines are also a little less beefy at the ends. I ran into trouble with this particular driver in a late 1940s hub. I found that the differences in tine shape and size made the "neutral" between Normal and High a bit bigger than should be. Do they interchange? Sort-of. The hub worked, but I didn't like the enlarged neutral, so swapped to a closer-in-size driver.

Finally, Sturmey transitioned to a totally different driver tine shape in the early 1970s (I think - this is what I can tell from the hubs I've seen). The later driver actually does away with the tapering and has "step-downs" profiled into the tines. The upper portion of the tines are broader, but the step-downs are narrower. This was probably done to smooth-out shifting on later hubs.  I once tried to put one of these in an early AW hub, and the shifting was a bit erratic. Does it interchange? Again, sort-of. The hub worked generally, but the shifting was not as crisp as the earlier, more correct driver. It can be used in a pinch, but if I was doing a lot of riding on the bike, I'd want a driver closer to the original.

So my verdict is: for the most part, Sturmey Archer AW parts interchange, at least the ones from the main factory. However, there are very slight differences in the parts over the years, that are not really accounted for in much of the literature online. My advice is to look for a part as close in era to your hub as possible. If you absolutely cannot find the part, go with the later era AW part.

Footnote: interchange falls apart to a degree in dealing with copies of the AW made in other factories. Parts from license-built hubs in Austria or from other brands are less likely to interchange with main factory AWs. I've had hubs not run properly using those parts.