• These ones are Vulcano. I think they were one of the only tan wall tubulars I could find in 25mm wide.

    They are a nice looking tyre. Tan colour is more yellow than tan, like they were in the 1980s. Nice and round all the way round, unlike, say, a Vittoria Rally which often has a bulge. More supple than a Continental Giro but I’d say it’s wearing out a bit faster. Only criticism is that the rubber perishes quite quickly in comparison to other tubs I’ve had. They don’t last more than about a year before developing some cracks.

    I also had a pair of Strada Bianca which were an amazing old-looking tyre, with s nice colour tan wall and ribbed all round. They were really nice but only come in 30mm and the big size didn’t quite look right on skinny Fiamme rims. They would have been ideal otherwise, because they’re a tyre designed for Paris-Roubaix so built tough as hell with a really thick tread band.

  • a bit £££ and a bit fragile but sworks turbo cottons are aesthetically like a slimmer strada bianca

  • Well spotted. I thought the fork looked slightly odd but just assumed they'd been repainted due to chrome loss.

  • It was in one piece a few weeks ago and had a few nice parts which are also for sale - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/303558429894

  • Early Rotrax with Spear point lugs and great brake bridge -

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  • I expect this is an excellent frame, but before anyone shells out a lot of money for it I think they should ask just how much of it is Rotrax.

    It seems to me as though it has had a major repair since the head lugs look at least 20 years younger than the rest of the frame. It looks like it's had a new top, head and down tube, plus some other mods.

    I don't think Campag ends even existed in 1948. I can't tell what the front fork ends are, but I wouldn't expect them to be Campag. If I had come across this frame in the early seventies, smashed up and cheap, I might well have had it repaired exactly as it has been done, so I don't see anything wrong, unless a purchaser thinks he is buying an original 1948 Rotrax.

    You will note that it has brazings for handlebar gear controls, which is fine - as long as you have
    suitable levers available and you like that system (I do, many don't).

    So, a fine project - as long as you know what you're getting.

  • Advice on 40-50s Sturmey Archer hubs please -
    Going to get a SA hub for my Holdsworth 47' build and have been reading up on them.
    What I have read suggests that the -
    3 speed AM is very good
    4 speed FW is very good

    Can anyone offer any further experiences, things to look out for when trying to decide what hub is best and how easy are they to service if I bought a well used one, Or should I be looking for one with little use.


  • 3 speed AM is meant to be good, although my (coincidentally 1947) example has seized fast, probably due to a pawl spring disaster, and needs sending off to be fixed, so they aren't fool proof. I think AW and maybe FW's are solid and can go on for ever as long as aforementioned pawls don't wear (maybe an AM as a club gear would see heavier use than an AW off a utilitarian bike such as an old Raleigh sit up and beg?) AC's are fiddly and on some models are very very close ratios. ASC's are obviously a different story as fixed but mine is fun, WHEN I can get it set right. TF's are Hilary Stone's favourite Sturmey but are really a 30s gear.
    Sheldon Brown's big table of Sturmey models is very useful. Find it here: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet_s­-a-hubs.html#tbfc

    SO, I'd say an AW is the safest bet but if you fancy something more exotic try and get one with as little use as possible, the problem being there is No real way of knowing the amount of use one has had as you can't see any wear externally really at all by the very nature of an internal hub gear. I think they are a bit of a fiddly nightmare to service but instructions and excellent exploded diagrams can be readily found on the internet.-Check 'Hadlands Blog ' and Sheldon Brown. I have toyed with the idea of fixing my stuck AM my self, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea and I should probably send it off to be fixed by a pro!) IF you are a more patient and methodical person than than me with a keener engineering mind than perhaps give it a go if you can find a cheap one. -the issue being here you really need to build it into a wheel and test ride it in anger to uncover any lurking problems, by which time it is rather disheartening to have to take it apart and try to salvage it!

    Don't be put off though, they have a lovely simplicity all of there own when working, and you learn to love the gentle tick they make as you ride along.....

  • AH!, it' that bike stripped-I didn't make that connection, had watched it as a whole bike as well)

  • Thanks very much for all information, advice and the link for further reading. I knew nothing about them until very recently and didn't realise that they produced so many different models for different uses and it was mind boggling at first but it's starting to sink in.

  • I only realised when I saw the Allez pedals for sale as I had asked the previous seller of the complete bike about the damage to them.

  • I’d be inclined to stick with a 3-speed AW. There are literally thousands of them knocking around for buttons and they’re bombproof. Easy to set up and most problems are usually solved with a bit of oil.

  • Received wisdom suggests SA hubs are difficult to work on, and I believed it until I retired and had the time to give it a go myself.

    I've stripped cleaned and re-assembled several utility bike AW hubs from the mid 50s (one sacrificial in case I couldn't do it, one to actually use and one as a spare) following YouTube instructions - given plenty of time and bench space to lay parts out in an exploded view manner, and it seemed quite doable. For reference I took photos at every step just in case. All seemed to have much the same problem - thick oily sludge, possibly from the wrong oil or inadequate dust sealing, very little actual wear, all now work fine.

    Looking at exploded views, I think the AM looks similar in construction to the AW - would you have time to strip and rebuild a relatively cheap eBay AW by way of informing decisions on servicing?

  • I don't have the space really to lay it out like that, it would have to be in the house and if the cat found it It would be doomed. Also, even if I do have the time, I'm not entirely sure I have the patience! I could try on a cheap sacrificial AW though first I suppose....

  • Assuming just a hub not a wheel, probably no more than 3' x 1' bench space and possibly a selection of jam jar lids or similar to group things in. If memory serves, I needed roughly four hours (though not all in one go) for the first one, less than three for the most recent. Possibly the cat would be the biggest problem? (NB this is unsolicited advice from a man with time and space but no cat)

  • I was taught Sturmey Archer hub stuff by " Bunny" at the bike shop where I worked in the 70's. There was an SA manual rather like a Haynes car repair manual kicking about to help back then. I guess it's still available?

  • 1938 Claud Butler with original paperwork

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  • Gillott spearpoint which needs some TLC

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  • My experience with Sturmey hubs is that they are generally reliable and almost impossible to wear out. That's not to say there are no problems.

    Having only three (or even four) gears might seem a bit limiting, but it would be acceptable as long as they were the right three gears for your purpose. Unfortunately the AW ratios are not really suitable for anything. As you've probably read the differences are 25% reduction from direct drive and 33% increase: for example with 66" direct you get about 50" bottom and 88" top. Bottom is not as low as you want for the sort of machine the AW is intended for but top is too high to be much use except for conditions when you would probably choose to freewheel.
    If only it was 25% up and 33% down!

    Possibly Sturmey recognised this error when they came to the four speed FM and FW which both (confusingly) have a 33% reduction for bottom.

    The AM is fine as long as you can cope without a low gear. It gives the equivalent of a 3 speed block with two tooth diferences (eg 14,16, 18). I have one of these built into a sprint rim which I found gave fairly good results (for me) in time trials. Being a three speed it's less prone to trouble than the four speeds, which can be a bit tricky to get into bottom gear.

    You also need to conside availability of sprockets - there's no problem with the modern 3 spline type, although they don't wear very well. Other types may be difficult.

    Finally, the shell - if you have adequare 40 hole rims - fine. All the FM and FW hubs I've seen have been 40's, and as we know this can cause problems. AW's can come in 40, 36 and 28 - it may be possible to change shells and internals, but don't know what is compatible. Don't imagine the Ali shells used on many AM and FM hubs save a worthwhile amount of weight - they are barely any lighter than the steel shells - the weight comes from the internals.

    When I was young I thought these hubs were useless, now in old age I find I've grown into them - so well worth a try. Just don't attempt road races or chain gangs!

  • That Gillot would be excellent for a very tall Simplex derailleur user.

  • What’s the gear change like on an old SA fixed gear hub? Does it disengage (spin) in between shifts like a freewheeling AW does? Just wondering if you can ‘fix’ an AW by locking up the pawls or fitting solid pawls instead of spring loaded ones. I guess it would end up like trying to change a straight cut box in a car with no synchromesh.

  • The TF hub does go into 'neutral' between its two gears, but as I understand it this should not be used as a freewheeling mode as it's difficult to re-engage a gear safely without coming to a halt.

    Personally I don't think these fixed hubs are a good idea. First because the basic attraction of fixed is simplicity, and second because there is always quite a lot of backlash in the mechanism wnich makes it feel as though you have a slack chain.

    I did use a TF for a disabled rider with some success, but really the main benefit over single fixed was that the rider (who only had one good leg) could put the hub into neutral when stationary in order to get the 'useful' leg into a good starting position.

    I've no idea about converting an AW to fixed, excepting to say I wouldn't bother myself.

  • Recently acquired this Thanet Silverlight. New to vintage bikes, but attempting a slow and quite careful restoration. Loads of learning along the way!

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Pre 1950s rides of LFGSS: old bikes, vintage rats, classic lightweights

Posted by Avatar for luckyskull @luckyskull