Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Hobbs1951
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Re: Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Postby Hobbs1951 » 17 Jan 2020, 5:57pm

John Holiday wrote:Am amazed that more people don't use hub gears.


I agree, I ride a vintage Hobbs of Barbican with an S/A hub, my Wife's Father bought the frameset new in 1951 (and built the bicycle) for a tour of the Loire valley, I had the hub rebuilt by a friend/expert and it is superb - I've taken the bicycle back to the Loire several times in recent years.

Currently seriously considering having a new steel touring frame made to take a hub gear/hub brake combo with a hub brake in the front - not conventional thinking but I like the idea and the aesthetics.

John.

Carlton green
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Re: Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Postby Carlton green » 17 Jan 2020, 8:27pm

Carlton green wrote:@ Cycle Tramp. “Admittedly I had fitted my 3 speed to an expedition weight steel frame, with an upright riding position, front and rear racks and 1.75 inch tyres...
...perhaps if I used a lighter frame, thinner tyres, lost the front rack and used handle bars which allowed you to change positions to reduce my wind resistance then the gap between my high and middle gears may not have felt so prominent.”


To my mind such an arrangement is asking a bit much of a 3 speed hub and the proposed possible changes would be my direction of travel too ... might keep the front rack though. Drop or less upright handlebars would, I think, make a positive difference too, particularly when riding into headwinds.

@ mjr . Thank you, I would agree with all of your points and this morning I was thinking what a nice match your Kingpin and the three speed hub were. I should have clarified my earlier post to make clear that I was thinking about hub gears with many ratios rather than derailleur gears. My experience with my Sach 5 Speed Hub has been very positive, compared to a derailleur it has needed virtually no maintenance, the wheel has stayed true whilst derailleur geared ones tend not to and cleaning is something that I rarely need to do, whereas derailleur gears are dirt magnets. Yep, hub gears leave lots more time for riding ... and chains last ages too.

With building a wheel in mind I have a couple of loose (not in a wheel) SA hub gears which I need to inspect and then service as best I can. Their current state of repair is unknown, they are second hand and I’ve had them for decades (speculative purchases). The hubs are hidden outside within my stash of bike parts but as far as I know they are Nottingham AW’s. A few issues loom:

# The drop outs into which the hub will go are 120 mm but the standard SA is for a 110 mm drop-out and has a ‘short’ 5&3/4” axle. Do I need to obtain a longer axle (for my wider drop-outs) and if so what variant? 6&1/4” HSA 108 or 6&13/32” HSA 370 or what?
Edit. Elements of this older thread help with that question: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=102895 .

# I’m uncertain how far a hub can be stripped when it’s not in a wheel and if it’s an issue how might I manage it, etc. ?

# I’ll doubtless need some replacement parts but aren’t sure who are the better sources of supply are (ie. comprehensive range of parts at competitive prices). So far SJS, Practical Cycles and Holland Bike Shop look like potential suppliers. Please, does anyone have any recommendations ?

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mjr
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Re: Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Postby mjr » 17 Jan 2020, 8:46pm

Star Cycle Spares also sell some of the more common SA spares online.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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cycle tramp
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Re: Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Postby cycle tramp » 18 Jan 2020, 1:46pm

Carlton green wrote:
Carlton green wrote:@ Cycle Tramp. “Admittedly I had fitted my 3 speed to an expedition weight steel frame, with an upright riding position, front and rear racks and 1.75 inch tyres...
...perhaps if I used a lighter frame, thinner tyres, lost the front rack and used handle bars which allowed you to change positions to reduce my wind resistance then the gap between my high and middle gears may not have felt so prominent.”


To my mind such an arrangement is asking a bit much of a 3 speed hub and the proposed possible changes would be my direction of travel too ... might keep the front rack though. Drop or less upright handlebars would, I think, make a positive difference too, particularly when riding into headwinds.


Absolutely.... but then apart from head winds, the 3 speed hub worked well, despite encountering some of sustrans finest bicycle path surfaces....
....which does make me think that with thinner tyres, a lighter frame and drop handlebars a tapping along gear of 67 or 70 inches should be possible...
..what I would add is that when building up the bike try and use a chain set with a removable chain ring which fits a selection of good second hand chain rings... when I was experimenting with my gear ratios, I found it alot easier just to swap the chain ring over and alter the length of the chain... otherwise you have to get the wheel out of the frame, take off the split spring collar thing, swap the cog over, put the wheel back in the frame, then adjust the chain setting, then check the gear cable tension and then check that the brakes still correctly strike the wheel rim....
....towards the end of my gear experimentations , I changing the chain ring and chain length in just under 6 minutes.... (which made me think that if I was to do Lands End to John o Groats by 3 speed, I'd take a selection of chainrings and a couple of lengths of chain).
Don't be too proud to post photos of the build, I'm looking forward to see this one :-)

Carlton green
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Re: Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Postby Carlton green » 29 Jan 2020, 2:25pm

cycle tramp wrote:Don't be too proud to post photos of the build, I'm looking forward to see this one.


I’m not sure how to post photos but here’s just an update to report on my progress to date.

My earlier posts now have had additional comments (marked as edits) added to them to give answers to some questions I raised - so others may benefit from my experience.

I now have an old (very poor date mark, probably early 70’s) type hub that’s been stripped, cleaned, pair of new pawl springs added, greased, reassembled, oiled and adjusted. It works well on the bench but at the moment I’d prefer to hold it as a spare and not build it into a wheel. Building a wheel is a big investment in my time and effort, makes you take a moment or two to think and question whether there’s a better route forward.

Due to the uncertain long term availability of pre-NIG long axles - I’ve bent a few axles over the years - I’d prefer to fit a later NIG unit instead .... have a bid on something on eBay now. SA spares can be a bit of a minefield and as I hope to use this hub for many years getting a later model should help with long term spare parts availability (especially an axle long enough for my 120mm drop-outs).

That’s it for now. I’ll add more detail and progress when I have it. For what it’s worth I’ve been out on several rides recently and checked the proposed three speed gearing ratios against those that I use on my (other) derailleur geared bike. I will loose some used higher and lower ratios but overall I recon that things will be just fine enough.

Edit. After more research of the period when 3 speed hub geared bicycles were used for touring I discover that what I eventually want to create is something in the spirit of the Raleigh Lenton Sports. It was a drop handlebar three speed (?) touring bicycle, typically with front Dynohub - a kind of take you anywhere and anytime sort of machine.
Ref: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/retroralei ... ohler.html
https://on-the-drops.blogspot.com/2016/ ... -1960.html
http://www.retrobike.co.uk/
Last edited by Carlton green on 2 Feb 2020, 11:10am, edited 2 times in total.

jimlews
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Re: Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Postby jimlews » 30 Jan 2020, 7:30pm

cycle tramp wrote: (which made me think that if I was to do Lands End to John o Groats by 3 speed, I'd take a selection of chainrings and a couple of lengths of chain).


Or something like this:http://www.classiclightweights.co.uk/hybrid-lowry.html

Sid Aluminium
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Re: Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Postby Sid Aluminium » 1 Feb 2020, 5:46pm

Famous illustrator Brian Walker toured the Alps seventy years ago with a drivetrain as in the above post

August 1950.jpg
August 1950.jpg (159.12 KiB) Viewed 920 times


but in the same era Reginal Shaw favored the AW with a rear mech and 46 x 19 & 22 or 36 x 18 & 21 set ups.

Slowroad
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Re: Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Postby Slowroad » 2 Feb 2020, 8:58pm

I've a 20-year-old Brompton which I've just converted to 3-speed - the old 5-speed hub had since I got it second hand some years ago jumped in 1st and in 4th. After my last tour on it - I use it for youth hostel tours in Europe - I did up to 55 miles a day. But the gears were getting increasingly irritating. After boring no end of people about this and taking nearly 2 years to decide what to do, I saw a £100 3-speed wheel and gear changer kit on the SJS website. I've not ridden it much, but the first impressions are good. My thinking was that as I was only using 3 of the 5 speeds anyway (5th being too high even with 44-tooth chainring and 14-tooth sprocket!) I might as well have ones that work... and it was much cheaper than the alternatives.
Thinking about it, my first long day ride would have been on a 3-speed, a Humber Hercules possibly something like this: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/323773279495
50 miles - A614 Nottingham to Clumber and back! I'm actually quite impressed with myself... and it was January too.
“My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.”
― Peter Golkin

Greystoke
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Re: Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Postby Greystoke » 3 Feb 2020, 7:28am

In my youth I cycled round Scotland on a 10 speed touring bike with gears 40-100" so the SA 3 speed + 2 cogs would've been fine. Only used big gears downhill.

3speednut
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Re: Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Postby 3speednut » 3 Feb 2020, 9:54pm

I have a 1952 Raleigh Lenton with a 4 speed Sturmey Archer FW hub ,its a really nice bike to ride quite heavy but a very easy going machine to ride ,love the simplicity in use of Sturmeys hub gears ,I have a few 3 speed bikes and are much more useful a gear range than may be imagined .

Carlton green
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Re: Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Postby Carlton green » 7 Mar 2020, 7:24pm

I note some useful overlap with another thread so I post a link here in case it might help or interest others: Which IGH viewtopic.php?f=5&t=135913

I’m in the process of building up a SA AW wheel. The pre NIG hub I got earlier was fine but I opted to also get a NIG type too (very probably over cautious but it was easy to do and I’m thinking about replacement axles and very long term spares availability). The (second hand) NIG one wasn’t expensive and it has now been opened-up, stripped down, greased and had the OLN setting changed. Slow progress but life is full of distractions.

The comments on the other thread re the AW are most encouraging, in particular the post by Tiberius confirms that I’m heading in a very useful direction:

“ My 'winter bike' is a Genesis Flyer single speeder with a SA 3 in the rear and a Shimano dynohub up front.

Steel frame, drop bars, sliding drop outs (120 OLN). The SA 3 works very well with a bar end shifter and drags this 62 year old, around hilly North Yorkshire ...

I keep my eye on the chain through winter and then it gets a full strip/lube/brake shoes whatever one afternoon in summer and that's it.

I have an expensive derailleur bike and a 'R' bike which are both very good but I enjoy the utter simplicity of the Genesis. It's a cheapish simple thing but I would think nothing of riding off anywhere on it.”


Some of my earlier posts on this thread have been updated to add additional information.

Greystoke
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Re: Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Postby Greystoke » 8 Mar 2020, 10:03am

I agree, simplicity is the future

robc02
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Re: Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Postby robc02 » 9 Mar 2020, 10:50am

3speednut wrote:,I have a few 3 speed bikes and are much more useful a gear range than may be imagined .


+1.
Mine is set up with 47x19 so I ride it as I would a singlespeed but with a "bale-out" gear for up hill and an overdrive for down hill or tailwind stretches. Those who want to flick up and down gears, derailleur style, to optimise pedalling speed will be disappointed, otherwise the humble three speed has a lot going for it.
It is my main commuter and winter "getting the miles in" bike so sees regular 40 - 50 mile plus rides. I would happily ride it much further as long as the terrain wasn't mountainous.
I also have a 1950s Humber roadster (4 speed) that gets used for day rides plus the odd camping trip.

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mjr
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Re: Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Postby mjr » 9 Mar 2020, 11:48am

robc02 wrote:Mine is set up with 47x19 so I ride it as I would a singlespeed but with a "bale-out" gear for up hill and an overdrive for down hill or tailwind stretches. Those who want to flick up and down gears, derailleur style, to optimise pedalling speed will be disappointed, otherwise the humble three speed has a lot going for it.
It is my main commuter and winter "getting the miles in" bike so sees regular 40 - 50 mile plus rides. I would happily ride it much further as long as the terrain wasn't mountainous.
I also have a 1950s Humber roadster (4 speed) that gets used for day rides plus the odd camping trip.

I agree with Sheldon Brown and gear my 3 speed top-normal 2:1 so top is at 72", the top end of what I'd ride single speed, giving me two easier gears for starting off or climbing.

Mountains aren't the problem for three speeds, as they're usually long draggy climbs with hairpins. There's the famous video of a London hire bike climbing Ventoux, for example. It's the short steep hills that stop you.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Carlton green
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Re: Three Speed Day Rides and Touring, how long and how far.

Postby Carlton green » 7 Apr 2020, 2:21pm

An update on my experience for anyone that might be interested and, in a way, to thank those of you who were kind enough to contribute to the thread.

My utility bike now has a nice alloy shell three speed hub in it, I built the wheel from a spare rim too. The wheels used to be 27 x 1&1/4” but are now 700c running Swalbe Land Cruiser 700x35’s - thankfully there was just enough adjustment on the brake arm slots to allow that change without having to change my brakes too. The gearing is 46 at the front onto a 24 at the back. I like to tap along on a 65” gear but what’s fitted (a top gear that’s a bit under 69”?) seems to be a small fraction to high at the moment (the result of a currently necessary compromise) and the direct drive middle gear seems slightly more efficient than my derailleur set up - it’s nice when things work out as hoped.

On gearing for a normal and two lower gears I’ve now conclude that top should be able to carry you comfortably up a slight incline and that if you’re going down a gentle incline at your normal cycling pace then your top gear is wasted (too high) if you can apply noticeable pressure to the peddles. Enjoy the freewheel down gentle slopes, don’t try to add higher than normal pace to them, and pitch your top gear ratio such that it it allows you to use your natural highest cadence (and power) on a gentle up hill slope. Come up, down or level roads it’s all about maintaining your best steady pace rather than racing off down the road.

So far I’ve only done say 100 miles on the bike, there are still things to adjust and the like but I’m basically pretty pleased with it and anticipate it carrying me far. Its primary function is for getting me around town, but I think it will do nicely for a little rough stuff riding and I hope to use it for ‘day rides’ again too. It won’t be as capable as my ten speed (2 x 5) tourer but the early indications are that it will do all of what I had hoped for.

Edit. After a month using the bike with the 46 front ring driving my old 24 on the hub I am still really pleased with the bike overall but feel that the 69” top gear is on the high side for me to sustainably use (I must be getting old). As I had a 42 tooth ring in my store I fitted that and so dropped the top gear to 63”. The top gear is now fractionally low but I returned from an hour out with the new gearing less tired than I would have been with the old gearing, and I climbed things that I would have previously decided to walk up, etc. So overall a fine judgement in the shifting the gear range in the right direction, later changing from my now current 42x 24 to 42x 23 might give a further fine tuning improvement - the ordered 23 is currently lost in the postal system.
Last edited by Carlton green on 2 May 2020, 2:36pm, edited 6 times in total.