Some of the most popular and sought after early sports roadsters, also known as English racers, are vintage Raleigh bicycles. In , Frank Bowden bought a bicycle on the recommendation of his physicians. So impressed with the bicycle, the wealthy businessman purchased the small bike shop, naming it the Raleigh Cycle Company, after the street in Nottingham, England, where it was located. Within a decade, Mr.
Dating bikes with a Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub
Hubs & Axles – Bicycle Heaven
Sturmey-Archer was one of two major manufacturers of internal-gear hubs in the early and mid 20th century. Shimano has made internal-gear hubs since The Sturmey-Archer AW 3-speed hub, by far the most popular one, was durable and, easy to maintain and rebuild. In the mid- and late 20th century, however, Sturmey-Archer introduced new hubs which were not as reliable, sometimes because of the internal design and sometimes because of the shifters. Quality issues also began to creep in. Sturmey-Archer history is covered in the book The Sturmey-Archer Story and its online update by Tony Hadland ; bits and pieces of the history are in the technical articles on this site. Sturmey-Archer was a division of Raleigh Industries until autumn, , when the parent company ran into financial difficulties.
This gallery contains 27 photos. My first geared bike had a Sturmey-Archer internal gear hub, it was probably a similarly styled shopper bike. What I now find interesting is that in a young, naive way our judgement of a bike often boiled down to how many gears it had unless of course it was a BMX and then you were super cool. I knew the Sturmey-Archer name, I knew it as an old way of offering a hi and low gear to a bike that would otherwise only have one and I knew it as heavy duty, and pre-derailleur. A real bike had 10 gears, obviously much needed on the flat roads of west london!
Note that the serial number information below is fragmentary and incomplete, and many bikes have proven to be much newer than the serial numbers would suggest. It appears that Raleigh recycled many of the older serial numbers in later years, so there are lots of bikes from the 60s and 70s that have serial numbers that would suggest much greater age. Most older Sturmey-Archer hubs have two or three-letter model codes, which are usually stamped onto the hub shell.