A Not So Brief Introduction.

Made in England

Well, it is now technically Spring and ones mind turn to bikes….of course.

And this last week-end I just picked up a bike that we’ll all get very familiar with.  This is the bike in which I’m going to use for this blogs section on cleaning, and refurbishing an old three speed.  I picked this one up from a Craigslist ad,  It’cost…$25.00.

So without further ado let me introduce to you the 1960 Phillips Manhattan.

Right Side

Sorry, it’s not the greatest photograph, but there will be many more of it as time goes on.  (And note this pic is still better than 75% of the pics on Ebay or Craigslist.)

HeadbadgeTailSeat tube decal


So obviously it’s a Phillips Manhattan.  This bike was supposedly made by Phillips for the American market.  And though I will say that some made it over here, I’m not totally convinced because if you look closely at the picture of the seat tube (the one with the Manhattan logo) you’ll notice that the tail light is on the right side of the bike which is where one would mount a rear bike light if one were to ride in England where they drive on the wrong side of the road (though watching most people, I’m not so sure there is a wrong or right side of the road to drive on anymore).

Some of the not so obvious hints that this is Phillips are found in some of the little details.  Like the Phillips Dimples on the fork.

Phillips Fork Dimiples


In the picture above you’re looking at the front fork from the left hand side of the bike.  If you look at those sideways chrome (granted it’s hard to tell they’re chrome in the picture) D’s where the “tines” in the fork meet.  Those are a very specific design aspect of Phillips bicycles.

Also they have some other things to note, for when you’re looking at old three speeds which might lack markings. Like the Front and rear lugs.

Front forkAg Dynohub


I’m not going to say a whole lot about these.  I’m kinda working on a side project about different drop outs where this subject will be explored much more in-depth.  Though astute readers will notice something a little unusual about the second photo.  It’s a Sturmey Archer AG.

The AG is basically the standard AW hub, but with a dyno in it.  For those that don’t already know what a dyno is I will explain.  The dyno produces electricity for the lighting system.  This technology has really caught on recently with bike commuters, and many think it’s a fairly recent invention.  But many don’t realize that it was invented by Sturmey Archer in the early 50’s.  It’s fun to look back at some of the ads for them back in the cold war days, because they claim it works great for lighting up fall out shelters and for emergency lighting.  Though I got one on my Superbe and honestly the light is pretty much there to keep me street legal at night, but I don’t really use it to see anything because the light is pretty dim.

Currently I’m not sure if the dyno works.  If you look closely you’ll notice one of the connectors is disconnected.  And even if it was hook up there is a good chance the bulbs are burned out.  We’ll find out if it works together when I get to that aspect of the rebuild.  I should note though that the hub shifts perfectly, and because of that I’m hopeful the dyno works.

Ag Hub date Stamp


For those that don’t know already, the hub is the standard for dating these bikes.  All Sturmey Archer hubs until fairly recently have a date of manufacture stamped on them.  Here you will see the numbers 60 and 6 stamped under the S-A logo.  60 would be the year, and the 6 would be the month.  Since the hub was made in June of 1960, this bike was probably built in the late summer/early fall of 1960.



A quick look at the cockpit.  You’ll notice that the shifter is age appropriate.  And despite the fact that 80% of the frame is worn to the primer coat (see the first picture and you’ll see a small amount of the red that was preserved by being under the cable clip for most it’s life), the shifter looks amazing.  It’s not unusual at all for all the paint to missing from an old shifter.

Last but not least, lets look at that chainguard.

Chain Guard

Despite it’s coolness.  I’m debating if I should ditch this part.  First it’s missing a part.  There should be a small piece that covers the gap in the lower left part of the first picture.  Second these all metal chain guards are horrible.  They look cool, but they’re a pain in the butt to remove .  As much as I’d like to keep the bike all original, this coupled with the severe rust on the rear fender make this goal really difficult.  Not impossible, but it’ll take a lot of extra time sourcing the missing parts and money.  And since this bike is a little too small for me, I’m most likely going to sell it once it’s done.

So basically here she is.  Get use to her.  You’re going to see a lot of this bike in the near future.

A couple more pictures and features.

Oil Port on Front Hub          Don’t need to grease these bearings.  Just add oil.

Peddle and Oil Port     Phillips pedals and an oil port on the bottom bracket too.





11 thoughts on “A Not So Brief Introduction.”

  1. 1936, same year as the AW hub was introduced. However that was a 12 volt dyno hub, which was followed by an 8 volt in 1938, with the GH6 (6 volt) which is the one we are all so familiar with, being introduced in 1945. The AG hub was introduced in 1946 and produced until 1983, they also produced an FG, 4 speed version from 1947-1960. I have several examples of both, I use the AG on my Raleigh Twenty with modern/retro LED lights so I can see where I am going at speed.

    I would consider leaving the chaincase, it is part of that bike, you might be able to source some parts from Yellow Jersey in Madison, WI, they also sell replacement chain cases.


  2. Thanks for the correction on the AG and Dynos.

    I gotta admit, the chaincase is a hard one. I do like the look, and it’s the one thing I wanted to do before writing this blog is remove the chain guard to see the chainring. Though the production was so late in 1960 I’m pretty sure it was built after the buyout (can’t find a date more exact than “1960”–even in Hadlands book which will point out exact dates of company picnics in the 20’s), and lacks the “Phillips” chain ring. Pretty much confirmed considering the crank arm on the drive side was made by Wrights, and a not so quick (the door slot was bent up and need convincing to open) peek through the pedal slot in the cover leads to believe it’s post buy out. Not a biggie for me really, but I gotta admit I was somewhat disappointed.

    Though my biggest concern with the chain guard is that I can already tell it’s going to be a bear to remove, and reinstall. And I’m not sure I want to wish that on any future user. And though it is cool and keeps the chain clean, it seems pretty counterintuitive to the easy to maintain features of the rest of the oil bath bike. If I don’t include it on the rebuild, I will still keep it and it will stay with it’s bike should it be sold.

    Though honestly I haven’t decided either way yet. This one is tricky, the bike has got great bones, but needs lots of love, and as much as I’d love to a complete historically accurate rehab of it, realistically- its a success if it gets under someones butt. I’m sure that this entire process is going to be as much about me wrestling with these philosophies as it is about me changing headsets, or cleaning chrome. Cause honestly, my attitude on this topic swings pretty wide, case by case and day by day..

  3. Funny thing about the buyouts… they seem to have allowed some of the manufacturers to continue to produce bikes at their original plants for some time afterwards. I believe that Phillips was part of the TII group that merged with Raleigh around 1960. I have a 1964 AMF Hercules that was most definitely made in the Birmingham facility. I would give even odds that the Manhattan may well have the Phillips branded chain ring.

    I can see the issues with the chain case. I am actually crazy enough to source one to put on my 1981 Raleigh DL-1 Tourist. I also have 2 more modern city bikes with chain cases. I don’t consider them too much of a hassle in the long run because they do such a great job of keeping the chains clean.


    1. As for the lighting power of old Dynohubs, while the generator itself is not as great as a new one, they do work pretty well with modern LED lights, esp. since modern LEDs need less “juice” than the old incandescent bulbs. Of course if you’re trying to keep everything “period correct” it’s blasphemy to suggest it. But if you want to actually use your Dynohub in a meaningful way, it’s great. The B+M Retrotech matches the look of old bullet headlamps, and I know the Gentlemen Cyclists sell LED replacement bulbs for the old lamps. The one big benefit of the modern B+M light is the standlight function, which required the cumbersome battery packs on the Superbes of yore.

      1. I have the old halogen B&M Retro and it doesn’t do too well with the SA Dyno hub, IIRC they only put out 1.8watts or so, with the AG/FG being slightly less. I used a B&M Cyo for a while and it was good, but still did not look quite right. Currently I am running the B&M Classic and have been quite happy with it. There are several options for tail lights depending on what you want. I have seen several people who have taken a vintage light and installed modern guts in them to get the stand light and the functionality of the LED system. The look great and work great. Compass Bicycles sells a screw in LED replacement that has a stand light built into it, I have a couple of those and have been suitably impressed. For my Raleigh Superbe which uses the bayonet style base bulb versus the screw base, I went with a 12 volt LED for a car marker works great just don’t have the stand light function. However on any bike I ride at night I almost always put a Planet Bike Super Flash on the seat post or rear stay just for insurance. Be safe, Be seen.

        As a side note, I typically buy my B&M lights from Dutch Bike Bits the shipping can be a bit steep but if you play with size of the order you can get the most for your money.


    2. I’m pretty sure Phillips was the flagship TI brand before the Raleigh merger, at worse it was second tier, definitely not bottom tier..Though I could be wrong. Though I’m pretty sure it was second only to Raleigh in England when it comes to company size and output.

      If it isn’t apparent by now I’m more of a wrench type than a historian (though I’ve been busy trying to catch up on the history part). And I started this blog not just to teach people how to keep these great old bikes going, but to help educate myself on some of it as well. Nice thing about studying antiques and industrial history, the facts don’t ever really change much. So I do kind of bide my time while doing the reading and pouring over catalogs and such.

      Personally, if the bike were going to be mine (which is possible – I got kids that might like it once it’s done- though at this point they both kind of turned their noses up at it when I brought it home) I’d keep the chain case and wait out finding a new rear fender (it’s pretty unique in design). And honestly I still might. The KT repro chain guards at Yellow Shirt look pretty similar – actually almost exact replicas as far as I can tell from internet pictures. and since the bikes going to get painted anyway probably wouldn’t be any harm in replacing it. But again that brings about a new moral dilemma as well. Do exact replicas of modern manufacture really count as a restoration? Not that I am claiming that I can do a complete restoration, but I’m aiming to get pretty close on this one.

  4. Hi–wow i have 2 manhattans, a 59 and a 60 one looks just like yours! …the other is pristine 2 tone. You can get LED bulbs for the old SA lights via the fellow who runs a fine google group on 3 speeds–“gentleman cyclist” the parts he sells are at
    or google gentleman cyclist —i think these years are at the cusp of the buyout o and still have Phillips Birmingham parts and 24 tpi sizing–the later Raleigh Phillips say Nottingham on the headbadge and some Raleigh industries frame details. Mark

  5. there’s very little out there on the manhattans–i have spent hours looking. My 59 chain ring is Williams like yours, my 60 has the Phillips chain ring. Here is the what i thinks is the bicycle part of a mostly moped Phillips to Raleigh transition article:
    “Tube Investments Group agreed terms for the take-over of Raleigh on 19th April 1960…In October 1960, Raleigh de-listed their Sturmey-Archer powered RM2c moped.

    On January 15th 1961, 1,000 workers at Phillips Smethwick factory stopped work for the rest of the day, in protest against a BCC announcement to concentrate cycle production at Nottingham. The following day, cycle production at Raleigh was cut back 30% due to falling orders and built-up stocks, with 7,000 employees going to a 4-day week from January 27th….An ill wind of change began blowing through the TI/Raleigh Industries Group during April 1961, with the announcement outlining further restructuring of factories of the British Cycle Corporation. Now closures were announced of Norman at Ashford, Sun Cycle & Fittings Phoenix Works at Aston Brook St, J B Brooks in Great Charles Street, Birmingham, and Wrights Saddle Co of Dale Road, Selly Oak. A question hung over Phillips Lion Works at Newtown, and it was stated that over the next three years, manufacture of all bicycles for the group would relocate to Nottingham”
    Hope this wasn’t too much, Mark

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